The War Outside Our Door

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Chapter Two: The Hunt

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A hand shook him awake, and he hastily looked around his room. Kíarus groaned and rubbed at his eyes, "I didn't realize I had fallen asleep." He murmured softly.

"What?"
"Uh, nothing." Kíarus' sharp green orbs met Fíli's softer ones. "Huh, well, breakfast is already ready, and we'll be leaving soon." Fíli nodded towards the window, the faint light of daybreak peaking in through the knitted cloth. Kíarus gave a small nod, pushing the blanket off of him as he got his things before heading downstairs.

His gaze was met with his family sitting at the table. Dís was the only one who seemed to be waiting for him, where as Thorin, Kíli, and Fíli were already eating, nearly done.

"Morning." Kíarus bowed politely, smiling sweetly at his mother. He sat himself beside her, and began eating the large healthy portion of his mother's good cooking.

Of course, the three elder males had finished eating, and by now they were all checking over their bags. "Oh, make sure you have everything." Dís commented, eyeing her boys' bags suspiciously. "Especially extra pairs of underwear and breeches." She gave a firm nod, ignoring the collective groans of her three children.

"In Durin's Name, Dís..." Thorin shook his head.

"That includes you too, Thorin." Dís huffed at her older brother, as she put their dishes away to be cleaned later.

By now, Kíarus has finished wolfing down the rest of his food, and drank the offered water, nearly choking for a third time. He wiped the excess water from his lips, and scurried over to his bag. He checked it again for the seventh or eighth time, and nodded in contentment.

"Are we ready to go?" Thorin asked, shouldering his bag with ease, his sword by his side. "Oh, I almost forgot." Thorin paused, disappearing for a few seconds, before coming back with a wrapped object.

"For you, Kíarus." He nodded, handing the youngest brother his gift.

Kíarus took the gift in awe, carefully unwrapping the cloth. "Whoa." He sputtered, barely believing his eyes at the sword in his hand.

"I had it forged just last week." Thorin commented, a rare caring smile on his older features.

"Thanks!" Kíarus grinned, pulling the hilt of the sword out to look at the blade. It shined under the lit candles, reflecting the flames off it's silver surface. He put the blade back inside the sheath, allowing Dís to help him attach it to his side so it wouldn't fall or slip when he was walking.

"Alright, be safe." Dís ordered, her stern look replaced with an soft endearing look. "Thorin, you better look after my children." She added swiftly, opening the door for the four of them. Thorin nodded, "Of course, sister." He tilted his head at her, gently grasping her shoulder and giving it a light squeeze. "We will be back in no time." He smirked, stepping out into the light of day.

"Goodbye, Mother." Fíli smiled, leaning forward to kiss her cheek. Next in line, Kíli did the same as he also give her a quick hug.

Dís pulled Kíarus close to her, smoothing out the knots from his partly braided hair. "You, too, be careful. The wilderness is no place for a dwarfling." She whispered, gently placing a ticklish kiss atop his forehead.

"Aye, mother." Kíarus didn't object, as he pulled away from her warm embrace, running off into the brightness of the day.

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The four were crouched low to the ground, eyeing the small group of rabbits not to far away.

"Kíli, as much as I disapprove of your archery skills, now would be the perfect time to use it." Thorin said, his tone held in a teasing manner as he cocked his head at the rabbits.

Kíli nodded, raising his bow as he pulled an arrow from his quiver. He readied the arrow, looking at Thorin for approval before he loosed it. The arrow sliced through the air, imbedding itself into the rabbit's skull.

Kíarus flinched, hearing the crack of bone, and shivered as they all stood. By now, the rabbits bolted away, all heading in the direction of the traps they had set up earlier. It helped that they chased them in that direction, so they were sure to catch a lot.

Kíarus reached into his boot, pulling a small but sharp knife from it. He gave a flick of his wrist, and the throwing knife cleanly tucked itself inside a rabbit's neck. He didn't let his obvious grin hide as he turned to his uncle, not paying attention to where he was stepping.

He clumsily tripped over his own feet and stumbled to the ground, his hands catching himself. A rabbit who was getting confused as to where it should run, had actually jumped right over him, and continued straight on. It would have got away, if it weren't for Fíli slicing it with ease with one of his swords.

Kíarus got on his feet, pouting when he heard Kíli snort with laughter. He turned to look back at Thorin, who also had a sly smirk on his face. "It's not that funny!" Kíarus whined, his cheeks red.

"Come, let us go see what we caught so far." Thorin chuckled as he sheathed his sword. The four made their way back to where they had set up the many traps, and indeed, there were lots of rabbits.

Kíli made a face as he stepped up to one he had set up. "Gross, this one is still twitching." He muttered, poking it with the end of his sword. The spikes were inside the rabbits head, which probably triggered it's nervous system or something. Fíli snickered, crouching by his own. "Well, nothing went wrong with mine, brother." He chided, smirking in victory. "What about you, Kíarus?" Fíli called, looking in the youngest's direction.

"Uhh, I'm good," Kíarus replied, poking the dead rabbit. "But I think I also caught a squirrel..." He mumbled, taking the poor squirrel from the spiked trap. Thorin hummed in response, his game already packed away.

"Alright, we're calling it a night, and heading back to camp." Thorin announced, his strong voice booming in the area.

