For new readers, this story follows the first movie but not in its entirety.
As I near the end, there will be unexpected twists to tie in with the novel. This doesn't portray how this story will end though. You'll just have to find out :)
Status updates for chapter releases will be blogged on my Tumblr to keep you updated throughout the week. (Link on profile)
Night had fallen, but it was no prelude to the silence and calm atmosphere that should have followed. The dwarves filled their current chamber with laughter and chatter, surrounded by the flames from a fire dancing on the smooth, curved walls and scenery. No one would have guessed that earlier that day, they were running from a pack of wargs and orcs. Neither would any have assumed that they would end up in the elven city of Rivendell.
The always optimistic dwarf Bofur, took a piece of sausage from the fire as his cousin propped a handful of green vegetables over the open flame. He was about to eat it, but saw his massively overweight brother, Bombur, sitting on a table. "Bombur!"
Bofur threw the sausage at his brother, who caught it with ease and delight. Unfortunately, it was too late when the round dwarf realized what was about to ensue. The table split and caused the dwarf and all the food resting on his lap to fall to the ground in a heap. Everyone broke out in hysterical laughter.
Moments later, Gandalf, Thorin, Balin and Bilbo returned from a council with Lord Elrond. The hobbit took a seat closest to the fire as a plate of freshly cooked meat was shoved into his hands.
"Eat up!" Bofur said cheerfully. He tipped his winged hat to Bilbo, who accepted the food without question. Thorin watched his company before turning to the wizard standing next to him.
"We will leave at dawn."
Gandalf gestured in agreement, "I must take my leave, but I will meet back with you at the Misty Mountains. Wait for me there."
He gave the two dwarves another nod before excusing himself. Balin went and took a seat on the floor next to Dwalin and the others. Thorin watched the wizard turn his back before making his own way to his company, and the relaxing atmosphere of food and more laughter.
Gandalf had walked down the corridor to a maze of staircases before something caught his attention from the corner of his eye. A small being was walking further down the same hall, away from him. Something in the back of his mind urged the wizard to call out to the individual. Sure enough, it stopped and spun around in surprise. He made his way over with a gentle smile.
"My friend, it has been a long time."
Back in the dwarves' chamber, the upbeat mood had settled, food and dishes cleared, and so they began organizing themselves for a much needed rest. Morning would bring out a long day of traveling.
It wasn't until Gandalf returned to the company, when eyes fell upon the one who accompanied him. The only noise came from the crackling of the fire that continued to burn in the center of the stone floor. Thorin stepped forward.
Everyone remained silent, whether it was due to the stern expression on their leader's face or the appearance of Gandalf's companion who stood a bit further behind, they weren't quite certain.
"Allow me to introduce a friend. This is Élarinya, a dwarf from the Blue Mountains. I caught her just as she was on her way to leave."
The female dwarf bowed to her watchers. Dark brown waves caressed her face as she did so, while brown eyes remained ever watchful. Two strands of braids partially held back her hair as they joined at the rear, held in a silver ring. Another smaller strand was braided in front of her left ear, completely tinted in silver. Her frame wasn't as bulky with armor and weight as any other modern dwarf woman, but slightly slender. Dark purple garments accented her features in the firelight as the flames danced in her eyes, over iron buckles and leather straps holding in place weapons and necessities.
"Gandalf, what is the meaning of this?" Thorin asked none too pleased.
"Élarinya, this is Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of our Company." He motioned to the one who had spoken, ignoring the protest. Gandalf's demeanor remained optimistic in his newfound companion. She bowed once more in respect.
"Gandalf briefed me about your quest to retake Erebor, and has asked me to lend my services if I wished. And if you would accept it. I do not seek treasure, nor will anyone be held accountable for my safety. No offense will be taken if you decline this sudden offer either." Her voice took the dwarves by surprise. There was a subtle hint of raspiness, but barely audible like the substantial amount found in most dwarf women. It sounded beautiful. However, she wasn't perfect, no. The lack of beard had already taken hold of their wondering gazes. She presumed the lack of questioning now would come around in the near future, if there was a future to be had.
Thorin glowered at the wizard for bringing an unexpected extra into his company without approval. One by one, the other dwarves went to introduce themselves to their new acquaintance as Gandalf stepped aside with their leader.
"She will not be joining us." Thorin stated boldly. "She can't."
"That is not for you to solely decide. It was an unexpected surprise, yes, but Élarinya is a skilled fighter regardless of her gender and has fought her share of battles. I guarantee she will become a valuable member of this company when the need arises. Now, feel free to question her abilities as far as you wish, but you must trust me with this as well."
Thorin faced away in slight anger. Gandalf straightened his stature and extended his hand slightly for the dwarf to lead on, back to their group. Everyone parted as Thorin rejoined, except for Bilbo who remained at the dwarf maiden's side. It only took a moment for him to slip away as Élarinya came face to face with the stern leader. Some had worried looks, unsure of what was to follow. She straightened herself with assertion.
"What combat experience do you have that would make you valuable to this company?"
A grin threatened to tug at the corners of her soft, pale lips. It was only natural for him to make judgement primarily on her fighting skills. "My training was guided by a blacksmith and those willing to lend advice. I've fought many enemies throughout my journeys; thieves, petty rangers who've never used an axe or sword in their lives, some orcs, but mostly goblins."
