Autor Tópico: [Fanfic 4, cap. 29] Loyalty, Honor etc - Nobody Home  (Lida 1199 vezes)

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Offline Luinwen

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[Fanfic 4, cap. 29] Loyalty, Honor etc - Nobody Home
« em: Dezembro 04, 2013, 02:12:42 »
Not all of the gunpowder kegs exploded as the Company wished, nor did they explode with all the might expected, but it was enough to damage Smaug’s eardrums and make him more instable; a lot of his chest diamond coat fell down also, exposing more of his soft underbelly, already wounded by some keg scraps, and for the first time he could remember, Smaug really felt pain.
Having hid behind the larger treasure piles and stone pillars showed itself the best the Company could have done to avoid being collateral of their own explosive attack. Smaug was confused, momentarily vulnerable, and they seized that chance to destroy him. Each warrior made his best to reach him and have his share of slaying, even at the risk of getting hurt. The dragon was completely confused, as he felt no smell besides his own dung filth and could see nothing with one eye and blurred images with the other; he tried to figure out what was all that about so he could at least take what revenge he still could. His disturbed body burped salad again, and Smaug thought of the ponies. He didn’t know the smell of Smelly, but he knew the smell from where the ponies had come. Lake-Town.
He roared in his anger and slowly tried to make his way to the passage to get away from there and from those stupid warriors. They could steal his hoard, maybe, but they would have nowhere to go back home, he would grant it. Thorin was closest to the passage when the dragon came, and his heavy steps unbalanced the gold mould he was upon, making him sway and lose the grip on Orcrist, which fell and slid away on the pile of gold; he saw the elf close by and shouted.
“Ellen, Lócënehtar!”
The elf saw what happened and ran to him; she was no match for Smaug’s steps, even if he was slower than normal, but managed to reach her sword to the dwarf with a cry.
“At your service!”
Thorin took its wide handle in both hands to use it as mounting sword and ran, wielding the sword as a spear and stuck it deep in dragon’s belly, then rolled to his side to avoid the dragon’s backstab. Fíli managed to pull Thorin from out of the firebreath range just in time. Smaug got away.
It was hard for them to hold Thorin, who wanted to go after him, and managed it only because they saw that Smaug was taking small flights to get away from them faster.
“He is gone!” Was Balin’s relieved sigh.
“But he is not dead.” Replied Thorin darkly.
“But he is poisoned and wounded. He may die yet.”
“We cannot count on this. We must make for the Front Gate and set watch. He can be back at any moment.” Thorin turned to his companions. “Anybody hurt? Scorched?”
Iris complaining voice came quietly to him.
“No, just filthy, filthy, filthy, I never felt so filthy in my whole life!”
Everybody laughed. They were all filthy, like they never dreamed of ever be, but yes, it was better to smell dragon dung than to be smelled, found and munched by one. His complete disorientation after he lost one eye and could smell nothing that was not himself granted them what success they had, plus the poisoning by datura. It was a pity having lost the ponies, but they would have been lost anyway if Smaug got them, so at least their death served a good purpose.
“We make for the Gate, set watch and see if it is already time to wash. I don’t want Smaug to come back and smell dwarf, let us keep him confused as long as we may.” Thorin looked at his loyal companions, willing to follow him into the very claws of a dragon. “We can wash our faces and hands, at least; we will go up until the spring of River Running, and from there to the Gate.”

