Section 11. Óin
Word Count: 351
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
In some ways, Óin was lucky. When Smaug fell upon the Lonely Mountain, the old dwarrow was not there. He had spent several weeks traveling to the Iron Hills to visit his mother’s kinfolk and on his return, Óin camped a day’s trek out.
The dwarf saw no reason to rush his journey when the weather was delightful and he was quite enjoying his own company. Although he loved his home, Erebor was a bustling kingdom and the healer could use a break from the many demands upon his time. There were always sick and injured to be seen to, often more than he could manage in a day.
So Óin was content with the knowledge that his apprentices were well-trained, both dwarves near to reaching a healer’s mastery. His patients would be well taken care of with Brigda left in charge and the dwarf felt no guilt about allowing his feet to dawdle on the path.
However, when the healer crested the last rise, his sense of contentment vanished instantly. There should have been lights to greet him, the torches by the gates of Erebor ignited every evening when dusk began to fall. There should have been farmers rushing home and hunters carrying game back to their families while trading caravans camped outside the walls of Dale.
But Óin saw only death. He saw soot-covered ruins and charred corpses on the plain and his heart trembled in his chest.
The healer wandered through the valley in a state of shock, unable to comprehend how such utter destruction could have occurred while he was gone. It took him days to track down the survivors, days of worry and self-recrimination. Because the healer should have been there to help his kinsfolk; he should have been there to treat the injured and indeed, he was conscripted into duty as soon as he arrived. There were so many wounded and so few supplies with which to heal them. There were few who had the knowledge, the weight of Óin's grief growing deeper when his brother told him that both of his apprentices had died.