A/N: Alas, I am alive. I will flat out say no excuses, I simply lost my interest in writing this story though I do love it so dearly. Recently, what with the Desolation of Smaug coming out, I have found a very renewed interest in, and for Christmas I got the art and design book, which also gives me a huge insight to what Dale is like, so score one for us! Now, I don't intend to make any promises, for I am terrible at keeping them, but I do want to continue. the main thing that motivates me is I want to read a Kili/OC fanfiction, and then I realize I can create one with everything I want in it, the plot can go exactly how I choose, and all because I'm the one writing it! So I'll try to remind myself, though reviews do help greatly! And can I just say wow, like you have truly out done yourselves. 236 reviews, 207 favorites, and a stunning 370 alerts! Applause to you all, thank you so much for giving me feedback like this, believe it or not, the reviews motivated me quite a bit too. they made me realize people do like this story and they want to see what happens, so here goes nothing. Oh, and the first bit is a summary of what has happened thus far, it is very condensed though. So enjoy, and as always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading.
UPDATE 8/24/14: Chapters 1-18 are reviewed, edited, and updated!
Summary thus far of Kira's plights with some minor revisions as well:
Our young heroine, for lack of a more fitting term, had found herself trying to find a way to Dale wanting to restore it to its former glory. She was the only heir she knew, being Lord Girion's great great granddaughter, with motivation, others without this incentive consisting of her brother as well as parents. Still, she happened upon some information of dwarves and the would-be King Under the Mountain, Thorin. She figured he might be of some use and then saw some dwarves, following them and ending up in Hobbiton. There, she was found by the company and pleaded her case with Thorin, who agreed under one term; an archery contest. There, she shows her skill and wins, perhaps because the company's young archer Kili allowed her to. Finally, Thorin agrees and they go over plans, have dinner, and get to bed. They begin their journey the next day, Bilbo being a late arrival, and start at a constant pace. Over two months or so, they journey further and further and Kiralyn finds herself growing closer to Bilbo as well as Fili and Kili. She is friendly with the other dwarfs, though finds Thorin to be a bit standoffish at times, and ends up taking some sword lessons along the way. Soon after, her and the youngest brothers happen upon some trolls and they all gather the others, eventually fighting said monsters. Here, Kiralyn uses her new found sword skill, but they still end up caught. Some of them are then going to be roasted when Bilbo distracts the trolls and Gandalf saves them all. Therein the trio of youngsters take a nap while the others find the trolls' treasure, but they are interrupted by Radagast the Brown. Here, her adrenaline spikes once more as they run away from wargs and orcs, narrowly escaping and finding themselves in Rivendell. After a warm welcome, to which the dwarves countered with a cold response, Kira meets up with an old elven friend as well as cleans up and gets a good night sleep. This was broken by Bilbo waking her and the dwarves heading straight to the mountain. In another month or two, they make it to the entrance of the Misty Mountains. Slowly, Kira begins to realize she has special feelings for one dwarf in particular, but they encounter a rock battle as night hits. A near death experience hits them and they then find a warm cave to sleep in. Once more, they can't get a night of rest as they are hurled into Goblin Town and stripped of armor and weaponry as well as threatened with torture and death. Kiralyn obtains some broken toes, proving to be a huge obstacle, as the company is forced to run through Goblin Town to try and get away, also losing Bilbo somewhere along the way. Narrowly, they escape the hordes of nasty goblins and find themselves near the other side of the mountains. They get hardly a moment's rest, when the orcs find them once more and more fighting ensues. Eventually, they are all hanging on a tree and Thorin Oakenshield fights Azog, the Pale Orc, only to end up terribly injured. Gandalf meanwhile had called his eagle friends who then pick up the ragtag adventurers and take them away. They fly for a while, meeting up at the Eagle's hideout on the other side of the Mountains and find Bilbo was with them. Thorin accepts Bilbo at last and Kira is merely happy to be with her friends in a safe environment. Gandalf then tells them he won't be staying for too much longer, which makes many of the group saddened, but they prepare to continue their journey. This is where we continue the tale of Kiralyn Arwald;
Kiralyn looked at the cave around her, finding herself growing bored waiting for the other dwarves to finish bathing. Fili had left as well leaving Oin, Gloin, Bofur, Bilbo, and herself in the cave to wait. Of course, the other three dwarves had already cleaned themselves up, their thick hair dripping and creating small mud puddles around them. Bilbo on the other hand insisted that he be on his own to wash up and he was gracious enough to allow the lady of the group to bathe before him.
