To Your Mark

Chapter 21

For Thorin, dawn comes all to soon. Ren had not moved a muscle the entire night, having been pressed to him the entire night.

As the sun began to lighten through the breaks in the trees above the Company, Thorin craned his neck to peer down at her now that it was light out, taking in her peaceful features and noting that the bags beneath her eyes had already began to lighten and the color was returning to her ashen cheeks.

He very much did not wish to move but to rather stay lying down all day long, not giving a care in the world about anything. A small voice in the back of his head reminded him that they needed to make it to Erebor still and Durin's Day was rapidly approaching.

However, a few minutes of rest would not kill him.

Shutting his eyes, he rested his cheek upon her head again and let his tired eyes slide closed and it didn't take long for the dwarf prince to fall asleep.

The hobbit let out a content hum as he stretched out his stiff muscles and he turned over on his bedroll, his face suddenly becoming warm from the nearly microscopic sized pools of sun that were able to break through the canopy of leaves.

Wait... Sun?

His eyes flickered open as he took in the lightened woods around him. Sitting up, his eyes raised themselves to the roof of the forest to find that it was indeed after dawn and it was closer to noon really.

Quickly scanning the clearing, he also took note that everyone in the Company was still present and none of them had left.

Why haven't we left yet? Who was on watch...? Thorin.

Turning his head to the side to gaze upon the aforementioned dwarf, he had to blink a few times and even rub his eyes in disbelief before he took in the scene to his right.

Both looking content as can be, lay Ren and Thorin, the female elf with her head tucked beneath Thorin's chin and his cheek resting upon her soft hair as both of them slept soundly. The dwarf lord has his thick arm wrapped tightly around her as Thorin's body lay leaned back against his pack.

A soft look entered Bilbo's eyes then and he couldn't help the small smile that turned up the corners of his lips, finding the entire sight to be... comforting.

Both leaders of the Company were finally at ease and how ironic it was that they were at ease in each other's arms.

Without warning, Thorin took a small intake of breath as he began to wake up and Bilbo decided that it would probably be best if he pretended to be asleep and act as though he hadn't seen the two warriors snuggled together.

Quickly laying down, he turned away from the two and held his breath while he listened as the dwarf began to awaken more fully.

Thorin let his icy blue eyes scan across the clearing and found that each member was safe and accounted for, even the golden haired elf at his side. Though, he felt his brow furrow slightly as he took in the forest around him, finding that it was beginning to grow late in the day.

They had overslept.

"Ren." He murmured into her hair as he took in a breath, her scent invading his nose and he still found that it was just as wonderful as it had been the first time.

A moment seemed to pass before she slowly opened her once again sparkling blue eyes before she lifted her head from his chest to gaze calmly at his face.

Without a word, she sat up and slowly removed her hand from his chest, her eyes moving from his face to rake over the Company, slight worry in her eyes that someone would have seen them together like that.

She was relieved to find that they were all still asleep and that they wouldn't be exposed to teasing and other things of the like.

Rolling back onto her own cot, she then looked at the small pools of sunlight upon the forest floor before looking back to Thorin again and steadily meeting his eyes, knowing that something had gone wrong.

They had indeed overslept and they needed to get moving.

Turning over, she gently prodded at the halfling and Bilbo stirred and so she began to rouse the rest of the Company, telling them that they needed to get moving right away if they wanted to get any progress done before the sun set.

The rest of the day carried on much like the others, filled with chatter and many hours of walking without rest.

Nori had taken the lead of the group today, letting both Thorin and Ren take a rest, seeing as how they were both still tired from all the work they had been doing lately and they needed a well-deserved break.

Again, the young dwarf nephews had begun to pester Ren with questions of her past. All throughout the day, the three of them had been exchanging tales of their smaller adventures or rather, misadventures that involved grand punishments from their parents.

"... and then I slipped right into the mud." Kili said as he walked on Ren's right, beaming over at the woman.

"Uncle-I mean, Ada..." Fili corrected himself and the elf nodded in approval, proud that he had seemed to actually absorb some of the information she had given to them. "Was going to be angry already, since we were going to be late for the dinner party, and when I went to go pull my dearest little brother out of the mud hole-"

"I pulled him right in beside me!" Kili exclaimed and his blonde brother let out a frustrated sigh, remembering just how angry Thorin had been when they had shown up covered from head to toe in thick mud.

"And both our dress clothes were ruined..." He explained begrudgingly so, rolling his eyes slightly and his braided mustache twitched. Ren only laughed quietly at the disgruntled look upon his face, finding that she found it funny that he was less than pleased.

At the time, playing in the mud had been fun but they had been in so much trouble with their Uncle. They had had to help scrub pots in the kitchens for a month after that incident.

Because of the fact that she hadn't been paying attention, she let out a quiet noise of surprise as she ran into the back of Bofur who also had stumbled into Gloin who collided with Thorin who bumped into Ori who had stopped behind his brother.

