Sometimes, while I am asleep, fragments of my lost memories return to me though my dreams. When this happens, which is rarely, my subconscious becomes filled to the brim of pictures of a beautiful valley, laden with hundreds of crystal like waterfalls, and golden trees that sing in the wind.

Sometimes, I see the blurred silhouettes of people who I assume are my family. There are five blurred figures that I always see in succession; the first, is always that of a tall man, dressed in forest green regal robes. He stands alone, straight and tall, pride radiating from him. After a moment he fades away and the silhouettes of two boys of the same age. One of the two radiates peace, while the other radiates a protective yet dangerous aura. They could not be more then twentyish, and even though the auras are so different, the moment that they are there my subconscious is filled with laughter and joy. The two silhouettes I see are dramatically different in height. The girl, who is about a foot smaller than the boys before her radiates love, and she is holding the hand of a tiny child who has a deep blue and silver outline. None of these "visions" ever last more than a few seconds, and once they fade away it feels as if they are gone forever. I like to think they are my family, but I know I will never know for sure.

It makes it impossible for me to hold onto hope when all I have to go on is assumptions, and no information. I don't know whether or not my mind cannot, or simply will not, remember anything after I woke up in the caring arms of the Dwarves. To outsiders looking in on the situation it is easy for them to judge me as to why I did not look further into the memory fragments. Throughout the few years I have spent with the Dwarves, I have learned not to encourage or humor the memories, for trying to hard physically hurts. We have come to call theseā€¦things attacks for we do not know what else they would be named.

They always start when something, like a memory fragment, is triggered by a thought, voice, or a picture. When that happens my mind goes through this vicious cycle repeating whatever was triggered over and over again. It triggers raging migraines and my body against its will, will curl into itself and within a few moments, the tremors start. They get violent and uncontrollable, and on top of it all my body feels as if it's being stabbed by thousands of needles at once. The worst part is that nothing can stop the attack until it's over. However, I never make it that far before I pass out

When I awake from the nightmare like trance, I am forced to remind myself that my dreams are just dreams. I do not know who these people are or if they are even alive. That is why it is easier for me to assume that I will never meet them, for the chances of me meeting them, or needing to know who they are, is insanely slim. There are just too many unknown variables to try to figure out anything about my past. At the end of the day, I could guess all I want too about who I am, or where I came from and it wouldn't make a single difference. So, for the sake of my sanity and my heart, I, along with my new family, see it in my best interest to allow myself to forget. I never try to force anything to do with my past and life is better that way.

Now, do not get me wrong, just because I don't know where I came from doesn't mean I don't know anything about myself. I know a few things in fact, for example, I don't need a wizard to tell me that I am no Dwarf. The excessively pointy ears and lack of any sort of facial hair tends to give it away. I know that I was taken in by the dwarves because I was hurt close to death and was just a lost child. They like to assume that my family is dead, because there were no other survivors traveling with the Orc pack.

I also know that no Dwarf that I have met has admitted, in any sort of context, to having the ability to communicate with the trees, my friends. As far as I know, no other being knows of a language spoken between the leaves and branches. I allowed my leg to dangle my leg over the branch of the Oak I was sitting in as my hand absentmindedly caressed my cheek. I felt a faint sting resurface from the first time I had asked about too many questions about it. I took a deep breath and allowed my worries to flow from my body. The Oak I was sitting in wrapped its branches around me in a protective, yet comforting manner, and sung me to sleep, just as it always did.

-Flashback-

My eyes fluttered open when the dying cry of a robin sounded next to me, along with deep laughing voices. My vision blurred slightly and it was hard to focus, but eventually I was able to make out the colors of the beautifully woven canopy of golden orange and red leaves. The voices were a different matter, they broke the scenery of peace and the mere sound of the voices speaking in whatever language they were speaking, chilled me to the bone. I didn't move as I watched the setting sun danced around the shadows, saying a temporary goodbye to the leaves. I could almost hear the promises of meeting each other tomorrow.

