The Wizard, Radagast

Once freed from my sack I rushed over to Bofur and Ori and pulled them into a tight embrace. They looked surprised "I'm so glad you're okay" I mumbled into Bofur's shoulder.

He patted me on the back "hey don't worry about it".

I looked at him and sniffed "I thought I was going to lose you both".

Bofur touched my face "hey don't cry, we're all in one piece" he laughed and I let go of the Dwarves and tried not to laugh myself.

Ori handed me a handkerchief and patted my arm "we're your friends Anduin, we're not going anywhere" I looked down at the small Dwarf and smiled.

"Thank you" I hugged him gently and turned around in search of Bilbo. I located him and hugged him as well "I never knew Halflings had such a way with words".

A faint blush dusted his nose "it was nothing really".

I smiled and patted his shoulder "I think even Thorin is grateful to you" I looked around and saw Gandalf deep in conversation with our leader.

Bilbo shuffled his feet "he seems like he's more interested in where the trolls came from".

I looked down at the Hobbit "shall we go and see where they're going?" he agreed and we stepped around the dwarves and got within earshot of Gandalf and Thorin.

"They could not have moved in daylight'" Gandalf said looking up at the stone troll.

"There must be a cave nearby" Thorin strode off and began searching the surrounding area.

The rest of the dwarves followed as we came upon a rocky outcrop, with a deep cave underneath a rocky overhang. Gandalf lead the way in with a light on the end of his staff.

"Oh, what is that stench?" Nori asked as we carefully made our way down the slight slope.

"It's a troll hoard. Be careful what you touch" Gandalf went farther into the cave and had a look around.

I spotted a few bows and dug around them to see if I could find any arrows. Most of my original arrows had been broken when they hit the trolls, so finding such a huge pile of new ones was quite exciting. After filling my quiver I hunted around for a sword. I couldn't rely on my dagger for the rest of the journey so I was happy to find a matching pair of short-swords. I found a scabbard that fitted the swords and found it quite comfortable to wear. Next to me Bofur had discovered a huge pile of coins.

"Seems a shame just to leave it lyin' around. Anyone could take it" he nudged the coins with his foot.

Goin had the same idea "agreed. Nori, get a shovel".

Thorin walked past and came across a stash of swords. He pulled a couple out "these swords were not made by any troll" he handed one to Gandalf.

"Nor were they made by any smith among men" the wizard replied. Gandalf partly drew the sword "these were forged in Gondolin by the high elves of the First Age".

Thorin made to put his back in disgust.

"You could not wish for a finer blade" Gandalf said, stopping Thorin in his tracks.

I was helping Bofur fill a chest with treasure and I looked up to see Dwalin looking down at us.

"We're making a long term deposit" Gloin said as we started to bury the chest.

Dwalin looked away with a grin on his face.

"Let's get out of this foul place" Thorin said suddenly "come on, let's go. Bofur! Gloin! Nori! Anduin!"

We followed Thorin out and I got to look at my new swords in better light. I could tell they were well made and, turning the blade slightly, I could see the makers mark. My heart stirred when I realised it was the mark of Dale. I sat down next to Bilbo and started cleaning the swords with a scrap of my shirt.

Gandalf emerged from the cave with a small sword in his hand "here. This is about your size" he handed Bilbo the sword.

"I can't take this" Bilbo tried to refuse but the Wizard was having none of that.

"That blade is of elvish make, which means it will glow blue when orcs or goblins are nearby".

"I have never used a sword in my life".

I looked up at Bilbo's uncertain face.

"I hope you never have to" Gandalf replied "but if you do remember this; true courage comes from knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one".

"Something's coming!" Thorin yelled suddenly, snapping everyone to attention.

"Stay together! Hurry now. Arm yourselves" Gandalf drew his sword and strode off into the woods.

I sheathed my swords and knocked an arrow in my bow, and quickly followed the scurrying Dwarves.

Bilbo soon followed as we headed into the woods.

All of a sudden a sled came flying through the trees, pulled by huge rabbits.

"Thieves! Fire! Murder!" the little man on the sled yelled as he looked around at all of us.

"Radagast! Radagast the Brown" Gandalf sheathed his sword and stepped up to the sled "what on earth are you doing here?"

"I was looking for you Gandalf, something's wrong. Something's terribly wrong" the small Wizard said.

"Yes?" Gandalf waited for his friend to speak.

Radagast opened and shut his mouth a few times but nothing came out "oh, just give me a minute. Um, oh, I had a thought, and now I've lost it. It was right there on the tip of my tongue".

We lowered our weapons as it seemed he was no threat.

"Oh, it's not a thought at all; it's a silly old…" he stuck his tongue out and Gandalf pulled a bug out of his mouth "…stick insect" Radagast finished.

