Author's Note: New chapter! FYI this will be where you'll really see me stray from movie cannon. (Other than the Durin boys surviving). For starters we have Estel/Strider/Longshanks/Elessar/Aragorn joining us because I hated that moment in the movie, it was so fucking dumb. Aragorn was a ranger at that point, yes but he was very young (about 25-27 years old give or take). Also there is no chance in hell with Legolas knwoing Elladan and Elrohir that he didn't know who Aragorn was. He knew him as a child, Peter...quit trying to change that. I think I like this chapter...I always have a soft spot for Legolas and Thranduil so they're in here...a lot. Also you may notice that Thranduil and Thorin are somewhat civil with one another. They're two grown adults and maybe Thorin's near death experience change him a bit...I don't think it seems out of character on either part and if you don't like it...stop reading I guess.
Little notes: Valbeleg is now the name of the Mirkmoose. It means 'powerful strength' roughly. Also...longbows! The average draw weight (how much weight it takes to pull back the string) is debatable. Experts believe it's anywhere from 110-185 pounds on an average bow. Possible more. Legolas's is higher than average because he's a freaking Elf.
Oblivian03- Hopefully this chapter is enjoyed as well. I had to do the arrow thing...I had to. It was too cannon and too good a plot twist to ignore. I'm also so glad you like my Nori/ Borfur/Ori. I love writing them. Seriously. Adore it. I'm a reader myself but I just can't see Kili as one.
tolkieknight- It's soon-ish...unfortunately my health is still screwing me over but at 23 I'm used to it. I'm sick more than I'm healthy.
Jessie152- Herding cats is like my favorite phrase ever...so thank you for using it. And yes Thorin and Oin are going to be screwed when they decide they want out (hinthint that moment is coming quite soon). The Elves do provide a few good tips but as we know you cannot cure a Morgul wound...
Nori...Nori, Nori, Nori. Always causing problems (I have a soft spot for him so he'll turn up a lot). The third movie was much better than I expected. It had moments I disagreed with and a few I despised but overall...not too bad. As for my health...well...can't have everything.
Eraman- There will be Legolas Kili archery talk. That's about as warm as they're going to get. For now...
Purestrongpoem- You'll see...the meeting may surprise you.
nightmare13- Remember...Elves may be great healers but you cannot cure a Morgul wound...
smartbrunette3.14- Frodo's wound did not heal. It was what made him sail. The darkness plus the wound became too much for him to bare on Middle Earth. As for staying up late...it's currently 3:02 am. I plan to sleep until at least 1:30 tomorrow. Bad sleeping habits for the win!
Unseen Watcher- I'm permanently living in this version. As are a few of my friends...they actually carried a printed out version of this to the theatre with them.
iamthesoulfinder, Shiary, HobbitLover4eva - She draws closer every chapter. Thorin is screwed.
Kilioakenheart- Why would I change that part of the cannon? They literally handed me angst. WHo am I to deny that? And thanks...health still sucks but can't have everything.
ReginaLuna- I bawled like a baby. I have no shame in admitting that. There were a few things I really disliked and that's what this story is for! Tada! Fixed! Maybe if we petition hard enough Jackson will film an alternate ending using this story.
Jem2614, jaymzNshed- Thank you!
Stardurin1217- Oh my goodness...thank you...really...I'm so happy I'm giving people emotions with this. Truly...that means so much to me.
casema- Ha! I continued! (And I will too. Updates tend to be slower with me but this story will go on for awhile)
vlnelson55- I actually enjoy BotFA. There were details I disliked (The separate deaths of the Durins and the whole Tauriel bullshit) but overall I enjoyed it. I just stop the movie before they die!
vanessa7270- 12 is most definitely not the last chapter. This story (if I have my way) will continue all the way through the War of the Ring.
briongloid fiodoir- Thank you! Thank, you, thank you, thank you! I'm really trying for realism and I'm so happy it's coming through.
On to chapter 13!
His nephews were far too happy for the event that was going to take place. Granted, Thorin could partially understand where their excitement was coming from, he had felt shades of it himself when he was first allowed to leave the healer's tent but clearly, CLEARLY, they didn't properly realize what was going to happen once they were outside.
