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Traude quietly made her way into the room, feeling like she’d burst with joy any second. She sighed breathlessly as she looked up at the stone walls around her. It was like she’d traveled back in time to when she was a princess under the mountain by her father’s side. And now she had the chance to relive that dream. The rooms walls glimmered in the moonlight thanks to some exposed silver in place of cracks.

“T-Traude…” Barbara said from behind as her voice broke.

Traude turned to her friend, who had started crying. She put her hand on Barbara’s shoulder and smiled comfortingly.

“I know.” she replied softly.

The groups eyes then focused Brianna who stood quietly to the side. Brianna smiled shyly. She felt nervous having all the attention drawn to her.

“You did good, kid.” Bridget said smiling “You did good.”

“M-My lady?” Beate piped up.

Everyone turned and looked at Beate who had stepped forward and was now next to Brianna who was behind Barbara on her left side.

“I never had the chance to grow up in the mountain of our forefathers.” Beate continued “I guess what I’m saying is…may I enter first?”

“I don’t see why not.” Traude replied in a surprisingly soft tone.

Beate did as best she could to hold back her excitement. Even without Bertha being there, she still felt honored to be allowed to enter the mountain before the others. She hesitated for a moment, but then Brianna wrapped her arm around her shoulders and then the two of them walked into the passageway.

“I haven’t been in this mountain either.” Brianna said “So I think this is a new experience for both of us.”

Beate chuckled as she felt the walls while all the other girls crammed themselves into the passageway. All of them looked up in awe while Barbara and Traude looked like they were both about to start crying any second.

“I remember these halls.” Traude said “This stone. Don’t you remember, Barbara?”

“Yes.” Barbara replied “I remember. Chambers filled with golden light.”

“What’s that there?” Brianna inquired looking up at the doorway.

Everyone turned to where she was looking and saw above the doorway was a carved drawing of a throne with a stone hanging just above it. Above the drawing were dwarf runes that could be made out in the light provided by the moon and the silver embedded in the wall cracks.

“Ottilie?” Gerlinde asked “Would you be a dear and read that?”

Ottilie nodded and looked up at the writing, with her left hand rubbing her chin thoughtfully.

“It says ‘Here lies the kingdom of Durin’s Folk.’” she said “‘May all dwarves unite in defense of this home.’”

“That’s what it says?” Brianna asked.

“It would seem that way.” Nadja responded.

“Well, what’s that above the throne?” Brianna inquired as she noticed the stone in the drawing.

“That there is the Arkenstone.” Barbara replied.

“What’s that?” Brianna asked again.

“That, Mrs. Baggins, is why you are here.” Traude pointed out looking directly at Brianna.

Brianna looked back at Traude and then around her. Once again, all eyes were on her. Now she understood the burglar part of her involvement in this quest. She’d have to go into that tunnel and steal a jewel. Into a treasure room that no doubt had a maniacal dragon hiding or sleeping under all that gold. She sighed as she cracked her knuckles and looked back to Traude.

“No time like the present, I guess.” she said.


//////////


Fred yawned as he walked towards the horse stables at the edge of the bridge that led all the way from the lakeshore to the other side of town. There were about ten horses in the stables and two lamps hung on both sides at both ends of the building. Another man sat in a rocking chair near the front entrance, smoking a pipe.

“Well, close the books on that Byron.” Fred said “That was a slow day.”

“Sucks to be you.” Byron responded as he got up from the chair “Well, I better be heading home. Wife’s waiting for me.”

“You do that.” Fred replied “I gotta stand guard all night.”

He walked into the stables as Byron turned a corner at the right of the building. Fred went towards one pen where there was a brown horse with a black mane and tail. As soon as he approached the pen, the horse suddenly began to become very excited and backing away from the pen gate, neighing as it did so.

“Whoa, whoa, hey!” Fred barked as he put up his hands “What’s the matter with you?”

The horse continued acting strangely and soon the other horses began to do so as well. Suddenly, there was a splashing sound from outside. As if something heavy had fallen into the lake.

“Byron?” Fred called out.

No answer. But there was a creaking sound coming from all sides. More then one person was here. Fred wasn’t taking any chances so he quickly walked over towards the front entrance of the stables and drew his sword. He carefully walked out onto the boardwalk, the wood creaking every time he stepped. He looked around but no one was there.

“Byron?” he called out as he turned to his left “Where the hell are you?”

With an amazing amount of stealth, Bolg had crept up behind Fred and before Fred could do anything about it, Bolg grabbed his head and, with one twist and a loud cracking noise, snapped his neck. It was a feat in of itself considering Fred was almost as tall and bulky as Bolg.

After Fred’s lifeless body thumped onto the boardwalk, Bolg clicked his tongue. Immediately, the orc pack along with their wargs silently stepped out from both sides of the stables, having already dealt with Byron silently and efficiently. Three wargs, one of which was Bolg’s, approached the dead body at Bolg’s feet.

“Is this ours?” Bolg’s warg asked.

“Help yourself.” Bolg replied “But first, do you smell them?”

The warg obeyed and sniffed the air around him. The air was mostly filled with the smells of food, humans, dead fish…and something else.

“It’s faint…” the warg said “…but I smell them.”

“Excellent.” Bolg said smiling wickedly “Now feast.”

The wargs didn’t need to be told twice as they got to work ripping Fred’s corpse apart and devouring it, blood staining the boardwalk. Bolg then snapped his fingers and the rest of the orcs followed after him as they headed towards town, with only three other orcs staying behind to watch the wargs.


//////////


At that moment, Kamilla’s coughing fit had come back only now she was hacking more violently then before. Frieda sat by her sisters side, clutching her hand and unable to do anything to help her. Shane suddenly came over with an empty bowl while Ophelia returned with some cold wet rags.

