Section 6. Bofur
Rating/Warnings: Minor angst
Word Count: 781
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit, it would be even sadder.
Summary: None of Thorin's companions will ever forget the day the dragon came.
2. Dori & Nori
Bofur was in the mines when Smaug attacked and the force of the dragon’s onslaught shook the mountain to her core. Although the tunnels were built too well for cave-ins, the dwarf felt the stone walls shudder as they never had before.
Erebor was straining against something and Bofur traded a worried glance with the miner at his side. The mountain had her moods and some days were not for digging, working when she didn’t wish it could only bring disaster on them all.
Most of the miners decided to leave, though a few did stay behind in case the mountain settled later on. Bofur had a feeling that she wouldn’t, that there was something truly wrong, and it was better to lose a day of work then test her patience now. He was prepared to explain his decision to the foreman but when he reached the mine entrance, he found the place deserted. Where there should have been two dozen dwarves, Bofur saw none at all.
“Where is everyone?”
“I don’t know. Stay on your guard,” the dwarf replied, gripping his pick axe tightly. He’d never seen these halls so empty and he moved forward cautiously. However, when Bofur finally saw another living soul, it was not an enemy. An older dwarf was sprinting through the corridors and he nearly crashed into the miner before he stumbled to a stop.
“What’s the hurry, friend?” Bofur asked, steadying the dwarrow with one hand.
“Don’t you know? Where in Mahal’s name have you been? Didn’t you hear the alarms?”
“We were mining the southern vein when we felt the mountain shudder,” Bofur told him. “Tell me what’s going on.”
“Erebor is under attack,” the other dwarf gasped out. “The upper levels are on fire and we all need to leave right now.”
“Under attack? By what?”
“A dragon,” the dwarrow whispered before running off again.
The word spread through the miners like a wildfire. Some went back to warn the others while some dashed off down the tunnels toward their homes. Bofur didn’t try to stop them, but he didn’t follow either. If there truly was a dragon then there was no time to spare; better to lose the rest of his belongings than to lose his life as well.
Several of his companions agreed with him and the miners struck out for the surface as quickly as they could. As they neared the gates, the dwarves began to see evidence of the dragon’s passage: burned bodies nearly choked some walkways and whole corridors had collapsed.
A few side passages were clear but the miners were often forced to dig their way through the blocked tunnels and Bofur was increasingly grateful for the pick axe in his hands. Even so the trip seemed to take hours, the dwarves twitching nervously whenever the dragon roared. They couldn’t see the beast but they could hear him; his voice shook the Lonely Mountain down to her foundations and Bofur knew they’d die in seconds if he stumbled on them now.
However, the wyrm must have been busy elsewhere because the dwarves reached Erebor’s grand entry hall without seeing tooth or scale. There was only one last sprint toward freedom, the mountain’s gates standing open and hanging off one hinge.
Perhaps Bofur would escape with his life if not his livelihood and he could only pray that his kinsmen had left Erebor this morning as they’d been planning to. But the miner had barely started to relax when there was a deafening crash from the tunnels to his left; something enormous was traveling this way.
“Run!” Bofur shouted and the dwarves took off.
The miner didn’t dare look back as a rush of heat licked at his boots, a low rumbling laugh following the flames. He would never forget that chuckle. He would never forget the screams when one of the others stumbled on the stones beneath their feet.
But the gates were growing closer and Bofur pulled more strength from somewhere for another burst of speed.
The miner and his companions were nearly out when there was a flash of crimson in the corner of his eye. A deafening roar was Bofur’s only warning before the stone above the gates began to crumble and the dwarf dove for his freedom desperately.
When the rocks stopped falling, Bofur was lying in front of Erebor with half a dozen others. The gates were sealed and there were boulders everywhere. One had missed his head by inches and even as the other dwarves began to stagger upright, the miner just lay on his back and breathed.