Thorin had dreaded a lot of things in his life but currently he couldn't think of anything he wanted to do less than make nice with the Elf King. Gandalf had arrived in the tent earlier, mentioned that Bard and the Elf were nearly here, and had reminded him with a look that would quail someone lesser, that Thorin was to "play nice" with Thranduil. That was how they ended up in the positions they were in. Thorin had outright refused the meeting without his nephews (hoping secretly that they're conditions would postpone meeting at the very least). However, as fate rarely-if ever-played in Thorin's favor, Oin had agreed that the boys could leave the tent, provided it was their only activity that day.
Currently the boys were vibrating with excitement and pent up energy while Thorin, for a lack of a better word, sulked against the side of the tent. Moving the boys was proving to be more difficult than what everyone had thought. Kili utterly lacked the strength to stand still and the arrow wound was no help. Fili also lacked much of the strength needed to stand, as well as the hinderance of his broken leg. Add that to the fact that Fili's arm was still bandaged to his chest to prevent movement due to his shoulder and everyone was quickly running out of ideas. The boys, on their part, didn't seem to care how they made it out of the tent as long as they actually did make it out.
"We could have two on either side of them to support them out if the tent," Bofur suggested with a sigh.
Oin shook his head, "It won't work. Fili can't move his shoulder and it would put too much strain on Kili's chest."
Dwalin sighed loudly, arms crossed over his chest, "We're going to have to carry them."
"No." Kili seemed to have glowering down to an art. Thorin was nearly amazed at how much his nephew was starting to resemble him. Especially when annoyed. Nevertheless he defended Dwalin.
"Kili I don't think we have any other choice at this point."
It was Nori who came up with a probable solution. The thief had ben casually leaning against the far end of the tent wall, seemingly not paying attention, "What if we sat them on one of the wood benches from around the fire? We could carry them out like that."
Kili nodded as enthusiastically as he could muster, the bench saving a bit more of his pride, "I like that idea."
It took some skill on behalf of the company to safely move the boys from the bed to the bench, for fear of hurting them further and even more finesse to move the benches outside in a fluid motion. The minute the benches exited the tent and into the bright sunshine both boys breathed in a sigh of happiness. Kili's face was turned up to the sun, eyes closed, face filled with utter joy. Fili had his good arm spread out as far as he could and was attempting to run his fingers over the grass. The whole company stood back and enjoyed watching them for a moment before Oin stepped in to get the boys adjusted.
"Now, no excessive moving around. You stay on this bench. Absolutely no standing. Fili, you leg will stay on that stool. Under no circumstances will you move it unless you want to go right back into that tent. Also if either of you feel tired, nauseous, dizzy, weak, or in any kind of pain you tell me immediately. Princes of this mountain you may be but I will not have you put your health in danger because of a meeting. Understand?"
Both Fili and Kili nodded solemnly but with a barely contained excitement over being outside. Thorin gave them a fond look, "He means it boys. I'm not going to allow either of you to lose these strides forward. Not after the shape you were both in."
Kili gave him a grin and it was slowly headed to the luster of his usual smiles and Thorin couldn't help but smile back. Both boys were still pale but the fresh air would no doubt do them good.
"You got to leave the tent!" an excited voice from behind Thorin sounded. The king turned his head and saw their Hobbit heading towards the group with a bright smile.
Fili's grin brightened, "Bilbo!"
Mr. Baggins hurried his steps over to them and looked the boys over carefully, "How're you feeling?"
Kili all but beamed at him as much as his body would allow, "We're outside! In the sun!"
Bilbo smiled at them, clearly happy that they were happy, "I'm sure Thorin has already told you but don't strain yourselves. We all want you getting better, not worse."
Both boy nodded and Thorin gave them a look, "That makes it three who've told you to not overdo it."
Bilbo's smile grew, "I'll go get you boys something to eat. It's good to see you both out in the sun."
The Hobbit headed off to get them food and Thorin sat down on the bench beside his nephews, "Now we wait for his highness to grace us with his presence."
From behind the someone cleared their throat and Thorin just managed to keep himself from startling. He turned his head slowly, dreading to find Thranduil standing there. Much to his relief it was Gandalf, leaning heavily on his staff and giving him a rather admonishing look, "Now Thorin, both Bard and Thranduil have agreed to come to this meeting with an open mind and are going to attempt to come to an agreement without an argument. I expect you to do the same and not act like a stubborn child."
Thorin held his stare with a glare of his own before relenting with a single nod. Gandalf smiled, "Good! I spoke with Dain and he agreed to stay out of the meeting today. Something about Erebor not being his."
Thorin rolled his eyes, "He just hates meetings as much as I do and doesn't want to come."