It was then that the rather feminine archer took a new place beside her hobbit friend. She smiled over at him sat down, before asking, "How are you Bilbo? I mean that truly and honestly, what are you feeling?"
The curly brown haired man sat there confused, his deep chocolate eyes staring into her lighter ones. She nodded ever so slightly, encouraging him to say what was on his mind. After opening his mouth once or twice, he responded, "I suppose I'm fine. I mean, I am still awfully far from home and I admit a night hasn't gone by where I don't long for my warm bed, but I do not regret a thing. I find myself rather sad that Gandalf has to leave soon and I can only imagine how lost I'll feel."
Both looked down, Kira wringing out her hands and biting her lip, she too was worried. He was their guide, and though Thorin was their leader, they all relied the heaviest on Gandalf. By the movement in the corner of her eye, she also noticed Bilbo tensing up and his lip quivering slightly. Yet, his voice carried on, cracking only a bit, "B-but I think I can do it. Durin's Day is coming quickly and we are getting closer and closer. We've already seen the mountain; it is just a matter of time."
Bilbo looked up and faintly grinned, his expression hopeful. The tension that had been building up suddenly faded and they let out a sigh at the same time. Giggles entered the air before he coughed, collecting himself, and he asked, "And what about you Miss Kiralyn? I cannot imagine this trip has been terribly easy on you either."
Taking to nibbling on her lip once more, she replied, "Well… no. I am happy, truly happy, that we are finally safe and can relax at least a little bit, but I still worry for what lay ahead. Sometimes, I wish I had another woman to speak to, but I do have friends." Her gaze turned pointedly to him and they just allowed the silence to cover them for a moment.
"My foot still hurts, but it should be okay within the week, two at most. And well…" her thoughts turned to her most recent development of feelings, but she visibly shook her head. Now was most certainly not the time for this, perhaps if they made it out of this journey alive, but not now. "Well I think that's it, I suppose it'll change a lot more, but," she looked up seeing the dwarves having returned, "I better get to bathing. I'll be back soon."
She threw him a grin once more before working her way to her feet, wincing slightly, and continuing on out of the cave near the river. Without much walking, she found the perfect spot; not too wide, not too shallow and it seemed to have the sun shining directly on it. In a slow and relaxing process, she began taking off her clothes. First the boots, then socks, and so she went until she was left in just an under shirt and small shift that fit with her pants.
Her neck stretched out while her head turned to the sun when she heard a whistle in the background. Her head snapped back only to see Fili smirking and Kili scowling at his brother while trying to look away. Quickly, she threw her vest and shirt over her exposed skin, proceeding to roll her eyes, before yelling, "And you said I would like to see you bathing, curious that it should end up the other way!"
The blonde chuckled, the brunette giving him a bewildered look before they walked off. It was then Kira noticed her cheeks hot with embarrassment and she crossed her arms, exhaling loudly, before taking a deep breath in and calming down.
Returning to her previous pace, she scanned her surroundings for any more dwarves, before leisurely continuing to undress. Once the fall air hit her bare skin, she sank into the cool water and began scrubbing at all the dirt and grime. She worked from the tips of her toes to the top of her scalp singing lullabies all the while as she went, trying to melt the stress away. It had a calming effect seeing her skin change from gray and brown mixture with light undertones to its previous ivory. Better yet was the ability to run her hand through her hair without feeling a layer of filth coating her hand. She relished this time alone, but knew that she couldn't hold up the quest simply for her pleasure.
