Chapter 1: Prologue
When I a fauntling, my mother used to tell me the story of how I was born. That Mahal and forged a seed of Mithril and gifted it to Yavanna, wishing her to plant it in her garden. She was so happy and grateful for the gift. She knew the chances of it growing were very slim, but still, she planted it. Every night she would bring her husband with her to it and together, they would tell it stories and sing it songs in hopes it would sprout. After much time had passed, the seed eventually sprouted and grew. Before their very eyes, a beautiful silver tiger-lily opened to show a babe. The true child of Yavanna and Mahal.
Holding the babe close, Yavanna smiled. "You are destined for great things, my Tiger-lily. My husband and I will help guide you through your destiny. I gift you with the ability to feel and bring life. To heal and see. To understand."
"My beautiful Mithril, I gift you with strength and resolve. With a sense of duty and responsibility."
"We love you very much, little one. For you are our very special, very first, true child that we have together. I know you will make us proud. Now, off to your parents you go."
I always thought that my mother was just trying to make me feel better since I wasn't a full Hobbit. Being half Hobbit, half Dwarf in The Shire got you treated the mud on the bottom of someone's foot. As a fauntling, I loved hearing the story. It always cheered me up. However, as I grew into my teens and neared my coming of age the story seemed to not have the same effect. It soon became too painful to listen to. I never knew that I may never hear it fall from my mother's lips again.
Chapter 2: I See Fire
Standing atop one of the higher branches of the oak, Bella let the cool breeze of Spring caress her face and gently blow through her curls. Staring at the clouds, she noticed them start to grow dark instead of the normal light grey that came with light showers. "Something is not right... Great Mother, dear Yavanna, what are you trying to tell me?"
Lightning struck the grass near where her mother worked in the garden, causing a small fire. Startled, her mother dumped the water from her watering can onto it before it could spread. Huffing out, she picked up her things. "Bella! Come down! It's going to storm!"
"Coming!" Climbing down, she joined her mother inside. "Mothering... I think there will be a fire soon."
Chuckling from his armchair, her father set aside her book. "Bella, The Shire hasn't had a fire in years. Not counting the controlled ones we set off from time to time."
"Yavanna sent me a sign. We need to be prepared for a fire."
Sharing a look with his wife, he stood and kissed his dear daughter's head and excused himself to his study.
"Why does he do that? He knows that the signs have never lead me astray." A sudden thought haunted her mind and brought tears to her eyes. "Is it... is it because I am not his blood daughter?"
"Bungo!" Storming into her husband's study, Belladonna slammed her hands on his desk. "You need to fix this."
Glancing up from his work, he rose an eyebrow. "What do I need to fix? I do not recall breaking anything."
"How about Bella's trust and confidence? She has shut herself in her room and is crying her eyes out." Standing at her full height, she fixed him with a glare. "She has locked herself in and won't let me enter. She thinks that you are keeping her at a distance and will not believe her because you are not her true father."
"Now that is just ridiculous!" Jumping to his feet, Bungo headed towards Bella's room, Belladonna following at his heels. "I love her as if she was my very own!"
"You know how her mind works after all she's been through."
Sighing, he knocked on the door. "Bella, dear. May I come in?"
Motioning with his head, Bungo stepped aside and watched his wife do her magic. "Never thought your lock picking would come in handy here in The Shire." Opening the now unlocked door, he sat on the bed next to the curled up Hobbit. "Bella. My lovely snow owl. I love you very much whether you are my true daughter or not. You will always be my daughter deep in my heart."
"You mean that?" She asked, her voice barely a whisper.
"Of course I do. I went off to my study so that I could send a warning to the Old Took." Pushing her curls back from her face, Bungo let his hand linger on her forehead. "Bella, you are burning up. Get some rest."
Hobbits screamed and ran in hopes of finding a safe place to hide from the danger. Faunts were crying over the loss of their parents. Orcs cut down any adult that got in their way and stole away with the faunts. A dragon flew down and burned anything he could. Standing in the middle of it all, unable to move, was Bella.
Sitting up with a scream, Bella looked around her room and tried to catch her breath. "A dragon... orcs... what do you want with The Shire?"
Chapter 3: Erebor
No matter what Bella did, she could not change the outcome of her vision. The Shire burned, faunts were kidnapped, and Hobbits were murdered. Bella did all she could to help others escaped but she was soon made their target. "Yavanna! Great Mother! Please! Help us!"
"Bella!" Appearing in front of her was a beautiful, tall woman. "I do not have time to explain but I must get you somewhere safe."
"What about the others? I cannot just abandon them!"
"I know my child. But, have faith in your Mother. I will help in any way that I can. But first, I must see you safe." Opening a portal, Yavanna stepped back and extended her arms to the side. "You must go now!"
"But... mother and father..."
Bella watched as more green portals popped up. Looking around for her parents, she watched in horror as the dragon scooped them up in his claws. "No!"
"Bella!" Grabbing her shoulders, the Old Took dressed in his armor guided her to the portal. "We have to go! They will be alright!"
Walking through Erebor's halls, Thorin tried his best to ignore both his advisor and the wizard that walked beside him. "Gandalf. That orc is dead and no dragon is going to attack us. We have nothing to worry about."
"You say that now, but mark my words, your pride will be your downfall!"
Dwalin ran over and stopped in front of the three, his face looking pale. "Thorin. We have a problem."
"What kind of problem?"
"These two... I don't know what they are, appeared out of nowhere. One of them is wearing armor."
"Take us to them."
