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"Ori?" she rasped, swallowing the fresh blood that had trickled into her mouth. Their water skins had long run out, leaving them with dust filled throats and harsh voices. Her whisper was barely heard over the shrieking goblins at the door with their drums.
A hand clasped hers weakly and she turned her head enough to see the dwarf beside her. "I'm here, Thira," the soft voice assured her. There was an exhaustion in his voice that alerted her dimly to the fact that he would soon be gone too. He'd held out to the last, her brave Ori, and she knew that if his brothers had known, they would have been proud. But there had not even been time to send notice to Erebor of Lord Balin's passing before the attacks had driven them in here, costing them the life of dear Oin as well. There would be no reinforcements from the Lonely Mountain simply because they did not know of the destruction in Moria.
"Close your eyes, Ori. It will be over soon," she replied. Most had succumbed to their wounds already, and she doubted her own strength to overcome those on her body. Ori would fade fast, so much faster than her elven self, and she had only three options. The goblins would break down the door, leaving her to fight to the death or stay seated and be killed in the shadow of Balin's tomb. Or she could swallow the leaves Radagast had given her so long ago and die peacefully with her friends. Squeezing the hand in hers, she let her sword fall.
Her fingers found the small pouch at her hip, slowly pulling it free. With blood and dust streaked fingers, she opened it and reached for the dry leaves waiting for her. They rumbled under her fingertips, so with a heavy sigh, she brought the pouch to her lips. "Thira?" Ori murmured, watching through glazed eyes as she swallowed and dropped the pouch.
"I'm here, Ori," she whispered, wrapping her hand back around the handle of her sword. A pang shot through her as she remembered the Dwarven king who had forged it with his own hands for her. She did not know how long it took before the scribe finally wheezed his last breath, but she knew her own was not far off. So she looked up at the white light one last time and closed her eyes, remembering all the kings she had served and kingdoms she had taken names in. But this would be her last. And she had failed to keep the promise that had spanned life times and the turning of an age.
"Forgive me, Ada."