Many thanks to the members of ItHoF for betaing this story!

Author's Note: Tolkien was a bit vague on the time line of events in Mirkwood and Erebor. I have taken some liberty to make them coincide enough for this story to take place.

This story falls in my Undying Friendship Series. Blákári is a young dwarf who is a friend of Gimli's. He made his debut in Seemingly Forbidding Crags. Tathar eventually becomes Legolas's second in command in Ithilien. He made his debut in my first fanfiction story Never Again and returned forNever Alone (which is due to undergo major rewriting to make it work with the rest of the series) and has had mention in several others. Both will continue to be a part of this growing series.

Summary: Wishing to fight with his people and disappointed to be instead sent as a messenger to Mirkwood, young Blákári, a dwarf of Erebor, finds himself beneath the trees, forced to join in a battle that is not his and to fight alongside a race he has been taught to despise.

A birthday present for Thundera Tiger


The Trees Were Burning

By Nieriel Raina

In the North also there had been war and evil. The realm of Thranduil was invaded, and there was a long battle under the trees and great ruin of fire; but in the end Thranduil had the victory...

At the same time as the great armies besieged Minas Tirith a host of the allies of Sauron that had long threatened the borders of King Brand crossed the River Carnen, and Brand was driven back to Dale. There he had the aid of the Dwarves or Erebor; and there was a great battle at the Mountain's feet. It lasted three days, but in the end both King Brand and King Dain Ironfoot were slain, and the Easterlings had the victory. But they could not take the Gate, and many, both Dwarves and Men, took refuge in Erebor, and there withstood a siege.

~ JRR Tolkien, Appendix B, Return of the King


Prologue

March 14, 3019 Third Age

Erebor

It began with a page of King Brand arriving on the doorstep of the Lonely Mountain, begging the dwarves to send aid, to help fend off a great host of Easterlings who had crossed the River Carnen. King Dain Ironfoot responded by mustering his army, and joined Brand, who had been pushed back to the Mountain's feet. Seeing the host set upon them, and sensing the battle would not go well, Dain acted upon a strange urge. As the dwarves forged into the foray, joining the Men of Dale in their bloody battle, a lone envoy spurred his pony into a gallop, hurrying towards the distant tree line of Mirkwood. Dain wished him all speed and that his mission be successful.

The fighting was fierce. Dain kept an eye open for any sign of relief, hoping against hope that help might come. It was a fool's hope, he knew, and yet, even as he pulled his axe from the body of another slain Easterling, he searched the distant horizon. Instead, what he saw caused his heart to sink.

The trees were burning. Mirkwood was aflame!

"The trees!" someone cried above the clash of weapons and screams of the dying. "Mirkwood burns!"

Smoke rose over the distant trees, wispy and scattered over various parts of the wood, then darkening the skies even to a few leagues of where Dain knew the Elvenking's Halls could be found. And it was then Dain knew that there would be no aid from the elves; and as sure as he knew that, he knew before the battle's end that he would breathe his last.

With a grim smile, he lifted his axe once more with the thought that though he might meet his end here, he would take as many enemy heads with him as he could. With a loud bellow, Dain added his voice to the cacophony of sound. "Baruk Kazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!"

To Be Continued…

"Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!" – "Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves are upon you!"


Thank you for reading! Reviews are greatly appreciated. ;)