The dwarves were named Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, Ori, Fili, and saying that in one breath! Thorin had asked my name. Honestly, I didn't like dwarves all that much, but Thorin and Kili were kind of cute. GAH! What was I saying? Strider would laugh himself sick if he heard about this.

"Thorn!" Strider grabbed my arm. I realized that I was so busy thinking, I had almost walked into a stream. "Are you okay, Thorn?"

"Yeah! I'm fine." Although, it wasn't like me to think that deeply.

"We part ways here, Elf," Thorin said to me. I wasn't technically an Elf. My dad was one, but my mom was mortal. Because of this, my ears were pointed. I wasn't about to tell that to Thorin, though.

"He's right, Strider. We should have been back at least an hour ago," I pointed out.

"Alright," he agreed. "Goodbye, Gandalf."

"Until we meet again, Estel."

Estel? Hope. Why would Gandalf call Strider that?

"Come on, Thorn. We'd better get back."

"Right. Coming."

As we walked off, I swerved and spun around to face Strider, walking backwards the whole time.

"Estel, huh? Where did that come from?"

"Thorn, why would you ask something like that? You know that I go by many names."

"Why won't you tell me?"

"Because you don't need to know."

I stepped in front of him and grabbed his left shoulder with left hand, pulling out a dagger with my right. I pointed the dagger at his throat.

"Strider, we have never lied or kept secrets from one another. I don't want to start now. Now tell me why Gandalf just called you 'Hope'."

"And what if I don't?" he taunted. I pressed the blade closer to his neck.

"Try me. What aren't you telling me?"

"Nothing you can learn from me."