I lay on the ground for a few moments, listening to the sounds of crunching birds and a small fire, before I decided to try to stand to see what was going on and what I was doing asleep in the forest. I lifted my slowly arm, searching for something to support my weight with. My hand rested on a trunk of a tree I forced my body from the ground. It wasn't until I saw the blood running down my arm in a steady flowing red river did the pain hit me. My entire body stung and burned, but my fear clouded my senses. Where was I? What happened? "Ada?" I whispered into the forest, silently preying whatever did this to me wouldn't hear.

A deep, slimy voice croaked from the fire about twenty feet away, "Oi, the raw meats up."

My heart stopped as a green, horribly disfigured creature emerged from the shadows. It snarled as it walked over and looked me in the eye, pushing me up against the tree. His breath smelled of rotten meat, and I swear for a moment I saw a glint in his eye that terrified me. He rubbed himself against me, and I suddenly remembered what Adar had said about venturing into the forest alone and unprotected. All the horror stories I had heard about Orcs from my big brothers came rushing into my head all at once. A tremor ran through my body as the green creature forced me to the frozen earth below. As my body collided with the ground, I let allowed myself to let out a scream, "ADA!"

He slammed something against my head and suddenly everything went black. I awoke some time later when a heavy weight was pushed from atop of me. There was a small man with a long white beard stood above me. He was scanning my body as the distant sound of metal on metal sounded in the background. His hand clutching my wrist trying to feel for a pulse, but when I opened my eyes he started holding my hand in a caring manner. When I tried to speak my voice came out all horse and raspy, it didn't sound like my own at all, "Where's my Adar?"

As he looked into my eyes, I noticed his were dawned with pain and sadness. I already had my answer, but he answered my question slowly, and softly. "I do not know little one." He shook his head slowly, "Do you know where you are? What's your name?"

I didn't speak as my mind was racing, and my face melted into confusion. My name? The cogs in my brain whirled and whizzed trying to come up with something, anything. Tears filled my eyes as my head suddenly started pounding, "I don't remember, I don't...I can't." Suddenly something returned to the forefront of my mind, "Orcs!?"

"Aye we found the Orcs, but we took care of them. Did," he paused and his voice started quivering, "did they do this to you?"

It all came rushing back at once, the countless beatings, and torture for no reason whatsoever. I screamed and writhed as if it were happening all over again. I was so consumed by pain I did not notice the second man walk over slowly. He was taller and bore a short dark brown beard, he picked me up gingerly. They quickly walked towards the direction of a in the distance campfire. I screamed into the fur of his jacket, never once stopping for air until my body gave way to darkness.

-End Flashback-

I shot awake from my dream like trance, immediately trying to forget every memory that had just ran through my mind. I wiped away the small line of sweat that had formed on my brow as I tried to shove the pictures from my mind. My hands subconsciously began braiding my long, bright red hair. Years ago, Balin had taught me a way to braid it so my ears would stay hidden, since then every time I had a nightmare I would spend hours practicing, braiding and unbraiding, trying desperately to forget.

Ever since Balin and the other Dwarves left with Thorin to reclaim Erebor, memory fragments have been returning to me more frequently. I have had one attack while I was home alone, but luckily, Gimli found me as I was regaining consciousness. I had been staying in Dwalin's house since Thorin found me in the forest. Therefore, when he had asked me to look over the house while he was away, I of course agreed because I was going to be staying there anyway. Now, without everyone here, the only thing that I have to do is practice my archery, see after Gimli, and await their return.

Durin's day had passed no more than four moons ago, and I can't help but wonder if they would be coming back at all. I wasn't well enough to stay alone for this past year and few months, a lifetime would be impossible. I sighed and shifted my weight in the oak branches. Relocating to another home in Middle Earth wasn't an option for me. Not only was Tharbad the only home I knew, but I wasn't well enough physically to make the journey. My mind has been in this tug-of-war match between, hoping my family does reclaim Erebor, and not at all.

I feel horrible for thinking that way, but I can't help but be afraid of the unknown. I don't want to leave, or move at all. All of the few memories I possess are of this place, and I feel like leaving would take a piece of my heart from me. The trees, who were my only close friends, protected me from the unknown and I love them for it. At the end of the day, I guess I could call Fili, Kili, Nori, Dori, and Gimli friends, but I can't help but notice that when I try to get close to some of the other Dwarves, they push further away. After so much failure, I had to stop trying.