"Keep moving!" The dwarf leader had commanded them and Ren took note of the fact that the Company had began to grow almost confused the further they had ventured into the forest. Stepping out of line, Thorin moved to the head of the group to speak with the temporary guide of the group, shooting the rest of the group a nervous look. "Nori, why have we stopped?"

"The path..." The dwarf pointed out before them. At hearing the strange tone in his voice, Ren stopped in the discussion between Kili and Fili and stepped out from between them, worry written on her face that caused both the young dwarves to grow silent. "... it's disappeared!"

"What?" The female spoke, having thought she had not heard him correctly.

"The path has vanished!" He repeated and pointed out before them, revealing a large ravine that lay just in their path, splitting the forest in two that looked nearly impossible to cross.

"That's not possible. We were just on it!" Ren said and her eyes quickly darted to Thorin who looked just as confused as he did. Their eyes soon left each other to scan the ground, looking for any traces of the elven path that they may have missed.

"What's going on?" Dwalin asked.

"We've lost the path!" Bofur explained and soon the dwarves all began to panic.

"Find it! All of you look! Look for the path!" Thorin commanded and the Company began to spread out to search for the path, the one that they needed to follow to get through the forest lest they be lost in its clutches forever. Ren was the last one to remain in place upon the false trail they had been following for fear that if she did, she would also loose the trail they had been following.

The whisperings had been quiet since she had woken that morning but as soon as they had discovered that they were lost, they had returned ten fold. Her hands shot to her head, her fingers clutching at her ears as she willed the voices to be gone and she closed her eyes in concentration, her teeth also gritted together.

Many tense minutes passed and it seemed that no one could find the lost path.

"Find it." A familiar voice spoke and this caused the voices to stop and her eyes to open. Thorin was the sole member of the Company who had returned and his blue eyes were both filled with fear and anxiousness as he gazed at her.

"What?" She asked quietly, lowering her hands.

"Find the path." Her brows furrowed in confusion at hearing the desperate tone in his voice and seeing the frightened look in his eyes. "Please... Find it for us."

"Thorin... I cannot..." She shook her head slightly, knowing that any attempt now would most likely be futile.

"You followed it before." The anxious tone in his voice was replaced with one of anger. "You shall find it again." His eyes soon began to grow dark and the once caring dwarf she had spent her night huddle beside was gone. "What is to keep you from finding it again!?" He roared, his voice echoing through the trees around them.

"I said I cannot!" She snapped and as she watched as his jaw clenched in anger, she realized something.

The safety of the path was gone, leaving them easily susceptible to the enchantments of the forest.

She also realized that should Thorin become so very trapped beneath the forest's deceit, he may become dangerous. And so, she decided that this one time, she would become submissive for fear of the bad decisions the dwarf lord may make though it saddened her that their relationship had once again become strained as soon as they began to make a connection.

"I will try..." She replied, her voice now the one to sound defeated.

Adjusting the heavy pack that lay slung across her back, she slowly proceeded off into the trees, only sparing Thorin a hurt look before disappearing entirely.

Ren had been gone for some time before she followed her own footsteps back to the trail they had been following before, her search for the path leaving her with nothing but a throbbing head and a feeling of complete and utter defeat.

"She's back!" Dori said, his tone full of hope upon seeing the female emerge from the dark trees.

"Did you find the path then, lass?" Balin asked as he came to stand before her, the rest of the Company having already returned from their also disappointing hunt.

At seeing the almost ashamed look upon her face, the dwarves didn't need for her to answer with her words. The once hopeful expression upon their faces were replaced with despaired looks.

"I'm sorry." She said quietly, her eyes resting on Thorin for a long moment before they closed entirely, feeling his eyes burn into her with anger.

She had seriously tried to find their way back to the path but it was all for naught, the elleth almost becoming lost three times in her short hunt.

Ren was fearful that should she have ventured any further, she would have only been lost even worse. And this time, she highly doubted that Thorin would come looking for her.

The Company never found the path after that.

Being guided aimlessly through the forest, Ren had been given that job once again in hopes that they would, by some miracle, stumble upon the road again.

Another night like that of the night she spent by Thorin's side had not yet passed again. In fact, Ren had not found a restful sleep again and she was still plagued with nightmares and voices inside her head.

And even then, those nights were few. It seemed that Ren was to keep watch nearly every night in hopes that she would keep the Company protected, despite the fact that she too nearly fell asleep every night.

It also seemed as though Thorin had taken to avoiding her all together and had spent most of his time beside Dwalin, the two dwarves also sending hate filled looks her way.

The water in their canteens soon began to run low, their supplies of food even lower.

None of the Company was entirely sure how long they had spent in the dark forest so of course they were beginning to run out of food. The nights and days began to blur together the further they went into Mirkwood and the deeper they went, the more sinister and dark it became.

