Calm The Fire: 101

Start from the beginning

Thorin looked out of the door. He had just returned from a higher balcony and witnessed the beginning of the attack on Lake Town. The sight from ground level wasn't any different, not really, but it was no more devastating. The fire lit up the sky like a large beacon or flare.

“The lad's right,” Balin turned and stepped beside Bilbo, Bilbo looked at him thankfully and let out a sigh and a slow nod. Finally someone was paying him some attention and agreeing with him.

“You'd leave our home which we've just regained from the clutches of Smaug, for the sake of giving aid to one town?” Thorin asked rather bluntly.

“One town which you did promise to aid in return for their help. Need I remind you of this?” Balin said shortly while crossing his arms.

“We cannot help Lake Town,” Thorin rolled his eyes and simply turned away.

“But we-”

“We what?!” Thorin cut Bilbo off, his determined disposition slipped as Thorin exclaimed at him and shot a look his way. His eyes narrowed at him and then more or less at everyone else.

Bilbo straightened up to his full height – which wasn't all that tall – he stuck his arms straight by his sides and fisted his hands. Frowning he shook his head and even stomped a foot. “We help.”

Thorin seemed to find that somewhat amusing and let out a dry laugh. “We help. And how do you suggest that? As that worm fled, he'd most likely have destroyed our barge. We have no means to get across the river. Unless you can magic up another, or make another in record time; we are stuck here.” Thorin frowned and spoke bitterly while turning away. “Leave the doors, find suitable debris to barricade them.” With that spoken, Thorin disappeared through a door and didn't come back.

Bilbo frowned and slowly let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He couldn't believe that Thorin seemed to give up on trying to help so easily. Looking slowly to the side Bilbo watched as Balin gave a sad shake of his head before leaving his side and taking to helping his brother to barricade the door.

“You can't...” Bilbo waved a hand at them, at all of them, all the Dwarves were taking to barricading the doors. “You can't just shut us in and them out.” It wouldn't make a difference, they'd all still know what's happening regardless if the doors were shut or open.

“What can we do?” Dwalin asked bluntly. “He may have gone about it the wrong way, but Thorin is right. We are stuck here. We can't get across the lake. Not unless you want to swim?” He asked while shooting Bilbo a look, he in return looked utterly defeated and hung his head.

His defeated disposition didn't last long though. After exploring Erebor for a day or so, Bilbo could see why none of them wanted to leave, though that didn't make them ignoring Lake Town's downfall any better. Large stone carven hallways led here there, twisting and turning, staircases would appear around nearly every corner. It was like being in a maze. Everyone seemed to find themselves exploring, trying to find anything of use, or just generally trying to remember lost corridors from a long almost forgotten past.

It was in this time of exploring that he was trying to find somewhere to hide the Arkenstone. He had been paranoid that they'd find out he had had it all along. But luckily everyone was busy doing their own things to notice him being more on guard than usual. He never did find somewhere. Where could he hide it? This was their home, anywhere Bilbo was likely to put it there'd always be a chance of them stumbling across it. They knew these halls, corridors, large stretching rooms.

He had given up hiding it, and as he sat on guard duty with a bow and quiver of arrows which had been given to him by Dwalin, he gave a heavy sigh only to flinch and aim the weapon upwards.

Needless to say Náriel wasn't pleased with this and had shouted at him, and in complete shock he'd thrown the weapon away from himself and tried to stop her from breaking down the barricade. As the few days had worn on, Thorin had become more adamant about the barricade and that it shouldn't be taken down or moved. Added to yes, but other than that it should be left alone. From up high on the balconies they had all spied the oncoming band of Elves from Mirkwood. This was one reason why the barricade was not to be messed with.

After a brief talk and a few arguments with Thorin, Náriel now sat beside him in front of the small fire. Thorin had gone exploring. Though saying to everyone to rest, it seemed more had it in mind to go exploring again than resting. It seemed the shock of being here hadn't fully settled in.

Bilbo leant his chin against his hand and watched as she took to undoing buckles and laces which held the armour together. “What do you think is going to happen tomorrow?” Bilbo asked simply. He blinked and caught something she threw his way. She smiled as he looked over a part of the armour which encased her arm with confusion.

“Nothing.”

Frowning Bilbo gave her the armour back, Náriel put it on the small pile she had by her side. “But...but you said there'd be fighting, you know the whole 'there's two armies' thing...?” Bilbo said sounding truly confused. Náriel's eyes flicked up to look at him coolly, she slowly sighed and let go of the laces which tied around one of her legs to keep the armour in place. “That's why you hunted out these weapons...and that armour!” Bilbo waved a finger at the pile of weapons she had earlier discarded and then to the armour she was taking off.

“I'm being cautious. I’m also paranoid.” She looked slowly around, the few Dwarves who were here were sleeping contently. Dori still sat near the barricade keeping watch. “I half thought my uncle would persuade Bard to move out as soon as possible. You know, make us believe he was to stay and aid when really what he meant was: let's move out.” Náriel explained while finishing taking the armour off. “We've also all came to an impasse I think.” Her eyes flicked to look at him with a sidelong look. “Unstoppable force meets the immovable object.” Náriel frowned thoughtfully over this analogy, her look was shared by Bilbo who seemingly caught onto it and nodded agreeing with her.

Bilbo sniffed and nodded again and fidgeted slightly. “You know that...thing...that you asked me to do?” Bilbo waved a hand at her, Náriel raised an eyebrow, which caused him to roll his eyes and point to where the Arkenstone sat in his inner pocket. At this she narrowed her eyes and inclined her head slowly for him to continue. “I can't.” He whispered, Náriel's eyes narrowed even more. “No, no, I don't mean it...like, no, I won't...I mean, I can't, not here.” Bilbo whispered in a rushed tone as he guardedly looked around at the sleeping lounging forms around them. His eyes flicked back to her, Náriel sat in thought for a moment. A heavily thoughtful expression was on her face. Slowly she turned to him.

“Then it can't be here. It must be hidden elsewhere.”

“Else...elsewhere?” Bilbo looked at her then to the sleeping Dwarves then to her again. He suddenly caught on when she glanced to the barricade and the night beyond it. She looked back at him. “Seriously?” Bilbo questioned, it wasn't so much the night beyond the barricade she was more referring – or at least hinting at – but the visitors they were all going to encounter soon enough. Bilbo gave a sigh at this, it was one thing to hide the precious jewel, but another thing completely to hide it, or give it over to the hands of those which Thorin seemed to dislike.

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(A/N: I have to admit this wasn't the original chapter 101. But meh! xD I thought I’d do a rewrite and make this chapter replace the other one. And tbh, I'm quite glad I did. I don't much mind this.)

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