Gandalf chuckled and turned himself to face Fili and Kili who were watching the exchange with badly hidden amusement, "It's good to see you both up and about. I need you both to not push yourselves. Listen to Oin and just enjoy the sunshine."
They turned when Thorin swore quietly under his breath. In the distance four figures approached. Gandalf smiled broadly, "That would be Bard and his children."
Thorin's shoulders relaxed a fraction of an inch as the bowman became clearer as he drew closer. Bard seemed to have not brought more than himself and his children, his son and elder daughter walking along on either side of him while the younger girl ran about in the grass a bit ahead of them. As the distance between them shortened Bard quickened his pace ever so slightly and gave Thorin a polite nod, "It's good to see you standing again. The last time I saw you, you looked...less well."
Thorin felt the corner of his mouth twitch, "It's good to be standing again. I'm not one for bed rest."
Bard reached them and grasped Thorin's forearm in greeting, "I understand. I'm not one for handling illness or injury well either."
He ushered his children forward, "My children, Bain, Sigrid, and my youngest Tilda."
The three children greeted Thorin politely, impeccably mannered as usual. Thorin looked from them to their father, "I'm glad to see you all escaped without harm."
Bard looked his children over with a grateful look in his eyes, "So am I. I'm relieved to see your boys survived as well...maybe not without harm though," He looked over to where Fili and Kili were seated nearby, "However I believe I tend to see the young archer over there injured more often than I've see him well."
Thorin rolled his eyes lightly and turned to look at , "Funny. That's how we all tend to see him. He attracts trouble like a moth to a flame."
Thorin turned back to face the Bowman, "No guards? No large traveling party?"
Bard shook his head, "Neither seemed necessary. Laketown is close enough to not need a traveling party. As for guards...I was told I was coming to talk, not for battle."
Thorin looked toward the woods with a glower, "We'll see how long the pace lasts once his royal Elf-ness arrives. No doubt he emptied the whole forest."
Gandalf gave him a stern look and his voice was full of warning, "Thorin."
Thorin skillfully ignored him, choosing to keep his eyes trained on the forest in the distance for any glimpse of what he knew was coming. Sooner than he would have liked a surprisingly small group of figures melted from the tree-line and into the open before heading their way. Thorin took a deep breath and readied his patience the best he could. Bard stepped up besides him, his tone light and holding none of the dread Thorin was currently feeling, "Much smaller group than I expected from King Thranduil."
Thorin made a noncom-mental noise of agreement and steadied his face into the most neutral glare he could muster.
All too soon the Elves had nearly joined them. Thorin took stock of the small group the Elf-king had arrived with; there was Thranduil himself, a young blonde Elf who had to be his son, and lastly a dark-haired, scruffy looking human who resembled the rangers Kili had spent time with before the quest. Thorin mentally held out hope for a rouge band of orcs or a freak and violent storm to end this meeting early but as the small party arrived in the camp he realized he was out of luck and this meeting was going to happen. Gandalf greeted the newcomers with a bright smile, "Thranduil! And young Greenleaf and Strider as well. Welcome."
Thranduil nodded politely, "Mithrandir. Bard," His voice got noticeably colder, "Oakenshield."
Thorin assured his voice matched in tone, "Thranduil. No grand entrance on a Battle Elk?"
Thranduil's voice was frosty enough to kill, "Valbeleg perished in the battle and I have not yet found another suitable steed."
Thorin inwardly winced and stomped down the embarrassed regret that threatened to bubble up. He knew how much an animal meant to a warrior. He still missed his first pony, Blackie, despite the fact he had passed many, many years ago before the fall of Erebor to Smaug. Add to that the little he knew about Elves and their strong connection with nature and animals and he pushed down the feeling of foolishness instead opting to stay silent and let the Elf make the next move.
Thranduil was apparently feeling agreeable and swiftly changed the subject, introducing those who had traveled with him, "My son, Legolas."
The prince gave respectful, albeit curt nod. Thorin took in his appearance, he looked remarkably like Thranduil, same blonde hair, blue eyes, and dark brows. His eyes however seemed dulled with a purple, sallow tinge to them that resembled the way Fili and Kili were currently looking. Thorin briefly remembered something about Thranduil returning to Mirkwood after the battle due to his son's injuries. Add to that the slightly bulge of bandages around his chest and the exhaustion clear in the boy's stance and Thorin could relate to Thranduil ever so slightly. It never got easier to see one's child injured.
The human with them was apparently called Strider and was a close friend of the prince and a new ranger in the area.
