***woohoo 80+ reviews! Oh happy day! :) so, yes I realize that last cliffhanger was really mean.. And I'm sorry for that but hopefully it'll just make this chapter even better ! Enjoy :)***
The pain I felt in my heart seemed to numb the pain in my leg. Seeing the mighty king under the mountain pinned helplessly against the wall had made an impact on me. Which is why I knew I had no choice. In the end, it was up to me to save myself, and decidedly him as well.
I bit back the pain and threw myself at my attacker, knowing that the irrationality of the move would give me the upper hand. We flew straight towards the edge -and then over it into the icy, rushing waters.
Thorin's bellowing voice filled my ears and it was the last thing I heard before the water surrounded me in its deadly embrace.
Our bodies plummeted down and hit the water hard, the current immediately pulling us away until Thorin receded into the distance.
Now was a perfect time to reflect on the fact that I couldn't swim.
Within seconds I dropped under the surface , reaching out to grab onto anything. But there was nothing there. I squinted as my eyes open and could roughly make out a dark shadow thrashing around in the water. Vorin. I unwillingly let out a breath of air in a makeshift scream. The bubbles overwhelmed my vision and I could see him drawing nearer once they dissipated. If the approaching falls didn't kill me, he certainly would.
I struggled in vain. That look that she had given me before it happened replayed in my mind. No. That would not be the last time I would see her. Even if i did have difficulty convincing myself of it.
I hadn't been aware of the series of curses that had escaped my mouth until a shuffling overhead interrupted me.
I whipped my head up towards the cliff's edge to find the source.
Fili knelt down, a small smirk playing at his lips. "Oh no, please continue Uncle I'm quite curious as to where you want him to put that axe of his..."
I rolled my eyes half heartedly. "Just come down and help me!"
He jumped down with ease and proceeded to take his time in removing the weapons that had restricted me to the wall.
"For Durin's sake boy! Make haste!" I growled angrily. Fili shot me a look of surprise at being addressed as 'boy' though once he saw my expression he quickened his task.
Eventually, I was able to loosen my arms and brushed my nephew aside as I wriggled free from my overcoat. I would not be needing it anyway.
"Thorin what are yo-" I stopped him short as I shoved my belt including the sheath into his arms.
"Make yourself useful..." I grumbled. The amount of time this was taking me was making me irritably uneasy. I kicked off my large, steel toe boots and rushed forward. I had no plan - all I could think of was saving her, my Queen.
That's when I heard the second scream that day. This time it was a male voice; the sound as one fell over the edge of the waterfall.
"No." I breathed. My eyes erratically searched the distance in vain. "NO!" I felt Fili's hand on my chest as he held me back.
"Uncle, don't. It's too late." I lifted my eyes to meet his. I tried to understand what he was saying. I had to remind myself that it was not his fault for pointing out what I couldn't bear to face.
"There's no way she could've swam to safety with that leg. She's gone."
At those words I latched on to Fili's shoulder and used my iron grip to keep myself upright. It was not possible. How could a light like she, who's spirit shone brighter than the Arkenstone itself, be extinguished that simply?
I tensed even more. "We must go down there."
"I need to see her. I need to know if she's really..." I couldn't stomach that thought. I had lost many a dwarf in battle before and felt overwhelming grief at the loss of my kin - but it seemed trivial compared to this. I was past being angry as I was when I thought she had left - for death would take her beyond my reach indefinitely.
I shut my eyes then and breathed slowly. The rushing of the water was the only audible sound. It should have been a calming sound for me, but every noise it made amplified my pain as I imagined what she was thinking as her last living memory consisted of a liquid prison.
She was really gone.
"THORIN!" I was jolted from my thoughtful reflection. I looked around incredulously. Fili shared the same expression. I wasn't the only one that had heard the cry at least.
"UNCLE! FILI!" We snapped our attention to the distance ahead. I could just barely make out the figure of Kili, armed with his bow.
I had neither the energy nor the patience to deal with my sister-son and whatever trivial problem he felt needed my attention. Hadn't he noticed what had just occurred? Fili went to investigate on my behalf and I watched his blonde locks moving away with lifeless eyes. Perhaps it was time now to return, and to face the repercussions...
