Arkenstone Heart

Ultimatum

The stone walls flew past me in a blur as I darted down the halls. The only sound that could be heard was my boots as I stomped down the stairs towards the throne room – or hall where the wedding would be taking place. With each passing moment my pace increased as the horrifying notion that I was too late crept up on me.

This was all happening so fast. If I had had the time to even breathe I might have stopped to reflect on my current desperation and utter dependency on the situation but that was a luxury I currently did not possess.

I hurried around the corner and let out a defeated sigh as I was met with a large group of onlookers trying to get a glimpse at the newlyweds. Without a second thought I pushed through the crowd, squeezing in between my fellow dwarves – ignoring the cries and grumbles that I created.

Finally I managed to free myself of the suffocating crowd and burst through into the hall. I had just enough time to collect myself and remain balanced when I looked up at the sight before me.

There, walking arm and arm towards me were the Durin King and Queen of Erebor. The smiles they bestowed upon the crowd quickly fading as their eyes rested upon the lowly figure standing before them.

"Leena?" Raessa asked. The relief that rushed over her face caught me a little off guard. I couldn't help but notice the small glance that the two exchanged before she let go of her husband to rush over to embrace me.

"I thought you couldn't be here though." She said as she hugged me.

I took a chance and glanced up at Thorin before I replied, "I couldn't stand the thought of not being here when I lose you." I said to her. That earned a slight smirk from the king.

"Oh Leena, you haven't lost me yet! We still have the after-party you know." She smiled and took her place beside Thorin and I watched from the sidelines as the couple continued their path out of the great hall. It would seem that I had to face two crushing realities today.

I rejoined my sister in her dressing room shortly after and helped her prepare for the upcoming reception. It would be a more relaxed environment, so I would be allowed to attend. But that also meant that I would be present for the dances, and the royal displays of affection. As kissing was more of a human concept, it was never a part of dwarvish ceremonies, however in the presence of their peers in the informal setting it would most definitely occur. I almost wished I was banned from attending this too.

"Something the matter?" a voice asked, pulling me away from my horror of a daydream.

"What? Oh, nothing. Why?"

"You just seem, distant – or unhappy about something, that's all." She prodded.

"Not at all! Why would I be? You're finally married – and safe, what more could I possibly want?"

I heard an incoherent reply come from her, but I was too distraught to question her any further. She seemed happy enough – and I shouldn't be the one to ruin it for her.

We arrived last at the party as it appeared to have already begun. The hall had been transformed and its new appearance was dazzling. As soon as we stepped into the massive group of people, Fili and Kili both rushed up to greet us.

"I believe congratulations are in order!" Fili exclaimed as he pat Raessa on the shoulder. She laughed and gave her thanks in return. I assumed that Kili did the same, though I was too preoccupied with searching the room for the other Durin to notice.

Eventually the room quieted down enough for people to organize themselves in time for the grand feast that was about to happen. One by one they trickled into their assigned seats and I made my way to the head table where the bride was waiting – with no groom in sight.

"He should be here soon." Fili offered my sister as he pulled a chair out for her and walked around to my side to do the same. He took the place next to mine and Kili sat next to Raessa who was waiting patiently next to the head of the table; where the empty chair of her husband was.

Dinner passed by slowly, and I began to wonder where Thorin had gone off to. I glanced at Raessa who didn't seem the least bit concerned of his whereabouts. The multiple toasts and merry conversations were lost on me as my mind wandered to other places, in search of the man that I loved- that was meant to be sitting near me.

It was when we were nearing the end of dessert that it caught my attention. My eyes flew to the corner of the hall closest to me where I could see a dark figure in the doorway beckoning me to come over. I subtly looked around and realizing that I was the only one in the line of sight I excused myself and quietly made my way over. My hyperactive imagination could only come to the conclusion that it was Thorin standing there, and that he wanted to talk to me one last time before we spent the rest of our lives apart. My mind was racing with words that he would begin with after so long of not speaking that it was too late to react before I felt a bag over my head and a cloth being pressed harshly against my nose and mouth. After that everything went black.

I blinked my eyes open slowly and squinted as I tried to take in my surroundings. I was lying in a bed that was not my own. In a room that was also not my own. I went to sit up quickly but was hit with a horrible dizziness in my head.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Came a voice from within the room. I froze. It was my stepfather. I shot a glance up to see if I was correct. Of course I was – I recognized that sinister sound anywhere.

I remained silent, glaring.

"I thought your little stunt with Lord Vorin was quite...cute. Though it has caused me some inconvenience. It appears that I may have underestimated your attachment to that sister of yours."

"It doesn't matter now. You can't touch her."

"Yes, well it does look like you've managed to outwit me in that regard. But have you given any thought to yourself? What do you think will become of you now that the only dwarf king that could save you has been taken?"

"I don't care. There is nothing that you could do to me that could hurt me in such a way ever again."

He smiled then; expecting me to say something along those lines.

"My dear. Have you ever heard of a thing called the Arkenstone?"

"Yes." I replied, through gritted teeth.

"Well, then you are probably aware that I paid off that little king of yours to take you off my hands, yes? Well fortunately that was not the only one of its kind." He paused to let that sink in. "You see, your father had a collection of them lying around and when he realized that I had the intention to use them to their full worth he had them destroyed – save for two." I could feel my fist clench at the mention of my father.

"So you plan to sell me to another king with this second one?" I questioned. He laughed.

"I would not make the same mistake twice! No, the value of the Arkenstone lies much deeper than the value of gold or silver. Its value lies with you." He stated as he pointed at me.

"Me? What have I got to do with it?"

"When your mother was expecting, your father saved this elderly woman from a house fire in the village. When she heard of your mother's pregnancy she asked to come meet her so she could bless the future child of the man who saved her. Turns out she was an old enchantress who not only blessed the child but showered the couple with precious stones that would provide enhanced skills or qualities within the child."

I interrupted him then. "How do you know all of this? You weren't there until after father passed away!"

"Ah, but I was there; a mere servant in the house I waited and plotted for years on how to get my hands on one of those. And here we are today."

"So what do you want from me? I have held that stone before and nothing has happened."

"I want the only thing that you can give me: yourself." My eyes went wide in horror.

"No, I won't."

"See, I'm not giving you a choice. Your precious sister may be beyond my reach of marrying her off now that she is queen, but make no mistake that I could easily dispose of either of them if you do not cooperate."

The ultimatum that he presented was too great to take a chance with. If he could get into the kingdom and the reception so easily, there was no doubt in my mind that he would be able to do it again.

With that he exited the room and I was left once again, alone and confused and utterly helpless. My hatred for the Arkenstone grew even more then. What hurt me the most was the fact that Thorin wouldn't be there to save me – not this time.

***GASP ! how will she make it out of this situation? Where was Thorin? reviews are appreciated! :D***

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