With introductions complete Gandalf stepped forward, smiling, "Well we have much to discuss. Trade agreements, rebuilding of Laketown, supplies needed by everyone. Let's get started, shall we."
Bard nodded, "We can leave the young ones out of this until they're needed. It looks like more than one of them need their rest still."
Thranduil immediately turned to his son just as Thorin turned to his nephews. Thranduil's voice was softer as he spoke to his son in Elvish. Bard couldn't speak a word of it himself but the message was clear, sit and stay sitting until I need you. Meanwhile Thorin was giving Fili and Kili the same instructions. Bard himself, jerked his head in the direction of the bench the two Dwarf princes were seated on, "Go sit with the others for now."
His children did as they were told and Bard watched, amused as both Dwarf-king and Elf-king hovered around their respective charge with the same worry in both their eyes. Bard looked at the wizard who was watching the same show, "They're remarkably similar...stubborn, but good rulers and clearly good fathers. Interesting they haven't figured that out yet."
Gandalf packed pipeweed into his long pipe with a sigh, "Do me a favor, Bard and never point that out to them, hm?"
Bard withheld a laugh but not a smirk, controlling himself just in time for the kings to join him again. Balin and Dwalin both took their place on either side of Thorin, Ori standing slightly behind Balin, book and quill at the ready.
Gandalf took a brief head count, "We're missing one Hobbit."
No sooner had he spoke that Bilbo came rushing over, "Sorry. Sorry! I got caught up in making sure everything was ready for dinner later...are you sure you want me at this meeting?"
Gandalf nodded, "Of course. You can provide a voice of reason and be the neutral party with me."
Thranduil greeted the Hobbit with a low nod, "Master Baggins."
Bilbo smiled before rocking awkwardly on his feet, "King Thranduil. Mr. Bard."
Bard smiled, "Just Bard is fine, Master Baggins. How are you?"
Bilbo nodded, "Good. Good. Doing well."
Gandalf looked them all over, "I believe we should start with the rebuilding of Laketown. Bard, what is needed?"
Meanwhile the heirs settled down in a meeting of their own. Strider had instantly fetched a tree stump that had been fashioned into a stool from around one of the campfires for the Elf prince to sit on. He, himself sat on the ground with Bard's children doing the same.
Sigrid smiled softly at Kili, "It's good to see you looking better, Prince Kili."
Kili gave her the brightest smile he could manage, "Thank you. Starting to finally feel alive again. And it's just Kili...the prince part makes me feel uncomfortable, M'lady."
Sigrid flushed slightly at the title, "Sigrid works just fine," She turned to look at the Elf prince who Tilda was staring at, starry-eyed, "And we never got to thank you Prince Legolas for saving us back in our home from the orcs. We never would have survived otherwise."
Legolas brushed off her thanks, "No need to thank me. I would do it again if need be."
Fili spoke up, voice gentle, "Were you able to save anything from your home?"
Sigrid shook her head, eyes downcast, "No. We haven't searched too terribly hard but most-most of the town is burned. Da wouldn't even allow us in until the bodies were cleared."
The circle fell silent for a moment before Legolas spoke, "I'm sorry."
Bain shrugged one shoulder, "It's just belongings. The only thing I hope we can find is some of Ma's stuff."
Sigrid nodded in agreement while Tilda still stared wide-eyed at Legolas.
Bain looked over at the ranger who was casually leaning against the stump the Elf was seated on, "I'm Bain by the way. These are my sisters, Sigrid and Tilda."
"I go by Strider in these parts."
A calloused hand was held out and Bain grasped it firmly with a smile, "Where are you originally from, Strider?"
"Imladris...ah...Rivendell," He corrected himself to the common tongue name.
Sigrid could instantly see the Elvish, light way he carried himself, "You were raised by the Elves?"
He nodded, "I was adopted at young age. Lived there until I joined the rangers a few years back."
Sigrid was instantly intrigued, "And how did you meet Prince Legolas?"
Strider's smile was fond and slightly impish, "I met him when I was...what? Four or five?"
Legolas shrugged one shoulder, "Something like that. Human years kind of blur together for me. You were older than a toddler but not by much."
Strider nodded, "He's been friends with my older brothers (adopted) for years. He came to visit them not long after I came into the family and I kind of...attached myself."
Legolas rolled his eyes fondly, "Haven't been able to get rid of him since."
Bain immediately recognized the fond, teasing tone in the Elf's voice as the same one he frequently used when talking about his sisters. Speaking of...
