Bardic Life

Hobbit, The

9. The Gathering of the Clouds

The dwarves were scared of dragon-lair,
And stayed where they could run away,
But after dragon roared out there,
The door outward just would not sway.

So, after waiting very long,
They tried to go down tunnel dark;
But dragon-breath was still too strong,
And on the dwarves it made its mark.

So Bilbo, lonely hobbit went,
And stumbled into dragon-hole;
But dragon’s fury had been spent,
And they were closing in on goal.

So, going back to dwarves, he said,
“Do give me torches for some light,
I think the dragon’s not in bed,
He’s not around, if I am right.”

And so went Bilbo looking out,
And to the top of dragon-hoard;
And saw a gem that seemed to spout
A thousand rays of moonlight, stored.

“The Arkenstone! The Arkenstone!
The heart of mountain Erebor!”
And Bilbo stood there, all alone,
And gazed at stone of son of Thror.

And then, he pocketed the gem,
And wrapped it in his pack of rags;
And then he went right back to them,
And out they came, like clowns from bags.

And then, they saw the treasure-trove,
And wondered at the piles of gold;
Like silver-golden-gem tree-grove,
And also craftsmanship of old.

And as they manned the outer wall,
A messenger to them did come;
A raven came and gave a call,
And Balin understood him some.

And said the raven, “I bring news!
The elven-king approaches here.”
And later, as they gave their views,
It came and said, “You’ve less to fear.

“The elven-king has gone to lake,
And supplies to lake-men has sent;
But then he, from there strength will take,
And come here with his longbow bent.”

Said Thorin, “Noble raven-bird,
Now is the time to help us all.
To iron hills, you must send word,
My cousin Dain you have to call.”

And so, the raven went away,
And to the iron hills it flew;
And Dáin started off, next day,
And straight to Erebor he drew.

Then came the host of elven-king,
And also followers of Bard;
Great many warriors did they bring,
All come to collect their reward.

And as they came to dwarven-gate,
Thorin the dwarf did cry out loud,
“Who are you all, that come in hate?
Why, why, so warlike is this crowd?”

And then spoke Bard of town-on-lake,
“How glad we are that you still live!
But, Smaug the dragon you did wake;
Now, compensation you must give.

“A one-twelfth share of all the gold,
Do give to lake-men as compense;
Or else, we shall against you hold,
So, if you shun, ready defense.”

But then said Thorin, getting hot,
“Oh, go away, you foolish men;
All fools that come within bowshot,
Will be shot right down, there and then.”

And then said Bard, “We leave you here,
To ponder over all this speech;
And when you learn wisdom (or fear),
Then, lake-men out to you will reach.”

Then, left he, and he later sent,
One herald, all armoured and armed;
Then Thorin loosed his horn-bow, bent,
But still, the scout escaped unharmed.

Then, cried out all heralds of Bard,
“Under a siege we declare you!”
Now dwarves were into times quite hard,
No way then seemed to go out, through.

Tidings had Bard of Dáin’s march,
And he, for open war prepared;
But Thorin was now stiff as starch,
And about him, there no one cared.

Then, on that night, when they all slept,
Bilbo, he went on nightly watch,
And in the silent shadows crept,
And in the water, stones did splotch.

And when the elven scouts saw him,
Said he, “To your king, do take me.”
And then they trod the shadows dim,
And careful, not to let him free.

Then, when elven-king he saw,
And Bard, the bowman of the lake;
“I hope, that here I break no law,
Said he, “But, this thing you must take.”

So saying, that thing up he held,
The Arkenstone of dwarven-king!
And even in elvenking, greed swelled
Up, at the sight of such a thing.

Then, Bilbo said, “This is my share,
Of Smaug the dragon’s treasure-hoard;
But, I do give it to your care,
So, use it wisely!”, he implored.

And then were elven-king and Bard,
Overcome with speechless amaze;
And at the hobbit, they looked hard,
And still, they were in quite a daze.

But, then the hobbit slipped back in,
And into the mountain he went;
And then, without the slightest din,
Fat Bombur, on night-watch he sent.

Then, the next day, morning dawned,
And Bard’s heralds came crying loud,
“These talks of war have new form donned,
Now, Thorin must address this crowd!”

Then Thorin thought, “So, Dáin comes!”
“Speak out!” he said to elf and man;
Then, Bard said “All these precious sums,
Are worth great lives, in all their span.

“Yet, Smaug the dragon’s treasure-trove
Held none more bright than this, alone!”
And then, a hard bargain he drove,
By holding up the Arkenstone.

“In exchange for this king’s gem here,
Give us the gold, one-fourteenth share,
And then, from us you will not hear,”
Said Bard, “And all your lives we spare.”

But, Thorin flew to towering rage,
And thundered he, “How got that there?!”
And Bilbo said, with great courage,
“I gave it to him, from my share.”

Then, Thorin said, “Oh, go away!”
And cast the gentle-hobbit out,
“And don’t come back, away you stay!”
Said the dwarven-king in loudest shout.

“Oh, would that Gandalf with us was!”
Thorin said with a weary sigh;
And lo! The wizard spoke, with pause,
“Thorin, my friend, I am well nigh!”

And Gandalf stood, all grey and bent,
But smiling near the Arkenstone;
And dwarf to greater fury went,
“And now,” he said, “We’re all alone!”

And then the men-elves siege did lay,
And between mountain’s spurs they stood;
But then came from lands far away,
Dain the dwarf, with cloak and hood.

And with him came a fighting force,
With hauberk, mattock, pleated beard;
An army that, in rocks, hole bores,
And all over the lands is feared.

And as they stood facing the elves,
And grimly looking at the men;
A shudder shook the rocky shelves,
And plains went dark as lion’s den.

And then Gandalf the wizard cried,
“The goblin-army doth march on!”
And, carrion-cloud the sun did hide,
And all the bright daylight was gone.

And Bolg the goblin with wolves came,
And scattered them the land over,
The men and dwarves on east laid claim,
And elves were on the southern spur.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Telperion the White

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Rating: General

Last Updated: 05/01/06

Original Post: 05/23/04

Back to challenge: Bardic Life

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