The days following their return to Mirkwood, Náriel had found herself on more occasions than normal running alongside her kin in the dark twisted trees which made up her homeland. The oncoming shadow had crept every closer it seemed since leaving. She had heard tales from both Legolas and Tauriel that the spiders were becoming ever more bolder, which meant that they had to leave the safety of the palace for the sake of dealing with them.
“Sorry there is no welcome home banquet for you, Náriel.”
“I think I’ve had enough banquets.” She replied while looking up at Tauriel, the two of them walked the light stone corridors which made up the walls of their home. She looked at her questionably. “Never attend a Dwarfish banquet, Tauriel, you will regret it.”
“And why is that?” The auburn haired Elf asked with a light smirk.
“I've never seen so much food in my life.” Náriel looked up at her friend before putting her hands in her dark green trousers. The two of them were wearing rather similar clothes, and both of them had their weapons in case they suddenly needed to leave.
Tauriel smiled at this and looked forwards, the quiet corridor is all that greeted her dark eyes, Náriel quietly shuffled along in silence. Looking down at her suddenly, Tauriel stopped walking, this meant Náriel stopped too and looked up at her confused.
“What's wrong?” Náriel's emerald eyes looked at her worriedly.
Tauriel smiled and shook her head slowly, “It is good to have you back.”
“It is nice to know I have been missed.”
“He will not openly admit it, at least not to me,” Tauriel said while looking down and shaking her head loosely. “But Legolas has missed you too.”
“Hm,” Náriel crossed her arms. “So you say, yet where is he, hm?”
“Your uncle keeps him busy, you know that.” Náriel rolled her eyes slowly. Tauriel laughed quietly, “Would you rather be in his position?”
“No!” Náriel exclaimed quietly, this just caused Tauriel's smile to grow and for her to look down at Náriel with a knowing look. “No...though I feel most sorry for all the work and meetings he attends.”
“Náriel, Tauriel, man ceridh?” Both females looked up as a blonde haired Elf came striding along the corridors towards them. He looked at them both awaiting for one of them to answer. When neither did by the time he stopped in front of them he frowned.
“Would you believe catching up, Legolas?” Náriel asked with a small smile, he looked away from Tauriel to look down at his cousin when she spoke. “Since you've been nowhere to be seen.”
“Apologies,” Legolas inclined his head and looked at both of them sharply. “We're needed.” He said as simply as anyone could.
“Again?” Náriel said quietly. “But we've not long since returned.” She said, it was true, it had been several weeks now since both Thranduil and Náriel had returned. And in that space of time she had been out with the others dealing with the spiders. At this moment, Tauriel and herself had been back for an hour, if that, and now with Legolas in front of them they were called back into duty.
The spider attacks varied. But one thing for sure was that it seemed to take them a matter of moments to regroup and come back for a second round. The spiders were seemingly relentless.
“Tell me of your travels,” it was sometime later that Náriel had this question posed to her. Legolas, herself and Thranduil were meant to be having a meal together, yet he was nowhere to be seen. He had other matters to contend with, affairs to get back in check.
“It seemed to take so long getting there, yet such little time returning.”
Legolas frowned, “That doesn't seem to answer my question.”
“Uncle has told you of everything already hasn't he?”
“Yes, there is no point in lying on the matter.” Náriel hung her head over the sheer honesty he had. “You know he will not permit you to stay in contact with this Dwarf, right?”
“He has a name.” Náriel said while looking at Legolas with a sidewards look.
“It matters not, not really.” Legolas said and narrowed his own eyes at her. “You are needed here, your attention cannot be elsewhere, Náriel.”
“Rest assured my attention is here, and solely here.”
“I don't believe you.”
“That's because I was lying.” Náriel smiled and leant back in her chair.
Legolas relented and smiled at her, “Tell me of Dale, father would not say much, he said that you had visited it more times.”
“Only if you tell me what's going on between you and Tauriel, I’ve never felt such an awkward atmosphere before.” Náriel said while eyeing her cousin up, Legolas rolled his eyes slowly and sighed.
“It is a fair exchange, I suppose.” He said with a nod, Náriel grinned and turned her chair to look at him. She then recounted what Dale was like, and what the people who inhabited the strange little homes were like. She gave descriptions of the streets, of the market stalls, and what the shops there sold. All the while Legolas sat and listened and nodded every so often, from over her shoulder he briefly saw Thranduil walk past and regard them coolly before disappearing back down the corridor.
What are you doing? - Man ceridh?
(A/N: Might be a slightly short chapter, mainly cos I wanted to do the coming of Smaug in a chapter all on his lonesome, cos damn, that fat dragon deserves it xD And tbh, I do apologise for this chapter also being kinda boring, seriously, talk about uneventful...uploaded before work, I might upoload the next chapter when I come home to make it up xD Oh! Cos I am uploading this before work, I've not spell checked or whatever, so if there are errors, let me know and I'll edit them later!!)
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