Disclaimer

My work is merely a fan fiction. The content is for the private use of the reader only and should by no means be sold, rented or used for any other purposes in any way, shape or form. It goes along the film, with some invented scenes as well. It also contains used or quoted words, expressions and parts of conversations from the film, entirely for the purpose to be even more authentic on the film, with absolutely no intention to violate any copyright. The characters and the story of the Hobbit and the referred words, expressions and conversations are owned by Peter Jackson and Tolkien. I do not claim any ownership over them and do not get any compensation for this fan fiction. The character of Kleana is my own invention and the story was prepared for entertainment only, with all my gratitude to Tolkien for his amazing story of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and to Peter Jackson and company for interpreting them on film.

Foreword

This is the story of Kleana, a woman warrior, being a companion to Thorin in the quest to Erebor, and the development of their relationship on their way (as far as the film Unexpected Journey). It is seen through her eyes, while she herself is carrying the burdens of her own past, which in some parts also happens to be related to that of Thorin's. It is, through the story, a kind of analysis of film-Thorin as a character (so far) and also presents another side of him which I strongly believe is there.

It follows the film An Unexpected Journey (not the book) and the character of Kleana is fit into the scenes of the film, with some invented scenes as well. It also contains used or quoted words, expressions and parts of conversations from the film, entirely for the purpose to be even more authentic on the film.

I made it into Flashes instead of chapters as these are more like flashes of those parts of the film and the story where the interactions of Thorin and Kleana (or as most know her, Klee (kli:)) are relevant from the aspect of their relationship. The story is therefore more understandable if having seen the film as some parts of the film or its scenes are only referred to or are not even mentioned due to irrelevance from the aspect of this story.

Let me note that English is not my first language (I am Hungarian). For this reason, the language of my writing may be simple, and though I have tried my best, spelling or grammatical mistakes, misuse of words, prepositions or tenses may appear in it due to the level of my English knowledge, for which please be so kind to accept my apologies in advance. All remarks for correction are welcome. I still hope that what I mean to say will be understandable and will get through.

All comments and criticisms are appreciated and warmly welcome. It is my privilege to receive any.

An Unexpected Journey: Thorin and me

Intro

My name is Kleana, or as most know me, Klee. I am considered as a known and respected woman warrior of Middle Earth. But all my skills come from the unblessed fact that I have seen so many battles and fought in so many fights during my quite long life that it was inevitable that they developed.

I was a companion to Thorin in the quest to Erebor. Here is my story, or the parts of it relevant in the respect of the development of our relationship.

Flash 1

I arrived at Bilbo's house together with Gandalf and the last ones of the dwarves. Gandalf introduced me to Bilbo and I also said something about being at his service, kindly. I have heard of him so many times. In fact, we did meet once, but it was so many year ago Bilbo did not even remember. I liked Bilbo. I was also familiar with Gandalf's plan to take him to the quest as a burglar. I have known Gandalf for years and years and I believe I can say we were friends. I respected and trusted him very much and I felt that he respected and trusted me too, and not only for my warrior skills. We had been through many things together.

When Gandalf told me about his plans to Erebor I said yes immediately. And he knew why…

When Bilbo heard my name his eyes opened wide with excitement. "The great woman warrior in my house!" – he thought. "But what is she doing in my house? And what is going on here at all? Dwarves, Klee…" - but he decided to postpone his contemplation on it as the dwarves were having a party-like thing and it really went on his nerves.

Most of the dwarves have heard of me already and looked at me with respect after Gandalf introduced me. But I did not like being 'respected' that much if it meant being an outsider. Of course I had my own natural pride and appreciated to be respected as much as everybody else does, but I never thought of my deeds and my capabilities as being heroic but as the consequences of all the horrifying things I had been part of in my long-long life. I more liked to be treated as an ordinary person and as part of the company and I also liked to behave accordingly. I liked to be a person who did not order, but asked, and with a smile if possible. Unless the situation demanded else wise.

So I joined the dwarves, had some conversations with them and laughed a lot and enjoyed the way they enjoyed life. I also could not help laughing at poor Bilbo for being so nervous for the dwarves eating all his food and messing up his plates, though I knew it was not very nice of me. This also made me forget about the moment we were all waiting for: Thorin to come.

But soon there was a heavy knock on the door. The dwarves all went silent and I also froze. The old memories flew over me again all of a sudden and made me shiver. But I did not have much time to think about them. Gandalf opened the door and Thorin entered. I was so thrilled to see him. I was so thrilled to see the person that used to be that young, noble warrior dwarf prince of those times years and years ago.

I was standing somewhat behind the door so that he could not see me at once, but I could see him very well. And my eyes opened wide so much that I had to pull myself together immediately not to let it show.

The man who came in through the door was beyond my expectations. His appearance was so unique. He was so different from all the dwarves. But that was not why I was so amazed. He did look different at those times as well, he did look like one born for leading, born for the throne. But now, no more dwarf prince. The one who entered the door, was the dwarf KING.

And now, I was even more thrilled to find out whether his honorable character that I highly appreciated and respected at those times, had changed.

He said something about losing his way twice before finding Bilbo's place while turning to Gandalf, but nothing about being at anybody's service. Then he noticed me standing behind Bilbo. I saw the expression on his face: what on Earth a woman is doing here? And he looked at me from tip to toe with some cynical grin. That annoyed me a bit, I thought I had never given him any reason to look down on me. But then I forced myself, for the sake of the old memories I had about him, not to say anything and not to show what I think, and to understand that he does not know who I am – at least, even if he had heard my name before, he did not know it belonged to me -, and he must have been surprised, even disappointed to see a woman – not even a dwarf woman (by appearance I looked human) – in the company. But still I thought it was not fair of him at all.

Then he asked Gandalf – not even me: " – Who is this… lady?" He meant to say something else, but in the last moment he decided to change it and be a little more polite.

"- Let me introduce Kleana, or as most know her, Klee." – said Gandalf. The expression on Thorin's face changed immediately when he heard my name. In his eyes I could see some respect now – he had heard this name before, it was known among the dwarves as well – but also the look of astonishment. I suppose it was because he did not understand what I was doing there – there was no word about a 15th companion when Gandalf talked to them – and also to the fact that he had never seen me before – or at least he believed so – and the name of the known warrior belonged to such a small and fragile-looking woman. But he had to postpone this issue as Gandalf turned to me and Bilbo and said: "- Allow me to introduce the leader of our company…"

"- … Thorin Oakenshield." – I said together with Gandalf in a quiet, firm voice, looking deep into Thorin's eyes. The tone of my voice, the expression on my face and the way I nodded my head only slightly but my eyes were still looking into his, implied that I would give him the due respect as much as he deserved being the dwarf king but he should not expect me to pay homage to him. I made him understand that I would be a partner in this journey, and not somebody under his command. It seemed he never expected such a manner from a woman, from such a small woman (though this manner of my behavior was provoked by his behavior and I did not like it myself) and as it took him by surprise he somewhat withdrew and slightly nodded his head.

Then he turned to Bilbo: "- So, this is the Hobbit…." I listened to the way he talked to Bilbo, looking down on him and that annoyed me again. Bilbo may not have been a hero, nor a burglar, may not have even been the best choice – though I had no doubt that Gandalf did know why he chose him and that there was much more in Bilbo than could be seen at first sight – but I still thought that the way Thorin talked to him was discreditable and it was only reinforced by the way he almost hit Bilbo when later giving him the contract. I was so disappointed that even the thought of leaving ran through my mind. This was not the same person as the one I remembered: a noble, honorable dwarf prince who devoted himself to his people and whom I very much honored and respected for that. This Thorin was arrogant and disrespectful.

Then I even heard him saying that Dain was not coming and I thought we did not have much chance without him and his army, in spite of the fact that I trusted Gandalf. Yet, some strange feeling deep inside, as I looked at the dwarves, and even Thorin, still told me to stay.

After Bilbo was given the contract, Balin also turned to me, and then to Thorin, saying somewhat puzzled: "- We do not have a contract for Klee…."

But before Thorin could say a word, I turned to Balin and said in a gentle voice, smiling at him: "- My dear Balin! I am here to help you on my own will. So I am not signing anything…" - I still continued as if talking to Balin, but turned towards Thorin, with no more smile but a firm look on my face and looking straight into his eyes – "… and I do not want… do not need any of your gold. Hereby I give you my word."

It seemed Thorin wanted to say something but then he remained silent. My words hit him by surprise again and as he was not prepared he could not do anything but accept them. He was not used to a woman behaving like an equal partner with him and though it somewhat annoyed him at the same time it also provoked his respect.

As Bilbo read the contract and he came to incineration, and with Bofur's valuable description on what the dragon could do to him, Bilbo fainted.

We took him to another room and Gandalf and I stayed with him. I listened to Gandalf for a while trying to persuade Bilbo – I never said a word – but then I left them cause I thought Gandalf could do better if I was not there.

So I went to another room and set down for a while. Then I decided to drink a tea but on my way to the kitchen I heard Thorin and Balin talking. I stopped behind the wall and could not help listening. I also realized that in the meanwhile Bilbo left the room and Gandalf, refusing Gandalf's offer.

Balin told Thorin that it was probably for the best that they lost their burglar because most of the dwarves were not warriors. And then I heard Thorin saying: "- I would take each and every one of these dwarves over an army from the Iron Hills. For when I called upon them they answered. Loyalty, honor, a willing heart. I can ask no more than that."

His words hit me so hard I could hardly breathe. I had to realize how wrong I was. The noble, honorable dwarf prince of those times was not lost! He was right there, in the words and the way he talked about the other dwarves! And then – though Balin told him that he did have a choice not to go, for he had built a new life for his people in the Blue Mountains – I heard him saying that he had no choice but to go on this quest, now that he had been given the key and the map. And I realized how right he was, at least from his own point of view. I realized that he had taken all the responsibility and all the burdens of the future of his people on his shoulders and how heavy a burden it was, and I could not help my heart crying out in pain. I was so angry with myself for being so mistaken and judging him by first impression. Now it was clear that behind his arrogance there was pain and bitterness and the burdens of all his past and the future they expected from him or at least that he expected from himself.

There were no more questions or doubts in me, the thought of leaving disappeared, it was now easy to make my decision and when Balin said that they all were with Thorin in his quest I stepped out from the dark behind the wall and said to Thorin: "- And my double swords and my life are all yours too." Thorin looked into my eyes and there was no more arrogance and disrespect in his eyes. He nodded his head and I nodded mine.

And I think this was the first time when something deep inside me was moved, though at that time I myself did not realize it yet.

Flash 2

Towards the end of the evening the dwarves gathered in one of the rooms. Some were smoking pipes, including Thorin.

Then Thorin started to sing. He had a mesmerizing baritone.

"Far over the Misty Mountains cold

To dungeons deep and cavers old

We must away

Ere break of day

To find our long-forgotten gold."

The dwarves joined him one by one. I was standing at the entrance of that room and listened to the song. It penetrated my mind and my heart deeply.

"The pines were roaring on the height

The winds were moaning in the night

The fire was red, it flaming spread…"

All the memories hit me again. Dreadful fire, desperate cries…. And from behind the memories the words of this song occurred from out of the blue. I could not help singing the last line together with Thorin.

"…The trees like torches blazed with light."

However soft and quiet I sang, Thorin caught my voice and turned his head towards me immediately. I saw a mixture of impressions on his face like "How do you know this song? Who are you to sing it with the dwarves? You are not a dwarf! And what have you got to do with what this song is all about, anyway?" He looked into my eyes with his eyes burning but what he found there, he never expected. He saw the same pain and sorrow in my eyes as was in his heart, and that stopped him from saying anything. At least for the time being.

The memories, Thorin's reaction and my own reaction made me so unsettled that I went out of the house to have some fresh air and settle my mind.

Thorin was still bothered by what happened and as the door was open I heard him saying something to Gandalf about that I was not supposed to have been singing that song. "– Thorin, that is not exactly true. I believe she does have some right to sing it." – said Gandalf gently but firmly. Thorin did not understand. "– Why do not you ask her?" – said Gandalf. Thorin murmured something, but this issue was still on his mind so he decided to come out of the house and ask me. I wished he did not, but I also felt that the issue had to be settled for the sake of future companionship. So I made a quick decision to be as honest and sincere with him as possible, however hard it would be to reveal anything about myself. I believed that would be the price of earning the gift of his trust and through him trusting me, I could also assure that I could trust him too.

He came up to me and told me what Gandalf told him and his eyes demanded an answer. So I told him. But I was not able to look him in the face. I gazed into the darkness of the night instead. It was so hard to talk about all those things. "– I was there. I saw the destruction brought by the dragon. Dreadful fire, cries of horror…. I was in Dale on that day. I liked Dale and I liked to trade with the dwarves there. We used to be on good terms…. I saw the desolation of that town and the fall of Erebor. I saw humans and so many dwarves die on that day. I tried to fight on the humans' and on your side but we had no chance against the dragon. I saw the mighty people of dwarves being driven away, their home being taken from them. That reminded me of the bitter feeling what it was like, not to have a home, for I do not have one either…. So I offered my services to your grandfather, King Thror, and was there in Moria as well, fighting on your side."

"- I do remember a long-haired lady fighting with courage, but…." - said Thorin slowly, with doubt. "– I do remember one also." – said Balin behind our back – we did not even notice he was there.