I know it seems as if all of my memories are all bad, but they aren't. Just because my half-friends get rushed away from me doesn't mean they don't try again. My first happy memory was when I got my name. I can still remember Uncle Thorin's face when he decided to name me Runin, which means fox, because of my bright red hair and emerald eyes. The next year my Dwalin and Nori spearheaded a small birthday party for me; Kili gave me a beautiful bow that he had been teaching me to use, Dwalin gave me a brand new forest green cloak, Nori had been teaching me his lock picking skills and I can easily say I am an expert now. Fili, however, went beyond, and gave me a beautiful silver fox pendant that was about the size of a small pebble, it has my first initial engraved on the back and he made me promise him that I would wear it all the time to remind me of him.

Every time I think of my extended family, I can't help but smile. Dwalin has taken the place in my heart of a father figure, while Balin is my uncle and teacher. He taught me all about the history of the Dwarves and their ways. Nori and Dori acted like the older brothers I never had and Thorin is like a close Uncle to me while Kili is my cousin. I can say in all honesty that, as far as I know, Fili is the best friend I have ever had in my life. I cannot count the hours we have spent up in tree branches talking about anything from life to the stars. Once we fell asleep together in a meadow and were woken up by the loud footfalls of an angry Dwalin. We were yelled at for running off, but he smiled at the end so I knew he only did it because he had to appear tough.

The sun was beginning to set as I leapt from the comfortable branches of my friend. I never dared to venture anywhere near the forest when it's dark, and I had promise to keep to Gloin of watching after Gimli, his son. I quickened my pace, a small smile playing at my lips, as I thought of how upset Gimli would be if dinner were late.

The walk home in the cool autmn was quick and calming. Before the Dwarves had left Tharbad to travel east, Balin had given me a list of things he had wanted me to start researching, too keep up my studies. Today I was supposed to be learning about the humans and history of Gondor, but I was already ahead so I didn't really care if I missed a day.

I opened the small wooden door to the place I called home and called into the house, "Gimli you home?"

"Aye!" He yelled as he turned the corner at the end of the hallway, "Where have you been all day Ru? I wanted you to help me with archery today."

I turned and locked the door tightly behind me, "Sorry Gim, my head hasn't been in the right today at all, I didn't get much sleep last night." I walked towards the kitchen and smiled at him, "On a more serious note...you want dinner?"

He laughed and nodded as he joined me in the kitchen. Gimli was a few years younger than me at the age of about eleven. Balin and I assume I am a few years older because of my height, he says that I am about fourteen, but again we aren't sure. It's weird though I was taken in by the Dwarves a few years back my hair hasn't grown at all. Its length staying at around my lower back and my height at 4'7.

Gimli's voice brought me back to reality, "Can we have rabbit stew for dinner?"

"Of course," I replied, "but only if you help me." Gimli's face beamed as he ran around the kitchen gathering the ingredients. I cooked the stew to the best of my ability and we spent the next hour or so talking about nothing particular and eating.

Gimli finished his soup with a slurp and looked at me, "Ru, why don't you train with me or Kili ever?" He asked suddenly.

I slurped at a spoonful of the hot soup before I answered, "I practice archery with Kili a lot."

"No, I mean like warrior training. Like what I do with Dwalin."

I swallowed the last bit of soup I had in my small bowl, "Balin thought that with my condition, as of right now, warrior training isn't a good idea."

He nodded and we talked for a little more before he shuffled off to bed. I cleared the table and sat by one of the front windows with a candle lit. They should have been back by now. What if the dragon got them? No, I can't think about that, they have to come back and they are.

I don't know when I fell asleep, but I jolted awake when I heard the front door slam open, "Runin! Gimli! We have done it! We are finally going home for good." It was Dwalin and just seeing his face allowed me to let out the breath of air I was holding in. I smiled and hugged him tightly, but I kept my mouth shut. Gimli had run out to find Gloin, who was bursting with excitement.

"I'm so happy you're home Dwal," I whispered quietly, "I missed you so much."

He hugged me tighter and laughed, "Don't worry Ru I'm not going to leave you that easily." He was so happy about his home; I held my tongue about my feelings. This had always been my home...not Erebor.