Chapter Seventeen – Dush Aranâk

Title: A Cursed Blessing
Pairing: Bilbo/Thorin

Summary: In time of great change a Prophet is born, selected by one of the Valar. When Bilbo is born, he had the markings of the Prophet but it was not One of the Valar that had chosen him, it was all.

Disclaimer: I am merely borrowing the characters of Tolkien; I do not own them unfortunately…

Author Note: “Bold Italic is Khuzdul”, “Italic is Sindarin”, ))Bold(( is Black speech and anything between }}…{{ is Green Tongue. Anything Underlined is windspeech or the language of the Eagles.

BB

The next morning Bilbo found himself once again in the garden, his eyes turned towards the direction where he knew Erebor would be but his mind was on Thorin and what occurred last night and on the forest that lay between them and their destination. Even from this distance, he could feel the screams muffled by the healthy song of the land between them. It was like the sound of a fly buzzing over the sound of laughter, a hiss of a steaming kettle in the din of a busy kitchen.

It concerned him.

It concerned his mother too.

“I will not be able to go into the woods with you Bilbo,” Yavanna explained as she ran her fingers over the lush grass, letting her presence seep into the earth. “Darkness walks those forest paths and my presence will draw it to you.”

This Bilbo understood; he didn’t like it as he didn’t wish to be without her comfort but he understood. “I know, I will find a way to manage it.”

“He will not be alone, sister.” A soft voice calls out, drawing both eyes and a smile to the flower patches on their right.

Beautiful… was the first thing that came to mind as Bilbo’s eyes rested on the fair maiden swaying amongst the colour lit flowers. Hair the colour of the bountiful wheat fields come harvest time shone brilliantly in the rising sun twined with rich colours of the flowers near her, her face soft and youthful with ruddy cheeks and sparkling eyes. She was clad in green much like his Mother of varying shades though where his mother preferred the darker of the colours it seemed she favoured the lighter shades.

His arm twitched as she touched the petals of the flowers gently, smiling serenely as they bloomed.

“My Lady Vána,” Bilbo greeted with a humble bow, earning a tinkling laugh in return.

“You need not bow to me little sprite.” Vána giggled, her voice as soft as the floating breeze, warmth flooded him as her hand brushed softly through his curls as she embraced her sister.

Yavanna hummed softly pleased before kissing Vána’s brow. “Are you to escort him through the forest sweet dancing vine?”

“No, I too cannot linger long in the forest without weeping, it shall be Oromë who has tasked himself to aid when can.” Sadness tinged Vána’s tone and Bilbo couldn’t help but hug both his Mother and her sister.

Bilbo felt his brows raised, he had not had the pleasure of meeting Lord Oromë as he was prone to stay in his forests.

“Bilbo?” Nori’s voice startled Bilbo enough that when he spun around his foot stumbled over the other to turn around. Both Yavanna and Vána grasped him gently by his arms and steadied him, their warm gentle hands being replaced by a hotter pair, firmer but no less gentle. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

The Prophet simply waved off Nori’s apology and smiled. “What can I help you with Nori?”

“Are you okay Bilbo? You’ve been quiet since last night after ye talk with our majestic leader.” Nori supplied and Bilbo couldn’t help but smile but he’s pretty sure by Nori’s frown that it came out more of a grimace.

“The thief is right, you’ve been contemplative more so than usual.” Bifur’s voice sounded out, coming from the other side of them.

Bilbo frowned. “I am worried about the trip through the forest, as a hobbit I am connected strongly to all things that grow… but as a Prophet…” He trailed off giving his two friends for something to think on.

It will be twice as worse for you, much like the mountains,” Bifur stated in understanding once everything clicked together. Is there no way for us to make it easier for you?”

