I do not own any of the characters or The Hobbit (just the AU storyline and my OC) Those are the work of the esteemed and brilliant John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, and without his genius, this and many other fan fics would not be in existence.
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**Warning- graphic wound description in this chapter**
AUTHOR'S NOTE- PLEASE READ (there won't be many of these, I promise ;) This is part TWO of TLBTM. New readers will likely be VERY confused if they don't read part one first lol ;) You can either find part one on my author's profile, or use this link (delete the spaces- they were necessary so FF wouldn't delete it):
ww w . fanfiction s/9506482/1/To-Look-Beyond-the-Mask-Part-1-Part-2-coming-soon
For my current followers- in celebration of my jury duty being canceled, and finding that I don't have to host Christmas (though I'm still making quite a bit of food to bring), I got this up early! Enjoy! :D
Thorin's eyes widened in surprise as Gloin reached Cirashala first, concern in his gaze. The fiery haired dwarf immediately knelt beside the prone form and gently brushed his fingers across her forehead, eliciting several surprised looks from the other members of the company. His frown deepened at the heat that emanated from her face.
"She's burning up" he said quietly as he looked up at the dwarf king. The unusual change in the normally hostile dwarf's countenance toward the young woman caused the surrounding company's eyes to widen considerably in astonishment. Oin knelt next to him and repeated the action, nodding affirmatively at his brother's conclusion.
"Aye, she has a fever," the healer confirmed. "A high one."
Concern mingled with guilt as the dwarves, wizard and hobbit stared at the unconscious woman on the floor. It didn't even take half a heartbeat for them to realize that, in their joy and relief to see Kili alive, they'd completely forgotten about their newest companion.
"But how can she have a fever if she's so cold?" Bilbo asked, the hobbit kneeling down on her other side as his own hand rested on her shoulder. He looked worriedly at the ginger haired dwarf, then at Oin. "She feels half frozen. Is she ill?"
Images suddenly flashed in Thorin's mind as he stared at the unconscious woman, of leather and blade striking flesh as blood curdling screams sounded through a fire lit cavern, of goblins cackling with glee as crimson blood dripped down on filthy wooden planks, of a deathly pale face and ripped tunics. Realization dawned in his features, and his own face drained of blood.
Knowing Dwalin held the young prince in a tight grip and would not let him fall, the elder quickly released his own hold on his nephew's arm. Rushing to the young woman's side without a word, the dwarf king shoved himself between Gloin and the healer, knocking the former out of the way as he began to yank the woolen tunic out of her belt. Bilbo's eyes grew wide as he tried to stop him but to no avail.
"Thorin, what on earth-" he began, but the dwarf king cut him off as he yanked up the tunic, exposing her back. The bandages wrapped around her torso were filthy and blackened with dried blood as angry red skin peeked above them, and Thorin's eyes widened as his fears were confirmed.
"Mahalu-me turg," he breathed. A loud gasp sounded behind him, and the dwarf king spun around to behold at a very ashen Kili, the young dwarf looking over his shoulder at the bandaged wounds.
The younger's eyes were wide with horror and fear as he stared at Cirashala's back, his face nearly devoid of color. Fili had moved to stand beside his brother after Thorin had released him, his eyes also wide with realization. Thorin glanced at Kili, then at Cirashala, quickly realizing who must have originally wrapped the wounds in question.
It wasn't the first time that Kili had dealt with a wound on his own. The young dwarf had been rather awkward when he first started weapons training, the heavy axes and hammers of the dwarves being too much for the young, thin lad. He had tried many a time to hide a cut here or a gash there from accidental training mishaps from both his mother and uncle, claiming that Oin had tended them after the incidents, but the rather clumsy bandaging always gave it away. The dwarf king shot to his feet and turned toward the lad.
"Kili," he said quickly, urgency in his tone. "Were her wounds cleaned after Goblin Town?" The younger didn't respond as he continued to stare at her, his breaths coming quickly as his expression filled with panic. Thorin frowned.
"Kili!" he repeated much more loudly, causing the younger to jump a bit. Blue eyes met fear filled brown. "Were her wounds cleaned?" Kili nodded shakily, tears pricking the corner of his eyes.
"A-aye," he stammered, face reddening at the memory. "I-I was the only one who...I did what I could, b-but I-I didn't have any medicine, only water, a-and-" Thorin cut him off.
"When did you clean them last?" he asked, and Kili swallowed heavily as his tear-filled eyes widened.
