The body fell heavy onto the grass with a dull thud. For a moment, silence was all that could be heard- even the Great Defiler himself was still, along with the horde of Orcs behind him. Fili opened his eyes at the sound of gurgling breaths. He looked down, heart jumping into his mouth as his eyes locked onto the pallid, deathly-white face of Liddry; the young man was panting for breath with the blade embedded deep into his abdomen, blood leaking from the wound.
'Oh, no…' he whispered, sinking to his knees and putting a hand to the bloodied leather. As he looked on he became increasingly aware that there was nothing that could be done for him. He shot a look at Kili, who looked just as shocked as he did.
A mottled scream suddenly punctuated the air- Azog seemed to jump out of his reverie, his hard eyes narrowing as the men started fighting again, strength breaking out anew from what had just happened. Men grabbed weapons and charged, screaming and yelling into the air- Orcs fell around them, before they started their counterattack…. The sound of clashing blades filled the air again, but this time the men were winning- they pushed the horde back, blood peppering the ground.
Amid the chaos and blood, Azog seemed to remember why he was actually there- he cast his eyes down at Kili, who tried to wriggle away and heave at the rope binding him; it was no use. Fili stepped forwards, face dark, mouth turned up in a snarl. 'Leave him alone! He's not the one you're after and you know it!' he yelled, looking around for a blade to defend his brother with.
Azog sneered, looking around at the fighting still going on all around them- Addric was amongst the strongest, a war cry on his lips as he threw himself at any enemy that moved. It now appeared that they had now forgotten what they were here for.
Fili chanced a look down at the fallen man at their feet- Liddry was now huffing out his breaths, face whiter than ever. He had also begun to shake, yet his fingers moved to the ground beside him…..he was lying on something- A blade! Carefully, gently, Fili bent and plucked the blade from under him, wielding it expertly in front of himself as Azog took a step forwards.
'I mean it! Leave now!' he screamed, standing bodily in front of Kili as the Great Defiler raised his own sword, a growl escaping his lips.
'You will be a warning- to the men and the dwarves- I will get what I want!' he spat, sword poised to strike- Fili held firm as the blade came down in a vicious arc onto his own weapon, the crush of metal drawing agony from his arm muscles. Grimacing, he pushed the sword away, yelping in frustration as Azog came at him again, eyes brutal.
Time and time again they parried, each strike harder than before…..Fili gave a battle cry as he fought to keep his balance against the bigger, experienced Orc. The crash of metal was deafening, yet Fili knew he could not weaken; the creature was still intent on hurting Kili, and he would rather die than let that happen. Hours seem to pass, but in reality it had been only a few moments. Azog pitched in with a brutal attack, sending the Dwarf careering to the side hard- he tried to get up but the Orc had trapped him, standing over him and pressing the blade into the soft flesh of his neck.
'No!' came his brother's cry, high and frightened above the cries of the men in pain.
Again, it was as if time became fluid, meaningless- out of the corner of his eye he could see Kili, as if in slow motion, shaking his head, eyes wide.
So it had come to this. No help was arriving this time. The young Dwarf looked straight into the cold, inhuman eyes of the Great Defiler as the beast pressed the blade further into his neck.
Suddenly there was a deep, drawn out yell from the side, and Azog was pitched sideways, a figure slamming into him and pushing him to the ground. Fili sat up, breathing hard and massaging his neck as he looked upon his saviour.
It was Thorin- their uncle was on top of Azog, punching and kicking him with all his might, before he reached into his boot to pull out his travelling dirk…but Azog was too quick, using his elbow to strike him in the face before throwing him off, tumbling to the floor.
They both grabbed weapons, the Orc now getting a closer look at this new creature- his mouth twisted when he saw it was Thorin; he shook his head, anger in his eyes.
He launched himself forwards- but Thorin was too quick. Before he had even took a pace the Dwarf had run ahead, blade out. He sunk the blade into the stomach of the Great Defiler, making sure to twist the metal before bringing it out. Fili saw Azog's eyes widen in shock as Thorin stepped backwards, eyes dark. 'Zu Muzm!' he spat, the dwarvish insult heavy with hatred.
The orc staggered back, hands darting for the wound; he gave a strangled roar of pain, before he was suddenly surrounded by his last surviving Orc army- they pulled him back, eerily reminiscent of one of the last times Thorin had set eyes on him. With a last, long look at each other- Azog's eyes blazing with pain and abject hatred for the Dwarf in front of him- the Great Defiler was swept away by the chattering Orcs.
