Luck finally seemed to smile down on Terrence, Shane, Beth, Taduesz, Kamilla, Frieda, Ophelia and Bertha. Just ahead they saw an opening towards the open water with another boat just ahead of them and a few more behind. By now most people had managed to get into boats and were loading injured people into some of the larger boats. The snow still blew through the air, mixing with the embers and ash from the fire. The smoke was now billowing almost a mile into the sky, obscuring many of the buildings.
Beth just happened to look to her left and saw the bell tower two blocks away. And there at it’s top was Beatrice firing arrows at Smaug as he passed by. A strange mixture of joy and shock went through her when she saw her mother.
“Mom!” she called out.
Everyone else in the boat quickly turned towards the tower in surprise and Terrence gasped in shock.
“Mom!” he called out “We’re over here!”
“Be quiet!” Ophelia demanded sharply “She can’t hear you!”
“What is she doing?!” Kamilla demanded.
The answer came when Smaug soared towards the direction the tower and they watched as Beatrice fired another arrow, this one aimed at Smaug’s chest. The arrow disappeared into the smoke as Smaug soared through it just missing the tower as Beatrice reloaded her bow. In the boat, everyone was perplexed when Kamilla exclaimed with joy.
“She did it!” she said “She hit the dragon!”
“But that can’t be.” Taduesz said.
“But she hit it’s mark!” Kamilla insisted “I saw!”
“Kamilla, her arrows cannot pierce it’s hide!” Taduesz pointed out sternly “I don’t think anything will.”
“Wow, you’re such a downer.” Bertha said.
“But we have to help her!” Terrence piped up.
“And how are we going to do that?!” Shane asked.
While they were busy arguing, Beth glanced towards the boats left again and noticed in a clearing between some buildings was the statue of the Lake-town master. Or rather what was left of it, with the entire top half of the statue entirely gone with only everything below the thighs remaining. What remained of it either had sunk or was floating in the water, being covered with snow. She noticed that the snow in particular had collected onto three boats that lined the boardwalk, the one in the middle looking as if some coats and nets were being buried in snowfall.
The boat she remembered stuffing the Black Arrow in.
It then clicked in her brain what she had to do. She decided then and there that her mother needed her help rather then the inverse. She turned directly to her brothers who had just stopped arguing at Frieda’s insistence.
“Terrence.” Beth said.
“What?” her little brother replied turning towards her with Shane.
“You stay with Shane, okay?” Beth continued.
“Why?” Terrence asked “Beth, what you plan-”
Beth didn’t answer and before Terrence could finish, she jumped out of the boat and managed to grab onto a nearby cargo lift and swung towards the boardwalk.
“BETH, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!” Bertha called out.
“BETH!!!” Shane and Terrence barked.
Beth didn’t answer, instead landing on the boardwalk and running towards the place where the boats were at dock, dodging some debris while she was at it. Her brothers, on the other hand, were beyond distraught.
“We have to go back for her!” Shane demanded.
“We can’t!” Taduesz responded “It’s too dangerous!”
“But she’s our sister!” Terrence insisted.
“I’m sorry but he’s right!” Ophelia said “We can’t go back for her!”
“But we can’t!” Terrence all but screamed with tears in his eyes as he looked to where Beth used to be on the boardwalk “Beth!!”
At this point, Beatrice was on her last legs. Every single arrow she’d shot at Smaug had bounced off his skin like a pebble skipping off the surface of the water. This hit her hard when she turned to re-load (having put her quiver down next to her feet) only to discover had only one arrow left. She hesitated for a few seconds as if she was afraid to reach out to it. But she decided she was being ridiculous and grasped the arrow just as she looked towards the skyline in front of her and saw Smaug circling towards the tower and towards her. She readied her bow as she drew it with the dragon drawing ever closer. She mentally counted from ten downwards and then fired her arrow. It went through the air like a bullet and then scraped the skin just under Smaug’s eye before falling away and disappearing into the smoke and fire.
Smaug snarled in irritation just as he passed the tower with the tip of his wing brushing against it. It wasn’t much but it was enough to knock Beatrice to her feet, chip a hole in the roof which allowed the snow to get in and to cause the bell to clang louder then before, swinging a lot faster as well. Beatrice turned to look behind her as Smaug roared loudly as he soared into the sky.
