Friday, December 27, 2013

Instalment 11


I really like this chapter for no reason at all except that I really like it. :)

I just like writing emotions. Although I'm not the best at doing it.

I hope you like it! And thanks Darrion for asking about this one! :)

-Saphira
*****




Pain.


Chest ripping pain.


I tried to open my eyes, but couldn’t.


Was I tired?


Or dead?


My head swam as I tried to move my legs.


I couldn’t.


Or perhaps I was moving, but I couldn’t feel it.


Where was I?


I listened.


I heard the indistinct murmur of voices, but I couldn’t make them out.


I tried opening my eyes.


This time, I succeeded, and I blinked at the bright morning light.


Tears came to my eyes as the sun was too bright, but I couldn’t move to wipe them away.


I tried moving again, but my body protested with a bought of pain.


I clenched my teeth, and tried not to move.


Presently the pain subsided and I swallowed.


My mouth was dry.


I was hungry.


When was the last time I ate?


I tasted blood in my mouth.


What had happened?


I tried turning my head to try and see where I was.


All I got was a shockwave of pain.


I let out a groan.


I tried listening again.


The voices seemed familiar.


Dwalin?


I tried calling for him, but was too sore.


I managed a faint, “D...” before the pain overtook me.


I grimaced and clenched my teeth.


My arm hurt.


I tried looking down at it, but to no avail.


I looked at the ceiling.


Wait, a ceiling?


I frowned.


Where was I?


A fresh breeze blew in from the window where the sun was coming from.


It stung my chest, and I realised that it was wrapped in bandages.


I tried looking, but it did no good.


I was stuck.


The breeze rustled my hair and set it over my face.


I couldn’t move to take it off.


I grimaced.


Great.


I tried moving my right arm, but my shoulder screamed in pain, and I screamed right along with it.


Instantly, I heard the rushing of feet, as people ran toward me.


“Thorin!” Dwalin blocked out the sun, providing my eyes relief, “Are you alright?”


“Dwalin...” I choked out, but was interrupted by Dis, who clasped my head with her hands.


“THORIN OAKENSHIELD! HOW DARE YOU! How dare you leave me like this and come home just like Aili! How.....THORIN!”


Dis collapsed into tears.


Balin came up and patted her gently on the shoulder, “Now there lass, he’s home. Nothing to worry about.”


Dis didn’t stop crying, “You....you were just like Aili and.....and it was happening all over again when....when Dwalin came in and.....and....”


She could go no further and taking her hands from my head, she turned to Balin and cried on him.


“What happened?” I whispered despite my sore throat.


Dwalin and Balin glanced at each other.


Balin opened his mouth to speak, but then stopped.


Dwalin turned to me, “Later Thorin, do you need anything to eat?”


“Yes.” I groaned.


They moved me out of the sun on my cot and into the kitchen, which was full of people.


Dis managed to feed me through her tears, and stroking my hair.


The realisation slowly dawned upon me that I was home.


And I remembered what had happened.


I stopped Dis from giving me anymore food, then turned to Dwalin, “Tell me what happened.”


“Lad, now is not the time...” Balin began but I silenced him, “I need to know. Why am I back here?”


Balin turned to Dwalin, who glanced back at him.


Dwalin sighed and walked over to me, “Thorin, we were attacked by a very large group of Wargs.”


“I know.”


Dwalin sighed again and crossed his arms over his chest, “Well, they attacked and were gone. We managed to clean up the camp, but decided to not go on without you.”


“You should have.”


Dwalin looked at me, “You were dying Thorin.”


“It wouldn't matter, if I had died, you should have gone on.” I coughed and then grimaced.


Dwalin glanced back at Balin, who gestured to me, “Go on.”


Dwalin turned back and looked at my arms.


“The Oakenshield saved your arm you know.”


“Where is it now?”


“In your room.”


I hummed, feeling as if that wasn’t what Dwalin had meant to tell me.


“What else?” I asked.


Dwalin uncrossed his arms and folded his hands behind his back.


“Then, we brought you home. Dis was hysterical with grief, thinking you would die, so we called the doctor. He came in and saved your life really.”


I mused for a second, then asked, “Where are the other dwarves we banded?”


“They are at their homes. I disbanded them actually.” There was something strange in his voice.


“What happened?” I asked again, “Why didn’t you go on? There were plenty of men, you could have split up, taken me home while the rest went on. Why didn’t you?”


Dwalin began to speak, but Balin stepped up, “Lad,” He sighed heavily,” There were only thirteen of us left.”


All the wind went out of me as the words struck me like a blow.


I shut my eyes tight and leaned back, hearing Dis gasp.


I took a few deep breaths.


Thirteen out of one hundred Dwarves were still alive.


A thought resounded through my head.


This is all my fault.


