Monday, October 31, 2016

Chapter 17 Ending!

Hey guys, quick rapid fire posts here because it is officially the last day of October. :D
-whoop-
I'm super excited to be finally finishing this!
Hope you guys all had an amazing day. ^.^
I currently smell like smoke because of a halloween bonfire, but I kinda like it.

Anyway, if you plan on reading this last installment, enjoy! (Actually not the last last part, but it is the last chapter. Epilogue coming after. :D)

Love ya guys! Thanks for sticking with me. :P





sorry for the weird cover. I made it in about 2 mins. :P


Revealed in Ruins

17

We exited the chamber through the hole and rope in the ceiling, and got down just outside of the Throne room using a trap door.

The halls were quiet, telling me that it was still dawn of the early morning, so we hurried on.

There were few guards, and if we encountered one, Bregon would give a strange salute, and the dwarf would let us pass.

“The Bloodhelm rely too much on their leader to question.” Orik muttered to me.

Norian and Mayfi gave each other glances as we continued to the guards’ quarters. I could only speculate what they were thinking about.

Because they were both part of the guard and knew the place better than I, I let them pass and lead. If Frerin was here, I would have trusted him just as well. He knew the guards chambers as he often traversed in them.

We came upon a corner, and Mayfi stopped us with a wave of her hand. We promptly pressed against the smooth wall and listened around the corner.

Mayfi frowned as she listened, and we all watched her, even Norian. Her intuition was one of the many reasons she had been chosen as a guard.

It did not disappoint.

She glanced back at us and held up four fingers.

I hadn’t heard anything, and so decided that she must have known there were four guards around the corner.

A loud, gruff voice broke the silence, “Are you sure this is it?”

“Aye sir. All guards who did not join us are on that list. We’ve rounded them up and counted twice.” another voice confirmed.

“Even the off duty ones?” the first voice sounded angry.

“Aye.”

“So how come commander, that the Black Archer is not on this list?”

Mayfi’s lips curled into a small smile. That was her name on the guard, and an infamous one at that. Most dwarves knew about the Black Archer, although they rarely did know who she really was.

“Perhaps he’s under a different name...” the second voice trailed off.

“I thought you checked twice you clout!” the first yelled, “Do you even know who the Black Archer is? What about the Captain of the Guard?”

“Captain Norian wasn’t counted.”

The first let out a frustrated sigh, “Two of the best are still out there...they might have even escaped to the Iron Hills. Or they still might be here!” he seemed to be yelling into the other’s face, “I need you to either check again, or go looking for them!”

“Right away.” the second stated, “You two, come with me.”

The sound of marching boots came towards our corner. Dwalin hefted his axe and gave me a look.

Mayfi’s face still was of sly calculation as she shot a look my way, holding out her bow.

How could I say no to that face?

I motioned her on with a nod, and she grinned before silently sneaking around the corner and out of our sight.

Dwalin surged to go after her and help, but I gripped his arm to stop. He gave me a confused look, and I raised a brow to tell him to wait.

We waited for a few moments of silence before we heard the second dwarf yell, “Look out! A- hmmpf-”

A sound of a struggle followed, with the whizz of a few arrows and metal clanking against stone as the dwarves calls for help were silenced.

Within minutes, the noise stopped, and Mayfi came panting around the corner, “I’ve got some dwarves that would love to be questioned. Best not tarry.” she was grinning.

Keeping in a sigh, I followed her around the corner where the four dwarves were tightly bound with rope around a brazen fire pit.

Their mouths had been gagged with their own gloves, and they all glared at our company as we approached.

“Oi, what’s this?” Dwalin promptly took interest in a flask of dark amber liquid next to the stone wall and picked it up to examine it, “Aule, is this some of the King’s ale?”

His smile brightened under his beard as he waved it front of a heavily clad dwarf, “‘The only brew for the brave and true’ as they say.”

Mayfi strode over to him and held out her hand, “Oblige a lady?”

He popped the cork, and as they both remarked at the hearty smell while I walked up to the captured dwarves to select one to ask questions of.

There was one of them that was the most submissive: he lowered his head when I came near, and avoided eye contact. An empty spot was on his left shoulder where the crest of Erebor would have been.

A royal guard.