ooo000ooo

Thorin indeed knew every passage and every turn of the palace, and they paced behind him with the aid of the cleverly spread out light Erebor’s architecture provided. They finally made it. They were inside Erebor, and the dragon was gone for good. They would have to be alert, but now they knew he was defeasible, and he was hurt.
Now the women could understand what it really meant when they heard someone say ‘mighty halls’. Everything was huge, impressive, majestic.
The main hall got light from the wide and high main windows above the gates. This light was spread by the clever use of mirrors and crystals, making it unnecessary to light a single candle along the day. The houses, manufactories and stores had no roof, for it was not needed to keep off the rain, and used the widespread light as well. In the dwellings, the bedrooms used to have articulated roofs, for darkness to sleep and for privacy’s sake. Where the main windows’ lights could not reach, funnels were made so as to bring light in, using the same mirror and crystal devices. At night, or in cloudy days, series of candles were lit so as to use the same system. In addition to be masters of stone and metal, the dwarves were masters in optics.
Everything was covered with far too many years of dust, and the Company was thinking about to camp just like if they were doing out in the open. But there was far too much dirt, light dust that spread out in clouds when they walked.
It was a long and weary walk, as the adrenaline level lowered in their blood as the staircases walled in front of them, but they made it in time to see a last gleam of sunlight through the balcony’s windows. Twenty-four hours before they were waiting for the Back Door to show itself. Now they were inside their retaken realm. It was a worthy Durin’s Day indeed. Bilbo smiled.
“I never dreamed of looking through this window from inside.”
“And we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, my dear friend.” Thorin slapped his shoulder, warmly. “It took the courage of a son of the Shire to stir the dragon.”
“You would have found a way if I weren’t here, I am sure.”
The hobbit shook off the praise. He wasn’t used to much incense and felt better without it.
“The sun in sinking, we’d best find a safe place to camp; this balcony is too much open and exposed.”
Balin remembered the last time he stood on that balcony and Smaug’s fire almost roasted him.
“We can use the guardhouse opposite to the side where Smaug bored that hole.” Dwalin offered. “So we will be close to the entrance but inside a safe place, and then close to this watch post.”
“It can be a good idea for this night, tomorrow we will see what happens.”
“What is that, down river?”
Ellen narrowed her eyes to have a better sight of the red lights she saw. In minutes it expanded to be seen even by the dwarves, as red and yellow tongues of flame lightened the distance.
“Lake-Town.” Thorin mumbled. “Smaug has reached them.”
“We must hope they had a chance.”
“They took the risk of helping us, and we tried to warn and help them as we could. There’s nothing else to be done.”
A thrush landed on the balcony and sang merrily, contrasting with the Company’s moods as they thought of what could have become of Lake-Town and it’s people.

ooo000ooo

Smaug swore in all known and unknown languages Middle-Earth had ever heard of, while flying his way downriver to have his revenge. It was not fair what was done to him. An invisible Smelly guy and a gang of dung smelling thieves had the insolence of stealing into his home and put bursting kegs in his own bedroom; no, it was not fair. Lake-Town pony owners would have their pay, oh they would, most of all if the horizon stopped to dance before his eye. Whatever salad the ponies ate definitely was not doing good for him. He hiccoughed, and a flame spurted out, involuntarily. By the dark dungeons of Morgoth, this was not going on well. Smaug hiccoughed again, his belly hurting where one of the dunglings hit him deep. He almost got that insolent, but it was hard to find him on the side he lost sight. If it weren’t for that blasted blast kegs his armor would be whole and nothing of this would have happened.
He didn’t remember Lake-Town was so distant, was it? But then it had been many years since he had a dinner with that people. Or, better saying, since he had dinned that people. Smaug tried to focus on the river, the river, the river would take him where he wanted, he didn’t have to think about it, it was just following the river and everything would be all right. The river was his friend, the river was cute, it had fishes, nice fishes, and... and the river was far too close and Smaug made an emergency water landing, spilling water all around in great waves, and, oh, Glaurung, that hurt! He hurried to make himself out of the water again, burped salad and hiccoughed fire, and then flew unevenly in the general direction of Lake-Town, now that he was on the lake it was much more easier to get lost even following the river, because it went so wide...