At one point, Ren had even given out her small stash of food that she had hidden in her bag, giving it to the three younger dwarves and Balin in hopes of keeping their energy up while she herself refused what little food they still had to offer her.

She could go for a long time without food. That was just part of being an elf, however, that didn't mean that her body didn't start to grow thin because of the lack of nutrition in her diet.

Beorn had been correct that food would be scarce in the Greenwood. Ren hardly caught sight of any animals moving about in the trees and when she moved to hunt them down, her arrow would somehow go wide and she would then be short an arrow and a meal.

And as the days passed, it seemed as though the group began to grow even more lost. Ren's head never ceased to throb and she would try to follow the feeling in her gut yet it would suddenly change, wanting her to go in the opposite direction.

For the most part, it felt as though they were walking in circles and when Thorin grew tired of doing this, he sent Balin to the head of the Company to lead them. Yet even then, it seemed as though they would be forever lost.

Hallucinations didn't take long to become a common occurrence within the group, most of the Company members becoming infected in a matter of days.

Kili thought he had grown a full beard and was strutting around in pride. Dwalin swore he heard the howls of Wargs in the distance. Bombur believed that they had just eaten a full meal of salted pork and other delicacies, leaving him only to complain more about the small meals that they had to resort to. Bilbo had at one point believed that he had been walking with fourteen members of their Company that looked exactly like him.

No hallucinations haunted Ren. Instead, the voices only increased in volume.

It had also become impossible to breath beneath the canopy of trees. It felt as though there was no fresh air.

"Look, a tobacco pouch." Dori said as he took the discarded bag from his younger brother and all the dwarves crowded around to see, Ori having found the item upon the forest floor. "There's dwarves in these woods!"

"Dwarves from the Blue Mountains no less!" Bofur said as he took the pouch from the silver haired dwarf before expecting it. "This is exactly the same as mine!"

"That's cause it is yours... You understand?" Bilbo offered as the Company halted in a small clearing for a moment, all of them trying to decide the next direction to go. "We're going around in circles. We're lost!"

Ren had stopped and seated herself on a fallen log and was running her hands through her now straggly hair, not having spared it a thought since they had entered the Greenwood.

"Where do we go next?" The hobbit heard Dwalin ask Thorin as they surveyed the surrounding area.

"I don't know..." The dark haired dwarf replied, his face hollow from the lack of food and his eyes dark with much needed sleep that none of the Company had been receiving lately.

"Ask the elf." Dwalin replied, turning his head so that he could jerk it in her direction.

"No, I will not..." Thorin said and this caused the hobbit to raise his eyebrow in confusion. The dwarf lord had been kinder to her since entering into Mirkwood yet is seemed as though that had changed again. He had found them snuggling for goodness sake! Ever since they had strayed from the path, the two warriors had been being very rude to her, treating her like she was lower than dirt once again and making her take most of the night watches despite the fact that she was just as exhausted as the rest of them. It was getting old and Bilbo had just about had enough. "Despite the fact that this is an elven forest and we are to be following along an elven road, it seems as though the elf does not know her way."

"HER NAME IS REN!" The hobbit shouted, causing the dwarves to grow silent upon hearing his outburst. That was also another thing that had changed. Thorin no longer called her by her first name. "HER NAME IS REN AND SHE IS AN ELF BUT YOU COULD AT LEAST GIVE HER YOUR RESPECT! SHE HAS DONE NOTHING BUT HELP YOU BLOCKHEADS TO HER BEST ABILITY AND THIS IS THE GRATITUDE YOU GIVE HER?"

Again, all of them were silent and Bilbo stomped over to stand beside the blonde where he dropped down and he crossed his arms over his chest, absolutely livid with the Company at the moment. He didn't want to be part of their group anymore if they were going to treat Ren soo poorly.

"We're lost!" Ori cried, despair filling his tone and his stomach rumbling at the same time.

"We're not lost. We keep heading East." Thorin defended, his voice filled with frustration and anger towards the hobbit who had just shouted at them for no reason.

Ren had not been doing her job and she deserved to be scolded.

"Which way is East?"

"We've lost the sun!"

"The sun..." Bilbo murmured from his place beside the female who had her head held in her hands with her eyes shut tightly. "We have to find the sun..." The gears in his mind began to turn and it wasn't long before an idea came to his mind.

He could climb a tree and find the sun. And so, he decided to do just that.

For some strange reason, the dwarves began to bicker and fight, probably over the last bit of food or water that they were saving, knowing that they would definitely run out within the next half a day.

Wanting to leave the group of idiots behind the hobbit quickly began to scale a nearby tree in hopes of escaping some of the noise the dwarves were causing.