"Thorin! It's her!" I turned away, ignoring my nephews senseless remarks. I assumed they were just visualizing the bottom of the deadly drop, and they were seeing her lifeless body drift up on shore.
The sound of two arrows soaring through the air caught my attention. The first, flew past my head causing my hair to harshly attack my face. I whipped my head around just in time to see Kili loosing another arrow whose target lay in the opening of the falls.
"Kili! By my beard, you shoot another arrow and ..."
Thats when I realized what they were trying to tell me. Wordlessly, the brothers pointed in the general direction and without a hesitation I dove into the rushing water.
I surfaced moments later and paused to wipe my hair back, the long wavy tresses weighing heavily against my shoulders. I made my way down the channel, my eyes constantly searching. Before long I could hear the rushing of the falling water even louder and realized that it would be I tumbling over the edge before long if I did not get to a safer spot.
Using the last strength in my arms I managed to move across the current and I grasped precariously on the side of a jagged rock. Where was she?! Remembering the second arrow I glanced across to the other side and noticed the tiniest hint of yellow feathers on the end of an arrow.
There she was. Hanging more precariously than I. I thanked Mahal above for Kili's quick thinking and realized that I may have been to harsh towards them. For as I moved closer to my target I could see that the arrow has found its mark in the large, ripped sleeve of her nightdress.
Without thinking a plunged back under the water and swam with the current towards Leena. My eyes would look upon her at least one more time.
But I miscalculated the speed at which I was travelling. For when I approached her precarious situation I crashed with all my weight into her floating body and ended up grasping onto her to avoid meeting my doom as well.
She was just barely conscious, and though Kili's arrow kept her above the water the white spray came shooting in waves over her.
I grunted in frustration as I tried to find a place to steady myself, but I searched in vain. Soon enough I heard the dreaded ripping noise as the fabric began to give way under the extra strain.
Suddenly I felt a sharp object connect with my ribs. Next, a pair of hands fisting in my dark, wet mane yanking and thrashing about.
"Leena!" I cried through the incessant pain. Even in a half-drowned state she had the fight left in her.
Upon hearing my voice her body lost it's tension and her hands fell from my hair. I sighed in relief.
The moment was not enjoyed for long as the final snap of the cloth resonated definitely. I could feel us slipping backwards and I dared to look back at the terrible base of the falls.
I threw what strength I was composed of then into jumping forward and securing one hand around the arrow. When I was satisfied with my hold on it I turned to look at her. Her eyelids were beginning to flutter again. Her lips parted then and I strained to hear what she said next,
"I trust you."
The gravity of that statement was not lost on me and I kissed her forehead desperately. She and I both knew of what was to come next.
We were just at the edge of the falls, and it was too late to try to seek refuge on land - there was only one way out - and that was down.
I remembered the male scream that I had heard what felt like years ago. He would not have survived this on his own. But could we, together? I looked at her unconscious face one last time and gently let go of the arrow...
*****. *****. *****
"Thorin!" I heard a familiar voice calling in the distance. I opened my eyes carefully and was relieved to see Fili and Kili kneeling over me, looks of deep concern plastered on their faces. "Are you hurt?" They demanded. I had no idea. Slowly, I moved my upper body and ended in an upright sitting position without too much hindrance.
"Uncle, that was incredible! How did you survive that?!" Kili questioned excitedly.
I shook my head silently. The reasons were unknown to me - I could hardly believe it myself. I turned, expecting Leena to be sitting there beside me.
"Where is she?!" I asked in a panic. Surely, after all that I had not let go of her!
"She's fine!" Fili said reassuringly. "Raessa is with her now." I gazed expectantly. As if he knew my thoughts Fili spoke up again. "She requested not to be disturbed."
I looked in the direction that Fili motioned and watched with curiosity as the two females sat crossed legged facing each other, deep in conversation.
"But you must." I insisted, trying to keep that older sister persona.
"Don't you see? It's the only way. It will guarantee your safety." I tried to sound convincing.
"But Leena I am safe now! Lord Vorin is dead! You watched as he plummeted over those falls. He can no longer harm me."
"That is where you are wrong, sister. How I wish it could be that simple! But it won't end with him. Our step-father will send other ones just like Vorin - perhaps worse."