ooo000ooo

Lake-Town people had not been idle. When Bard came down from rowing the dwarven Company to the Desolation of Smaug’s borders he went straight to the Master and explained what could have to become. As expected, the fat fool didn’t listen to him, only counting on what rewards the dwarves would have for him when they fulfilled their mission, as they were an elite squad astoundingly well armed, and armored and supplied by himself, and this was bound to grant him some wealth, he was sure. What his people might be going through he didn’t care, just as the dwarves said to Bard. Weird it was that strangers knew more about the leader of his town that he himself; but then, he guessed it all along, and wasn’t that surprised at all.
He sought for help where he could find it. Knowing the threat that could approach his town any time from now on, Bard used what influence he could, amongst his town-guard colleagues, his neighbors, but the best ally he found was unexpected. When he mentioned that there was a chance of the dragon to attack their town the healer who prescribed horseleech to Bilbo embraced the cause as if it were his own son who had gone to the Lonely Mountain, and made a pilgrimage amongst his patients present and past to explain the risk that was at hand, and what was there to be done. Several tradesman bought the cause too, as they were so well treated by the women of the Company, who in no moment ever questioned the high prices they put on the goods they wanted to buy; so, even with no backing from its Master, most of Lake-Town was alert to the upcoming menace, and a lot of eyes were set to the north looking for fire, the sign that they would have to put their escaping plans into action.
The food merchants understood the opportunity and dealt supplies fairly, else they would be burned; the ones dealing with non-perishable supplies wanted their stores to be safe, and else moved or dealt them fairly too; albeit the upcoming winter, most people was willing to move to tents they deemed safe in the borders of Mirkwood Forest, as they had dealings with the wooden elves, expecting it would be a temporary move.  So, when Smaug at least reached Lake-Town, burning its empty buildings, it was almost a ghost town, dwelt for few but Bard and his guard, his own faithful company, ready to land their arrows on the attacking dragon like they would never deem possible. They looked up at the unbalanced dragon’s bleeding belly and shot at will.

ooo000ooo

The Company was having another cold meal, as they dared not yet to light a fire until they were sure Smaug would not come back. They had brought only a little of their supplies to the balcony’s guardroom, as the next day they would have a better measure of what was happening, and paced the watching space often, because it was how they could get any news from what Samug could be doing. Ellen, admitting herself as the strategic planer of the Company, felt completely responsible for any death Smaug could accomplish in Lake-Town, and could not take her eyes from the south view, not even to bite some lembas. Thorin himself came trying to ease her worries, although he was as uneasy as her.
“Be at ease, elf. What we have done changed the course of history, for good or for evil. I know you are kind of feeling yourself responsible for everyone and everything, but you can’t take the world on your shoulders.” She looked at him, her eyes hurt. “I must admit it could have been worse, but for you. At least we had a plan, and they had a warning.” He added, making a gesture towards Lake-Town.
“I wish I could have news from downriver people.”
Ellen’s eyes were downcast, her voice quiet. Thorin tried to handle her.
“There are things we cannot change. What is past, is past, and we have to live with it.”
Thorin said this out of his personal experience, of all the losses and wars he had been through; the very loss of Erebor, the six year war against the orcs that ended in the battle of Azanulbizar, and...
The elf felt dizzy, and shook her head between her hands, a disturbed look in her eyes. Thorin didn’t know what to do, but helped her to sit herself to the floor, dizzy and confused.
“What is going on? What have you done to my sister?”
Balin was close to them in no moment at all.
“I’ve done nothing!”
“No, it is all right, brother!” The elf managed to speak. “It is just...” She shook her head.
“You are safe, amongst family, sister.”
Balin eased her head on his shoulder, like if she were a child and not an elf almost the double of his height. She breathed deep, reassuring herself.
“The past was changed.” Ellen managed to say, after some minutes of disturbed silence. Then, dimly, she smiled. “It would have been worse; I don’t know what has happened in Lake-Town tonight, but it would have been worse, there would have been dead people, maybe there are, but we sent Smaug hurt and poisoned, not in his full strength as he would have gone.” The elf gazed at Thorin. “It would have been Bilbo’s doing, all you’d accomplished until now would have been Bilbo’s doing. Please don’t forget this!”
“You must rest.”
The white bearded dwarf helped the elf up, giving Thorin a meaningful glance. He shook his head, annoyed. He was barely able to deal with what he could see, what about the member of his Company that saw what none else could?