"- That was when I cut it. As I said I offered my services to King Thror. I tried to save your grandfather when Azog approached him, but I could not push through. A big orc caught me by my long hair and pulled me off to the ground by it. I was seriously wounded. I lay there, could not move. But I could still see… I saw Azog beheading your grandfather…." I turned to Thorin and looked into his eyes: "- I have never worn long hair since then. And I never will…. I am sorry, Thorin…." – I said in pain. "– I am so sorry…." – I whispered.

Thorin stood there stunned. He lost words. In his eyes I saw the pain and the bitter fury raised by the memories, and some gratitude for what I did for his grandfather. And he saw the same pain and bitterness in my eyes, because of the memories, and for him. And now he understood why….

Then the look in his eyes changed. I could see doubt in them. "– But it was so many years ago, and you are a human…." – he said.

I gazed into the night again and started my story again though this time it was even harder to reveal something about myself again. "- I know what you think. Humans do not live that long." – I said in a low voice. "– You are right. Normally they do not. I call myself a human because by appearance I look like one. But I am more the size of a dwarf (I was not as short as the shortest dwarves like Balin, but not even as tall as Thorin – though he was the tallest of the dwarves and somewhat taller than dwarves usually are) and for some reason I do not age like a human. I do not know how. I do not remember my childhood or my mother and father, or my past of those times. I do not know where I come from. I do not even know when and how these of my memories were lost. I do not have a home or at least I do not remember it if I ever had one." I looked into Thorin's face again and said bitterly: "- Now you know the story of the great woman warrior of Middle Earth." – and left him standing there stunned again. I disappeared in the soft darkness of the Shire seeking some relief.

Flash 3

In the next morning we were preparing to leave. I was in front of Bilbo's house doing my preparations. The door was open and I heard Thorin talking to Gandalf in the house: "- She left last night and it seems she is not coming back." The tone of his voice was a mixture of disappointment over him thinking about whether I let him down in spite of giving him my word, and feeling sorry for loosing me after finding out that there was so much in common in us. "– She has given you her word and she is not the kind of person who lets anyone down." – said Gandalf on his usual gentle tone while turning his head towards the open door. Thorin turned his head after Gandalf and saw me in front of the door doing my preparations. I never said a word, just looked into his eyes. On his face he had the expression of realizing that he was wrong about me and that he was pleased that he was.

We left without Bilbo. When he woke up we were already on our way. Still, Balin left the contract in Bilbo's house, just in case. The dwarves made bets on whether Bilbo would turn up. Kili also asked me whether I wanted to bet. "– Dear Kili," - I smiled at him "- I gave you my word at Bag End that I do not need your gold, so I would not bet if money is involved, but I have no doubt that Mr. Baggins WILL turn up. And I am also more than convinced that he has much more in him than what can be seen." – I said somewhat loud, I wanted Thorin as well to hear my words. I still remembered the way he talked to Bilbo last night. Though I knew now what was all behind and I was not sore at him anymore, I still wanted him to know what I thought of Bilbo and that I thought he was wrong about him. Thorin pretended not to hear and I did not have the particular intention to make him aware that I did want him to hear it. But I was pretty sure he did.

In a few minutes Bilbo did turn up and Thorin stopped and turned around with his pony. On his face I could see that Bilbo surprised him. I smiled to myself.

Flash 4

We camped on a flat top for the night. The fire was on and most of the dwarves went already sleeping. Gandalf was smoking his pipe. Fili and Kili were sitting by the fire and Balin was also near. It seemed that Bilbo could not sleep either. He tried for a while but then he got up and went to his pony. He gave her an apple. Then he heard a scary noise and asked the brothers what it was. Kili told him that it was orcs and that they usually struck when everyone was asleep and slaughtered everybody. Poor Bilbo, not knowing that Kili was only teasing him, got horrified.

Thorin was sitting near, leaning his back to a rock. His eyes were closed and it seemed he was sleeping but when he heard the word orc and Fili and Kili making fun of orcs he opened his eyes with a start and rose to his feet. He seemed to be angry with Kili as he scolded him, but I believed the pain of the past and him being worried about his nephews were behind his anger. He told them that orc raid was no joke and that they knew nothing of the world. Kili was ashamed and said that they did not mean anything by it but Thorin left them and walked a few steps away where he stopped and gazed into the night. Those memories of horror must have hit him again.

In that moment Balin turned up and started telling the story. The boys were still young and only knew about those times from tales and stories. So Balin told them about how King Thror tried to reclaim Moria and the horrible fights with the orcs at Moria. He explained that Thorin had more cause than most to hate orcs. I was standing opposite to Balin on the side of Kili and listened. All those awful memories again! And when Balin came to Azog and his intention to wipe out the Line of Durin I could not help saying together with him: "- He began by beheading the King." I looked towards Thorin standing by himself near the edge. I could almost feel his pain. I approached him slowly. In the meanwhile Balin continued and told the boys about how Azog threw King Thror's head to Thorin's feet. And then he told them about Thorin facing down the pale orc, standing alone against it with nothing but an oaken branch as a shield. The boys – if they had not known it so far – could now clearly understand how Thorin got his name. Balin also talked about how Thorin cut off Azog's arm and that Azog learned that day that the Line of Durin would not be so easily broken. And he explained to the brothers that the fight ended with a victory – as Thorin as a true leader gathered his people and ordered counterattack – but how unblessed a victory it was, their dead being beyond the count of grief. And then he told them about seeing Thorin at the end of the battle, standing on a prominence, the sun shining on him through the clouds covering him in gold and glory, and I heard him saying: "- And I thought to myself then: there is one, who I could follow. There is one…" By the time he came to these words I was standing one step behind Thorin. I reached out and put my hand on his shoulder as gently as I could. It seemed he had lacked gentle touch for far too long. He gave a hardly noticeable start at my hand touching him but then froze again to let it rest on his shoulder. "– …I could call King." – said Balin in the meanwhile and I said these last words together with him, instinctively knowing what he was going to say, and I meant it.

Thorin turned around. Our eyes met for a second, then he saw all the dwarves standing behind him looking at him with honor and respect. He really deserved it I thought.

Bilbo asked what had happened to the pale Orc – if only he did not. Thorin said he had died of his wounds long ago, while he walked through among the dwarves. I looked first to Balin's, then to Gandalf's face and in the eyes of both I saw the same: we were not that sure about Azog being dead.

I went back to the fire. Then Kili suddenly asked Balin almost whispering – probably not daring to ask me, though we were on good terms: "- How does she know about all these things? I mean she knew about the beheading and all that." So Balin and Thorin told them that I had been there. And I set down by the fire and told the same story to the dwarves as I told Thorin at Bag End. They listened silently. Even Thorin and Balin did. When I finished, I did not wait for their reaction, I needed some relief. Just looked into their faces and stood up and went some steps further, towards the edge where Thorin was standing earlier. I gazed into the night just like he did before.

Somewhat later I heard Thorin's baritone beside me. It brought me back from my thoughts and memories. "– Why?" – he asked fairly gently. I turned towards him. " – Why what?" – I did not understand what he meant. "– I understand that you were there in Moria, but what made you come to this quest?" – he asked. I turned my head away from him and closed my eyes for a second. He made me reveal something again. But as I decided earlier to be as honest and sincere with him as possible I decided to follow that path. "– Some of it you know already…. I know how it feels, not to have a home, for I do not have one either. And if I can help you get yours back, I am ready to. And… I failed to save your grandfather…." – I said in grief. I stopped for a second but I knew he demanded more. So I continued, still gazing into the night. "– The dragon attack was so horrifying. I saw the dwarves trying to escape from the stronghold of Erebor. And then I saw a young dwarf prince carrying his wounded fellow coming out of the fort. I saw him hoping that he would get some help from their allies. I saw Thranduil turning his back on you and the expression on your face.

Then, I saw you fighting Azog all by yourself with nothing but an oakenshield in Moria. And I saw the one Balin was talking about: the one who could be called King.

I also saw you working in the villages of men as a smith. The prince himself working for his people to build them a new life… Ered Luin…. It truly evoked honor and respect in me." I looked into Thorin's eyes. "– So when Gandalf told me about your quest to Erebor I said yes." I saw in his eyes that he never expected such an answer. We were looking into each other's eyes for long, without words. Then I turned away from him and left him standing there. I could feel him looking after me.

And I could also feel something in my heart but I told myself that I had better ignore it.

Flash 5

It was late afternoon and we arrived at a flat place. Thorin ordered the dwarves to build the camp there for the night. Gandalf explored the place with suspicion. The ruins of a house there and the behavior of Gandalf made me feel uncomfortable. "– A farmer and his family used to live here." – said Gandalf, contemplating. He told Thorin that it would be wiser to move on and suggested to make for the Hidden Valley. I happened to be standing somewhat behind Gandalf when their conversation started.

Gandalf tried hard to persuade Thorin to seek help from the elves to reveal the secrets of the map but Thorin was hard-set. The past of his grandfather and father having been betrayed by elves was still far too much in his mind and heart and whether he could not or did not want to break away from it, I could not tell. Gandalf told him that he was neither his grandfather nor his father and that he did not give him the map and the key for him to hold on to the past. "– I did not know that they were yours to keep." – Thorin answered harshly and annoyed, challenging Gandalf, and Gandalf finally gave up.

Gandalf left. He was not the kind of person to get so upset easily but Thorin put him out of his patience. I myself could not stand it anymore. I understood that it was so hard for him to cope with the past but I still thought that he should try to be reasonable for the sake of our valuable purpose. So I said, giving my voice a calm, fairly gentle yet fairly firm tone: "- Thorin. Gandalf is right, you are not your father or grandfather. And Lord Elrond is not Thranduil. I have known Lord Elrond for years and years. He is an honorable and very wise person. I do trust him." Thorin's eyes opened wide and started burning for the word trust mentioned in relation to an elf. My voice became firmer: "– I understand that you do not like elves for your own reasons, but this time you could listen to Gandalf and make a compromise, just for the sake of the success of your quest. And besides that, Thranduil might have had a reason, he may not have found it reasonable to risk the lives of his people knowing that they had no chance against the dragon." Thorin raised his voice: "- I told Gandalf, and I also tell you now, Kleana! We are not going to the Hidden Valley! Not near that place! Whatever elf it is, they betrayed my grandfather and father so you cannot say anything to make me trust an elf! It is your own business if you do, but you can never make me!" – he said with the tone in his voice indicating that he did not like the idea at all that I did trust any elf. I tried to stay calm and said: "- Lord Elrond has never given me any reason not to do so. And it seems that at the moment Lord Elrond is the only one who could help us, just as Gandalf said. We cannot read the map. And if we do not find out what is on it hidden, we may fail at Erebor. I believe it is not fair towards your companions either. They trust you and honor you and would follow you without questions. I believe they would deserve to succeed at the end. So please be reasonable and consider." "– We never need the help of elves! Erebor is ours and we will take it back! No elves!" - said Thorin in a cold, raised voice, resonating with wrath. "– Oh, please do not be so stubborn!" – I was losing my patience. Thorin opened his mouth to say something again. That was when I lost my temper. "– Tikhuzh! Atkât!1 (Stop! Silence!)" – I said in a raised voice almost shouting.

In the moment these words left my mouth we both froze. These words were in the language of the dwarves, Khuzdul, and they occurred to me out of the blue. I did not even notice I said them in Khuzdul until I heard them echoing in my ears after leaving my own mouth. How come…? – that is what was in my head and was on Thorin's face.

All beside this I was also ashamed of myself for losing my temper. I was not of this kind. And shouting at the dwarf King on his own language… I turned to Thorin. He was not furious but just as dumbfounded as I was. I tried to say something but the words did not come. So I turned away from him and left the camp.

Flash 6

I really felt uncomfortable after this incident with Thorin. My mind said why should I, I was right in all I said but he was so stubborn, but a strange feeling in my heart deemed the idea that this incident might negatively influence our relationship completely unacceptable. I simply could not stand the possibility. The simple fact that I may have hurt Thorin made me unexpectedly upset. I did not mean to do that. I only wanted to explain…. I was still angry with myself for losing my temper. Now I had some time to think it over and had the strong intention to work it out somehow and was ready to take the first step for this sake if necessary.

We got back to the camp with Gandalf – we met during the night while being away from the camp – somewhat before dawn and noticed immediately that there was something wrong. There was no one in the camp though all the equipment and accessories were left there. It seemed Gandalf was right in thinking that this place was not the best one for spending the night. We searched the place all over carefully and noticed some light in the distance. We went nearer and noticed some trolls, and of course the dwarves being caught by them. They were all tied up in sacks, some of them already being bundled on the roasting stick above the fire. Bilbo was trying hard by saying whatever came to his mind to play for time. We separated with Gandalf.

Thorin was lying beside a bush and almost the furthest from the trolls (Balin lay the furthest). I signaled Balin to be quiet and I approached Thorin very carefully trying hard not to make any noise. I wanted to let him know that I was there to help but to talk to him was risky because the trolls could have heard. So I tried it differently. It was instinctive, I did not even notice at first that I was doing it that way. I told him without words. I was talking to him in his head, in his mind. I only noticed I was doing so afterwards and even I myself was stunned that it worked. For it only worked with very few people. I learnt it from elves and tried to develop it during the long-long years but still it only worked with a few of the elves like Lady Galadriel, and with Gandalf being an old friend, and people that were special for me somehow. Yet, I did not have time to think about it now.

