Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chapter 6

-is dead-
You guys will hate me after this, but I am way behind on my chapters for Thorin story.
BUT.....since BOTFA is coming out like....TOMORROW...I decided to dump this on you.
-sorry not sorry-
It's just one chapter so don't panic. (But it is honestly my favorite so far.)



Dancing with Swords

6


I was cold.


The pack the strange dwarf had given me was light, and bounced against my back as I ran through the dimly lit streets.


He needed the jewels by morning, and I would not waste a second. I also ran, because there were still people hunting me. I wouldn't give them a moment to try and recognize my face.


But no matter how long I ran, and how often I ran until I couldn't breathe, and how hard my heart pounded in my chest, I was never warm. The cold water and not having a shirt definitely added to that, but there was something else.


For the first time in my life, I was truly desperate. I wouldn't admit it, but I was terrified.


The feeling seeped all warmth from my body and made my heart pound faster than it should.


I have to do this. I have to.


The more I told that to myself, the more I tried believing it.


If only I had my sword. If only I had yelled to alert Dis and Frerin. But would it have done any good?


I forced those questions out of my mind and kept running. My bare feet slapping against the cobblestones, trying to watch for potential enemies while dodging pitfalls.


I met no one on the road. I saw the occasional night watchman, but they were easily avoided, and I ran on.


Soon, I exited the town and sprinted for Erebor, the only passenger on the dark road. I saw the torches at the watch stations by each section in the main gate. It hadn’t occurred to me until that moment how I was even going to get in, yet I kept running, knowing that something would come to me.


I evened out my pace and then altogether stopped as I reached the gate. No one had seen me yet. I frowned and then made my way for the gate, my feet throbbing from the run, and my skin sticky with sweat.


The two main guards of the smaller gate saw me as I walked up, and ceased talking to each other. One grabbed a torch and walked out to meet me, “Ho sir! What brings you at such a late hour?”


I swallowed, “Important news, for the King’s ears only.” I hoped that they had not known of our escape last night.


The guard with the torch glanced back at the dwarf who stood behind him. they both glanced at me. My gut clenched. I looked hardly the messenger type.


“Can it wait?” the guard asked.


I shook my head “Why do you think I am still underdressed? I was just woken to deliver this news immediately to the King.”


The guards shrugged, and the one with the torch asked, “I’ll need your name.”


I paused. Oh right. Everyone had to enter their names before going in. The guard noticed that I paused and frowned, “Something wrong? Have you no name?”


“Oh no, it’s just...” I paused, “I was taken off guard, I didn’t remember that they still did that.” Think! Think! They obviously don’t recognize me!


“I’m Menetos, son of Seneto.” I tried making my voice deeper than it truly was.


The guard’s eyes widened, “Oh! Why- rea- of course- please come in!”


I nodded at them as they let me pass through the gate. Most of the guards knew about Menetos, but very few had actually seen him. I made sure the guards had turned their backs before I started sprinting down the main hall. I was glad that they hadn’t remembered one small detail.


Menetos didn’t live in Dale.


It was heated inside the mountain, and the temperature warmed me a bit. The floors gave off a little heat the soothed my weary feet and made me feel more at home. The huge vaulted ceilings, the ornate carvings, and the jasper walls. I took a deep breath of the smoky air. Home.


But I couldn’t linger.


I grabbed a small lantern from one of the walls and began my trek to the main treasure room. I was glad that it was night. Everyone was asleep, save for the night guards, but they were easy to get past. I had done so many times before.


My footsteps were unnaturally loud in the large rooms, and I had to stop a few times to make sure that they were really mine.


It took about half an hour to reach the treasure room perimeter. The guards were normally very vigilant about this part, but for some reason, they had been slacking. There was only one guard, and he was easily slipped past.


That’s when I had a thought.


I stopped. What if the dwarf who had sent me here was working for the assassins? What if he sent me here to kill me?


I swallowed. But what if he wasn’t? If I didn’t return with the jewels, he would kill them.


I felt my stomach clench. Did I have a choice?


The main doors were no problem, as I knew where Grandfather kept the spare key. I slipped into the dark treasure room, and shut the doors behind me. I looked around the room for anything out of the ordinary, or any assasin’s lurking in the corners. I took almost twenty minutes making sure that no one but me was in the treasure room. After finding nothing, I relaxed somewhat. I decided that I would have a word with Father about the guards. I supposed that if I wanted to make sure my guard was secure, I had to act like a criminal.


I grimaced.


A criminal.