Leading them outside, Dwalin ran over to the two. As he got closer, he heard heavy sobbing. "Thorin."
Nodding, the dwarf king walked over and knelt beside them. "Excuse me." Seeing one of them look up, the one in the armor, Thorin took in his injuries. "Are you hurt?"
"Yes. We both are. I bet you are wondering how we got to this place. I will tell you only after she is taken care of. I swear that we mean you no ill will."
"Gerontius Took? What are you doing here? And who is that with you?"
Looking behind the dwarf, Gerontius blinked. "Gandalf? Well, color me surprised. It is a long story. As of who is with me..."
Watching the other one lift their head, Gandalf gasped in surprise. Belladonna Baggins was dirty, bruised, and burnt with tear stains on her face. "Bella... my dear girl. What has happened to you?"
"Gandalf..." She launched herself at the wizard and clung tightly to him and began to sob once again. "W-We were attacked! M-Mother and father were taken! I-I-I couldn't do anything!"
Rubbing her back to comfort her, Gandalf looked at the dwarrow before him. "I will take Miss. Bella to Oin. You three will work with Gerontius. We must get to the bottom of what is going on. For the life of me, I have no idea why anyone would attack The Shire or the Hobbits that live within it. Balin, could you please send word to Lord Elrond for me? I would do it myself but..."
"Of course. You have your hands full with the young one."
Watching the two disappear inside of the mountain, Thorin turned back to The Hobbit. "Tell me, Hobbit, what attacked your home and how did you appear in mine?"
"First, let me start by introducing myself. I am Gerontius Took, Thain of The Shire. My home was attacked by orcs and a dragon. As for how we got here... our Great Mother Yavanna sent us here."
Chapter 4: Yavanna & Mahal
After Bella calmed down enough to leave Gandalf's chest, a Dwarf named Oin saw to her injuries. Once she was all bandaged up, he left them so he could go inform the king and give them some privacy. Her head hung low as her body once more began to shake and tears slowly rolled down her face, landing in her lap. "Gandalf... I failed. I-I couldn't stop the attack. I couldn't save them. It's all my fault."
"My dear Bella. It is not your fault in the slightest. I know you. You would have done everything in your power to keep them safe."
Shaking her head, she choked on a sob, hoping to keep some level of control. "You don't understand. So many died. So many got taken. Mother and father... They would probably still be safe if I had left The Shire as Lord Elrond had suggested."
The door swung open, hitting the wall loudly. "Now you listen to me Belladonna Baggins!" Marching over to his granddaughter, Gerontius took her face in his hands and made her look at him. "None of this is your fault. Do you understand me? You saw the signs. You saw the vision. You told your father and in turn, he told me. That gave me enough time to gather more help and resources than we originally had. You helped direct the Rangers to the necessary places and Hobbits out of The Shire. You stood up to an orc that was trying to attack your cousins and the defenseless faunts. You refused to leave when you wanted nothing more than to fight that dragon for your parents' safe return yourself, you stubborn thing. Don't you dare think for even a second that it was your fault or that you failed. You are the bravest Hobbit I have ever met. Probably the bravest being I have never met."
The room was in stunned silence. The Dwarrow stared in awe and shock at the Hobbit lass. She took on an orc and had planned to take on a dragon?
Gandalf chuckled and ruffled her hair before gently caressing her cheek. "He is right. You would do well to listen to him. You saved many lives today. Do not fear and have hope. We will find your parents and the rest of the Hobbits. We will return you to your home." Seeing her nod, he smiled. "Now, we have other matters to deal with. We must head to Mirkwood as soon as possible."
"Mirkwood? What business do you have with the Elf scum?" Thorin growled from his spot in the doorway.
"Miss. Bella here was been burnt by dragon fire. Thranduil too has been touched by it, just you do not see a single burn on him."
"There is also the matter of speaking with Yavanna. She was the one to send us here after all." Gerontius spoke up.
"I... I do not believe this is where She had in mind." Bella stood and made her way to the door. "The Great Mother may have made the portal, but it is my belief that someone else chose the destination." Turning her attention to the king, she tried her best to stay calm and polite. "May I please borrow a training room?"
"What business do you need to conduct in a training room, Hobbit?"
"I would be more than happy to show you once we get there. I'll also need a flower if it isn't too much trouble for his highness."
Leaning back against the wall, Thorin watched as the Hobbit took swords and stuck them into the stone floor of the training room. He thought about how she had spoken to him. She must have known he was a king. Why would she use such a tone with him? Not that he minded in the least. But it puzzled him all the more when her irritation had melted into embarrassed politeness upon realizing that she had not yet introduced herself properly, earning amused chuckles from the Thrain and Wizard. She was just one big, beautiful, confusing mess that had fallen into his Kingdom.
Sticking the last sword in the floor, Bella went in the middle of the circle large enough for two to stand in it and placed down the flower before quickly retreating to just outside of the circle. A soft green glow slowly started to form in the middle, grabbing everybody's attention. When the Dwarrow saw who appeared from it, they dropped to one knee and bowed their heads.
"Great Mother." Gerontius greeted Her as he went to stand beside his granddaughter. "Great Father. I thank you both for your help in The Shire."
"Gerontius Took. It was our pleasure. However, it was all we could do to save what Hobbits were left. I wish we could have done more. They are safe for now and spread across Middle-Earth."
"We understand." Standing at her full height (all four feet and three inches), Bella fixed her hard gaze on the two mighty beings in front of her. "Now, pardon my lack of manners, but I have been through hell. More so today than any other day of my life. I demand answers. Why were we sent to Erebor? Why are there orcs and a dragon attacking The Shire? Why were my mother and father stolen by a dragon? Why did that orc single me out?"
