Hours passed, and still the Entmoot continued. Pippin had placed his head in my lap. His legs curled onto his chest as he watched the Ents talk. If his breathing had shallowed, I would believe that he was asleep; however, his breath was loud and regular so I knew that he actually was awake. Merry had placed his head on my shoulder and was leaning against my side. Slowly, I stroked the top of Pippin’s curly, brown head whilst my eyes watched the stars as one by one they began to fill up the inky black sky that stretched endlessly across the heavens.
“Authiel?” Pippin’s small voice quietly asked.
“What is it, sweetheart?” I questioned as he turned his head to look up at me.
“Will you sing to us?”
A quiet laugh rolled off of my tongue and I gently swirled one of his chocolate ringlets around my finger; wrapping it tightly before allowing it to spring back into place.
“Please,” He whispered.
“As you wish …” I replied, releasing a fake exasperated sigh before I spoke but the smile on my lips countered this, “
Where once was light
Now darkness falls
Where once was love
Love is no more
Don't say goodbye
Don't say I didn't try
These tears we cry
Are falling rain
For all the lies you told us
The hurt, the blame...
And we will weep to be so alone
We are lost
We can never go home
So in the end
I'll be what I will be
No loyal friend
Was ever there for me
Now we say goodbye
We say you didn't try
These tears you cry
Have come too late
Take back the lies
The hurt, the blame...
And you will weep
When you face the end alone
You are lost
You can never go home
You are lost
You can never go home.”
By the end of the song, Pippin was lightly snoring, his chest slowly rising and lowering, and Merry was attempting to keep his eyes open. But the loud yawn informed me of how tired he actually was.
“Go to sleep, Merry,” I quietly urged, keeping my voice low so to not wake Pippin from his slumber, “I will wake you when the decision has been made; I swear.”
Another yawn leapt out of his open throat as he looked over at me with heavy eyes; nodding his head slightly. Gently, he lifted up my arm and burrowed into my side in order to get himself more comfortable. Carefully I placed my arm on top of his back and fiddled lightly with the ends of his blond hair.
“Auth,” Merry yawned, “What was that song about?”
“A sad, little creature that Bilbo had the pleasure of meeting once. I call it ‘Gollum’s Song’.”
Yet Merry had barely even heard me mention its name for his eyes drooped fully and his breathing shallowed.
An almost silent laugh left my mouth as I smiled down at them. Carefully, I kissed the top of Merry’s head whilst I smoothed Pippin’s hair back into place. Whilst I stared at them both, an image filled my head not of the two Halflings by my sides but of the two other troublemakers who I had travelled with only a few years ago; Kili and Fili of the Durin line. Those two Dwarves had been mischievous yet loveable just as my Halflings are. A tear slid down the side of my cheek as I remembered my time with Kili and Fili.
“At your service.”
“If there’s a key, there must be a door.”
“There’s another way in.”
“Throat-cutters. There’ll be dozens of them out there. The lowlands will be crawling with them.”
“They strike in the wee small hours, when everyone’s asleep. Quick and quiet: no screams, just lots of blood.”
“Aren’t you going to search me? I could have anything down my trousers.”
“The stone in your hand, what is it?”
“It is a talisman. A powerful spell lies upon it. If any but a Dwarf reads that runes on this stone, they will be forever cursed … or not, depending on whether you believe that kind of thing. It’s just a token.”
“I belong with my brother!”
Tears spilled down my cheeks as their voices racked themselves across my mind. I held back a scream of anger as I stopped the horrible memories of the Battle of the Five Armies flooding my senses; quietly shaking as I blocked their deaths from my brain – not wanting to relive that moment ever again.
Silent tears dripped off of my eyelashes and blotched my cheeks as my ragged breath filled the air, sounding loud above the quiet, constant humming of the Entmoot. In a quiet, shaky breath I whispered something to the stars that only the night could hear, “Kili … Fili …”