Bilbo frowned and then shook his head, his toes wiggling in the soft grass beneath his feet as he tried to think of how and what could be done to help. Shoes might help – as in leather under his feet – an extra layer between his feet and the soil but then again he tried that once and never wished to try it again. Shaking his head Bilbo turned his attention back to his friends. “No, but Vána has said that Oromë will help me when we reach the forest when he can.”

It said a lot that neither Bifur nor Nori batted an eye at the casual usage of the Valar’s names or the fact that the Great Hunter was to aid him.

“Nori! Bifur! Bilbo!” Dori’s voice echoed across the open space for the others to hear seconds before he came into view. “There you three are, we are waiting for you. Thorin wishes to leave after breakfast.”

Nori winced as his brother’s eyes landed on him unimpressed.

“Sorry Dori, we’ll come right in now,” Bilbo stated with a wide grin as he began to make his way back to the house. His stomach was churning but Bilbo knew this was his last chance to eat a proper full meal before entering the forest and he needed all the energy he could get.

The moment he stepped into Beorn’s house Bilbo found his eyes sweeping over the enthusiastic Dwarrow and seeking out Thorin who was staring back at him with beseeching eyes the colour of clear spring skies or the depths of a clear river he had walked along in his youth, perhaps they reflected much like the gems of old yet… yet there was something within them that sparked something within him.

Arisiualkhudid-azân… spark of light in the darkness… Arisiualkhudid-azân…

The familiar voice of Mahal whispered in his mind, jolting him completely and caused him to snap straight in attention as he scanned the area for the Stone Father. Yet no Valar could be seen, no vibrancy of his Mother or the soft fluttering of Vána… he could not see Mahal’s familiar warmth and glowing arms of the fire that sparked in all his creations and yet he could hear his voice as clearly as he would if the Stone Father was next to him.

“Bilbo?” Nori’s voice tore his eyes away from a frozen Thorin and his mind away from the reason why he was hearing Mahal’s voice but not seeing his presence. He had never had a Valar whisper to him such a way before.

Concern shone in the thief’s eyes and when Bilbo cast another look around the others he could see they too now stopped their merrymaking and joined their king in staring at him, many with looks of concern and some with a glint that Bilbo could not read or understand.

“I’m fine…” The words felt weird on his tongue, they sounded false and clumsy to his own ears and it pulled his brows into a frown. “I just… I heard a whisper is all… from Mahal, it is not like him to speak to me in such a way.”

Startled is what Bilbo would call the emotion on the Dwarrow’s face as he looked at them again, many with their mouths open as if to speak before snapping them shut. It was Kíli and Ori who went to question what was said from their maker only to stop as Dori and Fíli shoved their hands over their mouths with haste.

“We do not ask what the maker whispers to his creations,” Balin said slowly, his eyes turning from Bilbo to Thorin and back. “But as you are the prophet was it something that pertained to our journey.”

No,” The word escaped his lips before he could even think to respond but perhaps a bit harsher than he intended but something within him wanting to horde the whispered words to himself. He just knew what Mahal told him was not meant for others to hear. “No, they were not.”

“Then we shall not ask you what our Maker deemed fit to whisper to you, Bilbo,” Balin replied, giving the younglings around him a stern look before returning to his meal, the others joining soon after that though perhaps with less gusto than what they were before when he first walked in.

With a confused frown, Bilbo shrugged away the encounter and took a seat between Bofur and Balin, across from Thorin and Fíli. He cast Thorin a look who simply shrugged and turned his attention back to Dwalin, discussing what was needed to do before they left.

Though Thorin was only giving his shield brother half of his attention as Bilbo’s words rung through his mind and his gaze sparked a fire under his skin. Mahal had spoken to him… whispered words to him… Hope bloomed in Thorin’s chest if Bilbo was the prophet and even though he was a hobbit… did Mahal create Bilbo with enough soul of a Dwarrow to earn a secret name? To receive a One?

Curiosity burned within him… and jealousy surged through him at every free smile and laughter he gave to the others.

