DISCLAIMER!: I do NOT own The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings in any way - Tolkien has that honor. I have written this purely for amusement-purposes, and I receive no credit.

Hello everyone! My first chapter for the Desolation of Smaug! Cheers! I saw the movie for the first time last night, and I've now, more or less, planned Tara's involvement. On that note, read on!

"Did I ever tell you I'm not good with heights, Ainuhe?" Dieena asked with a timid voice, as the group began their uneasy descent of the eagle nest. Tara laughed a bit to herself as Dieena shook like a leaf while jumping down one of the ridiculously large steps. Tara assumed the steps were made for people of Beorn's size, at the very least, because even the taller members of their company had to jump from step to step.

"No, you didn't. You handled the whole prospect of looming above your doom in a rickety tree well enough, I never suspected it," she teased as she jumped down yet another step. The steps were wide and large, more like small platforms rather than steps to be true, but it was a sort of staircase, circling the eagle nest. Gandalf and the two women led the descent, so they could help the Dwarves down the steps. Tara and Dieena helped Dori and Nori down, as Gandalf helped Thorin one step below them.

"Impending doom tends to do that to a person," Dieena admitted, causing Tara to giggle. The journey down the staircase took the better part of the morning. It was past noon before they finally touched the ground, and they all more or less fell to the ground once the descent was done with. It made sense for them to be tired. They had rested less than five hours between the stone giants and the whole mess with Goblin Town, and the flight hadn't been particularly relaxing. Tara was ready to faint from exhaustion.

"Dori, Nori, get a fire going," Thorin ordered, and despite the loud complaining immediately following his order, the two Dwarves stood up, ready to move on with their task.

"I'll help you," Dieena volunteered, as she quickly got on her feet. Tara had half of a mind to help too, but she could barely sit up at this point.

"Happy hunting," she instead called after the three, as she attempted to find a comfortable sitting position on the ground. The rocky surroundings were less than ideal for sleeping, but she could tell from the faces around her, that they were as unwilling to find a better place as she was.

"I'm exhausted," Fili complained, and Tara smiled.

"As are we all, I'm sure," she pointed out.

"That was an impressive display of magic you did back on the hill, Tara," Gandalf suddenly voiced, and Tara noticed he hadn't sat down. He stood in the midst of the landscape of collapsed Dwarves like a statue, and Tara frowned.

"I don't like the way you said that, Mithrandir," she confided, and Gandalf chuckled.

"On your feet. We have practice," the old man acknowledged her fears, and Tara groaned loudly, but still got on her feet. After all, she had agreed with herself to begin training, and now that Gandalf was with them, it was the perfect opportunity. Still...

"I'm tired."

When Dieena and the two Dwarves returned to the campsite, it was quite the sight. The other Dwarves had barely moved, but were in a clear group, some seated upon rocks, others on the ground. And all were watching Tara and Gandalf, who had gone a small distance from the group. As the three dropped the timber and tinder in a small bundle, preparing the fire, they saw Tara send a shockwave towards Gandalf. To people of no magical abilities, it seemed impressive, yet Tara knew it was a pathetic attempt.

A fact made clear when Gandalf effortlessly deflected it, causing it to dissolve into the air.

"You're not focusing, Tara," Gandalf scolded, and the girl took a deep breath, massaging her temples.

"Sorry," she replied, as she closed her eyes, attempting to calm herself. She was distracted by the sounds of the Dwarves, she knew, but she should be able to tune them out. Gandalf sat down as he watched Tara focus within herself. She was good at this part. She had learned patience and the value of a calm mind over the years. He still remembered how reckless and impatient she had been in their first couple of magic lessons.

Another deflected shockwave dispersed into the morning air of Rivendell, and Tara's mood worsened visibly as they reached a total of 29 failed attempts.

"Why can't I do it right?" she hissed as she threw yet another shockwave. A pathetic attempt, as it dispersed before even reaching the old man. He looked at her with a raised eyebrow, clearly not impressed. The look didn't do wonders for Tara's enthusiasm.

"Who are we trying to kid, Gandalf, I'm never going to learn this!" she cried in anger, sitting down on the ground with a disgruntled look on her face.

"Certainly not with that attitude, you won't," Gandalf pointed out, pointing at her with his staff. She rolled her eyes, turning a bit away from him. The old man sighed.