I looked at the Dwarves; they all had matching expressions of uncertainty.

The two Wizards moved out of earshot and started conversing. Radagast handed something to Gandalf, who looked dumbfounded at the object. Suddenly a howl sounded in the distance.

"Was that a wolf? Are there wolves out there?" Bilbo asked nervously.

"Wolves? No, that is not a wolf" Bofur turned around as a huge Warg leapt over the top of him.

I loosed an arrow into it and Thorin finished it off. I knocked another arrow as another Warg leapt out of the trees. Kili shot it but it got up and snapped at Thorin; Dwalin killed it with a powerful swing of his war hammer.

"Warg-scouts! Which means an orc pack is not far behind" Thorin removed his sword from the Wargs neck and looked around.

"Orc pack?" Bilbo looked scared.

"Who did you tell about your quest, beyond your kin?" Gandalf strode forwards.

"No one" Thorin replied.

"Who did you tell?" Gandalf pressed.

"No one I swear. What in Durin's name is going on?" Thorin stepped closer to Gandalf.

"You are being hunted" the Wizard replied.

"We have to get out of here" Dwalin said.

"We can't! we have no ponies; they bolted" Ori said running down the hill.

"I'll draw them off" Radagast announced.

"These are Gundabad Wargs; they will outrun you" Gandalf argued.

"These are Rhosgobel Rabbits; I'd like to see them try" Radagast replied.

Radagast shot out of the trees right in front of the orcs "come and get me! Ha ha!" he sped off across the plain.

"Come on!" Gandalf called, leading us off in the other direction.

All of a sudden the Wargs passed right in front of us "stay together" Gandalf whispered heading off in another direction.

"Move!" Thorin shouted.

I cringed at how his voice echoed off the rocks around us "are you trying to get us killed?" I hissed when he appeared beside me.

"No" he replied.

"Well try not to shout next time then" I retorted "if you haven't noticed these rocks make any sound echo" I resisted the urge to roll my eyes when Thorin shrugged and ran past me.

Thorin stopped behind some rocks as the Wargs passed by not very far away. The momentum of running pushed Ori out from cover "Ori, no!" Thorin grabbed the small Dwarf by the sleeve and pulled back to safety.

"Come on! Quick!" Gandalf pointed in yet another direction and the Dwarves headed off.

"Where are you leading us?" Thorin asked as we went past him.

We hid behind a huge outcrop of rock and tried to catch our breath.

We didn't have much time because a Warg and its rider had scented us and had perched themselves above us.

Thorin looked at Kili; with a resolute face the young dwarf knocked and arrow and fired at the Warg.

It fell down in front of us and was quickly dispatched. Not quick enough however, as the rest of the Wargs and orcs heard the noise and were quickly approaching.

"Move. Run!" Gandalf shouted heading off over the grassy plain.

"There they are!" Gloin called out.

"This way! Quickly!" Gandalf changed directions slightly and we ended up in a clearing; the Wargs hot on our tail.

"There's more coming!" Kili yelled knocking another arrow.

"Kili! Shoot them!" Thorin yelled as escape routes were steadily cut off.

I joined Kili and together we shot down a few, but more were closing in.

"We're surrounded!" Fili yelled his sword in his hand.

Ori fired a rock from his slingshot at the closest Warg and all it did was make it angry.

"Where's Gandalf?' Kili asked.

I looked around and couldn't see the Wizard anywhere.

"He's abandoned us!" Dwalin said.

"You don't know that!" I yelled back after firing a few more arrows.

The Wargs were closing in "hold your ground!" Thorin yelled pulling out his elf sword.

"This way, you fools!" we all spun around at Gandalf's voice and saw the Wizard partially hidden by a large boulder.

"Come on, move! Quickly, all of you! Go, go, go!" Thorin stood on top of the boulder as the Dwarves ran for cover.

The Dwarves we all disappearing but Kili and I were still shooting the Wargs.

"Kili! Anduin! Run!" Thorin shouted.

We only just made it into the tunnel as horn blared from nowhere. An orc suddenly fell down the shaft at our feet, Gandalf poked it with his staff and I let out a sigh of relief; it was dead.

Thorin bent down and plucked an arrow from the orcs' chest "elves" he said throwing the arrow to the ground.

"I cannot see where the pathway leads. Do we follow it or no?" Dwalin called from the other end of the tunnel.

"Follow it of course!" Bofur replied heading off after Dwalin.

"I think that would be wise" Gandalf seemed pleased as we followed Dwalin in single file.

The pathway eventually out to an open plateau above a vast valley. In the distance I could see a grand building and my breath seemed to be stolen away at the beauty surrounding us. For a moment I forgot all about nearly dying and the quest; all I could focus on was the way the light spilled over the cliff and down onto the valley below.