"That first night," he whispered, voice cracking as he realized her back had been forgotten due to his illness and injury. "She-she never said anything about it after, just that it stung a few times but she insisted it was fine. A-and we ran out of bandages." Thorin's eyes widened, and he turned back toward the young woman.
"Her wounds are infected," he said slowly, glancing at Oin. The healer looked confused as he glanced toward Gloin, his ear trumpet having been smashed in the goblin tunnels, and his brother quickly repeated what the dwarf king said more loudly. Oin's gaze moved back toward Thorin as he nodded grimly.
"Aye," the healer agreed. "Badly."
A slight shout from Dwalin and Fili sounded behind him, and the dwarf king turned to see what little color remained in Kili's face disappear completely as he suddenly broke away from the burly dwarf. Stumbling toward the corner by the door, the young prince fell to his hands and knees and began to retch, the sharp sounds intermingling with nasty coughs as he began to be sick.
Fili was right on his heels, dropping down and rubbing circles between the younger's shoulder blades with his uninjured arm like their mother did when they were young. Kili cried out in pain after he was done vomiting as his coughs increased in intensity, clawing his chest as he doubled over, and Thorin's eyes widened.
"Kili?" Fili cried out, panic in the elder's eyes. "Kili, what's wrong?"
"R-ribs," the younger gasped between coughs as his pained gaze met his brother's. "Broken...stitches..." Fili's eyes widened.
"What?" he asked, worry and confusion in his tone.
"Did he say stitches?" Nori asked from the back of the group, turning toward his elder brother, the younger having stopped short in his appointed task when Cirashala fainted. Dori nodded.
"Aye, he did," he replied, looking toward Thorin. His questioning gaze matched the other twelve, and Thorin immediately jumped into action.
"Oin, you tend to Kili," he ordered quickly, the tone of his voice leaving no room for argument. "Bombur, get as many kettles as you can find and boil some water quickly. Dori, find some cloth and start cutting bandages. Dwalin, you and Balin help Kili toward the fire."
The dwarf king continued to direct the others, ordering blankets and dry clothing to be found for the pair, food to be made and for their muddy things to be washed. The various members of the company immediately moved to fulfill their tasks without hesitation. Turning toward the unconscious woman, the dark haired dwarf gently scooped her up in his arms, before turning toward the wizard.
"Gandalf," he said quietly, before glancing toward the washroom off to the side of the dining room. Returning his gaze toward the wizard, the dwarf king took a deep breath.
"I'm going to need your help."
Gandalf quickly followed Thorin into the washroom situated off the dais, grabbing two blankets off the top of the stack in Bilbo's arms on the way as the hobbit emerged from the end of the stable area with the bedding the dwarves had been using since their arrival three days prior.
As the trio entered the small room, the wizard tied one of the woven blankets across the open doorway to afford them some privacy in their task. Turning to survey the area, his gaze landed on the various clay jars nestled on the shelves to the left, then the wooden water bucket perched atop the stationary washbasin.
Striding forward, the wizard began to rifle through the contents of the crockery, hoping there were some herbs he could use in his healing. Behind him, Thorin gently laid Cirashala on the floor on her stomach, no table in the great skinchanger's house being short enough to accommodate his smaller stature. He gazed down at her wounds, a slight unpleasant scent emanating from them, then back up at Gandalf.
"What powers of healing do you have?" he asked as the taller knelt on the opposite side of the prone form, a crock of honey in his hands. Gandalf shook his head, regret in his features.
"I am afraid that my power is limited in that regard," he said quietly. "I can wake someone from unconsciousness or put them to sleep if I need to, I can draw an evil taint out, and I know a great deal about elvish healing methods and spells. However, I do not have the ability to grant life, nor prevent its loss if it is meant to be. Only one has the power to do so, and He has not gifted me with that ability."
Thorin nodded, looking down at the young woman with concern. As much as he hated elves, he did not deny that their healing powers and knowledge far surpassed any other, including the healing methods of his own people. He'd scoffed at the notion once, but Oin had been quick to correct him, and the old healer wasn't overly fond of the tall, ethereal beings either.
"What do you need?" he asked, and the wizard glanced at Thorin's boot, where the handle of a blade tucked inside was just visible.
"Cut off her bandages first," he replied, rising to his feet and grabbing the wooden bucket from the basin. "Take care-they might be stuck to her wounds. If they are, they will need to be soaked off."
The dwarf king nodded, drawing his knife from the hidden sheath as Gandalf ducked under their improvised door, bucket in hand. Carefully sliding the sharp blade under the bottom edge of the filthy strips, he took a breath and began cutting.