"You are trying too hard, Tara. Magic must not be something you force, it must come naturally to you," he attempted, but Tara was clearly not listening to him. Not really. She heard his words, but she paid them no mind. "If you are not at peace with yourself, you will not be able to-"

"You are not going to say something like 'find your happy place', are you?" Tara interrupted him, and Gandalf grumbled, becoming annoyed himself.

"If that is what it takes, then yes! You must focus. You are not here in mind," Gandalf replied, and Tara looked away. The old man sighed, shaking her head. "Perhaps we should take a break," he muttered, as he left where she sat. Tara bit her lip, refusing to look after her teacher. His disappointment was so apparent; she could almost taste it in the air. Her happy place, huh?

"You do not understand, Elrond, she does not wish to hear," Gandalf pointed out as the two men walked down one of the hallways of Rivendell.

"She is young, Mithrandir. She is just impatient," Elrond attempted to pacify the old wizard, but Gandalf grumbled as he took another whizz of his smoking pipe.

"Impatient!? She is reckless, self-inflated, disrespectful, distracted, unwilling to accept criticism-"

"Self-inflated?" Elrond asked with a raised eyebrow.

"She does not understand the difficulty of Magic. Just because she is a Seer, she believes magic should be something she could learn in a few days," Gandalf said with an incredulous laugh. "Seer indeed!"

"Gandalf, do you not think you are just expecting too much of her?" Elrond asked, quite perplexed at this. Granted, Tara had never been an easy student, but his own experience of being her teacher had never been so bad as Gandalf was describing.

"Surely not," Gandalf immediately denied, but after a few seconds of thinking, he sighed. "Perhaps. But when she is not listening to my advice, she is hindering herself of advancement."

The two men separated as Gandalf figured it was about time to go back to Tara and their lessons. As he approached the young woman, who was still seated on the ground, the difference was obvious. He could feel the energy in the air vibrate in her immediate vicinity, and her face was relaxed as she breathed heavily. He smiled, as he beat his staff into the ground, announcing his return. Her ice blue eyes slowly opened, and she looked up at him.

"Found a happy place, did you?" he asked, and she smiled back at him.

"Something like that."

Now that feeling was coming back to him. As if she was drawing the energy from the air around her. He could tell the Dwarves sensed it too. The air was becoming electrified, as a vortex of magic gathered around Tara.

"Good! Try again," Gandalf called to her, and Tara's eyes jumped open, as she threw out her one hand. The power was completely different than the last couple of tries and Gandalf smiled, as he let the shockwave hit him. He was thrown a few feet backwards, before he managed to stop himself. Tara widened her eyes, before a wide smile broke on her face.

"You old goof! You let that hit you on purpose," she pointed out with a complaining look in her eyes, and Gandalf laughed.

"Well, of course. If I don't let you get a couple of shots in, you might begin sulking," he replied. Tara rolled her eyes, crossing her arms, as Nori called for them. The stew was almost ready. As Gandalf walked to the campsite, Tara stuck her tongue out at his back.

"I don't sulk anymore," she muttered to herself, shaking her head. Dieena giggled as Tara took a seat next to her, and the redhead glowered at her. "What?"

"I just find it amusing that you are admitting you used to sulk."

"Can it, Dieena."

The meal was rather uneventful prepared to the past couple of days. There was a bit of small talk going on between a few of the others, but people were mostly eating and minding their own business, Tara included. She was too tired to think of anything to talk to the others about. At least, until Bilbo sat down next to her.

"Hi," she greeted with a tired look on her face, and Bilbo nodded at her.

"Hey. Are you feeling all right?" he asked. Tara shrugged.

"Sure. I'm guessing I'll look the part once I've got some proper shuteye," she said with a laugh, and the Hobbit nodded with a distracted look on his face. Tara's eyes involuntarily darted towards his waistcoat's pocket, and she bit her lip.

"You never told me what happened to you. Where did you disappear off to?" she asked with a smile, attempting to keep her mind preoccupied and away from the Ring. How easy it would be to just snatch it from Bilbo and run in a beeline to Mordor, but she assumed that would cause a number of problems. Not even beginning to count what effect the Ring might have on her.

"Oh, well... I fell down into a grotto beneath Goblin Town," Bilbo began with a stutter. "I was lost down there for a while, but I made it out at some point. That's when I made my way to you," he shared. Tara was a bit peeved at the fact that Bilbo was lying to her, but she knew why he did it. Or, she had an idea.