Swiftly, she got out of the water and tried to dry off as quickly as possible without walking too much. The breeze was helping her to hurry up, but she was still forced to put on some of the clothes while damp. For her hair, she found a string in one of her pants' pocket and tried to keep it from dripping everywhere by tying it up. Finding nothing left to do, she returned to the cave of her company.
Upon her entrance, the little hobbit took his own leave and she found herself sitting by her longtime companions. They shared lazy, but content expressions and sat in silence for some time. Her eyes slowly closed when she felt her hair being taken down and divided into two sections. Not questioning it, she merely melted into the position, only turning when she felt her hair being sharply tugged on.
Behind her were two brothers staring intently at the chestnut waves in front of them, each side quickly turning into an intricate braid. Fili was gritting his teeth while Kili had his tongue out just a little bit and she chuckled once more. Turning back, she sat facing the cave entrance and tried to get some rest, perhaps even fall asleep.
Before she had the chance to do too much though, her hair dropped on either side, weighed down by a small silver band that held her braids, and Bilbo had returned. Thorin ordered, "Everyone up, let's get a move on."
Then, Oin spoke up in his accent, "Um, Thorin, we surely won't find a sleeping place quite as nice as this one for some time and I was just thinking, well perhaps, we could spend just one night here? We can even go faster tomorrow, but…"
Without realizing it, she found her expression turn pleading looking directly at Thorin, noticing many others repeat it. He crossed his arms and sighed, before shaking his head, "Fine, fine, but tomorrow we will be starting at dawn and ending some time past dusk, understood? We have a lot of ground to cover and Durin's Day is fast approaching. Now someone, get to making supper."
He looked away, then walking directly towards her and speaking up, "You three take the swords and go practice. Boys, remember your training, Miss Arwald, remember yours as well."
Kira noted that he was ignorant of her toe, but decided to prove herself to him and not mention it. She grabbed the short sword Fili had given her not long ago and the three of them ambled outside. They walked in a comfortable silence to a clearing, before making something that resembled a triangle. She tossed a smirk at them, one thin eyebrow raising. She coaxed, "Surely you wouldn't hit a poor defenseless girl?"
It was then she took the opportunity to rush at the blonde. He countered, "But you aren't poor or defenseless. And don't get too cocky!" She then felt someone jab her in the side and turned to see Kili smiling wide, "Never feel too comfortable Miss Kira, always be vigilant."
She turned her body, trying to stay light on her toes, and parried his strike. Without hesitation, she attempted a slice to his right, but heard footsteps behind her and moved out of the way only to fall harshly on her left side. Her teeth bit into her lip and she moaned only some, looking at the two with more determination, but making a wise decision to wait for them.
The two shared a glance and she could only worry, visibly swallowing and trying to follow both of their movements. They began running towards her, and Kili looked as though he would strike first when he made a move around her, Fili then trying an overhead swing to the front. She parried, not expecting it and that forcing her back a little. She pushed his iron blade towards him only to feel a sword tip resting on the middle of her back. A deep voice then rumbled in her ear, "Be sure to watch your back princess, wouldn't want anything happening to you."
Her eyes went wide as she heard that and her breath left her, before she nodded. Something about the way he said it made it quite difficult to concentrate on the fighting and most certainly not because of her foot either. She then heard Fili, though there was an amused tint to his voice, command, "Prepare yourself and let's do it again!"
She took a deep breath in and returned to the ready stance, one of the first things she had been taught. Her feet were planted firmly in the ground and her head tilted up, the corner of her mouth curling before they went at it again, and again, and again.
As Fili stepped to her with sword in front of him, she stepped back and in all of the confusion and focus, forgot about her toe. With an all too sharp realization though, she fell onto her broken toes and let out a small wail, before falling down. Her eyes shut tight and her hands clenched as she tried to straighten her thoughts out and get back on her feet.
