Kili's Journal, 2nd Entry (Translated from Dwarven Runes)
Continued from the last entry.
It was dusk by the time we arrived at the sole traveler's inn on the road to Thorin's Gate.
On the way, I had learnt that the hobbit's name was Hilda Greenhill. It was unusual to find hobbits this far from the Shire. I suspect that there is an interesting story there but I will wait until it looks like she is up to it before asking. She was quiet much for much of the time, only talking if I or Fili asked her a direct question.
The weather had worsened all day and as it was unlikely that we would have made it home for some time, Fili and I decided that a stay at the inn would be a good idea until there was an improvement in the weather, Uncle Thorin catches up with us, Hilda feels up to traveling (if we had stayed out on the road, I am sure that the weather would have finished what it had started), or we ran out of money - which ever happens first.
I saw to the ponies and Hilda's horse while Fili and Hilda went inside to get warmed up, order food and ale and to get rooms for us. Hilda's dog was also allowed into the inn as long as he didn't cause trouble, and kept to the "dog-shelf."
On reaching the stables, I found that there was only one other animal there, a magnificent horse that looked like it had the blood of the herds of Rohan running through its veins. I removed their tack and ensured that they had enough fodder and water to last the night. They were too damp to brush down - the mud and filth would come off more easily once it had dried. I finished up in the stable and went outside. I was just about to go in search of respite from the cold, when I heard a commotion up ahead. A dwarf was fleeing towards the stables with a man on his heels. I recognised the dwarf.
He almost ran straight into me. I drew my sword. The man was irate and shouted a string of obscenities which are unrepeatable here.
"Back off," I said.
"That thieving scrounger stole my gold," said the man.
I gave Nori a dark glare. I knew better than to ask Nori if it was true. "Give it back to him, Nori," I said.
Nori was about to protest. "'Av I 'eck as -"
"Give it back!"
"Oh, al'rate," Nori said, producing a bulging bag of gold and giving it to me. I passed it to the man. He still looked like he wanted to spit Nori on a stick.
"I am Kili, nephew of King Thorin Oakenshield of Thorin's Gate," I said to the man. "This dwarf is one of my people and under my protection." I think the man got the point and I sheaved my sword.
With great reluctance, Nori accompanied me to the inn.
"Tha ain't gonna dob me in ta Dori, ah tha?" Nori asked,
"You're lucky I don't cut your fingers off myself, you tea-leafing git," I growled.
When we entered, the innkeeper insisted on us handing over our weapons so that they could be locked away until it was time for our departure. I didn't like it and I doubted Fili liked it either, but the innkeeper said it was either that, or go back out into the winter weather. I just hoped that the orcs didn't decide to come this way as we'd be ill prepared to face them.
The inn was almost deserted. Aside from Fili, Hilda, Nori and myself, there was only one other traveler there - a man who had the look of a ranger about him. As it wasn't the man who had been chasing Nori, I decided to take no notice of him and walked over to the table Fili had chosen near the fireplace.
"Look who I met outside," I said to Fili.
"Hello Nori," said Fili.
"We may be in for some trouble," I told Fili and hastily explained to him what had happened outside. We both warned Nori not to do anything which could lead to trouble while we were at the inn. Mainly because we didn't know how long the snow storm was going to last and how long our stay would have to be.
I took my coat off and hung it up with Fili's and Hilda's to dry. Nori just sat down in a spare chair at the table. Hilda's dog lay snoozing under the table, his head on his paws. I sat down next to Hilda, making sure that the entrance door was in sight. Fili had ordered me a pint of mead while I had been seeing to the animals and dealing with Nori's little problem. I decided that I really needed that drink after all of the day's events and downed it in one.
Hilda was looking better now that she was out of the cold, but she still looked quite ill and remained quiet for much of the time. I suppose she was still in shock over what had happened. Fili brought Nori up to speed on the orcs and Hilda's situation.
"And what about you, Nori? What business do you have in these parts?"
"Wit' Yule almost on us, Ah thought Ah'd pay mi mam, Dori and Ori a visit," Nori replied. "Naw that tha told me about the orcs, Ah'm thinking of goin' ta look for Thorin an' teach them orcs a lesson."
I caught on straight away what he was up to, and so did Fili. He might have set out to go to Thorin's Gate, but now after being caught doing something he didn't want his mother and older brother knowing about, he was looking for an excuse to stay away.
"You're not. You're coming back to Thorin's Gate with us," Fili said.
"Besides, those orcs are out there somewhere, and you wouldn't want to cross paths with them alone," I said.
"Tha's made thee point," Nori conceded.
The door cracked open and the man Nori had tried to steal from entered. He looked over in our direction but didn't come over and went to the bar instead. I pointed him out to Fili. After getting his pint, he sat at a table as far from us as possible. I relaxed a little.
The meal arrived, some kind of beef stew and bread.
"Could you bring the same for our friend here, and a pint of mead?" Fili asked, of the innkeeper's wife, passing over some coin. I ordered another pint of mead for myself.
The stew wasn't much, not enough beef for my taste and it had far too many root vegetables, but the bread was fresh and it chased some of the chill from our bones. Normally, dwarven meals are lively affairs, but none of us felt much like celebrating. Hilda, I suppose, was still quite ill from exposure and the shock of losing her family and home.
Fili and myself couldn't stop thinking about Uncle Thorin and the other dwarves out hunting orcs on a dreadful night such as this.
Hilda's dog was given a bone to gnaw on provided by the innkeeper's wife when she arrived with Nori's meal and the mead.
The wind howled outside, driving snow and hail at the inn's leaded window panes.