"You're lucky. You might never have made it out. That place was a bloody maze," Tara pointed out, and Bilbo chuckled.

"You are right at that. I assume your way out was no easier than mine?" he asked, and Tara shook her head with a groan.

"You don't know the half of it!" And as Tara began her rather illustrious depiction of how they got from Goblin Town to the cliff, some of the Dwarves pitched in with their own additions. Dieena and Gandalf also explained how they had entered Goblin Town and located the company, something Tara had never heard of before. When Gandalf had left Rivendell, Dieena had snuck out with him, and Gandalf, being the mischievous old man he was, had let her, despite knowing that Tara would be very angry with him. He soon reached the part of the journey where Dieena and he crossed the mountains.

"I was surprised at how many problems you can get into without me. Stone Giants?" Gandalf asked with a bushy eyebrow raised, and Ori shuddered.

"Don't remind me!" he begged, and the others chuckled.

"It was amazing. I had never thought they really existed," Kili admitted, and the others hastily agreed.

"Oh, they exist. It is just exceedingly rare that they wake up. Nothing short of a thunderstorm can wake them up," he admitted, and Tara smiled.

"Yeah, tell me about it," she muttered with a roll of her eyes, before she lay down, taking a deep breath. The others soon followed her example, all settling in for the night. The rest was welcomed, and as she had gotten accustomed to sleeping outdoors by now, she fell asleep almost immediately.

Darkness consumes everything. The Evil is growing.

"Find them! Find them NOW!"

"General Azog."

Only one true ruler of Middle Earth has been. And he is REBORN!

Tara's eyes shot open as she sat up, breathing heavily. She blinked, while attempting to sort through her vision. What had she seen, and what was out of place? She had seen Sauron, growing in strength. No surprise there. Azog was less than happy with their escape, as expected. She had seen him being called off the chase. And then that last part. The last few seconds of the vision. She had seen a face, a distorted, evil face, a rotting corpse with a face twisted in anger. But the voice which had spoken to her had been familiar. At least, sort of familiar. Ruler of Middle Earth? She assumed that meant Sauron. She shivered, before slowly getting up from the ground.

She made sure not to wake Dieena, who was sleeping closely by her side. The sun was setting already. They had slept for longer than she thought. As she counted the number of sleeping figures, she noticed Thorin was missing.

"It couldn't be," she muttered to herself, as fear initially sat in. She quickly shook her head. There was no way Orcs would've let the others sleep while they took Thorin. Not Orc-style. She looked around, hoping to find Thorin's shape somewhere. When she did find him, she was surprised at how far away he was. He was, at least, twenty feet away from them. He stood still as a statue, gazing at the remnants of the light on the sky, apparently in great thought. She approached him, not being careful with how much sound she made. She doubted he could hear her even if she had an army marching behind her.

When she reached him, her suspicions proved accurate. He didn't turn towards her, even as she sat on a boulder a few feet to his left, and she joined his silent gazing at the evening sky. It wasn't until the sun had completely disappeared behind the mountain range and the first couple of stars had come out of hiding that he spoke.

"Can't sleep?" he asked, and Tara shook her head.

"Visions. What about you?" Thorin didn't answer, but they both knew he didn't have to.

"Did you know?" he instead asked, and Tara bit her lip.

"That Azog was alive?" she asked, seeking the exact question he had in mind, and a quick nod from Thorin's side made Tara shrug. "I had no reason to believe he was dead."

"You had a vision about him," Thorin pointed out.

"I saw him, yes, but I didn't know, at the time, whether it was past or future. I still don't, to be honest," she admitted with a sigh. The two fell into silence again, but Thorin was, apparently, in a talkative mood that evening, for the pause was much shorter than normally.

"You said my name when you had the vision," he admitted, and Tara clicked her tongue with an awkward smile on her face.

"I did? Well, I did hear your voice that time," she speculated aloud, as she looked at the ground.

"Is that normal?" Thorin asked, and she shook her head, still not looking at him.

"No, it never happened before. Usually, there is no link between the physical world and my visions," she wondered aloud, when she cut herself off. She remembered the vision she had on top the eagle's back, where she had been able to feel the eagle beneath her, but her vision had been cut off from the real world and instead given way to the darkness.