Thorin got somewhat shocked hearing a voice in his head, he never experienced such a thing before. I quickly stuck my palm on his mouth so that he would not make any sound in his surprise. "– It is only me." – I whispered to him as quiet as I could not to make the trolls notice. Then I continued to talk to him in his head. "– Gandalf is also here. I will try to free you. Do not move and try not to make any noise." I started loosening the rope his sack was tied with when Gandalf appeared and with his wand and some incantation he halved the great rock shadowing the place. The lights of dawn broke in and turned the trolls into stone.

Somewhat later we were talking with Gandalf when Thorin approached. He asked Gandalf where he had gone to. "– To look ahead." – he answered. "– What brought you back?" – asked Thorin. "– Looking behind." – answered Gandalf, both of his answers – besides being true for that was what he did – being obvious references to their debate on elves the day before. Then Thorin and Gandalf talked about the trolls and Bilbo playing for time. Thorin said that it was no thanks to Bilbo that they survived, but Gandalf enlightened immediately that he was not right in that as Bilbo was the only one who had the nous to play for time. None of the rest of them thought of that. Gandalf's words changed the expression on Thorin's face to one reflecting that he had never thought of that and that he accepted Gandalf's words, and that Bilbo surprised him again.

Then they talked about the trolls having come from the mountains and Gandalf said something about a darker power which made both Thorin and me uncomfortable. Then the talking turned to the cave of the trolls and Thorin wanted to find it. He started out but as Gandalf left us to gather the rest of the company he stopped and turned to me. "– So you are back too." – he said. In his voice there was something I could not really define but I was sure that were the remains of our talk unpleasantly ending the day before. Still, there was some unexpected gentleness also. That gave me some relief. "– I gave you my word and I am not the kind of person who takes it back." – I replied. Thorin nodded his head slightly indicating acceptance and turned to leave me. I knew it was my only chance to talk to him about what had happened the day before. And I really meant to. It was somewhat hard to do as all know that sorry is one of the hardest words but I really felt I wanted to fix the situation and the feeling inside my heart dictated that only a positive ending was acceptable. "– Thorin." – I started in a quiet, gentle voice. He turned back and looked to my face. I believed I detected on his face a hardly noticeable sign of him also feeling uncomfortable about what had happened and hoped that calling out for him now meant fixing it somehow. I went on: "– I am sorry…. I did not mean to offend or hurt you. You have all rights to feel the way you do about elves." "– You did have some points…." – he squeezed these words through among his teeth quickly and quietly as if he did not even mean to say them. "– I understand that even if Thranduil may have had a reason to turn his back on you, you still sense it as betrayal. I am truly sorry." – I said. I saw the expression on his face changing slowly as I talked. My apology got through to his heart – it seemed he had not received too many in his life – and now his face reflected that our relationship was restored. I was so glad to see that and the strange feeling also disappeared from my heart and it was pleased. "– It is good to have you back." – said Thorin with a hardly noticeable smile and in his eyes I could see that he meant it.

And I decided never to talk to him in that manner again I did the night before. Sometimes I caught myself looking at him and sometimes I caught him looking at me. Sometimes our eyes met and I usually gave him a smile then. Occasionally he even smiled back. I was on good terms with all the rest of the dwarves. I liked to be kind with them whenever I could, but the best relationship I had with two of them. I guess I could say we were friends. One was Balin, probably also because of the common memories, and his kind character. I learned a lot from him, for he was wise, and I respected him to a high extent. The other one was Kili. They both were open-minded and had good hearts. Kili could make me laugh fairly often. Thorin caught us talking on many occasions. And Kili was also smart and spirited. Dear Kili! He was so much like Thorin….

Yet, Thorin never said he would agree to go to the Hidden Valley.

And I did not mention it either anymore, being glad that our incident ended positively, and especially because I knew already that we WERE going to Rivendell. I had a chance to talk to Gandalf during the night before and that was his plan.

Flash 7

One thing did not let Thorin's mind settle. So later I heard him talking to Gandalf (he never knew that I could hear it): "- Can she somehow read minds?" – he asked Gandalf with some suspicion referring to me talking to him in his head the night before. Gandalf gave me a quick look unnoticed by Thorin and asked me without words, and by talking in our minds I told him he could tell Thorin the truth, remembering again my decision of being honest with him. "– No." – said Gandalf. "– She can only talk to you that way. But it only works with very few people. Some special people - by that he meant elves but he was cautious enough not to specify –, some old friends, and some people who are closest to her heart." – and then he left Thorin to decide for himself which one he was.

The same event left me bothered also. It was the fact that it only worked with people who were deep in my heart. Thorin was obviously not an elf, and was not an old friend of mine like Gandalf, which meant that only the third option could be valid. And that was not supposed to be possible. No, that simply cannot happen, I thought. It had not happened to me for years and years and years. Still, the more I contemplated on it the more my heart objected to its denial. And the fact that I did talk to him without words was also undeniable. So finally it seemed that I could not do anything else but face the fact that the tiny seed that was implanted in my heart already at Bag End was growing, however hard I tried to fight against it or ignore it or deny it. I was terrified.

Flash 8

We had just explored the troll cave when Radagast the Brown bumped into us. I hoped to meet him as we were later heading towards Greenwood, but not in the way and for the dark reason we did now. Gandalf was quite fond of him and so was I. He had his own ways but we both thought he was a great wizard.

Suddenly we heard a howling sound which meant no good. Bilbo asked whether it was a wolf but we all knew that it was something much worse than a wolf. Bofur answered him and in that moment a great warg appeared above Bilbo's head. We were attacked. A great fight began and we defeated them but knew that it was not over. Gandalf was upsettingly nervous and asked Thorin who he had told about our quest beyond his kin. Thorin replied that he had told no one, but Gandalf did not seem to believe him. This made me even more upset. Then Thorin swore that he did not tell anyone, which meant that we did not have any idea who or what sent the wargs to hunt us. Because they were sent, for sure, it was not an accidental attack. The only thing we knew was that we were hunted. And we knew very well that wargs usually did not go alone. They were usually accompanied by orcs and goblins who tended to ride them as man rides horses. That meant that we could expect orc attacks as well only too soon, as Thorin also pointed out. And I was terrified by the idea suddenly flashing through my mind that it might well be Azog hunting for the dwarves. Hunting for Thorin…. I shivered.

The fact that something terrible was in progress was just affirmed by Radagast as he talked about the Necromancer and showed the sword of the Witchking to Gandalf before the warg attack. Orcs were only the forerunners of that.

What we feared came right away. Orcs attacked us and we had to run for our lives. If it were not for Radagast drawing them off we could have hardly survived.

We arrived at a clearing and the orcs surrounded us. We were facing a desperate fight, not having too much chance. Above all, Gandalf, who was leading us so far, disappeared. Dori asked where he was and I heard Dwalin's answer: "- He abandoned us!" I knew Gandalf very well, so I could not leave this statement without words and I immediately shouted back in a firm voice while standing beside Thorin being on the alert for fight: "- He is not the kind of person who abandons anybody!" Then Gandalf turned up and called out for us to go underground just before the orcs closed up on us completely.

The dwarves jumped down one by one to the hole. Before Gandalf appeared, Thorin had ordered Kili to shoot the orcs and wargs with his arrow therefore Kili stayed to be the last before Thorin and me. I did not want to go until I could be sure that all the dwarves were safe. And I did not want to leave Thorin and Kili. Being a warrior, I meant to protect them as much as I could. Thorin called out for Kili. Kili had gone further from us so I went somewhat further from the hole, nearer to him, being on the alert to run and fight for him if needed. Kili was a talented warrior in spite of his young age. Again the same thought came to my mind as did already many times when looking at him: he was so much like Thorin. He came back safe and sound and jumped down into the hole. Then Thorin signaled with his head that I should go. I nodded my head in agreement and jumped and he came last. He was like that. He always was in the front to lead or was the last to back up his people as needed. He always cared for his people and always protected them. He was a true leader. I found it truly honorable.

As soon as we were all down in the hole we heard the sound of a horn, arrows cleaved the air from out of the blue and the orcs were puzzled. They were attacked from their back. From the hole we did not see who attacked them, but soon an orc fell down in, shot by an arrow. Thorin pulled the arrow out of it. I recognized it immediately. So did Thorin. He had already been suspicious and had already asked Gandalf when we were running from the orcs where he was leading us but Gandalf pretended he had no time to answer being busy in the attack but in fact he did not want to. Elves! They were hunting the orcs. And no sooner did I realize where we were. Gandalf did it. We were a few steps from the Hidden Valley! And the secret path opening from the hole we jumped down to was leading us right there.

I knew Thorin would be furious. I remembered our unpleasant talk about elves and the Hidden Valley and that Thorin had all rights not to like elves, and felt quite uncomfortable that we more or less deceived him but I also knew that that was our only chance as Lord Elrond was the only one who could help us read the map. So I just tried to hope against hope that Thorin would understand.

Soon we arrived to our destination. Bilbo said in amazement when he recognized where we were (he had heard about the place before but had never been there), and I could not help saying it with him: "- Rivendell!" I had been there before and this place always enchanted me. Indeed, it was the Last Homely House East of the sea. It was so beautiful and comforting. And I was also looking forward to seeing Lord Elrond again. He was a noble and very respectable person and I always held him in high estimation.

Thorin got furious when he realized where we were, just as I expected. This somewhat shadowed my delight over being in Rivendell and the chance of seeing Lord Elrond. He asked Gandalf whether this had been his plan all along, to seek refuge with their enemy. Gandalf told Thorin that he had no enemies there and that the only ill will to be found in that valley was that which Thorin brought himself. "– You think the elves will give our quest their blessing? They will try to stop us!" – Thorin said in desperate anger. "– Of course they will. But we have questions that need to be answered." – Gandalf pointed out again. Thorin finally seemed to give in.

I was very grateful that Thorin did not bother to ask me whether I had known about Gandalf's plan.

Now that we were there in Rivendell, it would not have made too much sense to turn back anyway. What was more, there was the chance that orcs were still wandering up there. So we went down the path right to the entrance of Lord Elrond's palace. Lindir, the elf responsible in Lord Elrond's absence, greeted us, but did not seem to be happy to see us. He was somewhat dismissive. He assured us that Lord Elrond was not there just when he turned up, with his people in arms. The dwarves were alarmed and closed ranks upon Thorin's order, and the way Lord Elrond and his people rode around them in circles on their horses was indeed threatening. But I knew Lord Elrond and I felt sure that he would not do any harm to them.

Lord Elrond greeted Gandalf as an old friend and he also greeted me in a friendly manner. I bowed with respect. Thorin came to the front from the middle of the dwarves' circle to face him. Lord Elrond greeted him as well: "- Welcome, Thorin, son of Thrain." "- I do not believe we have met." – said Thorin. "- You have your grandfather's bearing. I knew Thror when he ruled Under the Mountain."- Lord Elrond said. "– Indeed? He made no mention of you." – answered Thorin coldly and harshly. The smile from my face disappeared as I heard his tone, but still I thought to myself that his past was still on his shoulders and that he had all rights to be angry as he was driven to Rivendell in spite of his firm objection. Fortunately Lord Elrond knew the story of his past, Thranduil turning his back on them, and was wise and noble enough not to take it as offense. Still, he started talking to the dwarves in Sindarin – which of course they did not understand – in a tone that was misleadingly similar to one which one would use when threatening someone. But as I could understand what he was saying, I did not feel uncomfortable but smiled a bit to myself.

The dwarves were still on the alert and Gloin asked in a raised voice whether Lord Elrond was offering them insult when he finished talking. Gandalf and I answered Lord Elrond in Sindarin. Then Gandalf told the dwarves that he was only offering them food and I said as our eyes met with Thorin's, while could not resist slightly smiling at the situation, that we gratefully accepted his offer. The tone of my voice reaffirmed to Thorin what Gandalf had said that we had no enemies there. On his face I could see that he did not like it too much but he was not so stretched anymore.

Gandalf, Thorin and me had the honor to be invited to Lord Elrond's table at supper (also Bilbo and Balin). Lord Elrond examined the swords found in the cave of the trolls. We found out that they were most appreciated – and feared – swords made by the High Elves: Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver, and Glamdring, the Foehammer, the sword of the King of Gondolin. They were legendary, anyone who knew something about those times knew their names. I could see appreciation even on Thorin's face. Lord Elrond gave Orcrist back to Thorin without delay though I thought he could have decided to keep it for himself. He might have even had some right to do so as it was made by his ancestors. But he only said to Thorin: "- May it serve you well." – and gave it back, which Thorin also appreciated and nodded his head.

After supper Lord Elrond was so kind to help us with the map. At first Thorin hesitated to let him see it which was actually understandable as showing the map meant running the risk of revealing their aim to reclaim Erebor – and their treasure – to somebody whose business it never was and whom in his eyes was one of those who had betrayed his grandfather and father. "– Our business is no concern of Elves." – Thorin said. Then Gandalf told him again to show the map to Lord Elrond. "– It is the legacy of my people. It is mine to protect, as are its secrets." – Thorin said firmly. Then Gandalf requested Thorin to save him from the stubbornness of dwarves and told him that his pride would be his downfall. He firmly asked Thorin again to show the map to Lord Elrond. Then Thorin must have reconsidered it and found the purpose, that is, the success of our quest, valuable enough and in spite of Balin telling him not to do so, he gave the map to Lord Elrond. I was pleased to see that finally he made the reasonable decision and could not help hoping that the fact that I – and Gandalf – trusted Lord Elrond influenced him just a tiny bit in making it. Lord Elrond asked what Thorin's interest in the map was. Thorin opened his mouth as he was expected to answer, though I could see on his face that he did not know what to say, not willing to give away their real aim. I held my breath. Gandalf answered quick enough just before Thorin could say anything. "– It is mainly academic. As you know, this sort of artifact sometimes contains hidden texts." – he said. I let my breath out. Thorin also seemed grateful to Gandalf to be quick and cautious enough to save their secret. At least for the time being.

