The Company of the Whiskey Drinking Bear
Bard was descended from Lord Girion of Dale, whose wife and child had escaped to Laketown when Smaug ruined Dale and took the Lonely Mountain in TA 2770.
In TA 2941, when Smaug emerged from the Lonely Mountain and attacked Laketown, Bard, as captain of a company of town archers, was encouraging the archers and urging the town Master to order them to fight to the last arrow. Bard himself fired many arrows with his great yew bow. He was down to his last arrow when a thrush came and perched on his shoulder. Because Bard was of the race of Dale, he was able to understand the thrush’s words. The bird told him of the weak spot in Smaug’s armor that Bilbo Baggins had discovered. Bard fired his Black Arrow and struck the hollow by Smaug’s left breast and the dragon fell from the sky, landing on Laketown and destroying it.2
Bard escaped into the lake and swam ashore. The people wanted him to be their King, but he said he would continue to serve the Master of Laketown for the time being. Bard took charge of organizing shelter and aid for the refugees and sent messages to the Elvenking of Mirkwood asking for help. Then, Bard and the Elvenking led their armies to the Lonely Mountain, seeking a share of the treasure.3
When they arrived at the Lonely Mountain, they were surprised to find Thorin Oakenshield and his company of Dwarves still alive. Bard sought reparations from Thorin on the grounds that it was he who had slain Smaug, that part of the Dragon’s treasure had once belonged to Dale, and that the people of Laketown were suffering and needed aid. Thorin said that the destruction of Laketown was not his responsibility and he refused to parley with armies camped outside the mountain. Bard sent a messenger several hours later asking for one-twelfth of the treasure, but again Thorin refused.3
Ted Nasmith – The Arkenstone
Bilbo Baggins delivers the Arkenstone to Thranduil and Bard, by Ted Nasmith
Bilbo Baggins thought that Bard’s claims were reasonable, so one night he went secretly to the camp of the Lakemen and Elves. The Hobbit had found the Arkenstone – the treasure that Thorin most desired – and he offered it to Bard and Thranduil to use to negotiate. He also told them that an army of 500 Dwarves led by Dain II Ironfoot was coming from the Iron Hills.4
The next day, Bard asked Thorin for a portion of the treasure in exchange for the Arkenstone. Thorin was enraged, but he reluctantly agreed to give up Bilbo’s one-fourteenth share. Dain’s army arrived the next day, and Bard tried to prevent them from entering the Lonely Mountain until the exchange for the Arkenstone had been made. A battle seemed imminent, but then Gandalf told them that an army of Goblins and Wargs were approaching. Bard, Thranduil, and Dain took council together and they joined forces to fight their common enemy in the Battle of the Five Armies. During the battle, Thorin had emerged from mountain and had rallied Dwarves, Elves, and Men to the attack, but he was mortally wounded. Bard laid the Arkenstone upon Thorin’s breast when he was buried under the mountain, and Dain agreed to pay the one-fourteenth share of the treasure as promised. Bard gave the emeralds of Girion to Thranduil and Bilbo agreed to take a small chest of gold and one of silver. Bard also contributed gold for the aid of Laketown, and although the Master of Laketown absconded with much of it, Laketown was rebuilt and its people became prosperous.5
Bard went to his ancestral home of Dale at the foot of the Lonely Mountain. He rebuilt the ruined town and in TA 2944, he became King of Dale. Bard maintained good relations with the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and trade flowed freely up and down the River Running. People came to settle in Dale from miles around and the land that had been withered by Smaug became bountiful once more.1
Bard became smitten with the Dorwinion princess Una. In 2950 they announced their engagement. Also that year, at Dragontide, Lockmand poisoned his troops, leaving Dale vulnerable to an attack from an attack by the Shadow’s forces, led by the Gibbet King. He sent the Company of the Whiskey Drinking Bear to guard the crossings of Celduin to buy him time to assemble an army.