So, this is my first fanfiction and I'd like to say a few things. If you don't like author's notes, just skip ahead to the beginning of the story.
First of all, I only own my OC. Everything else in this story goes to their respective owners.
Second, English isn't my native language, so please excuse me for any mistakes. If you find them, do tell me. I'd love to improve my writing.
Lastly, although I do intend to finish this fic, I won't promise regular updates. I have it all planned in my head, but getting it out proves challenging. Reviews might accelerate the process ;)
That's it, so let's get started!
He grunted as he pushed a branch aside, making his way through the forest of Fangorn and over to the huge willow where he knew he'd find her.
The Elves had told him she'd notified them a few years ago she would be living at the biggest willow in Fangorn, but as she was unpredictable and didn't always bother to let the world know her plans, he couldn't be sure he'd be able to find her. Fortunately, it soon turned out he needn't have worried, as he had heard a soft voice inside his head after having sent out an enchanted whistle into the air to make sure she was even there.
"Gandalf," she'd (for lack of a better word) said. "Long time no see."
"About five years," he'd thought back, knowing she could hear his thoughts, though he could feel she hadn't pushed on to his feelings and memories as she (usually) considered this impolite.
"Come to the willow. I'll meet you there," she'd said, before separating their connection and leaving him alone.
He smiled to himself. She had never cared much for subtlety, a result, he suspected, from her surviving on her own for most of her life.
As his current activity required nothing more from him than stomping along the trees and occasionally swatting branches and leaves away with his staff, he had plenty of time to let his thoughts drift back to about a week earlier, when he had met a rather grumpy royal outcast: Thorin, son of Thráin, son of Thrór, rightful King under the Mountain, though you'd never have guessed from the looks of him. Wet from the rain and dusty from the long and fruitless journey behind him, the dark-haired Dwarf had sat himself at a table in the middle of the inn, ordered a simple dinner from the waitress passing and sighed to himself, staring into the fire. That was when Gandalf had deemed it time to approach.
As he walked over the wet grass, he thought back to that evening, when the quest to retake Erebor from the Dragon had begun to take form.
After a few minutes of arguing, he finally manages to convince the Dwarf to attempt to take back his homeland. Upon Thorin's protest that he needs the Arkenstone to rally the seven Dwarven armies to his cause, the Wizard politely asks to be allowed to make a few suggestions concerning the soon to be formed Company. Thorin doesn't say anything, so Gandalf starts with the Burglar.
"One is a Hobbit. You may have heard of them, simple folk, living simple lives not far from here. Yet of this particular Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins is his name, I have reason to suspect he will prove himself useful during the journey. I would urge you to employ him as our Burglar."
Thorin does not look convinced at all, but doesn't complain. He probably saves his judgement for when he meets this Hobbit, although he has heard of them, and what he has heard did not impress him. Then he remembers the Wizard used 'a few suggestions'. He looks suspiciously at Gandalf, who merely smiles at him, and finally says, "Who else?"
"Ah, well, my second suggestion, we never really found out what exactly she is. But-"
He is immediately interrupted by an angry Thorin: "She? You're suggesting we take a woman with us? Whom we will have to protect all the way? Have you lost your mind?! I will not-"
He is silenced by a sharp look from the Wizard, who does not appreciate having his intellect questioned.
"Listen, Thorin. She is female, yes, but not your run-of-the-mill lady. Magic flows through her veins, and surely you can understand that a little magic won't hurt if you plan on leading a Company through hostile lands. Trust me on this, and if you don't, please save your judgement for when you meet her, or rather, the both of them."
Upon the Dwarf's sarcastic remark that he always thought Wizards were the ones to turn to when it came to magic, Gandalf simply states: "There is magic, and then there is magic."
He pushed aside an especially stubborn branch and suddenly found himself at the edge of a lake, shining red in the light of the setting sun. Right in front of him stood a monstrous willow. Thick branches seemed to twist randomly (although he knew she must have influenced them to make the tree grow more to her liking), creating an enormous network of intertwining branches. In a few places, the branches had winded tightly around each other around an imaginary circle, creating dry, cosy holes, large enough for her to sleep in. He slowly approached the tree, wondering where she could be, when that question was answered by a loud, high-pitched roar, signalling her arrival.
He turned to the right and was able to make out her form rising from the water. While she soared towards him, he couldn't help but notice she seemed to have gotten bigger since the last time he saw her. Had she then been the size of a large dog, now she was almost as big as a pony. Good, it meant she would be the same height as the Dwarves.
He remembered having met her while staying with the Elves, years ago. She never told anyone where she had come from, simply wandering into Rivendell one day and asking questions about everything. The Elves, ever hospitable, had welcomed her and she soon turned out to be much more than a strange twist of nature. Her like had never been seen before on this Earth. One of the Elves had once described her as having 'the lethal grace of a panther, the loyalty of a wolf and the fire of a dragon' and these animals could also be used to describe her appearance. She could be suspicious, headstrong, and, when provoked, highly dangerous, but he knew that inside, she was friendly and endlessly curious about anything and everything.
The problem was, of course, that she was way too powerful a force to be wandering around uncontrolled. Eventually, he would have to convince her to play a more prominent role in Middle-Earth, but he knew better than to confront or force her. So instead, he had decided that taking her along on a trip with thirteen Dwarves, a Hobbit and himself would serve as the perfect opportunity to get her used to duty and obligation. Besides, he was certain she would come in handy one way or another.
She had now reached the shore and, barely moving her large, dragon-like wings, landed on the lowest, almost horizontal branch of the willow. Folding her creamy white wings, several shades lighter than the rest of her body, but keeping them a little open in order to keep her balance on the branch, Skyfire's deep, golden eyes looked straight into his.