- Discussion - Murder
- Violence - Canon-Level
“Don’t worry Bilbo. It will be easy Bilbo. We just want you to sneak into a mountain. Past a bloody big murderous fire breathing dragon. Just to steal a shiny rock.”
If it wasn’t for the need for stealth he’d be stomping like a tween in a snit.
“Bloody bearded magpies and their stupid shiny rock!”
He took the passage turn to the right out of the direct sight line of the dwarrow and their stupidly majestic king. He stopped and leaned against the wall trembling. Fear of facing Smaug was only a small part of it. He’d been heart-sick and terrified since Goblin Town.
Fighting for his life against goblins was one thing. It was a Us versus Them situation. Where the “them” was a lifeform abhorrent to Yavana’s Grace. There was no reasoning with such a foe nor hesitation in using deadly force against them.
Then there was his fall into the tunnels, a gold ring that both called to him and repelled, and a pale twisted creature screaming about his “precious”. Once again it was a life or death battle, no quarter was given or asked for. The creature Gollum leaped at him again and Bilbo’s sword plunged into its chest piercing the heart.
It was only as he pulled Sting out of the creature’s chest and went to clean it that he noticed Gollum’s furry feet.
No. No. It couldn’t be! Surely not. That thing couldn’t possibly have been a Hobbit.
“Sweet Yavana, forgive me! I didn’t know!”
He couldn’t even stop to give the poor misshapen Hobbit a proper burial which would have meant carrying the body out past hoards of goblins to the clean air and green expanse of Yavana’s Grace.
Instead, he was forced to flee, horrified and heart-sick through the tunnels following the faintest traces of fresh air. The ring clutched in his hand called to him to put it on and he nearly threw it away in disgust but some instinct bade him to put it into a spare Hobbit pouch to stuff inside his shirt for safekeeping.
Twice more he was forced to defend his life, killing three more goblins before following the fresh air and glimmer of daylight to freedom. His dwarrow were overjoyed to see him but horrified at the rips and bloodstains on his clothing. They assumed his heartsickness was due to such a gentle being forced to once again kill in battle. He did not correct this assumption on their part.
Ori took to sitting with him during rest periods sharing his own horror at the violence of battle much different from the glory he had read about. Dori mothered over both of them while Gloin showed a bit of paternal pride since his own son wasn’t there to dote on.
The entire company looked on him with respect and approval that had been absent when they first met. It would be absent again if they knew he was capable of killing his own kind.
He knew of only one Hobbit in all their history that had murdered another of their kind in cold blood. Smeagol was a cautionary tale to all. Even with the severity of his crime, there was no thought of killing him in punishment and the small jails in each town were for minor offenses at best and could not hold a Hobbit long term.
So in their horror and fear, they drove him out. Never to be allowed again within the embrace of any Hobbit settlement. That had been 800 years before and there had never been a recorded instance of another Hobbiticide. Until now.
He shook himself. Now was not the time to dwaddle. He needed to go find Thorin’s blasted shiny rock and face a dragon defending its hoard. Maybe that was his punishment. Yavana sending him to be cleansed in death by dragon fire.
As he thought that a breeze swirled around him, tugging at his clothes and hair as if to urge him further down this side passageway. He started to back up when he noticed a trail of wildflowers growing along the base of the wall. Poppies in bright colors that he would swear weren’t there a moment before.
He supposed that seeds could have blown in, and moisture from the cave could water them Yet how could they be growing here away from the sun?
He followed the trail around another corner to a dead end. Here vines and moss covered the left-hand side and he could see something glinting through the greenery. He gently brushed them aside to reveal a very Hobbitish carving of sweet briar roses.
Yet Hobbits preferred to carve in wood and paint bright colors. This was carved stone with gemstones embedded here and there. A mix of dwarrow and Hobbit styles. He felt the breeze tug him forward again and reached out, pressing on a largish ruby inset into the stone to represent rosehips.
The stone depressed, there was a faint click, and a doorway opened. Without thinking he stepped inside. The door slid shut behind him and the crystals lining the walls and ceiling lit, bathing the room in warm light as if he was standing in sunlight.
The breeze swirled about the room happily and suddenly there in the midst of it stood a being in a long green dress, a floral wreath atop her sunlit hair, and faintly pointed ears peeking through the curls. The Green Lady had come to deal with his sins personally it would seem.
