Chapter 15: To Cook a Dwarf
AN: I pray that you all listen to the Yackety Sax theme during this chapter; thank me later!
To Cook a Dwarf
My train of thought is shattered as Fili bursts into the clearing, hair adrift and blithering wildly about some danger in the forest; the entire company stands on cue, ears pricked as Fili hisses,
Before I know it the group of us are racing through the thickets of the trees, all with weapons drawn including myself, by chance having still had Bofur's hunting knife from our stew-making escapade. The idea of trolls has barely had time to register in my head; as in under-the-bridge, gobble-up-your-Billy-Goat's type of Troll? The type of Troll who hangs out on 4-Chan, making distasteful jokes and trying to convince the general population of the internet that they believe absurd and offensive things for attention?
No, not that type.
The bone-crunching, galumphing, ten-foot terrifying type.
I stare up at the huge grey creatures as we crouch low in the bushes; in the distance I notice Kili, himself bent low behind a rock.
"Stay hidden," Fili says to me, priming his weapons.
"Aye," Gloin adds in a husky drawl, trying to keep his voice in as low a whisper as possible, "the battlefield is no place for a lady."
"I can't just sit here while the rest of you go out there!"
"Shh! You cannot come out, either; you have no weapon."
"Look, I've got this knife-"
"That is for killing rabbits," Fili dismisses, "these are trolls. You have no training."
"But I want to help, surely I can do something-!"
"You will listen to my nephew and do as you are told," Thorin barks in his sullen voice, "you were not brought along to argue. You will stay hidden until we have dealt with the troll menace."
"Fine," I say stubbornly. "I'll just stay here and be completely and utterly useless."
I can practically feel Thorin's thoughts bouncing around within my own skull; no change there, then.
Kili jumps out suddenly, flinging himself before the monstrous creatures and attacking the huge feet of the one nearest to him.
"Drop him!" he yells up at the beasts with a spin of his sword. Oh, wow. That was rather attractive.
...Wait a second, drop who...?
It is then that I realize that Bilbo is suspended from the fingers of one of the creatures, hung upside-down by his large hairy feet. One of the trolls leans closer to the battle-ready Dwarf.
"I said," Kili begins with another swing of his sword, heaving a breath and scowling a grin, "drop him."
Suddenly Thorin leads his cavalry with a battle cry of "Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!", and the platoon of Dwarves charge forwards; I stare at their backs a moment before squeezing the knife in my fist and charging after them with a battle cry like I'm Maximus Meridius incarnate, flinging myself into the throw of battle; Fili catches sight of me immediately and practically hurls me back into the bushes, receiving a kick to his side by one of the Trolls as punishment for his moment's lapse. I find my feet again and realise that maybe they were right; well, of course they were. I'm no fighter, but I can't just sit back and do nothing... I won't.
That is when I catch sight of Bilbo. I run along the thickets of the forest edge and spring myself beside the Hobbit; he battles fruitlessly with ropes which have been bound around a group of four ponies, one of whom I recognise to be Thorin's. I pull the knife and begin sawing them free, one eye on the battle as the Dwarves stab and roar and cry out, being thrown about left and right in their attempt to slaughter the bumbling beasts. I watch as Ori fires a stone into the eye of one of the creatures, who proceeds to pick him up by his head as he runs out of harm's way; Thorin uses Dwalin's broad back as a stepping stone to gain leverage and jumps at the beast with a yell, slashing a thick red gash at the creature's arm with his sword. Dori actually rams his blade up the backside of the Troll who threw his younger brother, and the beast falls to the floor with a squeal before Dwalin knocks his teeth out of his rancid skull with a metal mallet.
"They're loose!" Bilbo says to me, and we haul open the tiny fence gate and release Myrtle, Minty, Daisy and Bungle back into the wild of the forest; I turn back to the others to see one of the Trolls with its huge first wrapped around Bofur's waist, the Dwarf's hands fumbling for his dropped sword as the Troll squeezes the life out of him. Almost instinctively I charge at the creature, stabbing through the thick nail of its thumb with the hunting knife; the beast shrieks in pain and releases Bofur, batting me away with the palm of its hand. I jolt, still clinging to the blade which is now lodged in the nail of the beast, and it tries to shake me loose- realising I'll probably be safer getting the hell out of his way rather than clinging onto the knife like a mosquito to flushed flesh, I release my grip on the blade and go flying through the air. For a moment it's all rather serene- that is, of course, until I make contact with something solid and roaring which just happens to be the Dwarven King. Thorin hauls me to my feet and, just as Fili did, throws me back towards the forest. It appears that the battle has reached a stalemate. All the Dwarves are gathered together, silent and heaving exhausted breaths, none of them daring to make a move. I follow the direction of Thorin's eyes and see why.