I slowly opened my eyes and looked up, seeing the brothers with solemn expressions, and Dis nowhere to be seen.


“It wasn’t your fault Thorin.” Balin said, “We didn’t expect it, we couldn’t have prepared.”


“We were outnumbered.” Dwalin added.


I took another deep breath, “I should have listened to you.”


I shuddered, “We should have left while we still could.”


“It wouldn't have mattered.” Balin said, “There would be even less of us, had we moved, you made the best action that you knew.”


“But....thirteen.”


An unlucky number.


I wasn’t normally the superstitious type, but thirteen was the number that stuck out from my childhood as to be avoided.


“At least you saved some.” Balin encouraged.


“But not all. Why couldn’t I have fought harder? I’m always looking out for myself. I....I could have fought harder.”


“You did the best you could.” Balin laid a hand on my left shoulder.


“We all did.” Dwalin added solemnly.


But....eighty seven dwarves died.


They probably all had families.


My fault.


What would the dwarves think now?


Their leader had just killed eighty seven men.


It was too late in the season.


I should have waited.


Why was I so anxious to get to the mountain, that I would put the lives of my kin in danger?


I took a deep breath that hurt my sides.


Balin sighed, “Lad, we were all fooled. We were as unprepared as you.”


“What of the mountain?” I asked, “Has the dragon been seen?”


“Yes.” Balin sighed, “Word reached us that the dragon Smaug had been seen by some scouts on the far side of the mountain.”


“Do you think the orcs alerted him to our presence?”


“No one knows laddie.” Balin answered.


“The scouts also reported that the dragon was sealing up the main gate.” Dwalin added, “He must have been told of our attempt.”


I sighed and turned towards the ceiling.


“Don’t hope yet Thorin.” Balin began, “When we go back, there might not be as many supporting you...”


“We aren’t going back.” I interrupted.


Balin stopped and said nothing.


I turned to them and murmured, “At least not for awhile.”


Both nodded solemnly.


There was a silence between us.


I took a few shallow breaths, wincing when my side hurt.


I finally turned to them, “Who survived?”


“Thorin, don’t do this to yourself-” Balin started, but I cut him off, “Tell me.”


Balin glanced at Dwalin, then went over and scooped up a bunch of papers.


I watched as he shuffled through them, then picking one up, he handed the rest to Dwalin, and took his spectacles out of his pocket.


He scanned the page, then cleared his throat, “Survivors: Thorin, Balin, Dwalin..”


Balin read on with a few names I didn’t know, then a few names I did.


But Orik, Rimor, Lon and Melior were not on the list.


I sighed as Balin finished with, “... Aerg, Dorn and Dori.”


I felt relieved that Hagre’s husband was still alive.


Balin folded up the very short list and turned to me.


“Read the dead.” I murmured.


Balin started, “But Thorin-”


“Read them.”


Balin glanced at his brother and hesitantly picked up another paper.


With a shaking voice he began.


I closed my eyes as he read.


I remembered every name, hoping never to forget them.


I didn’t know why I wanted to hear them.


It would just keep me up at night, wishing I had been able to save them.


But I listened intently anyway.


Balin finished, and folded the paper like the last one.


I opened my eyes, almost ashamed to see that my vision was blurry.


“Thank you.”


Balin nodded and carried the rest of the papers over to his bag.


Dwalin looked at me.


“I should have died, Dwalin, not them.”


He said nothing.


Just then, I felt a soft touch on my right arm.


I sucked in a quick breath and wincing at the pain turned to see Fili, looking up at me, “Hello Uncle!”


I managed a smile, “Hi Buh.”


He grinned wide, “How are you?”


“Good.” I lied.


Fili tilted his head, “What happened to you?”


I thought about what to tell him.


But Fili answered his own question, “Oh, it was Wargs right?”


I turned to him, “How did you know?”


“Because you look like Father.”


Oh.


No wonder Dis had cried.


“You know....Blood everywhere.....You’ll get better right?” Fili’s face suddenly turned to fear.


Despite the crushing pain, I reached over and stroked his blonde hair, “Perhaps.”


Fili gasped, a scared expression coming over his face.


Balin came over, “Yes lad, your Uncle will get better, and then you can play together again, right?”


That didn’t seem to comfort Fili, who glanced at me with a worried expression.


Dwalin came over as well, “What do you want to play Fili?”


Fili looked up at him, “Um....I don’t know...”


Dwalin picked Fili up with one hand, and swung him up onto his giant shoulder.


Fili giggled in surprise, “Mister Dwalin!”


Dwalin smiled and swung Fili around his head to land on his other shoulder, “Are you sure?”


Fili giggled, and Dwalin set him down on the floor.


“Then here comes the BIG SCARY DRAGON!” Dwalin crouched down as Fili shrieked and ran under my cot.


