Yavanna's Warriors

BY : LadyLaran
Category: Lord of the Rings Movies > Hobbit, The
Dragon prints: 8677
Disclaimer: I do not own "The Hobbit" nor do I make money from this story.

Author’s Note – I hope everyone likes this chapter. It took a bit to get this to come out properly!

 

Disclaimer – I do not own “the Hobbit” nor do I make any money from this story.

 

Chapter Sixteen – News and Rematch

 

Sitting on a branch, Bilbo leaned against trunk, idly nibbling on an apple he’d snatched from the kitchens as he watched the elf lord pacing. Something had upset Elrond, and the hobbit had a feeling it wasn’t just because of the dream their host had helped him to share. He suspected the wizards had something to do with it, but he wasn’t sure what it had been. Radagast’s presence in Rivendell only worried him since it was well known that the wizard did not leave his chosen territory often and had not been seen in the Shire for quite some time.

 

“Something troubling you, Bilbo?”

 

At the familiar voice, Bilbo looked down from where he was perched to spy the very wizard he’d been thinking of. He smiled, slipping down from the branch to land beside his friend.

 

“Worried that something is wrong,” he told his friend. “You haven’t been seen in the Shire for a long while, and now you’re here.”

 

“I am sorry, my friend, for making you worry,” Radagast said, sitting on the ground and patting the spot beside him.

 

The hobbit sat down, still holding onto his apple as he looked at the wizard he’d known all of his life. He could see the concern on his face and hoped that it wasn’t as serious as he feared.

 

“What happened, Radagast?”

 

“I know I usually make a trip into the Shire for supplies,” he answered. “However, something has started infecting the Green Wood. Plants and animals are dying from poison and darkness; there are webs, Bilbo, giant webs that block out the sun.”

 

“Spiders that size haven’t been seen in centuries,” Bilbo whispered, remembering the history he’d been taught by his family as well as the wizards whenever they came to visit the Shire.

 

“I know,” Radagast said, looking grave. “Yet these spiders are of the size of Ungoliant and must be her spawn.”

 

Bilbo shuddered, knowing that this kind of evil would kill any plant or animal. Ungoliant had played a large role in the destruction of the two trees, and it was well known that the webs from spiders descended from her would be of a similar size.

 

“This does not bode well for that area,” he murmured, looking at his friend. “You say this infection has begun in the Green Wood?”

 

“It has taken a strong foothold, and even the elves cannot fight it. The woodsmen in the area have changed the name of the forest to Mirkwood because light has difficulty getting through the webs. Even the waters have become tainted.”

 

“Merciful Yavanna,” the Tèarmunn exclaimed. “Radagast, do you know where these spiders came from? Ungoliant has not been seen for a very long time.”

 

“I traced the path back,” the wizard answered. “The darkness has come from Dol Guldur.”

 

It took Bilbo a moment to realize where he’d heard that name before, and a shiver went down his spine. This was troubling in more than one way, and he could see the fear in his friend’s eyes.

 

“You went to Dol Guldur? Radagast, what did you find?”

 

“Dol Guldur is no longer abandoned,” Radagast shared, voice too soft to be heard by anyone other than Bilbo. “I was attacked by what looked to be a Nazgûl; I was able to chase it away but saw something utterly evil. There is a necromancer there, Bilbo, and he is powerful enough to waken one of the Nine.”

 

The dread turned into fear; Bilbo knew what the Nazgûl were, and this was not a good thing. He chewed his lower lip, staring at his friend for a long moment.

 

“Has it left Dol Guldur, do you think?”

 

“Not yet,” the wizard replied. “I’m not sure it’s strong enough to do so yet, but it troubles me a great deal. I brought evidence to Rivendell for Elrond and Gandalf to see – a Morgul blade.”

 

“A simple sorcerer or wizard could not raise one of the Nine,” Bilbo stated, shaking his head. “When I asked Gandalf about it after one of my lessons, he said the Nine were buried in tombs that were heavily enchanted.”

