**A/N: Just an update for those of you who faved/followed this story all those months ago. In case you're interested, below is a teaser for a revise of Durin's Day, which I've started under a new story titled Erebor: 3022 Cursebearers story 1 (revised). I invite you to read the new opening and then come on over and join the new story!
Why the revise? The original was the first sort-of off the cuff story that I posted nearly two years ago. As the six stories have grown and developed, I've always wanted to flesh it story one a bit more, so here it is, re-drafted as it's being translated into German! Find the German language version under the author name summerundJessie, story title Erebor: 3022 - 1 Cursebearer - Die letzten Schatten Morguls. Enjoy!**
Kili, brother to the King of Erebor, caught sight of orc-arrows coming from the trees south of Erebor's western outpost before anyone else.
He raised his bow and fired—his arrow zinged away and quickly hit its mark. Moments later, a scrawny figure in a ragged cloak fell from a tree. Three other Erebor dwarves fired, and several more rogues toppled out of trees with garbled cries.
"Shields up!" Kili yelled to his troops, sending another arrow to the source of enemy fire. On the road ahead, a contingent of traveling dwarves took heed of the fight and pressed together, axes out.
But the attack was over. Five skinny goblins lay dead on the icy ground. No more shots were fired.
Kili charged ahead, his young lieutenant at his back with arrow nocked, ready to defend his prince. Several more of the Erebor Guard fanned out to search for more hidden archers in the trees.
"Common goblin," Kili muttered when he got to the first one, shoving it over with his boot to get a look at the creature's gnarled face.
One of the travelling dwarves approached, axe at the ready, eyes roving the road and the trees around them.
"Skinny and underfed," the traveler observed. "Any more?"
Kili eyed the traveller, yellow braids marking him as a Firebeard. "If there were," Kili said, "they've scattered by now." Kili looked up to see a trio of ravens swooping past. The birds said nothing, which told him the threat was over.
The newcomer, dressed in Ered Luin blue, glanced at the ravens, then nodded, and considering the battle commander in front of him, he bowed. "Brunsder of Ered Luin. At your service."
Kili returned the bow, hand on heart. "Kili, Prince of Erebor, at yours."
Brunsder nodded. "I thought it was you. Mahal's blessings, lad," he reached for Kili's shoulder and the two of them exchanged the soldier's greeting, hands on shoulders. "We are glad to see you. The war's over and the Ring's destroyed, but there are still a mighty number of highway robbers on the roads. Even," he looked askance at the dead goblins. "This close to Erebor."
"Especially this close," Kili acknowledged, glowering at the goblins. "They're no longer organized enough to mount a full attack, but there's more than one lair left in northern Mirkwood...we burn them off Erebor's lands, but they hide in elf territory and we are barred from following. We need Gondor's new treaty."
"Agreed," Brunsder said. Ratifying it was why he was here, after all—him and envoys from all seven dwarf kingdoms. "But not everyone's convinced, I'm afraid. We hear rumors of contention..."
"Yes," Kili acknowledged. "But we have not come this far only to give up the fight." Kili turned and walked Brunsder back toward the path.
"We have not, indeed," Brunsder agreed quietly. "How's your brother? News travels slow back to the Blue Mountains. When we heard of the losses of the last battle...two Kings fallen at the gate...we feared for Fili. For you both."
"Fili is fit as ever," Kili confirmed. He carefully didn't mention Fili's battle wound, that his survival had been a close thing. "Though our losses were terrible. Brand of Dale. Our cousin Dain of the Iron Hills." Kili put a fist to his heart in salute to their feisty old relation.
"May he rest in Aüle's Halls," Brunsder said. He looked at Kili in sadness and then spoke more quietly. "Have a care, lad. Someone among the seven families is intent on disrupting the enclave."
"And who would that be?" Kili deadpanned. He'd heard the same gossip and sincerely hoped Ered Luin and the Firebeards had nothing to do with it.
"No idea." With that, Brunsder re-mounted his pony and signalled his caravan of travelers forward. He looked at Kili, sad regret on his craggy face. "And I wish I did."
**A/N There's much more to follow! Please slide on over to the new story to see the rest of the revised chapter-and if you're inclined, please follow!
Please leave a note or PM and let me know what you think!
Mahal's blessing, Summer