“Here I come!” Dwalin tried getting underneath the cot to get at Fili.


The cot bumped me, almost tossing me off.


I laughed anyway, although my whole body hurt.


“Dwalin!” chided his brother, trying to steady the cot.


Dwalin ignored him and raced around to the other side, where Fili was fleeing.


“Uncle! Help!” he shrieked as Dwalin came up from behind him and caught him.


“Got you!”


“No!” Fili gasped.


Dwalin growled, then set Fili down who immediately took off at a run.


I smiled as Dwalin chased Fili around the room and into the kitchen, where we heard a few exclamations from startled dwarven women.


I laughed as Dwalin came out of the kitchen, Fili trying to clamber onto his back.


Both were roaring as loud as they could, and I saw a smile come to Balin’s face as he witnessed the scene.


“What on...” Dis stopped as she entered the room.


I laughed harder than ever because of her startled expression, but it hurt so bad that I could hardly breathe.


“Stop that Dwalin!” Balin shouted over the ruckus, “You’ll kill both of them!”


Dwalin stopped, but Fili kept on trying to play on him.


I finally regained my breath, but it took me awhile to finally settle down.


“I suppose I haven’t laughed in such a long time.” I said, taking a deep breath.


Kili began to cry in his room and Dis sighed, “Oh great! You've gone and woke the baby.”


She went off to go get Kili, and Fili stopped playing to go with her.


“It’s your fault.” Whispered Dwalin at me.


“My fault?”


“That laughing could have broken the house down.”


I smiled and leaned back, “It felt good.”









Balin and Dwalin didn’t stay for supper, even though Dis tried persuading them to stay.


They were tired, and Dwalin had to change the bandage around his leg, so they left.


Hagre and Nolla were missing because they went to go see Dorn who was recovering at his home.


So there were once again a lot of unfamiliar women in the house.


They jumped at the chance to help me with anything I would need.


Fili gave me meaningful glances every time another dwarvish woman came to help me.


I tried ignoring him.


But his glances made me more and more uncomfortable being served by all these women.


So then, whenever I needed something, I called for Dis.


But after about ten times, she sighed, “Thorin, let these women help you! That’s what they are here for!”


“Well....I want you to look after me.”


Dis groaned, “Stop acting like a child! They are my friends! You can trust them!”


“But they aren’t my friends.” I mumbled.


“Oh!” Dis got angry at that, “I would slap you, if you weren’t so injured!”


So I let the others try to help me.


Supper came along, and it was huge.


I could barely force down more than a bowlful, which was unusual for me.


After supper, the women one by one slowly made their exit, saying that they would come back tomorrow with even more food.


As the last women went out, and the door shut, Dis turned to me, “Don’t say anything.”


“Why not?”


“Because I know what you’ll say.”


I dropped that subject by saying, “Will you stay up all night?”


“If I must.” Dis got up out of her chair with a groan and picked Kili up out of his cradle.


She set him on the floor next to Fili and then turned to me.


Tears filled her eyes when she saw me, “Oh...you’re a wreck.”


She hesitantly came over to me and pushed some hair out of my face, “Are you warm enough?”


“Yes.”


“Good...the doctor said you would be able to walk in a week.”


I smiled, “Not as long as I had expected.”


Dis returned the smile, but then tears silently began to fill her eyes.


She wiped them away with the edge of her apron, “Well Thorin, get some rest...I’ll be over here by the fire.”


She turned and scooping Kili up, sat down next to the fire in her rocking chair.


“Go get ready for bed Fi.” She said quietly.


“Yes mother!” Fili shot up and was in his bedroom in a flash.


Dis watched him go, then caught my glance.


A tear spilled onto her cheek and she quickly turned away.


I wished that I could get up and comfort her.


“Dis,” I finally began, “You should go to bed.”


“And leave you here? No.”


I made no further argument.


Silence filled the living room as we heard Fili singing while he got ready for bed.


Most of his words were nonsense, but I could decipher that he was singing about Kili.


I laid back and closed my eyes, just listening.


The feel of it was bitter, but it felt good to just be home.


It was warm, and though I hurt all over, it felt good to not be outside where all the Wargs were.


Wargs.


Unbidden, memories of the fateful trip flooded into my head.


I had been trying to ignore the reality the entire night, but the word brought back insatiable sorrow.


I tried thinking of something else, like Dis, or Fili, but that just made me think of Aili.


What would he have done about this?


Would he have gone with me and died just like Orik, Melior and Lon?


Perhaps Aili had died early so that he didn’t have to die then?


The prospect was still so painful.


I wanted to roll over and pull blankets close around me like a frightened child.


No. You are not a child Thorin. You can do this.


But I couldn’t.