“Have her cough until this.” Shane said.

Frieda moved Kamilla’s head over the bowl and she hacked into the bowl. But Frieda almost went white as a sheet when she saw blood emerge from her sister mouth along with mucus. Shane moved out of the way with the bowl as Frieda laid Kamilla’s head back on the bed while Ophelia moved in and draped one of her rags over Kamilla’s forehead. Beatrice was downstairs getting some medical supplies while Bertha, Beth and Terrence stood by and observed the situation, with Bertha feeling rather nauseous witnessing her friend in such a state.

“Can’t you help her?!” Frieda demanded.

“I need herbs!” Ophelia barked “Something to bring down her fever!”

“But she could be dying!” Frieda all but screamed with tears welling up in her eyes “I’ve never seen anyone with a fever cough like this!”

“Nor I.” Ophelia said.

It was then that she noticed the bandage still on Kamilla’s leg from yesterday when they first met Beatrice. It looked, however, very damp with a red spot in the middle. She then turned to Bertha.

“Bertha!” she ordered “Take off this bandage!”

Bertha did as instructed and began untying the bandage while Beatrice clambered up the stairs and headed to table with various herbs in her hands.

“Okay, let’s see…” she said as she sorted them out on the table “…I have nightshade, fever-few and placenta.”

“Isn’t placenta used in birth?” Frieda inquired.

“It is.” Beatrice replied turning to look at her “I grabbed it by mistake. You want me to put it back?”

“No, just leave it.” Frieda responded.

As Bertha finished untying the bandage, she flung it off Kamilla’s only for Kamilla to let out a yelp of pain as she grasped Frieda’s hand even tighter. Bertha and Ophelia then looked to Kamilla’s legs and stared in stunned silence for a few moments.

Kamilla’s wound was now inflamed and looking like it was turning red and brown. A tiny amount of blood was leaking out as well. The wound had clearly festered and the possibility of infection was all too real. Beatrice thought so too when she came over to see what was going on.

“No wonder she was acting the way she did.” Ophelia said “She must have been in constant pain.”

“Is she going to die?” Frieda asked in a heartbroken tone.

Beatrice, Ophelia and Bertha looked to her with a similar expression of sadness. Beatrice sighed a heavy, tired sigh.

“I’m afraid what I have can’t help her.” she said.

At that moment, Frieda could practically feel her heart breaking in two and shut her eyes as she covered her mouth with her left hand as she started to cry with tears slipping down her face. Ophelia immediately ran over and wrapped her arms around her in an effort to comfort her.

“Damn it, if only we had some Elvish medicine.” Beatrice muttered to herself.

“Wait a minute!” Ophelia barked having heard Beatrice “Kingsfoil!”

“What?” Bertha inquired.

“It’s a flower used for Elvish medicine!” Ophelia replied “Beatrice, do you have any?”

“I don’t think so.” Beatrice replied “It’s a weed we feed to the pigs.”

“Pigs?!” Bertha piped up “I think I saw some at a pig stall near the market!” she went on as she ran towards a nearby coat rack and slipped on her coat “I hope I’m not too late!”

“Where are you going?!” Terrence barked.

“To get the medicine!” Bertha replied as she opened the door “I’ll be right back, I promise!”

And then she shut the door as she hurried down the staircase and ran faster then she’d ever run before towards the marketplace, leaving the others behind to tend to Kamilla, all unawares of the orcs who were still prowling after them and were now at the town borders, moving in for the kill.
The Adventures of Brianna Baggins Chapter 55
I'll try to get these chapters uploaded faster I promise. 
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The girls spent what seemed like hours climbing up that dwarf statue. It was especially hard because it was built into the rock itself and there were surprisingly few places to grab onto. And by the time they finally neared the top, it was sunset. But reach the top they did. Traude and Brianna were the first to clamber onto the ledge and saw how there was enough space for everyone to fit without fear of falling off. Their shadows contrasted with the orange-brown color the sun cast on the rocks. Everyone else quickly followed up the makeshift pathway next to the dwarf statues gigantic stone head single file style.

“This must be it.” Traude said softly as she observed the rock wall before her “The hidden door.”

Once everyone had finally clambered onto the ledge, Traude triumphantly turned to them, beaming from ear to ear as she held out the key for everyone to see.

“We’ve done it girls!”  she proclaimed “Let all those who doubted us rue this day!”

The girls cheered happily as Traude put the key back in her dress pocket and the rest of the group headed to the rock wall.

“Okay, we have a key.” Daniela said as she scanned the rock wall “Which means somewhere there’s a key-hole.”

Traude, Barbara and Brianna turned to look at the sun as it continued setting, it gleaming off the lake in the distance. Due to all the land being flat, the sun was taking longer to set. Or it seemed to ass the girls had no sense of time. But then the girls heard the three words they didn’t want to hear.

“I can’t find it!” Daniela cried out.

“What?!” Traude barked in horror as everyone turned to look at Daniela who was against the wall “How can that be?!”

“It’s not here!” Daniela replied “All there is here is this damn rock and mountain grass!”

“But it said the last light of Durin’s Day will shine on the key-hole!” Brianna piped up “Isn’t this it?”

“I don’t know!” Barbara exclaimed “Nadja, do something!”

“I’m on it.” Nadja responded.

Nadja hurried over to the rock wall then put down her bag down, opened it and pulled out a small silver cup and a spoon. She put the cup against the rock, with her ear against the cup and she began tapping the rock with her spoon, hoping to tap against something metal. Daniela was beginning to lose her temper and was now kicking the door hoping in vain to kick it down. All it ended up doing was hurting Daniela’s feet and complicating Nadja’s own efforts to help.