He fell to his knees eyes downcast. He did not deserve to be in the Lady’s presence.
“Lady Yavana. Please forgive me my sins. I knew not what I had wrought until it was done. This is no excuse and I gladly take any punishment I am due for the sin of killing my kinsman.”
Yavana sighed, her voice like sparkling water rushing over stones, the breeze through the trees, warm like his mother’s embrace.
“Child. Fear not dear one. I am not here to punish. It was through no fault of your own that your kinsman Smeagol was twisted in such a way. His actions were no longer his own, but yours were righteous.
“Not only did you defend your own life, but you freed another of my children from unending torment. Smeagol had been twisted by the One Ring for centuries, and there was nothing I could do to help him until you freed him from his torment.”
“He’s still dead because of my actions.”
“No child, because of his own and the twisting of the One Ring. Within mere minutes exposure to its power had him killing his dearest friend. Within 10 years it had stolen all reason from him. Within a century he no longer resembled the Hobbit he once was and could no longer remember the name his parents gave him.”
Bilbo took a few deep breaths as he let the words the Green Lady spoke sink in. He wasn’t to blame. He was still in the embrace of Yavana’s Grace. He was alright.
He was also about to face a firebreathing dragon with the One Ring in a Hobbit pouch around his neck.
“Don’t worry child, I have a plan.”
“Does this plan involve a firebreathing dragon? Because I’m not a fan of those sorts of plans.”
It did. Of course, it did. He had the worst sort of luck.
Clad in a mithril breastplate and helmet adorned again with engravings of sweet briar roses, a gift from the Green Lady, he made his way down the passageway toward the treasury where Smaug was sleeping. Yavanas Grace curled around him, the glowing sparkles visible to no one else. The sparkles somehow hid him from view, muffled the sound of his steps and breath, and even covered his scent.
Even so, he moved very carefully as the shifting of coins underfoot would be very visible. He slipped carefully around piles of treasure, trying to keep them between the slumbering fire drake and himself. He didn’t really fool himself into thinking they would save him from a messy death by dragon fire but it still made him feel better.
There atop a golden chest embedded with rubies was what could only be the blasted Arkenstone. The large clear gem had a flickering light coming from within like it held a flame in its depths. How could anyone be stupid enough to think that was natural?
He gathered it up quickly, wrapping it in a swathe of green silk and placing it inside his shirt for safekeeping as he climbed another set of stairs that spiraled up several stories to a balcony overlooking Smaug’s hoard. He pulled out the leather shepherd’s sling, yet another gift from Yavana. He was more used to using a smaller slingshot but this would work better to fire a rock as big as the blasted Arkenstone.
He carefully unwrapped the stone and loaded it into the sling and gave a few practice swings. He paused for a moment to think longingly of Bag End with its full pantry, soft beds, and well-appointed bathing rooms. He also thought of his friends and Thorin with his stupidly majestic beard. He then knelt down with the Arkenstone, put a few drops of a special adhesive on it opened his Hobbit pouch and quickly glued the One Ring to the stone.
The reaction from Smaug was instantaneous. He reared up to full height and started bellowing.
“WHO DARES? SHOW YOURSELF!”
Bilbo totally hated this plan. He would be having serious words with Mahal if he got roasted by a stupid overgrown fire lizard because of some stupid cursed rock.
Glue set, he dropped the Arkenstone into the pouch of his sling and began twirling it over his head. His aim needed to be perfect.
Perhaps the air movement of the sling gave him away, perhaps it was all part of Yavanna’s plan, whichever it was, Smaug’s head swung toward where Bilbo was standing. He reared his head back and his mouth opened to reveal teeth longer than Bilbo was tall.
Fire began to form in the back of Smaug’s throat as Bilbo heard Yavana’s voice yell, “Now Child!” He whipped the sling forward and released the ring bearing stone. It flew unerringly toward the fire drake’s open mouth, and into his throat. The dragon thrashed as it began to choke, fire shooting from its mouth, nostrils, and ears.
Bilbo backed away from the thrashing dragon. The fire began boiling out of Smaug’s mouth and his thrashing was causing the gold coins to move across the floor, undulating like the ocean during a storm.
Suddenly there was a high pitched scream and black smoke billowed from Smaug’s mouth, A large jagged chunk of the stone ceiling broke loose and came crashing down on the top of the great drake’s head, crushing bone and piercing the skull. With one last cough, the Arkenstone was dislodged, flying across the hall, hitting the wall, and cracking in two releasing a malevolent shrieking mist that then vanished.