"Bilbo!" Kili yells, trying to run forwards, but his uncle stops him.
"Lay down your arms!" one of the Trolls growls, holding Bilbo outstretched like Prometheus waiting for Ethon to come down and tear out his liver. "Or we'll rip his off!"
Reluctantly Thorin obliges, which sets off a chain reaction; Kili throws him a wild disbelieving look accompanied by a total of four horrified double-takes, unable to understand why his uncle is surrendering so quickly, but stabs his sword into the soil all the same. I do a mental head-count and see that everyone is present and alive... for now, at least.
"Get the sacks!" the most sentient of the Trolls yammers, "stick them in the sacks! Come on! Get up!"
I don't like the sound of sacks; despite our protests and a series of running in circles to escape the Troll's hands, eventually all of us are caught and bagged up like sausages at the meat market.
"Put some on the spit to roast," one of the trolls suggests; the huge hand carrying me seems to hover between the open fire and the slowly growing pile of Dwarves who are to be cooked later, Thorin and Kili included. Fili lies at the bottom of the pile, face-down in the mud and mumbling loudly in Dwarvish.
Please not the spit roast, please not the spit roast...
By some miracle my prayers are answered, and I am roughly thrown into the pile with Kili and the others. I end up with my feet by Thorin's face and my head by Kili's feet, trying my best to wriggle out of Thorin's way; he already dislikes me enough without having to deal with a face full of foot to add to his disdain. By some horrid, squalid movement, the vile trolls begin to sing... if their grunts and belches can even be classed as singing. I lie still, face a frozen grimace as I listen to their tune.
'Fifteen birds in five fir trees,
their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze!
But, funny little birds, they had no wings!
Oh, what shall we do with the funny little things?
Roast 'em alive, or stew them in a pot;
fry them, boil them and eat them hot?
Burn, burn tree and fern!
Shrivel and scorch! A fizzling torch
To light the night for our delight,
Bake and toast 'em, fry and roast 'em
till beards blaze, and eyes glaze;
till hair smells and skins crack,
fat melts, and bones black
in cinders lie,
beneath the sky!
So dwarves shall die,
and light the night for our delight!'
"Alright, you fat gonks!" I yell, "it's one thing threatening to roast us all alive, but I'll be damned if I'm going to listen to you sing and dance about it!"
"Oh!" Bofur yelps from the spit roast which is slowly turning now, his face aflame with sweat and rouge, "that's hot, that's hot, that's hot-!"
"Let us down, you great oafs!" Nori growls, "eat someone your own blinkin' size!"
"We are the descendants of the line of Durin the Deathless!" Dwalin roars from the turntable, fire in his eyes, "you cannot cook the descendants of Durin the Deathless-!"
"W-well, actually Dori, Nori and I aren't of the great Durin's bloodline-"
"Oh, shut up, Ori!"
"He's right- don't bother with cooking them," the skinniest of the Trolls proclaims, "let's just sit on them and squash them into jelly."
"No!" another troll who seems to fancy himself quite the Heston Blumenthal proclaims, "they should be sautéed and grilled with a sprinkle of sage!"
"...That does sound quite nice."
"Never mind the seasoning," the most competent beast growls, "we ain't got all night. The dawn ain't far away. Let's get a move on; I don't fancy being turned to stone."
"Wait!" Bilbo cries, struggling to his feet within the bag and jumping before the Trolls, "you are making a terrible mistake!"
"You can't reason with them!" Dori yells, "they're half-wits!"
"'Half-wits?!'" Bofur cries, the ends of his plaits singing in the flames, "then what does that make us?!"
"I... I meant with the seasoning," Bilbo tries desperately. The group of us look to him in horror.
"What about the seasoning?" One of the trolls growls; Bilbo shuffles forwards a little in the bag, frowning.