Ren just continued to sit upon the log and it seemed as though the louder the dwarves got, the louder the voices in her head seemed to grow and it became so loud, she at one point winced and she let a small noise of pain escape her throat.

But then, everything cleared and the voices in her head stopped, save for one and what it was telling her made her blood grow cold.


The voice was horrifyingly familiar and the elf let her eyes cast itself across the clearing they were in, searching for the source of the female voice that she knew was not really there.

And just as Ren was about to speak up and tell them they had to move on for fear of the danger that was approaching, she felt something sharp pierce her shoulder before the world became black.

Bilbo only continued upward in the tree, the sun growing ever closer before he broke through the canopy of trees.

The wind upon his face was one of the most welcoming feelings in the world and the warmth of the sun upon his skin was also one of the things that the hobbit had missed the most.

Opening his eyes, he found the glowing orb beaming back at him and his eyes cast themselves around the surrounding trees.

He began to laugh then, simply glad that he could breath properly once again.

"I can see a lake!" He called back down into the forest below him. "And a river... and the Lonely Mountain!" He exclaimed as his eyes fell upon the peak in the distance, the top covered from view by a cluster of clouds yet it was huge in all its entirety. "We're almost there!"

However, he heard no one reply back.

"Can you hear me?" He called down to them and his voice only echoed off the trees. "I know which way to go!"

As he listened for another response, all he got in return was the cracking of some branches before he raised his eyes back up to the distant trees to watch as they began to shake and move as if something large was coming.

Disappearing back beneath the canopy, he gazed around into the darkness for a moment before he shrugged and stepped forward, only for his hairy feet to be caught in a sort of sticky white substance, causing him to fall.

With a cry of fear, he began to fall down back towards the ground, bumping into various tree branches as he did so before he was able to catch himself on a stray limb.

However, when he turned to look around for another branch to support him, he only saw a wall of the same white substance and he realized just to late what it was as a beast came leaping from the tree across the way.


Bilbo awoke to the clicking and clacking of insects before his eyes slowly opened and he saw the huge arachnid above him.

Beginning to panic, he found that he only had one option at the moment and that was to fight.

Withdrawing his blade from its sheath, he plunged it into the underbelly of the spider, causing the creature's legs to twitch as it died and fell off the tree branch they had been on, crashing into the ground far below.

With an undeniable fear in his stomach, the hobbit began to pull the web casing off of himself as he struggled to free his limbs.

Seeing movement out of the corner of his eye, he looked up to find that a number of spiders were moving about, placing their meal upon the undersides of the web covered branches.

And there meal? The fourteen remaining members of the Company.

Hiding behind a tree, Bilbo willed his courage to spark and he pulled his magical ring from his coat pocket before sliding it over his middle finger and plunging himself into a world of darkness yet he knew that he himself was unseen.

It surprised the hobbit when he heard the screechy voices of the spiders, understanding every single word that they were saying. And they were talking about just how delicious their new meal would be.

It horrified Bilbo even more when the Company members began to squirm about, apparently the spider poison wearing off enough for them to start waking up.

"Feast! Feast! Feast!" The spiders chanted and Bilbo knew that he must hurry or his friends would die.

Picking up a broken branch, he tossed it off into the distance so that it collided with another tree, causing it to make noise and distract the spiders.

"What is it?" One of them asked before skittering off, the others following in his wake. One, however, remained behind to begin the feast early.

Bombur began to cry out as the large spider approached him, preparing to sink his large fangs into the dwarf's thick flesh.

Bilbo took this as his opportunity to strike and he did using his small blade to slice at the hairy arachnid multiple times, causing the spider to forget the plump dwarf and turn on him.

"Curse it! Where is it?"

"Here." Bilbo said as he slid his ring off his finger and the spider lunged. With a battle cry, the hobbit plunged his blade into the center of the mass of eyes upon the creature's face.

"It stings! Stings!" The beast hissed before tumbling from the branch it was on and crashing to the ground, dead.

"Sting..." The hobbit said, looking at the blade with wonder. "That's a good name!" He then twirled it around in his hands before looking at the remaining hanging members of the Company before he began to cut through the silk threads holding them up.

Once the thirteen dwarves of the Company were deposited upon the ground, they soon began to wriggle more as they woke up.

Breaking from the cocoon that he was in, Thorin took in a deep breath, finding that it had been very difficult to breath inside his wrappings and his mind suddenly felt clear of all the enchantments he had been under, though he was still weak from the spider poison.

He quickly took count of the number of members in his group, only coming away with twelve and himself, only thirteen.

They were short two people.

"Where's the burglar?" Dwalin called as he too struggled out of his webs, not finding the hobbit in sight.

"And where's Ren?" Thorin asked more to himself than to the others, his eyes not finding the blonde female among them.

"I'm up here!" Bilbo called before he was suddenly attacked from a spider that had been sneaking up on him. He let out a cry as he stabbed the creature but it wrapped its spindly legs around him before they fell downward.