Thorin's head snapped up. How could she disrespect Mahal? How could she disrespect her own Goddess? He was about to say so until Mahal's own hard gaze landed on him causing him to snap his mouth shut so fast his teeth knocked together.
"Hold your tongue Thorin, son of Thrain. You may be King Under the Mountain, but you do not know whom you speak to. I am sure you have heard the tale of her, yes? Your advisor, the son of Fundin has told it to you many times as a Dwarfling."
"What is he talking about, Yavanna? I am nothing special."
"My dear, you are very wrong. You are special in many ways."
Looking back at his old friend, Gerontius rose an eyebrow. "Is there something I am in the dark about?"
"My old friend, there are many a thing you are unaware of. One of them being that Bungo Baggins is not Bella's true father. Bella is half Dwarf."
"Half... half Dwarf? Oh my..." A loud thud rang about the room as soon as the Hobbit hit the floor. Wearing heavy armor is not a good idea when one is prone to fainting.
Chapter 5: Secrets & Bonding Part 1
"You are half Dwarf?" Dwalin spat out in surprise before he could stop himself, which he regretted as soon as he saw the little lass' head drop.
"Yes... I am. I-Is there a problem with that?" She was trying so hard to sound strong and confident but the break in her voice wasn't fooling anyone.
"No! No... just surprised is all. Curious as to who your kin might be."
"I am afraid I can't answer that. I only know he is a Dwarf. He disappeared when I was just a babe. The only thing I have from him is back at The Shire."
Going over, Balin placed a soft hand on her shoulder. "There, there, lass. I'm sure it's still there waiting for you." Offering her a reassuring smile, the old Dwarf swept a tear from her cheek. "Who knows? You might just find him while you are here in Erebor. Until then, you can consider us among your kin."
"How bold of you Master Balin. Adopting Bella into your family so quickly."
"Come now Gandalf. You have to admit there is something about her that makes you just want to protect her. Besides, she needs a family more than ever now."
"I thank you, Master Balin."
"You believe your Dwarvish things are back in The Shire?" A booming chuckle filled the room. Mahal pulled a bag from his waist and handed to her. "I would never let your treasures get ruined by those nasty creatures."
Clutching the bag to her chest, her tears started to fall once again. "Thank you. I am very grateful."
"We would do anything for you, my lovely Tiger-lily." Taking her face in her hands, Yavanna placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. "There is much we must discuss. Take a moment to look through your things and gather your senses before we begin." Turning her attention to the Wizard, the Goddess held out a slip of paper. "Mithrandir. I ask a special favor of you. Find the one who's name is on this paper and bring them to us. I think it is about time she knew."
Taking the paper, he nodded. "Have no fear, my lady. I shall bring them here at once. Balin, could you see to Bella's console? I do not think she would allow anyone else to."
Sitting beside her still unconscious grandfather, Bella looked through the bag and smiled at all of the memories. Sensing a presence, she glanced up long enough to see both Dwalin and Balin taking a seat across from her.
"You seem to be smiling more. That is good. Your smile is beautiful, don't you agree brother?" Balin asked, giving his younger brother a knowing look.
Giving him a shove, Dwalin tried to hide the unexpected and unwanted flush in his cheeks.
"Thank you. I can't help but smile when I see these. They're some of my best memories." Reaching in, she pulled out a small toy wooden sword. "Mother said that he made this for me for my birthday. Which is odd since Hobbits usually give presents not receive them on their birthdays. But it was my favorite toy to play with. I would take it with me everywhere. Even if Grandmother Baggins tried to take it from me whenever I saw her..."
"Why would she do something like that?"
"The Baggins are a very respectable family. Since my adoptive father is a Baggins, I was expected to act like one. Though, I did have so leeway as a faunt. We are known to cause trouble and mischief where ever we go."
"Oh, Mahal. Look at our darling daughter. She looks so happy."
"Of course. She's not surrounded by judgemental Hobbits. I knew she should have grown up with the Tooks instead."
"That decision was not yours to make."
"You know, my hair is very strange as well. I have three natural hair colors. It got me picked on quite a lot." At this point, Bella was speaking more with Dwalin than Balin. Not that she minded. Once you got past his gruff exterior, he was pleasant and surprisingly soft-hearted.
"Three? I only see one."
"I use an all-natural hair coloring I made. I have to use it every time my hair gets wet."
"What are the other new colors?"
"You'll never know."
"Wanna bet?" The guard was surprised at the words that came out of his mouth. Curious or not, that came out more suggestive then he planned. Not that he was trying to be suggestive with the Hobbit. Though it seemed she didn't mind as all she did was raise an eyebrow with an amused smile.
"Oh, really? How forward of you Master Dwalin."
Watching the scene with Balin, Thorin tried to contain his laughter. "I have never him act like this before."
"Neither have I. He seems quite taken with Miss. Bella."
Cleaning up the wood shavings from his cousin's work, Bofur opened the door and swept them into the dirt. Tipping his head back, he noticed that they had landed on someone's feet. "My apologies. I didn't see ya there."
Chuckling, the man leaned on his staff with an amused twinkle in his eyes. "No harm done. I was wondering if you could help me."
"Not sure what help I could be to you big folk, but I'll do my best."
"Thank you. I am looking for the Ur family."
Blinking, Bofur looked between the man and his home. "What do you want with them?"
