Beyond the Shire

In Regards to an Adventure

Laughter and greetings filled the air as the two dwarves were welcomed into the kitchen, and ale was served instead of tea, being their preferred choice of drink after a long travel. These two Ísbel definitely did not recognize after a period of thought; the other dwarves that had visited Bilbo in the past were much older, war-worn dwarves that told tales of battles even before they reclaimed Erebor and their king was once again the King Under the Mountain. They certainly did not look like the kind that had fought too many battles.

Both Fili and Kili were equipped with fine blades. One carried a bow and arrow with a sword and dagger, and the other an array of impressive blades. The instant her fingers found their blades, she found herself wondering what kinds of creatures and men their blades had seen. Even Bilbo had spared a few details about those he met on his journey except for the creature Gollum, which seemed to her a large enough example of an abomination.

“Mr. Baggins I do not remember it being this much of a journey,” Fili stressed, pausing for a long drink of ale, “to get to your little hole in the ground.”

“Aye, there were plenty of complications along the way,” Kili smirked, “There were the ponies and then there weren’t no ponies, all Fili’s fault mind you-” He was cut off with a swift punch in the side from his brother, “-and then you see we couldn’t quite remember our way much about the Shire. We’d forgotten how small it was.”

Fili shot his brother a look, “You’ve left out the part where you got us caught in the middle of a pack of orcs.”

“Gandalf, I might have gotten a good way with a company, but with these two...” Bilbo’s eyebrows were furrowed in frustration. He’d once again grown angry at the old wizard for coming to his Hobbit hole suggesting adventure. He was remembering the feeling of peril that leapt into his stomach the first time Thorin had stepped foot into his home to request he help them defeat Smaug.

“The young princes are merely an escort out of the Shire,” Gandalf took a sip of his tea, “and you might think yourself in very much gratitude for your experiences if I am not mistaken.”

“But this is different! Do you understand the dangers-” Bilbo began, but was soon cut off.

“Excuse me, but it hardly seems we know anything about what exactly it is that you’re asking of me,” Ísbel piped in, taking a new interest in her own pint of ale. She had thought the warmth of the ale would warm her faster on the inside than the tea her uncle had made. Her cheeks flushed at her sudden interruption, and the two dwarves were studying her keenly now. Fili and Kili both thought her a determined Hobbit like her old uncle, but saw her more handsome, soft features and a hint of her free spirit.

“My dear it does seem we haven’t even scratched the subject,” Gandalf raised his eyebrows, “If Bilbo weren’t so stubborn we could quite be in the thick of it by now. But here, look.”

From under his grey robes Gandalf produced what looked like a very old and warn piece of parchment, etched with the seal of some writing she could not make out. He carefully unfolded to reveal a map. Far and distant lands echoed across the surface; woods, mountains, plains, and rivers spanned what seemed like a mass far greater than the Shire. There were markings on the map, some older than others, that looked as if they had ben made by the hands of men and elves alike.

“Here is where you will be traveling,” Gandalf pointed to a point on the map quite far from the Shire labelled Minas Tirith, “searching for someone who will be hard to take your help, but needs it all the same. A Ranger of the North who calls himself Strider and is the son of Arathorn.”

“And why exactly is he in need of help from a Hobbit and a pack of dwarves? This is senseless I tell you! Even I have not travelled that far!” Bilbo cried. It was true that he had only journeyed into east to the Lonely Mountain, which seemed a less long and toilsome path than what lay between the Shire and the ends of Gondor. Mountain passes, cities, and forests seemed much more in abundance on this route.

“It is simply a matter of yours that has created this opportunity. He is a great friend of mine and only needs for the most part what I do-”

“And what is that pray tell-”

“Peace, my great friend Bilbo. And you will not have it until what you woke under the Misty Mountains comes to a resolution!” Gandalf suggested, growing solemn with each word. Ísbel could not quite make out what he meant by what Bilbo had woken under the Misty Mountains, until she remembered the story of the magic ring that he had found in the dark, accompanied by riddles and the creature Gollum. There was a great silence that had overcome the room in the wake of the conversation. “Now is your turn to speak Ísbel. The choice is yours to accompany a few great men in their accomplishments.”

She looked to Bilbo, “I have been wondering what it’s like beyond the Shire for some time now, and I would like to be able to live some of the stories like you have told me, Uncle. There’s a whole world out there waiting and-”

“I’m afraid you won’t find it green and spotted with fields of flowers,” Bilbo explained. He had grown too weary of Gandalf’s words and found himself too tired from these short goings about that he simply could not continue in his argument against the old wizard. “You will find yourself in situations where it takes some great Hobbit sense and not to mention courage to make it through the wilderness. There are creatures beyond this place that would rather like to see you as a meal than be your friend.”

This time Kili piped up, “There are often friends that are stronger than enemies to be found in Middle Earth, and she might be small but we could teach the lass how to fight.”

“If you do recall there were some great fighters in our company,” Fili suggested, raising an eye to Bilbo. He sat silently, studying the way the flames danced in the hearth.

“It is your choice to make, Ísbel, and you can’t be guaranteed to make it again. Bilbo understands that leaving the Shire can perhaps be the greatest change in your life, and also the best. But it is also the most dangerous, and sometimes we must face what is different to understand what is familiar. I will not pretend that you will have a journey filled with the absence of perils,” Gandalf finished. He removed himself from the chair he was seated in and left the room to look out the window leading into the front garden.

It was then that she completely understood the whole of what Gandalf and the young dwarves were asking of her. A shrouded future would lay ahead of her, with nothing concrete if she agreed to leave. She might perhaps never return to see her uncle or the rest of her cousins, nor might she ever feel the comforts of what it’s like to be at home. But she knew that there would hardly be a scratch of excitement besides an occasional birthday party if she did not go. She liked that idea much less at the moment.

“I won’t deny you the opportunity to go,” Bilbo broke the silence, “so whatever you decide cannot possibly rest on my shoulders. I would rather see my niece happy than see her stuck here. After all, you do have more Took in you than I do.”

Ísbel nodded, and turned her attention back to the map, unfolded across the table.

“I brought a sword for you lass,” Fili smirked, rose from the table and disappeared out into the hallway where his cloak and weapons stood up against the wall. She raised her eyebrows in confusion.

“We knew you wouldn’t say no,” Kili chuckled, “the wizard said you had a fire even greater than that of your uncle.”

Back into the kitchen Fili brought with him a small, but a mighty sturdy and long sword for a Hobbit, wrapped gently in a cloth and laid it before her. She hesitated before letting her fingers loose it from its bindings. It was magnificently sheathed and encrusted with jewels she had never seen before. Sharp were its edges but it was light in weight. There was nothing she could compare it to that was as beautifully crafted.

“What’s it called?” She inquired, running her delicate hand over the blade.

“Only once before by the hand that made it has it been called the Dragon’s Sin.”
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There you have it, chapter two! I actually wrote this in a frenzy and it isn't as graceful as I would have liked to have done it (no worries, editing will happen eventually), but I went to a class today on the Hobbit and it got me so ramped up I had to post something. You are all so lovely for the recs and support! Thanks for being fantastic. :)