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Raising an eyebrow, Náriel lifted a hand up and touched the weapon in front of her. There were many weapons on the walls. Axes, swords, in all shapes and sizes. This was the armoury of the room where weapons training happened.

"You should be careful, those are sharp." Náriel looked over her shoulder. She raised her eyebrow again at the dwarf who was suddenly standing behind her. Thorin stood by his side looking from one to the other. "Dwalin, this is Princess Náriel." He said slowly, inwardly he was cursing his friends brashness and blunt tone.

Almost instantly Dwalin had seemingly registered he had done wrong. "Apologies," he said while looking Náriel over. Although, his tone was still rather simple sounding, there was a hint of sincerity though.

"It's fine, really. You wouldn't be the first to tell me to be careful around a weapon." Náriel said simply with a small shrug. She looked over their shoulders. Behind them there was an etched out square which clearly signalled where practice happened. Stone benches sat along the walls for those waiting their turn, or for spectators.

When the two had entered the room moments ago, there were two dwarves in training. Dwalin had been ordering them about, something which he had no qualms about doing so it seemed. Upon noticing them, he had dismissed the youngsters, by this time Thorin had walked up to his side and Náriel was inspecting the weapons. Náriel quickly looked Dwalin up and down. He was tall, slightly taller than Thorin, which caused her to tilt her chin up to look at him in the eye. He was muscular with a full dark beard, only half of his head however had hair which trailed over his shoulders. The tattoos which could be seen etched on his skin caused her eyes to trace them.

"Dwalin, happens to be Balin's younger brother." Thorin said seemingly taking great pleasure in telling Náriel this piece of information. Not just for her interested expression but because Dwalin let out a rather irritated noise at his joking.

"Do I have to tell you a thousand more times, Thorin, do stop telling others that I am related to that-"

"Your brother is very kind." Náriel cut Dwalin off. "I do hope you were not about to throw out an insult on your brother's expense." She smiled kindly up at him, Dwalin blinked slowly before shutting his mouth. He was going to, but he wasn't going to now.

Instead, Dwalin chose to drop the subject of his brother. Through all the joking and mock insulting. He did care for him, of course he did, Balin was his brother. Shaking his head slowly he pointed his thumb at Thorin. "What are you doing with such a sorry lad as him?"

Náriel let out a laugh just as Thorin shot his friend a look. "Who are you calling a sorry lad?" Thorin questioned sounding quite serious despite the quiet laughing which was filling the room.

"I was found out," she explained once she calmed her laughter. "Spotted as it were. I was exploring, and I was found by him." Dwalin nodded slowly at this. "I'm being given a tour." Náriel smiled. "As well as being introduced to a few people along the way."

"You went to the library?" Dwalin asked, Náriel nodded. "Hence how you met Balin. Oh, I bet he liked you."

Náriel gave a shrug. "I shall simply say I hope so. I liked him, as I previously said, he seems very kind."

Rubbing his chin in thought, Dwalin looked around. "Are you enjoying your tour?"

"I am, very much so." Náriel gestured over to the practice area. "You teach?"

"I dabble." Came Dwalin's response, Náriel's eyes narrowed thoughtfully, she even let out a quiet hum, before shaking her head and smiling up at the two dwarves which were looking at her rather quizzically.

"Where is next on your tour?" Dwalin asked curiously while crossing his arms.

Náriel shrugged. "I do not know." She answered truthfully. Shifting her weight from one foot to the other she crossed her arms behind her back. "I suppose really, I should try and find my uncle. He after all, does not know I've gone wandering."

"Is that secretly an excuse to get out of his company?" Dwalin laughed while nodding towards Thorin, who yet again shot his friend a look.

Náriel laughed quietly and shook her head. "No! No, not at all." She looked to the ground and slowly up at them.

"Regardless," Dwalin sighed. "I have other matters to see to. So I will see you both tonight at this feast." He said with a quiet excited undertone to his voice.

The two watched as he left, not once glancing back at them. Thorin looked down at Náriel when she was just looking up at him. "We shall find your uncle." He gestured to the door which Dwalin had just walked through.

Náriel smiled gratefully and stepped beside him. "You seem to have marvellous friends." She commented while running her hand along the smooth wall of the corridor they were walking through. She couldn't help but reach out and touch things. Everything was so intricately carved and shaped. She wanted to know if it felt like it looked. "Both Balin and Dwalin seem like brilliant company. You are very lucky to have them by your side."

"They are and I am. Balin is very wise. Whether I need it or not, he gives advice to me. Dwalin, what could I possibly say about him?"

"Hm, possibilities are endless it seems." Náriel smiled. "He seems like a good right hand man."

"He is." Thorin paused. "I do not think I am ever likely to find two greater friends than them."

"You trust them both with your life?"

"I do."

"I must say though, it does not sound like they leave much work for you to do."

Thorin double took. "Excuse me?"

Shrugging Náriel moved away from the wall and stepped beside him again. The corridor they were walking down was wide. Whereas Thorin walked down the middle, Náriel was still running her hand along the wall. "Balin's advice, I presume covers your royal duties, yes? See, that means that you don't seem wholly able to manage them all by yourself. Dwalin, well, right hand man translates as protector too, right? So does this mean you are not totally able to defend yourself?" Náriel asked while a smile was slowly growing on her face with each word she said.

Thorin just looked at her truly lost for words. This just caused her to smile more. Such joking sarcasm, he did not expect such a thing to come from someone like this. In a small sense it was all rather amusing to some degree. "You've seen through my ploy, Princess. I am not the Prince I appear to be." Thorin said in mock drama while sadly looking to the ground.

"Ah, and the truth comes out!" Náriel said triumphantly with a swift nod. "Tell me, does your kin know of the lie you've been living? I think not. So allow me to reveal all to them." She winked and swiftly picked up the skirt of her dress and dashed off.

"You will do no such thing!" Thorin called out seriously while easily managing to dart after her. Náriel obviously didn't know where she was running to, it wasn't exactly a hard thing to catch up to her. Reaching out and holding onto her arm, Thorin managed to pull her to a stop. Only where she was running as fast as she could, she faltered and fell back from momentum.

Putting his hands on her shoulders as she impacted against his chest, he looked down. Náriel awkwardly looked over her shoulder at him. Blinking slowly and looking forwards again, Náriel broke off the strange stare off they had suddenly found themselves in.

"Come," Thorin patted her on the shoulders and gently nudged her forwards to walk. "You wished to find your uncle, standing here isn't going to find him, is it?"


(Edited: 13/July/2018)

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