Author's Chapter Notes:
My song is found in the first chapter of The Hobbit, “An Unexpected Party”. The first line of the song is: “Far over the misty mountains cold. . .” To really understand or appreciate my story, I suggest you read the chapter from the paragraph that begins: “The dark come into the room . . .” through to the end of the paragraph that ends with: “He looks more like a grocer than a burglar!”
In the Quiet of the Drawing-Room of Bag End
“Struck by lightning, struck by lightning!”
The Wizard’s staff had flared and in his already panicked and befuddled state that fearful cry was all Bilbo’s poor brain had been able to produce. He barely remembered shouting it with all his strength. He did not remember the dwarves, with more care them some of them felt for him at the time, carrying him to the drawing-room sofa to lay him down with his head upon one of the velvet pillows and placing a small tumbler of the red wine they had enjoyed earlier upon a table they moved to sit beside his elbow. Bilbo only knew he currently felt like a wash rag that had been wrung out and hung carelessly upon a nail to dry.
The ceiling he was staring at provided no comfort; it offered no opinions nor advice. Bilbo sighed deeply as a shiver ran through him. The last song his unexpected guests had sung had filled him with wonder and a longing he had never felt before. At its memory, those feelings all poured into his thoughts again. He saw himself wandering in far flung lands. The wild wind was blowing through his curls and his nose deeply drew in new, exciting smells. Sounds he had never heard before were echoing about in his ears while strange stars were dancing in the crystal black sky. In the distance rose the mountain the dwarves had lamented, the mountain whose heart is of full of treasures untold. They had sung of gems unnumbered like the sand on the banks of The Water; gold piled higher than the hoard of his grandfather Gerontius who had been The Took and The Thain of the Shire.
The vision faded as it had before. Bilbo did not crave such things, as did the dwarves. No, it was only the wonder of such a thing that caught at his imagination.
Well, had caught his imagination until a flare of light had shone through the window. The warm light of a distant fire. The dwarves song told of a dragon who had stolen their treasure. What would it be like to have a dragon attack your home? His mind saw a raging fire reflected in the black liquid of The Water as Hobbiton burned to the ground. He saw the tree in the Party Field turned into a torch, and the windows of Bag End blackening with soot and cracking from the intolerable heat.
Bilbo shuddered again. He remembered that part of the evening all that too well. He had almost left the room then but they hadn’t let him. No, they had raised their glasses and toasted him. Thorin had grandly called him a “fellow conspirator” and an “audacious hobbit” as though those terms were compliments.
Bilbo closed his eyes. He felt faint. Slowly he sat up, slowly he opened his eyes, slowly he picked up the glass of wine and slowly he sipped at the ruby red liquid. Ruby red. Rubies. He huffed as he sat the tumbler down. No rubies, no treasure that filled a mighty mountain, were worth what Thorin had said.
“Perhaps all of us may never return.”
That had frozen the blood in his veins and Bilbo couldn’t remember any more of the conversation in the parlor. Now, here he sat on his sofa in his drawing-room feeling wrung out and small.
There came a tickle in his mind. His hand brushed absently against his head as though waving away an annoying insect. The tickle only grew. He could hear the rumble of deep voices coming from the parlor. The tickle was most insistent. He had to know what was being said by the uninvited guests in his parlor. He hoped those dratted dwarves had given up all that talk of going on a journey and apparently taking him with them. He stood and made his way quietly to the parlor door.