I have made a great mistake. A grave, and utter mistake. I don’t know how to begin, but I have this book with me still, and a pencil, though now I am alone and cold and wretched, and realize what a fool I was to encourage Kili in this. What a complete idiot I can be sometimes. I thought that everything would go well, in my blind optimism. Well, let me say, it is not. It is not going well at all, and I fear the end of things.
Last night, just after I finished writing, Fili stirred, and saw me stowing my journal with my other things in the pack.
“Mhm…” he breathed, rolling over, and sitting up ever so slightly. “Are you still awake?”
“Aye – but I won’t be for long.”
He put his mouth near my ear, his beard brushing my cheek. “I miss you.”
“I am right here,” I smiled shyly.
“I miss your touch. Your form beneath mine –”
“Hsh!” My face was hot. “We are in the house of my father. They may not be asleep.”
“Mm.” Fili lay back down, settling for pulling me within his arms and holding me there, comfortable, and warm. “Do you remember when we were in your house in Laketown? When we sat up by Kili’s bedside and talked?”
I nodded, my hair whispering against the blanket rolled up beneath us. “Aye, of course.”
“Your eyes…” He sighed. “I felt like I could drown in them, and yet they gave me strength. I feel we met at one of my weakest times.”
I soaked up his words, too sleepy to say much. “I admired you so,” I said at last. And as I don’t remember anything after that until morning, I suppose I must have drifted off.
The sun shone through the windows warm and sunny, and Kili was already up and about, even though no one else was, fingering his hair before the glass which hung on the wall and tugging at his clothing.
He turned at my stirring and saw my eyes upon him. “I am going today.”
After a brief breakfast, and our hasty goodbyes were said, Da and Bain went to their work, and Tilda set to gathering the washing to take to the lake (my what memories that brings!). Fili caught his brother by the arm.
“Be careful,” he began. “Perhaps we should all go, just to ensure peaceable relations.”
Kili snorted. “As if two dwarves are any more reassuring than one?”
“You haven’t the silver tongue I have.”
Kili rolled his eyes. “You needn’t remind me.”
“You’ll put your foot in your mouth and behave like a blithering idiot just to see your elf. If I go, it will be a proper visit.”
“If it’s a proper visit I won’t see Tauriel!”
I couldn’t stay out of the conversation. “If I go, then I could be the bridge between diplomacy and the need for womanly company,” I suggested. Fili looked at me.
“I thought you wanted to see the city.”
“Tis only one trip. I can see it tomorrow.”
“Are you up to it?” He looked doubtful. But I assured him I was, and so we readied ourselves (and for a reason Valar only knows I brought with me this book- I think I intended to record some of the wonders of the woodland realm, but I am so glad I did, for I did not know what would happen) and set out to begin the walk alongside the river up toward Mirkwood. It would have been quicker perhaps by barge, but Da was busy and we could not trouble him, so we went on foot. It was late afternoon by the time we arrived, but I hated to admit how tired I was because of course I was not the only one. Kili complained of thirst, and Fili looked hot and disheveled.
But it was within sight – a great gate that spanned the river, and a bright spot of unmistakeable red hair reached our eyes and caused Kili to breathe a sigh of relief. “We will be let through.”
“Don’t push your luck,” Fili murmured as we caught our breath alongside the rushing water and Tauriel hurried down through the shadow of the gate to meet us.
“Kili!” she exclaimed, looking at him and at us. “Fili – Sigrid…” She trailed off, taking in at a glance my state. “What are you doing here?”
“I could not stay away,” Kili began, his eyes ardent, but Fili interrupted, “Business with Thranduil. From Erebor.”
“And – Sigrid?” Tauriel met my eyes and we embraced hurriedly. “You are - well?”
I nodded. “Aye.”
“You must be exhaus-” she began, but then there was a cry from above, and the guard rushed down about us. The elf that had also come to our aid when the orcs attacked in Laketown approached, and spoke quickly in their language.
“Do you not remember them, Legolas?” she asked in a low voice, in Westron. “The nephews of Thorin Oakenshield.”
“And the girl?”
“The Lady of the Lake, now wife of Fili, prince of Durin.”
Legolas regarded us for a long moment, and asked in a clear voice, “What brings you to Mirkwood?”
“Business with your king,” Fili repeated, but he looked unconvinced. They spoke rapidly in their language again before he turned back to us. “We shall require proof.”
“My lord!” Tauriel exclaimed, her eyes catching Kili’s. There was fear there, and it made me feel cold. “Surely there is no need to –”
“Bring them before my father,” Legolas ordered. My father. The king. So he was the prince. Once he saved us, and I could only hope that he would again prove to be a friend.