“Stop that!” Nadja barked “I can’t hear when you’re thumping!”

“SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH!!!” Daniela roared.

Immediately after saying that, Daniela gave one last kick to the rock with her right foot and without warning injured her toe. She staggered away as she snarled in anger and almost fell over but her sister Barbara caught her.

“That’s what you get.” Nadja said as she put her equipment back in her bag.

“Traude, the light!” Bridget called out.

Everyone looked behind them and could only watch as the sun was setting faster then they’d thought. Now it was starting to go under the horizon.

“Break the door down!” Traude ordered in desperation.

“We can’t!” Barbara pointed out “The door can’t be opened by force! A powerful spell lies upon it!”

“Let me try.” Ottilie piped up.

She’d remembered one of her books in her bag along with her art book and she pulled it out as fast as possible. It was a book of dwarf spells her father had given her just in case the group would have need of it. Now seemed like as good a time as any.

Nadja stepped away from the wall as Ottilie stood before what she hoped was the entrance and recited the first spell that she came across. But when she noticed the light was fading quickly, she flipped through the pages and recited another, more complex spell. But it was too little too late.

The sun finally disappeared under the horizon and the sky began to turn from orange, yellow and red to dark blue.

“NO!” Traude cried out.

She moved over to the wall and shoved Ottilie out of the way. She turned her back to the wall and opened the map while a look of heartbreak came across her face.

“The last light of Durin’s Day will shine upon the keyhole.” she said as her voice broke “That’s what it says, doesn’t it? Did we miss something?” she continued as she looked to Barbara “Barbara, please tell me we didn’t miss anything.”

“We’ve lost the light.” Barbara replied shaking her head sorrowfully “There’s nothing more we can do.”

Traude couldn’t believe it. Their entire mission, her hopes and dreams of retaking Erebor, the hope of bringing her sister and whoever was left of her bloodline home again were dashed. Faded away like the light of the setting sun. Barbara could see the look of heartbreak on everyone’s faces but seeing Traude, the one she’d helped raise, look defeated and broken was almost too painful to bear. Traude turned away from Barbara and then without warning she slammed her fist against the wall and leaned against it, desperately trying to fight back the tears she could feel brewing in her eyes.

“B-But we were so close.” Ottilie suddenly said.

Barbara, Daniela, Brianna, Nadja and Dorothea looked towards Ottilie who looked almost as crushed as Traude.

“I’m sorry, lass.” Barbara said softly “You did what you could.”

Ottilie then to the ground and sniffled as if she was about to cry. Dorothea then wrapped her right arm around her sister. Barbara then began walking towards the walkway with Daniela in tow.

“Come away, girls.” she said “It’s over.”

All the girls then began muttering amongst themselves and quickly began following Barbara as she and Daniela began climbing down, much to Brianna’s dismay.

“W-Where are you all going?!” she demanded “We can’t give up now!”

The girls didn’t listen to her but continued trudging away. Not even Beate listened to Brianna, which shocked her almost as much as what happened next. Brianna turned to see Traude still leaning against the wall only now she’d pulled out the key and was holding it in her left hand. She then turned, walked a few feet away from the wall and then let the key slip out her hand and land in the mountain grass.

Brianna almost gasped in shock. Traude was the last person she’d expected to give up. Seeing her friend like this was one of the most painful things she’d ever seen. Traude silently began to follow the others as she shoved the map onto Brianna’s chest as she passed.

“Traude, no!” Brianna practically begged as she held the map in her right hand and grabbed Traude’s hand with her left hand “Don’t leave!”

“Don’t you see?” Traude said in a surprisingly soft but saddened tone as she turned to Brianna “The journey’s over. You can go home.”

Brianna blinked in bafflement as Traude turned away and her hand slipped away from hers as she walked away. But Brianna wasn’t ready to except defeat. Not when they’d come so far and endured all the danger they’d faced. No, she was their burglar and that meant she had to find a way in, even if it took all night. She thought about this as she began pacing around the now empty ledge and put the map in her pocket. They must have missed something. It said something about the last light of Durin’s Day, some thrush knocking on a rock…wait…that’s what Edyta had said in Rivendell when she read the map.

“Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks.” she had said.

The thrush! Brianna thought Where is the thrush?

Suddenly, some light began to show behind Brianna, causing her to look down and it was then she noticed her shadow had returned. But how? The answer came when she turned around and saw the now full moon glowing brightly in the cloudless night sky.  It illuminated the rocks around her as she stared up in wonder. Something then flew right past her and Brianna whizzed her head around and a massive came across her face almost instantly.

A little brown thrush had landed on a little tiny rock near the rock wall and it had a snail in it’s beak. It then began knocking against the rock wall rhythmically and Brianna turned all the way around and began laughing happily.

“The thrush!” she barked “But then that would mean the moon…”

As if on command, something began glomming in Brianna’s right eye. She whizzed her head in that direction and it was then she saw it. Partly covered up by some growing moss was a small hole and the moonlight was gleaming off some metal on the sides of the hole.

She’d found it. The keyhole of the hidden door.  

She excitedly ran over towards the dwarf statute’s gigantic head and looked down to see the girls were still on their way down. She threw down her bag to the ground next to her and zipped it open. She muddled through it until she found a flare, one of eight which had been given to them in Lake-town before they left. She lit the thing up and it glowed bright red with a flame of the same color emanating from the top. She then looked back down and thankfully the girls hadn’t moved very far.

“I FOUND IT!!!” she called out as loud as she could while waving the flare in her right hand “COME BACK!!!”

The girls seemed to notice the flare as they stopped and looked up at Brianna who still wove the thing around.

