Kili watched with dread as Thorin was tossed through the air like a broken doll, landing in a heap with a dull was still clinging to the tree which had fallen on its side and was hanging perilously over the edge of the cliff with hundreds of feet of blackness bellow it, being held in place only by its strong roots. Kili's heart thumped like a drum in his chest, he could hear his heartbeats over the sounds of the roaring flames and the cries of the rest of the company as they clung desperately to the branches, feet kicking uselessly in the air. But it wasn't the prospect of falling, or of being burnt, not even of being torn to shreds by the snapping jaws of wargs that sent waves of panic up his spine. It was watching his uncle, who now pushed himself shakily up onto his elbows, struggle to fight the gigantic pale orc, Azog the Defiler. The orc was still sat on the back of his fearsome white warg, with a foul sneer on his scarred face. It made Kili's stomach lurch. There was so much evil and hate in the creature's eyes and they bore into Thorin like daggers. Hungry for blood and the taste of stolen life. Azog's pale skin glowed orange in the firelight and his teeth glinted as he looked down upon Thorin with an evil grin. The survival instinct that kept Kili clinging to the tree was abruptly overruled by the uncontrollable impulse to protect his uncle. Kili knew that his inexperience in battle meant that he would be no match for Azog, but if he could distract the orc long enough for Thorin to regain his composure and strength then it would feel like less of a gamble. He would not stay up the tree and watch his uncle be killed while they were still so early into their quest. Kili's mind was set. He pushed himself up and walked down the tree trunk, which lay almost entirely flat, with determined strides, releasing his sword from its sheath on his hip. The blade glinted in the firelight. He didn't listen to the voice of his brother as Fili called his name, his world consisted of just three things; himself, Thorin and Azog. And by the end of this, if it all went right, there would only be him and Thorin.
Thorin reached for his sword which had fallen from his grasp, a dull pain throbbing in his side. He clutched at his ribs with a quiet wince as a waft of rancid air blew on the back of his neck. The white warg was glowering down at him, yellow eyes shining and mouth watering hungrily. A growl emanated from deep within the beast's throat as it waited for its master to allow it to feast on the dwarf. Azog could feel the ravenous desire of the hound as the warg's chest swelled and shrank with deep breaths. The corners of his mouth pulled upward. But Thorin's face was a steely mask, and he simply stared past the warg's head to lock eyes with him in a defiant and hateful glare. He would like nothing more than to relieve the orc's shoulders of its hideous head, like he had his grandfather. Revenge dominated the exiled king's thoughts, and it would be sweet. But Azog had no intention of dying that night and raised his sword, the dirty blade reflecting the glow of the flames. He snarled something in Black Speech, teeth bared like a wild animal. His attention was fixed so intensely on the dwarf that he didn't notice the figure darting at him through the dark and smoke. Suddenly he was propelled off his warg and wrestled to the ground, his weapon landing on the rock with a clatter, by another, much younger dwarf. Azog growled and flung the dwarf away with one strong swish of his arm before moving to pin him down, angered that the he'd taken away his opportunity to slay Thorin.
Kili was pushed into the ground, Azog's weight preventing him from escaping. But he kept his features impassive, save for the glint of loathing in his brown eyes. He felt hatred bubble in his stomach for Azog and all that he had done to his family and the line of Durin, his uncle's hatred of the vile creature had imprinted itself into Kili's consciousness. Azog studied the dwarf in his grasp with a grim fascination. He was very youthful and daring, and different to the others; he was much smaller in build, Azog could feel the bones of the dwarf through his thick, fur-lined coat. He appeared more like an elf than a dwarf, in both features and slightness. But none-the-less, he was dwarf scum and was to be eradicated. With a scowl he reached to retrieve his sword from where it had fallen. Kili saw the blade flash and tried to squirm away with alarm, groaning as he tried to move away, but Azog's grip was iron. The sword glinted again and, with a growl, Kili kicked Azog in the chest with his heavy boots, sending the orc stumbling backwards. Kili pushed himself onto his feet and twirled his own weapon in his hands, beckoning Azog to attack. He may have been young and with none of the experience of Thorin or Dwalin or many of the other elder dwarves, but his skill with the blade was excellent. Azog eyed him with frustration before darting forward with a lash of his sword. There came the loud clang of colliding weapons as Kili rose his sword above him to block the blow, he twisted his blade and forced the orc's towards the ground. Azog pulled it away and bore his eyes into the young dwarf before him, his stare dark and calculating. Kili drummed his fingers on the handle of his sword as he pointed it at Azog who lunged forward at him again with an animal-like snarl, slashing at Kili's arm when he rose it to elevate his own sword in defence. The dwarf bit back a cry, he could feel the sting of the flesh wound and the warmth of blood pooling under his sleeve, he could feel it running down the underside of his arm. He jumped back and ducked to avoid Azog's next swipe, he could feel the air move as the sword passed inches above his head.
