Disclaimer: No, I do not own the Hobbit
A/N: This is H/C. I swears. On the precious. Just...a slightly different take on H/C. And by slightly, I mean it's mostly the hurt and comfort of a pony. And also a bit of H/C for a dwarf. This is meant to get you thinking in a bit of a different direction - open your minds to another side of the company. I'm drawing from the studio description of the dwarves because there really just isn't a whole lot said about them in the books.
So, anyway, without further ado, here it is:
The Scribe and the Pony
"You know, this reminds me of a story. It's a story about a heroic adventurer named Orid which is like horrid but without all the nasty bits. And he didn't panic either which is why we're not going to panic. You see, Orid often liked to go out to wilds in the South to sort out all the evil things there. He wasn't fond of evil creatures and it was his duty to keep them from taking over the towns and villages in the North. Orid was a very brave dwarf. He fought off goblins and spiders and trolls and even an old dragon named Smu—no no! Stay calm! Easy does it. There now…shh shh shh.
"Where was I? Oh yes. The great black forest. The villagers near the edge of the forest had been seeing a horrible monster lurking about in the shadows. It was stealing their cows and sheep and they were afraid it would come after the children next. 'Well,' said Orid, 'that will never do'. So he packed up his gear and saddled his most favorite companion: his pony, Stormflower. Yes, I should think she looked very much like you. A lovely pony, really. Together, Stormflower and Orid rode off to find the monster. His family told him he couldn't. 'You'll get eaten for sure this time, Orid,' they said. 'You're not brave enough to fight him off.' This was a foolish thing to say because Orid was very brave and very heroic. He'd already fought off all sorts of evil things. But they still thought he was just a silly little dwarf on a mangy old pony.
"No, of course she wasn't really mangy. She's like you, remember? A very fine example of a proper pony. Easy now. There's a good girl. That's what Orid would say to Stormflower. 'There's a good girl, Stormflower,' he would say. In fact, that's what he said as they entered the black forest. And she wasn't afraid because Orid was with her. They found the monster's trail almost immediately because Orid was very clever and had very keen eyes. He followed the monster tracks all the way up to an old nasty cave. 'We ought to keep our wits about us, old girl,' he told Stormflower. 'It'll be no good panicking. We're done for if we panic.' So they calmly walked into the cave.
"No, please don't thrash, Daisy. Please, you must stay calm. There's a good girl. Shhh, now. Stay calm or I'm done fo—"
The young dwarf perked up. "We're here!" he yelled.
Daisy the pony released a long wailing whinny. She lifted up her head but Ori gently pushed it back down again.
"Oooorrriiii!" came the call again. Further away this time.
"We're down here!" he yelled back. "We're…here…"
A few moments passed with no reply.
Ori nodded to himself. He took a deep breath, fighting back a wave of panic. He pretended that his arm did not hurt and that his feet were not going numb. He pretended that there wasn't something sharp jabbing into him. "I'm not panicking," he told Daisy in a surprisingly controlled voice. "Cowards panic. Young stupid cowards. I'm like Orid, you see. He walked into the cave with Stormflower, watching for traps because some monsters like to lay out traps for unsuspecting heroes. But Orid was clever. He sprang the traps as he passed them, sidestepping the massive spikes and thick nets that swept up only to close on air and dust. After a time, they came to the heart of the lair. The monster was waiting. It was a huge black thing with three heads and a thick gray beard on each face – one braided into the next. 'You should not have come here, Orid,' the heads said to him. 'You're weak and craven. Not fit for adventure. Go home to your mother.' But, of course, Orid was not these things. He drew his great war hammer as Stormflower set her four hooves firmly on the ground. 'We shall defeat you, foul creature of discord. We shall smash in your heads, one by one, and silence the stream of cynicism.' One of the heads cackled. One frowned in haughty disappointment. The last one shook slowly back and forth. 'You are well spoken and bold, young dwarf. But you are no match of us.'
"ORI! Where are you?"
"Here!" Ori screeched. And then he immediately regretted it.
Daisy flinched, rocking sideways as if to stand. Ori gasped in pain, his eyes watering. Fingers wound into her mane, he desperately pulled her back. Standing meant thrashing and thrashing meant falling down again and falling down again meant he'd be further crushed into the side of the gorge. His legs were already going dead as it was.
"Be calm, Daisy. Hold still," he murmured in a low voice. "Shh, now. It's alright. Be calm. There's a good girl."
An anxious nicker rumbled through her and he gently stroked her neck. Her fur was caked with mud and leaves and sticks.
"I'm not afraid,' Orid said. 'I shall defeat you.' Orid readied his hammer and kicked his heels into the ponies sides. Together, they leapt forward with a mighty shout—"
"I see him! He's in the gorge!"
"The monster swiped and snapped at them. It was a terrible battle. Orid went flying from Stormflower's saddle and crashed into the hard unyielding cave wall. The ground shook. The sound of the monsters footsteps were like drums in the deep. His confidence waned. 'Get out!' he yelled to his pony. She fled obediently, leaving Orid to his monster. In the dark, the monster lurked. He turned to flee but he could not get out—"
"We're coming, Ori!"
Dirt rained down on top of him and he heard the sound of many dwarves skidding down the side of the gorge. Daisy nickered again. Her eyes were rolling back, showing the whites, showing her fear. He kept up the steady stroking down her neck.
"He's pinned," came Nori's voice. "Ori, are you hurt?"
"Speak calmly, please," Ori told them. His voice shook a little. He could feel the energy building up in the fallen pony. "Daisy's tangled up in those brambles. She can't stand up." His voice was strictly controlled.
