Ch. 5 Bandits, Brawls, and Bindings

Discussion in 'Broom Baggins' started by Telki, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. Telki Member Author

    Blog Posts:
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    Summary:
    The road to Bree is more exciting than they hoped.

    Chapter Text

    From her place behind Dwalin’s broad back, Beryl heartily wished for her broom. Bandits decided thirteen dwarves, an old man, and wee girl would be easy pickings. Said bandits were currently getting their collective backsides handed to them, but not before doing a fair amount of damage themselves. Bifur was sporting an arrow in his shoulder, Fili had one in his thigh, and poor Nori had one in his upper arm. Not a one of them seemed slowed by it, as they were all hip deep in the fight anyways.

    For Beryl’s part, she wanted to help, and thoroughly resented dwarves tossing her between them like a sack of feed and treating her like a helpless moppet. Go hang her new status as a lost dwarven princess! Hand her a broom….or quarterstaff. She could work with a quarterstaff. Dwalin was forced back a step from blocking a nasty mattock swung at his head, forcing Beryl into the brush on the side of the road. She tucked her head and rolled down the steep bank. Better to climb back up than risk a break trying to keep her footing on the treacherous slope.

    She lay for a moment, waiting for the world to quit spinning quite so fast. Tired of watching the clouds twirling, she turned her head and spotted a downed sapling. Beryl quickly stripped the spindly branches and leaves from it, and headed back topside to the fray. Balin and Oin were fighting back to back, three ragged men surrounding them, but unable to get past their twirling blade and staff. Beryl stuck her sapling between the legs of one bandit, and watched him fall backwards. She quickly rapped him across the back of the head. He did not move again.

    “Lassie! What do you think you’re doing?” Since when could Balin roar? Beryl swallowed hard, and bellowed right back.

    “Evening the odds! What else?” She ducked as her bellow caught the attention of one of the remaining bandits. She deftly avoided the rusty blade with a roll to the left, coming up quickly to her feet. She needn’t have bothered. Balin took the bandit down the moment his attention turned to her. Apparently, he was deadly serious about that guardianship.

    “Get between us Lassie, now!” Balin and Oin moved to sandwich her, not giving her the opportunity to argue.

    “Save me from the stubbornness of dwarves. I’m not helpless!”

    “Then guard me back and quit yer yelpin!’” Oin once again had unwanted attention, and was busy blocking the twin blades of yet another bandit with his long staff. Beryl waited patiently, then tripped the bandit the moment his feet lined up for it. Oin cracked him in the head with his staff. One more bandit lay prone in the road.

    “How many more are there?” Beryl was having a hard time seeing anything past Balin’s whirling blade and Oin’s twirling staff. The two dwarves seemed to be everywhere she was trying to look. Apparently, they decided the only way to keep her safe was to keep her sight line blocked, sneaky dwarves.

    “Plenty.” Balin was once again busy with two opponents. One of them carried a massive blacksmith’s hammer, and the other had what looked like a great sword. Beryl didn’t like those odds versus Balin’s longsword. Whether he’d ever admit it or not, Balin would need her help. Thankfully, one of them was very bad about stancing himself with a knee forward. It was like a billiard ball taunting a cue stick. She was never one to ignore a taunt. One good crack later, and a bandit was curled on the ground nursing a broken kneecap. Balin now only had one opponent. That great sword was still worrisome, though.

    “A little help here, lassie.” Oin called over his shoulder. Whatever that was fighting him wasn’t human, or wasn’t purely human. It moved almost froglike and snarled like a wounded pig. It made Beryl shudder just to look at it. The thing managed to dive in between them, its attention still on Oin, so she clobbered it over the head, downing it as she had the other bandits. Oin spit on it. “Cursed goblin.”

    “Goblin? Like Bullroarer fought?”

    “Very same. Though why bandits would work with a goblin, I’ve no idea.” In the time it took Oin and Beryl to down the goblin, the rest of the fight was done. Bandits littered the road, some just unconscious, others didn’t bear closer scrutiny. She saw a few more of the Company were now nursing wounds. That greatsword had managed to get past Balin’s guard, and he now had a nasty cut across his chest. Bombur had a cut that still trickled into his eye, and Kili had his right arm folded tight against him.

    “What is this?” Thorin was now standing over them, nudging the prone goblin with one of his heavy boots.

    “You’d know better than I would, Thorin. Oin called it a goblin.” She thumped her staff against the ground and leaned against it. The battle done, she was bone tired of a sudden.

    “What would bandits be doing allying themselves with goblins?” Fili was now nursing his wounded thigh, the protection adrenaline had afforded him during battle having left him, he was now limping and in pain.

    “Well, one things for certain. We’ll get no answers standing here in the road, and we’ve wounded that need tending.” It was amazing how well Oin could hear when it mattered. Arrow shafts were removed and wounds bound. Beryl found herself sacrificing a few petticoats to help with the binding. It would do no good to head to Bree if a dwarf fell off his pony before they got there from blood loss. It wasn’t as if she minded greatly. She didn’t see much petticoat wearing in her near future.

    And oh, wasn’t that fun, when she first came out in her sensible trousers? Dori nearly had heart palpitations then and there. She watched several of the dwarves cover their mouths to stifle their laughter, when she calmly explained that trousers were much more suited to the trials ahead. She did pack a few pretties, just to soothe his wounded sensibilities, but the greater portion was devoted to thick trousers and sensible shirts.

    Beryl pulled the makeshift bandage tight around Kili’s slashed shoulder. He sucked in a deep breath, but didn’t complain. Beryl had to fight a smile. Silly tough acting dwarves, wouldn’t do to admit it hurts around a mere girl, now, would it? “There, I think that’ll hold till we can get to the healers in Bree.” She gently patted his back, well away from the wound site.

    “Thank you. You were quite a sight yourself out there. Quite handy with a staff.” Kili was gingerly rolling his shoulder, testing its soreness and how well the bandage would hold. He cut a guarded look at Beryl, testing the waters verbally as carefully as his shoulder.

    “Well, I had to have some way to keep my cousins in line, now, didn’t I?” Beryl gave him a small smile. “I told you I wouldn’t be a bother or useless weight.”

    “You did at that. Tell me, is it true you refused a suit from Balin?” Now where the blimey blue blazes did that question come from? Beryl busied herself folding the remainder of the petticoat while she puzzled out an answer. She was sure they’d need bandages again before this trip was over.

    “Now, why would you ask a question like that?”

    “To gauge my chances, should I make an offer.”