I paused to let those words sink in. The expression began to drain from her face.
"You have to do this for me, if not for yourself. I cannot sit back and watch you be condemned to any other fate."
"And what of you?" she returned.
I raised my eyebrows. "Me? It does not trouble me, Raessa. It is better off this way - trust me."
"Well I think you're making a big mistake." She retorted. I laughed quietly.
"So you'll do this, for my piece of mind at least?" I forced a smile. She sighed and leaned over, wrapping me in her warm - and dry embrace.
"Yes. I will take your place and marry Thorin instead."
*****. *****. ******
I waited patiently outside the door. It had been three days since the incident and three days since I had pitched the idea to my sister. Now I waited for the results on pitching it to my fiancée.
To say that our relationship had changed since that day would've been an understatement. Not only was he civil and respectful to me, but he was protective and in some ways kind.
This new attitude threw me off a little. I was somewhat mobile (for apparently water has remarkable healing effects) but that didn't seem to matter. Everywhere I went he was with me, as if an attacker would manifest from the woodwork. During the day he would sit in our room and either smoke or read as I rested, always keeping a watchful eye. I tried asking him if he hadn't better things to do and regretted it instantly when he agreed that he did and proceed to call his best craftsmen to build a stronger lock for the bedroom door.
From dinner until bed I was plagued by this shadow. We ate together, walked together and fell asleep together, as if we actually were married.
The latter event didn't got over so well on the first night.
*. *. *
I had assumed after the incident that I would get the large, comfy bed as I was still injured. It would only make sense then that Thorin would take the little closet as a resting place. But he had another idea in mind.
I had just changed into my nightclothes (as I refused to look at another nightgown for as long as I lived) and carefully manoeuvred under the covers so as to cause the minimal amount of pain. I sat there for a while, replaying the day's events in my mind wondering how exactly I managed to come out alive. Just as I felt sleep creeping up, Thorin came bursting through the small door.
"I cannot do this." He exclaimed as he made his way towards the bed. His hair was quite disheveled and he wore a tired, but aggravated expression.
"I told you that room was too sma- wait. what are you doing?!" i cried as I watched him throw the covers over on the empty side and climb in with his sword clasped in his hand.
He proceed to lay it down between us, right in the middle of the bed.
"What's the matter?" He questioned. His brow furrowing in confusion.
I sat there with wide eyes trying to find the words.
"You expect me. To sleep. With a sword in my bed." I stated, trying to figure out if this was a joke.
"Yes. A precaution."
"A precaution." repeated. "This is madness! What are you protecting me from?!"
"After this...incident...I have come to realize that it is far too easy for someone to take my Queen from me."
I rolled my eyes and sighed. Not this again.
"Well it certainly isn't anymore is it?! I can't breathe! You're smothering me! You've got all the metal in Erebor holding that door closed, and you keep me so isolated its as if I have been kidnapped!" I cried, loosing my temper with each passing moment. "Why are you doing this?" I demanded.
He looked at it, reconsidering his actions. "I can protect you."
I paused and thought about that statement. I realized then that he deeply regretted leaving me alone and blamed himself for the kidnapping. It was as if he felt he had to prove himself to me.
"I know that Thorin, but it kind of defeats the purpose if I slice myself open in my sleep. I am not having that thing in my bed."
He looked a little conflicted but eventually grabbed it and placed it within arms reach on the floor.
"Good. Now if you would only lay off a bit on the stalking..."
Apparently I went too far with that one. Suddenly he was sitting up at his full height glaring at me. "Maybe if you weren't so helpless and easy to kidnap I would consider it."
I gasped and glared right back at him. He was lucky that sword was currently out of my reach.
*. *. *
So here I was, waiting for Thorin's answer as my sister talked to him behind closed doors.
I considered Raessa's question that day and wondered if maybe she was really asking how I was about letting Thorin go. Of that I wasn't sure.
I got up from my chair when I heard the door creak open. Carefully, my sister stepped out and closed the door behind her.
"So?" I asked impatiently.
"He has agreed. We will start making the arrangements now."
****k so Im already in the midst of planning the wedding and I'm super excited, I can't wait to write the next instalment! Not sure what the dress should look like, any thoughts? Preferences? Hopefully ill post a pic of it once its completed :D****