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Calm The Fire: 41

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“It is raining, Master Dwarf, and it shall continue to do so until it decides to stop!” Gandalf said lightly, rain, heavy rain and drab grey clouds. It wasn't exactly the most ideal weather to travel in. Everyone was suffering from it, it wasn't enough that they were all getting soaked through, but the rain was making a cold seep into their bones. “If you want the weather to be changed, go find another Wizard.”

“Are there any?” Bilbo asked curiously over the rain.

“Any what?”

“Wizards.” Bilbo said simply.

“There are five of us, the greatest of our order is Saruman the White. Then there are the two blues, I’ve forgotten their names.” Gandalf looked over his shoulder at Bilbo who just looked rather dismal.

“Who's the fifth?”

“That would be Radagast the Brown.”

“Is he a great Wizard or is he more like you?” Bilbo said while blinking through the rain.

“I think he's a very fine Wizard, in his own way.” Gandalf mused thoughtfully. “He's a gentle soul, who prefers the company of animals, to people, though he made an exception with Náriel.”

“I did basically sit on his doorstep.” Náriel piped up upon hearing her name, she peeked out from underneath her cloaks hood. “Though it didn't seem to take much for him to take me in.”

“Hm,” Gandalf hummed. “I wonder why.”

“Because I’m nice?” She sheepishly smiled and leant forwards in her saddle.

“No, well yes, I mean he perhaps didn't have the heart to turn you away. Especially if you were sitting on his doorstep.” Gandalf said, he was facing forwards and couldn't see the narrow eyed look Náriel was sending his way. She didn't take to kindly to not being called nice, and then a double take happening. She liked to think she was of a nice disposition.

“He keeps a watchful eye on the vast woodland valleys to the East.” Gandalf explained while casting a wary eye back at them, Bilbo just continued to look miserable in the rain, whereas Náriel just frowned. “It's a good job too.” Seeing as how he was completely missing out on something Bilbo turned to look at her. Náriel just frowned and gave him a sidewards glance. It seemed she too wasn't going to say anything, heaving a sigh he gave a small fidget in the saddle and looked up at the dark sky as the rain continued to hail down on them all.

----

Riding up a small hill, the group slowly came face to face with a destroyed structure. It stood basically caving in on itself. The walls were near enough non-existing. And what remained of the roof was more collapsed than erect.

“We'll camp here for the night,” Thorin said while turning his horse around to watch as his companions rode up to stand nearby. Gandalf was more than quick to start exploring their new surroundings. He strode forwards and looked cautiously around half expecting something to just leap out and attack them. He shook his head every so often as he glanced around. None of the others seemed to pay much mind to him though as they were given things to do by Thorin.

“I do not think it is wise to stay here.” Gandalf said while looking up to the remnants of the roof. He turned and started to walk back to the dismounted group. “I think we should make camp elsewhere.” Gandalf paused. “Perhaps we can make it to the Hidden Valley?” He said as casually as possible, which really was a hard job to do considering who inhabited the place he named.

Needless to say his words caused Thorin to look up at him sharply. He evidently didn't agree. “I told you, I am not stepping foot there.” He said lowly as he approached where the Wizard stood. He continued to walk past to get out of earshot of everyone else. Though they weren't completely out of earshot of Náriel who evidently had the sharpest hearing, she looked up sceptically. It seemed she wouldn't mind visiting, of course she wouldn't, beside her Bilbo looked at her oddly as she just stopped in mid-motion of unpacking things.

“Why not? We could get aid from them.” Gandalf turned and went to follow, he quickly waved a hand at Náriel before he fully turned away. She just smiled at Bilbo and continued helping him to unpack. “We could get food, shelter, rest, advice,” Gandalf listed as he continued to stride forwards.

Reaching the back wall – perhaps the only sturdy looking one – Thorin turned and looked up. “We don't need their advice.” He said bluntly.

Gandalf gave a small sigh. “We have a map, one of which we cannot read.” He stated plainly. “Lord Elrond could help us,” Gandalf said, only to receive a blank look to be shot up at him. He really wasn't succeeding in winning the Dwarf King over here.

“Help?” Was the simple word which seemed to get picked up and retorted with. “A dragon attacked Erebor, what help came from the Elves?” Thorin questioned while standing unmoving and sternly looking up at Gandalf, all Gandalf did was look down at him, it was clear Thorin hadn't finished speaking, perish the thought of interrupting him now. “Orcs plunder Moria, where were they then? You ask me to seek help from those who betrayed my grandfather,” he said while finally moving away from the wall. “Betrayed my father.”

“You are neither of them, I certainly didn't give you both key and map for you to linger on the past.”

Thorin looked away and then up at him with a sidewards look, clearly not liking what he'd heard. “They weren't exactly yours to keep.” This was the last straw, Gandalf shook his head in disbelief and turned away. He walked away and left Thorin standing in the ruins of the small building.

“Everything all right?” Bilbo asked tentatively.

Náriel looked up, “You bought up the dreaded 'E' word, didn't you?” She asked quietly.

“Where are you going, Gandalf?” Bilbo asked worriedly seeing as how Gandalf hadn't answered either of them and continued to walk past them heading straight for his horse.

“Somewhere to spend time with the only company that makes sense.” Was the short reply Gandalf sent back to the Hobbit as he continued to walk.

“And that is?” Bilbo asked.

“That would be myself, Mister Baggins!” Gandalf exclaimed in annoyance as he passed everyone of the company. Beside Bilbo, Balin looked at the retreating Wizard with caution. He figured Gandalf needed some sort of space from having some sort of a disagreement.

“Is he going to come back?” Bilbo whispered to Balin.

“Let's hope so!” Náriel exclaimed quietly while popping up at both their sides. “I don't fancy our chances without his help.” She said honestly, Balin let out a quiet sigh and seemed to nod agreeing with her.

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