"There is a young girl that is looking for her family. My sources have lead me to the Ur family."
Chapter 6: Secrets & Bonding Part 2
Sitting in the too-small chair, Gandalf looked at the three Dwarves staring at him. "I think it is about time we get down to business. My name is Gandalf the Grey. I am a Wizard and work closely with King Thorin. I have come here in search for a dear friend of mine's family. The side she has never known."
"Who sent ya? If you don't mind me askin."
"Not at all Master Bofur. I was sent by the Great Mother, Yavanna herself."
Hearing that name, Bifur's head shot up from where he was focusing on a new project. His attention was now solely on the Wizard, hoping this was good news.
"Yavanna? Isn't that the lady those funny creatures with the big feet follow?"
"They are called Hobbits, Master Bofur. But, yes. That is Her. But she is also the wife of Mahal. The two have decided that it is time for the lass to learn of her family." Holding up the unfolded paper, Bifur's name stood in beautiful and fancy handwriting.
It sent a jolt through him that the Dwarf has not felt in almost thirty-three years on the dot. Jumping to his feet, he reached over and snatched the paper from Gandalf's hand before stuffing it in his pocket for later. Hearing a chuckle, he looked at one smirking Wizard and his two shocked cousins. Grunting, he once again took his seat.
"Master Bifur. What I am about to tell you is very important. The Shire was attacked this night. Orcs and a dragon killed many Hobbits and Rangers, stole faunts from their parents. Even our dear Belladonna was stolen from us by the dragon."
"Belladonna? isn't that the name that he yells sometimes in his sleep?" Bofur whispered to his brother. Getting nod from him, the miner started to make the connections. "The lass... she's Bifur's wee one. Isn't she?"
"Yes, she is. She is scared and shaken from what happened. Fortunately, she is with Thorin, Balin, and Dwalin. I request... I ask you three to come back with me."
Bifur couldn't believe it. His love was taken by a dragon and his daughter... his daughter was just beyond that door. He ran all the way there but now was frozen, staring at the door as if had greatly offended him.
"Go on then, cousin. Go and see your wee on. I'm sure she'll be more than happy to see ya."
"I think now might be a good time to go in before Miss. Bella ends up murdering your king." Gandalf said with a grin before heading quickly in. "Too late..."
The three Ur's stared with wide eyes at what they saw. The lass had a hand wrapped around Thorin's beard and had him tugged down to be eye level with her. From the way she was standing, she was beyond pissed. This lass had balls to grab a Dwarf, hell the Dwarf King, by the beard.
"You listen to me and listen well. You may be a king but that does not mean you instantly get my respect. I was raised to only give out respect to those who truly deserve it and earned it. So far, I see no reason to give mine to you." When he opened his mouth to speak, she gave another firm tug that successfully shut him up. "I am not finished! Titles mean nothing to me! I do not care if you are a king or the Valar Himself! You are a person and I shall treat you as such. What holds weight is not any title you could hold or any power you could possess. No. What holds weight is the type of person you are." Letting him go, she spun on her heel and grabbed her bag. "I apologize Great Mother and Great Father, but I cannot do this right now."
"I understand. We shall talk more tomorrow night. Just leave the circle up and bring a new flower. We will come." Taking the flower that has yet to move, Yavanna disappeared with her husband.
Shaking his head, Balin grabbed Thorin by his ear. "Dwalin will show you to your room while Thorin and I take care of the Thrain."
Nodding, she made her way past them and into the hall, keeping her head down. "Gandalf... I do not think I can stay here. When are we leaving for Mirkwood?"
Sighing, he shook his head. "I was afraid something like this would happen. So, I made arrangements for someone to come and guide us. They will be here in three days."
"Would you like to discuss what happened in my absence?"
"As you wish. I have brought- Bella?"
Supporting herself on the wall, Bella took in quick, shallow breathes. Pressing her forehead to the cool stone, she sighed in relief. "I feel unwell. I-I need some air." Taking a step, her head spun and she was falling backward into someone's arms.
Looking up from where he held his daughter, his very grown-up and ill daughter, Bifur looked to his cousin. "What is going on with her? She was fine a moment ago."
"I'm not sure. Gandalf, what's going on with the little lass?"
"It seems she is about to have a vision. They come out of nowhere and take a lot out of her. She will be well again by morning. Master Dwalin! Bella has fainted!" Hurried footsteps came from inside before all three of the Dwarfs appeared in the doorway. "We just need to get her to her room. Rest and a cool cloth is all she will need."
"You don't seem too worried."
"No. These happens often."
"Isn't that something to be worried about?!"
Jolting upright in bed, Bella looked around her. She was in a bedroom with six Dwarrow and a Wizard. "How... how long was I out?"
"Only a few minutes. Shorter than usual. How do you feel?" Taking the cloth that fell in her lap, Gandalf pressed his wrist to her forehead. "Your fever is gone. Must not have been too bad a vision?"
"No. Just..." Shaking her head, she couldn't see through whatever fog was clouding her mind. "I can't remember. There's some sort of fog or mist." Locking eyes with the Wizard, she was scared and she was tired of being scared. She wanted answers. She wanted all of this to stop. She wanted to be normal. "Gandalf. What is happening to me?"
"It seems that someone is toying with you. But, that can be talked about tomorrow at the next meeting. For now, I have retrieved your Dwarven family." Moving back, he held an arm out to the three that sat closest to her bed. "This is the Ur family. Brother Bofur and Bombur, and their cousin Bifur."