From inside her cocoon of webs, Ren could hear everything that was going on around her though she could do nothing about it.

She was so impossibly weak from the poison from the spiders, the lack of oxygen inside the casing, not eating for days, and from not sleeping at night.

Maybe, she was ready to just give in. To just accept death with open arms as if she were greeting an old friend. Yes, death wouldn't be so bad. She could finally be at peace.


It seemed as thought the same voice from before thought otherwise and her sapphire eyes shot open upon hearing the command.

Doing as it said, she could hear the hissing sounds of the spiders just outside and she slowly and carefully reached up and pulled one of her long daggers free from its sheath upon her now web covered quiver.

"We still has one!" A spider hissed and as it approached her, the female held her breath before she felt the legs upon her as it prepared to eat its meal.

With a cry of strength, she reached out and blindly plunged her sharp blade into the mouth of the creature, effectively killing it yet the creature let out a screech of pain right before it died.

Taking in a deep breath, she stuck her head out of the webs to take in deep gulps of oxygen before she used her dagger to cut through the rest of the silk strings, freeing herself.

With a groan of exertion, she let herself drop from the cocoon to weakly fall to her knees upon a thick branch, her dagger still in hand, in hopes that she could breath more life back into herself after resting a moment.

"This blasted forest..." She grumbled under her breath to unsteadily stand upon her feet, her head still pounding yet the voices had grown silent.

Yet, speaking of voices, she listened as thirteen easily discernible ones went rushing by on the forest floor far below as they were pursued by a great number of large, hairy spiders.

"I never did fancy spiders..." She groaned as she took her bow from her shoulder and notched an arrow in it before taking off, running clumsily along the length of the thick branch she was standing on before she clumsily leapt to another one in hopes of catching up with the Company.

The battle for their lives soon began and pieces of spiders were sent flying through the air as the Company of dwarves sliced, smashed, and hacked away at the disgusting beasts.

Thorin wielded Orcrist easily, the blade feeling natural in his palm though he had not used the weapon in awhile, the blade having not been needed due to the surprising lack of danger in the forest.

And as he fought, his eyes would continuously flit around the fighting Company, searching for one of his warriors that still seemed to be missing.

"Has anyone seen Ren?!" He called to his group and heard another spider coming up behind him but it was too late. The beast was poised to strike when it appeared as though the dwarf had spoken of the devil herself.

With a battle cry, she launched herself through the air with her long dagger extended, landing easily upon the back of the spider just before it sunk its fangs into Thorin. Plunging the sharp blade into the spider, the monstrous beast collapsed to the ground, dead.

"Here I am." She panted with a smug smirk upon her face before yanking her blade free and also delving into the battle with the arachnids.

Thorin himself could only smirk to himself as she watched her go, finding the way she fought so fluid and graceful as if she could predict where her foe would move and meet them with her own brutal attack.

The smirk remained on his face for a fraction of a moment longer but it fell as he felt the uncomfortable feel in his stomach bubble back up almost painfully, finding that the beautiful huntress left him breathless with desire.

Thorin had never known what he really wanted in life.

It was evident that he wanted to return to his home and reclaim the mountain and halls filled with gold within. He wanted the title of King beneath the Mounain. He also wanted the Arkenstone.

But still, he always felt as though he were missing something. Something dear. Something to make him whole. He had never realized it before but it was agonizingly clear now.

The forest had been the one to really cloud his emotions and feelings but now that the fog was lifted, it was very evident to him.

She was what he wanted.

With this new revelation, Thorin couldn't help but smile as if in awestruck wonder before he remembered that he was still in the heat of the battle and he could still be killed despite the fact that he had finally discovered his true feelings.

A roar left his throat as he too plunged back into the fight, continuing to slice and hack away at their eight legged enemies.

It seemed that no matter how many they killed, they would only keep coming as if they were born of some strange and dark power.

"Run!" Thorin commanded the group before he began to move off through the forest, fleeing the only choice that they really had left.

They hadn't gotten far before another massive spider stopped them and the dwarf lord came a sudden halt with the rest of the Company behind him, Ren just on his heels.

Through the chaos, she was able to make out the sound of approaching footfalls yet they were not they spiders'.

They were that of an elf.

The Company's eyes all flashed upward to watch as the elf grappled down the silken line of web belonging to a spider before he landed atop the beast and used it as a sort of sled to slide down the hill.

Still using his momentum, the blonde elf continued to slide across the ground before he took out an arrow and sliced the spider that was about to attack them right up the middle before he came to slide up onto his feet before Thorin, knocking an arrow as he went.

"Do not think I won't kill you, dwarf. It would be my pleasure." The elf threatened as he pointed the sharp arrowhead directly in the dwarf lord's face, his voice full of disgust.

