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Hail and Farewell

Chapter 2

They knew something was wrong as soon as they crested the hill. What must have long ago been the front door had been blasted to rubble and there was no one in sight. Fili glanced at the others, once again feeling the pang of guilt at the absence of Kili, and they ran inside. The place was a complete mess; the golden floor was littered with stones and dust. Something had clearly gone wrong when the dragon had been awakened.

They ran through the damaged halls and, despite his fear and guilt, Fili couldn't help but marvel at the ancient Dwarfish architecture. They were about halfway down the stone steps when they heard a familiar voice calling for them. Bilbo came pounding down towards them, only to halt when he realised only three dwarves stood before him.

"Wait! Wait! You have to- Where's Kili?"

No one said anything, but their faces must have spoken volumes.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, I'm so, so sorry," the hobbit stammered.

Fili turned away; he didn't need any more apologies or sympathetic glances. As he did so, something at the edge of his vision caught his eye. It glittered and sparkled, which meant it must be the fabled treasure haul of Erebor. Almost without thinking, Fili spun and dashed down.

He could hear Bilbo pleading him to stop but he ignored the hobbit. He reached a platform near to the bottom and stopped dead in his tracks, the others hot on his heels. The expanse of gold beneath them awed him and, in the midst of it, Thorin wandered. He was rambling about gold but halted suddenly when he spotted them. He must have said something, but Fili barely heard him or, indeed, paid much attention until something came hurtling towards him. He reached out and caught a ruby the side of his fist. He glanced back up at Thorin and then walked away, disgusted by what his uncle had become, the ruby left forgotten in his wake.

Their reunion with the rest of the Company was a subdued affair. There were cheers and shouted welcomes at first, but they soon did the maths and realised they were one dwarf short. That was when the questions began.

"What happened?"

"Where's Kili?"

"Is everything okay?"

It went on and on, until Fili couldn't stand it anymore.


Silence reigned after his outburst. Fili slumped to the ground and finally allowed himself to cry.

Days had passed since their arrival in Erebor and the rumblings of war had come. The armies of men and elves had joined together and planned to attack the dwarves at dawn. Although the others had tried hard, Thorin would not listen to reason and would not call off the attack. He had barely acknowledged the loss of his sister-son, and Fili tried to keep his distance as much as possible. They did nothing but search for that damned Arkenstone, and it drove Fili mad. This was not what he had been expecting.

The morn of the battle had come, but the men and elves were not attacking the mountain. The Orcs had arrived and all their forces were spent trying to hold them off. Thorin had built a wall to bar the others from entering, but Fili was considering just escaping to fight anyway. He had almost made his decision when Thorin came striding towards them. Fili rose, preparing for a confrontation, but then noticed that Thorin had shed his crown and robes. Fili paused, waiting for whatever it was Thorin had come to say.

Fili screamed a battle cry as they thundered onto the battlefield. Although they were numbered just thirteen (No, he reminded himself, not thirteen anymore, once again becoming painfully aware of the empty space beside him) they seemed to give the dwarves of the Iron Hills some courage. Their combined forces rallied and charged.

Fili found himself fighting next to Thorin. His uncle had sustained many wounds and Fili felt he needed to defend him. They two fought bravely, but they tired quickly. Fili lost sight of Thorin shortly, but continued to fight as hard as he could. An arrow pierced his sword arm and he dropped it, falling to the ground, his wounds sapping his strength. An Orc loomed above him, his sword readying to kill Fili. He mustered all his strength and grabbed his sword with his other arm and tried to fight back. This worked for a while, but he heard a voice scream his name. He didn’t know who it was. But the warning came too late for the young prince. Fili felt a burning pain in his back as an Orc stabbed him from behind. He dropped to the ground and lay there, his life bleeding out onto the dark earth, staining it red.

As he lay dying, Fili thought of his lost brother and guilt overwhelmed him once more. Yet, within that guilt, there was some relief. He would soon see his brother once more.

"I'm sorry Kili," he whispered. "I have failed you."

Fili closed his eyes and, as the darkness rushed in to claim him, one final tear tracked its way down his cheek.

Later they would tell stories of the brave Prince Fili who fought bravely until the end. Five arrows piercing his armour, he fought on, never pausing, never faltering. They would sing songs of the King Under the Mountain and his heir, who were both tragically killed in the battle that went down in Dwarvish folklore of one of the bloodiest and greatest battle of the age. But there were no songs about the other brother, the one they called Kili, no stories, no revelries. His name faded into distant memory, and soon retreated into the realm of the forgotten.

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