As the angry marks from the goblin whips and Kili's knife became fully visible, the dwarf king stilled his hand as he swallowed thickly. Greenish pus seeped out of the long, thin cuts, the scent stronger now that they were out in the open air. He had feared this ever since the sound of goblin shrieks reached his ears right after they'd fallen into the dark tunnels.
He was no stranger to the atrocities that befell goblin prisoners. He'd seen the carnage back at Azanulbizar, as well as found the remains of dwarves here or there that had fallen victim to their onslaught in raids. He was also quite aware of what happened to female prisoners, and it was not something he ever wished to witness. And though he had seen and experienced more than most of their company in his lifetime, aside from Balin and Dwalin, every single dwarf in their group had fought to keep her gender hidden in those tunnels.
And yet, she still revealed herself, screamed at him and insulted him, Thorin thought to himself in frustration. What in Middle-earth was she thinking?! Doesn't she know what they would have done to her had they had more time?
Her words outside Rivendell suddenly came to mind. I swear I will protect each and every one of you with my life.
The dwarf king stared down at her muddied face, before gently sliding the bandages out from underneath her torso, discarding the soiled linen in a heap.
"You foolish, reckless girl," he whispered, shaking his head in wonder despite his irritation at her actions over a week prior. She actually kept her word.
A slight knock sounded on the doorjamb, breaking Thorin from his musings.
"Thorin?" Gloin asked, slipping under the blanket quickly so as to not leave it open longer than necessary. The ginger haired dwarf's arms held a bundle of bandages, and he stepped over to his cousin and laid them down on the ground next to him. Glancing at the young woman's wounds, the merchant sighed.
"They're pretty bad all right," he said quietly, looking toward Thorin. The dwarf king nodded, glancing toward the makeshift door.
"Where is Gandalf?" he asked, turning toward his cousin. "I need his help." The ginger dwarf gestured toward the doorway.
"He's looking for more honey," the merchant replied. "Apparently Kili needed some too, and he can't go outside until Beorn is, erm, back to his normal self."
Thorin nodded, before glancing back down at the unconscious girl on the floor. His eyes trailed over the mud spattered on her arms, face, hair and legs from their fall off the horse, and he swallowed thickly as he realized that it wasn't just her wounds that needed cleaning. By Durin, he hadn't seen, let alone bathed, a female since his sister Dis was but a wee bairn!
"Thorin?" The dwarf king turned toward him, their gazes meeting, and Gloin nodded in understanding at the rare apprehensive look in his eyes.
"I am married, cousin," the merchant said softly, grasping Thorin's shoulder reassuringly. "Don't you worry-I'll clean her up. 'Tis nothing I haven't seen before."
Thorin looked at his cousin for a moment before nodding, gratefulness in his gaze. The pair glanced up as Gandalf set a wooden bucket filled with water next to them, along with a bar of lye soap, a clean cloth, and another blanket.
"You will need to wash her wounds very thoroughly," the wizard explained, straightening up. "Open them up, and rinse them until they are clear of pus." Reaching up to brush his hair out of his eyes, the taller being sighed.
"Thorin, you will need to make a choice which wounds will be tended tonight," Gandalf stated, frustration clear in his features. "There isn't enough honey harvested for both of them, and Beorn has not yet returned from his task."
"Fili's wounds have already been tended," the dwarf king replied, and Gloin shook his head.
"Not Fili," the merchant replied. "Kili."
Thorin's gaze widened as his head turned toward his cousin, face paling.
"What?" he replied, rising to his feet. "How badly is Kili wounded?" Gloin stood up quickly as well, holding up his hand as Thorin tried to pass him.
"His aren't infected," Gandalf spoke up, causing the dwarf king to pause. "But they will need tending soon at least." Thorin looked back up at the wizard, then down to the young woman's prone form.
"You said his wounds aren't infected?" Thorin asked, fixing Gandalf with a pointed stare. The wizard shook his head.
"No they are not," he replied. Thorin glanced toward the door, and the wizard immediately moved to step in between him and it. "And I wouldn't advise going outside until Beorn has returned if you value your life, and the lives of everyone else here." The dwarf king sighed, looking back down at her. Gaze moving to Gloin, the elder nodded to him.
"Gloin, help Gandalf," he said quietly, and his cousin nodded. "Use the honey for her wounds."
"Go see to Kili," he replied quietly in turn, clapping his hand on Thorin's shoulder. "I will take care of this."