Scanning each one of their faces, Bella's eyes stayed on Bifur's. Her eyes roamed him as if searching for something. Her thoughts came to complete halt when something very cold and very wet hit her. Gasping, she whipped her head to meet the mischievous eyes of what was supposed to be a grown man.
"Oh, my dear. I am so sorry. My staff was stuck."
"You did that on purpose!" Already feeling the coloring mix wash out of her hair, she quickly put the blanket over her head to cover her locks. "Now I'm wet and freezing."
"Is there a reason you thought it a good idea to dump water on her?" Thorin all but growled at the Wizard who was trying to fain innocence.
Smirking, Dwalin went over and snatched the blanket from her, showing the honey locks now mixed with black and silver. "Here's your reasoning. She was hiding her true coloring."
All eyes shifted between the Hobbit and the Dwarf with the ax in his head before chaos erupted. Watching his girl look so hopeless tore something in Bifur's heart. Standing, he yelled someone that dare not be repeated and successfully shut them all up.
"Bifur. You shouldn't use such language around a child." Bombur lightly scolded.
"Child?!" Pushing herself to her feet, Bella stood before the round Dwarf. "Pardon me, Master Bombur. But, I am not a child. I am Thrity-two, almost thirty-three." All of the Dwarfs choked on air as Gandalf could no longer contain his laughter.
Chapter 7: Secrets & Bonding Part 3
Quick question. Would anyone like to see Gollum and/or Frodo in this story at all?
"Thirty-Two? Why did you not tell us, Wizard?!"
"I feel so wrong."
"She is practically a babe!"
Feeling her temper and patience finally give and snap, Bella stomped her foot and let some of her power out, knocking them all to the ground. "Enough! Shut up and listen for once! I have never met a group of people who have tried my patience as much as you lot have!" Running her fingers through her curls, she waited for everyone to focus on her before she continued. "I am a Hobbit. Whether I am half Dwarf or not, does not affect how fast I mature. I mature like a Hobbit but live as long as Dwarf. I am just a few days away from coming of age. I am practically an adult. Do you all understand or do I have to find a hammer and smack it into your thick heads?"
"My dear Bella, while I understand your reasoning, I do not think it was a good idea to show your power just yet."
"I don't care right now Gandalf. It's not like you're helping anything."
"Not the first time I've heard that."
Snorting, she started to help the Dwarrow up. "I bet. I'm sorry about knocking you all done by the way. However, I will not apologize for my temper."
"Are you sure you're more Hobbit then Dwarf?" Dwalin asked, allowing the lass to help stand. "You certainly act like a Dwarf."
"Really? Because I've been told I act more like my mother when I'm not trying to maintain a respectable appearance."
"So our niece is a little spitfire? She might survive here yet." Setting his hat on her head, Bofur sent her a wink. "Welcome to the Ur family, lass."
"You're not mad at me? Or ashamed of me?"
The three Ur's look like they had been shot through the heart at the questions. Bombur was the first to recover from his hurt. "Why would we be ashamed of you?"
"Well... long story short, I did not have the best life in The Shire. I really should have grown up in Tuckborough. The Tooks are far more open-minded Hobbits, which you can probably tell since I was born. My mother being a Took and all."
Sharing a look with Thorin, Balin decided to ask the question that's been on his mind since they had arrived. "Are you... related to Gerontius Took?"
"Yes. He's my grandfather. Didn't-Didn't they tell you?" Judging by the looks on their faces, she guessed that was a no. "Please do not say what I think you are about to say."
"You're a princess."
"I am not a princess!"
The next morning found Bella sitting in her family's house, nervously messing with the hem of her skirt. For all that she spoke her mind and spat at them yesterday, she couldn't find any words. What are you supposed to say to three Dwarrow, actually two since the one who was supposedly her father was missing, who are supposed to be your missing family? Luckily for her, Bella wouldn't have to start the conversation. The Dwarf with the funny hat, Bofur if she remembers correctly, sat down next to her and set a cup in front of her.
"It's tea. We don't really have those fancy cups, but Gandalf was very insistent that we give ya the tea he brought."
"Oh. Thank you." Looking into the cup, a small smile stretched on her lips at the beautiful honey color. The heat and smell relaxing her before she even took a sip. "Tea did always have a way of relaxing me." Glancing to one of the bedroom doors, Bella wrapped her hands around the cup and sighed happily at the warmth.
"Don't worry. He tends to sleep longer than us on account of his head injury. But, he'll be out here as soon as he gets up. He wouldn't miss a chance to see ya, lass."
"It's... not that. I just- what am I supposed to say?"
"Whatever you want. Or nothing at all. No one wants to make ya feel pressured or uncomfortable. We want to get ta know ya and help ya."
"I-I know. I want to as well. I just wish we could have met under different circumstances. I mean, I've always dreamed of meeting the other half of my family."
"Would you be okay if we asked you questions? Since you don't seem like you'll be askin any time soon with how tense ya are."
A small huff of laughter escaped her as she took a sip of her drink. "Of course. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have."
"Bofur leave the poor girl alone for a moment." Setting down four bowels, Bombur shoo-ed his brother away. "Go and wake Bifur up. Tell him that breakfast is ready and that Bella is here. That should be enough. We don't want to keep the poor girl waiting all day."
"Oh, no. I don't mind waiting. I don't want to be a bother or upset the normal pace you all have set."
"Aren't ya just a sweet wee thing." Pinching her cheek, which is as soft and chubby as it looks, Bofur smiled as she lightly swatted his hand away. "Don't worry about it. He needs to eat anyways. He usually sleeps through breakfast."
