From the top of the rampart, the company watched Bard speedily away on horseback.
The concern and disapproval of Thorin's decision was evident on Arya's face, who leaned against the cold stone between Fili and Kili. The blond, noticing her state of mind, took her hand sympathetically, while his brother, put a hand on her shoulder, letting out a sight. All three youngsters had thought the same thing: it was a foolish choice!
"What are you doing? You cannot go to war."
Bilbo exclaimed behind them, addressing the sovereign.
"This does not concern you."
He replicated quietly, looking down on him.
"Excuse me, but just in case you haven't noticed, there is an army of Elves out there. Not to mention several hundred angry fishermen. We...we are in fact outnumbered."
The hobbit pointed out with a sarcastic tone.
"Not for much longer."
Thorin replied, as a slight smirk appeared on his lips.
"What does that mean?"
Bilbo then asked, confused.
"It means, Master Baggins, you should never underestimate Dwarves."
The King asserted solemnly.
"We have reclaimed Erebor. Now we defend it."
He continued, turning to the rest of the company, and then descended from the bastion.
Arya was no longer able to restrain herself, she let go of Fili's hand and hurried to follow the sovereign down the stairs. Once she got to the bottom, she stood and called his name.
"Thorin! Thorin, this is madness!"
Hearing her cry, the dwarf stopped walking, but he did not look at her.
"You gave those people your word! You promised them you would have helped them in their hour of need, you swore on your honor! We swore it, Thorin, I vouched for you. Now they need help and you're turning your back on them! "
The woman went on with ardour. The King eventually turned, and took a few steps in her direction.
"Yes, it was nobly done, and I am truly grateful, but the treasure in this Mountain does not belong to the people of Lake-town. This gold is ours, and ours alone. With my life I will not part with a single coin. Not one piece of it."
He stated firmly.
"All of you! To the armory! Now!"
He then ordered the dwarves, who had followed the conversation from above.
Arya moved quickly towards one of the side corridors: she needed to be alone for a while, she would not have been able to endure that atmosphere for much longer.
Fili and Kili rushed down the stairs to reach her, but a voice behind them stopped their running.
"Let her be. Let her go."
Bilbo told them, sighing. The two brothers listened to him and watched the woman disappear, swallowed by the shadow of the tunnel, before following their companions to the armory.
Arya slowed down only when she was sure to be far enough from the dwarves. She had no idea where she was and she didn't know where she was going, but as long as she stayed away from Thorin and his madness, she was fine. How could he have become so greedy, so stingy, so insensitive? How could he not notice the suffering and despair of the people of Laketown, or the sorrow of his own kin in seeing him in that state of mind? At the moment, all he cared about was his beloved gold. He was ready to go to war to defend his treasure, regardless of the consequences. He was endangering the lives of his friends, of his nephews, only for bloody coins! Lives that, by the way, were already at risk: another war was brewing, but he was too blind to see it.
Arya continued to walk aimlessly, overwhelmed by her emotions, until she decided to stop. She opened one of the many doors that overlooked the corridor where she had found herself and entered. She must have reached the royal apartments, she thought, noting the massive four-poster bed in the center of the left wall of the room, covered with a blanket of a rich night blue fabric, with gold embroidered edges and the Durin coat of arms in the center. On the opposite side stood a huge carved stone closet. The skill of the dwarves was really incredible, she told herself, observing the runes engraved with precision on the doors, flanked by gems and precious stones. Arya did not know how long she had been enchanted in front of that work of art, probably quite enough, because all of sudden the door behind her opened wide making her jump.
"I found her! Fili, Bilbo, I found her!"
Kili shouted, with one hand still leaning against the jamb.
The woman murmured, turning around.
"You! Do you have any idea how long we've been running in this endless maze in search of you?! We'll have opened at least a hundred doors! We were worried sick, we couldn't find you anywhere anymore!"
The dwarf exclaimed, before running to embrace her, lifting her from the ground. The girl laughed slightly, returning her friend's hold.
Fili breathed a sight of relief, entering the room and taking his brother's place. The woman relaxed in the arms of her beloved, then raised her eyes and saw Bilbo smile at her.
"I didn't want to alarm you. I just needed a moment alone."
She then apologised, stepping away from the blond.
"A moment? You've been gone for hours!"
Kili joked, getting a nasty look from his brother and the halfling. Arya, instead, looked at him confused.
"I didn't think I'd been gone that long, I'm sorry."
"You don't have to apologise, it's understandable. Thorin has been quite intractable lately, you needed to relieve the tension."
The hobbit gently replied.
"Come on Kili, I think Arya's in good hands now."
He continued, turning to the young dwarf who, sensing his friend's intentions, nodded.