“How?!!” she heard Beate faintly call out from down below.

“IT’S THE LIGHT OF THE MOON!!!” Brianna loudly replied “THE LAST MOON OF AUTUMN!!! HURRY NOW!!!”

Briana laughed with joy as she threw the flare over the edge of the cliff and then zipped her bag shut before she wrapped it around her right shoulder. She then ran to the door hoping to find the key at her feet. But it wasn’t there.

“Oh no.” she sad to herself as she began searching “Where’s the key?! It was just here!”

She turned to her left when her foot suddenly knocked the key free from it’s hiding amidst the mountain grass and moss and she watched as it bounced off a rock and towards the edge. But in the nick of time, Traude’s foot landed on the string attached to the key before it could go any farther. Traude reached down and picked it up with a look of wonder on her face. She looked then to Brianna and smiled softly. She walked over towards the door while the other girls stood to the side having made their way along with her. Time itself seemed to freeze as Traude saw the key-hole and then placed the key inside it and turned it to which it was followed by the sound of something clinking and whirring behind the door.

Everyone looked I awe as some hidden runes around the door suddenly appeared in a glowing aqua color. They were written on the sides and above the door. Traude hesitated for just a moment, as she took in the fact that they, against all odds, had succeeded. She took a deep breath, exhaled, then placed both her hands on the door and with all her might she pushed against it. The stone door slowly opened up with a creak and soon a perfect square shape that was wide and big enough for everyone was before them.

The gateway to Erebor was opened.
Gillian made her way down the stairs into the courtyard. The leaves blew against her shoes like snow as the fog returned and began concealing everything twenty five feet ahead of and behind her. She kept the glowing light emanating from her staff just in case and it helped her see a little better.

All of a sudden, there was a creaking sound from the railing above her near the stairs and she turned her head around to see what it was but again saw nothing. She cautiously turned her head back to where she was originally looking but ever since entering this fortress, she’d had the feeling someone was watching her. But she could never see who was watching her. Unbeknownst to her, her theory was correct.

A rather short figure climbed silently onto the railings. His hands were bandaged as were his bare feet. He wore a tattered hood and cape and had a cloth wrapped around his mouth. His eyes were a sickly yellow and he had short-cut but messy dark hair. As soon as he was sure Gillian wasn’t looking, he leapt of the railing and then landed on Gillian’s back.

She was thrown forward by the impact and briefly dropped her staff and sword. She turned to see the figure pull out a knife from seemingly out of nowhere and swiped it at her but she dodged it quickly. She then grabbed her staff just as the figure lunged at her again but when he caught hold of the staff, Gillian turned around with such speed and momentum that the figure was thrown almost fifteen feet and slammed into a rotting wooden door which broke in half and he vanished into the darkness.

Gillian took hold of her sword, sheathed it, then grabbed her staff and made a beeline for the nearest door. She thwacked the door open with her staff and as soon as it flung open she ran inside. It was pitch black but the open door provided extra light. She stopped half-way through the room, panting while she tried to catch her breath. But her heart almost stopped when the door suddenly slammed shut behind her and everything went black except for the thirty foot wide circle of light she was in.

She tried to stay as quiet as possible as the sweat dripped down her face and she grasped her staff tighter than she ever had before. She held out her staff in front of her as she turned around and caught glimpse of some dirt-covered, bandaged bare feet but in less than half a second they vanished into the darkness with whatever had attacked her growling like an animal. She backed away a few feet only to hear that snarling noise again and she whizzed herself and the staff around and managed to catch a glimpse of the figure’s cape as it vanished into the deathly blackness around her. Gillian stepped into the middle of the hallway and tried to catch her breath again, only for something to run past her at lightning speed and brush up against her dress.

Gillian then resumed running forward, hoping that she’d find a way out and the light emanating from her staff being her only source of light. But she couldn’t run for very long because she was old after all and so she stopped. That snarl suddenly came back and she turned her staff round only for whomever it was vanish into the dark as soon as the light came into contact with them. She backed away a few more paces but then froze.

There was no more sound.

As brave a wizard as Gillian was, she never felt more afraid in her life then she did during that agonizing minute of silence. No sound of the wind or of dirt between someone’s toes or even of her attacker. Just empty, lifeless silence. She felt herself shaking from head to foot and her staff shaking along with her. Her heart felt like it’d explode any second with the hairs on the back of neck all standing on end. She gulped nervously as she looked around. Nothing but the dirt and stone at her feet.

“H-H-Hello?” she asked breaking the silence.

As if in response, her attacker suddenly lunged at her, screaming as he did so, and tackled her to the ground but she kicked him off and he smacked onto the dirt, his knife getting lost in the darkness. He snarled in anger and lunged back at her bare-handed but Gillian held up her staff and he grabbed it instead of her. With a surprising amount of agility for her age, Gillian threw the attacker to the ground and pinned him down her staff and her left hand. Before the attacker could do anything else, Gillian smacked her right hand onto his forehead and without hesitation began reciting something in quenya.

Her attacker snarled angrily, his hands closing into fists onto the floor. Gillian didn’t stop but instead repeated the same spell more fervently. To her relief, the attacker slowly stopped growling as if he himself was exhausted and Gillian sighed as if a big weight had been lifted off her chest as she gently moved her right hand over the persons face but stopped right at the cloth covering his mouth. She ripped the cloth off, threw it to the side and also threw back the person’s hood but her eyes grew as big as dinner plates when she saw her attacker’s full profile.

He wasn’t an orc as she’d suspected but rather a dwarf who’d apparently shaved his beard, leaving only what looked like a five o’clock shadow. He opened his eyes and the yellow quickly faded away to his natural brown color which was the color of his hair. It then clicked in Gillian’s brain who this was.

