Between a bear and a dark place

Chapter 6

"Where have you been?" Bombur asked, his voice coloured with more than just worry and concern.

"Before you condemn me brother," Bofur answered, scraping his boots against the mat on the floor before moving inside the house, "You should hear what I have to say."

"I take it you have a story then," Bombur replied, arms crossed over his chest, the round dwarf clearly not happy with his brother.

It was to Bombur's shock that the dwarf in front of him did not respond with a cheery grin and the beginnings of a tale that stood taller than it did true. Instead the toymaker leaned against the wall, curling in on himself as he sighed despondently.

"Dwalin and Kili returned from their hunting trip on the yesterday just as it was beginning to grow dark," Bofur said in a voice that betrayed his tiredness and despondent state of mind, "There was an accident…"

"What happened?" Bombur inquired, his eyebrows now furrowing out of concern and not anger. Bifur appeared like a shadow behind the round dwarf, his own face impassive as he listened to what his cousin had to say.

"All Dwalin said was that Kili had been attacked," Bofur informed the two dwarves, clearly not wanting to go on.

"By what?" Bombur gasped. His brother hesitated for a long moment before finally gathering himself to answer the question.

"A bear," Bofur elaborated, eyes closing at the memory of the state Dwalin had brought the young lad in, "He lost a lot of blood, a fever has set upon him and he refuses to wake. He may not survive to see the end of this day let alone the return of his brother and mother."

The toymaker was a cheery dwarf by nature and could be accurately described as someone who looked on the bright side of everything. It took a lot to upset him and even more to send the brown eyed dwarf into a state of despair much like the one he was experiencing now, and yet now here he was, unable to see an end to the pitch black tunnel that Bofur had suddenly found himself in.

Bofur knew that this side of him disturbed his brother greatly, yet he could not help it. If life was as cruel to everyone as it was to Kili, a boy who had far from lived his life and had a sunny disposition that Bofur had instantly fell for then what was to say he or Bombur or Bifur wouldn't be next?

"It surely can't be as bad as you are making it put," Bombur put in, his voice hesitant, yet Bofur knew he was not blowing the situation out of proportion.

"Kili vusut gagin," Bifur said in his gruff voice as he moved to pat Bofur on the shoulder, "Zu lu' tarukh achùshum. Amagur lu' zatamarad Kili. Zu tarukh mahdijnû hi."

"You're right," Bofur responded, drawing in a shuddering breath as he regained control of his overflowing emotions, "He still lives. There is still hope while he still lives."

"You should eat something," Bombur broke in, disappearing into the kitchen.

Bofur felt his stomach growl at the thought of food. The toymaker realised he had not eaten since noon the day before, having been travelling back to his house to have dinner. It was just past midday now meaning he had gone a full day without food.

"I'm starving," the toymaker said out loud to the air around him, his cousin smiling at the statement as he guided Bofur into the kitchen after Bombur.

"Then sit, brother, and eat," Bombur called from where he stood. Bofur grinned at him.

"Should I be surprised you have not devoured everything in the pantry yet?"

"I get enough at home," Bombur replied stiffly, "And besides, I doubt you have eaten in a while."

Bofur's stomach rumbled again, reminding the toymaker of his skipped meals. His brother was a good cook when he didn't eat all the food and even now Bofur's mouth was watering in the anticipation of the stew he could already smell simmering away though Bombur had barely begun conjuring his magic upon the food.

"So I take it that wife of yours does not deprive you," Bofur stated. Bombur laughed a little in good nature.

"No, she likes a dwarf with a bit of flesh to him," he said fondly, "Though she is getting rather round herself."

"How long?"

"Still several months yet," Bombur informed his sibling proudly, "Though two wild boys are enough and Azania is hoping for a girl this time around."

"Zu nathith uzarak amad, zu mahzirikh khi balil zu inùdôy," Bifur commented. Bofur grinned.

"Then he had better wish that she would be more like her father," the toymaker said. Bombur did not comment, rather listened as his kinsmen talked.

For a while Bofur's mind was taken off the all too recent events he had found himself a part of. The steaming bowl that his brother eventually placed in front of him had the toymaker salivating at the mouth, and not a moment after he had been given a spoon did Bofur heartily dig in. Once he finished, however, and Bifur and Bombur both sat contently filled beside him, Bofur could not help but allow his mind to stray back to Kili.

Sighing despondently, the toymaker rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands.

"Mahal forbid that Kili takes a further turn for the worse," he said to no one in particular.

"And how might he take a…further turn for the worse, as you put it?" Bombur asked, his voice empty of most emotion. Bofur snorted with no amusement behind the sound.

"Infection for starters," he began, "Those are some pretty big wounds he is supporting and if even one of them were to fester it would more than likely not end well."

"But infection can be avoided if you are careful," Bombur said calmly. Bofur, however, was not yet done.

"He could turn out to have an internal injury which Oin missed," the toymaker stated, "And there is nothing much any healer can do if that is the case, especially if it is bad enough to kill him."

"Oin would be hard pressed not to miss anything," Bombur reassured, frowning at his brother's lamentations.

"Everyone makes mistakes," Bofur countered before suddenly changing the tone of his voice, "You didn't see him, see how much blood there was."

"Surely not enough to make you despair like this," Bombur said.

"More than enough," came the toymaker's reply. Bombur sighed, defeated.

"I need to be getting back to Azania and the rest of my family," the round dwarf told his brother and cousin, shooting a meaningful glance in Bifur's direction, "But I will return as soon as I can."

Bofur barely acknowledged the opening of the door as his brother departed, too caught up in the strange yet not unfamiliar feeling of the gloom which had settled over him. The toymaker had felt this way only a handful of times in his life, namely when his parents – namely his mother – had passed from the world and into the halls of Mahal. The same sense of hopelessness that had suffocated him at that time now had returned, confusing him and restricting his ability to see beyond the bad.

"He's got a long journey ahead of us," Bofur said with a dry humor, "Only time will tell whether or not what the end of that journey will be."

Sighing, the toymaker stood and glanced wearily over to Bifur.

"I fear Thorin's time will be well spent in caring for the lad," Bofur remarked, "As will Oin's."

"Izd lu' thadulur bashuk," Bifur's soft voice noted.

"Aye, you are right," Bofur said in reply, his gaze thoughtful and grim.


Kili vusut gagin – Kili (will) be healthy again.

Zu lu' tarukh achùshum – You do not need to worry.

Amagur lu' zatamarad – The bear did not kill Kili.

Zu tarukh mahdijnû hi - You need to believe (in) him.

Zu nathith uzarak amad, zu mahzirikh balil zu inùdôy - (If) your daughter (is) greatly like (her) mother, you (will) wish it (was) just your sons.

Izd lu' thadulur bashuk - They won't (be the) only ones.

Lu' technically means 'no', but I tweaked its meaning because it was the closest I could find to what I needed the word to mean. In any case, the translations should be pretty accurate. Also, zu in Bifur's second piece of dialogue alternates between you and your (again it was the closest I could find). Izd means they, but again, it was closest to 'them'. Brackets are words that I could not find in Khuduzl, but needed for the sentence.

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