Calm The Fire: 49

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Seeing as how Thorin had moved away from the seat next to Elrond and walked in the Dwarves directions, Náriel leant back and reached out to grab onto his sleeve. “Problems?”

“He wishes to know what we were doing.” Thorin said while leaning down.

Náriel smiled at him. “That is a bad thing how?”

“It isn't his business.”

“You forget it sort of is,” Náriel turned in her seat and stood up slowly, Thorin took a step back and looked down at her. “We were on the Great East Road, then we were ambushed by Orcs, Orcs on Wargs, Thorin, do I need to remind you of this?”

“No, you do not.” Thorin said while frowning. She didn't need to remind him of something which hadn't happened that long ago. He had full recollection of what happened, it wasn't something he was likely to forget any time soon.

“We would surely have been found, if not for Lord Elrond.” Náriel shook her head simply and smiled up at him. She was opting not to pay mind to his rather blunt border-lining tired tone of voice.

“So you think I should just tell all?” Thorin raised an eyebrow at her curiously.

“Hm, I have a feeling Gandalf might be doing that for you.” She smiled sadly and patted him on the arm, she was still holding onto his sleeve loosely. The two looked to Elrond and Gandalf as they conversed quietly, just out of earshot.

“He wouldn't,” Thorin said quietly while looking at her, she raised an eyebrow at him. “He would.”

She smiled and shook her head. “I do not think any words need to be spoken. I think our host may already have an inkling.” She said and then turned and looked confused when Bofur had started singing. “Not going to join in?” She whispered and smirked up at him.

“No.” Thorin frowned lightly yet relented and rolled his eyes at her rather happy expression.

“Shame,” she pouted, her pout soon turned into a sad look in general. “I meant what I said to Gandalf, when we were back at Bilbo's, you really do have quite a nice singing voice. Why you opted not to sing all those years ago, I do not know.”

“If I remember rightly, I was not well.” Thorin whispered with a small smile at the memory. Náriel let out a quiet laugh. “Though if you wish to join in, by all means, I shall not stop you.” He gestured to the chorus of voices. He remembered full well the lack of hesitation which she had when regarding singing.

“May I admit, I do not know this one.” She confessed which was true. Flinching she turned and looked over her shoulder. Seeing as how Kíli was looking rather shifty she could only imagine that the wayward piece of thrown food which hit the back of her head came from him.

He held his hands up in defence. “Not me,” he looked to Fíli.

Fíli looked offended. “Well it certainly wasn't me. I wasn't the one arguing with her earlier on.”

“It wasn't an argument, it was a civil conversation.”

“Which you both offended each other. Therefore it was an argument.” Fíli easily countered. He was about to say something else only to end up having food thrown at him. Shooting a look to Náriel, she cheekily grinned and pointed up at Thorin. Seeing as how she was pinning the blame on him, he frowned down at her, though it didn't last. He couldn’t stay frowning angrily down at her, not when she looked so innocently happy.

----

“Our business is no concern of Elves.” Thorin said while Balin paced behind him. Elrond just glanced at him and then to the side where Náriel was standing, beside her stood Bilbo. Elrond couldn't help but find some hypocrisy in his words considering there was an Elf in his company. Though not just any Elf, it mattered not.

“Show him the map, Thorin.” Gandalf said exasperated.

Frowning, Thorin looked up at him then Elrond and then back again. “It is the legacy of my people.” He said. “It is mine to protect, as are the secrets within it.”

Gandalf sighed heavily and rolled his eyes upwards. “Save me from the stubbornness of Dwarves.” Looking back to Thorin he continued. “Your pride will be your downfall. You are standing with one of few in Middle-Earth who can read that map. Show it to Lord Elrond.”

“No,” Balin went to hold onto Thorin's arm to stop his movements as he dipped his hand within his clothes to an inside pocket. Pulling out the map he stepped forwards and extended his hand towards the awaiting Elf.

“Erebor,” Elrond frowned lightly and looked to Thorin, “What interest exactly do you have with this map?” He asked while slowly turning, his eyes looked up at Gandalf with a sidewards look though as he started to answer instead of Thorin.

“Academic purposes only. As you very well know, artefacts like this often contain hidden information.” Gandalf said while quickly glancing at Thorin and then up at Elrond. “You do still read ancient Dwarvish?”

“Cirith ithil.” Elrond replied while turning the map upwards and looking at it.

“Moon Runes.” Gandalf smiled and looked towards Bilbo, who looked at him curiously. “An easy thing to miss,” he explained, Bilbo and Náriel exchanged a look and then looked back to Elrond.

“Well,” Elrond said while turning to them. “If that is the case. They can only be read by the light of the moon of the same shape and season as the day on which they were written.” Elrond explained while turning the map in his hands again.

“Can you read them?” Thorin asked sceptically with interest.

Elrond turned and walked out of a door, following after him they all appeared on a platform. Rock faces surrounded them, and above them fell waterfalls. Loudly they rumbled, yet Elrond's voice could still be clearly heard.

“These runes were written on a mid-summer's eve by the light of a crescent moon nearly two hundred years ago.” Elrond paused and placed the map down on a platform of rock which had a smooth surface. “It seems as though you were meant to come to Rivendell.” He briefly glanced at Thorin, who stood by his side. “Fate is with you, Thorin Oakenshield. The same moon shines upon us tonight.” As if on cue, the moon which was hiding behind thick grey clouds slowly made its way out of its current position. Silver fractured light from the waterfalls shone down on them, the light shone on the map and dark runes slowly appeared.

“Stand by the grey stone when the thrush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin's Day will shine upon the keyhole.” Elrond translated while running a finger over the runes in front of him.

“Durin's Day?” Bilbo questioned while peeking curiously around.

“It's the start of the Dwarves New Year. The last moon of Autumn and the first sun of Winter appear in the sky together.” Gandalf easily explained while casting a quick look at the Hobbit. Bilbo seemed content with this answer and gave a small nod and placed his hands in his waistcoat pockets.

“Summer is passing, Durin's Day will soon be upon us.” Thorin said while placing a hand thoughtfully to his chin.

“We still have time.” Balin stepped forwards from beside Bilbo.

“Time? For what?” Bilbo questioned with a frown.

Balin looked at him then to Thorin. “To find the entrance. We have to be standing at exactly the right spot, at exactly the right time. Then, and only then, can the door be opened.”

Elrond frowned at the Dwarf's words. “So this is your purpose, to enter the Mountain?”

Thorin looked up at him sharply. “What of it?”

Elrond picked up the map and slowly held it out to him. “There are some who would not deem it wise.”

“Who do you mean?” Gandalf asked quietly.

Elrond turned with a light smile. “You are not the only guardian to stand watching over Middle-Earth.” He explained while turning fully and walking away.

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