"Where are you hurt, Ori?" came Dori's voice at his ear. The eldest brother crouched down just behind him, putting a hand on his shoulder.
"My arm's hurting very badly and my legs are going numb. And I've got something in my…well," Ori hesitated in a calm voice.
"In your what?" Dori pressed. "Your side? Your spine?"
"My…backside," he admitted.
Nori chuckled. "In your ass?"
"I don't like that word."
"You can say ass, Ori. Mum's not around to swat you," Nori insisted.
"It's not because of Mum. I don't like that word," Ori insisted right back.
Nori swore sharply and Daisy jerked. Ori made a face.
"Please don't do that," he said in a low, steady voice. "She's very scared."
"Keep it down, lads," Dori said. He was as white as a sheep.
Oin and Gloin started poking around the mess of branches and bushes. Nori pulled at a log. Daisy neighed loudly. Ori realized his hand was shaking. He kept stroking the pony's neck, searching for more words to add to his story. She was calm when he told his story. Calm was good.
"Don't be afraid, Daisy. They'll get us out," he said. The pony nickered softly. "Just like Orid got out. He was small for a dwarf. When he was young, he was often mocked because of his size but he was quick and clever – like I said before. As the monster swooped down to crush him, Orid rolled neatly under its great black fists. He took his hammer and smashed it against the monsters chest. There was a great crack—"
Ori noticed the confused glances that passed between Oin and Gloin. Dori and Nori were used to his storytelling by now. They thought nothing of it. When they were all much younger dwarves, Ori often told stories after dinner from his seat near the hearth. His aunt was also a storyteller. She was the one who swayed him to join the thin ranks of scribes. She taught him to write with a steady hand. She taught him how to weave words together to make them compelling. She taught him how to see the world more completely – all the bits and pieces. Beyond a writer and a storyteller, Ori became the observer.
And, just now, he observed his need to keep telling the story. Never mind the ridicule that was sure to come afterwards.
"The monster fell back with a cry. 'How can this be?' it exclaimed. 'You have beaten us back!' Orid looked hard at the monster. 'I am Orid the great. No monster can best me. Leave this place and never return for I am also Orid the merciful.' The monster considered this for a long time. 'Very well,' it finally conceded. 'We are no match for your might and grace. Please do us no further harm and we will leave this place.' With great solemnity, Orid let the monster pass him by. The creature was never heard of again. Pleased with his success, Orid called to his faithful pony. Stormflower came near and they rode off home to a hero's welcome."
There was a series of cracks and Ori felt a sort of loosening around him and Daisy. The pony felt it too and she suddenly surged upright. There was a sharp pain and a moment of muddled confusion and then Dori and Nori were pulling Ori free of the brambly mess. Daisy shook and a cloud of dirt came puffing off her.
"Show me where you're hurt, Ori," Dori commanded sharply. He was patting the younger dwarf down, as if he could feel for broken bones.
"Wiggle your toes for me."
"Can you move your arm?"
"Hold it," Nori said suddenly. He reached down and yanked something from Ori's bottom.
"Ouch!" Ori yelped. He clamped his hand over his side.
Nori chuckled, handing the something to Ori. It was his quill – which was now quite bent and muddied. Ori frowned at it.
"I've been betrayed by my craft," he groused.
"Well, it could have been worse," Nori insisted. "It's a good thing you're so smart. That pony would have crushed you if she'd of panicked."
"Hold still now," Dori said sharply. He gently took the arm which had been pinned and moved it around.
"Yes, it hurts!" Ori yelped, snatching his arm back. "But I don't think it's broken."
"How're your legs?" Dori asked, not even blinking at the tone that Ori had taken.
"Feeling better. I think I'm ok," Ori insisted.
"We'll have Mister Gandalf look you over and see if he can't do anything to fix things," Dori insisted.
"There's nothing to fix. I'm fine," Ori said.
"Ori, you've got a serious wound in your bottom—
"—and your arms nearly broken. You're going to let Mister Gandalf look at you."
Ori heaved a sigh. "How's Daisy? Is she hurt?"
Nori shook his head. "Some scrapes and cuts but she's walking just fine. What happened?"
"She stepped on a log wrong and tumbled down the side of the gorge," Ori said.
"It was great luck that you didn't break your neck," Nori said.
"Are you sure you haven't hurt your neck?" Dori asked, prodding at Ori.
"Yes, I'm quite sure. Help me up."
Once he was upright, the three started to find their way back out of the gorge. Ori noticed many things as they hiked. Dori didn't stop talking the entire time. He kept poking and prodding. After a moment, he started in on a longwinded lecture about the dangers of gorges and ponies. He was scared. Utterly terrified. He must have thought Ori had been gobbled up by a troll or something. All the worry was coming out in a flood of henpecking. In this manner, Ori felt the love that Dori had for him. And so he took the verbal onslaught with a great deal of patience.
Nori was scared too but he only barely showed it. The middle brother was an expert at controlling his emotions. He showed his concern in other ways – some practical and some not. He joked with Ori, drawing out the seriousness of the situation like venom from a snake bite. Mostly though, he was a solid pillar of nonverbal reassurance. His body language was calm and easy. As Dori lectured, Nori shared looks of amused exasperation. And in this way, Ori was absolutely certain of Nori's love.
He'd always known that he would be alright on this adventure so long as Nori and Dori were with him. That knowledge had been validated here. And he was quite sure that, when they met next with some wild unknown enemy, the brothers would be sure to be completely and totally victorious without a single scratch to evidence their battle.
Or, at the very least, he'd get a damn fine story out of it.