I unsheathed my sword and he winced as I approached him.

Careful not to nick his beard, I slid the edge of my sword under his gag and cut it sharp. He had enough common sense to not yell for help once it was out, and he simply looked away from me, his breathing fast.

“Look at me.” I commanded him as Menetos and Norian flanked me to watch.

“Prince Thorin -” he gasped out.

“That I am. Look at me!” I yelled at him.

Dis could contradict me all she wanted. Yelling always worked.

His head snapped up, and his green eyes met mine, full of fear and guilt, “Please...I beg your forgiveness- ”

“Forgiveness is to be granted later.” I lowered my voice as I kept my sword at the ready, “Where are you keeping the rest of the guards?”

“In the quarters.” he swallowed, his gaze flicking to Menetos before looking back at me, “I swear on mine grandfather’s beard I did nothing to harm them.”

Glancing behind me, I saw Bregon nod at what the dwarf had said.

“Don’t go there.” The dwarf continued, “He has guards everywhere. He is certain that once the Elven King leaves, he will take over the city.”

“Where are they now?” Menetos put both hands on the hilt of his axe.

“Guards quarters, with everyone else.” the dwarf looked more nervous than before, “But the place will be swarming with them. They’ll kill you on sight.”

Bregon stepped up to me at that and motioned towards the dwarf, “I know you will be hardly inclined to take my advice my Prince, but he does have a point. I might have a way around it.”

“Anything will help.” I said.

“The Bloodhelm do not yet know that I and Orik are no longer with them. If we run out luck, we might be able to falsify some important information and get to the leader. Or bring in a captured prisoner.” Bregon crossed his arms over his chest.

“Are they as unsuspecting as that?”

“It’s one of our only options.” Menetos added wearily, “If we want to stop this and make it easier to place command back into the hands of Durin.”

I sheathed my sword, “Let us move on then.”




The guards chambers were close, so we moved with caution.

The sound of loud voices, crackling fires and metal upon stone told us where we were. The quarters were arranged like a barracks, only much larger and with the buildings carved into the stone.

The central courtyard was filled with Erebor tapestries and fire. Dwarves patrolled everywhere, most were of the royal guard.

Bregon and Orik pointed out the leader to me from our place behind the pillars.

He was a stocky dwarf with a blood red beard and daggers strung about his belt like a weapon rack. He was leaning over a table that had been dragged from a kitchen with several other dwarves. A map seemed to be on it.

“No one knows what his true name is.” Bregon muttered, “He goes around calling himself Bloodbraid.”

I glanced to Mayfi, who had her bow at the ready and raised a brow.

She licked her lips and examined how far away Bloodbraid stood from our position, “I could hit him. There is a good chance I would only dent his helmet.”

I let out a breath and glanced behind me at Dwalin, Menetos, and Norian.

Menetos looked at the leader, “There is no bargaining with him. Reason has left him entirely, and his kin.”

Dwalin spun his axe between his hands, “I say we charge. Catch them unawares.”

Norian frowned at Dwalin, “I count over a hundred Bloodhelm in there. More will come if the alarm is raised.”

There was a moment of silence as we all watched the quarters, sluggish with tired guard activity. Though the windows of some of the chambers, I could see dwarves chained to the walls.

“We do have a bargaining hold over them.” I muttered.

Everyone glanced at me.

“We do?” Mayfi trotted over to where I crouched.

I carefully stood, “Me.”

Menetos opened his mouth, but I strode towards Bregon, “Tie me. You must act as if you misunderstood the order and brought me in instead of killed me.”

“My Prince-” Menetos tried to interject, but I cut him off.

“Dwalin and Norian shall protect me. Mayfi, stay on the outskirts.” I commanded, “Strip me of weapons, we must not lose the element of surprise.”

Menetos objected as loud as he dared, but I was set. This was the best way.

Norain tied my hands behind my back, but within easy reach of a dagger that would cut my bonds if needed.

We hadn’t much time to plan, but I decided it must be better that way. Hastily constructed plans were better than inflexible ones. Or none at all.

With Bregon and Orik holding my arms in a vice grip, and with Menetos and Dwalin trailing behind, I was forced down the hall and into the light of the guard’s quarters.

