Kili was breathing hard, legs pumping as he ran, trying to fly across the stones and into the maze of corridors. Dol Guldor's endless stones had to stop somewhere. Kili knew that.
However, he also knew that if he exited from the wrong direction, he would end up in the southern woods of Mirkwood.
Kili knew what kind of welcome he would receive there. IF he wasn't killed by spiders, then he would be imprisoned in the Elvenking's dungeons again. Neither option sounded enjoyable, but he had to admit that, upon facing the wrath of the darkness, King Thranduil was not nearly as intimidating as one would imagine.
Kili saw the darkness swirling around him, fighting against him. It was snapping at his heels and slowing his run, almost like he was swimming through it. He wasn't letting it stop him.
He had fought the darkness once and won. There was light. He could not see it, but he could feel it, deep within himself.
Stumbling around the ruins, Kili tried to understand where he was trying to go. There was a horrid feeling within him, telling him that if he stopped running, then it would get him. He could not afford that.
Kili broke from the courtyard, escaping through one of the dark thresholds.
The darkened tunnels seemed even more isolated – he had no idea where he was going.
Kili could not afford to falter – the darkness would swallow him.
He was already feeling fatigue well up inside of him, but he could not stop.
Running on, Kili realized the tunnel was tilting down. He was going further underground.
He had no idea where he was going.
And in the end, he feared that that would be his downfall.
The only good thing was that running downward had alleviated a small bit of the burning in his legs. Of course, that meant that going up was going to be much worse.
Kili ran down, going further and further into the dark abyss. The darkness followed him, preventing him from stopping, leaving him to hope that the path would eventually lead to an exit.
He was wrong.
As soon as the tunnel branched off, Kili darted down the other path. It wasn't long, but it ended in a collection of cells.
There was no way back.
Kili watched as the darkness streamed inside after him, flying in like heavy smoke.
He backed slowly away, breathing heavy, every instinct screaming at him to escape.
There was no way out.
His back hit the cell's wall, and he lurched forward, not ready for the collision. His tunic stuck to the wall. It wasn't hard to pull off, but it was enough that Kili glanced at the wall to see what substance was on it.
The wall was covered in blood.
Was this where the elf was kept, or was this from another prisoner?
What was he going to do?
He would have to defeat the darkness again. He had done it once.
Gathering his courage, he stepped into the black cloud that came ever-closer. It swallowed him, absorbing him into the night.
At once, the thought to give up, to fall, to collapse entered his mind. He would not fall to it!
Kili took a step forward, his legs straining from the terrible weight left from the shadow pushing him down.
It grabbed at him, trying to shove him down.
As he stood, completely still, not giving way but unable to move further.
As he watched, his mother, Dἰs, emerged from the darkness.
"You have been reckless, my son," she whispered.
"M – mother?" Kili managed to stutter out, shocked at seeing her.
"You have been reckless. You fight against an evil that no mortal can defeat."
"Yet I must try," Kili answered. "For I will return to you."
"You cannot, my son… Give in. You will not win." Listening to his mother tell him what he could never do, Kili stiffened.
It was not true.
His mother's appearance was another one of the shadow's mind games.
He would not be defeated.
The apparition of his mother was wrong, but it had awoken a fierce desire in him.
He would return to her.
He would survive.
He would escape.
Kili took a step forward, through the thick, suffocating blackness. He took another, feeling it beat down on his shoulders. He could not stop now.
He would not do that to his mother.
He would not do that to his company.
He would not do that to Tauriel.
Kili broke through the heavy black cloud. He turned and began to run, unsure of which direction he went in. He had been completely turned around.
It wasn't until he stumbled upon other cells did he realize he had been going even deeper into the abyss.
He stopped, despair settling within him, unable to take another step forward.
His heart was pounding in his ears, and he could hear his own breath, heavy and rushed with adrenaline.
Then he heard a softer sound. It was the whoosh of breath, but it was not his own. For a moment, Kili worried that the darkness had sent a living minion down to kill him, but he realized it was coming from one of the cells. Kili peered inside, and he was just able to make out a broken body lying on the ground.