 

“Now you understand my concerns.”

 

“I do indeed,” the hobbit answered. “Radagast, just how far has the infection of Green Wood spread?”

 

Radagast drew a rough map of the forest, and he showed his friend just how far the darkness had spread. It was sickening to both of them to see just how much of the forest was sick from the corruption emanating from Dol Guldur.

 

“I need to tell Thorin,” Bilbo murmured.

 

“Why would you need to do that,” the Istar asked.

 

“Our path takes us through the forest, through the heart of the infection,” the Tèarmunn replied. “We will either need to find another path or ensure we are prepared for what we will face.”

 

“You mean to retake Erebor,” Radagast stated, looking worried.

 

“We do, and it has the blessing of both our Mother and Father,” he told the other male. “Lord Elrond knows and is seeking to help where he can. I think I see why the quest has the blessings of the Valar.”

 

“How do you mean?”

 

Blue eyes looked into the blue-gray of the wizard as the warrior of Yavanna answered the question put to him.

 

“If the darkness continues to spread and this necromancer is more than we think he is, then keeping a dragon within reach is not wise. Smaug must die before the darkness reaches Erebor,” he told him. “There’s something else you should know too.”

 

Quietly, Bilbo shared the dream he’d been given and Radagast leaned back against the tree as he thought over the hobbit’s words. This was troubling, and something had to be done about it and soon before the darkness became too entrenched in Middle-Earth to be removed.

 

“The dragon must die and the Arkenstone must be destroyed,” the wizard agreed. “However, this new heart for the mountain will take some thinking on. If I come up with something, I’ll let you know. Just promise me you’ll be careful.”

 

“I will,” he said with a sigh, rubbing the back of his neck for a moment.

 

Thinking on Radagast’s words, Bilbo knew he would have to present all of this to his Parents and hope the Valar would have answers for him. This quest had become even more dangerous, and he wasn’t exactly sure he could keep his friends safe.

 

“Bilbo!”

 

Looking up, he spied Kili, Ori, and Fili approaching them. He smiled and introduced them when they were close enough, and the archer tilted his head.

 

“Are you the one that plays conkers against Bilbo?”

 

“I am,” Radagast answered with a chuckle. “I should have known better than to play against one of Yavanna’s Tèarmunn; they are blessed with better hand-eye coordination than the other hobbits. I lost a book to this one last time I played.”

 

“It made for a very nice read,” Bilbo teased, eyes sparkling with mirth.

 

“You still owe me a rematch, scamp,” the wizard replied, poking him playfully.

 

“I will happily oblige you; we just need to find a horse-chestnut tree first,” the hobbit said with a grin. “I’ve not seen any yet.”

 

“Southern most garden,” the Istar said, getting up when Bilbo rose to his feet.

 

“Well then, lets see if the tree is accommodating so we can have our rematch,” the smaller male answered, following Radagast’s instructions to the southern garden.

 

There were a few horse-chestnut trees there, but no chestnuts to be found.

 

“I guess this means you can’t play,” Ori asked, sounding disappointed as he and the other two had wanted to see what a game of conkers looked like.

 

“Wait and see, Master Dwarf,” Radagast said with a smile.

 

Bilbo shook his head, laying a hand on the trunk of one of the trees as he pushed a bit of his power into it. He could hear the exclamations of awe as the tree absorbed his energy and began growing the chestnuts needed for the game. Once the chestnuts were ready, he stopped and took a couple of steps back to eye his work.

 

“That was amazing,” Fili said. “We saw the trees react during your nightmare as well as what you did with the trolls.”

 

“I just loaned my energy and asked the tree for chestnuts,” the hobbit said, climbing the tree to find the conker he wanted.

 

It took time to prepare the conkers for the game and by the time they were ready, Kili had retrieved the company so they could watch the two play. All of them had heard of the activity before but had never played it themselves or seen it played.

 

“Since you asked for the rematch, you can go first,” Bilbo offered with a smile, holding the conker up as the string dangled from his hand.