And so, for the first time in her life since the death of her husband, Beatrice started to lose all hope. She’d now fired every single one of her arrows at this dragon to no avail. It was like shooting a mountain that floated in the air at 120 miles an hour. Now he’d undoubtedly incinerated her children and possibly half the town. There seemed to be no end to his barrage of fire. Beatrice could only watch with most of the light having gone from her eyes with cuts and bruises on her hands and face with some of her hair becoming loose and dangling in front of her right eye. Her whole body trembled like there was earthquake going on as the cold air started to get to her with the snow falling like white rain that sought to quench the fire. Then as Beatrice was about to surrender herself to fate, Beth clambered up the staircase behind her and poked her head and shoulders up.
“Mom!” she called out.
Beatrice whipped her head around towards her daughter with Beth gasping softly at the sorry state her mother was in.
“Beth!” Beatrice said “What are you doing?! You were supposed to leave with your brothers!”
“Mama, I came to help you!” Beth replied.
“It’s no use.” Beatrice responded as her voice broke with tears streaming down her face “Nothing can stop that cursed thing now.”
“But this might.” Beth said as she held up the black arrow.
Beatrice blinked in surprise as she gazed at the giant weapon. Beth then made her way to where her mother was with her feet at the edge of the trap door. Beatrice grasped the black arrow with her right hand while she placed her left hand on her daughter’s shoulder.
“Sweetheart, you must go.” she insisted “Go back to your brothers.”
Beth was about to say something when she happened to look out behind her mother to see Smaug appear from the smoke, heading directly for the tower and his feet were raised like eagle talons.
“MOM, LOOK OUT!!!!” she screamed.
She ducked her mother’s head down just seconds before Smaug’s claws crashed into the tower as he soared above it. His claws wrenched the bell from it’s holding place and ripped the entire roof off, spreading snow and wooden debris everywhere. The tower shook and shuddered but surprisingly didn’t topple over. Beatrice and Beth then lifted their heads up towards the clouded sky dropping snow gently on top of them like a blanket. They then looked to each other with relief until Beatrice noticed the blood on Beth’s right arm just as Beth winced in pain.
“Oh Beth, you’re bleeding!” Beatrice exclaimed as she grasped her daughters arm.
Beth quickly looked to her right arm and sure enough she had a nasty cut on her arm that now stained her blue dress with blood. Luckily, it wasn’t a deep cut but that didn’t make it hurt any less. But as the two would soon find out, the grazed arm was the least of their worries.
Beatrice happened to turn to her left and saw Smaug lurch his body forward as he glided about three and a half blocks away and landed on top of some already charred up buildings with his claws digging into the boardwalk as the buildings collapsed under his weight. Beatrice took a deep breath then exhaled as she began to stand up on her legs with the Black Arrow slipping out of Beth’s hands as Beatrice grasped the weapon tightly. She then stood up all the way, proud and tall with the spear in her right hand and snow starting to collect on her hair and on the roofless tower, with her daughter looking up at her as her left hand clenched her injury.
“Beth, stay behind me.” Beatrice said boldly.
She looked defiantly at Smaug, who suddenly turned his head towards her with his fierce eyes glowing as red, orange and yellow as the fire. His eyesight was also amazingly keen for his size and he could make out Beatrice even from far away.
“Who are you that would stand against me?!” he demanded in his bellowing voice.
Beatrice didn’t answer but instead reached down and picked up her bow. But when she looked to her left hand, she was shocked to discover that save for the string, the bow was cut in half, with the bottom part just dangling lifelessly. Smaug apparently found this very amusing, as he slowly turned and began creeping towards the tower, step by step, with a sadistic, tooth filled grin on his face as he used the roofs of houses to balance his weight.
“Oh, now that is a pity. What will you do now…bow woman?” he gloated “You are forsaken. No help will come.”
Beatrice gulped as she looked around the platform looking for anything to tie the bow back together, as Smaug drew ever closer with the falling snow collecting on his body. It was then that he caught sight of Beth whose face was as white as a sheet.
“Is that your child?” Smaug asked wickedly much to Beatrice’s chagrin “You cannot save her from the fire. She will burn! Now…what say you?”
At first, Beatrice didn’t know how to respond, thinking briefly of just grabbing Beth and leaving. But then she remembered her ancestor, Girion. Everyone else had run from the fight but he didn’t. He stayed at his post, fighting the dragon even if in the end to no avail. And now here was Beatrice in an eerily similar situation. She knew what she had to do. It then clicked in her brain when she glanced back to Beth for a few moments and then she turned back to Smaug, with her courage suddenly building.
“As long as I draw breath…” she called out as loud as she could “…I will continue to fight you for as long as I am able!”
“If that’s what you wish.” Smaug laughed “Then I’ll give you the fight you’re looking for.”