Thorin's heart froze. What was he doing? He watched as his reckless, senseless nephew faced down the pale orc alone. Was Kili really foolish enough to think he could defeat Azog by himself? A mixture of fear and rage surged through him as he grabbed the handle of his sword and jumped to his feet with a growl of frustration. The embers of the fire fell around him, ash coming to rest on his shoulders like sizzling hot snowflakes. The edges of the cinders still glowing a blazing orange. He could feel the heat of the flames on his face as figures began darting through the smoke with shouts and glinting weapons. They dashed forward, swinging their swords and axes at advancing orc and wargs, delivering heavy blows with loud cries. Dwalin came to stand beside Thorin and gave him a concerned stare which he shrugged off with a curt "I'm fine." Dwalin sighed, knowing all too well the stubbornness of his king, he wouldn't accept aid until the battle was over. He followed Thorin's gaze.
"What is he doing?" He said, with something between a gasp and a growl, staring at Kili who swung his sword, whith a fierce flash of reflecting firelight, at Azog, who blocked his attempt and pushed him away.
"Being an idiot." Thorin spat. He pushed past Dwalin with a low growl, eyes glued on his youngest nephew. He griped the handle of his sword so tight that his knuckles turned white. Stupid. Irresponsible. Reckless. As always. From the corner of his eyes Thorin caught the familiar shine of golden hair amongst the shapes of the fight. Fili was darting towards his brother, throwing all oncoming orcs out of his path with a fierce lash of his sword. Nothing was going to get in his way. Nobody but Thorin who abruptly changed course. He already had one nephew acting foolishly, he did not need the other to do the same.
Fili's attention was completely fixed on Kili, facing down the pale orc alone. He watched as his brother effortlessly sidestepped the swipe of Azog's scimitar, it didn't even brush the edges of his jacket. Kili twirled his blade in two circular motions, in the taunting way he always challenged his opponents. No doubt the action was coupled with his roguish smile. Fili had seen them both enough when they practised fighting with weapons back home, and they had always managed to incite another blow. Which Azog didn't hold back from; he elevated his weapon above his head before bringing it down in a quick, sweeping movement. The blade whistled in the air before being met by Kili's own sword with a clang. Fili suddenly lost his momentum as he was pulled roughly back and to a standstill, he could feel something tugging at the collar of his coat. He roughly pulled away and spun, weapon ready, expecting to see an orc stood before him. It wasn't an orc. It was Thorin, looking at him sternly, shaking his head.
"Why did you stop me?" He probed, "We need to help Kili!"
"We don't have to do anything. You stay here, I will go and help your brother." Thorin's tone was final but Fili opened his mouth to protest, as much as he trusted his uncle, he would feel better if he was fighting beside Kili too. But any words were quickly blocked by a loud shriek. It was not a sound that belonged to any dwarf, orc or warg. The pair's eyes flicked upwards to see huge shadows coming towards them through the smoke and light of the fire and oncoming sunrise. They swooped down, the air around them churning and blowing, fallen leaves scuttled across the floor and the flames swayed and flickered. Instinctively, Thorin grabbed his nephew's wrist and pulled Fili behind him. He watched the shadows with apprehension, sword held tightly in his grasp. Eagles. The shapes were eagles, huge birds with each wing longer than almost two wargs and with great talons like thick, curved blades, glinting dangerously. They soared and dived, throwing wargs and orcs through the air, picking them up and dropping them from a great height. Then the great beasts' attention switched to the dwarves as they began picking them from the ground, with no small amount of wriggling and cursing, and letting them fall onto the feathered back of another. Confusion overcame Thorin, brows knitting together. Until he noticed Gandalf. The grey clad wizard was perched upon the back of a bird with brown-tipped feathers, his features calm, his posture relaxed. He had sent for them, realising the peril facing the company. Thorin could not help his frustration, did the wizard not trust them, not trust him? But it was too late as now most of the party were in the air, away from the dangers of the mountainside.
