You'll remember me when the west wind moves
upon the fields of barley.
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
when we walked in fields of gold.
A few hours earlier
Bard entered Thorin's tent hesitantly, not quite sure he wished to see the dying dwarf king. But Bard had been summoned, and Thorin was dying, so he went. The smell of blood was heavy in the tent, many spears had pierced his body – not even Bard was without wound, his side was stitched from where an orc had cut him.
Thorin looked at Bard with heavy lids, his chest hurting more with each breath and his body cold. "Do you have a quill and parcel?"
"As you requested," Bard answered as he sat across from where Thorin lay. "What, may I ask, is it for?"
A reddened smile broke on Thorin's face, and he wheezed slightly. "A letter to you wife," he answered, seeing the irony now that he was dying.
Bard stilled and looked at the dwarf with hard eyes making Thorin chuckle lightly, though he broke off coughing quickly after. "If I believe it will hurt her, I will not write it," Bard told him.
Thorin took a deep breath that did not fully reach his lungs and nodded. "She will be hurt no matter what you do," he told the man quietly. "You know your wife, she chose you and I am dying. Tell me you don't know that she will blame herself."
Bard couldn't, for he knew Lily would. But he did not like that Thorin knew her so well. He also knew there was a chance that Lily, who knew Thorin more than him, might find some peace with what the dwarf had to say. "What would you like me to write?" Bard asked after a few moments.
Thorin exhaled heavily, feeling weariness settle around him, and he stared at the top of the tent as he pictured her pretty face. "I love you," he said in a labored sigh, the sound of his ragged breathing startling Bard. "Did you write it?" Thorin asked impatiently turning to look at the grim faced man.
"You want me to write a letter to my wife telling her you loved her?" Bard asked incredulously.
Thorin sighed, sounding more a gurgling growl. "If I had told Lily I loved her thirteen years ago," Thorin stopped to take a breath, finding that he was struggling to get enough air, "she would have come with me to the Blue Mountains. I might not be here now, I would have," he took another breath, "had children, and her." He smiled a bitter, rueful smile. "Perhaps the gold would not have been so appealing, all the gold in the world could never measure up to her. I was a fool to ever think anything could." Thorin was breathing heavily after he finished explaining to Bard why telling Lily he loved her was so important, and he turned to Bard to see the man writing.
This is what he wrote; "I love you. If I had only told you that thirteen years ago you would have come with me to the Blue Mountains. We would have had children. I would have had you, the gold might not have been so appealing. All the gold in the world could not compare to you and I was fool to think anything ever could."
Bard scribbled furiously as he tried to remember what all Thorin had said, realizing that he could not make himself apart of this – he had no place between her and Thorin, only at Lily's side – and he wrote what Thorin had said, understanding that this is what would give her ease in Thorin's passing. He looked up when he'd finished to see Thorin's eyes on him, a small smile on his bloodied lips.
"Do you understand now?" Thorin asked him. "Why you have to do this?"
Bard's eyes were still hard but he nodded none the less and looked back to the paper. And this is what he wrote.
"I know you love me, never have I doubted that."
"I know you love me still."
"I'm not writing that," Bard said refusing, looking at Thorin who sighed grievously.
"She left her inn to wait for me in the laketown," Thorin told him. "She came because she loved me, but she stayed because she loves you more."
Bard held the quill in his hand and the paper on his lap, looking at Thorin and realizing the truth to his words. Lily loved Thorin, even now; but she loved Bard more. And Thorin willingly admitted it.
"Can I continue now?" Thorin asked seeing Bard understood. He turned away at the man's irritated eyes and took a deep, labored breath. "I know you love me still," he said starting from where he'd stopped.
"I know you love me still, it's just you love him more. As much as I wish to be angry with you, I cannot. I have never seen you more happy than when he is near, not even with me. You told me once all you had ever wanted was a man who loved you, a farm with animals, and children. He adores you, as does your son. I could never have made you so happy."
