Between a bear and a dark place

Chapter 34

If someone were to come and chop off his right arm with a very blunt knife Kili doubted he would notice. He doubted he would notice anything beside the indescribable pain that refused to abate.

This is what it would feel like to be consumed in dragon fire, the youth thought. Perhaps if the pain ever stopped he could ask his uncle or mother, or perhaps the torturous flames would continue on for all eternity. Like the fires that burned in the forges of Erebor and then on the mountainside when the dragon came.

The young dwarf grasped at the fragments of stories he remembered being told about the mighty city beneath the mountain before its fall. Half there chambers of gold appeared before his eyes before flickering away into darkness and a large blacker than black shadow that swum around in his head.

Kili clenched his fists unknowingly, his right hand releasing when the action only served to bring the fading pain back. Heaving out a breath, the brunette imaged he was the dragon breathing a great gush of air to quench the fire. Only he was no dragon and the fire was not put out.

If Kili could have wailed in despair he would have.

I am a dragon, he forced himself to think. A dragon. I am a dragon with scales for armor and knives for teeth. I am a dragon that breaths fire, not burns from it. I am a dragon and I cannot feel the pain.

Lies. That is what they were, but if the young dwarf could just delude himself into thinking he were something he were not then just maybe he could bear the pain a little longer. Or maybe it would just end suddenly and without warning.

Kili hefted out another breath, deflating his chest once more. Gold appeared in his mind once again and the injured brunette found himself craving it more than anything. He wanted his brother, he wanted the comfort and reassurance that the blonde dwarf would provide, but most of all he just wanted to know that Fili was there by his side like he always was when Kili needed him.

Fili was not there however, but someone else was. Someone who could provide the same reassurance and comfort to the young dwarf. Someone who was strong and stern and loving all at the same time.

A dragon rumbled above Kili, a smooth and deep voice manipulating words into a song that was neither cheery nor filled with sorrow or regret.

"Mahal's halls are calling, day is newly dawning,

The fires on the mountainside burn bright.

Help was not given, the attack was lust driven,

O to be a dragon on that night.

When carnage was wrought escape was sought,

In the end two cities destroyed.

No more gold to mine, no more blessed time,

Only mistakes to avoid.

Here comes the dragon, mighty in his song,

His roar shook a mountain and made two cities fall,

And on this sorry morning we can only look on,

And pray to the gods that is all."

Kili allowed the low echoing of the words to wash over him, their meaning almost lost on his mind, yet the emotion behind them more than clear to the injured dwarf. The words were not just for him however. The young brunette could sense the tune being directed towards another presence just beyond his awareness, a softer and gentler presence. A warmly familiar one.

The second presence was working on his arm with shadowy touches, barely there at all. Small sparks of pain the intruding fingers set off, but they were caught before they could spread by a cooling weight that was booth smooth and wet against his much abused skin.

The singing continued as the weight was forced closer to his arm , a more feminine voice joining in with the dragon's continued roar.

"Here comes the dragon, mighty in his song,

His roar shook a mountain and made two cities fall,

And on this sorry morning we can only look on,

And pray to the gods that is all."

Kili found himself singing along to the same tune involuntarily in his head, an image of him and his brother sitting on a floor in the colder months of the year staring up in awe of their uncle before them. These were replaced by even older and vaguer memories, ones of a faded face and twinkling brown eyes above a soft blonde beard from which lips moved within.

A strange and deep sense of longing filled Kili at the memory. He let out a small keen, almost as though he were a dog whining for its master to return home. There was a hole now inside of him separate to the closed and covered gashes on his torso and arms, a hole that was dusty and ragged, only half there as if he were not sure what he was missing or even if he was missing anything at all. The young dwarf whined again only to have a hand brush lightly against his cheek.

"Here comes the dragon, mighty in his song…"

Kili gritted his teeth at the hollow ache within him. He felt dampness beneath his eyes, a warm fluid making itself known, but it disappeared as quickly as it had come leaving place to weariness.

His roar shook a mountain and made two cities fall…"

Something was pulling at Kili's chest, prying off what felt like a layer of skin yet did not seem to be fully a part of him. The brunette winced as fresh air hit the still raw and half healed wounds. He jerked his arm in discomfort and hit something, hard. With a short cry the offending appendage burst into flames once again.

"And on this sorry morning we can only look on..."

Jerking his arm back and forth Kili tried desperately to put out the fire he could feel but not see. The movement only made it worse however, yet the young dwarf could not stop. My arm is on fire. My are is on fire! The same five words were the only ones that the brunette was capable of thinking.

Someone or something grabbed his arm, pinning it down to stop it from moving. Faintly Kili realised that the singing had stopped, but he paid the detail no mind as several drops of something both sweet and bitter made its way onto his tongue. The awareness of the young dwarf was dulled and his body slowed even further than what it was. In the back of his mind he could hear the last words of a familiar song as his arm was reduced to a throbbing mass.

"And pray to the gods that is all."

The pain abated and Kili slept.


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