“T-Thrain? Son of Thror?” she asked “Is that you?”

“Gillian?” he asked in a gruff voice.

Gillian chuckled in disbelief as she stood up while Thrain sat up and felt the soil in his hands and let it slip through his fingers.

“A lifetime.” he said as he looked up to Gillian “I’ve been here a whole lifetime.”

“Everyone thought you were dead.” Gillian said “It’s a miracle to see you’re alright.”

Thrain, however, was busy with his thoughts. Little by little, memories of his past life began to return. And he was putting the pieces together. He stayed silent for a good long while as he tried to grasp what was going on.

“I had a son and two daughters.” he said hesitantly “Frerin, Dis and…Traude.”

“Yes.” Gillian replied smiling “And you’ll see your daughters again. But come on, we must leave.”

She reached out her right hand for Thrain to take, He did so and she lifted him up and they began heading back the way Gillian came. Thrain remained quiet for a good long while until they reached the door. He opened it and dim light poured into part of the room along with a lot of fog. As they walked out into the fog, Gillian looked to Thrain who was still silent.

“Are you alright, my friend?” she asked with worry.

“Y-Yeah.” Thrain replied “I’m just trying to piece together what has happened while I was gone.”

“Well, what’s the last thing you remember?” Gillian inquired.

“Let’s see…the orcs had taken Moria. We were at war.” Thrain responded “My son had been slain. I was surrounded.”

He stopped for a moment as Gillian cleared away some fog as they turned a corner, revealing another staircase ahead of them which lead to another crosswalk. Gillian then turned to Thrain who had a look of fear on his face.

“Azog the Defiler was leading them.” he said “I tried to fight him. And he threw me to the ground.”

“Then what?” Gillian asked.

“I don’t know.” Thrain replied “That’s where the memory stops.”

“What about your ring?” Gillian asked in concern “The one on your right hand.”

Thrain had completely about that ring of his. It’d been passed down from generations of dwarf kings. He then lifted up his right hand…only to see, much to his and Gillian’s horror, that his middle finger was completely cut off.

“They took it.” he said in a soft but terrified tone.

Gillian then noticed the bandages on his hands and on his feet. He was in an even sorrier state then she thought.

“What have they done to you?” she demanded.

“I didn’t tell them, Gillian.” Thrain responded “They tried to make me but I didn’t. Have you kept them safe? The map and key?”

“Yes I have.” Gillian replied “I gave them to your daughter Traude. Now come on. Let’s get out of this death trap.”

“There is no way out!” Thrain barked as he pointed to the left wall “They will stop you!”

Gillian was perplexed by who ‘they’ were but turned to left and saw some gnarled roots starting to move and writhe on the wall and they seemed to reach out towards her. But Gillian was shrewd enough to remember that nothing grew in this fortress except the thin kudzu weeds. She then smacked her staff onto the ground and the roots suddenly evaporated away in a cloud of dust and it dissipated some of the fog. Thrain was surprised to say the least.

“It’s an illusion.” Gillian said “Nothing more. Now let’s be going. You have two daughters waiting for you.”

“I can’t go back.” Thrain said as his voice broke and he turned his head to look at the ground “I’ve already lost my father and my son. Look at me!” he went on as he looked up at Gillian “I’m a disgrace! I’d shame my daughters.”

“I don’t agree at all.” Gillian said as she placed her hand on Thrain’s shoulder “You’re children will be beyond happy to see you again. Traude especially.”

“Where is she?” Thrain inquired “Where is Traude? Is she safe?”

“Yes indeed. You’d ought to be proud of her.” Gillian replied smiling “She’s taken up the quest to reclaim Erebor! The dwarves will have a new queen!”

“NO! You can’t let her!” Thrain bellowed in shock as he backed away slightly from Gillian “Traude cannot go to Erebor! No one must enter that mountain!”
The Adventures of Brianna Baggins Chapter 53
Holy cow this chapter took an eternity. Hopefully it was worth it. 
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Dorothea sat her arms her arms around her legs whilst Ottilie sat nearby drawing a sketch of the mountain and the area around it which included Dale. Dorothea had seen Ottilie draw since she was eight but it never ceased to amaze her how fast her sister could draw. Brianna sat down next to Dorothea and then took notice of something close to Dale. There was a slope on the mountains right side that merged into one of the nearby hills in which there was a beautiful waterfall that had a river flowing under it which curved around the entrance of Erebor and stretched all the way to the lake which could be seen behind the girls in the distance. Next to the waterfall was a large fortress that, like Dale, was in a terrible state. It stood proudly like a silent knight guarding the ghost city of Dale.

“What’s that there?” Brianna asked as Dorothea turned to face her “Next to the waterfall.”

“Ravenhill.” Dorothea replied “Not much of a sight compared to the mountain.”

“I think it looks fine enough.” Brianna said.

Dorothea chuckled softly and then reached into her dress pocket and clutched something in her hands, close to her chest. Brianna grew curious over what she was clutching so tenderly.

“What’s that you got in your hands?” Brianna inquired.

Dorothea felt a tad embarrassed about Brianna asking her such a question. But she knew she could trust her so she opened up her hands and in her hands was a single red rose.

“It’s lovely.” Brianna said “Where did you get it?”

“I picked it up in Beorn’s garden.” Dorothea replied softly “As a keepsake.”

“You kept it in your pocket all this way?” Brianna pointed out.

“No. It was in my bag most of the time.” Dorothea responded “I only put it in my pocket when we left Lake-town.”

“Don’t want to forget your beau?” Brianna said.

