Chapter 1: Ambushed

Hello everyone! This is my first fanfic, so please bear with me if it's not great. Reviews would be greatly appreciated as well! I could use all the help I can get. I'll try to keep the chapters coming, but with school it's hard to write. So for now, here's Chapter 1.

Heavy, pounding rain slammed into Fili and Kili as they rode through the dense forests at the base of the Blue Mountains. The colored leaves on the trees trembled, some of them falling to the ground that had now turned to mud. The cool autumn air combined with the rains to create a swirling mist that danced around the ponies' feet as the skies began to darken. The two dwarves had been hunting and aimed to return to the mountain by sundown when a downpour had ambushed them. Kili drew his waterlogged cloak tighter around him, as did his brother.

"It's getting late." Fili mused. His pony, Daisy, began to slip and slide on the muddy trail. "And if this rain gets any worse, we could swim back home." He laughed softly, trying to lighten the mood.

Kili chuckled, but sneezed as the rain chilled him; he probably had a cold coming. "The ponies aren't going to make it back." He steadied his own steed, Lilly, before she toppled over. "We're going to have to stay the night."

The golden haired dwarf nodded, leading Daisy off the path to a semi-sheltered grove of trees and bushes not far off. His younger brother followed, Lilly struggling to keep her balance.

The trees offered little protection from the sleeting precipitation, so the two dwarves huddled together to keep warm, pulling their soaked hoods over their heads in a feeble attempt to ward off the rain. Night was closing in fast, but there was no fire. The wood was sopping wet, and would not light.

It was the middle of the night; the rain had finally ceased and Kili sat on watch. Fili's head rested on his brother's shoulder as he snored lightly. Suddenly, Lilly's ears perked up and Daisy whinnied nervously. Kili strained his eyes to see in the darkness when an ominous screech pierced the night. The dark-haired dwarf tensed, shaking his brother awake. "Fili." He hissed. His brother's golden head rose as he blinked the sleep out of his eyes. "What is it?"

"Orcs." Kili whispered. Fili immediately stood and drew his swords. Kili did the same, fitting an arrow in his bow. "How far?" Fili asked, not taking his eyes away from the forest.

"Not very, by the sound of it." Kili replied, his gaze penetrating the vegetation and the treetops in the distance. "Kili, we need to-" Fili's sentence was cut short as a hoard of orcs shot out of a thicket near the makeshift camp. They howled and charged toward the brothers, blades swinging.

An arrow was loosed from Kili's bow, finding its mark in the forehead of the nearest orc. His victory was short-lived, however, when a second one snuck up behind him, bringing the hilt of his blade down on his head of dark hair. Kili stumbled and blinked a few times before regaining his balance, whipping out his sword as he defended himself. The attacker was quickly dispatched, and Kili smiled. Orcs were easy to he thought.

Fili was busy with his own foes, cutting down orc after orc. They seemed to come in endless numbers; every time one fell, another appeared. After a while he began to tire, blood trickling down from various cuts he had received. How many enemies were there?!

A sudden outcry rose above the din of the small battle. "Kili…" Fili breathed. This wasn't working…they had to do something. He spotted a tree close by that was high enough to escape to. "Kili! Climb!" Fili fought until he reached the tree, and he looked around for his brother. Kili was on the other side of the clearing, blood pouring from a laceration on his forearm. He locked eyes with his younger sibling and Kili nodded, beginning to cut a path to the tree.

Fili began to scale the giant pine, making sure that his brother was following. Kili's ascent was slower, as the blood streaming down his arm caused his grip on the branches to slip constantly. Once Fili reached the top, he offered his brother a hand and hauled him to the branch beside him. "Dwarf scum!" The orcs growled as they circled the trunk beneath the brothers.

The orc that appeared to be the leader of the group growled in frustration. It was a terrifying creature, battle scars staining its hideous form. It stood still for a moment, and then seemed to form an idea. "Archers!" It spat. Two orcs stepped forward, readying their bows.

"Shoot them, Kili!" Fili's eyes widened. Arrows whizzed past so close, the brothers could feel the air brush their cheeks. "Kili! Shoot!" The young dwarf let an arrow fly, but the blood slicking his fingers caused the arrow to slip, and it missed its mark. Kili cursed in Khuzdul, and fitted another into his bow. It was too late. The dark-haired dwarf's shout rang through the darkness. An orc arrow was embedded in Kili's side, causing him to lose his balance. He scrabbled to grab hold of a branch, but tumbled to the ground far below, landing with a hard thud.

"KILI!" Fili screamed. His younger brother attempted to stand as the orcs approached, but slumped back to the sodden earth. "As I said. Dwarf scum." The leader laughed coldly and kicked Kili in the stomach. The dwarf wheezed as the air was forced out of his lungs, and the orcs around him sneered.

Fili silently made his way down the tree, hiding in the shadows behind the distracted orcs and preparing to strike.

"You couldn't hide for long." The scarred orc smirked. "And now you will die." He looked up into the tree to find Fili missing. "Where's the other?" He barked. Kili cried out as he was slammed in the chest with a club. There was a crack. Something had broken; he knew it. Fili cursed himself from his position, but he had to wait for the opportune moment. He would be no good to Kili if he was dead. Kili looked around for his brother, pain evident in his face as he locked eyes with Fili in the darkness. The older dwarf attempted to smile encouragingly, mouthing to his brother. 'Be strong. I have a plan.' Kili nodded swiftly so as not to draw attention and betray Fili's location. He squeezed his eyes closed and muffled a scream as he felt a kick to the side that jarred the arrow.

