Calm The Fire: 62

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Beorn stood towering over the table in front of him. As any good host, he had laid out a breakfast for his guests, his uninvited guests. Pouring milk into a tankard, Beorn simply looked down. “So you are the one they call Oakenshield.” He stated while moving away from standing behind Thorin. “Tell me, why is Azog the Defiler hunting you?” Beorn's voice was low and serious, he turned slowly and looked to where Thorin was leaning against a beam.

“You know of Azog? How?” He asked in an equally serious tone of voice. Yet he was also curious, he shifted his weight from one foot to the other and kept his arms firmly crossed across his chest.

Beorn stopped near the mantle of the fireplace and looked over his shoulder at him. Beside him sitting around the table the company all looked curiously up at Beorn awaiting his answer. “My people were the first to live in the mountains, before the Orcs came down from the North. The Defiler killed most of my family, but some he enslaved. Not for work, you understand, but for sport. Caging skin-changers and torturing them seemed to amuse him.” Beorn explained distantly, his eyes looked around as he moved away from the mantle and back towards the table.

By now Bilbo had appeared at the table. He had been enjoying the content sleep which he had found himself in. Though waking up to loud buzzing in his ear wasn't what he'd class as a good wake up call. After shooing the large bumblebee away from himself he had promptly sat up and walked over to the table where the rest of his companions were sitting.

It was also just in this part of the conversation which he had found himself suddenly listening to. “There are others like you?” He asked, his voice seemed quite quiet in comparison to Beorn's low commanding tone.

His question caught Beorn's attention. He tilted his head to the side as if thinking over the question. Though really he didn't need to think too long on an answer. “Once there were many.” Was the simple answer which he gave.

Bilbo fidgeted in the chair slightly and leant forwards against the table. He continued to look up at Beorn curiously. “And now?”

Beorn turned and looked down at them. “Now there's only one.” He paused to let his words sink in, everyone looked up at him. “You need to reach the Mountain before the last days of autumn.” He said, it wasn't a question it was a mere statement which he spoke while sitting down in a seat in the corner.

Gandalf moved his pipe slowly away from his mouth and gave a firm nod. “Before Durin's Day falls, yes.” He confirmed.

Beorn looked over to him. “You're running out of time.”

“Which is why we must go through Mirkwood.” Gandalf said as confidently as he could.

Beorn shifted in his seat, hearing this didn't bode well with him. “A darkness lies upon that forest, foul things creep beneath those trees.” He slowly looked over, Náriel frowned and gave a sure nod. She couldn't disagree with him so far. They hadn't exchanged words as such, but Beorn knew who she was the moment she greeted him this morning.

“And in them, and around them, and in ground, and in the waters. It flies through the air and seeps into everything. It's a poison, slow acting but devastating.” Náriel said, those who were sitting near her looked at her quickly.

Beorn nodded agreeing with her. “There is an alliance between the Orcs of Moria and the Necromancer in Dol Guldur. I would not venture there, except in great need.” He said lowly yet seriously, his eyes scanned the room and took note that a few exchanged looks. Gandalf's expression went slightly slack from his words.

“We will take the Elven Road, their path is still safe.” Gandalf said though his tone seemed uncertain.

Beorn quickly looked to him, “Safe? The Wood Elves of Mirkwood are not like their kin. They're less wise and more dangerous.” He did send Náriel a slightly apologetic look, or what was meant to be an apologetic look. Though from hearing the words he spoke she yet again got looks cast her way. Tilting her head to the side she sighed quietly and laid her hands on the table in front of her. She couldn’t wholly disagree with Beorn's words. Though she didn’t see herself as dangerous, or unwise. “But it matters not.” Beorn said at length after a moments pause.

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