Bard sat back and waited as Thorin caught his breath, looking over the words to see that it made sense. Bard had chosen some of his own words, sometimes Thorin hardly made sense and sometimes he spoke too quickly for Bard to write it exactly as he'd said. He grew concerned when Thorin began coughing, a deep wet sounding cough. Bard wiped the blood from Thorin's mouth and chin and the dwarf king did no more than nod; that may have scared Bard more than anything so far.
Thorin laid back trying to catch his breath, his head beginning to pound, but nothing hurt him worse than the cold.
"Did you ever think," Thorin said before he had to catch his breath again, "that we only met so that you could," again he had to stop to breathe, "find him?" Thorin let out a weary breath, happy to have just gotten out that thought.
Bard quickly scratched that down, writing word for word what Thorin had said. Next he wrote; "It seems so clear to me now. I was never right for you, I was not good enough. You have the kindest heart of anyone I've met. I would have ruined you."
It had taken Thorin a long while to get that out, not only was his wheezing worsening he was also left fighting tears as he gave Lily his last words. And so Bard sat as Thorin composed himself, waiting to continue.
"But I love you, in my own way. I never loved only part of you, I could have handled only loving part of you. Did you know that I was afraid? I loved you fully, then and now."
Thorin wheezed loudly as he thought of how to word the end of his letter. He did not want to hurt her, as he had for the last thirteen years. He wanted her to be at peace; it was then he knew what he would say.
"I had wanted to see you were happy, to see you were loved. He will make you happy until the end of your days. I could not have loved you more than he does, I see that now as well. I want nothing more than for you to live your life fully in love and happiness. I can be laid to rest in peace knowing that he will make sure of it."
Thorin had stopped then not thinking he could go on anymore and he laid wheezing as he looked to Bard. "You will make sure of it," Thorin said, demanding an answer.
"Yes," Bard said softly, rolling the letter.
Thorin nodded and turned away. "You should be there when she reads it," he told Bard before he left. "She will need you to hold her."
Bard stood before Lily watching as she read the letter, her hand pressed to her mouth and tears leaking from her eyes. He did not reach for her, he did not wrap her in his arms though he greatly wanted to. He waited until she reached for him, he waited until she was ready. It took several long moments of standing with the letter folded in her hand pressed to her chest, wiping her cheeks as tears fell, before she was ready.
She did not cry as he had thought she would, he had expected to feel her shoulders shaking as she sobbed but she did no more than sniff softly. But she was thinking what Thorin had not said – this was the only way Thorin would have ever been free of the treasure and the sickness it had plagued him with. And so she mourned softly, wishing things had been different.
It took her months before she could smile again. Bard loved her and held her and bedded her, and she slowly found herself again. A part of her heart had been buried with Thorin, where it would always remain. But life called for her to be present; Bard gave the Master a portion of his fourteenths share to rebuild the laketown but he took the rest and rebuilt Dale. Many of the people from the laketown joined them, and within three years Dale was complete and Bard was made King and Lily his Queen. Bard was a good and generous King, a loved one. His land became bountiful, trade flowed freely with the dwarves in Erebor, and people came from miles around to settle in Dale.
Thirty-three years Bard was King of Dale, and he was mourned by his people who had loved the grim man greatly. Bain succeeded his father, a young boy who had grown to be a man as kind and loving as his mother and as much of a leader as his father. Lily looked on with love and joy as her son led them, proving to be a good and just king. She gave up her hold on life ten years later and was buried at her husband's side, where their bodies remained until the end of time.
Guest: thank you, I'm so glad you like it. I hate that he dies, but I always kill him and it always hurts a bit. I really like what you said, he truly was sick for her. I guess you know now that he gives her a little peace, but it still hurt her.
So that was it, my story is over. Thank you all so much for reading and keeping with it. And to those who reviewed, they all mean so much to me. So thank you all very much.