Events before the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the journey of the Fellowship showed a dark presence in the lonely lands of Middle Earth. A new power has risen, enslaving a great beast to help him bring destruction down on the innocent. An unlikely group of people seeking adventure are dragged in by this shadow over their home, and must join together to save their people. Whatever the cost...
Word Count: 724
The dim light of the torched danced in the darkness of the mine. Ear-splitting crashes of metal on stone echoed throughout the pit. Reflections of tiny floating flames shone over the jagged walls, emeralds and ruby swimming in golden streams. Men hung from ropes, their dark, hairy arm tiring from their relentless task.
Among the clatter of our work, the deep call hurdled towards us. There was a pause, then each of us in unison began climbing to the surface. The glistening intensity of daylight forced us to frown and squint our eyes until they adjusted. The grand kingdom awaited us, standing bold as brass. Erebor, the home of many great dwarves. Our lord, Thror, king under the mountain, ruled over the led with great wisdom and defended it's people with great pride.
A noisy rabble came tumble towards me, murmuring magical words. I held my breath and listened, surely I had misheard. "The wizard... There's a wizard!". It couldn't be. Curiosity erupted within my chest, and I allowed the wave of bodies to carry me away.
Within moments hundreds of gabbling, bearded workers were surrounding the King's hall. Our master's golden throne glittered as stars do in the darkest skies. To his right, Thror's son Thrain, the next in line to the crown and a strong warrior. Thrain, however, was no match for his son, Thorin. Thorin sat at the side of his grand-father, little expression showing on his face.
A tall figure dressed in grey knelt before the king, his face hidden as he bowed. All went quiet as Thror bellowed at the small dwarf that escorted the stranger.
"Who, or what, is this? Who dares to stand before me without invitation!?"
The Arkenstone glowed above the king. A glistening gem, the heart of the mountain. It was responsible for Thror's rough tongue. It seemed to give him power, made him supeiror to all beings.
The stranger stood, removing his pointed hat. "I, your highness, am Gandalf. Gandalf the grey."
Excitement exploded around the room. Gandalf? The grey wizard is here? Most of us had heard of him as children, but never had we imagined him to be anything like this.
"I have news of dark stirrings in the south, my lord." He coughed, as if uncomfortable with the situation. As if the words he spoke were foreign to his tongue. "There are rumors of a beast, terrorizing villages. They are crying out for help." There was mild despiration in his voice.
* * * *
"Kilak? Where are you going at this hour?" Thorin's gruff voice could easily be mistaken for that of his father, which made me jump. We didn't have secrets, not from each other. He looked at me, trying to predict my possible replies.
I sighed, knowing he would disapprove. "I am going to find Gandalf." Eyebrows raised, he willed me to explain. "He would not have come to us if it were not urgent, but still he was sent away. He needs our help."
"Only a fool would go out in alone in the night, chasing wizards."
I frowned, digging my thumbs into my belt. "Am I the fool? Really? It wasn't me that sent him away, without any consideration for those in the south. If it were up to me, there'd be warriors prepared to protect our friends. If I were king-"
"But you aren't king, are you!" Thorin gritted his teeth to prevent his anger from escaping. "I... I'm not saying I agree with my grandfather's decision but we are not in a place to question him, or his leadership." He reasoned.
I looked away and murmered "It isn't that I'm questioning him."
I lifted the hood of the cloak over my head. "Since we were children, we have imagined trekking out into the wilderness. To fight in glorious battles and win the hearts of fair maidens." I paused and we both grinned. "All we wanted was to go on an adventure." He sighed. "This is our chance."
He shook his head and stepped backwards. "Our chance? No, Kilak. I can't. I have duties, and so do you."
"I'm sure the miners will manage without me." I muttered, turning away. "I'm sorry we have to part this way, my friend."
Without another word I run out into the darkness, never looking back.