Dorothea almost gasped and felt her cheeks burn red from her blushing. It didn’t help that heard Ottilie snicker from just behind her. She thought it was her private secret. But the more she thought about for those few seconds of silence, the more silly it sounded. And after all, she hadn’t exactly been subtle about her feelings.

“Am I that obvious?” she asked.

Brianna nodded and Dorothea moaned with embarrassment and looked to the ground. But when she looked back up to Brianna, she wasn’t laughing at her. In fact, Brianna was smiling rather smugly.

“So…um…is that another reason for the rose?” she asked.

Dorothea nodded. “I know it’s sounds silly but I felt sorry for that poor man. He’s been through so much. And I wanted to help him. So…” she paused for a second, beaming from ear to ear “…yes that’s why I have the rose. So I can remember him.”

Brianna was surprised by how affectionate Dorothea spoke of Beorn. Too Brianna, he seemed like a reasonable but intimidating fellow who apparently transformed into a vicious bear. But it seemed Dorothea saw more in him then the others did. Brianna then remembered something herself and then reached into her own pocket and held out an acorn in her right hand much to Dorothea’s surprise.

“I know it’s not a rose but I found it near the trees in his yard.” Brianna said “So consider it my keep sake.”

Dorothea chuckled softly while they both looked at the acorn. Brianna sighed a rather disappointed sigh.

“To be honest I have no idea what to do with it.” she said.

“I’m sure you’ll think of something.” Dorothea said happily “You got us out of prison after all.”

“Alright, girls!” Traude suddenly called out “Up on your feet! We’re going into the mountain!”

Traude, Dorothea and Ottilie (who had just finished her drawing) got on their feet, grabbed their bags and weapons and then began down the hill, resuming their journey towards the mountain. And the dragon that lay inside it.


//////////


After two and a half days of travelling, Gillian and Ramona arrived at the borders of Dol Guldur via Gillian’s horse and Ramona’s sled. But judging by the weather, you’d never know it was late afternoon. The entire fortress and almost the whole area was completely shrouded in a thick, dense fog that obscured all but the very tops of the crumbling towers. Ramona and Gillian were currently at the edge of the bridge which lead into the fortress, only being able to see the first forty-two feet or so of the bridge. The dead, leafless trees certainly didn’t help when it came to the eerie nature of the place.

“Well, here we are.” Gillian said “Is this where you came in?”

“Yes.” Ramona replied “But now I can barely see anything because of this fog.”

“I think this fog might be intentional.” Gillian pointed out “A spell of concealment lies upon this place. Which means our enemy is not yet ready to reveal himself.”

She then turned to Ramona who in turn looked back at her.

“He hasn’t regained his full strength.” they said simultaneously.

“Right then.” Ramona said as she began to step forward “Let’s get this over and done.”

“No.” Gillian said sternly as she stopped Ramona “I’m going in alone.”

“What?!” Ramona barked “But you could get killed!”

“I’m aware of that.” Gillian replied “But I don’t think this is a place for you.”

“But I went in there and came back alright!” Ramona insisted “I can help you! I can fight!”

“I don’t doubt that you can defend yourself.” Gillian said softly “But you are still young. And there might be more dangers in there then just ghostly figures.”

“Oh.” Ramona said with disappointment in her voice “I understand.”

It was painfully clear to Gillian that Ramona really wanted to help but Gillian knew that she couldn’t. But then she remembered that there was a way she could help and keep herself out of danger.

“But…” she said as she put her right hand on Ramona’s left shoulder “…there is one thing you can do.”

“Alright, how can I help?” Ramona asked smiling.

“I need you to alert the other members of the White Council.” Gillian replied “Tell them where I am and what I’m doing. On no account must you come back.”

“Not unless I have the other members?” Ramona inquired.

“That is exactly right.” Gillian responded “Now go quickly.”

Gillian then walked towards the edge of the bridge as Ramona turned to make her leave and began to set foot on the bridge when Ramona turned back to Gillian.

“Wait, Gillian!” she called out “What if it’s a trap?!”

Gillian stopped where she was but didn’t turn around and instead sighed.

“It’s undoubtedly a trap.” she said “Now please do what I asked you to.”

Ramona nodded, then turned and made her way back to her sled. Once she was sure she was gone, Gillian sighed one more time in order to relax herself. The atmosphere of the place was making her nervous. She moved her staff to her left hand and muttered something in quenya, the language of wizards. She then drew her Glamdring with her right hand and then ventured towards the abandoned fortress and soon vanished into the fog.  


//////////


The girls were now in a secluded part of the mountain that was where the hill where the waterfall Brianna had seen began. They looked around them, now at the foot of the mountain itself. But the hidden door was nowhere to be found. Daniela and Gerlinde came back from searching a few feet away having also been unsuccessful in finding the door.

“Did you find it?” Traude inquired.

“Nothing.” Daniela replied.

“We looked everywhere.” Gerlinde added.

“If the map is true, then the hidden door lies directly above us.” Traude said.

“Well, where do we look?” Ottilie asked.

Brianna had kept to herself and remained quiet. She was busy looking at the beautiful scenery around her as she felt the snow and dirt under the her feet. There was another smaller waterfall just behind her and the girls which flowed from an underground lake to out of a small cave and streamed down into the river. But then Brianna looked straight forward and looked up.

Before her and the girls was a massive dwarf carving that was almost the height of an entire castle. But when she looked closer she noticed a platform like place between the statues head and the nearby rocks that seemed wide enough to hold everyone.

“Up there!” she called out.

Everyone looked to where she was and noticed it too. Traude chuckled as she wrapped her left arm around Brianna’s shoulders.

“You have keen eyes, hobbit!” she laughed.

“That looks like quite a climb.” Nadja said.

“Well then, we’d better get started.” Traude ordered “Come on. Before sunset begins.”