A few shouts were raised by the Bloodhelm as Bregon and Orik pushed my arms forward.

To add the the illusion I struggled to get them off, I yelled at them, “Let your hands off me!”

A few guards ran forward and pointed spears at our group, “What is this?”

I growled and raised my head to frown darkly at the Bloodhelm, and two of them took a step back, “It’s the Prince!”

Bloodbraid raised his head at that, and although I couldn't read his face, he motioned for the guards to bring me in. There was a moment of pause as they registered the command and all attention was diverted to me.

The smell of smoke choked me as Bregon an Orik dragged me close to a burner as the guards escorted them over to the table.

I saw though the strands of my hair as I was pulled towards Bloodbraid. He was about my height, but that made him none the less formidable.

A Bloodhelm attempted to take my right arm, but Bregon snapped, “Hands off.”

Reaching the table, I was pulled to a stop. I flexed my arms against Bregon and Orik, trying to break free before glancing at Bloodbraid.

Silence fell as he examined our party, “Well?” his steely glance fell on me, “Kill him now.”

I yelled in protest as Bregon and Orik played along and forced me to my knees, “You will pay for this!”

Bloodbraid smiled a bit before he looked at Menetos. His mouth evened out and he raised a hand, “Wait.”

He pointed at the sage, “You. I know your face.”

Menetos thumped his war axe next to my feet, “Menetos, son of Seneto. I bow to the King no longer.”

I twisted to glance back at him, “Traitor!” My anger filled voice boomed in the chamber, and somehow made it sound more real than it was. A strange feeling filled my gut.

Dwalin shoved my head back down, “Be quiet!”

I let out a harsh breath as my hair whipped at my face and I stared at the slate color ground. The movement of the guards around me made me aware of how outnumbered we truly were.

Our goal was to get Bloodbraid to get close enough. Then it would be over.

“We found him running alone down the royal hall.” Menetos elaborated.

“Why did you not kill him?” Bloodbraid’s voice held a sign of suspicion.

“I want something from you.”

“What is it.” Bloodbraid said it like a statement.

“I want a share of the treasure. I’ve spent too many days watching over it, and never have seen it put to good use.” Menetos lowered his voice.

“Deal.” Bloodbraid said.

There was a pause, and I glanced up to look into his eyes. He took a breath and drew a dagger before moving towards me.

My stomach dropped as he crouched down next to me, “I want you to look me in the eyes as I kill you.” his voice was barely above a whisper.

Bregon’s vice grip tightened and I winced. My sweating hands gripped the dagger under my belt, and with Dwalin’s cover, I began to saw at the ropes holding my wrists.

Bloodbraid touched my beard, and I tried to wrench myself away, making him grin.

He drew the cold steel of his dagger to my throat, and for a moment, I froze. I had never been this close to death before. My mind told me that Bregon and Orik were right there to save me, and it would never get as far as death, but my heart began pounding wildly in my chest.

He nicked my skin, and hot blood began rushing down into my ceremonial tunic. A choked noise rose from my throat as pain slithered through me.

Panic seized me, and I sawed harder at my freedom.

Bloodbraid’s eyes twinkled as he saw his victory, “Look at me as you die Thorin.”

My hands went numb as I snapped the ropes, and in a panic I whipped the dagger before me and slashed at him.

He let out a grunt, and I realised that I had stabbed him. I stumbled to my feet as Bregon and Orik released my arms, and blood began to pool from the leader’s side.

“Sir!” Someone yelled, but no one moved.

I stared at my dagger fully embedded into the dwarf’s stomach between the gaps in his armor. Bloodbraid looked at me, and then fell forwards at my feet.

Norian wasted no time even as the last breath left Bloodbraid. While his guards were still in shock, he sprinted out of his hiding spot with his sword held high, and an Erebor flag in his left arm.

“Rally! All you who will stand with our Prince! Face the Bloodhelm! Their Leader has fallen!”

Bregon and Orik raised their swords to encourage all who had been previously on the King’s guard and called, “Rally!”

Dwalin tossed me a sword, and I barely caught it with my shaking hands.

A few of the surrounding guards shouted along with Norian and sang out, “To the Prince!”

The Bloodhelm suddenly realised themselves and with a war cry, charged at us. Those dwarves around the table drew their weapons and jumped over their fallen leader to engage us.