ooo000ooo

Next day some of them made a trek to Ravenhill, the old watch post in the southern spur, while others went back to the Back Door tunnel to bring more supplies closer to the front Gate and others yet kept watch on the balcony. The Gate was broken, it was true, but they managed to clear out some rubbish and open a small crack, wide enough for them to pass but little more, and the access was easier from inside than from outside.
Dwalin guided the ones who got outside, as he knew the lay of the land and the fastest way to reach the advanced watch post. Balin wanted his sister to stay in the balcony, because of the former night dizziness, but she insisted that she would be fine outside, that the light of the sun would do her good, and Kíli would be with her just in case. Ori and Bofur wanted to go with them, too, curious about their new home surroundings; it was a fact that Bofur was born in Erebor, albeit his family had come from Khazad-Dum before its fall, but he was a dwarfling when Smaug came, and remembered little, and surely he never got to Ravenhill.
It was a long trek, almost three hours at a good pace, but the morning was chilly from the upcoming winter, and they reached the watch post in good mood. Being outside diluted somewhat the dragon dung smell they all bore still, as to disguise them from Smaug if he ever came back.
The high place had an overwhelming view, far and wide and beautiful, if one ignored the charred land closer to the Mountain, but it was possible to imagine how it would be when the green came back, when the land would be healed, when life would spring from the earth and from inside Erebor. It was more than to retake a hoard or to get rid of a dragon, it was rebuilding a realm, having a place for a people to dwell and grow, in their righteous place, not in exile. A thrush sang close by.
“If I were a bit more paranoid, I’d say this bird is stalking us.”
“He may be, Sister, as thrushes have been friends to dwarves from old times already.”
“Isn’t this watch post name wrong, then?” Asked Kíli. “I can see no raven around. It should be Thrush-hill!”
“There were ravens here in our time; I don’t know what has become of them, but they could even communicate with us. Probably Smaug ate them. They were of an ancient and long living line, they could reach a hundred years or more.”
The thrush flew somewhere downhill, and they looked around for any sign of threat. A dark cloud seemed to be forming in the north, and some birds were coming from the south, as they had seen all the morning long.
“Will we put this watch post in use right away, Dwalin? We are too few to be scattered in many places.”
“You are right, lad. This is only a reconnaissance outing, we will go back now and report.”
The thrush came back, singing angrily in front of Dwalin.
“This little fellow didn’t like your speech, brother!”
“What a pity I don’t have the knack of understanding what he sings; it is told that there were dwarves who could understand them, but aye, I’m not one of them.”
The delay the thrush provided was enough for an old battered and tired looking raven to fly to the battlement wall and land right in front of them; it was an enormous raven, but after seeing the Misty Mountains’ Eagles, nothing was very impressive anymore. Ellen thought that Edgar Allan Poe wouldn’t dream of a better pet. A harsh sound came from the black bird, to everyone’s surprise.
“I am Roäc, son of Carc.”
“Carc!” Dwalin was startled. “Carc was the Chief of the ravens of Ravenhill! How is it possible? What’s become of your father?”
“We flew away before we got roasted.” The raven spoke again. “Carc flies in another sky now, for more than fifty years already.”
“This is sad news! May your feathers never fall, Roäc, my friend!”
“The thrush told me of you, of what you have been doing all this days long, and I have news for you, news from the south.”
“What do you have to tell us, noble Roäc?”
“The birds are coming back to live in the Lonely Mountain; the fire-breathing beast is no more.”
“What do you mean? Speak clearly, bird!”
“It has always been easy to make a dwarf to lose his temper, my father told me, but I couldn’t imagine it would take just one phrase to turn from “noble Roäc” to “bird”!”
“Ouch, I’m sorry, please forgive my outburst!”
“Apologies accepted.”
“So, now, what may you mean with the wise words you presented us, o noble Roäc?”
“My father also told it was funny to see a dwarf trying to make amends.”
Dwalin took a deep breath.
“It might be.”
“The dragon is dead. Lake-people killed him with arrows. He burned down the town, but the people got away in time. Erebor is yours.”
The mighty dwarf had to fight himself not to hug the bird and kiss his beak. Instead he bowed low and produced a silver bead out of his pocked. Ellen had a feeling the dwarves used to have silver beads in their pockets like a kid would have chewing gums, or marbles. The raven took the gift and flew away.

"I´m shieldmaiden, and my hand is ungentle."