“Yer an idiot,” Dwalin muttered with a grunt as he took in Thorin’s gaze drifting to the hobbit once more. “Just tell him.”

Thorin whipped his gaze to his cousin with shock, “what?”

“Mahal wept Thorin,” Dwalin sighed before yanking him up from the table and taking him out to where their supplies were waiting with a display of roughhousing. The warrior grunted as Thorin jabbed him in the kidneys before letting him go as they reached a safe place away from the others. “He’s yer One.”

The rigged set of Thorin’s shoulders lasted a total of three seconds before falling, his shoulders hunching in on themselves as the king himself turns his eyes down and away from his best friend. Hearing those words out loud and from Dwalin of all people just struck a blow to his chest and sucked the air from his very lungs with the reality of it all. “Yes.”

“Then why don’t you just tell him?” Dwalin asked calmly, his hand resting heavy on Thorin’s shoulders. “If it’s because he’s a hobbit…”

No,” The word was short and sharp that it had both of them tensing. “No, it’s not because he’s a hobbit… it’s because he’s a Prophet.”

Realization struck through Dwalin in the very moment the defeated tone of his King and the words registered properly, his mind flashing back to the caves where he told them all exactly… he was doomed to die for those he cares for, as all prophets have in the past. Sadness welled through the warrior as he took in his friend, the wrecked look that he had not seen since Frerin’s death… a look that was on Dís’s face when she had thought that Víli had died within the mine collapse.

“Look I know Thorin, I know… We all just want ye to be happy, and he could risk his life for any one of us, like the elf prophet… I can’t believe I of all people are sayin’ this but wouldn’t it be better to have had that love than not have it at all?” Dwalin asked with a cocked brow but didn’t wait for his King to reply as he moved over to the Ponies that Beorn was allowing them to take till they reached Mirkwood and began to saddle them.

In no time as well since the others began to make way out of the house, a sack on each shoulder and their bags for those who were able to keep hold of them. Kíli and Fíli instantly moved to their uncles’ side as they saw his stricken look, each with concerned eyes but wide smiles as they bickered with one another and pulled him into their shenanigans.

“You will leave my ponies before you enter the forest.” Beorn rumbled as he stepped out of the door. “They will not enter the forest and I do not want them to step a hoof in the darkness.”

“I will make sure they stay true to their promise Beorn,” Bilbo stated as he dropped the bag at the Pony he was pointed to and made his way over to Gandalf and Beorn. }}Is there anything I need to know personally?{{

A flutter of birds and the ominous sound of crows filled the air, gaining the attention of all three. “We are being watched.”

“Yes,” Beorn growled as he glanced at the edge of his home. “The orcs will not give up their hunt for the dwarves until they see them destroyed.”

“Why now?” Gandalf asked seriously. “What has made the Defiler crawl from his hole?”

Beorn stared down the grey wizard. “There is an alliance between the Orcs of Moria and the sorcerer of Dol Guldur. Packs have been seen gathering there. Each day more and more come. Fell things are drawn to his power. Azog pays homage to him.”

Thorin frowned over at the three, “Gandalf, Bilbo. Time is wasting.”

Bilbo cast a look between the two, there was more that needed to be said and he really didn’t wish to hear why Gandalf seemed troubled by the news of the necromancer and his ties with Azog. “There is more you are not telling.”

“Not long past word had spread that the dead had been seen walking near the high fells of Rhudaur,” Beorn muttered as he watched the Prophet make his way back to the others, ignoring how the Grey One paled.

“The Dead?”

“I remember a time when a great evil ruled these lands. One powerful enough to raise the dead. If that enemy has returned to Middle-earth, I would have you tell me when you know.” Beorn hummed, ears catching the sound of something just out of range, something that didn’t bode well for them. “Make sure you stay upon the path, the forest is sick and it corrupts those that live in it. Do not drink the waters, or eat the food. I have supplied you with enough supplies to last three weeks.”