The being was short, and Kili could see a long beard from where he stood.
It was a dwarf.
Kili froze as he realized that one of his own kind was trapped in the cell.
There was no way to save him, and if he did not, then the dwarf would die.
Suddenly, it seemed as if the darkness was laughing around him, shaking the stone and the bars of the cell. Kili trembled as the menacing sound washed over him. The other dwarf let out a short sob that turned into pained gasps.
Dἰs stepped from the darkness, walking towards Kili, who glared at her, knowing she was not real.
"You know that I am not your true mother," she said, and Kili could almost feel the sadness dripping of her voice. It was sweet sounding, but it was fake.
"However, Kili," she continued. "That is your grandfather."
Kili's gaze widened.
No, his grandfather was dead. He had no grandfather.
Dἰs' father was Thráin, son of Thrór, King Under the Mountain.
He was also dead, and Thorin carried along his legacy.
"He was captured,Kili. You must save him. I want you to. Thorin wants you to. Fili wants you to.
"Do not dishonor yourself by leaving your kin to perish."
Dἰs' apparition vanished, leaving Kili standing alone in front of the cell – his grandfather's cell.
Tauriel felt a tear gather in her eye, and she tried to force it back. Unfortunately, an image of Kili flashed before her eyes, and she could not keep it from falling down her cheek. It fell and landed on Legolas' face. Carefully, Tauriel brushed it away.
Once again, Legolas was stirring a bit. Tauriel held him close, making sure he wouldn't injure himself as he moved.
Legolas blinked open his eyes and looked up at her.
"Tauriel?" he asked, his voice rasping in his throat. Almost immediately, he began to cough. Tauriel reacted almost instantly, pulling water from her pack and offering it to him. Legolas allowed her to pour some of it into his mouth.
"W- what happened?" Tauriel felt a flash of horror. Legolas had asked the same question the last time he woke.
Perhaps his mind was only fuzzy. He had been through a lot, after all.
"You were captured," Tauriel whispered.
"You rescued me?" Legolas said.
Legolas listed his head off of her lap, wincing as he pushed his abused body to a sitting position. Tauriel supported his back, knowing the stubborn prince wouldn't allow himself to remain laying down.
"Dwarves?" he exclaimed. "Tauriel, what are they doing here?"
The dwarves, excluding Fili, who was still lost in grief, looked indignant. After all, they had risked their lives in order to save him.
They had lost one of their own in trying to save him.
"Aye," Tauriel said. "They helped to rescue you. You would be dead without them."
Legolas stared at the dwarves, eyes narrowing slightly. Then he tilted his head respectfully.
"Then I suppose I must thank you, dwarves."
"You are welcome, Prince of Mirkwood. It was an honor to travel and fight alongside Tauriel," Fili jumped in, not expecting his companions to be welcoming.
"You seem close to her," Legolas said, sounding near accusing.
"That is to be expected after travel," Fili said, a bit short with the elf. He had not forgotten their treatment in Mirkwood, though he had near forgiven it.
Legolas tried to stand slowly. Tauriel immediately pulled on his hand, keeping the weak elf down.
"No, Legolas. You are too weak."
"I am not – I can stand!" he protested, angry at being coddled.
"You nearly died, Legolas. I nearly lost you. You will not be standing up."
Legolas was slightly relieved; already the small movement had made his head swim. He hadn't been completely sure he could stand up at all.
Slowly, Fili stepped forward and lowered himself towards the elf, going down on one knee beside the prince.
I believe this belongs to you," he said, carefully pulling out one of Legolas' knives. "Hannon le," he said, responding in Sindarin, Legolas' own language. (Thank you.)
Legolas stared at him, blinking slowly, not comprehended why a dwarf was speaking Sindarin – or why he had no idea what the words meant.
Hi, all! I finished another chapter, and I played around with repetition on this one. Tell me how it went!
I took a bit of liberty with Thrain. He was alive and held in Dol Goldur - however, he also perished not long after giving Gandalf the map that Gandalf gave to Thorin before the Hobbit took place. I extended his life a bit.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Hobbit.
Thank you to all my readers and reviewers!
Please read and review!