Second Chances by BlueberryMuffins76
—As Legolas journeys with the remaining Fellowship of the Ring and battles, drama occurs in Erebor—
Over three-quarters of a century after regaining Erebor, the fortress was attacked once again on March 17, 3019. Saruman, jealous of Sauron’s growing power in Middle Earth, strove to wreak whatever havoc he could on the free peoples whom the Dark Lord had left alone thus far. Under Dain’s rule, the Lonely Mountain had grown into a beautiful, strong kingdom, as was Dale, now ruled by Bain and Eregwen’s son Brand after the passing of both beloved rulers. The restored kingdom was perfect for the former White Wizard to gain a stronghold in every part of Middle earth.
The two kings called their men together as soon as they noticed the Easterlings heading their way. Watchmen in both cities rang alarm bells furiously. Women screamed and children cried as everyone ran towards the safety of the Lonely Mountain, unsure of the danger but terribly frightened all the same. In record time, everyone safely retreated inside the mountain’s strong walls.
King Brand gazed out a window, then turned to his friend King Dain and stated the facts they both knew too well, trying to shake himself into reality by speaking of the dire situation. “Your majesty, the Easterlings have surrounded us. I am afraid we are besieged. Do you have a plan of action?” The ruler of Dale had lived all his monarchy in peace, and although he knew how to fight, he had never faced a real live battle before, much less been held captive by a group of angry and fearsome men. He looked up to the dwarf not only for his seniority but also for his experience in such matters; he was the most seasoned (and probably oldest!) warrior the man knew.
“Brand, we must fight these men, no matter the cost. I shall not allow my mountain to be conquered again. She spent too many years in the hand of the dread dragon Smaug and I shall not allow the hard work of my people to go to waste. I ask you to join me with your men. I would like to divide them among the various exits and yield a multisided attack.”
“Of course I shall join you! You have provided refuge for my people and been a dear friend to me. It is my duty to serve you and join you in battle, no matter the cost. You are right; we cannot allow our kingdoms to be conquered by our foes yet again. I cannot allow history to practically repeat itself either.”
Dwarf and man shook hands. “Go, gather your most able-bodied men and join me in the armoury,” Dain commanded.
Brand’s wife, Ingrid, walked by as he made his way to the appointed place. “Brand, my love, what is wrong?” The worried look in his eye concerned her, his face grim and steps measured as though he was on a mission to save the world.
He stopped at looked at her, trepidation filling the deep nut brown depths of his eyes. “Ingrid, sweetheart, I am afraid we must go to war against these men camped outside our gates.” Stepping over to her, he gathered her in his arms.
“Oh Brand, must you? Is there not another way? Won’t they listen to reason and work out some sort of peace treaty or something?”
Guiding her to a window, he pointed outside and she gasped. “Ingrid, you see now why we must fight. They have us completely surrounded. These men are ruthless, under rule of the Dark Lord Sauron, and will stop at nothing to get what they want. Although I’m sure Dain keeps his kingdom well-stocked, we cannot stay here forever without any income of food, nor can we rely on his hospitality forever. What I need you to do for me is make sure all the women bid their husbands farewell. This is war, my love, and many of our men shall not set foot inside this mountain again.” He looked deeply into her eyes, his love for her glowing into her very soul.
“I will, my love.” She wrapped her arms tighter around him and he tenderly lowered his lips to hers, which she eagerly met with her own in a long and passionate caress.
“I love you, Ingrid, with all my heart. Be brave for me.”
“And I love you, dearest one. Be careful!” With that they parted ways.
Several hours later, the men of Dale and dwarves of Erebor marched side by side through the Lonely Mountain, ready to attack and defeat their enemy. Fili and Kili were among them and spoke while they marched, recalling the last time they had gone into battle together.
“Fili, are you ready for this?”
“Yes, this time I am. I honestly do not wish to live any longer. Losing my dear Sigrid these long three decades ago has been dreadful. I feel as though I am nothing without her by my side.”
The golden-haired dwarf’s mind flashed back to that fateful day. They’d gone to bed that night at the same time as usual. Sigrid had been feeling a bit poorly lately, especially after her father passed away 25 years before that, and her brother Bain five years ago. Fili curled his arms around his wife as they lay together and pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead. “I love you, Sigrid. Sleep well!”