Sigrid's tone was light and mild, "Now Bain let's see...that makes a ranger raised by Elves, prince, prince, prince...you know a lot of princes and accomplished warriors."
Bain gave his sister the dirtiest look he could muster and opened his mouth to say something scathing before Prince Legolas spoke, "She's not coming, you know."
All heads whipped to where Kili had been giving the tree lines fervent, wistful-and assumed-subtle, glances. Legolas's voice was curt with the slightest air of condescending, "Tauriel...she's not coming. She's being punished. We both are for deliberately disobeying our king."
Kili gave him a look, "The king is your father."
Legolas's tone was dry and heavy with sarcasm, "I'm aware. However, while I've been disobeying my father since I was an Elfling, I try to avoid disobeying my king as often as possible."
Kili went silent for a moment, "She's-she's not...banished still, is she?"
Legolas shook his head slightly, "No. She's just on the most boring guard duty my father could think up until he deems everything made up for."
Kili's relief was easy read on him before he gave the Elf a look, "Wait...if you're both being punished how come you're here."
Legolas stared at him as if he had grown an extra head, "What exactly do you think my punishment is? I would rather being doing anything than attending meetings with my father. Have you ever been to a trade meeting? Guarding a fountain would be preferable."
Kili couldn't help the snort of amusement that escaped before another thought occurred to him. Trying his best to be subtle, he kept his voice light and uninterested, "So are you are Tauriel...betrothed or engaged or something?"
Strider couldn't hide his laughter as Legolas gave him a disgusted look, "Tauriel? She's one of my oldest friends...it would be like marrying my younger sister...no. No."
Kili stored that information away for future use and tried to keep his reaction mild, "You just seemed very close, is all...friends, friends makes sense."
Fili tried his best to not bury his head in his hands at his brother's obvious intent and quickly tried to change the subject, "What did they end up doing with Smaug's body? We've been with the healers for so long we never found out."
Bain responded, "I think they cut it up and burned it. I'm not sure. Da wouldn't let us see that either...I have to say Prince Legolas...Da may be known as Bard the Bowman now but I have never seen anyone shoot the way you can...is that an Elf...thing?"
Strider shook his head, "No. That's just Legolas. I've never seen anyone outshoot him. Ever. And I've known him for a long time now."
At the mention of archery Kili's ears pricked up, "What's the draw weight on your bow?"
Legolas's tone was considerably warmer, "About 225 pounds...yours?"
Legolas looked fairly surprised, "I didn't think it would be that much."
Kili nodded, "Most don't. We're shorter, yes, but we're also stockier and lower to the ground which means our draw weight can be higher."
Strider sighed and settled down lower against the stump so he was borderline laying, "Don't expect to get a word in," He said conspiratorially, "Legolas is discussing archery. We could be here for awhile."
Fili nodded in agreement, "Kili's the same way. I don't think either one will let up for awhile."
With discussions of supplies finished, trade agreements settled with minimal arguments Gandalf was thoroughly impressed with the behavior of the two kings present. He was about to bring the meeting to a close when Bard looked over at his children with a smile, "I believe my youngest is a bit awestruck with your son, King Thranduil. She hasn't stopped staring at him."
Thranduil's had a soft look and an almost smile on his face, "I would have left him in the hands of healers if I had known he wouldn't have been needed...of course the healers probably would have sent him here anyway. He isn't the easiest patient."
Thorin sighed his agreement forgetting for a moment exactly who he was talking to, "I'm almost grateful Fili and Kili still lack the strength to escape. Once they're feeling better there will be nothing that will keep them in that tent."
Bard smiled as well, "Sigrid and Bain tend to avoid getting injured or sick. Tilda got really sick a few years back but was remarkably good about it. Listened to the healers and everything. Mayda, my wife, used to say I was the worst one in the house when it came to things like that."
Thranduil's smile grew ever so slightly, eyes amused, "I wish could have blamed Legolas's tendency to ignore his injuries on Mirelina but I remember being his age and my lack of concern for my own health was the same."
Thorin nodded, "I know Fili and Kili both get it from me. I don't like to stay down long."
Balin and Dwalin exchanged looked with Gandalf before creeping away slowly and allowing the conversation to continue. Bilbo quickly followed suit and disappeared as well.
"Sometimes it's hard to see how much Bain acts like me...my girls...they are their mother. Sigrid especially. Tilda has a reckless streak like I do," Bard mentioned.
