Calm The Fire: 77

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Thorin at length had spent most of this time talking with the Master. Though he did spy his friends relaxing, for the first time in so long, they were at relative peace. He couldn't help but roll his eyes at the sight of a slight drinking competition striking up. He almost felt sorry for the men who had decided joining in was a good idea. Dwalin, as far as Thorin could remember, was always the winner of such moments.

Though still talking his eyes travelled over and watched the short exchange Bard and Náriel had, and then at Bilbo who tried to strike a conversation up with her. It wasn't working. She had turned silent. Silent and Náriel was never a good thing.

"Would you excuse me?" Thorin questioned politely.

The Master looked over his shoulder at Náriel, and then back at Thorin. A knowing smirk appeared on his face and a finger was wagged up at him. "Oh, oh! Certainly, you needn't have asked!" Though Thorin doubted this was true. Moving away from his seat he weaved past the people in his way and sat down opposite to Náriel. Bilbo and Balin sat either side of her.

"Are you homesick again?" Bilbo questioned only to receive a look to be shot at him and silence. Perhaps it was a stupid thing to ask considering they all just barely escaped her home. He gulped and slowly picked up his mug to drink whatever was in it.

"Unwell, do you feel unwell lass?" Balin asked tentatively.

"What's wrong with her?" Thorin asked looking to Balin for some explanation, he gave a shrug. Looking to Náriel he frowned. "What did he say to you?" Náriel's eyes narrowed as she looked up at him. Thorin frowned knowing that he had found the source of her sudden disposition. Bard, why did everything seem to return back to that man?

"I am fearful." They were three words which were spoken with such honesty that the three surrounding her looked at her quickly trying to figure out if they had heard right. "May we talk in private?" She leant against the table and looked to Thorin, he stood and gestured to the hall behind him, mainly the door. She gave a small smile at both Bilbo and Balin. "Thank you for your concern, I am quite all right...really," she moved past them and followed quickly after Thorin.

After walking past numerous clusters of people, they both had the pleasure - or displeasure - of being stopped and spoken to. It seemed someone had earlier heard Náriel's introduction to Bard, and thus now everyone was in slight admiration of the Elven Princess, which was attention Náriel did not want, not right now at least.

When they exited the hall, all that greeted them was silence. It was so silent, deathly so, the snow still fell. It wistfully blew in the breeze, no sooner did a flake land did it merge with an already existing snow pile, or melt and disappear.

Náriel let out a heavy breath and watched as her breath turned to a small white plume. Thorin walked down the steps with his arms crossed, when he reached the end he turned and looked at her. Náriel walked quietly down the steps and stood beside him. Looking up at him she smiled slowly, Thorin looked at her confused.

"Who knew?" She questioned and looked around at the tightly packed buildings which surrounded them. "Who would ever know that we'd be here...you more than me, mind," she looked at him with a smile again.

Thorin nodded thoughtfully over her words and looked around too. "It is surreal, that much I can admit."

"Feels good though, being so close?"

"What is this about?" Thorin asked cutting to the point. He would like nothing more than to have light banter with Náriel, but she was avoiding getting to the point, and this annoyed him slightly.

"I've been thinking-"

"He's tried to get you to talk to me, hasn't he?" Thorin cut her off, Náriel looked at him sadly. "Whatever it is you have formulated to say, forget it." Thorin moved from her side and walked across the dirt space in front of the hall. He turned and looked at her with narrowed eyes. "We are going."

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