Fili's took a deep breath. He had to act soon, before they tried to harm Kili any further.

"Where is he?" The leader knelt beside the barely-conscious dwarf. Kili lifted his head and spat in the orc's face, smirking even through the drumming in his head. He had struck the ground extremely hard when he fell from the tree, and stars swam through his vision. "Oh, that will not do at all." The Orc sneered and grabbed a hold of the arrow extruding from Kili's side, twisting it with great force. Kili's mouth opened as if to scream, but no sound came out; the pain was too great. The orcs began to search the treetops as Kili lay still in the cold, wet grass.

Fili knuckles were white as he gripped his swords in anger. He would kill every one of them. They would pay for what they had done to his little brother. He had to strike now. Yelling a battle cry, he leapt from the shadows and dispatched three orcs before the rest even knew what was happening. When they realized, they screeched and threw themselves at Fili. The dwarf smiled grimly before a white-hot pain burned in the back of his calf. Turning, he saw that an orc blade was buried deep in his flesh. He shouted and decapitated the culprit. Ignoring the pain, Fili felled each and every last orc, finally turning to the last orc, the one at the head of the entire attack.

"You tried to kill my brother, orc filth." He spat angrily. "" The orc kicked Kili hard in the stomach, and he cried out. Fili felt angry tears welling behind his eyes as he ran at the villain. It sneered and grabbed Kili's tunic, dragging him roughly to his feet. "Don't touch him." Fili growled, stopping in his tracks. "Put my brother down."

The orc thought for a moment. "And what if I don't?" It laughed coldly, wrapping its arm around Kili's neck with a vice-like grip. His face became a shade of blue as he gasped and clawed feebly at his assailant. "Release him!" Fili shouted, feeling helpless. If he took a step closer, the filth would kill his brother. The orc smiled cruelly and threw Kili down harshly, his body slamming against the ground like a rag doll. Fili looked for any sign of life in his brother from his vantage point, but he could find none. "You will pay for this." He hissed. The orc merely shrugged. "Oh will I?" The filth brought its foot down upon Kili's chest, more cracks echoing through the clearing. Kili uttered a strangled cry of anguish, and Fili's heart wrenched. He roared and charged at the orc, now wide-eyed in surprise. It did not understand what brotherly love could produce.

Fili swung with mighty strength at his enemy. The orc had just enough time to parry the crushing blow, driving it to its knees. A glint of pure hatred shone in the fair-haired dwarf's eyes as he moved to strike again. The orc rolled as Fili's blade was brought down a second time, and Fili was thrown off-balance from his powerful swing. Taking the opportunity, the orc caught Fili on the side of the head with his blade, and the dwarf staggered back, falling to his knees. Blood was running down into his right eye, but thankfully it wasn't a deep wound; the hilt was what had struck him for the most part. He shook his head, trying to regain his vision. Meanwhile, the orc had it's back to Kili. As it raised its blade for a fatal blow to the golden-haired dwarf, its sword suddenly clattered to the earth as it fell forwards onto Fili. An arrow was sticking out of its back. Pushing the orc off and looking to his brother, Fili gasped. Kili was sitting with his back against the tree, holding his bow with shaking hands and staring at the now-dead orc with wide eyes. He turned his gaze to Fili before he collapsed back to the grass, all his energy spent.

Fili moved and knelt beside Kili, gathering him in his arms. Kili was barely breathing, his skin deathly pale. Blood seeped heavily through his clothing around the arrow. Fili's injured leg was splayed out at an odd angle to the side, the bone showing through stark white in contrast to the red blood surrounding it, but he paid it no heed. His thoughts were only for his brother. "Kili, I'm so sorry..."

Fili's tears fell onto his brother's dirt-stained face, but Kili hardly noticed. "You're going to be all right, I promise." The ponies had darted off in fear long ago, but the path they had traveled on was for patrols. There had to be one coming in the morning...and morning wasn't far off. The sky was already brightening a little, and Fili was hopeful. "F-Fili?" Kili's voice could barely be heard. "What is it, Kili?" Fili's voice was gentle.

"It much..." Kili's hand sought his brother's. Fili took it, squeezing tightly. "It's all right, someone will find us soon, I know they will." Fili's voice cracked with fear. "You're going to be fine." His heart was beating in time with the thrumming in his leg. "I'm so tired...and it's freezing..." Kili shivered and coughed, his chest heaving. Fili held his brother close; wrapping his furs around him as best he could, even though he was freezing himself. He could feel the tremors of pain that wracked his sibling's broken body. "Sshh..." He buried his face in Kili's dark hair. "It will be all right." Kili groaned, turning his face into the crook of Fili's arm. Fili stroked his brother's matted hair. "I won't let anything hurt you anymore, little brother."

Kili smiled slightly, but fiery pain exploded through his abdomen, causing him to cry out in torment. His eyelids closed, and he grew still in Fili's embrace. Kili's breaths came in shallow, raspy gasps, and he had paled even more than before. "Kili?" Fili whispered softly, but received no response. He breathed a small sigh of relief as he saw Kili's chest rise and fall. "Stay with me. Just hold on." Fili wished that he could do something, but he knew movement would be difficult with his injured leg. He wasn't sure he could carry Kili home, and the ponies were gone.

A glimmer of determination flashed in Fili's eyes. He would get his brother to safety, no matter what he had to do.