Bilbo set the stack of blankets down beside the young princes before straightening back up. The hobbit couldn't help the relief that settled in his heart at the sight of Kili's dark head nestled on his brother's chest with his forehead next to Fili's cheek, the elder using himself as a pillow while Oin tended the younger's wounds.
The old healer had removed Kili's soiled armor and clothing as the other dwarves bustled in and out with the tasks Thorin had given them, quickly replacing it with a few woolen blankets over his shivering form for both warmth and modesty. The sight of the slightly bloody bandages wrapped around the young dwarf's torso and arms, along with his black and yellow left shoulder and the misaligned ribs visible underneath his skin, had caused a collective gasp from several members of the company.
Fili especially had been very concerned, but the younger dwarf was unable to answer his questions until warmth had settled back into his bones, coughs punctuating every attempt at speech. Once he was clean, the healer had all but buried him and Fili under the blankets until the younger no longer shivered.
The young prince had begun to feel his lids grow heavy, the soothing, familiar sound of his brother's heartbeat next to his ear, along with the crackling fire beside him lulling him to sleep, when the sound of his uncle's voice caused him to suddenly jerk awake.
"Kili, what happened?" Several eyes turned toward Thorin, whose worried gaze flickered between Kili's chest and his pale face as Oin revealed his wounds, intending to set the misaligned bones now that he was warm. He gestured toward the gashes. "The fall might have caused the other injuries, but it wouldn't have caused those cuts."
Kili opened his mouth to answer, but cried out as Oin began to work. Gasping in pain, he looked up at his uncle.
"A-a lynx," he whispered. A strangled cry emanated from his throat as the second break was set. "Caught us by s-surprise."
"Why didn't you kill it?" Fili asked, waiting until after Oin finished setting the breaks so the younger could answer. A slight whimper escaped Kili's lips as the healer began to wrap his torso.
"I-it jumped on me," he replied, tired eyes fluttering closed for a second before jerking back open. "Knocked...my knife out of my hand."
"Where was Cirashala when this happened?" Thorin asked, jaw tightening a bit as he studied the gashes and bite marks slowly disappearing under the fresh bandages. Kili's brow furrowed as though he were trying to recall a lost memory.
"She...tried to find it," Kili whispered after a moment, struggling to keep his eyes open. "I-I was screaming at her to get it."
"Why didn't she?" Balin asked quietly, confusion in his tone. Kili's brow furrowed in thought again.
"She...couldn't find it in the bushes," he said slowly, his mind a bit hazy as he fought to remember what happened amidst the screams and blood of the attack. "She grabbed a branch and...knocked it off of me."
"A branch?" Dwalin asked, a surprised look on his face, and he nodded.
"She kept hitting it and growling at it," he murmured, eyes fluttering again. "I...got the little girl in the tree..."
"What little girl?" Ori asked as he finished washing Kili's dirty clothing in a large washbasin by the fire, sharing a confused look with his middle brother.
"Freida..." Kili whispered, before his eyes drifted shut. The young dwarf's head suddenly lolled on his brother's shoulder, and Fili's eyes widened in alarm.
"Kili?" he cried, shaking his shoulder, and the younger startled with a sharp intake of breath.
"S'ry, Fee," he mumbled, before a large yawn escaped him. "So...tired..." The young prince's eyes drifted shut once more as his slightly congested breaths quickly evened out, the coughing fit finally dissipating. The dark haired dwarf lad instinctively nestled his face under his brother's chin just as Bombur brought some vegetable broth and bread for him, causing the ginger haired dwarf to pause. The rotund dwarf looked at the now still lad, before glancing toward Thorin in confusion.
"Let him sleep," Thorin said quietly as he took in the state of his youngest nephew. His gaze softened. "He's exhausted."
A response to guest reviewer Kaia- I'm glad :D I am sorry your heart hurts, but at the same time I'm glad that the emotions that the characters are feeling are real to the reader- that tells me that I am writing them well :)
A response to guest reviewer guest- Yup- they finally are :) I'm glad you enjoyed part 1 so much! I'm glad to give you part 2 now, and look forward to your thoughts on it! :D I hope I didn't make your blood pressure skyrocket too much lol ;) Glad to hear that it was suspenseful and intense as I'd hoped it would be. I'm glad you like it, and think of it as an adventure- that was my goal as well :D I have been concerned that I was doing it a bit slow, but it is nice to hear that I am managing to balance the character moments with action, excitement and adventure- it's not easy to do! Thank you for the lovely review :D
Many thanks to all who review, favorite, and follow- you guys have been awesome! :D :D :D