I hardly had time to look about us at the fantastic place in to which we were ushered, and I soon realized I was alone with the two guards, and that Fili and Kili had been taken opposite directions from me.
“Please –” I began, resisting the urge to panic, my steps flaggering, for they walked so quickly, and I was tired. “Please – let me –”
“Silence,” one of them said, and then we stood before a pair of great doors which opened to a large chamber beyond, carven of twisted roots and fantastic shapes.
“You are by far the boldest fools I have ever had the misfortune to meet,” I heard, the voice coming to me before I had scarcely entered the chamber. Then I saw who it was – none other than the elven king, and whom he was addressing, and resisted the urge to cry out. Fili was on his knees between several of the elven guard, and Kili, bound, was kneeling as well before the king of the woodland realms.
“There was a third, your majesty,” the guard who had a hold of my arm spoke, and Thranduil looked up. I have heard many things of him, but never seen him until this time. He is a frightening figure, dreadfully tall, and with pale hair that falls beneath his shoulders, crowned with a wreath of twigs and leaves.
Fili’s head turned, and he opened his mouth to speak. “I beg of you,” he began, looking feverishly at our captors. “She has nothing to do with this, release her, let her return to the men of Esgaroth –”
“You will be silent!” one of the guards said harshly.
Kili set up a clamor. “But I will not! This is my fault, my doing, every bit of it. Let my brother and Sigrid go!”
“Sigrid…” Thranduil gave my name the queerest pronunciation I have ever heard of it by far. “Is this your name?”
“Y-yes, majesty,” I stammered, seeming to hear my voice as if it came from someone else.
“Daughter of Bard the Bowman?”
“How do you –” Fili began, but was silenced with a kick. My heart gave a lurch within me. I could hardly take in what was happening.
“Let me explain, please,” Kili begged. “I tell you, it was my fault.”
“Eager to be blamed? Singular,” the king mused, but Kili forged on:
“I made the plans to come at the first, and they only came at my insistence. This is not their matter.”
“But it is their quarrel.”
“I have no quarrel with you, king of the woodlands,” Fili growled. “Old resentment, perhaps, but nothing that would prompt-”
“And they tell me you intended to speak with the Captain of my guard? To compromise her?”
Kili’s face darkened with blood. “If I had such intentions, then let me be punished, and me alone.”
“But the hatred between our races?”
“There is no hatred between my race and yours.” My voice, again, as if it came from another’s throat rang in the room. Thranduil’s dead gaze looked upon me and it was all I could do not to melt into the floor on the spot.
“Daughter of Bard, you speak boldly for one of so little consequence.”
“My people were noble, you know this,” I said, tamely, I felt.
“More is the pity.” Thranduil stroked a finger down his nose and I could see Fili twitch. “If they were commoners I could dispose of you and keep the nobility here for ransom. As it is…”
“No!” Kili began. “No, let them leave, let them go and punish me for my own –”
“…I think the dungeon for all of them.”
“Please!” I shut my eyes, ashamed to find myself begging. I lowered myself to my knees, and felt a tear seep through my lashes and down my cheeks. “We only mean well…”
“Heirs of Durin never mean well,” Thranduil retorted, as if it were a well-known fact. “You, however, are more of a mystery to me. Why you should turn traitor after all the good I have done your people…”
“She is not a traitor!” Fili began, his voice rising. “She is innocent, I swear by my mother’s beard!”
Thranduil snorted. “How disgusting.”
“How dare you…” Fili seethed. “How dare you hold a woman here, a woman who is weak, and helpless –”
“Dungeon. Now.” Thranduil waved a hand.
“Look at her!” Fili vociferated. “Does she look as if she deserves a dungeon? She carries a child in her belly, by Mahal! She should be treated well!”
“Do I look as if I cared about such things?” Thranduil rose, his robe cascading about his tall, gaunt form. “Within her is the further spawn of your wretched race. I will be doing both of you a service.”
“No!” Fili shouted. “No, let her go!”
“Take them away,” Thranduil commanded, fluttering a hand. I felt dizzy, and couldn’t really see as two guards came forward and took me by the arms, all but dragging me from the room.
I am alone now, Fili and Kili having been thrown in cells far away from me, and each other, no doubt. This is a repeat of history for them, but for me, it is most wretched. I fear to think on the future. My lifetime is but a blink to the eye of an elf. I am such a fool. I only hope I am discreet enough to keep from being searched, and this book discovered. It holds no state secrets, but is my only comfort now. Valar, shield Fili, wherever he is.