"We'll see you in the morning."
The hobbit ended, addressing the girl and Fili, at her side, who smiled.
"And try to get some sleep, among the other things, okay? At least a few hours!"
Kili told them, chuckling, before rushing out followed by Bilbo.
"I swear, one of these days I'll make you regret being born so impertinent!"
His brother yelled at him, while Arya laughed. Fili moved forward to close the door, then turned to look at the girl, who had now gone back to staring at the closet with a gloomy expression and glassy eyes.
"Arya, talk to me, tell me what you think."
The dwarf gently murmured, approaching her.
"I'm scared, Fili. I'm scared of what lies ahead. Thorin wants to start a war with the elves over a stupid treasure and is blinded by madness to see that the true enemy is another."
She finally bursted out, turning to look at him.
"You mean the necromancer Radagast was talking about?"
He asked her, being understanding and concerned at the same time.
"I'm afraid he's not a necromancer..."
She whispered in a trembling voice, lowering her gaze.
"So...what are you saying?"
"Legions of orcs from Moria have been seen gathering at Dol Guldur, under the command of Azog, the Ungoliant have been sent to haunt Mirkwood, the Trolls have come down from the mountains...these creatures only respond to one name, that of Sauron."
She explained, in a gloomy tone, looking the dwarf in the eye again.
"You really think he's back, don't you?"
"Yes. Yes, he's back. And now his focus is on this mountain."
Fili nodded thoughtfully, then moved closer and took her hands, holding them lovingly between his own.
"Arya now listen to me. If Sauron is back we'll fight him, we'll face any threat, any danger, together. Thorin won't stand idly by if an army of orcs shows up at the gates of Erebor!"
The firmness and resoluteness in his voice reassured the girl, who hinted at a smile. She really hoped he was right, but something told her that, even in front of Azog's legions, Thorin would not flinch if his treasure wasn't in danger.
"It's gonna be okay, Arya. We'll get through this."
The dwarf whispered gently to her. She nodded and smiled again, leaning her forehead against that of her prince.
"You should rest now though, you need to sleep."
Fili asserted shortly after, slightly moving away from her face, but continuing to hold her hands.
"I'm not tired."
She immediately replied.
He continued, with a mischievous smile that began to take shape on his lips.
"Not a bit, but I think you might be."
She joked, trying to escape his grip, but in vain.
"Me? Tired? Aye, let me show you how tired I am!"
The dwarf exclaimed, before taking her waist, lifting her up and putting her on a shoulder.
"What the hell? No! Fili! Fili! Put me down! Put me down!"
She laughed at him, punching him lightly on the back.
"Immediately, My Lady!"
The dwarf joked, laying her on the bed and standing astride her.
Arya smiled, while a sly and mischievous glint lit up in her eyes. She lifted slightly, tying her arms behind the dwarf's neck, until she touched his lips.
"You want a war, huh?"
She whispered before capturing them in a kiss as sweet as impetuous and passionate. Fili, eager for her, tasted every inch of that wonderful mouth, while surrounding her shoulder, to bring her closer to him. Arya untied his heavy armor, dropping it beside the bed, then moved her hands in his beautiful golden hair, which she could not really resist.
Once they bot were both breathless, they parted and the woman settled down again on the soft mattress, with her gaze lost in the blue eyes of her prince. Fili took a few moments to admire those intense grey irises of which he had fallen madly in love, then he lowered slightly, holding on a forearm, and began to leave a trail of warm kisses along her neck, while his free hand ran fast along the curves of her body. The dwarf concentrated on an area of skin, savoring it with increasing intensity and passion, and thus causing silent moans of pleasure from the girl who, while biting her lip in an attempt to restrain herself, kept braiding her fingers between the prince's blond locks. Fili lifted up his satisfied face, capturing her lips again, kissing them with longing, as if his mouth had been on fire and had just found the water to extinguish them, as he continued to explore that wonderful body.
The dwarf realised that he could no longer bear the fabric that prevented him from perceiving the softness and warmth of his beloved's skin, so he parted from that overwhelming kiss and sought her eyes, while his hand lingered on the laces of her bodice: he was asking her permission, he wouldn't have done anything against her will, and he would have understood and accepted her rejection, after all, they weren't married, hell, he didn't even courted her properly!
Arya smiled at the sweetness of that gesture, and nodded slightly, beginning in turn to undo the prince's tunic. The dwarf was happily surprised by the naturalness of her way of doing, in her eyes there was no hint of hesitation. Arya loved Fili, she loved him with every sense of her being, she wanted to be his.
Soon the two were free from all clothing and surrendered to a night of intense passion, shameless greed and immense pleasure.