The blonde elf hardly had time to react when he heard the sound of another bow draw taught just to his right.

"I'm sure that you would, however you may want to reconsider your threat first." A smooth voice purred and his blue eyes flickered over to find that he himself was being held at arrow point, an unrecognizable elf at the reins of the bow.

He had never seen someone such as her in the halls of Mirkwood yet he nearly found himself entranced by the fierce yet hard look in her blue eyes, apparently disliking the fact that he was threatening the dark haired dwarf.

Despite the fact that she was covered in filth, the elleth was without a doubt beautiful. He imagined that her hair, once combed and washed, would be like golden silk as it ran between his fingers. Even when her cheeks were hallow with lack of food and dark bags ran beneath her eyes, she was still captivating in his own eyes.

Her actions were all for naught though when the rest of his archers appeared, effectively surrounding the group.

He watched as those same wondrously blue eyes darted around as she took in the sight of the other elves before she turned to glare back at him, not liking the odds of the fight should one actually ensue.

One rogue elf against a hunting party was without a doubt, terrible odds on her part and she would only have to accept that they were prisoners.

Suddenly, they heard a cry from somewhere off in the forest, one that caused the female to look away from him and a look of fear crossed her face, one that was only reserved for the ones she held dear to her heart.

"Kili!" A blonde dwarf called for this other dwarf yet the elves would not let the Company move to go save him.

"Kili..." The female whispered in horror before she turned her bow away from the other blonde elf, letting the string go slack as she went. She stepped forward to go to the dwarf's aid but a strong hand tightly closed around her upper arm, fingers digging into her skin.

Reeling on her captor, she sent him the most poisonous glare she could muster before she tried to wretch her arm free but to no avail.

"Let me go." She snarled at him through gritted teeth yet he remained passive as he simply looked at her, his grip remaining.

"Keep your hands off her." A dark haired dwarf warned as he stepped forward to stand beside the elleth, a dangerous glint entering his eyes, one that promised much pain for disobeying the command.

Narrowing his eyes upon the dwarf, the elf then turned his gaze upon the female who was still glaring at him venomously before she wretched her arm free and he actually let her go though not after sending her a pointed glare.

The dwarf then pushed her slightly behind him as if he was protecting her from view and the elf raised an eyebrow at this curious behavior.

A dwarf protective of an elf? It was strange.

"Search them." He commanded his archers before he too set to work.

Dismissing the continuous glare from the dwarf, he physically moved him aside and decided to claim the weapons from the female first, thinking her to be the most dangerous member of the strange group.

"Weapons." He barked at her as he held out his hand and with another sharp glare, she began to unstrap her weapons from her person before thrusting them angrily into his open palm.

Claiming her daggers, sword, quiver, and bow, the male elf only stood before her with an eyebrow raised, knowing that it was very likely that she had at least a few other weapons hidden on her person.

She only sent him an almost sarcastic look before he rolled his eyes and held out his hand one again. Grumbling, she reached down into her boot and withdrew her small hunting knife from its hiding place and it appeared as though she was going to try and use it against him, her eyes flitted around the group of archers and with a agitated sigh, handing him the small knife.

Still, the elf did not think her bare of weapons yet and he began to pat her down.

"That's the last of it, if you're finished." She snarled at him in their own language. He only sent her a pointed look before moving onto the other prisoners though the new female elf would not slip his mind so easily.

It wasn't long before a redheaded elleth entered the clearing they were in, pushing Kili forward so that he would join back with the Company.

Ren felt a wave of relief wash through her, glad that he was safe. She had begun to think the worst when his cries for help had stopped yet it seemed that he had been in good hands despite the fact that they were now prisoners of the Elven King.

"My lord, it seems that we have found something interesting on one of the dwarves." One of the archers said as he presented Orcrist to the blonde elf she had threatened.

"This is an ancient elvish blade..." He said as he examined the craftsmanship put into the long sword. "Forget by my kin." He continued to admire the blade before he lowered it and looked to Thorin with a heated look in his eyes. "Where did you get this?"

"It was given to me." The dwarf claimed though it seemed the elf would not buy his lies.

"Not just a thief..." He said before turning the blade so that the tip pointed at Thorin's throat, causing the entire Company to let out small noises of fear for their leader. "But a liar as well!"

The elf was surprised though when a finger came and flicked the end of the blade away from the dwarf's throat, only for the female elf to step between him and the tip of the sword.

"Move out of the way." He commanded her and she only crossed her arms over her chest in an act of defiance. He then raised the tip of the blade to her own throat, lightly pressing it against the soft skin that lay there yet she still did not move. "I said move."

"You should learn to treat your guests more kindly, hin." She narrowed her eyes at him before the elf clenched his jaw in anger, not enjoying the way that she was sassing him about and telling him that he was a child in front of a disgusting group of dwarves.