"No one should miss breakfast. Neither of them."
"Neither of what?"
"Breakfast." She met with confused glances before she remembered. "Right. Not a lot of races know about Hobbit meal times. There is first breakfast and second breakfast. For me, this would be second breakfast. Then there is elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper. And if you're still nibbly, a midnight snack. Unless you're a faunt. Faunts eat much more than grown Hobbits."
"...We're going to need more food for the lass."
"You don't need to worry about me Bofur. Gandalf was able to save some of my funds so I am more than capable of getting whatever it is that I may need. But, if I may, could I ask you to accompany me to the market? I don't know my way around and honestly, I'm no good in crowds."
After a light, delicious, and somewhat awkward breakfast, Bella found herself with her father and uncles in Erebor's markets. She was amazed by how it set up and everything they had to offer. What really amazed her was how it was all inside of the mountain. Even the homes were. "Bofur... how come you leave outside of the mountain?"
Sending a smirk over to his stiff and stumbling cousin, Bofur flung an arm around his niece. "Well, you see Bella, after Bifur came back from his trip around Middle-Earth he had his heart set on living outside. Said it was too dark, cold, and cramped. So, Bombur and I thought we would surprise him by building him an actual house so he would stop sneaking off in the middle of the night to sleep in the trees. We never knew what made him want the change though."
Covering her giggle with her hand, she helped steady her father. "My guess is that it had to do with my mother and The Shire. It's so beautiful there surrounded by nature."
"So it would seem."
Bifur seemed to be trying to hide the flush on his face and muttered something rude and foul if the gasps were anything to go by. Bella thought she'd spare him the embarrassment with a story of her own. Or share in the embarrassment. Either one would work at the moment. "As a young faunt, I would often run off into the woods in search of Elves and Dwarrow. I would pretend to fight off orcs, goblins, and dragons while swinging my wooden sword at invisible enemies. When I wasn't tracking mud in the house come time for dinner, I was sleeping in the high branches of the oaks. Which was a bad idea since I almost broke my arm falling off the branch." The laughter from her uncles that nearly had Bofur on the ground was worth the smile and fond look she got from Bifur.
The walk around the market went great from there. Bella was more relaxed as stories passed between her, Bofur, and Bombur with Bifur watching them. It was a wonderful sight to see. The only thing that would make it better would be if his One were here with them. Though it did concern him how much his girl was spending. How did she even get that much money in the first place?
"Are you sure you didn't go overboard there, lass?"
"This is about the normal amount I'd get at the market that will last me the week."
"All this only lasts a week?!"
"No, no, no. The only time that happens is if we host a large party. You have to be prepared for guests at any time, so it is important to have your pantries fully stocked at all times. Now, the only thing I need now is to have some new clothes commissioned. I only have this one dress..." Bella thought that she must look a mess in her dirty clothes. Covered in dirt and blood, ripped and burnt in different places.
"I know just the place! Bombur and Bifur can take the food back while I take ya to the best tailor we have. That is... if you would be staying with us?"
"I wouldn't want to put you out. It doesn't seem like there's much room."
"Nonsense!" Taking the food from her, Bombur pats her head as you would a puppy or child. "There will always be room for you."
"Then... I would love to. I will be back late tonight. I have another meeting with Yavanna and Mahal since we didn't get much done last night."
"We will make sure to have a place ready for you."
Chapter 8: Meet the Brothers Ri
"Bofur. I was wondering why Bifur doesn't speak very much and not at all to me."
Stopping, Bofur moved them off to the side of the mountain and took a seat on the ground. Pulling his pipe out, he fiddled with it a bit. "I was wondering when you'd ask that question." Once she took a seat next to him, he looked at her. "You know that ax in his head?"
"Yes. You told me the injury causes him to sleep longer."
"That's not the only thing it caused. He has some issues with remembering certain things, give him nasty headaches, and he can't speak in Western. He can understand it perfectly fine but..."
"I understand. It must be painful to talk about and watch him forced to go through it all."
Smiling, he patted her hand. "It is. But, old Bifur is a strong and stubborn one. He doesn't want our pity and we don't want to give him any. That would be an insult to his pride and how hard he's tryin'."
"Now, we passed a stall here while shopping for food. Where is it?" Scratching his head, Bofur looked around, lost.
"Um... Bofur. Your hat is missing."
"My hat?" Patting his head, he blinked and saw that she was indeed right. His beloved hat was gone. Which meant only one thing. "Nori. Give it back."
"It usually takes all day for you to figure out it's missing." Stepping out of the crowd, the ginger-haired dwarf was swinging the hat around on one finger wearing a smirk. "I couldn't resist. It was sitting there so perfectly unguarded."
Taking his hat back, he placed it on Bella's head with a smile. "Reward for saving the hat."
Raising a braided brow at the two, Nori looked between them. "Who is she and what did she do to get your hat? You never let that thing out of your sight."
A blinding and proud smile stretched across the miner's face as he flung an arm around the Hobbit. "She is my kin. Half Hobbit, half Dwarf. We didn't know about her until just the other night but we are already attached to her." Ignoring the surprised look on the Dwarf's face, Bofur continued on. "Her name is Bella. Bella, this is Nori. Watch your stuff, he's a thief. But he's a good Dwarf. You have my word."
Grabbing the ends of her skirt, Bella curtsied to him with a smile. "Belladonna Baggins, at your service Master Dwarf. But please, call me Bella."
