Disclaimer: I do not own the Hobbit or any of the characters/story lines that belong to it. All credit goes to J.R.R. Tolkien, in all his glory.
"The dawn will take you all!"
Gandalf the Grey stood upon a high rock above three Mountain trolls. In his hand he held his wooden staff, outstretched and aligned with the rising sun. With all his force, he brought it down upon the rock, splitting it in half and showering the trolls in the bright morning rays. In the blink of an eye, the trolls that had once been living were transformed into solid rock statues.
The Company of Thorin Oakenshield all cried out in delight as they looked up to their savior. Of the thirteen dwarves, half were tied in bundles on the ground while the other half were slowly rotating over a large fire. Their burglar Bilbo Baggins stood in complete shock staring at the rigid statues.
The dwarves helped one another to escape their bindings and swiftly began to redress. They knew they could not linger in the area for too long, lest their presence attract more unsavory characters like the trolls they had been so unlucky to come across.
Thorin shrugged on his fur coat, having just been helped from the sack that had bound him by his nephews. His sharp grey eyes found the familiar cloaked figure standing by the stone trolls and he made his way over to him.
"Your return was quite… convenient," Thorin said, curiously.
Gandalf turned to stare down at Thorin. Always the wizard's eyes had a certain gleam in them that the dwarf could never pick.
"Call it a wizard's intuition," Gandalf replied coolly, "We are all safe now, at least."
"No thanks to your burglar," Thorin retorted, bitterly.
Gandalf's eyes flickered ever so slightly to the hobbit, the fourteenth member of their Company, before returning to Thorin.
"He had the nous to play for time," the wizard said, "None of the rest of you thought of that."
Thorin lingered shortly on Gandalf's words, before shrugging and begrudgingly dropping the subject. He turned instead to the stone trolls that Gandalf was continuing to examine.
"They must have come down from the Ettenmoors," the wizard stated.
"Since when do mountain trolls venture this far south?" Thorin questioned.
"Oh, not for an age," Gandalf said, frowning, "Not since a darker power ruled these lands…"
Thorin cocked an eyebrow and gazed curiously up at the wizard, but Gandalf showed no sign of answering his silent question.
"They could not have moved in daylight," Gandalf stated, "There must be a cave nearby."
As Gandalf had guessed, they found a cave only a short distance from the troll's former campfire. Though a foul smell filled the air as they neared it and flies stuck to their skin at their every movement, it was clear the amount of treasure those three trolls had collected was immense.
"Be careful what you touch," Gandalf warned, before stepping first into the cave.
As one by one they ventured deeper into the cave the ground became soggier and the smell even more pungent. The sounds of coughing and retching soon began to echo off the cool rocky walls.
While the majority of the Company stayed behind to examine the vast treasures that lie within the cave, Thorin, Gandalf and Bilbo trailed further inside. Thorin was holding one of the few lights they had taken, so he was first to notice a particular barrel in a far corner. Covered in cobwebs and gathered dust, he managed to discern a few objects of interest from within it.
"Swords," he stated. He pulled one, not gently, from the barrel and handed it to Gandalf to examine, before taking one for himself.
As he blew away the dust from the sheath and the glint of pure silver shone from underneath, it was clear just how valuable of a treasure they had come across.
"These swords were not made by any troll," Thorin observed.
"Nor were they made by any man," Gandalf said.
Thorin eyed the wizard suspiciously. "But that means-"
"They were forged in Gondolin, yes," the wizard answered, "By the High Elves of the First Age."
Thorin's lip curled immediately and he made to slide the sword back into the barrel when Gandalf's harsh tone stopped him.
"You could not wish for a finer blade."
Reluctantly and slightly begrudgingly it was that Thorin kept the sword by his side, though it wasn't without a sideways glare in Gandalf's direction. The wizard however, was more preoccupied with their burglar.
Gandalf pressed a thin sheathed blade into Bilbo's tense grasp and smiled warmly. "Here, Bilbo. This is about your size."
Bilbo stuttered and attempted to hand back the sword, "I- I cannot take this, Gandalf. I don't know how-"
"This blade is of elvish make," Gandalf interrupted swiftly, "Which means it will glow blue when orcs or goblins are nearby. Quite useful should you find yourself in a dire situation."
Bilbo faltered and looked down to the sword. It was the perfect size for him…
"I have never used a sword in my life," the hobbit said.
Gandalf smiled and crouched down slightly so he was almost eye-to-eye with the hobbit.
"And I hope you never have to. But if you do, remember that true courage is about knowing not when to take a life, but when to spare one."
Perhaps more puzzled then ever, Bilbo looked away from the wizard's wisened face to slowly draw his new sword from its sheath for the first time.
Just as he was beginning to examine the fine elvish markings however, he felt a faint tremor shake his bare feet. Being a hobbit, Bilbo was used to having a greater height of senses than the dwarves in the Company. Only this time, it wasn't just the burglar who had felt the odd movement.
The echoing in the cave died down almost immediately as the dwarves stopped their chattering and murmurings to listen. The ground was beginning to vibrate; slow tremors that were building in strength.
Gandalf gripped one of the walls beside him to keep his balance. "Run! Get out of the cave!" He cried, but a moment too late.
The floor in the centre of the cave had begun to crumble away, creating a giant gaping hole. The stronger the tremors became, the wider and deeper the hole became, until soon enough the Company could escape no longer and one by one they fell with a jolt into the blackness below.
A/N: Edited 31/07/14