"There he is! Get him!"
The young dwarf, blood gushing from a deep gash upon his forehead, staggered from where he had been hiding and dashed away from the three that had been chasing him since being discovered at the river bank.
'Just gotta get to the shop!' He thought frantically, 'Get to the shop and I'll be safe!'
Another stone smacked against his already aching body and he yelped as he stumbled; nearly falling he scrambled onward while the three dwarves, about his age, continued to pursue and shout obscenities at him.
He couldn't believe a great number of things at the moment; He couldn't believe his friend, now one of his assailants, had betrayed him all for the sake of saving face.
He couldn't believe that things had spiraled so quickly out of control, and he couldn't believe that now his secret would surely be revealed.
All because of some innocent, impulsive kiss that his one-time friend had seemed pleased with. At first.
Another stone sailed past his ear and he shouted over his shoulders for the violent and cursing dwarves to leave him alone.
"Get back here!" Shouted one, the biggest one and the oldest brother of the dwarf he'd mistaken to be a trusted companion, "Get back here you disgusting faggot!"
The two others shouted pretty much the same and tears burned at the young dwarf's eyes just as he spied the shop just ahead.
To him, to the young toymakers apprentice, salvation was just within his reach.
But the stone his foot tripped over thought otherwise and, to his horror, Bofur slammed face first into the ground. Soon finding him self pulled violently to his feet and dragged into an alleyway.
"Lemme go!" He yelped, just as a solid punch landed across his face, "Let me go! Help! Somebody help!"
Another punch found his stomach and for a moment the world blurred as Bofur struggled to regain his breath.
"No help for filth like you!" Spat the biggest of the gang, "Filthy, wretched things like you are an abomination! What? Did you think you could get away with fondling my littler brother?"
Bofur whimpered after another punch to his jaw and when he slumped, the cruel dwarf yanked him by his hair to straighten him up.
"T-tell them!" Bofur pleaded, looking out of the corner of his eye at one dwarf whom had cast his own eyes to the ground, "Tell them Falbo! Tell them I didn't force me self!"
The dwarf, golden haired and the youngest of the lot, said nothing for a moment as he lifted his eyes to sneer at Bofur.
"I'm not gonna lie for a monster," he coldly replied, "They all know what they saw any ways. You're getting what you deserve because of it."
"Tha' isn't true!" Bofur protested, "Tell 'em Falbo! We've been sneakin' around for weeks!"
"That's a lie!" Falbo argued when his older brother eyed him wildly, "Don't believe him Dalbo! All he does is lie!"
Bofur began to struggle but was quickly subdued when Dalbo's knee shot upward and against his groin.
Bofur whimpered and this time Dalbo let him fall to the ground so he could kick him violently in the ribs; this time the other dwarf, a red haired youngster called Kiler joined in and didn't stop assaulting Bofur's ribs until Dalbo ordered him to cease.
Bofur, in massive pain, thought he would pass out just as he heard Dalbo tell Kiler to watch for anyone who thought to come and aide the ailing young dwarf.
"Get up!" Dalbo demanded after Kiler followed his order, "Get up! Act like a real dwarf for once!"
When Bofur didn't obey, just as before, Dalbo used the injured dwarf's hair to lurch him uneasily to his feet.
Bofur gasped softly when Dalbo waved the blade in his face; a sadistic grin spread across the older dwarf's face when he saw the fear in his captured victim's eyes.
"My father said there's only one good thing to do with types like you," He whispered maliciously, "and that is to treat them like a worthless male pony; geld them."
"Dalbo!" Falbo squeaked, "W-we shouldn't…you'll get into trouble!"
"Do you want father-or anyone else for that matter-to know what he did to you?" Dalbo demanded looking over his shoulder, "He'll whip you just for letting him get the better of you!"
"Get away from me!" Bofur growled, struggling against the stronger arm that pinned him across his throat, "Ye won't get away with this!"
Dalbo looked coldly at Bofur and chuckled. "Won't I?" He asked with a shrug as he dangerously pointed the tip of the blade inches from one of Bofur's wide eyes.
"No one would mind if a beast like you died, no one thinks much of your lousy family either. That insane cousin and lazy, fat brother of yours I mean. Falbo, come here, I need you to get his pants down."
Falbo had become very pale as he watched Bofur struggle in vain against the stronger dwarf and hesitated when his brother shouted the unbelievable order at him again.
"We can't!" He whimpered, "If Dwalin gets involved then Dad will be after the both of us!"
"Dwalin won't do a thing!" Dalbo explained, kneeing Bofur's crotch again, "Now get over here!"
There was, from what Dalbo heard, a slight shuffling of feet and he was pleased his little brother had stopped his belly aching and, for once, was going to do what fine and respectable dwarves did with certain problems.
That was until, just as the cold still pressed against his throat, a very familiar and intimidating voice said: "I wouldn't be doing that if I were you. Trust me, Dwalin will be after you, He loves getting little piss-ants like you."