"Polite little thing, isn't she?" Returning a mock bow, Nori quickly took her hand and placed a kiss on it. "Nori, son of Ri, at yours." The dark color that stained her cheeks brought a chuckle from his mouth and a smirk to his lips. He should have known Bofur would react but he wasn't expecting to have his face in the stone of the mountain. Rolling onto his back, he looked over at the laughing miner next to him on the ground.
"I didn't even have to do anything! She did it herself! Oh, Bifur will love this!"
Looking up at the lass, he couldn't believe it! Blushing, she held the hand he kissed close to her chest and staring at him. He didn't think she was strong enough to push him, nor push him face-first into the ground. It must have been her Dwarf side, he though. There seemed to be some sort of bright light surrounding her that made Nori wonder if he had a concussion. "I'll uh... take you to Dori's stall and then I have to go see Oin. I think I hit my head harder then I thought." Now he wished he didn't say that. The guilty look on her face made his insides twist uncomfortably.
Looking through the fabrics, Dori huffed out at how slow business had been since that new, young Dwarf opened a stall nearby. It was taking all of his business. The material was beautiful, sure, but it was poorly made and fell apart easily. Yet, Dwarrow kept going there as if it were Mahal's greatest gift. Not only that, but both of his brothers were missing from work. He knew that Ori was with Balin training to become a great scribe. But, who knew what Nori was up to. That trouble maker. He needed to have another talk with his younger brother about coming back to honest work and finding a lass or lad to settle down with. Dori knew it was a lost cause at this point, but that never stopped him. So, imagine his surprise when he came walking with one of the most beautiful lasses the old Dwarf had ever laid eyes on. The two of them talking and laughing as if she actually enjoyed his company.
They stopped in front of the stall with Nori spreading his arms out with a grin on his face. "Welcome to the Brothers Ri stall! The best fabric and seamster work you could ever find in The Lonely Mountains is right here. My brother has a gift with his craft and will do everything in his power to give ya what you need and then some."
Hearing these words for someone who often mocked (if only in jest but it still stung since they bonded some over it) his craft, made Dori's chest swell with pride and eyes sting with tears. "It's about time you got back here. We have work to do."
"Mmm... alright. I'll come and work only if I get to help with the orders for the pretty little lass here."
Dori felt as if his heart stopped. Nori wanting to work on a project willingly? What type of magic could this lass cast that made him act like this? "Of course. I was expecting more of a fight for ya though..."
"These fabrics have such beautiful colors." Looking up from where she had been admiring the pile of fabrics, the lass sent a polite but bright smile his way. "I can tell you put a lot of work, care, and heart into your craft Master Dwarf. I would love to wear something made by your hands."
"You honor and falter me, Miss."
The miner Bofur, he finally noticed was with them, elbowed her with a smile. "You sure know how to sweet-talk our Dwarrow. You'll fit in just find 'round here."
Rolling her eyes, she turned her attention back to Dori, giving a small curtsy in greeting. "Belladonna Baggins, at your service. Please call me Bella."
"Dori, son of Ri, at yours as well Miss. Bella. I am sorry for whatever trouble my younger brother might have caused you."
The giggle she gave in response seemed almost like those chimes that Men would leave outside their homes. It was a beautiful sound that had Nori sighing dreamily. "Oh, no trouble at all Master Dori. He has been pleasant company I assure you."
"That's a first time hearing of him being pleasant." Knocking his brother in the back of the head, he motioned for him to get behind the stall. "Now, what can I make for you?"
"Just some everyday clothes and a pair or two of traveling clothes."
"Some skirts and dresses. Maybe a pair or two of trousers. Easier to move about and whatnot. I trust your keen eye for whatever designs and colors you choose."
Nodding he got out some paper, quill, and ink. "I'll have Nori take your measurements and get to work right away."
Sitting with Bella and Bofur after the lass insist that she make some tea for them, Dori got to experience how much of a delicate this young lass was. Learning of her unique situation gave him the inspiration he sought for her clothing and had him recalling many a tale from his childhood that he hoped would entertain her. If her laughter was anything to go by, he had succeeded greatly, and by the blush on his brother's face, he had also succeeded in embarrassing him. Yes. Bella was a delight and if Nori had somehow found his One in her, he would be more then happy to accept her into their family.
"I was quite the troublemaker myself as fauntling. Keep in mind that most faunts and fauntlings are, but more so on my other's side of the family. I would go around and steal baked goods from windows, crops from the farmers, even some of my mother's adventuring things from when she went off with Gandalf before she had me. I, unfortunately, grew out of my more mischievous and adventurous nature. Not by choice, mind you. But, I'm starting to feel more myself than I ever have in the few days I have been here."
"That is good to hear, Miss. Bella."
Turning, Bella smiled at the new face to join them. "Master Balin."
"I see you are spending time with your kin and making new friends." Walking over, he set a hand on her shoulder. "I am happy you are getting along well. We were all worried. Especially after that fainting spell you had. Can you remember at all what caused it?"
"Not yet. But I am feeling much better."
"Good to hear. Now, I thought to come and check on you at the Ur household after bringing my student back home, but it seems I do not have to travel far." Smiling, Balin gestured behind him.
Seeing the young Dwarf, Bella stood and gave a small curtsy to him, smiling as he bowed and almost fell in the process. "Are you alright?"
Chuckling, Balin pats his student on the back. "Bella, this is Ori. He is the youngest of the Brothers Ri and is training to become a scribe."
"A scribe? Oh, how wonderful."
Looking up from where his eyes were focused on the ground, Ori gave a bashful smile. "You think so?"