I sighed and walked over to the jewels part of the chamber. Recently, It had been organised a bit so we could find everything.


Fifty Jewels? The dwarf said that they had to be of medium size, and had even given me a chart so I could tell which ones were medium. For a thief, he was immaculately thorough.


I tossed the bag off my shoulders and placed it on the ground. I found a medium jewel, glowing pink in the lantern light, and knowing that I would hate myself later, put it gently into the bag. I picked up the next one, a dark green, which splayed color in every direction. In this fashion, I counted around twenty jewels the size of the tip of my thumb, before I had to move to another place to find more.


Colored light danced and bounced along the chamber walls as the lantern swung from my hand. I set it down next to another pile and searched through that before I had found thirty more jewels and set them carefully into the pack.


Tying the top and hefting it, I grimaced at the weight.


As a precaution, I found a stick of charcoal in a burned out fire bowl and scraped it along my face in long streaks until I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to recognize myself.


I probably wouldn’t be able to run with all those jewels, so if anyone did see me, they wouldn’t recognize me. I had gotten lucky with the guards.


Taking a deep breath, I hefted the pack onto my right shoulder and picked up the lantern.


“Stop.”


I instantly froze and my heart lept to my throat at the deep voice from the doorway. I shot my head up, my hair falling over my shoulders. I held back a gasped breath. There, leaning on the doorway, stood a tall dwarf, leisurely smoking a pipe and fingering the handle of an axe with his free hand.


“You’re not supposed to be here.” he tapped a few ashes out of his pipe and glanced at me.


Menetos.


My heart rate doubled.


“No...I'm not.” I tried making my voice sound different than me.


He nodded, “Mind putting those back then?” he gestured to the jewel pile.


My gut clenched. I glanced at his axe. But what about Dis, Frerin and Sif?


“I can not.” I said firmly.


Menetos frowned darkly behind his beard, “You don’t wish to, or you can not?”


I swallowed. Dragon talons. “I can not.”


“You are physically unable to?” he countered.


I decided that it would be best not to answer, so I set my jaw and remained silent.


“Hmm...” Menetos figured the hilt of his axe, “Would you mind if you so kindly would set the pack down? I see that you are unarmed. It would be a shame to kill you.”


My heart beat tripled, and my feet tingled with sweat. To go up against Menetos was considered suicide.


I can’t, I can’t. They are going to die!


I swallowed. Against my will, I slowly set the pack down on the floor, hoping that Menetos would come over without his axe.


Menetos eyed me, then picking up his weapon, strode towards me. My imagination ran dry. What now?


Menetos kneeled down heavily and using his axe as a pick, opened the top of the bag. He examined the contents, then hummed and stood, “Interesting choice of goods.”


He glanced at me, “Mind helping me put them back?”


Instead of doing whatever was natural, I stood frozen, my mind whirling. Then, I remembered. As long as I had lived here, there were weapons and such in hidden panels in the walls. If I could just reach one...


“Wait, wait, let me explain.” I backed up toward the nearest wall and felt along it’s cool surface for a crack to give away a slot.


“Explain what?” Menetos took a deep inhale from his pipe, “No amount of explaining can get you out of prison Lad.”


My fingers found a slot and I hesitantly eased it open. I groped inside and found the hilt of a small cutlass. For some reason, the weapon made me feel braver, “I need those jewels. I won’t be leaving without them.”


Menetos frowned and hefted his axe threateningly, “With no weapon?”


“Actually,” I whipped the cutlass out with a loud scratch of steel against rock, “I have one.”


For the first time in my life, I saw Menetos’s brave expression slacken, and his eyes grew wide.


With a harsh yell, I lunged for the pack, only to be stopped by Menetos’s quick reflexes. His axe slammed down in front of me and I dodged it with a quick turn to grab the pack.


I jumped to my feet just in time to catch the hilt of his axe in my back. I was tossed to the floor, but managed to catch myself before I hit the ground. I rolled to the left to avoid another blow, and sucked in a breath, my back exploding with heated pain.


I got to my feet and held the cutlass out towards Menetos to avoid any more attacks. He snarled and hefted the axe, “You caught me surprise lad, but that will be the last time.”


Yelling like a wild beast, he lunged for me, intending to bring the axe down on my head.


Grimacing, I brought up my cutlass to defend myself. The two weapons met with a concussive chop, and Menetos began pressing down on me, trying to make me yield. I ground my teeth and pressed back, my arms burning and my back throbbing. I yelled with the effort and gripped the cutlass harder until my sweat made it slippery. My chest began to heave with pain and my knees shook. Yet I pressed back. Menetos became frustrated and pressed down harder, intending to crush me.