I wanted to cry so hard that tears would stream down my face and soak the blankets.


But you are a dwarf of Erebor! Kings don’t cry!


Did they?


I had seen my father and my grandfather cry.


But they had not let it known to others.


Perhaps they thought that crying was a sign of weakness.


Was it?


I had once heard it said that crying, instead of being a weak point, as some assumed, was actually the strongest action a leader can give.


A sign that he actually cared.


Did I care?


Would I actually care about eighty seven men who died by my leadership?


Or would I pass it by as a mere inconvenience?


Unbidden, my vision began to turn blurry.


A lump came to my throat.


No, not now, not while Dis is still here.


I swallowed, but the ceiling remained blurry.



“Don’t let them see you cry.” My grandfather’s words came back into my memory, “Put your chin up lad, crying will make your enemies think you are weak.”


“But it hurts!”  I had complained.


“Broken legs go away in time.” He had said, “It hurts at first, but it goes away.”


“But it hurts now!”


He had chuckled, “Be a big boy for me and smile!”


I had tried, and managed a brief grin.


“There we go! Now it doesn't hurt so bad!”


“Not really...”


He laughed, “Be a son of a king and take the pain. It makes you stronger!”


“Is it never alright for me to cry then grandfather?”


“Sometimes, Thorin, there are exceptions. When someone dies you can cry.”


“But...you said Kings never cry! I want to be a king!”


He had smiled sadly, “Thorin, can I tell you something?”


I had nodded, “Yes Sir.”


“I have cried many times in my life Thorin. Does that make me any less of a king?”


“No...” I had said after a moment's contemplation.


“And does crying because grandmother dies make me weak?”


“No sir.”


“Then you can cry sometimes Thorin, but do it in private, with only a few friends, so that not everyone sees you, but some can say, “Our king really cares.””


“Really?”


“Really.”


“Why does it help?”


He had looked me in the eye, “Kings have to care for their people, but they have to be strong too. A king who cries about the suffering of his people is a good king. That means that he cares a whole lot. And those kings are the ones who people want to follow.”


“So...if I cry about my leg, will my friends want to follow me?”


He laughed and stood, “Only if you care for them when their legs get broken.”




The memory faded.


I felt a tear slip down my face.


Fili came up to me, “I’m done Uncle! Can you tuck me in?”


“No Fili, your Uncle can’t.” Dis got up out of her chair and came over to Fili, “I’ll tuck you in.”


She turned to me and saw my tears.


She smiled sadly, “Come on Fi.”


They left me alone in the room.


I heard Fili ask, “Why is Uncle crying?”


“Hush Fi, not now love.”


I wanted to turn over, but couldn’t.


I sighed and closed my eyes, trying to shut out the pain.


But the tears came anyway.


I wept silently for a few moments, feeling so spent and tired that I could hardly move.


This is all my fault.


Aili’s death and now this.


No one was to blame but me.


Why couldn’t I be stronger?


I could have saved them.


I could have.


I felt as if this was all a horrible dream where Aili died.


Again.


And again.


And I couldn’t escape the nightmare.


I was so tired.


So tired of it all.


The tears flowed faster, and a strangled sob escaped me.


Don’t cry.


But I couldn’t help it.


I wept.


My grandfather was right.


It felt good to cry for people who were lost.


But he had also forgotten something.


My grandfather had taught me how to fix a broken leg.


But not a broken heart.






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*****
Please tell me what you think. -Saphira


3 comments:

  1. just because i feel bad for taking so long to comment on this (and every installment following), i am going to break out the [fangirling] caps. . .

    ASDGHKLxAETIJGIOJHXSJH THORIN THORIN NO PLEASE DON'T FEEL BAD IT WASN'T YOUR FAULT! :'| THORINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN LISTEN TO ME! NOOOOOO! NOW HE'S CRYING?! FEELS! FEELS! FEELS! HELP! OKAY, I GUESS YOU HAD TO CRY BUT PLEASE THORIN DON'T MAKE ME CRY, TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    sorry. •-• er, i guess that'd be what i thought. but what i felt? ugh, too many feels to put into words. *cough* "My grandfather had taught me how to fix a broken leg. But not a broken heart." *sob*

    i could go on for a long time rambling about how wonderful and gripping and adorable this story is. . . but i think i'm just going to crawl up and have a good cry. you handle emotion/drama majestically, saphira (or should i say thorin, as he is the one speaking...?). <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. This book is so good! {for the millionth time :D} THORIN!! I LOVE YOU THORIN!! DON'T GIVE UP, I'LL BE FINE!! :(

    -Hope

    ReplyDelete
  3. Can i just say, "Oh. The. Feels." Seeing Thorin weep in unbearable...despite the fact that i can't really see him:)

    ReplyDelete

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