Beatrice immediately looked to Beth and got down on her knees as she grasped both what was left of the bow and also the Black Arrow. Beth was perplexed by this as sweat dripped down her head. Beatrice then zipped her head up to her daughter and placed her right hand on her daughters left shoulder.
“Sweetie, I need you to move to where I was standing!” she ordered “But you have to be on your knees, understand?”
Beth nodded and quickly the two switched sides on the platform as Beth was now three feet from the edge of the platform with Beatrice then taking the two halves of the bow and jamming them into the support beams on either side of her daughter. She then motioned for Beth to grab onto the bow halves and she did so as, to her surprise, Beatrice rested the Black Arrow directly on Beth’s left shoulder, with both them down on their knees facing each other as Beatrice drew the bowstring and adjusted her aim as Smaug roared loudly as he got closer.
“Stay still, darling.” Beatrice ordered “Stay still.”
Beth nodded as Beatrice returned her attention to Smaug, whose whole body was now balancing on more sturdier buildings.
“Tell me…wretch…” he snarled “How now do you challenge me?!”
And it was then that Smaug made a fatal mistake. He lifted up his chest ever so slightly, but as he did so his chest started to glow and it was then that he inadvertently revealed the exposed flesh near his heart that Brianna had seen hours ago. His weakness was exposed. Beatrice almost felt like shouting for joy but instead stayed silent with a smug grin coming across her face.
“You have nothing left but you’re death!” Smaug bellowed.
And with that, he roared loudly with it cutting through the ash, smoke, ember and snow filled air like a knife as he then launched himself forward and actually started running atop the roofs. Beth couldn’t help but turn her head to see the titanic dragon moving ever closer.
“Sweetheart!” Beatrice barked suddenly “Beth!”
Beth zipped her head back to look at her mother, with the fire casting a glow on her and Beth’s faces.
“You look at me.” she said softly “You look at me, okay?”
Beth couldn’t give an answer but instead nodded as she shut her eyes. When she did this a single tear slipped out of her right eye. Beth had never been in a sorrier state. Along with the cut on her right arm, she also had bruises on her face and it was covered in sot. Her hair got in front of her face with her mother’s face being partially obscured by her hair as she opened her eyes.
“Now Beth, you need to move a little to your left.” Beatrice said softly.
Beth did as commanded and leaned ever so slightly to her left, with the sounds of Smaug’s thundering steps getting louder.
“That’s it.” Beatrice replied “Now hold still.”
Just seconds before she launched the arrow, Beatrice gulped one more time then exhaled as Smaug snarled and then launched himself into the air when he was just a block away, exposing his weak point even more. With no time left, Beatrice let go of the arrow and it flew out of her hands, off of Beth’s shoulder and speeded through the air like a massive bullet, cutting through the air before finally hitting Smaug directly in his weak point, causing some dragon blood to spill out upon impact.
The moment the arrow hit it’s mark, an explosive burst of agonizing pain shot through Smaug. His eyes grew bigger then they had before as the air suddenly started escaping his lugs. This sudden cardiac arrest caused him to swerve to the left side of the tower and to crash into all the nearby buildings, with his feet practically ripping the support for the tower apart. As it fell downwards, Beth and Beatrice grabbed onto each other just before it hit the water.
Smaug on the other hand couldn’t stop himself as he bulldozed through the buildings, destroying them and sending debris flying through the air before he grasped onto two buildings near the water’s edge with his wing claws and propelled himself into the air. But, unlike before, his flying was erratic and agonized. He roared in pain as he soon attempted to break through the smoke lair, his pain only getting worse and worse by the second. But what he didn’t know was where exactly the arrow had struck him. It didn’t just rip a hole into his heart causing blood to fill his lungs, it impaled the organ he used to make and contain his fire. He was literally being both burned alive and drowning in his own blood from the inside out.
The smoke only made it worse with his flowing into his chest causing him to hack and cough once he cleared the smoke screen. His roar was now a raspy, out of breath one as he attempted in vain to clear his lungs. Instead, he coughed up blood which dripped down out of his lips and nose as he turned his head toward the sky with the glow of the moon emanating from behind the clouds as his own mortality dawned on him.
“Damn it.” he coughed.
And finally the last of Smaug’s breath left him and he coughed one more salvo of blood as his body seized up and the fiery glow left his eyes. His lifeless body then fell down towards the lake as if it were weightless, joining the snow in it’s descent towards the burning wreckage of Esgaroth. And with a mighty whoosh the dragon’s body fell through the smoke screen and crashed onto the dock side of town, destroying any buildings under or next to him and sending small tidal waves of ice cold water onto that section of town.
After terrorizing the area for sixty years, Smaug the Dragon was dead.