She opened her eyes, having a rather cloudy view even with her eyes open. Voices then assaulted her ears and she heard a mixture of two, both asking if she was okay in some form or another. Jaw clenched, she assured, "It'll be fine…" silence, "It just takes a second for the pain to pass."
Sharply, the archer took a breath in and she continued, "I think we should probably stop though, at least for now." Slowly, the dark spots from her vision crept away and things took on a new clarity. "I could use some help up as well."
Without her knowledge, they had already gotten into place behind her and began lifting her, but more than just a little bit. With their combined strength, they lifted her up to sit on their shoulders and her eyes widened as she realized her position. They went on walking, the brothers keeping in time, and Kira clawing at their shoulders, trying desperately to keep herself balanced.
Luckily for them, they hadn't walked far in the first place and arrived quickly at the cave, the whole company turning to see Kira lifted. She looked down and shrugged her shoulders lightly, before Dwalin's laugh echoed throughout the cave. Blood rushed to her face and she scrambled to be put down. Faintly, she heard Balin chuckle and then speak, "Quite entranced with her, aren't they?"
The trio found a clear space on the ground and the woman turned to see Bilbo looking skeptically at her. She turned back only to see Fili crouched down. He announced, "We had to leave the weapons, so I'll go get them, I'll be back soon." By the tone of his voice, it almost sounded like a warning
As he left, she turned to see Kili leaned in towards her. Her breath left her once more and she saw him looking at her carefully. Many thoughts ran through her head, mainly consisting of his close proximity and how lovely the shade of his eyes were or what his stubble felt like against her… no! She didn't have time for this, a quest that would likely end I her death was not the best time for falling in love. Not even love, it was some childish fancy, nothing more. Or at least that is all she would allow herself to think.
"Kira, please though, try not to get hurt," not a trace of a smile was on his face. He added, "I know we made a promise to protect each other, and I intend to keep that, but if I mess up I don't want it to be your death. I couldn't… I can't let you… please don't get seriously injured, especially for my sake…" Finally, their eyes met and it seemed as though the room went silent. Her emotions went crazy once more, but this time, she could do absolutely nothing to stop it.
Their positions shifted and the room took on a lighter tone. He moved a little bit away and she leaned back some. Naturally, he laughed it off, then retorting, "After all, who would I have to make fun of? And who would I beat in a sword fight? Fili always manages to win you know." She berated herself for acting like a love struck adolescent, she had grown out of that stage without feeling like this, perhaps it was catching up to her now? No, she breathed out, insisting, "Of course, I can usually take care of myself. This toe has got me a bit down, but I'll be better in no time, just watch."
He grinned, proceeding to lie on his back and yelling to the nearest man, "Is supper ready yet?"
Gloin shouted from a fire in the center of the room, "It will be soon, if you really would like it to go faster, get your behind off of the floor and start helping me!"
Shrugging, he gave an apologetic glance to Kira, before getting off of the floor and walking over to the fire. She just sat there, playing with the end of her braid and trying to calm herself. She was being absolutely ridiculous; she just had to forget about it. There was no other option, move on and don't think about it too much.
Yet, as she lay there, she couldn't help but to wonder what it would be like to love someone that much. She had seen the way her father looked at her mother, or the way young couples held hands, even the simple comfort that the embrace of a lover brought. A small sigh escaped her lips, she had dreamed of finding someone since she was a young girl. True, she had not expected a dwarf in the slightest, but he had his good points. Brave, noble, spontaneous, honest, diligent, reckless, perhaps not the brightest, but he had a good heart.
She realized her train of thought once more and cursed herself. She could not think like this, so she focused on getting it out of her head. She allowed all other thoughts to leave and simply focused on Dale, soon the bright colors and wonderful aromas reaching her imagination. She thought, 'Not for some dwarf prince, or whatever form of royalty he may be,' she noticed her thoughts straying and focused, 'but for Dale, your true home.'