The Approaching Battle

The prince examined his newly fitted armour, marvelling at the detail of the carvings and its sturdiness. The heirloom ring on his finger gave a satisfying clunk as it touched the metal. Young dwarf as he was, at only 53 years old, it was an honour to be given the rank of general by his father, and with it the finest armour and weaponry the smiths could forge.

He clasped the hilt of his sword in his hands and slowly swung it round before letting the tip of the blade touch the stone floor with a clink. It was beautifully crafted and powerful, like its master.

He swung his blade a second time, then a third and a fourth, relishing the soft whooshing sound of metal as it glided through the air. His long brown hair swayed with his movements, making the plaits at the side of his head thud against the armour covering his chest.

As he prepared himself for what was to come, he remembered a time now long gone, and all the devastation it brought into his home, his life and many that he had loved.

.o0o.

Like a whirlwind the dragon Smaug had come, breathing red hot flames that enveloped the Misty Mountains and all the surrounding homes with a curtain of destruction.

.o0o.

The swaying of his blade quickened, as his arms were thrust from side to side.

.o0o.

His father was shouting as loud as he could to them to run for shelter in the caves, and all were suddenly in a frenzy of panic. His mother was the first to take action, ushering his brother Frerin and sister Dis to safety, whilst making sure he himself followed closely behind them.

To his horror, she did not join them but went back to help the elderly dwarves. "Mother!" he had shouted to her.

"Stay with your brother and sister. Do not leave them!"

Heaving a sigh of frustration, he clasped the hands of his two siblings tighter, making sure he never took his eyes off his mother.

The smoke from the blazing trees covered the sky in a thick grey smog, but he forced himself to strain his eyes. He heard a shrieking scream somewhere in the distance, and dragged his attention away from his mother, gasping as he realised who had made the sound. Nirrom,* the lady dwarf he had been in love with for some time, was lying trapped under a large chunk of a fallen tree, immobile.

"Stay here, I will be back as soon as I can. And whatever happens, do not leave this cave," he sternly ordered Dis and Frerin, gesturing to the ground to indicate the importance of his words. They both nodded and clutched to each other.

Running to Nirrom's side, he bent down next to her and called her name desperately, clutching her head with his hands. "Nirrom, wake up," he urged her, over and over again. Panic was rising in his voice and he moved his hands to her shoulders in an attempt to shake her into consciousness. Eventually she opened her eyes wide and gasped loudly. He sighed in delight and hugged her head onto his shoulder, while tears of joy streamed down his face.

"Thorin, I c...can't feel anything."

"I will get you out of this, Nirrom, I will make sure of it."

"It is too heavy even for you, Thorin. Don't be so foolish!" Her voice was so quiet he could hardly hear it, but hear it he did.

"I will free you even if it takes hours!"

She laughed softly. "And put yourself in danger as well? It's too late now, the fire is spreading fast. You cannot save me."

"No...no Nirrom!"

"Remember me, my love. Think of me when you become King...and the hero you were destined to be." Her breath was coming in gasps now, and she knew that life was slowly slipping away from her.

"No! NO!"

He moved away from her and used all his might on the fallen timber, but it would not move.

"My brave Thorin...I love you, but you must save yourself, for me. Please?"

He stopped to catch his breath, his chest heaving. Fresh tears were streaming down his cheeks now. He crawled back to her side, cradling her head in his hands once more.

"I love you more than you will ever know, and I will never, ever forget you." He whispered, kissing her forehead.

"I know," she answered in a breathy sigh. "Now go," she murmured in a last breath, before her eyes closed and her head fell back. She was no more. He sobbed into her hair, until Frerin and Dis were tugging at his sleeve.

"What are you doing here! I told you to -"

" - It's mother, we think she's dead!"

Laying Nirrom down and wiping his eyes quickly, he stood up to allow his siblings to take them to their mother.

A blaze of raging fire was all they could see, and trees that looked like torches, so brightly were they burning. But amongst the rubble and smoke he could just make out a blackened figure on the ground just outside the cave Dis and Frerin had hidden in. Picking her up and laying her down in the safety of the cave, he prayed that she was breathing, or struggling, or showing any sign of life, but there was nothing.

He roared out another sob and clutched her lifeless body to him.

"I'm so sorry Mother!"

.o0o.

He was crying now, and ferociously swinging his sword, until he had collapsed onto the floor in exhaustion and despair. After a few long minutes, he sat himself upright, remembering his present duty. It would not do for the general of his father's army to be seen like this.

After washing his face in a nearby basin of water, he closed his eyes and calmed himself, going through the battle strategy once more.

Footsteps echoed from the long corridor and he picked up his sword and held it downwards, showing that he was poised and ready to take his place. His piercing blue eyes and stern, masculine features betrayed no emotion.

"Prince Thorin, your father has called for you. It is time." Pulling his fur-lined coat closer to his chest, he strode to battle.

*This name was taken from the dwarvish words "Rinn" (A Lady dwarf) & "Grom" (brave/defiant)