Author's note: Some of the canon events are slightly changed to fit the story, I forgot to say that in the first chapter (sorry). Also forgot to say, even though I don't think anyone doubts that, the story, characters and everything else except for my OC belong to John Tolkien. Anything from the movie that wasn't in the book belongs to Peter Jackson.
Dwarves, as Rin soon found out, were way more fun than any elf she had ever met. Thought she couldn't help but feel a little sorry for poor Bilbo who watched in horror as what had probably been his entire pantry was now disappearing under the collective efforts of the Company, Rin included. She hadn't realized how hungry she was until she was sitting at the table and stuffing bread, meat and cheese into her mouth like she wasn't ever going to see food again. She refused the mead and wine, generous amounts of which were being drank, and instead opted to steal a gingerbread from a plate at the end of the table, and then proceeded to eat five more, since there was no one around to tell her that she shouldn't eat with her hands.
-"Rin, right?"-it took Rin a few seconds to realize that the young dark haired dwarf sitting on her right was talking to her.
-"Yeah, though I didn't catch your name. Or anyone else's, for that matter. Mind helping me out?"-better ask about the names now than get confused later, Rin had found out after a few lords had visited Greenwood years ago, and she hadn't learned their names for the whole time they were there.
-"Kili, at your service."-he said with a grin.-"That over there's my brother Fili."-he pointed at the blond haired dwarf sitting closest to him, and then proceeded to name the rest, ending with:
-"That's everyone, except for uncle, but I guess you already know him anyway."
Rin almost chocked on the water she was drinking.
-"Thorin Oakenshield's your uncle?"
-"You seem overly impressed for a princess whose uncle is the king of Greenwood."
-"It ain't half as exciting as it sounds. Especially when everyone thinks it isn't true cause you don't even look like an elf by their standards, even less like royalty."-While most Sylvan elves were tall and slender with lighter hair and eyes, Rin had matching dark brown hair and eyes that, combined with the fact that she was pretty much as tall as a dwarf, didn't fit at the Greenwood palace at all.
-"I don't know about looking like royalty, but I wouldn't have quite believed that you were part dwarf if I hadn't seen you eating like one."
Rin laughed, a full blown, roaring laughter that would have been considered rude and unladylike at any elf feast she had ever attended. But here no one noticed, because they were talking and laughing lauder than her. And for some reason, at that hobbit hole, surrounded by strangers, Rin felt more at place than she had ever had among elves.
Slowly, however, everyone quieted down.
-"Bilbo, let us have a little more light, would you?"-Gandalf asked as he came closer to the table from the corner spot he had been sitting in all evening. Bilbo, who hadn't uttered a word since Rin arrived, left the room quickly. The wizard pulled out a map and as Bilbo came back with a candle, Gandalf put it on the table and pointed at a lonely peak drawn at one of the edges.
-"The Lonely mountain."-the hobbit read. Fili and Kili leaned closer to the table to try and see better, and so did Rin. Her eyesight was normally way better than theirs, but the three days without sleep made her eyes blur objects that were further away.
Elves didn't sleep, not in the way humans do, and could go on for a long time without rest. Since dwarves did sleep, however, Rin fell somewhere in the middle. She could go for around a week before collapsing from exhaustion, but three days were enough to tire her a lot if she hadn't slept well before. And on the road there was no way to sleep well, having in mind that if you did, you were probably going to get robbed, eaten or killed.
-"Ravens have been seen flying back to the mountain as it was foretold. When the birds of old return to the mountain, the reign of the beast shall end."- said the half deaf dwarf that Rin remembered was named Oin.
-"What beast?"-Bilbo asked. So no one had told him. And he was the one who, by Gandalf's words, was supposed to steal from the said beast, without anyone asking him.
-"Well that would be a reference to Smaug the terrible, chiefest and greatest calamity of our age. Airborne fire breather, teeth like razors, claws like meat hooks, extremely fond of precious metals."-that colourful explanation was given by Bofur, and Rin watched Bilbo slowly going pale as he said:
-"Yes, I know what a dragon is."
-"I am not afraid!"-the dwarf named Ori shouted as he raised to his feet, the others cheering him on. Now that was either plain overconfidence or too much ale. Not being afraid of dragons was a very, very stupid decision.
His brother Dori pulled him back down.
-"The task would be difficult enough with an army behind us, but we number just thirteen, and not thirteen of the best, nor brightest."-Balin, who, for now, seemed the only dwarf with common sense around here, said, but his voice was drowned in the cacophony of the voices of all the others, Fili shouting that they were all fighters, Kili exclaiming that they had a wizard on their side, and he would have killed hundreds of dragons, which was followed by asking how many had he killed, until Thorin shouted:
Thank the gods. For Rin, whose head was starting to hurt from the three days without sleep, all of the loud noise was torture, especially having in mind that what was very loud for a normal person was like somebody screaming directly in her ear for her.