It was soon proved that Thorin made the right choice as Lord Elrond soon found out that it was Moon Rhunes hidden on the map. "– Moon Rhunes can only be read by the light of the moon of the same shape and season as the day on which they were written." – he said. "– Can you read them?" – Thorin asked, leaving his firm and harsh manner behind, with some more humility and begging and so much hope in his voice. Lord Elrond said that it seemed that Thorin was meant to come to Rivendell and that fate was with Thorin for the same moon was shining upon us that night as it was when the Rhunes had been written, and he did read the Moon Rhunes revealing the secret of the map and providing us with essential information on Durin's Day and on how to enter the mountain. Then it was Balin himself who finally gave away that that was their real aim, to enter the mountain, in his excitement over hearing about Durin's Day and with that their chance. Then Lord Elrond said that there were some who would not deem it wise. When Gandalf asked what he meant, he said: "- You are not the only guardian to stand watch over Middle Earth." The expression on Gandalf's face meant no good.

Now that we found out what we needed Thorin meant to leave by dawn, and unnoticed, to make sure that we would not be held back or detained by Lord Elrond or anybody else. He was anxious over Lord Elrond's words that there were some who would not deem it wise for the dwarves to go to Erebor and enter into the Lonely Mountain. Personally I did not expect that Lord Elrond would hinder us, but I agreed to do it Thorin's way, just to be on the safe side. Gandalf also shared Thorin's view to leave as soon as possible.

As I was not invited to the council, we agreed with Gandalf that when something turned up that concerned us or he found it necessary for me to know, he would inform me in the safe way of talking without words as needed. For this reason, I did not plan to sleep that night. But I recommended the dwarves to rest as best, for I knew that the way ahead was more than difficult. So I approached Thorin: "- May we talk?" He nodded his head. "– I believe you had better have a good sleep, all of you. There is not too much time left. The way ahead will be more than troublesome and a dangerous one. We will need all our strength and courage to push through." Thorin was still on the alert and resisted. He agreed to send the rest of the dwarves to sleep but he himself insisted that he would not. I knew very well that this was what I could expect. I knew he was not the one who would simply say yes. I knew that I had to involve him in our plan otherwise I would not be able to persuade him in any way. That is what we agreed on with Gandalf as well, knowing Thorin and his habit. In fact, I was even glad to some extent that we did, remembering again my decision of being as honest with him as I could. So I lead him a bit further from the others so that they would not hear what I had to say. "– Thorin, let me share something with you. Gandalf and I, being old friends, can talk to each other without words, like I talked to you when caught by the trolls. The way you heard my voice in your head." The tone of my voice was firm and grave. Thorin looked at me and I could see in his expression that he did suspect that before. But I could also see some anticipation as he could guess now what I meant to say. I went on: "- As you see I am not invited to the council. But we agreed with Gandalf that he would share anything with me that he deemed important from the respect of our quest. So for this obvious reason, I am not going to sleep tonight. Which also means that I shall be the watchman. So you may use your chance and have a good rest before we move on early in the morning. And I will wake you up in time, I give you my word. I will wake you up before dawn." Hearing this, Thorin insisted even more to stay awake to get the news right away. "– Thorin, you need that rest just as well as the others do. And I will inform you on everything in the morning or as needed, if there will be anything to share." I stopped for a moment. Then I said more gently: "– Thorin, let me ask for your honor to trust me." When he heard the word trust, Thorin halted. I could see on his face that flashes of thoughts ran through his mind as fast as lightning. Then he said: "- Very well. We will do it your way. Wake us up well before dawn." His voice was firm but with a fairly gentle tone. And from it I could know that he did decide to trust me. I knew that it meant a lot, and it raised my heart, for he decided to do so against the fact that he knew I was on good terms with Lord Elrond, and it also meant that he let something out of his hand to trust it in mine. Though he must have also known that if Gandalf deemed something as not being his business, he would not be told about it anyway.

Thorin turned away from me to go back to the others, but suddenly he stopped and turned back to me. When I saw him turning back I thought he changed his mind and would go on arguing but he turned back for a different reason. "– What about you?" – he asked. "– What do you mean?" – I did not understand. "– Watching out for Gandalf's information means that you will not have a chance to have any rest tonight. And if the way ahead is so troublesome…." – he said. I halted. I did not suppose that he would care too much. I thought he would just accept that I would not sleep as it is, as I was the only one who could take upon this task due to the fact that I was the only one able to talk to Gandalf that way. His words caught me by surprise, and at the same time warmed my heart. "- There is no one else but me who can take over this task. And now there is nothing more important than to know that you… we are all safe. And now it may depend on what Gandalf reveals to me, if anything." – I stopped for a moment but he did not leave. "– I will be all right." – I said gently, giving him a smile. He nodded his head and turned away to leave me. "– Thorin!" – I called out. He turned back. "– Thank you." – I said. He did not say a word, but as he looked to my face in his eyes I could read the answer. Then he turned and left me.

Gandalf informed me that Saruman was also there at the council and I could feel he was quite uncomfortable about it. That made me uncomfortable too. I began to wonder whether Thorin may have been right.

When it was time, I approached Thorin quietly to wake him up as agreed. He was sleeping but what I saw jerked my heart. On his face there was the expression of pain and his body was restless. He must have had terrible dreams. I could guess that he was dreaming of those dreadful times of the dragon attack and the fights of Moria again and how the elves did nothing. It ran through my mind whether it had been such a good idea to bring him there to the Hidden Valley and I felt ashamed of myself again, though I knew the answer very well that we did not have any other chance. I was looking at him for some moments with my heart crying but there was no time for this now. My hand reached out and wanted to wake him up with gentleness by touching his face or running my fingers through his hair to comfort him a little bit but I gathered my wits which told me that I was not supposed to and of course I did not do it. I touched his arm instead and called out his name gently. He woke up with such a sudden start that I immediately withdrew. Then I put again my hand on his arm as gently as I could and said as gently as I could: "- It is only me. It is time we went. Let us wake the others." He saw my face and that brought him back from his terrible dreams and comforted him a little bit.

We quickly woke the others up and prepared for leaving. Soon it was proved that Thorin's suspicion was justified. Gandalf informed me in the meanwhile that Saruman did not like his plans and would not believe him regarding the Necromancer. So if not Lord Elrond, Saruman may have held us back so now I was also anxious to leave. I urged the dwarves to leave right away. Thorin, also seeing that I was upset, said to me: "- Gandalf told you something…." – he also started feeling uncomfortable, seeing me being on the alert. "– Let us say that it seems you had some point in wanting to leave as soon as possible and unnoticed." Thorin thought it must have been the elves I was talking about. "– It is Lord Elrond, I may suppose…" - he said. Just then did I hear Gandalf's voice in my head that Saruman would not condone our quest and it was clear that he would hold us back. "– There are others who are anxious about your quest. Let us leave. Now!" – I said firmly and we did without delay. And with these last words I considered the conversation closed. That was all he needed to know.

Still, there was someone of a great power, and whom I had always held in high estimation, on our side: Lady Galadriel. She was so kind to talk to me without words even before the council started, knowing that I was not invited. That meant that we could hope for some help from her if needed, as Gandalf also informed me. That gave me some relief.

Flash 9

With the first lights of the sun reaching down the valley we were on our way, just soon enough before anybody could have held us back. We were planning to struggle ourselves through the mountains which meant treading on narrow mountain paths with huge deeps under. I have also heard of stone giants dwelling in those mountains we were heading towards. I had never seen them but I heard in stories that they existed and I was on the alert.

As we left Rivendell and took the mountain path Bilbo stopped for a few moments and looked back towards Rivendell longing for its Last Homely House. Thorin noticed Bilbo looking back and said: "- Master Baggins, I suggest you keep up." He still did not have a high opinion on Bilbo. I could hear that from the tone of his voice and could see it from the expression on his face. I thought that it was not very nice of him as Bilbo could not be blamed for longing as Rivendell was so beautiful and calm. It must have reminded him on the Shire and his Hobbit Hole. And of course he had no distasteful feelings for elves either as Thorin did. But then another thought also ran through my mind: Thorin, though undoubtedly believing that Bilbo was not for too much good, on his quite harsh way did not want Bilbo to get lost. His true leader character turned up again.

We went through mountain tops and clearings and arrived to mountains with narrow paths again. Soon we were caught by a terrible thunderstorm. It was raining heavily and the sky was dark (also it was towards evening). And what I feared appeared soon: the stone giants. As Balin pointed out, it was rather a thunder battle and as Bofur cried out, the legend was true. It was the first time I saw them and I was awfully frightened for I feared that they would smash us as they were fighting each other and throwing huge pieces of stone at each other fiercely. Huge stones were falling from above our heads and we pushed ourselves to the walls as much as we could to avoid them. The stones hit the edge of the path and broke pieces from it making them even narrower which they were already. When I thought it could not be worse the ground started moving under our feet. We soon realized that we ourselves were standing on a stone giant as well and it was moving under us.

As our stone giant moved one of his legs further, we lost half of our company as they were standing on its knee. Fili cried out for his brother but could not catch his hand. The brothers lost each other for the first time and they were horrified. And so was I, for all the ones being on the giant's other leg. The giants kept moving and we tried to jump from one to the other. The former giant was hit by another one and as it was falling it crashed its knee against the rocks of the mountain and we thought that the dwarves being on it were smashed. I was paralyzed. I heard Thorin's voice crying out in great pain. He believed Fili, being on that giant's knee, was smashed too. It echoed like his cry when he saw his grandfather beheaded. I realized again how deep feelings he had for his nephews. How deep feelings were chained deep in the heart of this battle hardened warrior. He did not tend to show his feelings and emotions, perhaps he even believed he was not supposed to, being a warrior leader, but they did exist, deep in him, and they found their ways out sometimes.

Then the giant moved again and we saw that the dwarves were unhurt. Thorin sighed in relief and so did I.

Then suddenly Bofur cried out: "- Where is Bilbo? Where is the Hobbit?" In the great disorder and confusion over what had happened we did not notice that Bilbo was not standing beside us. As we looked down to our feet we saw him hanging above the deep, desperately trying to hold on to the edge. He almost fell as his hands slipped. Fortunately he could still catch a rock somewhat lower but was still holding himself with one hand, hardly being able to do so. Nori tried to grab one of his hands and Bofur also tried to catch his other hand but none of them could reach it. And then Thorin moved beside me. There was a small ledge somewhat under him. He did not think too much but jumped down to it and before anybody could have said anything he grabbed Bilbo with one hand, holding himself with the other, and with one great strong push he pushed him up towards the edge where the other dwarves could catch him. With another strong push he helped Bilbo up to the edge. But in the next moment I got terrified. As Thorin reached out to catch the hand of Dwalin after pushing Bilbo up, his feet slipped and he was close to falling. Dwalin could hardly hold him by one hand. As I was standing beside him before he jumped, the small ledge was under me, with Thorin hanging. I quickly looked down on the ledge. There was a bit of place beside Thorin. It was too small for a dwarf but good enough for such a small woman as I was. So I slipped down to the ledge beside Thorin without thinking, trying to be careful not to push him or touch him in any way, not to make him fall. I quickly pushed myself against the wall by fixing my feet to some pieces of rocks on the ledge and reached out for Thorin. I had no chance to reach his hand, so I grabbed his mantle with both hands and held him as strong as I could. Thanks to being a warrior, I was quite strong compared to being a woman and to my size. Then the dwarves managed to catch his hand and I let him go and watched him being pulled up by his fellows. I could hardly breathe. His clothes were all wet and heavy with rainwater and he was a strong man as well as I was a small woman, so it was quite hard for me to hold him. I lost my breath. Because of holding him beyond my strength and because of the terrible fear that did not yet let me go. I leaned my back against the wall for a moment to find my breath again when I heard his voice calling out for me. He was standing above me, reaching out for me. So I grabbed his hand and he helped me up back to the edge. We were standing face to face and our eyes met. He could still see in my eyes how terrified I was of this whole situation. Terrified of losing him, of what might have happened if I would not have been able to hold him strong enough (as his hand was to slip from Dwalin's any time), of us both falling… He was still holding my arm with one hand as I was still not standing stable. As my sense told me that all was settled now, seeing Thorin in front of me safe and sound, and feeling his hand on my arm, me being safe as well, I was released from my fear and found my stability. Seeing this, he let my arm go and I could see in his eyes gratefulness and appreciation.

Then Dwalin said that he thought we had lost our burglar. The expression on Thorin's face changed immediately. He turned and said very harshly: "- He has been lost ever since he left home. He should never have come! He has no place amongst us!" I thought that poor Bilbo never deserved that, but also thought that Thorin blamed the whole situation on him – though Bilbo was not to blame for almost falling – and it was understandable that he was enraged after almost falling himself because of helping Bilbo. Still, Thorin did risk his life without thinking for someone he did not even like and had never really considered to be a part of the company. His noble, honorable character was there again.