Thorin remembered well the moment Bard had mentioned his wife's death, "How...how long ago did she pass?"
Bard's eyes held a hint of sadness in them, "About 6 years ago. Tilda barely remembers her, unfortunately. Fever...it spread through the town and she was gone before we could really absorb she had caught it."
Thranduil could relate all too well, "It isn't easy to have them alone...to raise them alone."
Thranduil nodded, "She died protecting Legolas when he was no more than a toddler. Orcs."
Bard turned to Thorin who shrugged one shoulder, "The boys have their mother, my sister but their father died before Kili was even born. I couldn't let Dis struggle on her own so I stepped in. I'm not sure I was ever meant for parenting but I tried. They don't seem to have turned out too bad."
Gandalf stayed to the edge of the small group of leaders in utter shock, loathe to interrupt their actual getting along. It was Thorin who brought an end to things, "I should get Fili and Kili back into the tent. They shouldn't be out here already as it is."
Bard nodded slowly, "I understand...I'll go fetch mine."
As he walked away Thranduil stepped up beside Thorin, his voice low, "Your youngest...the dark haired archer."
Thorin could feel himself bristle, "What of him?"
Thranduil kept his eyes focused on the group of children, Bard heading their way slowly, "His leg...it isn't healing is it? Not as well as you had thought."
Thorin felt his stomach roll but there was no use denying it. Elves may be useless in most things but healing was something he couldn't turn away. Not when it came to Kili, "No. No it's not."
"He was stabbed with a Morgul arrow. It dissolved into his blood almost instantly," Thranduil turned to look at him for the first time, "The wound will never heal. Not fully."
Thorin felt himself lose a bit of color, "What?"
Thranduil turned back to where Bard was returning, his children and Legolas and Strider following, "I've seen Elves fade from Morgul injuries. The only benefit you have is that he will mostly live out his life before the darkness becomes too much to bare. Elves do not have that benefit."
Thorin felt a fear in him he hadn't felt since he first heard Fili cry out his brother's name in those barrels, "What can we do?"
Thranduil's voice held none of the frost from before, merely the compassion of one father to another, "Have you heard of the athelas plant?"
"Thranduil struggled for moment to translate the name, "...kingsfoil...it's a weed."
Thorin nodded, "Our healer, Oin has spoke of it."
"Use it. You can put it directly on the injury for now and have him drink it as a tea in the future."
Thorin tried to keep the desperation out of his voice, "And that will help?"
"Yes," Thranduil turned to look at him again, "It will not cure him but it will help. There will be good days and bad. Athelas will help those bad days."
Before Thorin could respond, Bard rejoined them, his children and the others with him. Thranduil gave Legolas a searching look, "You've lost color."
Legolas had the same exasperation Fili and Kili often had, "I'm fine Ada."
Thranduil made of noise of disagreement but let it go to take his leave, "Bard. Oakenshield."
Brad gave a low nod, "King Thranduil. Prince Legolas."
Thorin stayed silent as Thranduil swept away, seeming to melt back into the trees themselves. Not long after Bard took his leave as well and Thorin returned to his nephews, "It could have been worse."
Kili beamed at him, his eyes slightly worn out. Thorin frowned, "Back to the tent."
Both boys groaned loudly and immediately began protesting as Dwalin and Bombur came to lift the bench. Gandalf stood back, observing the scene as usual, with a fond smile, Balin at his side. Bilbo approached the duo and looked from one to the other, "How do you think it went?"
Balin looked at Gandalf, "It went well."
Gandalf agreed, "I agree. No unreasonable demands from Thranduil or Thorin. Neither of them drew a weapon. There was minimal arguing. I'm pleased."
Balin nodded, "Laketown will be rebuilt...Bard will make an excellent leader and good ally for Erebor. Plus the boys got a taste of sunshine. Good day overall."
Gandalf lit his pipe and smiled again, "Balin, I couldn't agree more."
The Lady Dis of the Blue Mountains drew her pony to a halt, eyes trained on the horizon. The small party of Dwarves traveling with her pulled up beside her, concerned. One finally spoke up, "My Lady? Is everything all right?"
Dis had tears in her eyes as she spoke, "For years I have dreamed about returning home...and for the first time I can see it. I can see Erebor."
The Dwarves followed her gaze and sure enough, the Lonely Mountain was in the distance, very small, but still there. Dis shut her eyes briefly and took a steadying breath. Delight bubbled up in her and with a bright laugh she urged her pony into a gallop, the others quickly following behind.