"Orcs?" Thorin raised a brow out of curiosity. His expression told her that he didn't believe her words.
"Yes. During one of my travels, I was alone and surrounded by three orcs roaming west of the Blue Mountains, outside a small town's borders. They captured me during the night, but only briefly until I was able to evade a definitive imprisonment by killing them."
The dwarves mumbled amongst themselves inquisitively by her story. Her words had raised an interest with the remaining members and Gandalf couldn't help but smile in success.
"How did you manage to kill them by yourself?" Bilbo asked. Élarinya smiled at the innocent question and unsheathed a well-crafted dagger from her belt.
"With this," she responded, twirling the black handle between her fingers with ease, "and a flowing move no one else could perform."
She noticed their curiosity skyrocket. The two younger dwarves sitting at the back exchanged looks before flashing a smile at the other.
"What is this secret move of yours?" The blond one asked. Thorin looked back at the boy and turned to their guest. She observed the exchange.
"It was something I learned several generations ago." Eager faces urged her to continue with details, but she thought of a better idea. "I could show you, if that's alright."
Élarinya set aside her dagger and belongings on the floor before receiving a confirming nod from the wizard, which had gone unnoticed by the others. They were too consumed watching her every move. Gandalf took some enjoyment in this new, unfolding plan.
"First, I'll need volunteers to help with the demonstration." She scanned the group for any takers.
"We'll do it."
The two young dwarves who had introduced themselves earlier as brothers, Fili and Kili, walked over.
"I promise this won't cause any harm." She assured.
"No need to worry about hurting us." Fili, the blond, had confirmed with a grin.
Kili stood next to him; an even wider grin plastered his face. "Just tell us what to do."
Élarinya returned the smile. They were keen to start, but wouldn't expect what was to follow. She glanced at the group eagerly watching before turning to the two younger ones.
"I want you to stand behind me and place an arm around my shoulders in a tight hold. Use the other to brace yourself in a lock."
Fili did as he was told, being careful not to strangle her breathless in the process. "Like this?"
"Yes, pretend that I am your prisoner. Don't let me escape." She looked at Kili who stood in front of them, full of excitement.
"Kili." He stated.
"Kili, I want you to pretend that you're holding a sword and on my mark, you will try to 'kill' me. Fili, do not move at all. You are to keep me restrained. Understood?"
She attempted to break free from Fili's grasp, squirming in his arms. Surprised, he let her go.
"What did I say, Master Fili: don't let me escape." Chuckles strained the silence.
"You moved so suddenly, I thought-"
"It was a test." She gave a reassuring smile as they got back into position. "Ready?"
Both dwarves responded in unison.
Kili lunged forward with his invisible weapon as if to stab the dwarf woman in the chest. What came next was so sudden; it left both dwarves on their hands and backsides. Élarinya struggled in Fili's hold as intended, but the moment Kili lunged close, her body went limp. This resulted in Fili suddenly loosening his hold from an unexpected change in body weight distribution. It led to a few moments of freedom for her to break free from his grasp and immobilize both dwarves to the ground single-handedly.
Gasps and bouts of excitement and disbelief quickly filled the chamber. Élarinya smiled down at the two, their faces riddled with confusion as they laughed at the other. She offered a hand to one, but instinctively reached for her dagger on the floor instead and spun around in a blur on her knees.
Metal clashed and reverberated through the halls. The room fell tranquil once more. No one spoke a word, or dared to move a muscle.
"You said there were three."
Élarinya studied blue eyes in unexpected amazement. "That I did."
"Your reflexes are good." Thorin stated. He too held a small dagger in his hand. The very one that met hers. Neither one eased the force from their blade. His features were expressionless as his eyes pondered the events he had seen. He lifted the pressure off her blade and lowered his weapon. "Whether you will become a valuable asset or not, that remains to be seen."
He made brief contact with Gandalf as he walked away. Élarinya had received a subtle note of encouragement from Gandalf's features once the leader turned his back to her. She was now part of this assembly. The wizard excused himself for the final time that night and took his leave.
"Get rest. We leave in a few hours." The dwarves rushed to gather their possessions before retiring to their makeshift beds on the stone floor. Bilbo noticed a reticent uncertainty from their recent addition.
"There's a spot here."
Élarinya looked up at the small hobbit. He pointed beside him.
"Thank you...burglar?" She chuckled.
"Bilbo." He smiled.
"I will remember everyone's name in due time."
She was gracious for the offer and organized herself next to her new, potential friend. Thoughts soon clouded her mind as she fell into a light sleep. The long journey ahead will surely lead to an interrogation of questions. Part of her was alright with that. Most of the dwarves already took a liking to the maiden, especially the younger ones and their hobbit burglar, Bilbo. Despite the unexpected turn of events and a change of plans, her interest delved into the uncertainty and interest with this company.
Unbeknownst to all parties involved, there was a far greater purpose from this chance meeting.
Thank you in advance for your interest in this story!
Élarinya – (Ell-are-in-ya)
The Hobbit (c) J.R.R. Tolkien