Chapter 1: Prologue


So I wrote most of this story over a year ago. It was the first story I ever posted on FanFiction. Some unfortunate occurrences compelled me to remove it about a month later, feeling very insecure about it. However, today I got to thinking, opened up my backup copy of the story and started reading through it. I have to say, a year makes a difference in a person's view on a story. So I've gone through it, editing some parts and correcting the whatever little punctuation/spelling/grammar mistakes I found. I found myself actually liking the story again.

I recall that a lot of people seemed to enjoy this story when I first posted it, so I thought I'd give it another shot.

I'll be posting this prologue and the first actual chapter simultaneously.

AU? Very much so.

Characters: Pretty much the entire Durin family.

Genre: I think the story tags have it right.

Warnings: Some violence, lots of angst, and background Kili/Tauriel. Have an issue with that pairing? For your sake (and sanity), I would refrain from reading.

Disclaimer: I do not own The Hobbit.

She stumbled through the icy woods, tripping over branches and stones, unable to see where she was running in the darkness. Where they were running; she held her little brother's hand. He was whimpering, breathless. But they couldn't stop. She practically dragged him across the rough ground.

She had long since lost her sense of direction. She had lost her weapons. The pain in her left arm was increasing with every step. Mahal and the Valar curse the goblin that had injured her! Or had it been an orc? She didn't know the difference anymore; the pain was clouding her mind more than ever.

Running blindly through the woods, half-dragging her little brother, she found herself wishing that this was just a nightmare, a bad dream that the morning light would chase away…

"Adad! Adad! I hit the target! I did!" She ran happily to her father, who picked her up, bow and all, and threw her into the air. Catching her expertly, he called over his shoulder, towards the house, "Starlight! Did you hear that? Our little girl is becoming a fine archer already!"

Her mother smiled and tossed back her long red hair. "Is that so? I guess we'll have to take her hunting soon, darling!"

Hunting. She liked to hunt. But not being hunted. Like she was now.

Her breath was coming in shorter and shorter gasps. Why did her arm hurt so? Had the blade that struck her been poisoned? Why hadn't she thought of that?

Her brother cried out as he tripped over a tree root. Her heart wrenched in her chest, but they could not stop.

"Come in here, sweetheart, and meet your little brother!" Her father took her arm and guided her into the bedroom.

Her mother was sitting up in the bed, her fiery tresses damp with sweat, but a happy smile on her face. She held a small bundle of blankets in her arms. As the girl approached the bedside, her mother held out the bundle. "Would you like to hold him?"

Nervous but eager to do so, the girl carefully took the tiny thing in her arms. Looking down, she beheld the little red face of her brother. He was sleeping peacefully. "Adad," she asked softly, "What is the Khuzdul word for 'little brother'?"

"Nadadith." he answered just as quietly.

She smiled down at the baby. "Hello,nadadith. I'm you're big sister."

A sudden flare of pain from her arm, spreading through her whole body, brought her to her knees. In water? Was she truly in a pond or stream or was this her imagination? Was any of this real?

"Fourteen days, Kara. If we are not back by then, head to the Lonely Mountain. Erebor. Don't stop until you get there; you'll be safe."

"But we will try our utmost to come home, sweetheart." Her mother embraced her. "Wewill come home soon."

But they hadn't.

Kara felt like her head was being split by an axe. The darkened world around her spun in dizzying circles. Where was her brother? Was he still holding her hand? Her body had gone numb; she couldn't tell.

"Dwarvish scum!"

"Get away from my brother!"

A twanging bowstring; clashing swords. Blood everywhere.

"Sissy! Sister! Kara!"

"Nadadith…" The darkness consumed her.