"Well, have you smelt them? You're gonna need something stronger than sage before you plate this lot up-"
The entire assembly of Dwarves and myself burst into a cascade of yells; for a few moments I eye the Hobbit carefully, roaring my own protests, before realizing he may just be trying to bide us all a little time. Don't screw this up, Hobbit.
"Shut up!" a troll yells to the group of us writhing on the floor, "let the Flurgaburbur-Hobbit talk. What do you know about cooking Dwarf?"
"Well... uh... the secret to cooking Dwarf is..."
"Yes?! Come on, tell us the secret!"
"It's, uh... to... uh... "
"Traitor!" Gloin yells, "he's trying to save his own skin!"
Oh, Bilbo Baggins, don't you dare-
"...To skin them first!"
"Oh, well done, Big-Foot!" I cry in sarcastic outrage, wriggling within the bag desperately, "someone hand that Hobbit a Nobel prize!"
"What?!" Ori yammers, quaking on the spit-roast, "skin us?! What do you want to skin us for, what have we ever done to you?!"
"Is this about your Mother's pottery? It is, isn't it?!"
"We should have known not to trust the Wizard! Curse you and all your kin!"
"I'll skin you, you little hairy-footed bastard! I won't forget this, Hobbit!" Dwalin roars, "I won't forget it!"
"What a load of rubbish!" the thinnest of the vile Trolls growls, "I've eaten plenty with their skins on. Scoff 'em, I say, boots and all. Nothing wrong with a bit of raw Dwarf... nice and crunchy."
"You can't eat Al-dente Dwarf!" I try, "it's not good for the... uh... digestive tract!"
"Shut up, you!"
A giant hand comes down upon us, and the Troll takes hold of Bombur and purses him dangling above his lips.
"Quite the meaty morsel, this one is..."
His second hand comes down and hovers over Kili then Balin; I kick out at its thumb angrily, yelling along with the others, and the hand picks me up instead.
Oh, just wonderful.
I fly through the air, screaming the whole time, to hang upside-down above the stinking hole in the Troll's face. I look down hopelessly at the roaring Dwarves below, all of whom are protesting against mine and Bombur's predicament- all but Thorin, who looks as though my being consumed by three salivating Trolls would serve only as a humongous relief.
"Put me down, you ugly bastard!" I shriek, refusing to move encase I should be loosened and fall into his gaping mouth, "oh God, help!"
"I haven't tasted girl in weeks," the Troll growls to his partners, "what a treat! And I've never had female Dwarf before, haven't seen one leave the mountains-"
"I'm not a Dwarf!" I shriek, "do I look like a Dwarf to you-!?"
"The meat is far softer on females," the Troll tells his companions as I hurl insults at it, "more tender... perhaps we could tenderize it even further! Oh, what a treat! Bert, pass me a rock, a good blunt one!"
"I'll tenderize you in a minute, you ugly git!" Kili roars at the creature, "leave her alone!"
"Put the her down, you vile creature!" Fili mumbles into the dirt, notfully able to see what's going on, "put them both down, you great half-wits!"
"Not that one!" Bilbo yells as the troll slams me to the ground and takes hold of a rock, ready to bash my head in and tenderize me to perfection, "she's... uh... infected."
"You what?!" Kili yells, "what are you on about, you horrible little-!"
"She's got worms!" Bilbo proclaims over the sound of Kili's ranting, "in her... tubes? ...Yes. In her tubes. In- in fact, they all have, they are all infested with parasites. It's a terrible, terrible business; I wouldn't risk it, I really wouldn't."
Disgusted, the troll throws Bombur to the ground beside me and kicks us both back into the pile of Dwarves. I yell in pain, falling half-on top of Fili with a heavy thud.
"Parasites?!" Kili cries, affronted, face muffled into the back of my hair; I wiggle free and fall into the welt between he and Thorin. Oakenshield stares down at me with blank revulsion in his eyes. "Did he say "parasites"?!"
Oin shakes his head at the Hobbit. "What are you talking about, Laddie?!"
"We don't have parasites!" Kili yells angrily, thrashing left and right in his burlap sack, "you have parasites-!"
"Shut your face!" I hiss, and Thorin sends a sharp kick at his nephew; Kili immediately turns to his uncle's alert, and Thorin gives him a look which shows him the information he needs. Realisation sweeps through the rest of the Dwarven party, and suddenly they can find no end to elaborating on the majesty and horror of their imaginary inhabitants.