Bregon stepped in front of me and blocked the first blow with his axe, and the clash of metal rang through the halls.

Quickly the sounds of battle filled the cavern, with metal on metal and war cries uttered with angry voices. Shields banged against shields.

I caught a flanked Bloodhelm off guard and cut him down before moving to join Menetos and Norian, who were fending off more.

Arrows from above began to sing as Mayfi joined the fight from her vantage point in a nook for archers.

Dwalin yelled above the thunderous uproar, “They are few! We are more than an army! Down with the Bloodhelm! Long live the King!”

Orik and Bregon broke away from the group as they entered a housing unit to free loyal guardsmen. I parried a swing from a battle axe and forced myself to get into the rhythm of the battle.

Norian kept up his cries for a rally until his voice was sore, and yet called all the more. Encouraged, our numbers grew as royal guards turned for face the Bloodhelm. The flash of metal in the the firelight was almost blinding.

The fighting lasted for how long, I did not know. By the time it had settled down, my arms were sore, and I felt sticky with blood, mine own and others.

The Bloodhelm, or what was left of their group, had been cornered in the center of the barracks, and the royal guards held their swords towards them. There were only around twenty those who had survived, while the rest of the true numbered over a hundred.

Norian jogged up to me, out of breath as the last Bloodhelm gave up his weapon and raised his arms growling, “What do you want to do with these my Prince?”

I glanced at them, “Lock them up. Their true judgement will come when my Grandfather returns.”

Norian nodded and bowed, “Very good sir.” then he turned to a royal guard, “Bind them and take them to the dungeon.”

“Right away.” The guard replied, and started off towards the group.

I pressed my fingers up against the nick in my neck, only to find that the blood had clotted. Mayfi strode up to me, her face coated with sweat, “There are still some more guards to free.”

I nodded, “Let me help.”

Dwalin was collecting weapons to hand back to their proper owners, and Menetos was helping Bregon with the wounded. I stepped over the body of Bloodbraid and looked at the table he had been looking at before.

Just a map of Erebor.

I let my hand run over the runes in the ink. Home.

I fought for this. I sighed as I followed Mayfi into a building lit with lanterns. I hoped Father would at least acknowledge that.



The last prisoner out of the barracks was a young dwarf, probably my own age. He looked at me as I cut free his raw wrists from the rope. He had on an apron covered in white flour and his expression looked tired.

“I only got up to start on my chores.” was all he said.

I shook my head and helped him to his feet, “Baker’s apprentice?”

He swallowed, “Aye. The Royal Bakery.”

“Best get to it before your Master wakes.”

He nodded and walked out of the house, holding his apron nervously. Rolling my shoulders, I exited after him.

Mayfi and Dwalin caught my eye as they stood around a fire pit, holding high flasks of newly opened ale with some of the guard.

Dwalin spotted me as I approached and raised his towards me, “To the Prince!”

Everyone turned and grinned at me before following his example, “The Prince!”

I allowed myself a small smile as Mayfi handed me her flask and I took my place around the fire, “There are reports of no more Bloodhelm in the Mountain.” she said.

I swirled my ale in the flask, “Anything else?”

“You worry too much.” she laughed as she slung her arm over one of the nearby guards, “Celebrate with us.”

Dwalin motioned towards me, “Get some hair on your chin Thorin, you be looking a little sparse.”

He glanced at Menetos after that comment. The sage simply glowered, but that did little to discourage my friend.

Taking the challenge, I tipped back the flask and drank. It was of the guard’s brew, so nothing quite strong, but it still singed my throat. At least it gave me something else to think about. The shock of what had happened was still driving through me.

Glancing around at the members of the guard before me I felt a bit of relief flood through me.

I raised my flask, “Long live the King.”

The others toasted with great enthusiasm.

The mountain was safe once more.


2 comments:

  1. “We do have a bargaining hold over them.” I muttered.
    Everyone glanced at me.
    “We do?” Mayfi trotted over to where I crouched.
    I carefully stood, “Me.”<<<<<<<SO HEROIC! I want a man like Thoirn=)

    This was amazing! I loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ^.^ I'm glad you enjoyed it.
      Thanks for commenting. :D

      Delete

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