Battles lost and won
His quiver was empty and his bow lost. The various small knives he had kept tucked away in various places about his person were either embedded in some of the bodies that surrounded him, or buried in the mud that had soon formed after the heavens had opened. Left arm having been rendered useless from a close encounter with a warg, he had been clutching it close to his chest to avoid any additional pain as he had continued to battle, his sword held firmly in his other hand, slicing through Goblin and Orc alike. Now though, it hung loosely at his side, tip resting on the ground as he breathed heavily, a smile slowly forming on his gore covered face.
It was over. The battle was done, the dragon was dead, and Erebor was their home once more.
Looking across the field of battle, he could see several figures of different shapes and sizes walking through the sludge and the muck that came from the mixing of mud and the blood of Orcs, Goblins, Elves, Dwarves and Men. He had yet to see a familiar face, but he did not have to wait long.
"Kíli, lad!" came a voice from behind him as a hand fell on his shoulder, causing him to wince involuntarily as it caused him to shift his arm slightly.
Turning to face his companion, he smiled.
"Balin!" he exclaimed, sheathing his sword and pulling the older dwarf into an embrace, "It's good to see you!"
"Likewise," Balin replied, holding the boy out at arm's length, looking him over with a studious eye, "Looks like that arm's going to need a look at."
"I need to find my brother and Uncle first."
Nodding, Balin patted him on his good shoulder. "Just head towards the Gate. I'm sure you'll find them in that direction."
"Thank you Balin," Kíli said and began to make his way up the hill.
"Oh! And if you see my brother, tell him he owes me a drink!" the old dwarf shouted after him.
"I will!" he chuckled, shaking his head as he continued on his way up. When he reached the top, he took a moment to examine his surroundings.
The landscape, once devoid of any true features save the ruins of the once proud city of Dale, had become a mass burial ground. When the battle had begun, there had been almost two thousand human, elven and dwarfish swords; now there were less than half. The dead and dying lay where they had fallen, awaiting rescue or an honourable burial. Even with the little knowledge he had of war, Kíli knew that not all would get their wish.
Shaking himself out of his thoughts, he began to make his way down the other side of the hill, finding it impossible to search for his brother from his position without his thoughts wandering. Trying to make sure he didn't catch his feet on any stones or rocks or… other things, he eventually made his way to the bottom.
The mountain loomed overhead, its crown lost in the clouds that had remained from the storm, its imposing form making the sky seem like some outlandish blanket that kept the Lonely peak warm. It was strange. He had never seen it up close before arriving, but from the stories he had been told of its majesty, it was as though he had lived his entire life there.
He knew of the secret passages that Thorin had used as a child to sneak past the guards into the throne room. He knew of the forges, their fires so hot that it rivalled the fiery breath of a dragon. He knew of the mines, and he had seen the hordes of gold that his great grandfather had obsessed over with his own eyes. It was everything that he'd been told, and yet nothing like what he'd imagined.
Pulling his eyes away from the great sight, he found himself supressing a giggle as he watched several dwarves in full armour pulling a familiar figure. A very large familiar figure.
"Come on boys! He's not that heavy!" Bofur cried as he walked behind his brother's unconscious form, holding Bifur's arm over his shoulder as the pike wielder used his weapon as a walking stick to alleviate pressure from his left foot, which was more than likely broken.
Running over, he smiled. "Bifur! Bofur!"
"Hello there laddie!" Bofur replied as his cousin grunted in recognition, "I'd doff my hat, but I appear to have lost it."
"Well, I appear to have lost my brother and Uncle. I don't suppose you've seen them have you?"
Bofur's mouth twisted as he bit the inside of his cheek in thought. "I'm not sure about Thorin, but I saw Fíli back that ways a bit," he said, motioning the way he came with his head.
Nodding, the young dwarf thanked him and continued on his way.
As he steadily made his way closer to the Gate, he found the number of living people dwindling, none of whom were either of the right race nor with a beard short enough, and the light of the day was swiftly fading over the hills.
He was about to give up when…
Turning around, he grinned as he found his brother jumping over mounds of corpses. The smile on Fíli's face was marred by a gash that made its way down the right side of his face from the side of his temple, close to his eye, and down to his chin, the blood soaking into the blond hair of his beard, and he seemed to be limping slightly, but that did not sway them from their joy. As they embraced each other, ignoring their wounds and surroundings, Kíli laughed.