Flash 10

We found a cave and it seemed good enough to spend the night in it. The dwarves quickly explored it and found it safe enough. Gloin wanted to have a fire – it would have been nice as we were all wet and shivering – but Thorin said there would be no fire in this place and I had to agree with him and with what he had just said that caves in the mountain were seldom unoccupied. He said we should get some sleep and that we would start at first light. Balin turned to him: "- We were to wait in the mountains until Gandalf joined us. That was the plan." "– Plans change." – said Thorin coldly. I saw on Balin's face that he did not like Thorin's words but said nothing. "– Thorin!" – I called out. "– Balin may well be right. We should wait for Gandalf as it was agreed." "– I said, plans change." – Thorin said even more coldly and harshly and I thought to myself that it was no use trying to persuade him being in such an unblessed temper – understandably – after all that had happened. I turned my head away from him and thought that I might try in the morning when he would be released from all the hardness of today.

I could not sleep very well that night. Soon I heard some talk. It was Bofur and Bilbo. Bofur asked Bilbo where he was going and Bilbo said that he would be going back to Rivendell. Bofur wanted to hold him back saying that he was part of the company but Bilbo answered him desperately: "- Thorin said I should never have come and he was right." Then he said he should never have run out his door. Bofur told him he was only homesick but Bilbo told him that he or none of them would understand it, being used to this life. Then he said that the dwarves did not belong anywhere and I thought his words were painful. But Bofur said that he was right and wished him all the luck in the world. I thought that it was no use trying to hold Bilbo back. He did make up his mind, and Thorin never took him for much good, so it might as well be the best for him, though I felt sorry for losing him since I personally liked him. And I also felt sorry for that Thorin would then find his way of thinking of and treating Bilbo justified, though my opinion of being much more in Bilbo than it seemed did not change and I was still convinced about it. I felt sorry for that Bilbo now would not have the chance to show it and prove it to Thorin.

Then as Bilbo turned to leave Bofur noticed that Sting, Bilbo's sword was shining bright and they got terrified for they knew very well what that meant. Orcs or goblins!

In the next moment a crack appeared on the ground. As Thorin noticed it immediately, I could very well guess that he had been awake all along and had heard all Bilbo's words which obviously put Bilbo in an even worse position in his eyes. But there was no time to think about it then. Thorin quickly alarmed the others but it was too late. The ground opened and we fell down to the depth, to the town of the goblins. We fell on each other as we hit the ground and immediately tens of goblins were around us. They took our weapons and took us to the Goblin King. I have never seen such a distasteful figure. Hundreds of goblins were around. The Goblin King asked what we were doing in those parts, but no one answered. Then he said that if we would not talk they would make us squawk meaning that he would torture us. Then Thorin, as always, came to the front, again in protection of his people, and he faced the Goblin King. Then the Goblin King said: "- Well, well, well. Look who it is." He started mocking Thorin. "– Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror, King Under the Mountain. Oh, but I am forgetting. You do not have a mountain. And you are not a king. Which makes you… nobody really." His words hit my heart and made me furious. But Thorin stood his words with dignity. Then the Goblin King said he knew someone, who would pay a pretty price for Thorin's head. "– Perhaps you know of whom I speak." – he went on. "– An old enemy of yours." Thorin raised his head for these words. Undoubtedly he knew whom the Goblin King was talking about. And I remembered the night when Balin talked about the battles of Moria and how we looked to each other with him and Gandalf, doubting that Azog was dead. I could hardly imagine how Thorin was feeling now. "– The pale Orc, astride a white Warg." – the Goblin King continued. Thorin said that Azog had been destroyed – and I knew he strongly believed in what he said, perhaps he even believed that the Goblin King was only playing a game with him – but the Goblin King ordered a goblin to send word to the pale orc that he had found his prize.

One of the goblins took Thorin's blade, but as soon as he drew it, he threw it right away, seeing that it was the famous blade slaughtering so many goblins: the Orcrist. Even the great Goblin King got a fright. As soon as he saw the sword he got furious. He himself, as all the goblins, hated and feared that sword, and with that the one who owned it he hated even more. He shouted and ordered the goblins to beat and kill us all. They were hitting Thorin hard with whips and as I was standing beside him, the whips hit me also. My clothes were not as thick as that of the dwarves', therefore, the whips hit me hard and I made a slight yelling sound. In that moment Thorin grabbed my arm and with one great push he pushed me among the dwarves where the whips did not reach me that hard, while he himself was trying to turn his back towards the whips to protect himself. First I was so grateful to him, but in the next moment I wished he had not done so as they were hitting him and beating him so hard that he fell. But as he had pushed me to the middle of the dwarves, I could not push through anymore, being surrounded by both the dwarves and goblins. The Goblin King shouted that they should cut off his head. "– Thorin!" – I cried out in horror and pain, trying as hard as I could to fight against the goblins beating us but still could not push through to help him. He was pushed to the ground. A goblin had just moved to obey his master's order and closed his knife to Thorin's neck, when a great flash of light swept through and flattened all to the ground, and with the light, appeared Gandalf. The goblins were blinded and confused and I had never been so glad and grateful to see Gandalf. For it meant that Thorin, and we all, were saved for that moment. "– Take up arms! Fight!" – Gandalf shouted and he himself started fighting, fiercely wielding Foehammer, and even the Goblin King was terrified. We also pulled ourselves together, gaining new courage, took our arms and did the same. Gandalf told us to follow him and we ran for our lives, fighting all along desperately.

Then suddenly the Goblin King appeared in front of us and we had to halt, letting the goblins behind us catch up on us. "– You thought you could escape me!" – the Goblin King said, trying to hit Gandalf but could not reach him. "– What are you going to do now, Wizard?" – he asked off-handed, but Gandalf stuck his wand in his eye and cut his stomach, and then his neck. The great Goblin King was dead.

The wooden bridge we were standing on collapsed and we fell together with it to the depth. But that was for the best now, or otherwise the goblins, who reached us in the meanwhile, would have probably killed us. Then Kili cried out as he saw hundreds of goblins coming after us, so we dug ourselves out of the remains of the bridge as fast as we could and ran for our lives again.

Fortunately we found our way out of the cave and daylight saved us for the time being as goblins hated light and would not come out to it.

When we finally stopped running, I heard Gandalf's voice: "- Where is Bilbo?" Where is our hobbit?" – he asked. "– Where is our hobbit?" – he almost shouted then. Being so engaged in the fight and in running for our lives, no one of us had noticed that Bilbo was not with us. We looked to each other – even Thorin did – and Gloin said something about thinking that he was with Dori; and Nori said he thought to have seen him slip away when we had been first collared, but nobody could actually answer his question. Then Thorin said, raging: "- I will tell you what happened. Master Baggins saw his chance and he took it! He has thought of nothing but his soft bed and his warm hearth since first he stepped out of his door. We will not be seeing our Hobbit again. He is long gone!" I remembered the night before that Thorin must have heard Bilbo's words on him wanting to leave. Though Thorin's words were too harsh and offensive, this time I wished he had been right and Bilbo was back in Rivendell, and not left somehow in the dungeons of the goblins. I felt so ashamed of myself, for I felt responsible for him, and it seemed I failed…. Again…. Just like when I could not save Thorin's grandfather….

Then Bilbo appeared suddenly and we were all glad to see him and sighed with relief. I saw the expression on Thorin's face that so much as he had been sure of what he had said about Bilbo having left, just as much was he astonished now and I even believed that he would have taken his words back if he could. Then he asked: "- I want to know. Why did you come back?" – and the harshness was away from his voice and there was some gentleness instead. I did not expect him to ask such a question, but it seemed that Bilbo gained some respect (also for being able to pass the goblins somehow) and sympathy in his eyes at last and now he bothered wanting to understand. Bilbo said that he did often think of Bag End, that was where he belonged, that was his home. Then he said something which shook even Thorin's heart: "- And that is why I came back. Because you do not have one. A home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back if I can." We all lost words. Even Thorin. Again I thought how right Gandalf had been when he had said there was much more in Bilbo than could be seen, and I could have sworn that I saw on Thorin's face now as well that he somehow began to think the same.

Flash 11

The daylight saved us from the goblins, but not for long. The sun was soon setting and a pack cast after us in wrath for Gandalf had killed the Goblin King. They soon caught up on us and the fight began again. By our great fortune, it was only a smaller pack, for the others were preparing for something much greater we did not know about at that time.

We fought desperately, running again for our lives. Suddenly I felt a huge strike on my chest. A great pain ran through my body, I lost breath. Darkness dropped over me and I felt myself collapsing. Then I remembered no more.

When I came to myself I was all alone (except for some goblin corpses) and there was silence around me. I soon had to realize that though I was not dead, I could not move, for when I tried, the paralyzing pain was still there. And I also realized that I had been left behind. I felt so miserable.

In the meanwhile – as I learned later – the others defeated the goblins. They were quite exhausted and finally found a place to spend the night. Only there did they realize that I was not with them. "– Where is Kleana?" – Thorin asked. None of the others could answer. "– WHERE IS SHE?" – Thorin shouted and his voice roared like thunder among the dwarves. Even Gandalf was shaken by it. Balin said something about having seen me around in the middle of the fight but no one could say anything more. Thorin made an immediate decision. "– I am going back for her." – he said firmly, with an undertone in his voice that implied that this time he was really worried and upset and would accept no objection. It was the first time he faced an explicit chance of losing me and it hit him so hard he himself would have never expected and just could not stand. He was even confused. Balin and Kili, being good friends of mine, said immediately that they would go with Thorin, but Thorin ordered the dwarves to prepare for the night and said that he would go alone, being able to move faster and more quietly then. But Kili said something about protecting his back – but in fact he wanted to go because he also was worried about me and wanted to find out right away what had happened to me – and Thorin did not want to waste any more time with arguing with him but let Kili go with him.

They searched the way backwards on which they got to the place of the camp. They moved fast and quiet. They found the goblin corpses where they had killed most of the goblins and where Balin had said he had last seen me. "– Kleana!" – Thorin shouted, not too loud, just in case any goblins would still be wandering around. "– Klee!" – he called out again. He had always called me Kleana, he had never called me Klee before.

I was still lying on the ground and suddenly I heard his voice calling out for me. "– Thorin." – I tried to answer but no voice came out of my throat. I knew that this was my only chance, or they may never find me in the darkness, so I gathered all my strength and cried out: "- Thorin!" He caught my voice and turned immediately to my direction. He and Kili searched for me among the goblin corpses and soon found me. I could see on his face how relieved he was when he did. Kili also looked glad that they found me alive. "– Can you walk?" – Thorin asked. The fact that they came back for me, that they found me and that it was Thorin himself coming for my help gave me new strength. "– I will try." – I sighed and in spite of the great pain still torturing my body, I tried my best to stand up. Thorin helped me up carefully. He put my arm around his neck and his arm around my waist. He moved slowly. I managed to take two steps but the pain ran through my body with each move again and again hitting me so hard that before being able to make the third I collapsed and fell on the ground in spite of him holding me strong by my waist. "– I am sorry." – I whispered as Thorin bent down to me. I could hardly breathe and talk. Thorin said nothing but carefully lifted me up in his arms. My head fell on his shoulder. I tried my best to hang on to his neck more or less but I failed and my arm fell. But he held me safe and strong. "– I am sorry." – I whispered again. I felt so ashamed that he had to see me in such a condition. Where was the great woman warrior now? Thorin turned his head towards mine resting on his shoulder, his face touched mine. "– Hold on, Klee. Do not give up. Just hold on!" – he whispered and his voice was worried again.

"- Kili! Get her swords!" – he shouted. "– They are important for her." – he said quietly rather to himself. He knew by then why they were important for me and he was somewhat proud of and appreciated the reason, though he remembered those times of his life with bitterness.

It had happened after we had searched the troll cave and they had found the elven swords. Thorin came up to me and said: "- Gandalf said that these were very fine blades. But you did not even come there to have a closer look at them. You are a warrior. Still you did not seem to be interested in them too much or try to search for another one for yourself in the cave. " "– They are as fine as Gandalf had said. Elves make very fine and decent swords. It will not ever let you down. But I have my own swords." – I said and did not want to say anything more but Thorin was not satisfied with the answer. So again, I had to reveal something. So I went on: "– Remember when I told you that I had seen you working as a smith in villages of men?" Thorin nodded his head. "– But I had never told you one thing. The double swords that I wear on my back crossed. They were forged by you. Though you may not even remember them." Thorin's eyes opened wide. He was astonished. "– I saw you making them on a fine day when I went to that village looking for good arms to buy. I saw immediately that they were well-made, with great and fine skill. By the noble dwarf prince himself, working for his people. So I waited until they were ready and bought them right away. And since then they have been supporting me in the fights. They have always served me well and I do not have the slightest intention to change them." Thorin stood there, with no words. I handed one of my swords to him. He had a closer look at it and I saw on his face that he recognized it. Then he gave it back, still no words, but with appreciation in his eyes. I put it back in its sheath and said gently, looking into Thorin's eyes: "- Not even for any elven sword. Or whatever other." And I left him standing there.

Thorin carried me carefully, yet as fast as he could, to the camp. I closed my eyes and tried hard not to lose my consciousness as I knew very well that still a great fight was awaiting me. This time not with goblins but inside myself, but still for my life. I hoped desperately that Gandalf would be able to help me with it.