“I love you.” She gave him a long kiss on the lips and snuggled against him. Soon she was fast asleep with a contented smile on her face, and her husband followed suit. At dawn, Fili awoke as he usually did and gazed at his wife, who still slept in his arms. However, he noticed she felt rather cold and checked her breathing. He placed a hand on her chest and felt no heartbeat there. “Sigrid!” he sobbed as he held her lifeless body in his arms. He knew this day would come and that his heart would break; unfortunately, no amount of preparation could help when the event actually came to pass. After spending several minutes in shocked silence, he told the rest of the family and some women prepared her body for burial. The funeral, surreal, left little imprint in his mind and he snapped back to the present, giving his brother a dazed look.
Kili beheld at his brother, for the first time feeling protective over him instead of the other way around. “Look, Fili, I know it hurts. I thought I would die if Tauriel chose Legolas over me, yet at the same time if I knew it would make her happy, I would have gladly given her up. However, I do not think your loss should cause you to lose your will to live. I still need you, as do your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, in addition to all my brood.”
“Kili, you don’t understand. I know you mean well, and I truly appreciate it. But you know a dwarf cannot dwell on immortally. If I am to die eventually, it may as well be sooner rather than later, even if we are still on our middle ages for dwarves. I have survived long enough without my wife and am ready to go.”
“Then at least promise me you will not do anything rash and will stay close to me, and Dain as well.”
“My allegiance to my family comes first and foremost. You know that, Kili. Of course I shall stay by your side and fight, just as we used to practice when we were young.” And so the brothers set off to battle once more.
Tauriel wanted to tag along, but Kili insisted she must remain in the mountain and care for the womenfolk. While she did not like that idea in the slightest, she agreed to stay for a time until she felt the women could fend for themselves. It had been too long since she smelled the fresh blood of her enemies to fully resist going at all. Stabbing her knives into her foes gave her a thrill she could never explain. It energized her and seemed one of the most useful things to do for her country. She was just as able-bodied and adept as any man, if not more so, thus they needed her in the battle. About four hours after the men left to form their attack, she slipped out of the room in which she’d sequestered the other womenfolk and donned her weapons, a grim and determined look on her face.
Meanwhile, every single exit from the mountain contained a group of men and dwarves awaiting the order to exit and attack. With all the unrest in Middle Earth these days, every man was taught from boyhood how to wield a sword and shoot a bow. Framed by Ered Mithrim, the Grey Mountains, on the north side and the great forest of Mirkwood to the west, their small area of the world had been left alone, for the most part, until now. Thus the younger men trembled a bit at the prospect of battle, even if it was rather exciting at the same time.
Fili and Kili headed one group, while Dain and Brand led two more, each prepared for death and to lead their men in a successful turn against the besieging army. None were greatly concerned; they knew the Easterlings were not nearly as formidable a foe as orcs and a bit easier to kill.
Saruman’s pawns stood poised and ready for battle as they surrounded Erebor. Their right hands held long spears which stood straight as their ends rested on the ground, and their left hands gripped sturdy shields which, for now, relaxed near the ground. As soon as the younger men looked into their faces, they knew they had an enemy who knew what they were doing; every single dark and scruffy man had a stoic and determined expression, their black eyes showing no sign of mercy.
At the sound of a large horn at the top of the mountain, all the group leaders yelled the command, “Charge!” With that, the soldiers exited the mountain, feet pounding against the rocky terrain as they faced their foes head-on. Determination flashed in their wild eyes as the first sound of metal clashing against metal reached their ears. The Easterlings drew back in surprise but quickly recovered as they met in a fierce battle lasting three long days.
Dreadfully tired from the ceaseless battle that had been waged these past three days, Dain and Brand worked their way towards each other as their groups corralled a large portion of their enemy away from the mountain. Sword and axe swung against the dark men. Suddenly, a particularly seasoned Easterling faced King Brand of Dale. Locking spear and sword, they struggled against each other. As Brand plunged his weapon fatally into the man, another enemy came up behind him and ran his spear through his back and all the way until it poked out of his stomach, killing him instantly. King Dain watched him fall and cried out, his axe swinging in a more determined manner than ever. By this time the rest of their group had been pushed off to another area, and the dwarf found himself surrounded. Although he fought bravely, there were too many for him to defeat and he too fell alongside his ally. A survivor of the group later told Brand’s son, Bard II, of his father’s death, which he immediately vowed to avenge in one way or another.