-"If we have read these signs, do you not think others will have read them too? Rumors have begun to spread. The dragon Smaug has not been seen for sixty years. Eyes look East to the mountain, assessing, wondering, weighing the risk. Perhaps the vast wealth of our people now lies unprotected. Do we sit back while others claim what is rightfully ours? Or do we seize this chance to take back Erebor?"
The others started cheering as Thorin continued in dwarvish, until Balin said that there was no way into the mountain since the front gate was sealed.
-"That is not entirely true."-Gandalf said, as he took out a key and handed it to Thorin, explaining that his father had once given it to him, for safekeeping.-"The runes on the map speak of a secret passage to the lower halls, through which we can get in if we find it. Dwarf doors are invisible when closed, but the answer to finding this one is hidden within this map. I do not have the skill to read it, but others in Middle Earth can."
Oh Iluvatar. He probably meant moon runes. And the only one Rin knew who could read moon runes was Elrond. Which meant that they had to go to Rivendell. Rin sighted quietly, she was too tired to think about that now. Her vision was starting to blur even more.
The following conversation about Bilbo being the burglar Rin almost didn't hear, she was pretty sure she fell asleep a couple of times for a few minutes. Since she didn't want to fall off her chair like some idiot, she quietly sat on the floor and rested her head against the wall. Rin tried to keep herself awake, but by the moment Balin handed Bilbo the contract the exhaustion had won over. The last thing she heard before falling asleep was:
And then a thud a few moments later.
Rin rarely dreamt. While sleeping, she mostly saw memories, or nothing at all. Tonight, however, in her dream crept a song about treasures and long lost kingdoms, sung by a voice that she was sure she had heard before, but couldn't quite remember where. And then there was something else.
Green grass and a blue sky that wasn't hidden by the tree branches above. A female voice laughing and calling her name. A burning fireplace in a room that wasn't in Greenwood, and a male voice telling a story about a great war. And then there was someone whose face Rin couldn't quite see, standing on a porch of a small house, tall bluish-gray mountains towering behind.
Rin jolted awake, the details of the dream quickly disappearing from her mind, even though she tried to keep them. She had been so young when her parents were killed that she didn't remember their faces, but those voices in her dream….they had once belonged to them. And for the first time in fifty years, even though the memory was foggy and unclear, Rin had seen her father. And it felt like that memory gave her just a little more courage for the journey ahead.
Rin got up and listened for a few seconds. The sun still hadn't risen outside and no one else seemed to be awake, so she tiptoed out of the door, grabbing a piece of bread that had survived from the feast last evening. Early mornings were probably her favorite part of the day, ever since the day Legolas had shown her how to climb a tree high enough to see the sun rising above Greenwood. Rin sat on the stone stairs in front of Bilbo's house and ate her bread while watching the sky slowly get lighter.
Thinking about her cousin drove her back to a few days before when they had parted ways in Bree. She wandered how close to Greenwood he was now, and if he was alright. Middle Earth was dangerous enough for groups of people, but traveling alone?
He had wanted to join the quest too, even though he despised dwarves. To make sure Rin was safe. However, just as Gandalf had said, Thorin Oakenshield might make an exception for a half-elf, but he would never let a full Sylvan in his Company, even less Thranduil's son. So, after a lot of arguing, he had agreed to just accompany Rin to Bree and then go back to Greenwood.
His parting words were for her to be careful and to promise that she was going to come back home. Rin had promised and she had continued down to Hobbiton, wandering if this wasn't the last time she was seeing her cousin. Hopefully not.
By the time the Company was ready to leave Rin had already taken her pony from the place she had left it last night and was starting to wander if taking her elk hadn't been a better option. Rin was too short to ride a regular horse, even less an elk, but the animal back in Greenwood had been the runt of his litter and small enough for Rin to be able to climb on its back without a problem. The only reason she hadn't taken it was because it was going to draw too much attention to her, and that was the last thing she needed.
Still, around an hour later, they were moving painfully slow. Or maybe Rin was just used to the immense speed an elk could run with. Whichever it was, she was bored out of her mind, and couldn't even take her book out of her pack and read because she was probably going to drop it.
-"Five say he isn't going to come."
Rin snapped out of her thoughts to see what was going on and realized that the dwarves were placing bets if Bilbo was going to come or not. Now, that was interesting.
-"Twenty that he is coming. And five more that it will be in less than half an hour."-Rin said, a smirk forming on her face.
-"You sure have money to spend, don't you?"-Fili, who was in front of her, asked a tad sarcastically.
-"I actually don't. I just hear good enough to know that there is somebody running at full speed up that hill we just crossed, and I don't think there are many options on who it might be."-and sure enough, a few moments later they were caught up to by a hobbit gasping for air. Rin's smile became wider.