"Take them to the king." He ordered and he watched as her eyes grew wide for a moment before they began to shackle their wrists together in case one of them tried to escape.

"Thorin, where's Bilbo?" Bofur asked as he was led along and the dwarf turned and looked out to the dark forest, wondering where their burglar could be.

Ren also heard this and exchanged a scared look with Thorin, wondering about the safety of the Company hobbit, knowing that he was going to be left out in the dark forest alone and without any sort of protection.

Yet both of them were spurred forward by their captors and a sinking feeling entered both their guts though it was for different reasons.

Ren couldn't help but let pure and wholesome fear creep into her heart upon hearing this news. They were going to see Thranduil and no doubt, he would know a thing or two about her.

And as they were led across an elvish bridge and towards the gates of Mirkwood, she couldn't help but let her mind flash back to the meeting she had in Rivendell and the words of warning flashed back through her head.

As the blonde girl walked into the elegantly decorated terrace before her, she prepared to smile for her old friend, having not seen the white wizard for ages. She had been meaning to visit Isengard for sometime now and she felt guilty for not finding time to stop and spend a few days with him.

Finding that the balcony was mostly empty of both furniture and living beings, her eyes easily found the nearly glowing figure of the woman standing and looking out over the vastness of the valley before her.

Turning back sharply to glare at Lindir, she found that the elf had vanished and she wished to let out a noise of displeasure. For she had been tricked!

However, she restrained herself as she wished to escape as quietly as she came and she proceeded to move back down the stone stairway.

"I hoped that you would have come." Her shoulders hunched as her foot nearly touched the next lower step when the smooth voice spoke. Slowly turning back around, she watched as the ethereal figure gracefully turned and faced her.

"I was to meet with Saruman." Ren explained, her eyes narrowing slightly as she gazed calmly at the beautiful elf.

The woman merely smiled with amusement, her sapphire eyes sparkling in the light from the moon, clearly enjoying the fact that she had annoyed her. Ren was not so amused.

"Then it seems that I have tricked you, hin..." Lady Galadriel walked around the large stone table in the center of the terrace so that she could stand before the blonde elf. "As it also seems that time hasn't changed you in the slightest." Her pale hand reached out to take hold of one of Ren's golden locks, running the wavy strand through her slim fingers.

"Why would I change? It is not as if I can grow old with age like a mortal can..." The elleth snapped at the older woman, not enjoying the fact that she was even in Rivendell.

"You hair... It is so short." Galadriel continued to stroke her hair, a slight look of disappointment crossing her flawless features.

"After so many years, I grew tired of it always getting in my way. Battle was also a problem." Ren said as she stepped back slightly, not liking the closeness between the two of them. "Why are you here?" She asked as she stepped closer to the edge of the terrace so she herself could look down into the wide valley that was bathed in golden sunlight.

"I foresaw your arrival."

"Yet I did not see your's..." Ren tuned around to look at the Lady. The woman's eyes widened slightly.

"You mean to say that you have been looking into-"

"Not by my own choice!" She snapped, thinking back to the time where she had looked into the blade of the girl's sword and her own blade. "I have foreseen many things, things I did not wish to see! But our meeting was not one of them so you have caught me off guard..." Ren turned away from the blonde woman and the two of them stood in tense silence again.

"You have been well?"

"As well as I've always been. Though I don't doubt that you already knew that..." She answered dryly. "And you?"

"I miss my daughter."

"You are not the only one who misses Celebrian..."

"I wasn't talking about Celebrian." The younger girl turned to look at the other blonde woman. She simply shot her a look of disbelief before turning away again, not believing what she was hearing. "Why are you going on this journey?"

"Gandalf requested that I join. I cannot turn down our old friend..." A ghost of a smile graced her lips, one that the Lady of the Wood had not seen for more than a hundred years.

"But that is not the only reason...?"

"The dwarves need a guide to lead them out of Rivendell..." A knowing look passed over the elf's bright blue eyes before the younger woman sighed, feeling defeated and knowing that it would be best if she told the Lady the whole truth, seeing as how nothing escaped her sight. "I have seen more than I should have and I wish to change what is to come."

"If you came home, we could-"

"I will NOT come home!" Ren shouted, sudden tears beginning to well in her eyes. Her frustration was beginning to come out and it was making her angry, for she had had this same conversation in her head time and time again. "Father exiled me-"

"Your father removed that banishment long ago. Surely, you knew that he was not serious with his consequences! He was only trying to teach you a lesson!"

"And yet I chose not to come back after I learned that lesson, Mother!" Both of them stood in silence for awhile, Ren simmering as she felt herself become engulfed with bitterness. "What I did should not have had consequence!"

"What you did was dangerous."

"Yes, but I did what was right!"

"You should have not interfered."

"And let all those dwarves die? I think not! Azanulbizar was a blood bath as it was! Many more dwarves would have died should I have not been there!"