"I've got parasites as big as my arm!"
"Well," Gloin roars, "I've got nits, to boot!"
"I've got parasites, and so has my brother, too!" Fili mumbles, as Bofur elaborates on the size of his own infestations from the spit-roast, blowing the ends of his moustache braids as they almost catch in the flame.
"I've got huge parasites!" Kili cries out desperately, "mine are the biggest parasites-!"
"And so are mine!" I intrude. "We're practically flooded!"
"Yes, each and every one of us is riddled!"
"Yes, we are, very badly!"
"And very gladly!"
"What would you have us do, then?" one of the Trolls demands of Bilbo, "let them all go?! You think I don't know what you're up to?! This little ferret is taking us for fools!"
Busted, I think; now we're all going to die. Well, it was good whilst it lasted- goodbye, cruel world. Alas, fair Yorick, I knew he well-
And then, just as the end is upon us, our salvation arrives in the form of an old man in a dress with a magical stick and a funny hat.
"The dawn will take you all!"
God above, I love Wizards.
There is a huge crackling sound as the Wizard strikes the rock he stands upon with his staff; it splits, sending a cascade of the first rays of the day's sunlight over the clearing. The Trolls scream and squirm and, right before our eyes, splinter and crackle into lifeless cold stone, beginning in the centre of their chests and spreading out to their fat fingertips. There is cheering, and a lot of it; Gandalf comes down to meet us and begins cutting the band of us free. Dumbledore, eat your heart out.
"Gandalf! That is lucky!" I sing with relief, finding my way to my feet and watching him with fond eyes as he helps the Dwarves down from above the fire, "oh, you brilliant old Wizard; I could kiss you, I really could!"
"Wouldn't you rather kiss me instead?" Fili jests, slicing open the back of the sack I'm tied in and helping me to shrug it off; I spin around and fling my arms around his neck with relief, almost squeezing the life out of him. He laughs a little and pats my back uncomfortably, the beads of his moustache tickling my ear.
"I could kiss you all!" I practically shriek, "you and Bombur and Bofur and Bifur and Dori and Nori and- oh, Ori, you beautiful little bearded man!"
I take hold of Ori by his cheeks and kiss his forehead sharply through his long bowl-cut bangs before holding him at arm's length and grinning up at his face; he blushes with a shy smile, clearly embarrassed. I tap him on his head and continue,
"And Gloin and Oin, and even you, Thorin, you miserable old sock!"
I spin around in my joy to find Kili stood there, flushed and filthy, his hair disheveled and his dark eyes gleaming with the relief of having survived the night's perils.
"...Not me, then?"
I feel all the blood drain from my face and then bloom back into my cheeks with full force. Oh, you beautiful little man, if only I wasn't so terribly prudish and awkward and that uncle of yours wasn't glaring at me from over your shoulder like a hawk. You'd need a new pair of lips by the time I was finished with you.
I don't tell him this, of course. Instead I smile as shyly as Ori had, staring at Kili like a fool, until Bofur hooks an arm around my shoulders (ever the savior) and begins to lead me out towards the forest with the aim of collecting up the run away ponies, who have bolted a little further out and are now chewing on more of the wild garlic stems.
"I told you it was lucky," Bofur grins, gesturing to the bulbs, "can't beat a little garlic."
I grin. "Or maybe it's just the luck of the Irish... but then again, you wouldn't be... oh, never mind. All hail the mighty garlic."
"Aren't we going to have a sleep?" I ask rather sadly as Bofur prepares one of the ponies for riding, "we've been awake all night."
"No rest for the wicked," Bofur says in his familiar cheer, brushing his pony down before pulling himself into the saddle. "Come in, Lass. You can ride with me today."
I find myself wishing I had managed to get some sleep earlier as I struggle up onto the equine, stumbling a total of three times before finally managing it; I grip Bofur's waist and he clicks his tongue thrice, leading the pony to turn on its tail and head back towards camp. What a night.
AN: At the risk of sounding like a drivelling, blithering idiot, I cannot believe that I've been writing this for two weeks and it already has over 200 reviews. I just- potato. Seriously... I can't. The fact that people actually have the same retarded sense of humor as me is just glorious. I hope I can continue to make you laugh for many, many moons more.
I will now forever refer to Thorin as the 'old sock'.
And one morething... did you play the Yackety Sax music whilst you read it? Because if not...