Silence descended for a moment, before the sounds of pained men and the last of the injured Orcs saturated the air. Those who could stand and walk rushed from body to body, checking for the alive, the wounded, and the dead. Orcs were killed without mercy, their knives making short work of their mortally injured foe. Fili made his way over to Kili, who looked shocked, a little frightened- but thankfully not hurt. He picked up a bloodied knife and used it to cut the bindings holding his brother to the post- Kili hissed as the wound in his side flourished again, but Fili managed to catch him in time, lowering him gently to his feet with a smile.
Suddenly, realisation dawned on both of them as they remembered what had happened before Azog had renewed his attack- they looked down at the man at their feet, falling to their knees beside him as a shadow appeared over their heads.
'Liddry?!' Addric muttered, shaking his head weakly as he managed to get a proper look at his nephew- blood streaked his face as he knelt, drawing Liddry to his chest and hugging him tight.
Kili sniffed, checking Liddry for signs that he was alive- body moving with breath, moaning, anything…..there was nothing. He was already gone.
Addric sobbed into the shoulder of his fallen Kin, shaking his head amongst the material. Fili felt a lump rise in his throat, tears threatening to fall from his eyes as he saw Liddry's lifeless head tip back, eyes closed in endless sleep. Somebody came behind them and leant a heavy hand on their shoulders; looking up, they saw Thorin standing there, face solemn as he too looked down at the scene.
'I do not understand what came to pass here,' he started, talking directly to Addric. 'I do not know why this has happened here, but I am very sorry that it did.' His voice tailed off as Addric nodded, eyes staring ahead, hands still gripped into the tunic of Liddry.
'Who are you?' he muttered, voice thick.
Thorin cleared his throat; he heard enough from the talk that Azog had given, and by how Fili had reacted when he saw them by the tents-he knew revealing his true identity would only lengthen the pain. 'Your Kinsman was brave,' he settled on saying, 'and he gave his life protecting creatures that he had only just met- I know the relationship between Dwarf and Man is strained, I understand that.' he said, moving to Addric's side as the man sat up a little more, cradling his nephew's head in his arms. He put a hand on the man's shoulder- something that Thorin had never done to a Man before….normally he wouldn't be anywhere near one. But he could see that Addric was hurting, of course he could, and he wanted to do something to show that he cared.
Addric let the gesture go for a few seconds, before shrugging off the shoulder, either uncomfortable with the gesture or too full of emotion to let someone else in. As Thorin stepped backwards the man sank back into the grass again, shaking his head.
'I have no qualms about your kin now…' he muttered, voice wavering yet strong. He didn't look at anyone accept his nephew, who looked back with lifeless eyes. 'You can go.' He finished, before swallowing hard. Kili could see all the fight had left him, and that saddened him. He too wanted to show that he understood what the man was going through, but thought it was unwise right now- he stepped back, guilt washing over him as he stepped into the shadow of a tree.
Meanwhile, Thorin had nodded his head lightly, before taking his leave. Fili stood up straighter, eyes never leaving the body of the man who had saved his brother's and his life.
'I- I'm sorry.' He muttered to Addric, who looked up at him with red-rimmed eyes.
'I said you could go,' he said, before his face set and his eyes turned steely. 'but if I ever- ever- see you or any other one of your kind again, I will kill you.' He promised, before a tear welled in his eye a slid down his face.
Fili nodded his understanding, not particularly taking the threat seriously; the man had just lost his nephew, was devastated by what had happened…..but he wasn't a cold-blooded killer.
'I mean it! Go!' Addric barked, before he heard a noise behind him and turned to see his own brother limping heavily up to them, his eyes wide with confusion.
As the two of them made eye contact, and silent messages were sent between them, Fili thought it best if they took their leave from them now- no words could undo the hurt that had been unleashed upon this normal group of men, only looking for some money and a decent harvest.
He gently prodded Kili in the back to make him move as Daly began to howl, falling to his knees with a hiss of pain and pulling Liddry into his chest.
He watched silent tears fall from his own brother's eyes as they watched- with more haste he pushed now, making him walk forwards so he didn't have to watch. He knew what Kili was feeling, how he felt about this….he didn't need any more fuel for his mental fire.
As they followed their uncle through the camp littered with the dead the other men of the camp started venturing out; some limping, some supporting others- all of them walked round to where their leader sat, silently grieving. Taking one last look at the scene, wishing it had all ended differently; Fili followed his brother and Thorin into the trees and out of sight.
They met Bilbo on the way through the forest, his eyes shining with relief at seeing the dwarves all in one piece- they quickly faded to confusion as his eyes met three weary, sad looking creatures.
'Are- is everything ok?' he asked, already feeling like he had asked a silly question. Thorin glared at him, plainly saying 'Keep your mouth shut.' Bilbo opened as closed his mouth like a fish, not knowing what to say.
'Fine help you were….' Thorin barked as he passed, shaking his head a little.