The cutlass got closer and closer to my head as my arms began to protest with the weight. I yelled again, and finding that it made me seem stronger, I pushed back. We stood there, trying to push the other over, like a deadly wrestling game. Except that Menetos was much stronger than me. I had lost every hand wrestling game against him. But that was then, when I wasn’t fighting for anything.


Now, I had to be stronger. I would fight until dawn just to wear him out.


The jewels had to be given to the dwarf.


If not...


Fueled by that thought, I pressed back harder, wanting to scream at the pain my muscles threw at me. I can’t give up.


Tears of frustration formed in my eyes until I could hardly see. If there was anything Menetos had taught me, it was to never give up in a fight.


I took in huge gulps of air, my chest heaving and sticky with sweat.


“Just ease up!” Menetos was becoming frustrated with my effort.


I cursed under my breath in dwarfish, “No.”


My legs began to shake and my underarms seemed to run with sweat.


Menetos seemed to lighten up, confused as to why I was fighting so hard over a few jewels. I fought back.


Finally, he snapped his axe back, and the momentum, sent me stumbuling before I caught my footing and heaved for breath, still pointing the cutlass in his direction, my hair falling wildly over my face.


Menetos frowned, “Give up yet?”


“Never.” I attacked him again, determined to bring him down somehow. Of course, I wasn’t planning on killing him, but I needed to get out, and he was standing in my way.


Seeming to be surprised by my boldness, Menetos backed up slightly as I landed a blow to the hilt of his axe. Caught up in the fever of my attack, I didn’t consider being hurt. I swung and reacted to his half hearted blows, and forced him back.


It wasn’t until Menetos realised that he was being beat before he started hacking at me just as harshly as I was at him.


We danced around the lantern, backing away, or charging, or jumping around blows. I was smaller than him, and more maneuverable, but he was stronger than I, and his blows were twice as effective.


It no longer mattered that it was the middle of the night; my energy surged to the breaking point and, I found that I was fighting better than in any of my training sessions.


My hands became slippery with sweat, and my arms shone in the dim light. I no longer cared for my own safety, and tried attacks that I had never even considered in my training.


Finally, the battle started working towards my advantage. Menetos was starting to get tired, and although his reflexes were just as quick, he didn’t seem to see as many things.


I jumped and brought my sword down hard on his helmet, making a loud clang that brought him to his knees, shaking. Without a moment’s hesitation, I knocked him unconscious with another swing from my sword.


The room fell silent as Menetos toppled over. I bent over and tried regaining my breath.


“I’m sorry.” I whispered to Menetos. For the first time, the guilt of what I had done hit me, but I didn’t have time to linger on it.


Knowing that  had to get out as soon as possible, I grabbed the pack from the ground, and tying the cutlass to the side of it, hefted it onto my back. I picked up the lantern and walked over to the record book. I set the lantern down and picked up the pen from the inkwell. I wrote the amount that I had taken into the slot, then it asked for my signature.


I grimaced and dipped the pen into the ink: A friend.


The main hall was still deserted and the guards easy to pass. The two guards at the entrance bid me a goodnight as I exited. No dwarf had to give their name when leaving.


It was on the road when everything started to hurt.


My back began to ache, and every muscle of my body stiffened with the effort which I had exerted myself with. I groaned and forced myself to keep walking. Now that I wasn’t in danger, my body shut down, and it was all I could do to keep awake.


Then came the realisation that I had been Menetos’s enemy. I felt like breaking down at that. The one dwarf Grandfather trusted with his life had tried to kill me. And it was my fault. I tried not to think about it as I made my way into Dale, but it came up anyway.


What if I had just told him the truth? Would it have been worth it? Would he have even believed me?


I took a deep breath.


I followed the river bank out towards the edge of town. I saw no one, and the concrete silence was a bit unnerving.


I found the place where the dwarf had said to meet, right next down to the campsite. Making sure no one followed me, I made my way down to the water’s edge. The constant swish of water made me feel more relaxed. I looked around. I didn’t see him.


“Hello?” I managed.


No one answered.


My heartbeat pulsing at a faster rate, I decided to go to the campsite.


It was dark, and since I had returned the lantern, I wasn’t able to make out anything. I waded up to the ledge, getting colder by the second.


I looked around.


It was dark, but not that dark as for me to make out a fact that made my heart beat triple.


They were gone.


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Yay.
I hope everyone has a great day!
Merry Christmas by the way! :)

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