Calm The Fire: 96

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Thranduil was not oblivious to the going ons in Lake Town. He in fact was quite well informed. He had his own messengers. From patrolling Elven guards, to birds, he already knew all or at least most of what had happened. It was ill fated news, sure, but it was also the most obvious outcome which was going to happen.

Even before he had set out travelling the news had travelled over the Misty Mountains and had reached Beorn's ears. In his wooden house shadowed by thick trees, he had listened to the news of the death of Smaug. He was not alone. Deep within the cavernous walls of their caves, the Goblins heard the news too.

“I believe that will be the last we hear of Thorin Oakenshield.” Thranduil had said simply and coolly. “He would have fared better staying amongst my halls as a guest.” Though the word 'guest' was hugely exaggerated. But then, at least if he did remain – though it slightly irked him to think about it – Náriel would have been able to see him. Spend time with him was pushing it. But see him wasn't. He did not know of the fate of his niece. A part of him darkened to think that Náriel may have perished in dragonfire. Thinking of dragonfire just made Thranduil's mind turn to the causer of such things, Smaug, and to where he was dwelling, Erebor. Thranduil's memory was a good one. He could remember the vast wealth which made up Thror's horde.

Pausing in his thoughts, he looked up when from somewhere in the ranks there was calls of people being spotted ahead of them. Thranduil looked up and stared at the soot covered form of Náriel. She smiled widely and ran forward, behind her Tauriel ran as fast as she could to keep up.

Dismounting slowly, Thranduil took a step forward. His previous thoughts of her perishing in dragonfire came to naught. She was here, alive, slightly worse for wear and exhausted, but she was alive. Reaching up he put a hand on her cheek. Through all their disagreeing and conflicting, he forgot it all and just relished in the fact that she hadn't gone with Thorin to the Mountain. The Mountain, it was where him and his host of Elves were heading.

“Lake Town needs help, uncle.” Náriel whispered while catching her breath back. “Smaug has pushed them onto the edge of living. They need...they need our help.” Náriel said slowly while looking up at him. “Will you help?”

Thranduil tilted his head to the side and walked back to his steed. Holding out a hand he nodded. “We shall give aid to the Men of Lake Town.” Náriel put her hand in his and got pulled up. She sat sidewards in the saddle and leant her head against his shoulder. She was exhausted. Never before had she felt such exhaustion. Finally being able to stop and rest for a moment caused her to blank out and actually drift slowly off to sleep.

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It was a day or so later that Náriel returned back to Lake Town, along with Thranduil and the rest of the Elven host. They didn’t have any boats or barges to reach what remained of the town, so they all had to travel the slow way round. But none the less, they arrived, before their arrival Thranduil had somehow managed to send some provisions ahead to tie Lake Town over.

“Psst,” looking to the side, Náriel looked to Fíli and Kíli. “They're talking about marching on the Mountain.”

“I know.” Náriel replied bluntly while running a hand down her face. The brothers both looked at her with wide eyes. “What?”

“They shouldn't,” Bofur appeared suddenly. She was leaning against the wall outside of the grand building which the Master used to live in. He still did mind, though he didn't have as much power over the people as he once had. She was standing watching the people mill around. She eyed Elves helping Men and found herself feeling both content and uneasy over this.

“He's right,” Óin joined in with a nod. “What right do they have to march on the Mountain?”

“Look,” Náriel held her hands up and smiled thinly. “I'm not getting into another ownership argument. They have no right, you have a right...it doesn't matter anymore!” She exclaimed despairingly. She was tired, sick and tired of this horde plaguing everyone's thoughts and actions.

“Lass,” Bofur said while putting a hand on her shoulder. He gave it a light squeeze, she sighed and shut her eyes. Slowly she looked up at him. “If the worst has happened up there, what right do they have to find our friends?”

Náriel's eyes widened slowly. That was what they referring to. Though she was rather sure the horde also played a part of the whole ownership thing again. But their friends. Náriel slapped a hand to her forehead and took in a deep lungful of air. She suddenly didn't feel good. Bodies. They were on about bodies.

“I don't think I could.” She said shakily while looking up at Bofur who still stood holding onto her shoulder gently. “I...I don't want to see...that. Them...not like that.” Náriel said while looking up at the sky.

“If the worst has happened. They don't deserve to be discovered by strangers, well...not strangers, but people who held doubt and suspicion towards them.” Fíli said while looking around.

Náriel frowned. “I'm being selfish.” She said suddenly. “Of course you don't wish to see that either. And you're right, Fíli, you are so right.” Náriel frowned more and nodded. “We will march on the Mountain before them then.”

Fíli and Kíli exchanged a look and grinned. “Lovely, so, suggestions? We don't have a boat, a barge...nothing.”

“Or a barrel,” Fíli furthered on from his brother's words while grinning again.

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(A/N: A wee bit short than previous chapters, sorry! I had to quickly upload what I had wrote so far cos my internet is getting cut for some maintanence thing...)

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