Chapter XVI

Title: Braveheart

Pairing: Thorin/Bella

Summary: There was another to add to the company from in the Shire, one no one expected, Isabella daughter of Elrohir Son of Elrond and Belvola. Will they accept Bella as the warrior they know of or will she hide the fact that she is both Elf and Dwarf.

BTW I should mention Italics are the elves speaking in their native tongue Sindarin. Bold Italics is when they are speaking in Khuzdul. All words translated at the bottom. {{Between these is green speech}} Aka hobbit talk. Between and Italic ‘ –’ is Iglishmêk

Disclaimer: I do not own anything but the plot! No matter how much I wish it to be so.

Chapter Sixteen

“I did nothing, this time it was not my fault.” She exclaimed. “Anyway Bard I don’t always have altercations with them every time I come this way. Sometimes it is bandits other times it’s Orcs.”

Bard chuckled as he strapped his bow to his back once more and took a step down from the rock cropping, his eyes sparkling with amusement as he gestured to the barrels. “And a company of Dwarves tumbling out of Wine Barrels from the Woodland Realm is proof of you not have a quarrel with the elves?”

A dark look flickered through the masked Dam’s eyes, telling Bard all he really needed to know. “I was travelling through the woods with my Kin when Legolas captured us. The woods have grown worse and the King’s blindness has made his mind dark. But I had a bet with the Princeling, one I would rather not lose.”

“I see you won the bet then,” Bard replied making sure not to address the first part of the explanation as he pulled the barrels into the make shift river way to his barge. “Well?”

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“No, the bet was a tie. I got my company out of the cells and he returned our weapons, I and he got to keep our blades for another day.” She replied while waving off Óin as he hovered around her like the others when they caught sight of the wounds.

Thorin allowed his One to talk; perhaps she would be able to secure them safe passage into Laketown and then more provisions. He wondered how she knew the Man; there was a history to be told as they teased one another.

“Uncle,” Fíli whispered his eyes wide as he stared at the man.

“What is it?” He asked with a frown, his eyes scanning over the two before them conversing looking for any sign of what has his sister-son stunned so.

Dwalin paused, his eyes widening like Fíli’s as he caught it too. “Mahal! Look at his bow.”

At Dwalin’s exclamation all the Dwarrow and hobbit turned their eyes to the Man’s bow. What they thought to be wood was metal, layered and styled in a way they had never seen before but it was the sigils that rested on the bows limbs. Not only that, there was a bead nestled in the hair of the Bowman hidden slightly behind his ear but visible to their eyes.

“Oh for the love of all Vala! I have been friends with Bard since he was a babe, I was there for his wedding and the bow was my gift for his coming of age. He carries my sigil because he needs it.” Bella snapped as she realised what they were all gawking at, her hand pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration earning a laugh from the Bowman.

“My master is a cruel man, he taxes the people of my home so he can live in comfort while we starve and wilt away. When Bella had found out that I took jobs to feed my family she gave me her bead. I only wear it when I live the boarder of Laketown as I trade with Dwarves as they make their way to the Iron Hills and the elves.” Bard explained as he secured the last barrel to his barge. “The instant your kin see it they treat me fair as I do them and they will pay what my wife asks for the leatherwork as she was Bella’s apprentice.”

“Nonsense, I merely helped her with the talent she already possessed. How is Reyna? The children?” Bella replied brushing off the shocked looks of the company.

Not many Dwarrow would teach outsiders their craft, any form of their craft as each master had their own tricks of the trade that was handed down by their master and so forth. You can always tell from the work and process which Master the dwarf in question trained under. Then there were some like Bella, she had no style but her own and all that knew her knew that she didn’t teach it to others.

Nori knew of course, she had taught him the basics of her Leather Craft and her smithing when she saved him. But now he understood why exactly she would never allow him to see the forming and all that was entailed. She blended the Dwarven and Elven forging together to create something new.

Casting a look to the Company and then to his eldest friend he stepped into the boat and gestured for them to join him. “She would love to see you. It has been many years since we have seen you and the last was barely long enough for you to take a meal with us. Sigrid will be delighted to see you as well, your company can join us but it will be difficult to smuggle them in through the Gates.”

“We can pay you.” Thorin spoke up, “for safe passage into Laketown and Supplies.”

“I will only need money for the supplies I will need to get you past the gates.” Bard supplied and watched as the Dwarrow began to board his barge with haste. There was something about the one who addressed him that stood out the most, the bearing of the dwarf even if he looked ragged and damp.