 

Radagast wrapped the string around his hand several times and took a swing at the dangling conker. He missed, and it was Bilbo’s turn.

 

The hobbit didn’t miss as often as the wizard did, though the string tangled several times, and there was a rush of “snags” as both opponents tried to claim the extra turn. The two kept playing, breaking into laughter when the conker swung back to hit them.

 

Bilbo could hear the murmurs from the dwarrow as the game continued, and he finally won after a few rounds when his conker hit just right and cracked the wizard’s. Radagast shook his head, grinning at his small friend.

 

“Good thing we didn’t put any stakes on this or I’d be missing another book,” the Istar said with a laugh.

 

“True enough,” the Tèarmunn answered, chuckling as he did so. “You’ve been practicing; you didn’t miss nearly as often as you did during our last game.”

 

The Istar soon left, citing a need to chat with Gandalf and Elrond, and the others approached once the wizard was gone.

 

“That was amazing,” Bofur chirped, sitting on a bench as he did so.

 

“You were not joking about the hand-eye coordination needed for the game,” Fili said, shaking his head. “You say hobbit children play this game?”

 

“As soon as their parents deem them old enough, fauntlings are taught to play conkers and there are competitions during various festivals and parties,” Bilbo answered.

 

“Looks to me like a good way to put an eye out,” Oin said. “I can see older children playing this, but there’s still a large potential for getting hurt.”

 

“There’s always bruises,” the hobbit answered. “But we learn quickly to keep vulnerable areas guarded while playing. Hobbits were blessed with good hand-eye coordination, and conkers is one of the ways we train our fauntlings to work on that as well as keep in practice ourselves. My father could knock birds out of the tree from a fair distance, and it’s not unusual to see farmers and their families keeping stones in their pockets to chase off birds trying to nibble at their crops.”

 

“Sounds like a good way to train the younger generations,” Kili told his uncle. “Might find some long-distance fighters that way and get them started learning the bow when they’re ready.”

 

Thorin nodded, contemplating what his sister-son had suggested. Archers were not always considered to be good fighters by his people, but he had seen Kili do some amazing things with his bow and knew that having archers on the battlements of Erebor would come in handy in the future.

 

“Bilbo, when and if the opportunity arises, would you be willing to teach this game to the younglings? It would not only help with potential warriors but also any form of crafting could benefit from it,” the king-in-exile asked.

 

“I would be honored,” he answered. “Just come up with an age that will be right for them to learn, and I’ll teach them to play. In fact, since we’re waiting on the moon, I wouldn’t mind teaching the company if they want to learn.”

 

Quite a few agreed, interested in a new game, and as they discussed all of this, Bilbo went to Thorin and pulled him aside.

 

“When things calm down, we need to talk,” the Tèarmunn told the leader. “There’s some things I learned today that will have an impact on the quest.”

 

Thorin eyed the hobbit for a moment, seeing the seriousness on his face, and he nodded.

 

“It might be after dinner, but I will make sure to find time for this conversation,” he promised. “Just us or should I have Balin with me?”

 

“Balin helps you with planning,” he asked.

 

“Balin is my head adviser, and Dwalin is my Shield as well as the leader of my guard,” he answered.

 

“Bring both of them,” Bilbo answered. “You’ll need their input for this, and it’s best we have a plan in place before we leave Rivendell.”

 

“It’s that important?”

 

“Yes, it’s that important,” the other responded before slipping away to answer questions about the game he was going to teach them.

 

Thorin watched him go, feeling his stomach churning with anxiety. Whatever it was, it had to be crucial for him to know because he’d not seen that expression on Bilbo’s face before. He sighed, praying that this would not put his family at too serious a risk or hinder the quest.

 

 

Author’s Note – So I actually had to watch a video on youtube on how to play this game. Originally, I had thought it was made up but after some research, I found that conkers is a real game! Amazing what you learn when you’re writing fanfiction.



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