Title: A tale about friendship, Part 33/33

Author: Dís Thráinsdotter

E-mail: Overall rating: M, for violence and orctorment. This chapter: M

Summary: A group of children are told the tale of their friendship with the dwarves in general and the Folk of Durin in particular.

Warnings: The overall rating of this fic is M, as parts of it deals with violent battle and torment. There are also Original Characters in the fic, but no Mary Sues. Unbetaed, all mistakes belong to me.

Disclaimer: I don't own any one of Tolkien's characters, never have, and never will. The only ones I own are the people you have never met before.

Chapter 33, The Battle of Five Armies

"Why did the Orcs come?" Thrór asked. Gandalf laughed and said

"Not for my benefit, although it did help unify the Free Peoples. They had become very angry when they found their Lord and a lot of their kin killed by the Dwarves and me, so they gathered their Army around Gundabad. When they heard that Smaug had been killed, they decided to come here and get the treasure while it was unguarded, which caused them to come hard on the heels of Dáin and his men. As you know, Orcs are the foes of all and their appearance caused the assembled armies to unite against them and the Wargs. That is the reason the battle is called "the Battle of Five Armies".

The children could see that the adults looked very sad and asked, "How was the battle?"

"Horrible" Melian answered and added "the Orcs were very fierce when they fought against us and the Wargs were even more so. It didn't help matters when the Orcs also came from the Mountain, attacking those who were on the spurs, but suddenly we heard a horn, a great shout and the sounds of stones falling. Within seconds Thórin & Co. were seen running towards the Orcs and Thórin shouted, calling all to him. By the sounds many did as he said but I had my hands full by then. Some of the wounded were already coming to the hospital that we had put up together, the care of the others would have to wait until we could get to them or the battle ended, whichever came first. When I thought all was lost we received aid from unexpected sources, the Eagles from the Misty Mountains came first followed by Beorn the Skin changer. I heard a friend calling my name, telling me to come out and when I did Beorn stood there in bear shape. He was holding Thórin in his arms and handed him to me. I brought him inside the tent in order to treat his wounds, they were many and severe so I knew he had little chance to survive but I was determined to do all I could to rescue him.

Suddenly I could hear a great shout filling the valley and one of the Elves came in looking very happy. She told me that Beorn had killed Bolg, who had been literally pulled apart by the great bear and the Orcs were in retreat. The warriors gave chase and made sure that the Orcs couldn't find any holes to hide in, while the stretcher bearers went out with healers looking for wounded. We had to leave the dead where they were, as we didn't have the time to bury them and needed to concentrate on the living. My brother Boromir came in and asked me to put a bandage on his arm, an orkich scimitar had cut off his right hand but he didn't think the weapon had been poisoned. He also told me that Hathaldir had fallen, along with Fili, Kili and a good many others. I felt sad but didn't have the time to mourn with so many wounded that needed treatment. One of the things I promised myself was that I would do everything in my power to rescue Thórins life; it felt as if I had failed his father and I wasn't going to fail him as well. At first it also looked as if I might be doing just that, Thórin regained consciousness and was able to speak with me and Gandalf."

Gandalf nodded and said "we had many things to speak about but most of all we worried about Bilbo, for some reason he had gone missing and none of us knew where he was. Thórin said that he had something to tell Bilbo and he needed to do it soon. Melian had to leave us alone at times in order to treat other wounded and on one of these occasions Thórin told me that Melian did her best to treat his wounds, ´if I don't pull through Melian is blameless, because she really does all she can for me´ he said and I agreed with him. He asked me for some paper, a pen and some ink so he could write a letter to Melian. When he had written and sealed it he gave it to me, telling me to give Melian the letter if he didn't survive and I promised to do that.

Bard said to the children "we hunted the Orcs and Wargs, driving them into the river or into Mirkwood where I am sure the Spiders took care of a good deal of them. Most of the Orcs perished that day, which is the reason why you have never heard about them before. All the remaining Orcs appear to be in hiding but I am sure they will come back sooner or later, when they do we'll have to be ready for them." The others nodded in agreement.

Gandalf said, "Thórin had appeared to recover but during the night he took a turn for the worse. Melian hadn't been able to remove all the Orcpoison from the wounds and the remainder, small as it was, was doing it's worst. Fortunately one of the Men found Bilbo and brought him to the tent where Thórin and I was which meant that they were able to talk with each other about all that had happened. Then Thórin passed away and Melian was almost devastated, but I told her that she had done all that she could and that all healers lose patients. She finally agreed with me but she was still sad. ´I have known about him all my life but I have only known him truly for a short time´ she said to me."

Dáin said to the children "when Thórin, Fili and Kili had passed away I had to take up the kingship under the Mountain; not to mention the title of Father of our Folk and that was a title I hadn't wanted but I had to do it. There was a meeting that day where Bard, Gandalf, Thranduil and I made agreements about trade and help in the repairs that were needed in both Esgaroth and Dale. We also agreed to be friends and let bygones be bygones, even if I had a hard time convincing Thórins companions to agree with me. But they finally did that and I told them that they could send for their families so they could join them."

Melian nodded. "Most of the fallen were buried in mass graves as they couldn't be identified but their kin could bury those who were still recognisable. Thórin, Fili and Kili were buried inside the Mountain and it was there I was given the letter Thórin had written to me. I still read it at times, even though it always causes me to weep." She handed the letter to the children and they thought it was very nice, Thórin told her in the letter ´you are a kind person and I have the feeling that many are waiting for your kindness. I will send your regards to my kin and I am sure that they agree with me.´ When they handed the letter back to their mother they said that they agreed with what he had written.

Melian said to the children "Dáin asked me to stay in Erebor and help those who were cleaning up and redecorating in the Mountain. Smaug had slimed and greased a good deal of the passages, every passage he was able to get into he had gone into and the remainder he had sent his fires and fumes into. There was a real danger that some of them would be injured and most of the dwarven healers were going back to their homes. Father was asked for permission and he answered that he preferred that I would be in Erebor. ´It is safer there than it would be around Dol Guldur he said and was happy to give me permission to stay here.

Quite soon after the battle those who hailed from Dale returned to rebuild the city with the aid of the dwarven craftsmen who had come from many mansions, another group had gone to Esgaroth and were aiding the Men there alongside the Elves of Mirkwood. Between them the craftsmen were able to rebuild the cities and when that work was finished my mother and my oldest aunt brought their families to Dale, leaving my other aunts in Esgaroth with their families. We have lived in Dale ever since, even if some people say that I live in Erebor as much as I live in Dale. So now I have told you the story of the friendship between our family and the Dwarves."

Melian looked at her children and wondered what they were thinking but even she was surprised when they turned to Balin and Dáin, asking them if they could call of the companions of Thórin, as well as Dáin, uncle. Balin smiled and said to them ´that means that you have to call our children cousin´ but the children said that it was an honour for them to do so. Thranduil looked quite surprised but Bard said to him ´we use the word uncle and aunt not only about kin but also as an endearment. I guess that they mean it as a bit of both.´ Gandalf smiled and said "so that is the reason why I couldn't make you tell me what you knew about the matter, you only did so when Thórin said that you could".

"I had made a promise and I was going to keep it" Melian answered. Finally all of them rose, toasted to their friendship and promised that they would always aid each other.

The End