There had been several moments during the battle where he had thought he would not survive to see his brother again, and before the Eagles had arrived, he doubted anyone else would have either. Not that he would admit it to anyone, but he had been terrified, and the relief he had felt when the giant birds had appeared had nearly killed him, almost spending a moment too long staring up at their silhouettes as they dove in from the clouds. Had he not, his arm would probably still be in working order.
Pulling back from his one armed hug, Kíli looked over the battlefield, his smile slipping slightly, before turning back again.
"Where's Thorin?" he asked as he surveyed the area.
Fíli frowned. "Isn't that him over there? By the Gate?" he asked, pointing at the solitary figure in the distance.
"So it is," Kíli grinned, "I'll race you!"
Taking off before his brother could say anything, he raced towards the dwarf shaped shadow, bouncing on light feet as the adrenalin coursed through his veins. He'd never felt more alive than he did in that moment.
Looking behind him, he laughed at how Fíli was struggling to keep up before turning back towards his goal.
Running down the blood stained road, the shadow soon became the familiar figure of his uncle, back facing towards him as the King of the Lonely Mountain stared into the depths of the place he once called home. At his feet lay the corpses of the Pale Orc and his son, barely recognisable from the tooth and claw marks that covered their forms. No doubt Beorn had been the cause of those.
"Thorin!" he cried, waving his hand in the hopes his Uncle would turn to face him, "Uncle, we've won! We've done it!"
Stopping a few feet away to catch his breath, he leant on his knees for a moment before looking up. When he found that Thorin's back was still turned to him, he frowned. "Uncle?"
Blinking, the dwarf King moved his head towards his nephew, his vacant eyes falling on him just as his brother arrived. "Fíli? Kíli?"
Fíli nodded, his own features falling as he beheld their uncle. "Aye. It is us."
A small, sad smile graced Thorin's lips as he turned back to the Gate. "I am glad I was able to see you again… before the end."
The brothers glanced at each other, confused and unnerved by Thorin's choice of words. They had always known that they would, but neither of them could deny the feeling of dread that was beginning to growing inside them.
Suddenly, Thorin's strong and proud frame slumped and he tumbled to his knees, his sword dropping uselessly to the side as the ground rose up to meet him. With a shout of surprise, Kíli ran to his side, catching him before he landed in the mud, Fíli not two steps behind. Placing his hand over his Uncle's which was resting on his stomach, Kíli tried to keep him from closing his eyes, but he was fighting a losing battle.
"Uncle! We won!" he exclaimed again, trying to fight back tears, "You… you can't leave! You can't…" Blinking, he suddenly realised that he could feel something warm under his fingertips. Pulling his hand away from Thorin's, he stared at the fresh blood that was sticking to them. "N-no. No!" He shook his head and looked back down at his uncle's tiered face, unable to keep the tears at bay any longer.
"I have never been… more proud of you," the dying man said, glancing up at them, "You have been… everything I had hoped… and so much more."
Fíli shook his head, his own eyes brimming with tears. "Uncle…"
Thorin smiled and rested his hand on Fíli's arm. "I wish I could have… seen you grow into… adulthood."
"You will Uncle," Kíli insisted, "just you wait and see!"
The King chuckled quietly. "No. I don't think so." Sighing, he closed his eyes for a moment. "Where is the Halfling? Where is Bilbo?"
Fíli shook his head. "I don't know."
"I must see him. Make amends before… I leave to be with my forefathers."
Kíli nodded. "We'll find him. I promise."
"We'll send out search parties," his brother continued, "and then you'll get better! You'll be well again!"
They waited for their Uncle's reply, but none came.
For a few moments, they believed him to have already gone, but the steady rise and fall of his chest showed he was merely sleeping.
Moving Thorin's head into his brother's lap, Kíli rose to his feet, a silent agreement made between them, and he began his long search.
AN - And that, folks, is my first instalment to the King Under the Mountain! I will be taking a few liberties, but this is fanfiction after all.
Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this! The next chapter should be up in the next few days.