The Company was silent for the first few moments of the trip as they gathered their bearings before Nori turned to his Heart sister with pained eyes. “You need to stop doing that Namad, I cannot lose another sister and you’ve been our kin for less than a couple of weeks now.”

“I’m sorry but…”

Surprisingly it was Ori who spoke next. “No! I have never seen Nori so upset that he’d allow Dori to hold him! You’ve been our Namad since Rivendell in my eyes and in that time you’ve taken on an army of Goblins, faced down the defiler, run head long into battle, starved yourself to unconsciousness and forced us to think we left you behind in that accursed dungeon!”

Shame seemed to crash into Bella as she watched the tears pool in Ori’s eyes. She pulled him close and pressed her forehead to his firmly before letting go. She cast a look to Nori, Dori and Bilbo and dropped her gaze in shame. “I’m sorry Kurdunadad I did not mean to pain you all so, it is not in my nature to stand back and watch those I love come to harm. I swore after the death of Namad that I would not let more of those I call kin perish when I could have done something.”

When she was younger, when the news of her Mother’s death reached them she had believed that it was her fault that her mother had died. If she was only older, stronger and battle ready then she could have gone and protected her Namad. Then perhaps her father would still be with her and not grieving so.

It took a long time, once Bella had mastered her Crafts and her fighting skills did she realise that it wasn’t her fault.

Thorin moved closer to his One, taking his hand in hers and pulled her close, pressing his forehead to hers and let it rest there. He ignoring the sharp inhales of the rest Company at the blatant display of affection, something he was not known to ever do and when he did it was never in public.

Fíli and Kíli joined their Uncle and soon the others too curled around the King and his One, taking comfort that they were all alive and well.

“I cannot promise I will not do it again.” Bella whispered after a moment, feeling several bodies including Thorin’s to tense. “Do not ask me to, for if I had the choice between my life and yours… I’d choose you all. It doesn’t mean I won’t fight to my very last breath; I am the daughter of Belvola Swanstrike… I am Bella Berserker and so I will not go down without a fight.”

“Then that is all we can ask.” Thorin replied, shooting the brothers Ri and his sister-sons a sharp look as they went to protest. “We could ask for nothing more.”

It wasn’t long after that the company was counting coins while Bella removed herself to stand by Bard’s side.

“Last we spoke you had no Dwarven kin to claim and now you have many.” Bard started as he cut through the dark waters, swerving around the rocks slowly. It was a path he knew by heart, every twist and every turn.

A sigh escaped her lips as she turned her eyes to the company that were laughing and arguing as they counted the gold to pay Bard. “I came on this quest because Bilbo was terrified, you know my love for the Hobbits, all I intended to was to keep him safe so his mother didn’t rise from the Green Gardens and strangle me with my own braids… I did not expect to find brothers of my heart on this journey.”

“Nor did I suspect you to find love either, my friend.” Bard replied watching as the dark eyes widened ever so slightly before tightening. Though he had never seen her face he had known her long enough to read her eyes and the emotions to go with it, so he knew he took her by surprise.

“He is my Ukrad, my greatest heart. He is who my maker has forged for me and though I tried to deny it… I cannot help but love him all the same.” She confessed softly, her eyes never far from Thorin’s frame. “I have not had the chance to tell him as now is not the time, not yet and I am terrified…”

“Such as love does,” Bard interrupted. “You know that asking Reyna four courtship I was so terrified I threw up twice and nearly fainted when I approached her. It is a scary thing Bella, but it is worth the fear and all that comes with it or it would not be real. Love is worth fighting for, real love is.”

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Taking a deep breath Bard tore his eyes away from the mist covered lake and turned towards his eldest friend. “It is because I saw and heard their regard for you I offered to smuggle them into Laketown, it is because of my loyalty to you and our friendship that I will not ask what you are truly doing with Thorin Oakenshield.”

Seeing the surprise on his friends face pulled a mirthless chuckle from his lips. “Oh I know who he is, it’s hard to miss them shouting his name and I know what you intend to do and as much as I wish to stop you…”

“Watch out!” Bofur yelled jerking back from the side of the boat as a large rock appears.

Bard simply rolled his eyes and maneuvered through the ruins of what once was with ease. The others stared at him, some with mistrust while the rest stared at the ruins with awe. They were what was left of the original outposts of Esgaroth, but did not withstand against the Dragon.