Azog kicked at Kili while his attention was on the huge birds, foot landing against the dwarf's chest with a crack of the ribs. Kili cried out as he tumbled through the air, collapsing on the hard ground. The force of the blow left him winded and gasping for breath, the world was suddenly a spinning land of blurring and intermixing colours, all sound muffled beneath a loud ringing that struck his skull like knives. He squeezed his eyes shut and dragged in a deep, painful breath. Azog eyed the eagles with infuriation, they were making easy work of the orcs, tossing them through the air like lifeless corpses, and taking the dwarves in their hold, high off the ground and far away from where any orc blade could reach. The dwarves were getting away. Azog roared an animal-like roar, shaking his fist at the creatures. He heard Kili cough, heaving in deep, rasped breaths. That one would not get away. He approached the young dwarf and pointed the tip of his blade at his chest, at the area above his thundering heart.
"Kili!" Fili pulled away from his uncle's grasp and moved towards Kili, laying on the ground, propped up on shaking elbows, trying to edge away from Azog's sword. Kili's eyes were wide and his chest rose and fell in quick, shallow bursts. Thorin made after Fili, ready to impale the pale orc, to slice off his remaining hand. Sweat had built up on his brow from the searing heat of the flames. He would have been thankful for the sudden breeze upon the back of his neck had it not been followed by giant talons gripping him across his middle and lifting him, as he ran, from the hard ground. It was a strange sensation to suddenly have nothing beneath his feet, for them to kick at open air, and to see the land shrink beneath him. Fili was clutched in the clawed foot of the same eagle beside him, struggling against the tightness of the hold. But it wasn't the fear of suddenly being lifted into the air, or of what the eagle was going to do to him that caused his attempts for freedom. It was his brother shrinking below him as they got higher, Azog still stood above him, looking down at Kili with a cruel smirk. "Kili!" He rose his fist to hit at the eagle's leg, he thumped at it hard, desperation surging through him like a swollen river. Then they were free falling, hearts feeling like they were incapable of keeping up with the rest of their bodies as they fell. Thorin reached for Fili as they were in mid-air, pulling him close and holding him to his chest. Then there was something beneath them, something warm and alive, as they landed in a mass of windblown feathers. But Fili felt no relief as he scrambled to the edge of the bird, Thorin pulling at his jacket, fearing his nephew, in his panic, would fall again and would this time plummet back down to the earth. Fili's heart stopped mid beat. Azog had lowered his weapon and the remaining orcs descended on Kili like ants to a piece of honey. They grabbed at him as he hopelessly struggled against them, trying to back away, swiping at them with fist and sword and attempting to land failed kicks. "Why aren't the eagles helping him!?" Fili cried, his whole body beginning to tremble with alarm. He switched his gaze momentarily to Gandalf, whose eagle was flying, unfazed by the dwarf's desperate screams, beside his and Thorin's. "Gandalf! Make them turn around! Make them go back for him!" But the wizard simply looked quickly over his shoulder and then stared at Fili with expressionless features. The eagles had a set course, they had no intention of going back. Fili turned his head back to the vanishing sight, in time to witness the orcs turn Kili onto his front, strip him of all his weapons and bind his hands behind his back, before wrenching him roughly up into a standing position. Even from this distance Fili could see that his little brother was looking straight at him, watching him get further and further away. "We can't leave him! KILI!" Fili's voice cracked and tears began to swell in his eyes, blurring his vision. The eagles weren't going to change direction, no matter how much he yelled and pleaded. He reached out a hand, as though he would be able to reach Kili. But his brother was simply dragged away into the trees and out of sight. "KILI! NO!"