Balin and Gandalf came up to us as we arrived to the camp. They saw Thorin carrying me and that I was alive and they were relieved. All the dwarves – and Bilbo – gathered around and it was a good feeling to hear them asking Thorin and Kili: "- Is she alive? Is she seriously wounded? Will she be all right?" – and questions like that. They were all glad when Thorin told them that I was alive. Balin, with the help of Kili, quickly made a bedlike thing on the ground for me near to those of the dwarves and Thorin carefully laid me there. He told the dwarves not to gather around me, to let me have some air. But he stayed beside me.

In the meanwhile I tried to talk to Gandalf, also standing beside me, in our heads without words." – Gandalf, my old friend. I cannot… make it by myself. I have to be well… by tomorrow morning. We need to move on. Please… help me… to accelerate and intensify the healing process. My capacity… is not enough by itself… to make it by morning." Gandalf, using the chance that Thorin was directing the dwarves, knelt beside me and quickly whispered some incantation. I kept my eyes closed and concentrated hard, while still doing my best not to lose my consciousness.

The dwarves went to sleep soon by the order of Thorin, but he himself stayed by me. As the intensified healing process started working, my body was jerking with pain and shivering because of fever. Thorin was watching me for a while then he asked Gandalf: "- Why is she suffering so much?" "– She has the ability to heal herself. She learned the technique from an old healer who still knew ancient ways. It must be an internal wound and she must be seriously wounded. Her body is trying its best and is fighting hard. If she survives like half of the night, then she will be all right by the morning." – Gandalf said. "– Can we do something for her?" – Thorin asked and I heard in his voice pity for me and that he was still worried. "– No." – Gandalf said. "– It is merely up to her now." – and he left, not being able to do anything else.

But Thorin did help me the way he could. Seeing me shivering, he took off his mantle and covered me with it to warm me. One of my hands was on the ground. As my body was jerking with pain, each time when my hand jerked with it, my fingers closed on dust on the ground. Thorin, seeing this, put his hand under mine and closed it on my hand. I closed mine on his and was grateful to him that I did not have to grab dust anymore. I held on to his hand, which gave me new courage and strength in my fight, and squeezed it each time my hand jerked with my body in pain. But he left it there all along and let me.

Then suddenly the pain stopped and fever lowered. My body was released from its jerks and relaxed. It was over. The healing process was finished. I was so grateful to Gandalf and the old healer I learnt it from. And to Thorin, being by me all along. He was lying next to me on his bedlike doss but did not sleep. He kept a close watch on me with worried eyes not knowing whether I would survive at all. I opened my eyes for a second and turned my head towards Thorin, looking into his eyes with my eyes saying thank you to him. Then, my body being completely exhausted, I fell into a very deep, coma-like sleep, to regenerate it. I knew that by doing so I ran the risk that if anything happened around me I would not even sense it or know about it and they would not be able to wake me up, but I had no other chance. That was the only way to come to myself completely by the morning. And I knew I had to. Now, that Thorin saw that my body became relaxed and I was sleeping calmly, it finally set his heart at rest and his stretched body also eased and he fell asleep too.

In the morning, I woke up before all the others. The coma-like sleep helped and I was totally myself again. Thorin was also still asleep. I was looking at him for some seconds, still being so grateful, and my heart being filled with such a pleasant feeling, and then gave him his mantle back by covering him very carefully with it, not to wake him up.

I was doing my preparations and was fixing my forearm protector when I heard somebody moving behind me. I turned and it was Thorin. "– It is good to see that you are well." – he said and in his eyes I could see that he meant it. "– Thorin. Please take all my gratitude for coming back for me. I believe I owe my life to you." – I said, nodding my head. "– You do not owe me anything." – he said and turned away. "– Thank you. And thank you for covering me with your mantle. It really did warm me up. I indeed needed that. I am grateful." – I went on. He turned back half way and said quietly, with his face half turned to me, but not looking into my eyes. "– You were shivering…" "– I really was." – I still felt ashamed. "– As Gandalf told you, I have the ability to heal myself that I had learnt from an old healer. I knew that in the morning we needed to move on. But normally healing myself from a serious wound would take two-three days. Therefore I also had to ask for the help of Gandalf and he helped to accelerate and intensify the healing process for me to manage it in time. But this made my body fight harder than ever. That is why I was jerking and shivering. Because it went together with great pain and high fever." – I explained, but did not look to his face as I would not have been able to stand his eyes. He was such a strong man and now, instead of the woman warrior, he had seen me weak and miserable. And though he came to my help without thinking and without delay and never made any such reaction that he would have taken it as weakness, I still felt uncomfortable about it. Thorin stood there with no words, only listening. I stopped for a moment but I still deemed something to be important to say so I went on: "– And thank you for letting me hold on to your hand. I was grateful that I was not grabbing the dust... And it gave me new courage and strength. Thank you for staying by my side." Thorin got somewhat confused, he did not know how to react to my words. He opened his mouth to say something, but something inside him told him that he was not supposed to say what he would have meant to say and he did not. But as I now looked towards him our eyes met for a second before he turned away and I saw something in his eyes for that second. Something that I did not dare to take seriously and told myself that I must have been mistaken.

Thorin made a few steps to leave me. But then he turned back and came up to me again. "– I believe it is yours." – he said and opened his palm. And in it there was something that stunned me. I immediately and instinctively moved my hand to my neck and realized that I had lost it. It was in his hand. It was my medallion pendant that I used to wear on a fine chain in my neck. I always wore it hidden under my clothes but Thorin had seen it once from a distance when it slipped out from under them. It seemed now that I had lost it in the fight with the goblins or when I fell on the ground. "– Kili found it when he found your swords last night. It must have fallen during the fight." – Thorin said. I hurriedly reached out for it but Thorin closed his hand on it again and asked me: "- How did you come by it, if I may ask?" His voice was gentle, but still firm enough to let me know that he would not go without an answer. It seemed that if I wanted my medallion back I had to answer in spite of the fact that I thought it was not his business and that it made me upset that he closed his hand on it again. So I tried to stay calm and not to show how upset I was and said: "– I have been wearing it in my neck since the days I remember. But as I told you already, I do not remember my early past. Yet, I have somehow always felt for sure that it has something to do with my family…. But why is it important for you to know?" – I asked him, trying not to show in my voice that I was irritated by this situation. "– It seems to be of noble jewelry. And it is definitely dwarf-made." – he said and laid it back in my hand. My eyes opened wide and I lost words. He did not wait for my reaction but turned away and left me. I quickly fixed it on my neck and slipped it under my clothes, being confused of his words.

Flash 12

On the next evening, we were out of the frying pan, but were falling right into the fire. We had defeated the goblins, but the orcs caught up on us. The message sent by the Goblin King must have reached Azog and now he was on our heels. We were forced to run for our lives again as his forerunners, the wargs appeared out of the blue and chased us through the forest until we arrived to an edge with great depth under and there was nowhere to run. Gandalf shouted that we should climb on the trees and we did, not seeing any better solution.

And then I saw Azog. He was riding his white warg and was more fierce than ever. I lost my breath. To believe that he was not dead and to see him was different. And I knew very well that he came especially for Thorin. Thorin! Then I realized that Thorin noticed him too. I heard him saying: "- Azog!" – with a tone that it seemed he still could hardly believe his eyes. Azog started provoking him by saying nasty words on his father. I heard Thorin again: "- It cannot be!" – and in his words there were all the pain and bitterness of his past. "- That one is mine!" – Azog said, meaning Thorin. "– Kill the others!" The wargs started assaulting the pines we had climbed on with great wrath. More and more came and were hitting the trees so hard that they fell one by one and we, to save ourselves, jumped from one to the other until there were no more, as we reached the last of them, being right on the edge, with the great depth under. Gandalf was trying to save us and chase away the wargs by lighting fire with magic. The wargs were afraid of fire and soon withdrew. That made Azog furious. We rejoiced over the wargs' drawing back, but it could last only for some moments as our tree bent soon too, over the depth, not being able to stand the weight of all of us now. Some of the dwarves almost fell.

Azog started provoking Thorin again with an expression on his face that reflected obvious challenge and Thorin could not stand anymore, and of course the ocean of pain, bitterness and anger burst out of him soon. He let the tree go and started out on the trunk towards Azog. I was horrified. I knew very well that there was nothing that could have stopped Thorin. It was his fight and his alone, bearing all the bitterness and burdens of his past. So I only whispered, not daring to think about what might happen: "- Thorin…." By that time the forest was on fire around us. "The fire was red, it flaming spread, The trees like torches blazed with light."- the song echoed in my mind and that made me even more horrified. Thorin moved faster and faster and finally Azog succeeded in provoking him to an extent that he was running, mad with anger and for revenge towards him. He forgot about everything else for that moment, the quest, the others, and the only thing on his mind was now to pay Azog for all the anguish he had caused. And who could have blamed him for that….

Azog was standing with his warg on a rock high above the ground and Thorin. And he did use this advantage. As soon as Thorin was close enough, he made his warg jump and the beast hit Thorin even before he could have raised his sword to hit it or to protect himself, that hard that he fell on the ground with a painful yell. I was paralyzed. Then I saw Thorin trying hard to get up and as he seemed to manage I was released for a moment and forced myself to think that all could turn out well. But Azog did not even wait until Thorin stood on his feet stable but made his warg run against him and he hit Thorin with his mace on his chest. Thorin fell again. I was looking at all the events with horror but still paralyzed by what I saw and the conception that it was Thorin's fight. The question ran through my mind how much chance Thorin would have to survive but did not dare to think of the answer. The white warg grabbed Thorin in its mouth with its sharp teeth and my only hope was that the mail he was wearing would protect him to some extent, being made of the best material for it, mithril. Thorin hit the warg with his sword that he still held on to and the warg threw him onto the rock nearby, causing him great pain again. Azog gave an order to his bodyguard to bring Thorin's head to him. I saw Thorin trying to reach out for his sword now having fallen out from his hand and I desperately thought, it was all right, he would not let the orc touch him, but he could not reach Orcrist. In the meanwhile, while the orc approached Thorin, I noticed Bilbo move. This small hobbit, who has never been in battle before and has not even had a sword in his hand before this quest, now drew his Sting and though it could be seen in the way he moved that he was terrified, decided to go and protect the one who has always taken him for no good against something far beyond his size and strength. That made me come back to reality from my paralyzed status of body and mind. Bilbo jumped on the orc approaching Thorin to behead him just before it could have hit Thorin with his sword and got into a desperate fight with him and all of us were amazed by his courage with which he defeated and killed the orc. In the meanwhile I ran to Thorin as well and stood with my double swords between his body lying on the rock and Azog. Bilbo did the same after killing the orc. Thorin saw Bilbo killing the orc wanting to behead him and me moving between him and Azog and then he closed his eyes. My heart cried out in pain and strongly hoped that he only lost consciousness and was not dead which option I denied and chased away from my mind and heart immediately. Azog faced us with lust in his eyes to kill us and we would not have had too much chance. He gave the order to his bodyguards to kill us. But just before they got near with their wargs, some of the others, especially Fili and Kili, to protect their uncle, somehow managed to climb off the bent tree without falling in the deep and came with awesome yells and courage and went against the orcs with wrath. We were fighting desperately and Azog's warg almost reached Bilbo when great help came from out of the blue. It was the eagles! Gandalf must have called upon them and now they were here. They hated wargs and orcs and goblins and though they had nothing to do with the dwarves, they came to help us for that reason. They threw the wargs and orcs in the depth as if they were lifting feathers and the orcs got confused. The eagles took the dwarves and carried them away. I saw the Lord of the eagles approaching Thorin. He reached out for him and lifted him carefully. In the meanwhile I asked him without words to allow me to go with him and also jumped up on his back. I begged him: "- My Lord, my noble friend, I beg you from my heart to carry him gently and carefully." We had met before a few times though have not seen each other for long. I have always held the eagles for a noble and respectable race and truly honored them. The Eagle Lord understood from my tone how important this man for me was and he signaled that he would.