"But it is beginning to happen," she finished her sentence with a glum look on her face, and Thorin looked at her. He was uncertain of what to do when he saw Tara's resigned expression, and yet he felt like he should ask about it. When she looked up at him, he nodded with resolve.

"It's happened again?"

"In a different way," Tara admitted. "On the eagle, while you were... Unconscious, I think I had a vision."


"It wasn't like my normal visions. Everything just became black, and it was like something was calling to me. A great shadow," she attempted to explain, but in the end, her exact feelings were too abstract to explain to him. The quest, Mordor, even everything with Sauron had paled in importance as what lay beyond the Misty Mountains. It had been of utmost importance that she make her way there... But that emotion disappeared when the vision had cleared up.

"But you didn't pass out?" Thorin asked, calling her back from her thoughts.

"No. I could still feel the eagle's feather beneath my hands. I was wide awake, but the vision took long enough for... " She wasn't able to finish the sentence, and she instead sighed and shook her head. "I don't know how my visions work, but I'm working on it," she said with a smile, looking at Thorin. He smiled slightly, nodding at her. The two fell into silence again, watching the darkening of the sky together.

"By the way?" Tara asked, making Thorin look at her. "Don't ever do something like charge ahead on your own again, will you?"

"Hm?" Tara bit her lip, scratching the back of her head as she shook it.

"I was worried about you. I thought we'd lost you," she admitted. The two looked at each other, Thorin with a slight smirk on his face. Tara frowned, shaking her head again, this time in disdain.

"You're amused! If I didn't know better, I'd think you were laughing at me," she complained.

"I'd never do that," Thorin denied, and Tara's jaw dropped.

"You're lying too! What part of this is royal behavior, hm?" she asked, poking Thorin's arm. She laughed a bit at the raised eyebrow Thorin sent her, and she found herself quite confused at the current situation. She hadn't tried fooling around like this with Thorin before, and it felt strange seeing that side of him. She imagined it was one few had seen before.

"You are not behaving like a Seeress yourself."

"When do I ever?" she pointed out. Thorin seemed to think on this for a few seconds, before he nodded.

"I don't think I've ever seen you act the part," he admitted, and Tara grimaced.

"That won't do. I'll have to do better," she muttered to herself, before smiling and shaking her head. A familiar rumble told her that Thorin was having fun too, though she wasn't certain she liked the fact that he was having fun at her expense.

A sudden movement behind them made the two of them turned around. Dieena stood behind them, her eyes fearful. Tara was at her side in a split-second, her arms around the frightened Elf.

"Mani na taa, Mellon?" she asked in a whisper, calming Dieena. Dieena blinked, shaking her head timidly.

"I heard something," she admitted quietly. "Wargs." Thorin and Tara quickly looked at each other.

"I didn't hear anything," Thorin pointed out with a gruff voice, and Tara shook her head.

"Elves have good ears," she replied to the Dwarf, before turning her attention back to the nervous Elf. "How far away are the Wargs, Dieena?" she asked quietly, and Dieena turned quiet for a few seconds, listening intently to something neither Thorin nor Tara could hear themselves.

"A few hours," Dieena shared, and Tara nodded.

"All right. Go wake the others. We'll move soon," she asked, and Dieena quickly did as she was asked. Tara turned towards Thorin, who eyed Dieena's retreating figure with suspicion.

"You are sure she is to be trusted?" he asked, and Tara nodded.

"I am. And even if she wasn't, would you really risk it?" she asked. Thorin only had to think of it for a few minutes, before he shook his head. No, he wouldn't.

Mani na taa = What is wrong

Mellon = Friend

There! The first chapter of the new era is over and done. I hope you all liked it! This was a tidbit for the Thora-shippers out there, and a reflection of Thorin's astounding lead in the vote!

Thorin has 14 votes, Bilbo has 9, Aragorn has 5, Legolas has 2 and Kili and Frodo share 1. Now, there is a deadline for the vote!

The vote will officially end on the 28th of February GMT+1. This is, in case any of you are unaware, in Copenhagen, Denmark's timezone. I will accept votes until 23:59 in that timezone. As you know, reviews are welcome, and you are welcome to change your vote, in case you feel that way. And, in case you are wondering, Bard is up for votes too, if you like him enough xD Have a nice day!