“What are you trying to do, drown us?” Dwalin demanded in his usual gruff voice but made no step to act upon his rage as he saw his friends dark eyes narrow in on his actions.

“I was born and bred on these waters, Master Dwarf. If I wanted to drown you, I would not do it here.” Bard replied, looking down at the dwarf with hidden amusement and shooting his friend a smile at her admonished ‘Bard.’

But the mutterings of discontent fell into a hushed silence as the Mountain came into view, confirming Bard’s suspicions who shot Bella a look. She was the only one not in awe of the mountain. It was not her home, it was her mother’s but she had seen the Mountain close before… had even ventured to Dale one day out of curiosity a long time ago on her way back from the Red Mountains.

“Lake Town is ahead,” Bella murmured to Bard a few moments before the town began to come into view. “It’s best if you start putting that plan of yours into motion.”

“The money, quick, give it to me.” Bard demanded hurriedly eyes switching from them to the guards ahead. “Quick.”

There was much grumbling but they handed over half of what was left of their gold and waited for what was to come next. They had to trust the man, if they didn’t then it would tell Bella that they could not trust her.

Bard glanced at them quickly before turning to the barrels. “Get in the barrels and hide, don’t get out or do anything that will make you be seen. I will get you in as promised. Bella they know you, hey know you come in and out so you can join them or stay with me.”

“There aren’t enough barrels for all of us.” Bella replied but there was something in her eyes that had the Company on edge. “Get in or do you want a repeat of Mirkwood?”

Glóin and the boys quickly got into the barrels with Dwalin and Balin. The others followed suit as Bella helped Bilbo into the front Barrel and then helped Dori with Nori and Ori.

Dori cast his Namad a look, his lips pressed into a thin line as he got into his own barrel. “Be safe, don’t cause trouble.”

A gruff bark of laughter escaped her covered mouth as she watched Bard make his way to one of the fishers that had the company on edge. It was not a laugh they had heard from her before and they didn’t know what caused her to make it but the tone was familiar. It was a tone they heard from Dis when Vili was alive, it was a tone they heard from Frerin when he was younger – to those that remember – and it was a tone that Fíli and Kíli made often.

Everyone groaned and spluttered as fish after fish smacked them until the barrels were full and they could not see the sky above them. They could still hear Bella laughing through the slimy fish and cursed the very stone she was born from.

Bard smirked at the groaning barrels and shook his head in amusement as Bella gasped out her laughter. With a small proud smile that he could make her laugh freely once more he took his spot at the oar and began to sail towards the toll gate.

“Quiet! We’re approaching the toll gate.” He hissed, silencing the company.

The town was just as dank as Bella remembered, her dark eyes taking in every mold mottled pole and half asleep guards with displeasure. The toll gate was half rusted and manned by one person who she knew… not well perse… but has crossed paths once or twice before on her visits here.

“Consignment of empty barrels from the Woodland Realm. Only, they’re not empty, are they, Bard?” A voice rang out cutting Bard off from his talk. It was a voice that had Bella grasping the edge of the barrel that her One was in. “If I recall correctly, you’re licensed as a bargeman, not a fisherman.”

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Thorin heard the sound of his One hiss, and he shifted ever so slightly to see through the gap his One’s hands clenched around the rim of his barrel with enough force that it cracked and splintered. He could see droplets of blood drip down the edge from where a few splinters dug and aggravated the grazes on her palm.

“Does it matter you Lulkhul dashatu rukhs?” She barked out, her voice cutting through the cold air harshly and it took many of the company to stifle their surprise. They had never heard Bella speak this way in their presence, not even when she spoke of Thranduil did she hold that kind of malice.

“Oh it’s you.” Alfrid sneered. “I thought you would be dead by now filth. Maybe I should throw you over the boat myself and hope you drown.

Bella pushed the fish on Thorin’s barrel down as he went to move, her foot striking out swiftly to kick Nori’s and Dwalin’s. Her voice dropped several pitches as she removed the dagger at her side. “If you don’t still your tongue you bastard I will cut it from you myself. Would you like me to reteach you the last lesson I gave you?”

Alfrid swallowed hard and took a step back off the barge. Sweat beaded across his brow as the filth took a threatening step forward and the phantom pain of the wound she left upon his hip when he had gotten too handsy with her. “Fine. The Master has his eye on you Bard; you’d do well to remember. We know where you live.” He called as Percy yelled for them to open the gate.