My heart was in constant pain for Thorin all the way long and to see Bilbo's and Gandalf's worried faces and to hear Fili crying out for him in despair just jerked it even more. The eagles took us to the top of a high rock. We were the first to arrive with the Eagle Lord. He put Thorin down with great care and in the meanwhile I jumped off his back. "– My Lord, please accept all my gratitude for your kindness and care." – I said in our heads to him while jumping off. "– Farewell." The Eagle Lord left and I bent over Thorin. He was lying there, did not move. I could not know whether he was alive at all. But there was no time to think about it now. I put my hands on his chest where he had been hit by Azog and where the warg's teeth had reached him and closed my eyes, not caring about what consequences on me it could have what I was doing. I concentrated so hard that my head started aching immediately but I did not care. My feelings for him now flowing from my heart gave me strength. "– Thorin! Please come back!" – I said in pain. My heart was crying out for him and said that it could not stand losing him. In the meanwhile Gandalf also arrived and rushed to us. I heard him coming and opened my eyes and looked at him begging. He saw that I was trying to heal Thorin and looked at me with an expression on his face that he knew that in the worst case it could even kill me. But he knew as well that it was not the time for an argument – and probably had guessed that I would do it – and put his hand to Thorin's head and murmured something. In the meanwhile I closed my eyes again, getting new strength from the fact that Gandalf was there and helped, and tried even harder. "– Thorin! I beg you. Come back." – I said again. "– Please do not leave me!" – I whispered with all my feelings in my words, not even thinking about that Gandalf could hear it. I do not know whether Thorin had heard my words, but in the next moment he opened his eyes and moved. I sighed with relief and so did Gandalf. I drew my hands back immediately and tried hard to pull myself together and to smile, not to let him notice how much trying to heal him exhausted me. Thorin looked to me and I could not hide what he could see in my eyes: all my heart. I did not know whether he noticed it or not, he saw with relief that I was all right and immediately turned to Gandalf and asked, still hardly being able to speak: "- … the Halfling…." His words really warmed my heart. For after coming to himself, with his first words he asked about Bilbo. It seemed that Bilbo had finally defeated the prejudice about him in Thorin. "– It is all right. Bilbo is here. He is quite safe." – Gandalf answered. Bilbo also sighed with relief. But what happened next stunned everybody. Thorin rose to his feet, not accepting too much help from Dwalin and Kili trying to help him, and he seemed to be dead furious. He shouted at Bilbo like thunder: "- You! What were you doing? You nearly got yourself killed!" Poor Bilbo was standing there struck by Thorin's words with a miserable look on his face. "– Did I not say that you would be a burden? That you would not survive in the wild? That you had no place amongst us?" – Thorin continued. I did not understand – and none of us did – what was going on and I pretty much felt sorry for poor Bilbo and that he would have deserved gratitude instead. Yet, deep in me I had the feeling that it would end up differently than what we saw and expected now. I just felt that it could not be that Thorin, after Bilbo saving his life, would still not acknowledge the hobbit and his opinion would not have changed about Bilbo. Then in a moment it turned out that I was right. "– I have never been so wrong in all my life!" – Thorin said and embraced Bilbo. I hardly ever saw him smile, but now he was smiling. We all sighed with relief and were very much glad that Thorin finally accepted Bilbo. Even Bilbo was so amazed that in the first moment he could not even believe what was happening. Then he understood and also put his arms around Thorin gladly. "– But I am sorry I doubted you." – Thorin said letting Bilbo go. Bilbo said that he would have doubted himself too, as he was not a hero or a warrior, not even a burglar. I thought that it was such a noble deed that Thorin acknowledged his flaw and apologized to Bilbo. It was a criterion of honorable leaders which he proved to be again. And I could also realize again that beyond his harsh side there was another hidden side of Thorin as well, capable of softer behavior and feelings as well.

Then Thorin noticed something in the distance. We all turned that direction and in the distance it was our destination standing: the Lonely Mountain. Thorin walked to the edge of the rock and looked at it with awe. I walked right behind him forgetting how exhausted I was by his healing, as I was also amazed and moved by the sight. I could not help saying together with Gandalf as he answered Bilbo's question whether it was what he thought it was: "- Erebor!" I stepped beside Thorin and my hand accidentally touched his. As soon as he felt it, he closed his hand on mine. It seemed to be instinctive and I wondered whether he himself had noticed it at all, but this of his move – and his new courage he gained from seeing our destination – gave me new strength as well and helped me to pull myself together even more, though still exhausted. I closed my hand on his and we stood there holding hands strong and confident in our quest now.

Flash 13

We stayed for a while and had a bit of rest after that awful night and that gave me a chance to pull myself together to an extent that I could walk on. It was also thanks to Gandalf, because if he had not helped with healing Thorin, I must have been so exhausted that I would have had no chance to move on – not to mention the worse case. I was really grateful to Gandalf, for helping to heal Thorin, and for the fact that this way I could manage the whole issue without anybody noticing that 'something' had happened to me, though it took me incredible effort. The others could only notice that on that day I did not talk to anybody as I usually did, but only thought that I was in not such a good mood which they believed was due to the events of the night before. Only Gandalf knew the real reason that it gave me awesome struggle to at least keep up. I was going last as sometimes I even had to stop for some moments and then he tried to somewhat slow the others down to give me a chance to close up again – which this way the others did not even notice – which I was extremely grateful for.

It was towards evening and we found a place to camp for the night. I was sitting for a while to gain new strength as I was extremely exhausted after trying extremely hard to keep up with the others during the day. I was trying to stand up to get some water to drink but I felt that my legs did not hold and I could not prevent myself from falling on the ground. I strongly hoped that no one noticed but in the next moment I felt somebody taking me by my arm. It was Thorin. I did not even notice he was nearby. He helped me up. "- What is it, Klee? What happened to you? Are you ill, or wounded?" – he asked and from the tone of his voice I could feel that he was somewhat worried. "– No, Thorin, none of it. I am grateful for your kindness. I am only in need of a good rest." – I answered gently, hoping that he would accept my answer and would not ask me further. Thorin stopped but in his eyes I could see that he knew very well that there was more behind it. He hesitated for a moment but then he said: "- You are a strong woman. You would not fall with tiredness. And you could hardly stand up." – and from his tone I could feel that he was out for the truth. I understood now that he was determined to help me if he could. I realized that he was still holding me by my arm as he felt that I was not standing stable. Before I could even say something, he continued: "- Your healing yourself…. It did not work fully the day before, is it?" I remembered again my word to myself that I would be as honest with him as I could and though it was hard to talk about something 'personal' again, I did. "– No. The healing worked perfectly and fully. For which I am still grateful to you." Thorin nodded his head. "– I told you earlier that I learned the technique from an old healer." Thorin signaled yes. "– Though I did try to develop it during the years, I did not manage to reach the level the old healer could do it. Therefore, though I can also make it work on other people, I can do it very rarely because it exhausts my body to such an extent that each time I do it to somebody else other than myself I could well be risking my life." Thorin looked at me confused. Then suddenly I could see in his eyes that he understood. "– It was you. You brought me back this way after the fight." "– I did." – I answered quietly. "– I started the process but Gandalf also joined when he arrived with his eagle and helped. We did it together." I was trying to prove to Thorin that it was not that hard and exhausting with the help of Gandalf as it would have been without it, but he understood now that I would have done it even without Gandalf as well and ignored my try proving, and asked me: "- Why?" "– Why what?" – I did not understand his question. "– Why would you risk your life for me?" "– Because for you it is worth it." – came the words of my answer right from my heart. And as our eyes met I saw that he was moved. It seemed he was not used to answers – and deeds – like this. I had never seen such an expression from him before. I got somewhat confused as this conversation also raised my feelings and found it better to turn away from him. I tried to walk to sit down by the fire but I only stumbled. He caught my arm again and held me strong. He helped me to the fire. The others saw that and asked what happened to me. "– She only needs a good rest." – Thorin answered before I could have said anything, and firmly enough that the others, though suspected that there was more behind it, did not want or did not dare to challenge his words. I said thank you to him, being grateful for his help and also for not telling the others anything, not daring to look into his eyes, sat down near the fire, leaned my back against a rock and could not help falling into a deep, healing sleep. In the morning I found myself lying on a bedlike thing near those of the dwarves' and covered with his mantle again just like the night before….

By the morning I was all right again.

Flash 14

On the next evening we were preparing to camp for the night. I was somewhat lost in my thoughts as I was looking at Thorin, it was not even conscious. Then I heard a voice beside me: "- He would deserve to be loved." "– He would indeed. More than the most." – I answered instinctively, driven by my feelings, and by the time I noticed I did, I had to realize that I entered into a conversation which I was not even sure I would have wanted to. It was Balin. I did not even notice when he came up to me. He caught me looking at Thorin – may well be that it was not for the first time as sometimes I myself did not consciously notice it – and he believed that it was time he talked to me, especially after the events of the recent days. Now that he got the answer he wanted to hear he continued: "- And you do…." Balin was old and wise, it would have made no sense to deny anything, it being obvious now that he knew, and I respected him much more than to lie to him. "– Balin, I…." – I did not know what to say. "– You do not have to say anything. I can long see it in your eyes." – he went on gently. I gave in. Actually I even found myself being grateful that after having to keep that all inside me for such a long time there was someone I could talk to about all this. And if to somebody, then it was Balin. And I thought that if it had turned out this way, I might learn something from Balin, being a companion to Thorin since he was young, about Thorin that may help me to understand him. "– My old friend, it would be no use to deny it. Not to you, I know. But it is no use talking about it. A relationship between him and me has no chance. Why would he care about me at all? He is handsome and strong. And he is the king. And I am more than sure that there are beautiful dwarf women around him who would no doubt be more than ready to love him." "– May well be." – Balin said slowly. "– But he has not shown any particular interest in any of them." "– If the dwarf women cannot reach to his heart, how could it be me?" "– He has been hardened by battles and has been through so many unblessed things. He carries the burdens of all his past. He needs someone who understands all that. The dwarf women, even those, who were there in Erebor, have found their places and lives in Ered Luin. But you have many things in common. You are a warrior. You have tasted the bitterness of wars. You know his past, you were there in Erebor and Moria. You saw what he saw and you understand his hatred for orcs and distaste for elves. And you carry your own burdens of your own past. You know what it means. To lose your family, and your home. And you are here by his side to fight with him for what is more important for him than his life." Balin stopped for a moment. I remained silent, not knowing what to say. Balin went on: "– I know that he is so stiff-necked and sometimes hard to get on with…." "… but if he had not been like this his people would not have the plenty life they have now in Ered Luin. And I know that behind his bitterness it is all the weight of his past. " – I finished Balin's thought and I could see that he could not have agreed more. "– He is not flawless…" - Balin said. "– …but even the greatest are not, and I believe he is not to be loved less, or maybe even more, for those." – I finished Balin's sentence again. "– This is what I am talking about. That you can understand him as he is. And he feels that." – Balin said gently but firmly. I opened my mouth to ask Balin what he meant by 'he feels' but I did not dare to. Still he noticed it and went on: "- It seems you somehow managed to break his outer shell hardened by him to be impenetrable since the fall of Erebor and you were the only one. Did you notice that you could sometimes even make him smile?" I remembered one or two occasions and I smiled with the pleasant feeling it gave. Balin still continued and his voice was earnest: "- He has been lacking gentleness for far too long. I saw you touching his shoulder on that night when I talked about the battles of Moria to the brothers. He froze to let your hand rest on his shoulder. He feels that you are a warrior, hard and fearless when needed, just like he is, but still you have the gentleness in you that he has long been lacking and longing for though he may well have never realized it consciously and would never openly admit. This gentleness may ease his pain and bitterness and soften his long-hardened heart. The gentleness that only a woman can give." Balin stopped again for a moment. As he spoke feelings were overflowing me, but I still did not know what to say, or rather did not dare to. Balin still went on, using his chance that I remained silent: "- And you dared to say no to him whenever you thought so. He needed that. It sometimes did annoy him, but it provoked his respect and appreciation." I got more and more confused. He cannot be saying that Thorin…. No…. If only he did…. If only he were…. Balin easily guessed what was on my mind and continued: "- What I am saying is that he is not indifferent to you. Remember when he went back for you when we lost you in the fight with the goblins…." "– Balin, my old friend, I am sure he would have done it for anyone else from the company as well." – I said. "– May well be." – Balin said firmly. "– But not with that look in his eyes, I say." "– No, Balin, I guess you are mistaken. You know I am human. And he is a dwarf. He is so proud. And he is the dwarf king. He would never get together with a human." Then Balin said something I would have never expected: "- Are you sure you do not have anything to do with dwarves?" I looked at him even more confused. I did not understand. "– Kili told me about that medallion pendant you wear on a chain around your neck." – he went on. "– May I have a look?" – he asked. I hesitated. I did not like to show it to anyone. But now that we were deep in the issue I decided that I had nothing to lose and took it out from under my clothes saying: "- Thorin said that it was some kind of noble jewelry and that it was dwarf made when he gave it back to me…." Balin had a close look at it. "– It is indeed." – he said. "– It is an ancient piece from the house of one of the dwarf Lords." I was astonished. Still Balin went on: "- And you are the size of a dwarf. And you do not age like a human. Did not all these facts make you suspect that you had something to do with dwarves? I cannot tell you for sure whether you really do, but these at least allude so." I listened to Balin's words and thought that he might as well be right. All those 'strange' facts that I could not explain…. The Khuzdul words appearing out of the blue…. And I have always felt myself exceptionally close to dwarves…. But I still did not dare to believe all what he was talking about. As I raised my head again coming back from my thoughts Balin had already left me. He told me what he meant to say and left the rest to me.