The company nodded and Bilbo managed to get on his pony with the aid of Bofur, his green eyes glinting as he stared into the forest behind them. He could feel the danger that lurked there, his arm itching as the power of Vairë and Mandos worked together… they will need to hurry…

}}My thanks, Beorn, for your aid. May the Green Mother Bless you.{{ Bilbo stated with a slight head dip in respect.

}}Be safe little bunny, be watchful, the forest will eat you all otherwise.{{ Beorn replied as he swept his eyes over his lands once more. Growls in the distant with the familiar churning screech of Orcs. “Go now while you still have the light. Your hunters are not far behind.”

BB

The company noticed the change in Bilbo the closer they got to the forest. He sat hunched in his saddle most of the time with unseeing eyes; many have tried to get him out of the dark thoughts that tormented him… Bofur with jokes and lewd drinking songs, Fíli and Kíli with their own antics, Nori had tried to rile him up by thieving things from the hobbit but none could get through to him and the longer he stayed withdrawn from them all, the more of a thundercloud Thorin resembled.

But Bilbo could not hear the others, not over the screaming misery of the trees, of the plants and else they grew within the borders of what once was Greenwood. His mind was half of agony while another part was full of images of what the forest used to be in the old days before poison touched it… another part was stuck in Seeing what was waiting for them though they flickered past so fast he couldn’t register them.

He could see black ichor oozing from the trees and the feel of hunger knowing painfully in his stomach as shouts echoed. He could see white strung from brown leaves and twisted branches like lace at a Shire Wedding only instead of joy it brought more doom. Music and laughter followed by screaming and hunger, Glorfindel, iron and the shudder of the ring world.

Stay focused on the now Bilbo Baggins… A whisper echoed through the noise, brushing away all that was in his head and allowing him to hear the others around him.

“He won’t even eat…” Bombur.

“Just let him think…” Gandalf.

“…Uncle… worried… Bilbo.” Fíli.

“…dalf doesn’t know why… Óin can’t help…” Balin.

“Will he return?” Ori.

Bilbo will return when ready…” Bifur.

Light of all Lights.” The last one was Thorin, whispered painfully so and further away from the others but it struck something within Bilbo, broke a link to a shackle of what held him in his mind.

Go back to your Company Bilbo Baggins, they need you… The soft voice whispered once more and it said a lot that it took a moment for him to realise that it was Lord Irmo who had spoken, who cleared his mind from all that held it tight within its grasp.

He came back to reality with a gasp, his body aching and in the suddenness of his movement had his pony jerking to a halt that caused a chain reaction and Bilbo found himself tilting to the side, his weak hands dropping the reins and slipping from the Pony that bore him to the entrance of the forest.

He could see the darkness reaching out to him like tormenting hands. It loomed and breathed with its ill intent while the screams began to push through the walls that Irmo had placed, he wished to hurl and scream at the same time. This all passed within slow motion, his name was shouted by many but it was Thorin who had caught him in his fall, his arms coming up and wrapping around him. Their eyes locked for a moment, and oh… oh…

Thorin looked wretched but the relief shone through his eyes making them more vivid, a soft smile pulling at Thorin’s lips… Oh no… Bilbo thought, his heart sinking and yet floating away all at the same time. I think I lov…

“BILBO!” Kíli’s voice called out and shattering the spell. Thorin placed him gently down on his feet and steadied him before stepping back as his nephew raced over and pulled him into a hug, green eyes peering over and locking onto sad blue.

Bilbo had enough of his senses back to silently curse the youngling in his head for his poor lack of timing as Thorin broke the eye contact and turned to walk away once more in the same manner as he had the night before when Kíli interrupted them, leaving their conversation unfinished.

Damn it…


Author note: So this was supposed to be done by Christmas but I got really sick, chest infections suck btw… but what WAS supposed to be their entrance to Mirkwood turned into this… *builds up wall* another cliffy… sorry?

 

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