Thorin stood looking out over the mountain cliff facing the east. Bilbo wasn't far off feeding one of the ponies. He could hear the snoring of the dwarves in the background, and talking in the distance. They had a long journey ahead of them, before they could reach the lonely mountain. He had hoped they would make it to lake town by the end of October, but, it wasn't looking in their favor.
He turned his gaze to his two young nephews sitting beside the fire talking to a young girl, whom had come along with them. She was a human, just a little or so taller then Kili and Fili. (who were tall for dwarves) She had long brown hair, pulled into a braid and green eyes. She was fair and beautiful and lovely to look upon. Thorin tried to remember her name. It was Nessa daughter of Darin. She was a skilled warrior and hunter. Nothing much was known of her past, only that she had a distant relation to the Dúnedain in the north. Gandalf had requested she be brought along, he somehow felt she would be useful in the quest.
"So, how did you happen to stumble upon Gandalf?" Kili asked Nessa.
"It's a long story. But, in short, I have known Gandalf since I was really young. He taught me all I know. Everything but weapons that is, my father taught me that. I was a strange child you might say, growing up in Calenhad. I was more interested in swords and archery, while my sisters, they learned the more refined arts." She laughed and added, "and here I am today, helping Thorin Oakenshield reclaim his kingdom."
The two young dwarves looked at her with awe. Not even the woman of the blue mountains had learned the art of war. She was unusual and new to them and being young (for dwarves) and full of excitement, they welcomed her into their company. Kili, especially took a liking to her from the moment she arrived at Bag -End. Of course, Kili, was a desperate romantic. Nessa got up and wondered over to Thorin, still looking in the direction of the lonely mountain, though it was out of sight. She stood next to him and said nothing for a long moment.
"There well trouble along the way, I'm sure if it." She said at last.
"What's makes you think there will be trouble?" Thorin asked.
"I sense it." She replied. "Something stirs in the night. An old enemy seeks you out, be watchful Thorin. Take me word for it."
"You speak as though you are an elf, or you know the way of elves. If you are, I would have you tell me now." He said.
"Have no fear Thorin Oakenshield, I am no elf. But, many from my land know of their ways and have been taught to sense things." Nessa said in kind reply. "But if I were you," she continued, "I would post a watch and rotate it every hour. There's someone or something after you, or will soon be after you. I'm sure of that."
"Thank you for your advice." Thorin said coldly. He turned and walked over to Fili and Kili, who were sitting by the fire smoking their pipes and conversing with Bilbo.
"Fili, Kili, you take the first watch." Thorin ordered. "Then Bilbo and Nessa take the next." He turned to Nessa and Bilbo. "You two get some sleep you take the watch in a hour." With that Thorin retreated to his bed roll and went to sleep.
Bilbo stirred in his bed roll unable to get any rest. How was he ever going to get used to roots and rocks sticking in his back? He didn't know. The poor Hobbit longed for his soft bed and feather pillow in his cozy hole back in the Shire. Finally, he gave up any hope of sleep. Beside, his watch was coming up. Rather then trying to get some rest, Bilbo decided to relieve at least one of the others that were still up. He stood up stretched and put his small hobbit sized sword on his hip and wondered over to the camp fire.
"Hullo Mr. Baggins!" Kili greeted him cheerfully. "What are you doing up?"
"I cloud not sleep." Bilbo reached his hands out to the fire to warm his chilled fingertips. In the harsh night wind a scream was heard. It was a awful sound and the poor little hobbit nearly jumped out of his skin with fright. The sound had awoken Nessa, who didn't seem to have any trouble sleeping.
"What was that?" Bilbo asked with trembling hands.
"Goblins!" Fili said unconcerned by the nose. "Or some other creature hunting for their food. Nothing to worry about Master Burglar, he's far off from us."
"I wouldn't count on it." Nessa said from a distance. "And I wouldn't be so sure it's a goblin either. It sounded like an Orc."
"A Orc?!" Bilbo bellowed with fear.
"Don't worry Mr. Hobbit. We just to keep an watchful eye. That's all." Nessa came over to the fire. "You two should get some sleep. I'll wake Dori and Nori in an hour for the next watch." The two dwarves obeyed willing. They both were well spent and welcomed a good nights sleep.
"If you don't mind?" Bilbo inquired. "I would much rather stay on watch or lookout whatever you call it. I have wish to sleep tonight."
"As you wish. But don't complain to me in the morning when you are tired from staying up all night."
Bilbo sat by the fire and gazed at the glowing embers. He missed Bag-End, his little Hobbit hole and his arm chair and books. In the stillness of the night, all he could do was ask himself why had he come on the quest? What made him leave The Shire in the first place? Over and over again this played in his mind like a record. 'After all,' he thought, ' I am only a hobbit. And what can a hobbit do compared to wizards and dwarves and warriors like these?' It was only when the frightful sound of the goblins drove Bilbo back to reality.
The Bugler looked up to Nessa, who was sitting wrapped in a blanket Trying to keep warm.
"What troubles you Master Baggins?" She asked.
"Nothing at all." He answered. "Will you teach me how to use sword? I feel that it would best if I knew what to do in case we run into any danger." Bilbo wasn't the only one who felt that this was not going to be a care free journey.
"Of course Mr. Baggins. I'll go wake Dori and Nori. I still believe you should get some rest or you will never make though the day." Nessa walked to the two sleeping dwarves and shook them lightly. They grunted in protest, but arose just the same. Once they came to the fire, Bilbo stood up and said "I believe I will try and sleep. Good night!"
Together Nessa and Bilbo retired to their bed rolls. Nessa had just laid down when Kili rolled over to face her. Her bed roll was next to Kili's, so they often talked when they both found themselves unable to sleep.
"I am sorry did I wake you?" She asked, her voice full of concern.
"No, you did not wake me." Kili said holding out his arms signaling for her to come closer. She moved in and was embraced where she soon fell into a deep sleep.