Thank you to everybody following, reviewing and enjoying this story. Here is the next chapter...
It was one of the warmest nights the party of dwarfs had experienced since they had set out from Hobbiton seven days ago. There was a soothing breeze, clear skies and the moon was full. Brothers Ori and Nori had taken to a little star gazing whilst their dinners were going down.
"And that one" said Nori with an unmissable sense of satisfaction "is Erinbrook, the great ancient Lord of the Ents of Fangorn".
"No it's not" noted Ori "Surely not. That constellations is all squiggaly, I really can't see any great Tree thingy up in those star".
"Watch your mouth Ori. Erinbrook was strong, you don't want to offend him and bring a curse on our journey".
Ori swallowed. "Do you..Do you think he could do that?" he said in a whisper
"No doubt my lad. Oh aye these Lord's can cause misery when it suits them". Ori glanced over at his brother. "You best apologize Ori" said his brother and gestured to the heavens.
"W..what?" Nori simply repeated his gesture. "I'm...I'm sorry...um...er...Erinbrook. I surely didn't mean to offend thee...Oh great one" Ori hastily added. "Do forgive my poor star gazing skills I was encouraged in art and writing you see. My beloved father never taught".
"Yes alright!" exclaimed Nori. "No need to over do it"
Just near to Ori and Nori, by their camp fire was Bombur fast asleep. Bofur sat next to him seemly deep in thought. As it happened Bofur was thinking of only one thing. He watched the flames of the fire crackel getting more drawn into its light when a loud snore from Bombur broke his concentration. Bofur heaved a sigh. He had done the right thing, of course he had. Bofur's whole life had considered of doing the 'right thing'. What could he do? Kate was not his to love.
A calm descended over Bofur's heart as he thought of Thorin. He would die for Thorin, his leader his beloved King. Bofur began to worry that Thorin would never show any sign of caring or even friendship towards their hobbit friend. What then? What if it become clear that Thorin had no feelings for Kate what so ever? Bofur could honestly say he didn't know Kate well enough to know how she would cope or what she would do. But he knew himself. He would long for her once more and he would act upon those feelings.
Bofur surveyed the camp looking for Thorin. He was off on his own quite a distance from the others, standing on the peak of the hill they were on. Bofur could only tell he was there because the moon light reflected off his sword which was tightly strung on his belt. Although the gloom was thick and Thorin was turned away from him Bofur felt as though Thorin was staring right at him. He felt like Thorin knew what had happened by the stream. But how could nobody had been there. "Thank goodness" thought Bofur. What would the others have said if they had witnessed Bofur's actions and, more importantly, what would they have thought of Kate?
The other dwarfs, Bifur, Dwalin, Dori, Oin and Gloin were with Balin. Balin being the eldest of the dwarf company, besides Thorin, and having been in Erebor at the time of the dragon's arrival, was once again recounting the tale.
"And do tell us Balin" droned Gloin what happened then. Balin who was very sweet natured had not noticed the sarcasm in Gloin's words.
"Well" said Balin "It was most distressing, Thorin refused to leave the mountain to take cover. Try as I might he claimed he would die to protect Erebor. I tried to reason with him but the dragon was getting closer and close. Flames everywhere" Bifur gave a small snore and was prompted shoved by Dori. "My next move was to". But the dwarfs never heard what Balin's next move had been because at that moment Kili burst into the circle of dwarfs.
"Quick help!" He panted. Thorin had moved like lightning at Kili's arrival
"What is it?" asked Thorin hastily
"Trolls, three trolls. They had taken our ponies and Fili and I were wondering what to do when Kate came along and then"
"Kili what's happened!" repeated Thorin with a fierce voice.
"They've got Kate" Kili's words were followed by an audible intake of breath. This moment was broken by Thorin's cry.
"To arms! Lead the way Kili". The dwarfs were ready to go within seconds they was a scraping of metal as axes' and swords were taken up and the air was filled by the thudding of twelve dwarfs on a mission.