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Kíarus ran his hand on the pony's mane, his fingers getting caught among the tangles. "Goodnight, Dawn. Sleep tight." He whispered, giving his pony once last stroke before he headed back his bed roll.

The youngest child of Dís yawned as he stretched, flopping onto the slightly uncomfortable roll. He glanced at Thorin, who seemed to be taking watch for their first night. Turning around, he made himself as comfortable as he could, and let his eyes flutter as sleep quickly over took him.

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Kíarus woke up to birds chirping and a fierce wind sweeping the plain. He shivered and pulled the knitted blanket over his head, trying to hide from the sun that burned red under his eye lids.

A few minutes later, sleep would not take him, so he just opted for staying awake. He begrudgingly sat up, grumbling quietly to himself. He crankily looked around, spotting Thorin peacefully asleep, his sword tightly gripped in his hand.

A small smile graced his face, as he found both his brothers awake and seemingly roasting something over a crackling fire. "Breakfast?" He spoke, flushing when his voice cracked. He cleared his throat, managing to crawl over to Fíli and Kíli.

"Yes, well- no. Lunch." Fíli grinned. Kíarus blinked, staring at the many skinned rabbits, then at the fully cooked ones. "Wow, you two did all that?" He asked, raising his eyebrow in awe as his mouth took on an 'O' shape.

"Yup!" Kíli smirked, his head bobbing up and down with a rather prideful look on his handsome features.

"Did Thorin keep watch the whole night?" Kíarus asked, handing Kíli some spices to put onto the raw meat. Fíli nodded as he spun the pierced rabbit on the stick, making sure to cook every side and every angle perfectly as their mother had taught them.

"Yeah, we figured we'd let him sleep a while longer before we woke up him to eat." Kíli said, a shy smile spreading to his face. Kíarus blinked at Kíli's face before turning to look at Thorin's slumbering face with confusion etched on his own face. Suddenly, his eyes lit up, as he dived for his pack. "I got a good idea!" The dwarfling whispered, tearing his bag apart to get his journal in which he kept everything in.

"What?" Fíli whispered back, looking up from the flames. "I'm going to draw a sleeping Thorin." Kíarus replied smugly, managing to contain his giggles. He pulled the ink and quill from his pack, and crawled closer to their slumbering Uncle as quietly as he could. He nestled a good three feet away from him, comfortable in his position, and he started drawing.

Kíarus made sure to use his time wisely, so he did the basics of Thorin's clothes, before he went into further detail. He currently was working on Thorin's long (majestic) tangled hair. As he drew, he smudged parts of the ink to make it look more dark, for the shading. His green orbs flickered to Thorin's hands, which were tightly holding onto his sword. Kíarus stared at the sword a while longer, and slowly started to draw it into his work.

About twenty minutes later, Kíarus was finally done, and luckily time was on his side, because Thorin was just beginning to stir.

The Kings bluish grey eyes opened, at first he noticed Kíarus hastily scrambling away, over to where his bed roll was. He blinked in confusion, slowly sitting up with a short yawn. He twitched when he felt a small jolt of pain in his hands, and looked down to see that he was still holding his weapon. He dropped the sword so he would be able to put it back on his side where it belonged. He yawned for a second time, and spotted Fíli and Kíli talking to themselves while cooking the last skinned rabbit.

He stood with a mighty stretch, and wandered over to his two elder nephew's. "That smells good." He commented, sitting himself down as he began to work out the kinks in his hands.

"Good morning, Uncle." Fíli smiled in greeting, turning the bronzed rabbit over once more before adding it to the pile.

"'Morning, Uncle Thorin!" Kíli piped up, grinning childishly.

"Morning Fíli, Kíli. And what was Kíarus hiding from when I woke?" He asked, his eyes shifting to the youngest who was rummaging through his bag once more.

Fíli and Kíli shared a look, before turning back to their Uncle.

"Oh, he was, uhh-" Fíli looked up as if he didn't know what to say, but he turned to look at Kíli rather innocently.

"-Just drawing you." Kíli finished, turning to share another grin with his elder brother. Thorin raised his eyebrows, before he glanced at Kíarus. "Might as well show me, Kíarus." Thorin spoke, enjoying how the youngest flinched in the way he knew he has been caught red-handed.

Kíarus stood dejectedly with the paper in his hand and made his way back to Thorin with a pout on his face. He sat down beside the King, and gave him the paper.

Thorin eyed it with a raising brow. "This is actually very good, Kíarus." Thorin complimented, handing the portrait back to his youngest nephew with a nod.

"Thank you, Thorin." Kíarus smiled, crawling back to his bag to put the treasured drawing away.

"Can I ask what we're gonna hunt today?" Kíarus smiled, now sitting in between Thorin and Kíli. Fíli busied himself with handing out portions to everyone, along with their separate water containers.

Kíli got ahold of his, and shook it. "I think we're going to need more water." He said, tilting his over and watching a few drops come out.

Thorin blinked, and nodded. "After our hunt, we can take to ponies and the rest of our stuff down by this old stream I know of. We could set up camp elsewhere." He said, looking in the direction of the stream he spoke of.

"Alright! Let's eat, now, I'm starving." Kíli grinned, taking one of the nicely cooked rabbits to shove half of it inside his mouth.

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*Deepvoice* No animals were harmed in the making of this chapter. (Well, only in Middle Earth they were, sorries.)

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