//////////


Gillian had never been in a place like this all her life. As she walked through the fortress, there was an almost deathly silence. Just the sound of the wind blowing through the open air. All the windows were completely gone and the fog flowed through the windows and collected at Gillian’s feet all the way up to her knees. She then walked out onto what appeared to be a ledge but the fog was obscuring her vision.  But it was nothing a little magic couldn’t fix.

“The evil that is hidden hear…” Gillian said in quenya as her voice echoed across the empty fortress “…I command it to come forth. I command it to reveal itself!”

And with that she smacked her staff onto the ground and a bright light flashed from the top of the staff. The fog suddenly dissipated, revealing that she was on a ledge and a courtyard was before her. The fortress was in a worse state then Dale or Ravenhill, with entire sections of wall gone or holes in some. While leaves littered the ground, nothing grew at all, say for some kudzu weeds here or there.

Suddenly, Gillian thought she heard the sound of something moving behind her and whizzed her head around to look, only to see the empty, dark hallway behind her. Assuming the fortress was just getting to her, she ignored the noise and resumed her search, reciting the same chant she’d done a few moments earlier. Unfortunately, her voice was attracting unwanted attention.


//////////


Near the foot of the fortress, Azog, the orcs and wargs hid in silence, with Azog’s white warg steed standing right beside him. They heard Gillian’s rather loud chanting and looked up as she continued to do so, her voice fading in and out.

“The wizard has come.” Azog said.

“She’s lifting the spell, master.” the white warg snarled “She’ll find us.”

“Yes…she will.” Azog replied as he smiled a disturbing, gnarled smile “Unless the prisoner finds her first.”
The Adventures of Brianna Baggins Chapter 52
He he Dol Guldur. The mystery continues. 
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Immediately after finishing her speech, Julie groggily trudged her way home that early afternoon with her daughter next to her. Bernadette, Edwin, Mushu, Bradley and Jeff were behind them (being their personal guard and all) as they reached Julie’s house. Amanda was quite ecstatic to say the least.

“Oh, you were wonderful mother!” she said happily “The entire town’s twittering our names! And not a single riot!”

“Yes it was pretty clever wasn’t it?” Julie replied smugly.

“Now what do we do?” Amanda inquired.

“We wait, darling. And either the dwarves are successful and we make a pretty penny…” Julie responded as she neared the staircase “…or old Smaug dines on dwarf tonight.”

“But they’re out of our hair, right?” Amanda asked.

“Exactly.” Julie said.

“Wait!” cried out a voice “Please, wait!”

Julie and Amanda had just started up the stairs when they turned and saw emerge into view Bertha, Frieda and Ophelia with Frieda carrying an unconscious Kamilla.

“My sister is sick!” Frieda exclaimed “We need some medicine!”

“S-Sick?! I-I-Is it…in…infectious?!” Julie barked between coughs “Amanda! Get…get them away! N…Now!”

Julie started hacking like a dying cat and Susan rushed from inside with a water pitcher and a tray, placing them on a nearby table near Julie’s porch rocking chair.

“Took you bloody long enough!” Amanda said glaring at her.

“Apologizes, my lady!” Susan said as she helped Julie up the stairs.

“Oh, stop saying you’re sorry!” Amanda barked angrily “Help my mother, damn it!”

“Please!” Ophelia begged “Our friend might die! We need medicine!”

“And you!” Amanda roared to the shock of everyone nearby as she turned around “Shut your yap!”

Ophelia backed away in shock to the other girls while Bernadette and the other four guards kept quiet and observed the situation. Julie, meanwhile, began chugging down water like she hadn’t drunk anything in days. Amanda flicked back some loose hair but kept her annoyed and angered glare fixed on the girls.

“Do I look like a bloody doctor?!” she growled “Can’t you see my mother is ill herself?! We need that medicine for her! And when she’s not sick, she’s a very busy woman!”

“B-But you must understand.” Bertha pleaded.

“And haven’t we given you enough?!” Amanda went on cutting Bertha off “We’re not made of money! Now leave my mother alone!”

Amanda turned away and climbed up the steps the way angry people do. Bernadette sighed an exhausted sigh and her and the rest of the guards began crowding around the girls.

“I’m sorry.” Bernadette said “Her ladyship’s orders.”

“You just let her bully you like that?” Frieda demanded.

“I have no choice.” Bernadette replied “Now rung along before you make the situation worse.”

The girls took the hint and left quietly. Bernadette and the rest of the guards left towards the armory, of which Bernadette’s home was close by. Amanda in the meantime patted her mother on the back, causing her to burp which made Amanda chuckle a little.

“Feeling better?” Amanda asked in a surprisingly soft tone.

“Yes.” Julie replied “Much better.”

“Do you want breakfast, my lady?” Susan inquired.

“You’d better believe it.” Julie responded “Go with the cook and make us some waffles will you?”

Susan nodded and then went inside. Amanda then took the tray which had the half-empty water pitcher and the empty glass and followed her mother as they headed inside.


//////////


Beatrice quietly cleaned the dishes from her and her children’s breakfast that morning while her children sat at the table relaxing. Beatrice was currently wearing a pink dress with the rest of the gown from her thighs down was a dark purple and black stripped hem covered up by the apron around her waist. Her hair was tucked back into a bun rather than loose as it was yesterday.

As for her children, Shane was reading whilst Terrence fiddled with a pencil and Beth brushed her hair.

“Mom, what if the dwarves come back?” Beth asked as she turned her head around “We could have enough gold to buy a new house or move to Rohan!”

Beatrice turned her head to look at her children whilst she continued to clean, a skill she’d become quite good at.

“You know when someone says something’s too good to be true?” she said “That’s because it usually is.”

