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Calm The Fire: 43

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It seemed once she was up in the trees, Náriel had no trouble making her way round at all. On more than one occasion she easily jumped from one branch to another which belonged to a different tree. She'd pull a branch that was bearing fruit closer and look it over with a sceptical eye. If it seemed edible she'd pull out a knife a few inches long and cut it down. Once she had it in her hands she'd drop it down to the ground.

Easily catching the falling fruit, Thorin soon had a small stack gathering at his feet. He looked at them and then back up at her, just in time to catch another fruit. “Are you sure you need all of these?”

“Maybe I could copy a squirrel?” Náriel appeared in front of him only hanging upside down. Her legs were bent over the branch and her arms were crossed over her chest to stop her dark green top from riding up.

“What do you mean?” Thorin asked.

Náriel smiled. “Maybe I can make larders of food as we go?”

He frowned, “You plan on journeying back this way to collect the food you've left behind?” At this Náriel's smile disappeared, with a disapproving glance she sat back up into the tree and disappeared within the branches. Flinching and taking a step back he looked to the item which had just impacted against his head.

“Oops, I am sorry! My aim is a little off, I thought you were ready to catch. I apologise.” He looked up with narrowed eyes, Náriel was just casually leaning against the trunk of the tree with her arms crossed looking down at him. “Hey, if I cannot make a larder like a squirrel, perhaps you can all partake in some healthy eating?” She quipped while pushing away and walking along the branch with her arms outstretched to either side of her. When she heard a scoff she looked down, raising an eyebrow she crouched. “No? You seriously telling me all that meat and gravy is a good stable diet to travel on?”

“And you think all this fruit is?” Thorin countered easily.

Náriel smiled and laughed. “Say, you eat what you eat, and I shall eat what I eat. We shan't share. Because sharing will cause problems. Stick to your meat and gravy, and I’ll stick to my fruit.”

Thorin crossed his arms and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “You done?”

Náriel gave a sigh, “Yes, sire,” she bowed in her branch.

“Come along, Princess,” he said in an equally dull tone to her own and held a hand out. She gave another sigh and sat down in the tree, managing to shift around she managed to get to a lower branch. Carefully leaning forwards she was able to reach out and put her hand in the one which was outstretched to her.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” He questioned when she eyed him strangely.

“You're not going to drop me are you?”

“Why would I do that?” He looked at her in disbelief. He may not have been totally pleased to see her again, or to find out that she was tagging along, but he wouldn't go out of his way to see harm come to her.

“Because you don't like me.” Náriel whispered.

“Who said that?”

“Oh come on,” she said while retracting her hand and sitting in the branch. He frowned and lowered his arm again. “Your whole vibe gives off...dislike, displeasure, dissatisfaction, animosity and loathing.” She listed while scrunching her nose up in thought and narrowing her eyes down at him. “You can't contradict.”

“I cannot,” Thorin admitted and lowered his gaze to the ground. Looking up at her he shook his head slowly. “I hold no dislike, displeasure, dissatisfaction, animosity or loathing towards you. I am telling the truth here.”

“You just don't like my kind, on a whole, hm?” Náriel sounded saddened.

“Your kind hasn't been helpful to mine.”

Frowning Náriel gripped onto the branch and easily managed to lower herself down. Landing with a thud she stood back up and looked at him seriously. “That does not mean we cannot get along. It never has meant otherwise.” Pausing she crossed her arms. “Holding this grudge will come to nothing. And holding it towards me because I am present will achieve only annoyance.” She tilted her head to the side and smiled thinly. “Because you are annoying me, Thorin, honestly you are. And on that, I am telling the truth.” She stood silently watching as he thought over everything she just said.

“It seems we have come to an impasse.” He said decisively.

Náriel inclined her head in agreement. “An impasse it is then.” She turned and picked up some of her fruit. Holding some in one hand she managed to rustle out a small cloth bag from her back pocket. Thorin just looked at her blankly for this. She could have just stored all the fruit she found in that, there was no point in throwing it down to him. Upon sensing this she grinned and slung the bag over her shoulder.

“It was nice to see a helpful hand. No matter what the task was. Now that,” she turned on her heels. “That is the Thorin I dearly remember.” She waved over her shoulder. “Always up for helping, no matter what. Are you coming or what? It's getting darker, and Gandalf might return soon!” She looked over her shoulder at him and grinned again as he started to walk briskly after her.

“'Dearly remember'?” Thorin repeated quietly when he had joined her side, Náriel looked up at him simply. Frowning he looked to her, she just smiled and looked back to the lines of trees which they were walking through.

Náriel stopped, “May I show you something?” Thorin stopped and looked at her oddly. She sounded rather serious yet amused over her question.

“If you must.”

Raising an eyebrow, she lowered her arm, the bag in her hand simply landed against the ground. With both hands she ducked under the collar of her top and gently pulled at something. In the silver moonlight Thorin could see it was a chain of some sort. Thin yet strong despite the fragility of it. Frowning when he caught sight of something linked onto it he looked to Náriel when she had lifted up his hand and put the item in his palm. The chain wasn't that long so to fully achieve this she had to take a step forward.

“You kept it?” Thorin asked quietly while turning over a familiar clasp which he had given to her so many years ago. Náriel looked at him stupidly, like his whole question was a stupid one to ask. “But why?”

“Hm, you see, when I returned to Mirkwood, my uncle asked me to forget about you. You were a Dwarf Prince and I was – am – an Elven Princess, nothing was going to happen there, as far as he could see.” Náriel said and shook her head with a frown. Shutting her eyes she squeezed them shut before opening them and looking up at him. “Despite that. I kept this. You ask why, and I simply answer: because you were close to my heart, as such I kept this on a chain close by...specifically to my heart...” Náriel smiled and shrugged, though in truth she did pause every so often. Clearly admitting to such a thing was hard, least of all admitting it all to the one person which it involved.

Thorin narrowed his eyes thoughtfully while turning the clasp over in his hands. It was well worn. Clearly she hadn't taken it off of the chain for quite some time. The constant contact with material and the rubbing of the chain had slowly made some of the detail disappear.

“Why did you come?” He looked up at her and let the chain fall from his hand. He wanted to know why she agreed to come along on this quest.

Náriel smiled and picked up her bag. Tucking the chain back behind her top she turned on her heels. “Hm, for that question I give the same answer as before.” She started walking, he stepped in line beside her. “You were close to my heart. I’ve wanted nothing more than to see you after so long.” Smiling she gave a nod. “As such, I also want nothing more than to help you.” She looked up at him. “I meant what I said back in the Shire. I want to help in anyway I can.”

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