Hilda Greenhill's Diary, 8th Entry

The trail wasn't difficult to follow because of the clear tracks in the snow, but it was bitterly cold. Frost had formed in my hair. I don't know how anyone could survive in it and it felt like I was lost in a frozen landscape. I began to question the wisdom of leaving Thorin's Gate, but I decided to keep my opinion to myself for the time being. If Kili showed any sign of sickening from his healing wound, then I would make him go back. He didn't seem to be as relaxed as we rode as he had been on the way to Thorin's Gate. He became less talkative the longer we rode until he became silent altogether.

When the sun was at it's highest in the sky, we stopped and broke into the supplies. We also made a small fire in an attept to warm up a bit. Kili did not look well, I observed as we ate.

"How are you holding up?" I asked. "I'm fine," Kili replied, though from the expression on his face, I could see that he wasn't.

"You aren't. You should let me take a look at it."

I ignored Kili's protests.

"It's reopened," I said, showing him the blood on my hands. Before he could respond, there was a low growl emitting from behind me. I turned to look as Kili pushed me aside, picked up his bow and laded it. A group of three bandits were bearing down on us. Kili fired off an arrow and hit one of them. I, being neither harmed, nor learned in combat, could only watch. Trotter's hackles were firmly raised as he snarled at the on coming bandits. Kili managed to get off another shot, which also hit its intended target, but there was no time for him to load and fire his bow a third time. Kili dropped his bow and drew his sword. Kili and the final bandit locked swords but I could see that it was a fight that Kili was unlikely to win. The wound was taking its toll on Kili's strength.

I wasn't even thinking about doing anything, I just reacted. It is difficult to describe what happened, or how or why the idea came to me. In a moment, I was on Bungo's back and shouted to Kili to move aside as I directed the pony towards the bandit to trample him. The bandit didn't stand a chance as blood, slush and mud sprayed up from the ground as he was crushed under Bungo's hooves. Kili had only just managed to out of Bungo's way and he looked up at me on the pony from where he was sprawled on the ground. I don't know who was more astonished, myself, or Kili.

I slid down from Bungo's back as Kili got to his feet. All he could say was "Thanks."

"Who were they?" I asked as Kili examined the one I had trampled.

"Bandits from the lands south of Bree, by the looks of it," Kili said. "They sometimes come into the mountains to attack the villages in these parts. Almost as much a nuisance as the orcs and wargs. Sometimes, they even ally themselves with the orcs."

"Do you think that these were?" I asked.

"No. Just bandits out to rob travelers, most likely. I guess a lone dwarf and a hobbit look like an easy target," Kili replied.

We checked the other two to see if they were dead or just wounded.

"This is interesting," I heard Kili say when we examined the first one he had shot. "Looks like it wasn't random after all."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Remember the man Nori tried to steal from? That's him," Kili winced. The bleeding had intensified.

"I should see to that wound," I said.

Reluctantly, Kili agreed.


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5