There was another long pause between the two of them, Ren's mind filling with the memories of her old home.

"I am surprised that you have yet to send Haldir to retrieve me..." She spoke and the older elf simply laughed, also thinking the same thing.

"He has been awaiting the command to do so. He has been jumping at the chance to run off and find you."

"I would imagine so. Life with me is so much more interesting than our quiet forest. Even if you did send him after me, he would have had to become a better fighter if he wished to bring me home and even then I would have had to been bound and gagged."

They both snickered quietly upon hearing the words of the younger elf before they settled into silence.

"He misses you." Galadriel suddenly told her daughter and watched her face as many emotions flitted across it.

"I miss him, too..." She replied, something akin to longing and sadness filling her eyes upon the mention of her oldest and dearest friend.

"Do they know?" Galadriel asked as she changed the subject and Ren froze, unsure of what her mother was asking.

"Know of what?"

"Know that you are not in fact human and have lived to see the turn of the century?"

"Of course not." The elleth admitted weakly, looking down from the startling blue eyes of the Lady.

"Why are you keeping them in the dark?"

"You know what would happen should I tell them of my elvish heritage. They would not take me to Erebor."

"Why do you want to travel to that unfortunate place?"

"Why didn't you come home?"

"Because, the world grew darker when Celebrian left. She was my sister and my best friend. She was the only thing tying me to Lothlorien-"

"Then why haven't you yet sailed across the water and joined her in the Undying Lands?"

"There is so much of the world that is left to be discovered. So much to do. So much to learn. I believe that I should use the life given to me to a full extent, for I have been given the time to do so."

"You stayed because you want to learn?"

"No!" Ren protested and she raked a hand through her hair, the elf not entirely understanding the point she was trying to get across. "I'm not done living!"

"Galaren." She looked at her mother as she grabbed her shoulders, causing the elleth to face her after hearing her true name. "I do not want to lose another daughter." She could only stand stock still as her mother's hands rested gently upon her shoulders before lightly cupping her face.

Without warning, the older elf pulled her daughter to her chest, her hand carefully stroking the golden locks so similar to her own, relishing in the feel of having her one remaining daughter within her grasp. Her heir.

"You are to travel through Mirkwood?"


"Be wary of Thranduil. I fear that his heart has begun to grow darker and the more he hides behind his fortress walls, the darker it will become. Be careful while traveling through the Greenwood. I know not what he would do with you should the both of you meet."

"I will be careful."

Brushing her hair back, she revealed the small pointed ears that belonged to her daughter, proving her heritage.

"Promise me that when your journey is done, you will come home." Ren was silent as she simply leaned against her mother before she carefully hugged back, not being able to deny that she had missed both her home and her parents over the years, no matter how much she claimed to loathe them.

"I promise, Mother."

They pulled apart and Galadriel gazed down at her beautiful daughter, her soft finger running over her perfect cheek, realizing just how much her daughter had matured over the time she had been away from her home.

It seemed as though the banishment actually had done some good.

"Off you go then. Aa' menealle nauva calen ar' malta.'" The Lady said before she released her child and watched as she walked away from her, her face completely emotionless with the weight that had just been placed upon her shoulders and she did not return the farewell for fear of what she had just done.

For it seemed that before our tale is over and done, Ren would be returning to Lothlorien whether she wished to or not.

Hey guys. What's up?

Oh, yeah. The last elvish line means 'May your ways be green and golden'. It's like a farewell that I figured people from Lothlorien could use. It's not mine though.

So, yeah. The new chapters out. YEAH! Alright, did you guys even consider this as an option with her lineage? Huh?

If you did, tell me in the reviews! Things make a lot more sense now I bet!

I hope you guys liked this chapter. So yeah, we had lots of confusing feels in this chapter. First, Thorin was moderately happy, then pissed, and then he realized his true feelings though it may be some time before he is actually able to bring those feelings out and really start to show them.

Plus, does anyone wanna guess who the blonde elf was that Ren threatened? I think we all know and I couldn't help but giggle the entire time I was writing that scene.

And that will also be another problem for Ren. You'll see why in the next chapter. Things become all sorts of messy yet more light is shed upon Ren's past which should be fun.

I probably have a few flashbacks that I'm going to put in but if you know about Galadriel and her family, some of these stories may not come as a surprise to you.

Anyway, thanks again guys! We had a slight decline in reviews last chapter but I don't care! I've just gotten this one out and I am stoaked! Now, I'm gonna eat some ice cream and do my homework, maybe pass out before I get around to it. I'm so tired!

Hey, again, check out my tumblr if you want to! It's just blueeyedwolf33 dot tumblr dot com.

Psst! You guys should follow me! I reblog some awesome stuff and a lot of it concerns the Hobbit.

Thanks again guys and YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO! READ AND REVIEW!



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