Smaug crashing to the ground next, causing a tidal wave of treasure in every direction. Bilbo was thrown to the ground stunned for few moments before dragging himself painfully to his feet. He limped over to the railing of the balcony and looked down. One broken cursed stone and one very dead fire lizard.
Well shit. Hopefully, that stupidly majestic asshole would be happy enough with the death of Smaug and return of his homeland that he wouldn’t be too upset over his broken bauble.
Outside the mountain, the dwarrow waited nervously wincing at the loud roar of the dragon.
Ori looked at Fili and sighed. “Maybe we should have gone with Bilbo. I understand the need for stealth but he’s all alone in there.”
“It is taking a lot longer than I expected. Maybe one of us should go after him?” Fili glanced over to where his Uncle was pacing.
Thorin paused in his majestic pacing to glare at his nephew. “Let’s give it 10 more minutes. Our burglar may yet surprise us and talk the dragon to death.”
He turned away only to clutch his chest over his heart crying out in pain. Dwalin and Oin leaped to his side thinking he was suffering a heart attack.
“It’s not my heart. I feel like something is burning into my skin. Help me get my tunic off!”
They helped him pull off his tunic as he dropped to his knees clutching his chest in agony. Oin finally got Thorin to remove his hand so they could see what was causing the pain. They were all floored at the sight of the ancient runes topped by a crown all in bright silver that now adorned his chest.
“By Mahal! It’s the mark of Durin the Deathless!.”
“I’ve never liked that name Dwalin. I’m just as mortal as any of our people.”
You remember then?”
“Yes, Gloin. I remember everything.”
“Well, it’s bloody well about time you majestic idiot! I cannot tell you how often during this trip I’ve wanted to strangle you with your own beard.”
They all turned to see that Bilbo had returned, a bit battered and singed but appearing uninjured though they all paused and wondered where he had gotten the mithril armor covered in engravings of roses. Hardly the sort of thing that dwarrow would wear in battle.
“My sweet Briar Rose!”
“Oh, now you know me you great lump?” Bilbo threw the broken Arkenstone, hitting Thorin in the chest.
Thorin ignored the stone where it fell. “Now Rosie…”
“Don’t you Rosie me you asshole! Do you know what it was like to have my One treat me like a burden? In my own bloody home? Also, what’s with taking off your tunic, like you aren’t attractive enough without taking off your clothes.”
“The mark just emerged love. I didn’t remember being Durin until just a few moments before you threw the Arkenstone at me.” Thorin looked down at the blackened pieces of the stone. “I’m sure there’s an interesting tale there.”
“I’ve always known I was once Briar Rose Took, wife of Durin I. In the lives I’ve lived after that first one I was trapped in the Shire. When they realized one of their own was being reborn in the Took family they sought to keep me there thinking it was a blessing meant only for our people. It was only in this life, reborn as a Baggins son of a Took daughter that I avoided detection.”
“Ah love I am so sorry,” Thorin murmured as he gathered Bilbo into a majestic hug.
“You should be you asshole.” Bilbo sniffled. “I waited for you each time you know.”
“Not to interrupt this touching and very weird reunion Bilbo, but what happened to Smaug?”
“He’s dead Kili.”
“He choked on his own hubris and the Arkenstone. Then a boulder dropped from the ceiling and crushed his skull.”
The company just stood there staring at him in shock.
Bilbo pulled back from Thorin slightly. “Durin love, do you think the hot springs survived the dragon? I could do with a hot bath after all that fuss. A meal wouldn’t be amiss as well.”
“The side passage to the springs should have been small enough to keep him out providing there was no structural damage. I’ll go with you. To keep you safe.”
“Safe. Right. Wouldn’t want me to trip over nothing on my way to have a bath.”
“Naturally my love. Dwalin, take the others to the treasury and start assessing the damage. Then gather up a sack of coins for Bard. We need to pay him back for his help and having good relations with the nearest human settlement couldn’t hurt.
“Also, keep an eye out for that tree shagger’s stupid gemstones. I’ll never forgive his actions but maybe if he gets them back he will bugger off to his own forest and leave us the hell alone.”
“Thorin if you don’t hurry up I’m starting without you!”
The rest of the company could just stand and stare at the reborn king of Durin’s Folk as he scurried off after his Hobbit.