“So…they lied to us, mum?” Terrence asked innocently.

“Well, I don’t know about that.” Beatrice replied “But I don’t want to find out what comes afterwards when they enter the mountain.”

“We could have at least said goodbye to them at the docks.” Shane piped up.

“You just wanted a kiss from the injured one’s sister.” Beth said rolling her eyes.

“Her name is Frieda!” Shane barked.

“Do not shout at the table!” Beatrice ordered “Beth, apologize to your brother.”

Beth sighed with embarrassment. “I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted.” Shane said.

There was a sudden knock at the door much to everyone’s surprise. Beatrice quickly turned off the kitchen faucet and walked towards the door, drying her hands with the apron as the knocking continued only louder.

“I’m coming! I’m coming!” Beatrice exclaimed as she arrived at the door.

She then opened it and gasped in shock when she saw Bertha, Ophelia, Frieda and Kamilla there right at her doorstep. Dwarves. The last thing she wanted to see, especially after being mocked by Julie yesterday.

“No. I’m done with dwarves.” she said sternly “Leave me and my family in peace.”

“N-No, wait, please!” Bertha begged as she stopped Beatrice from shutting the door.

“Please, you must listen to us!” Ophelia said.

Beatrice sighed and finished Bertha’s job of opening the door.

“Alright, what’s wrong?” Beatrice inquired.

“No one will help us.” Bertha replied “Kamilla’s sick. Very sick.”

Beatrice was about to say something when she heard Kamilla cough a brief but nasty sounding cough. She’d heard that kind of cough before. When Terrence was sick with the flu. But this sounded worse. She then walked over to Frieda and felt Kamilla’s forehead. It was very warm. Too warm. She then looked to Ophelia and Bertha who stood to the side, clearly worried for their friend.

“How long has she been this way?” Beatrice asked.

“Since yesterday evening.” Ophelia replied.

Beatrice then looked back to Frieda, who looked like she was going to cry. She could tell that this dwarf’s sister meant the world to her. As much as she didn’t like Traude, Beatrice knew she couldn’t just leave these girls out of her porch. It was Julie was doing nothing to help them. So Beatrice decided to rectify that.

“Get inside.” she said.

Beyond thankful, the girls rushed inside as Beatrice shut the door. Beth, Shane and Terrence quickly moved out of the way as Frieda and Ophelia placed Kamilla gently on the bed near the door.


//////////


The Lonely Mountain was magnificent to behold. It stood tall and proud like a snow-capped, rocky castle. It seemed to pop out of the ground like a tree and it could be seen for miles and miles. When the girls landed at the shore across the lake, Traude was almost brought to tears. She never thought they’d make it this far. But they had. And were now closer to their goal than ever.

All around the mountain was nothing but flat prairie with golden brown grass, gently swaying in the wind. The only real highland other then the mountain were some small hills. It took almost all of the afternoon to cross from the lakeshore where they landed to the hill closest to the mountain that also provided a view of the area ahead.

As they headed up the hill, Brianna looked around her. It was a very beautiful and peaceful scenario. But that’s what was strange. It was too quiet. Not a single bird sound. Just the wind howling through the air and the girls footsteps. Barbara then took a moment to sit down near Brianna and catching her breath.

“Doesn’t it bother how quiet it is?” Brianna asked her.

“More then you know.” Barbara replied “But it wasn’t always like this. Once these lands were lined with pine forests near the entrance of Erebor. And it was filled with bird song.”

“Does that include thrushes?” Beate asked as she walked up to the two.

“Of course.” Barbara responded as she stood up “Why?”

“There’s one right there.” Beate said pointing to her left.

Barbara and Brianna looked to where she was pointing and sure enough there was a thrush that had just plucked a worm out of the dirt and soon fluttered off. Traude then approached the three girls with the rest of the group in tow.

“Good news, girls.” she said happily “We’re making good time. We should be at the slope of the mountain in no time.”

The girls finally reached the top of the hill and gasped with awe. Before them on the slopes near the mountain, in the center of the grassy field, was a large city. The buildings looked broken and old, growing no higher then two stories, with the exception of a rather large one that seemed to be about three stories tall. The walls covered up most of the buildings, but like the buildings themselves it was clear they were crumbling and were in need of repair.

“W-What is that place?” Brianna asked.

“It was once the city of Dale.” Daniela responded from next to Brianna “Now it is a ruin.”

“Smaug caused all that?” Brianna inquired.

“Yes.” Barbara replied “Never underestimate the power of dragon fire.”

“We’ve no time to dwell on that.” Traude said “The sun will soon reach late afternoon. We’ve got to find the door before then.”

“But isn’t this the overlook?” Brianna asked turning to Traude who was just behind her “Gillian said to wait her here.”

“Yeah, she’s right.” Dorothea piped up from just behind Daniela “I think we should-”

“Do any of you see her?” Traude demanded.

Everyone looked down at the field and sure enough there was no Gillian. Just an abandoned, ghostly city and a seemingly never-ending grassland.

Brianna sighed. “No. We don’t see her.”

“There you go.” Traude said “Take a breather. We’ll rest for a few minutes then we must be on our way.”

The girls did as instructed and sat down on the top of the hill, the same cold wind still blowing in the air.
The Adventures of Brianna Baggins Chapter 51
The journey continues. And so does my trudging as I write this thing. 
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Today marks the third year in a row for me here on deviantart and also on FiMFiction! And I would like to thank all my friends and followers for liking my stuff and being so supportive. I am truly blessed by God to have such great commentors. :). May God bless you and may you have a happy new year! 
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Jabberwocky1996
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I am a born again Christian and film and pony nerd. I'm a now 18 nerd looking to be noticed.
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