Meanwhile, Fili and Kili once again fought side by side, each vowing that they had the other’s back. It had been a long time since they had battled and they found their skills a bit rustier than they were comfortable with. Their short blades slashed back and forth as they slayed many Easterlings. Fili’s face fell as memories of the Battle of the Five Armies flickered before his eyes. Although he hadn’t actually seen his dear uncle Thorin fall, he’d heard many accounts of his death and all the tales came flashing back to him. A red rage filling his eyes, his energy increased to a maddening pace Kili had a hard time keeping up with. Almost blindly he slaughtered his foes and didn’t feel the gashes and wounds they gave him. Soon his clothing dripped with blood, both his own and that of his foes. About three hours into the battle, he tripped over one of the many bodies and sprawled on the ground in a pool of dark blood.
Kili noticed his brother’s fall and cried out in anguish as he rushed to his side. However, it was too late. An Easterling took advantage of the dwarf’s prostrate and injured state. The wild man bore down on Fili and plunged his spear into his throat, cackling as more blood spilled form the broken man. The last breath left Fili as his brother reached him, a grim a sorrowful expression on Kili’s face.
With that, Kili stood and with a menacing growl stabbed his enemies in vengeance for his late brother. Tauriel came out of the mountain a few hours after the battle began and joined her beloved husband. She had gotten separated from them as the hours wore on. However, as Erebor and Dale’s men grew more tired, they banded together until only a few condensed clusters remained. At last, the elf made her way to her husband and he told her of Fili’s death as they battled on side by side. She wished she could comfort him in his distress, but that was something that would have to wait until they overthrew the Easterlings. She rather enjoyed being back in the fray again, despite all the tragedies.
Then, the leader of the Easterlings sauntered towards Kili as Tauriel was distracted elsewhere. Their weapons clashed and soon Kili was totally surrounded. Suddenly, five spears dug into his body in all the places his armour left exposed and he collapsed on the ground as a cry of victory rose up. The dwarves and men, having failed their mission, dashed back into the safety of the mountain. All except Tauriel. She charged to her husband’s side as the life was leaving him. “Kili! Meleth!” she cried as she knelt before him and clasped his hand.
“Tauriel!” he choked out and squeezed her with a last bit of energy. Raising up the best he could, their lips met in one last passionate kiss. He broke away as he collapsed again. “I love you, Tauriel. We had a good life together. Go, make Legolas happy. I have had you long enough.”
“But I need you! I love you! Don’t leave me!” she sobbed.
“Tauriel, it’s too late. Remember, I always loved you and I always will…” His voice faded and he gasped. The elf laid her head on his chest and felt no heartbeat. Heartbroken, she laid on his dead body, weeping over him. A piece of her own heart died along with him, as though a huge hole had been singed in it by the hottest flames imaginable, leaving an aching and burning sensation in the parts which had not been completely consumed.
The Easterlings regrouped themselves on the plain before the mountain and paid no attention to the brave few who stepped outside of Erebor once again to bury the dead. Shaking herself, Tauriel joined them, glad to have something to do as the shock of the deaths set in. She had expected to have about a hundred more years with her beloved dwarf; their marriage seemed extremely short in the life of an elf, but worth every single minute. Never would she have traded that experience for anything. Men, dwarves, and elf worked quickly to give their fallen comrades a decent burial then made their way back inside the mountain, where the Easterlings continued to besiege them.
The siege lasted a full week until they heard the news of Sauron’s downfall. Those who had taken refuges inside the Lonely Mountain had grown discouraged as they plotted how to drive the Easterlings away and great joy filled their hearts when they learned the Dark Lord no longer ruled. The newly crowned kings Bard II son of Brand and Thorin III Stonehelm son of Dain Ironfoot gathered their men and dwarves against the Easterlings with a new energy and vengeance. They successfully drove out the wild men and satisfied their own desires for revenge; neither king would ever forgive himself if they allowed their enemies to live after the brutal deaths of their beloved family members.
Tauriel remained several weeks in Erebor after the Easterlings had been driven away, mourning her loss. She also helped to establish the two new kings on their thrones and comforted their families in their losses. However, after a couple of weeks the great mountain still had a cold, lifeless feel to it. Everyone else appeared fine and didn’t notice it, so she knew it was caused by no longer having Kili at her side. Everywhere she looked she was reminded of the many sweet times they’d shared inside the lovely halls of the King Under the Mountain. Her restlessness would have to be addressed sooner or later. The hardest task consisted of convincing her family that she didn’t belong there anymore and needed a change of pace. They begged and pleaded but at last gave in when they fully realized her misery and discomfort.