Not too much later all had gone to sleep, but I could not. Balin's words were still on my mind. I did not know how to deal with what he told me about me having something to do with dwarves and I did not dare to believe what he said about Thorin. I was confused because I somehow could not believe either now that he was mistaken because of the simple fact that he knew Thorin so well. I did not know what to think. I was looking at Thorin apparently sleeping – he had his back turned to me – when I heard Gandalf's voice: "- You have feelings for him." His voice was gentle but with a tone from which it was clear that he knew I did. I was totally surprised. What was going on? Two different persons talking to me about the same thing with a difference of only an hour or so. But I could not help it, I had to answer. And I knew that Gandalf was also wise, just like Balin, so there was no use denying it from him either. "– I cannot deny it from you, my friend, I suppose. No matter how hard I tried to fight against it, I cannot help it. But tell me how? You know me, Gandalf, for so long. I have not had similar feelings for I do not even remember how many years." "- And do you believe you could live under the mountain?" – Gandalf asked. "– I do not know, my friend. I have always been amazed by the caverns and dungeons that dwarves make. Their halls are of a wonder. So marvelous. I do not know, Gandalf. But for him, I would definitely try." "– Then maybe you should let him know." – said Gandalf as simply as if it were the simplest and most natural thing in the world. My eyes opened wide. "– Gandalf, what do you mean?! I cannot just walk up to him and say, 'Hail, Thorin, by the way, I have feelings for you." – I said with bitter cynicism. "– Of course not." – said Gandalf, gently smiling. "– But I am sure you could find a way…." Balin's words came up to my mind saying that Thorin may not be indifferent to me, but my common sense overruled immediately. "– No, Gandalf, I just cannot… tell him. Thorin… he may… he may not…. And I am also so afraid of being refused…." – I admitted. "– As I see it, Thorin may not be indifferent to you." – said Gandalf slowly. I could not believe that he was saying the very same thing that Balin had said. I began to wonder whether Gandalf had somehow overheard our talk with Balin, or at least he knew somehow what we had been talking about. Or could it be just accidental? "- Gandalf, he is a dwarf." "- What on earth a problem do you have with dwarves?" – Gandalf asked. "– No, Gandalf, of course I have none! What I mean is that he is a proud dwarf. He is the dwarf king. And I am a human. He would never come together with a human." "- Are you sure you have nothing to do with dwarves?" – Gandalf asked. The same question as Balin asked not too much earlier. "- I suppose you do not want to tell me that you have never had the feeling that you had something to do with dwarves." "- I have always felt myself so close to dwarves…." – I said, contemplating. "– And all those strange facts like that you do not age like a human…." – Gandalf added. "– What do you mean?" – I asked and I was suspicious now. And he began the same story as Balin did: "- That medallion in your neck. You know that it is dwarf made." I was not even surprised. I did not even ask how he knew that I did. "– That was given to you by your father." I was stunned. "– Gandalf, my old friend, what game are you playing with me? Do you know something about my family?" – I asked begging. "– Let me share something with you." – Gandalf started. "– Your father was a dwarf Lord from one of the ancient dwarf houses. And your mother was human. That is how you look like a human." I was confused. "– Gandalf, are you saying that my parents… a human and a dwarf together?" "– Your mother was a warrior, just like you. She saved your father's life in a fight she was accidentally drawn into. That is how they met. Your father was seriously wounded and your mother took care of him until he was healed and they stayed together." I lost words. Gandalf continued: "- They were killed by evil forces when you were very young." Tears gathered to my eyes. "– And how come I do not remember…?" "– We could hardly save you." – Gandalf said. "- We? Who is that 'we'?" – I asked. "– The old healer you learnt to heal yourself from, and myself. But you lost all your memories. We could not help it." The tears ran down my face. "– Gandalf, you never told me…." "– Well, you never particularly asked. And I thought I should tell you when time comes. Now it is time you knew." – he said. I did not know what to say. My heart was so sad, but I also felt that it was better to know the truth at last than the uncertainty I used to live in for so many years. But I did not have any more time to think about it now as Gandalf continued: "- Now you know that you are half dwarf as of origin and you are the descendant of one of the most ancient and greatest dwarf houses. And I am sure Thorin also suspects that you must have something to do with dwarves." "– Still, he has much more important things to concentrate on. He has his quest. I believe there is no place for a woman in his life now." "– You will never find out if none of you breaks the mould." My common sense started objecting again. I opened my mouth to say something but Gandalf was faster: "- I know that you think that feelings make you weaker. But that is not true, Klee. They only make your hearts stronger, especially when they are united." "– No, Gandalf, I cannot do it!" "– Well, what will you do then? Leave?" – he asked. "– No, of course not! I gave Thorin my word, so I will accompany him along the quest and be by his side whenever he needs me. And when the quest is over… I do not know… I guess I will take Bilbo back to Bag End… and may stay there for a while… nice and comforting place… trying my hardest to forget Thorin…." – I said with sorrow. "– Which of course I will not be able to do…." – I whispered rather to myself. "– I cannot sleep. I am going to have some fresh air." – I said to Gandalf, meaning that from my side the conversation was considered to be over. I guess he understood enough that I was too confused, even puzzled to continue anyway.

But I never knew that Thorin was not sleeping. He was wide awake and heard all our conversation with Gandalf.

And I never knew that Gandalf did know that. It was intentional on his side, because he knew better what we ourselves did not, or did not dare to, and he found this way to give it a chance as he knew that I would say no for telling it to Thorin and that Thorin needed a confirmation from my side to make his decision. So Gandalf made us run this risk without us knowing it.

I went further from the sleeping dwarves. The evening fire was out but still there was some ember. I put some logs on it and re-lighted the fire. I sat down by it and tried to think of all I heard that evening from Balin and Gandalf. I was confused but still I thought that it was not one, but two people saying the very same thing to me, and both of them being my friends, I could expect that they would not mean to do me harm. Therefore, the conclusion seemed to be that there must be at least some truth in what they had been saying. And suddenly I had to realize that the conversations with them made a great change in me. I felt that I did not want to fight against my feelings anymore. They have grown from the tiny seed to a beautiful flower and they certainly claimed a place and the right to live in my heart. Thorin claimed the throne of my heart and whether or not be it sometimes painful, it was the most right and most wonderful thing that had happened to me since so long a time that I could hardly remember and I realized how grateful in fact I was to him for making me learn to love again after all this time. I had pushed him down deep in my heart for too long. If only I could indeed let him know…. I longed so much to tell him how I felt about him, and to tell him a lot more. That I would always be there behind his back whenever he needed me. That I would be ready to share all the burdens and pain he was bearing. That I had learnt to live with my past and it was possible and I was ready to help him with it. That I would be there to help him to face and fight against his fears like Azog and dragon sickness. That he should not ever doubt himself – which I knew that sometimes he did – and that I believed in him strongly and how much I wished him to believe in me. Yet, my common sense objected again for the known reasons. As I could not settle my mind, I stood up from the fire and went a bit further. I gazed into the night. It was a clear night and the stars gazed back on me. I chose the only thing that could ease me when I needed it: singing. My sense made me decide that I would never tell Thorin anything, and hoped that singing all of it out into the night would somewhat relieve me. I did not sing too loud, not to wake the others. I sang in a very gentle, crystal clear voice.

"I wish you could be
All you ever dreamed
Move on, no regrets
Trying to be the absolute best
Stand on your own
You can make it, be the one
Win the war in your head
I'm here to help you with that!
There'll be times, when you can't face
The weary lights of day
But be strong and believe
You can be anything you wish to be
Don´t let your fears hold you back
Life's not meant to be easy
Find justice for what you lack
Time will heal the scars
Be proud of who you are
Face the things that you dread
I'm here to help you with that!
I came from nothing here I am
I won the war in my head!

I came from nothing here I am
To help you win the war in your head!2

"- If you let me…." – I whispered at the end.

But I never noticed that Thorin was standing behind me. He heard my singing and understood that it was for him. The song caught him. He listened and whether he wanted it or not, the gentleness and sincerity of it penetrated his heart. Not knowing that he was there and thinking that I was only singing to the stars in the night, I let all my feelings melt into the song. It echoed and resonated through all his body, all his mind and all his heart and soul. He could not resist listening. First he might have even been somewhat annoyed by its words like war in his head, but soon he realized that the words hit the truth and there was only pure and benevolent love and understanding behind them. He had felt, but now it was clear to him, that this woman could understand and loved him just the way he was. He understood that I would be ready to share all his burdens if he decided so. And that though he had his companions who would stand behind his back without question, a woman – and one, who is similar to him in many aspects – standing behind his back, with all her love and with what it all meant, was different. As more and more feelings were released in me, the song resonated more and more with them and more and more in him. And as it did, the chains in his heart were slowly broken by it, one by one. His feelings that he had long suppressed were released. And as the last chain broke, something that had been hidden deepest in his heart, was also released. He gave in.

As I finished singing I heard somebody moving behind me. I turned and I noticed Thorin. First I got terrified. I did not know how long he had been standing there. I suspected he had heard my song. And he might have heard even more, if he had not been sleeping. But in the next moment another thought and feeling ran through my mind. If he had heard anything and now he knew my secret then at least it would be settled in one way or the other. At least uncertainty would end and I would probably get to know the answer, be it yes or no. And that was better. "– I heard you talking to Gandalf." – he said so gently that I had never heard such a tone from him before. Now it was obvious that he had not been sleeping and had heard everything. I was shaking. "– I thought you were sleeping…. Thorin, I…." – I did not know what to say. He came up to me and I could see that something in his eyes that had been released by the last chain's breaking. Something that I had long been longing for and I could hardly believe. I saw the same feelings as I had. I lost words. He came as close to me as he could and took my hand. I immediately closed my hand on his. I was just looking into his eyes and could hardly breathe. He made one more move to be even closer and we now were standing face to face so close that his face almost touched mine. With his other hand he touched my face gently and then kissed me. I could hardly hold back my tears. Then he put his arms around me and held me tight. "– You have your place by my side. I would not let you go just like that." – he said gently and quietly referring to what I said to Gandalf about leaving him when our quest was over or even earlier as Gandalf referred. I also put my arms around him and held him as tight as I could and as close to me as I could. I could feel his heartbeat. I could still hardly believe that it was happening to me. I tried hard not to collapse to his feet as I felt that my knees were far too weak. "– Thorin…." – I whispered. "– I am right here for you." Then he let me go from his embrace and looked into my eyes again. There he could see all my feelings, now flowing like a river as I did not have to hold them back anymore. I touched his face as gently as I could and ran my fingers through his hair. Something that I had so long been longing for and as he closed his eyes for a moment I could see that he himself had also so long been longing for. Balin was right. Thorin kissed me again. Then he took me by my hand and led me to the fire. It was still burning with the logs I had last put into it. He took off his mantle and laid it on the ground by the fire. No words. They were not needed. We understood each other very well without them. It was clear what he meant. And my body, my mind and my heart said yes as one. He looked so majestic as the fire covered his body in gold with its light. He kissed me again and we spent the night together. If the circumstances had been different, we might have done things differently or might have waited with that, but now we could never know what tomorrow would bring. We could never know what was ahead of us and we could be killed and die in any moment. And we had been through so many things one by one and together as well that we felt that we deserved to be loved and that we were not answerable to anybody. So I gave him everything I could and he did the same, sealing that we from that day on belonged together, in the most wonderful and most valuable way two people in love just could, by giving each other the most a woman and a man could give.

We were lying next to each other so close as if our bodies were one. I could feel his heart beating and his breath on my neck. He was breathing calmly. I could feel that he was falling asleep. I wished that night would never end. Gandalf's words came to my mind. Now I understood what he meant by saying that feelings can make us stronger. Thorin's restless body was now peaceful and eased and I was so glad to feel that, and to know that it was me who could give him this comfort just made me love him even more. And I also had to realize how much Gandalf's words were true for me as well. I felt safe from all the world in Thorin's strong and warm arms. I had the feeling that now that we were together there was nothing that we could not make through. Whatever would be ahead, we would stand tall and face it all together. "You can be anything you wish to be." – the song echoed in my mind. And I could feel that my restless body and soul – which I never really realized before how much they were – were now also calmed. Gandalf was right. And I was grateful to him for all. Then I closed my eyes and soon fell asleep too with all these wonderful feelings and new hope in my heart. And I learnt later that Thorin felt the same.

When I woke up it was still darkish but dawn was soon approaching. Thorin was already awake. He was lying next to me, leaning on one elbow and looking at me. It was such a pleasant feeling, to see his face as the first thing when I woke up. He said nothing and neither did I. Again, no words were needed. Our eyes spoke instead. I smiled at him and touched his face gently. He kissed me and his hair flew from his shoulder caressing my face as he did. We spent some more time together.

Then the first lights of the sun appeared at the horizon. "– Dawn is coming. We need to go soon." – he said gently. We had one more long kiss, one that had the feeling in it that none of us would want this night to end, then we had to start doing our preparations.

He prepared himself somewhat faster than I did and disappeared for a while. As I was finishing my preparations the sun was rising. Its first rays painted the edge of the sky in red and gold. I stopped and watched it for a minute, lost in my thoughts and feelings. Then I heard someone stepping behind me. Thorin was back. He put his arms around me from behind and I did not care anymore where he had been. I pulled his arms even tighter around me and thought that it was the most beautiful morning of my life. We stood there for some moments and this battle-hardened warrior was now also looking at the beauty of the sun rising. In fact, we realized it together as I myself did not remember either when I had done such a thing for the last time. I turned my face to him and our faces touched. The rising sun reflected in his eyes. We kissed. Just then did we hear someone moving behind us. It was Kili and I could guess he saw us kissing. The question of what he would be thinking ran through my mind but my next thought was that whatever the others would say, their opinion was not important. Not this time. Still, I hoped that Kili would not disapprove our relationship, being my good friend. "– I am sorry." – Kili said, with a smile. "– I should come back later." It was obvious now that he had seen us kissing, and the smile on his face made it also obvious that he had no objection. I was glad. "– Go and wake the others." – Thorin said. Kili quickly turned his back to us and made some steps to leave us. Then he stopped and turned back with a quick turn. "– So you two are now…?" – he wanted a confirmation of what he had seen, to make sure. We looked to each other with Thorin and then turned our faces to Kili, both of us smiling. He understood without words. "– At last!" – he said and trod away quickly. Soon all the dwarves – and Bilbo – knew and apparently none of them had any objection or were even glad. And I saw Gandalf, and Balin, both smiling. "– Thank you for all." – I whispered to them, nodding my head.

1 source: English – Khuzdul Dictionary doc/98387422/Khuzdul-Dictionary-E-K-v01-JUN12

2 The original song is by Angtoria (That is what the wise lady said), the text was slightly modified for my purposes. Including it in my writing was inspired by the marvelous fanvid made by Mikisna watch?v=SlFsZWXVNBY You may find the tune as well there.