"Yes. I am a scholar myself after all. Belladonna Baggins at your service."
"Ori, son of Ri at yours Miss. Baggins."
"None of that now. Just Bella is fine."
Seeing how quickly their little brother was smitten, Nori and Dori shared a look. They both knew this was going to be complicated and difficult for them. With as easily as she can charm them, many a Dwarf was sure to fall also. Someone was going to get heartbroken.
Chapter 9: Summons
That night found Bella standing before the circle of swords that had somehow gone untouched from the previous meeting. Holding a flower close to her, she looked down at the beautiful red flower in her hands. It was causing her a bit of trouble thinking about the meaning and the Dwarf who had gifted it to her. "There's no way he knew what this flower meant... right? Dwarrow don't understand Flower Speech."
"What troubles you, Mistress Bella?" Turning her head, she was met with piercing blue eyes watching her before they traveled to the flower in her hand. "Is that the flower you are offering to call upon them today?"
"Yes, it is. And to answer your first question, it's not that something is wrong just puzzling. I understand that no one outside of Hobbits really has a grasp on Flower Speech. So, when a Dwarf offered me this flower when I mentioned needing one to give to Yavanna for offering it threw me off."
"What meaning does this flower hold?"
A small sad smile graced her lips. "Amaryllis Belladonna, also known as the Belladonna Lily. It means Pride, Splendid beauty, and Worth beyond beauty. My mother grew these in our garden back in Bag End. Such pretty things, don't you think?"
"I agree they are pretty. But, how do you get all that from a flower?"
"I fear that only the Elves may understand for they are connected to the living and growing Earth such as us. No offense to you or your race. Stones and gems grow and live too, just not in the same way."
"No offense taken." As much as it irked Thorin that the Elves have once again one-upped him, he was happy and proud when he heard her acknowledge how stones and gems had life and weren't as cold and dead as many would think. It had to be her connection to Mahal. He was sure of it. "Do you like gems?"
"Yes. Not the same way I like flowers but they have certain unique charm and beauty. I used to go digging around in the dirt whenever I would have my own make-believe adventures in the nearby woods and once found the most lovely opal you would ever lay your eyes on. It's quite large for one just laying in the dirt though. Big enough to fill up your hand when holding it."
A smile tugged at the corner of the king's mouth at hearing that. "Maybe one day, you could show it to me?"
"Dis? What are you doing here? Where are the boys?"
Marching over to her brother, the Dwarrowdam grabbed him by the beard. "They came with me when I heard that you were housing a girl from war. Why did you not tell me? Why aren't you doing anything to help them?"
"Dis. Please, let me explain. Wait, how did you even know?"
Tugging a bit harder, Dis smile as he winched. "Don't change the subject."
"Excuse me..." The two turned his attention to the voice that called to them. Bella was standing there holding that flower to her as if it were her lifeline. "I hate to interrupt but-"
Releasing her brother's beard, Dis went over and gathered her in her arms. "You must be the poor thing my idiot of a brother has been housing and upsetting. Do not worry, you now have a female with you for a gentler touch."
Rubbing the sore spots on his chin, Thorin gave the Hobbit a sympathetic look. "Dis. Please let go of Miss. Baggins. You are making her uncomfortable."
Once released, Bella put a hand up to stop the apology that was about to come from the Dwarrowdam's mouth. "No need to apologize. I appreciate you trying to comfort me. My name is Belladonna Baggins, but please Miss. Dis, call me Bella."
"It is wonderful to meet you." Peaking behind her she rose an eyebrow. "What is going on in here, if I may ask?"
"We are about to request an audience with Mahal and Yavanna."
"Mahal and Yavanna?"
After filling Dis in on what was going on, they all stood back to let Bella do what she needed to.
"Amad! We couldn't find-" Entering the training room with his brother, Fili stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the beautiful female. Nudging his brother, he had him look in her direction. Knowing his brother, he could be entranced also. "Who is she?"
"I don't know Fee. I've never seen a girl like her before."
They watched as she stepped into the ring of swords and place a red flower in the middle of it. "Great Father, Great Mother, I seek your guidance in these hard times." Right before their eyes, two figures appeared that caused everyone in the room to drop to one knee.
Giggling, Yavanna gently pulled her chin up to look at them. "Hello, my child. We have been watching you and see you have been happier."
"Yes, Mother. I have been happier... I thank you for watching over me."
Looking over to her husband, Yavanna huffed out in annoyance. "For the sake of Middle-Earth. Mahal! Leave poor girls hair alone."
Dropping the honey locks, he crossed his arms and pouted. Pouted like a child. "She has bonded with her family yet she wears no bead. I know it was in her bag of things that were given to her."
"Give her time. I'm sure there is a reason behind it. You cannot rush these things."
"Oh! I haven't had the chance to ask yet. Today has been very busy. I only got back here for the meeting after finishing up my errands." Pulling a simple chain from around her neck, she held it up to show a wooden bead that sat in the middle. "I have it on me at all times."
A burst of booming laughter filled the room as Mahal slapped her on her back, almost sending her to the ground. "That's my girl! Now then, we should get down to business. But we are missing a few important Dwarrow."
"They are here!" Gandalf called, as he entered the room with the Ur Family in tow. "It also seems that the young princes have come to join us as well. Shall we do introductions beforehand?"
After meeting the two princes who were both very charming, very handsome, and very flirtatious, Bella knew her family wouldn't leave her to be alone around another male from now on. Not that she was complaining. She needed to focus on getting back her family and home. Not handsome Dwarves. That could be saved for later.