“It’s a small town, Alfrid; everyone knows where everyone lives.” Bard replied sharply as he steered down the narrow channel. His gaze switching between the Masters dog and his friend…

Bella dared not to utter a word as she breathed in and out trying to calm down. She could feel Bard’s eyes upon her and could hear the company now what they were going to say when they were free.

“I hate that man to the very depths of my soul.” She grunted out as they came to a stop. Tapping the barrels sides to alert the others it was as she made her way towards Bilbo’s barrel and hoisted him out easily enough.

“Everyone does but you are the only one who gets away with talking back without repercussions.” Bard replied as he pressed a silver coin in the dock keepers hand. “You didn’t see them, they were never here. The fish you can have for nothing.”

“Are you alright?” Thorin asked sharply taking her face into his hands and looked for any sign of harm.

Bella sighed fondly and pulled his hands away from her face. “I’m fine, Alfrid is a foolish son of an orc and the Master’s Dog. He makes Bard’s and any other strong willed folk a living hell, Bard most of all since he’s the rightful heir of Dale.”

“We don’t have time we need to move.” Bard rushed out hurriedly, ignoring the sharp intakes and looks of surprise. “If the guards spot you then we will be arrested.”

“Quickly, follow me!” He urged the others as he peaked down an alley to see if the coast was clear. He quickly manoeuvred them through the back pathways towards his home, out of the prying eyes of the guards whom watched the main passages.

“Da! Our house, it’s being watched.” Bain yelled as he rushed towards his father, his eyes widening as he caught sight of the dwarves.

Bard clenches his eyes shut before turning to face the others. “I have a plan but none of you are going to like it.”

The company glance at each other in question before nodding, they needed to get in and out of this town without being seen and if what Bard had for a plan could do that then they will without question.

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Bard nodded and explained them what they had to do and where to go before picking up one of the baskets his son was holding. There was a lot of complaining until Bella hissed at them, taking the bulk of their weapons they didn’t wish to be in the water off of them. She followed Bard back to his house, picking up clothes and food along the way, giving thanks and soft hellos to those she knew along the outer edges of the market.

“You can tell the Master that I’m done for the day and if he asks about her you can tell him she’s here to see my wife.” He called down to the two guards pretending to be fishermen at the edge of his home before opening the door and stepping in side.

Tilda rushed towards her father as he stepped in the door. “Da! Where have you been?”

“Father! There you are. I was worried.” Sigrid stated as she hugged him, pulling back as another figure stepped inside. “BELLA!”

Bella let out a loud bout of laughter as the eldest child of Bard collided into her, pulling her into a fierce hug but still mindful of the weapons that littered her person. “Look how big you are Sigrid, looking more and more like your mother every time I see you.”

“Thank the makers for that!” A soft humour filled voice called from the kitchen. “It’s good to see you again Bella, how long are you staying with us?”

“I will not be imposing for long Reyna as there are 14 others with me, we need provisions four our next leg of the journey.” Bella explained as Bard and Bain made their way down to help the Dwarves out from the Latrine.

Reyna’s brows disappeared into her hairline as thirteen dwarves and a hobbit stepped into her home, each one looking like a drowned rat. “Sigrid, Tilda, go and fetch the spare blankets and a few old shirts from the attic. Bain would you be a dear and gather more food from the markets I’ll need some more meat for the broth and vegetables too.”

“You need not to…” Thorin started before snapping his mouth shut with an audible click as the matron of the house levelled him with a flat and stern glare.

“Bella is family and if you are with her then you will be treated as such, a nice hot meal and warm clothes will not go amiss Master Dwarf.” Reyna stated sternly. “Go sit by the fire with your kin, in exchange you can tell my children and I the story of how you managed to be here.”

Kurdel, you will not be able to say no to her.” Bella explained watching as her One paused and then smiled softly as he caught what she had called him. “Let us rest, we can worry after dinner.”

Thorin couldn’t help but feel warmth at the term of endearment that slipped from his One’s mouth. She had not called “As you wish Ghivashel.”

Author Note: Well here is a chapter of BH for you all! I really really hate Alfrid, so so much that I cheered when he was eaten. Also I kept Bard’s wife alive! LOL

Kurdel – heart of all hearts
Lulkhul dashatu rukhs. – Foolish / Fool (Idiot, Oaf)-Like / From (The) Fools (Idiots, Oafs) son of orc.
Kurdunadad – heart brother
Nadad – brother
Namad – sister



One thought on “Chapter XVI

  1. Very nice chapter! I like the fact that you have Bard’s wife alive.. I have never read a story where she were..

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