'I was just about to, but you ran ahead and I didn't know whether you wanted me to help….' The Hobbit replied, eyes wide. 'I'm sorry Thorin, I didn't think-'
'I do not wish to have this conversation- Fili and Kili have been through enough; you did your part before, trying to help them. I thank you for that.' He said, offering Bilbo a small smile. Bilbo smiled at that, deciding not to press his luck any further. He walked with the older Dwarf, leaving the two brothers just a little bit behind them.
Fili heard his brother hiss in pain beside him- he looked across, saw how he closed his eyes briefly against the pain, no doubt from the wound in his side and any other injury he had picked up along the way. 'Not too long to wait, we'll get you patched up soon…..' he whispered, ruffling Kili's hair jokingly.
Kili didn't reply, only shot him a wide eyed look before they darted back to the ground again. Fili sighed, trying not to take it personally….Kili was suffering, both inside and out- he would just have to be there for him when it all spilled out…
2 days later…
Sitting by the fire, Fili looked around at the rest of the group as they settled in for the night- thankfully, when they hadn't returned to the camp after setting out to look for Kili, the remainder of the troupe had started walking in the general direction that they had headed off in….miraculously they had stumbled upon each other the morning that they had left the camp of men. The first thing that had to be done was to let Gandalf and Oin look at Kili's wounds and salve them- it didn't take very long, and soon Kili was bandaged up with strict instructions to rest.
Sitting with their backs to a fallen long, sharing the thick travelling mat that Fili had brought along with him, the two brothers sat in the night air, not saying a word to each other.
The image of Liddry passed through Fili's mind again, and he shook his head to get rid of the picture of the young man, his heart plummeting. Beside him, Kili sighed- one of the first audible signs that Fili had heard from him in a while.
'Are you alright, brother?' he asked, shifting position so he could look at his little brother. Staring straight ahead, Kili's eyes shined in the night as he nodded stoically, lip held tight and face set.
Seconds later, however, Fili's heart broke as Kili's face crumpled, a tear sliding down his face as he shook his head, lip wobbling.
Silently, Fili put an arm around his brother, pulling him closer without hurting him- Kili sunk into the embrace, putting his head on Fili's shoulder for a while, his shoulders moving up and down for a second as emotion overtook him. As soon as it started, however, it was over. Sniffing wetly, Kili sat up, wiping his nose.
'Sorry…' he whispered thickly.
'Don't be….' Fili soothed, putting a hand on his shoulder and squeezing gently. 'Knew it was coming….' He whispered, smiling as Kili rolled his eyes.
'I've just been thinking about Liddry…..he died because of me- because of me.' Kili explained, voice cracking.
'He died acting in the way that he believed was right.'
'But if they hadn't of found me- if I hadn't of argued with Thorin and walked off by myself….. it wouldn't have happened…..'
'Yes it would have, just with a different dwarf- Azog was threatening them, they would have done anything to get their kin back. It was just bad luck that you got in the way.' Fili reasoned, nodding his head. Kili shrugged, sniffing again. 'I don't know….I just feel so guilty….. I just wish it was me lying there, instead of him.'
At this, Fili shook his head, moving bodily so he was facing his brother- taking his face in both his hands he shook his brother a little, eyes hard. 'No- don't you ever say that again! You hear me?' he muttered, voice hard with purpose. 'Never again! What happened in that camp was horrific, and it was….but you must not feel guilty about living- never feel guilty for living, didn't Uncle ever teach you that lesson?' he said, looking deep into his brother's wide eyes as he shook his face again.
'I know it hurts, I know it does- but you will come out the other side, and smile again…..but it will take time.' He muttered, voice cracking as he felt his brother understand. He couldn't have him think like that. 'Got that?'
Kili nodded into his hands, eyes watering up again. 'Good….' Fili whispered, before enveloping his brother in a warm hug, gently rocking him a little.
Breaking apart, the two of them looked at each other, before smiling at the other. 'Now we have to sleep…..we should move out of the forest by mid- morning tomorrow hopefully…..' Fili said, before lying down and looking up at the stars.
A few seconds later, Kili joined him, wrapped up in his own travelling cloak. 'Thank you.' He whispered into the night.
In the darkness, Fili smiled and shook his head to himself. 'What else are brothers for, eh?'
They fell asleep surrounded by their kin and their friends, each determined to put the trauma of the last few days behind them, and continue their quest to their homeland, and to happier, more relaxing times.
I know the end was kind of depressing, but I couldn't think of any other way to end it- after all, it didn't end entirely happily.
Thank you to everyone who stuck with this story, waiting for the long periods of time between some updates- you guys are the best!
Please review one last time, I would love to know what you thought of this story.
Thanks for reading,