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Calm The Fire: 103

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It was Balin's voice which seemed to wake everyone up. Thorin was laying in a content sleep. One which wasn't plagued by dreams or nightmares or even thoughts. Despite finding himself yet again sleeping on hard flooring he wasn't uncomfortable. There had been much worse beds since this quest began. But in fact he found himself all the comfier for having Náriel beside him. She of course begrudgingly opened her eyes when she heard Balin.

"There's fire down in Dale. Torches, camp fires. They've come." He said simply while he looked over the barricade and placed his hands against the stonework. He briefly looked to his friends who were by now all stirring themselves and sitting up to look at him.

"They must have snuck across the bank." Balin said thoughtfully while everyone warily looked over the barricade to see the sight he spoke of.

It was true. Though it was an effort. There wasn't enough boats or barges to travel directly across the lake. But there was enough - though it took many trips - to get everyone across to an opposite bank to the town and travel along.

"They must have started early," Dwalin furthered on from his brother. "Did they mention anything?" He looked to the small group who had come from Lake Town.

"Not to us, no." Fíli answered honestly while helping Kíli down from the barricade.

"They wouldn't indulge us with such information. They'd know we'd tell you..." Kíli trailed off and looked thoughtful.

"Keeping in mind if you were even up here, alive." Fíli sat back down on his makeshift bed and sighed.

"We were told to rest for the night and move out in the morning." Náriel said while looking up to Thorin who stood by her side gauging the sight before them.

"If they didn't inform you. Then I don't think they had it in mind to include you." Thorin said thoughtfully while putting a hand on Náriel's shoulder and gently pulling her away.

"They were going to keep us out of this moment?" Bofur asked while pottering over to what remained of the fire and tried kindling it back to life. He looked up as Thorin passed, he frowned and nodded slowly. It'd make sense to not include the remaining Dwarves and the lone Elf.

"This'll mean they'll be here earlier then expected, hm?" Glóin piped up irritably. Not that he was having a particularly good nights rest. But what he was having of it he was trying to enjoy. Early wake up calls...he was looking forward to seeing the back of them.

"Indeed I believe it does." Thorin replied and looked around at the guarded expressions of his friends.

"We'll have to prepare for them then." Dwalin said simply while leaning against the wall.

"Prepare...? How? How can you prepare for two armies?" Bilbo asked slightly bleary eyed from sleep but nonetheless very awake with confusion.

"One army, lad." Balin sighed and hung his head. It was clear that the Men of Lake Town and the Elves of Mirkwood had banded together to become one force. Bilbo looked to him quickly expecting him to continue, but he didn't. Balin sat in silence and let his words sink in. No one else voiced anything for a while.

"We prepare the best we can. I stick by my earlier words, they can't get in." Thorin said cutting the heavy silence off.

"Oh, aye." Said Bofur with a nod as he settled down on his back with his hands behind his head. "But we can't get out either."

Thorin frowned and was going to retort when he got nudged by Náriel to be quiet. "Let us worry about what shall happen when tomorrow fully comes. I've already spent most of my time here worrying and fretting. But we can only tackle the problem when the problem confronts us. Until then we can't do anything." Náriel said while rubbing her hands up and down her arms. From the sudden moving from beside Thorin to the barricade with the cool night air drifting through, she had suddenly realized how cold she was really.

It seemed her words were enough to amuse most of the Dwarves. Those who still had an opinion on the matter settled down to sleep while grumbling to themselves, or to whoever was nearby.

Laying back down Náriel sighed and tried to get comfortable again, only to fail. Frowning she sat up and looked around. Standing up she walked over to where her bedroll was. She quickly looked to Bilbo, he was already wrapped back up in his blanket sleeping soundly. Smiling lightly she picked up her things and returned back.

"I know that expression," she said while kneeling and taking to sorting out her bedding. Thorin looked to her briefly. "Deep in thought over all the possible scenarios." Náriel shook her head and looked to him as he propped himself up onto his elbows. "Doesn't bear thinking about really." Sighing she laid down and pulled the blanket over herself and nestled against her cloak which still acted as a pillow. Opening her eyes she looked up as he laid back down and turned to look at her. "Whatever happens tomorrow, we all face it together." She whispered while reaching up and placing a hand against his cheek. He reached up and removed her hand, he lightly kissed her knuckles before holding onto it and shutting his eyes. Náriel smiled and followed suit. It didn't seem to take her long to drift off into a content sleep. She was only just awake enough to register him putting his arms tightly around her and pulling her close. Now huddling closer to him Náriel fully drifted off into content sleep.

----

The sun was only just visible on the horizon when the company within the Mountain were already up and waiting for the oncoming patrol.

Standing at the barricade they could all see the band of Men and Elves which were slowly making their way through Dale. In the pale sunlight spears and swords and arrow tips glistened.

Frowning Bilbo looked away and down at himself. Somehow Náriel had persuaded him to wear armour. Much like herself he had to wear armour which was so obviously made for a child. Though this warranted a few jokes at his expensive he was now rather grateful to have it on.

He wasn't wholly sure whether there'd be any fighting. Be that today, tomorrow, next week or at all. But just on the likelihood he was glad to be in it. Even more so when he spied more troops with more glistening weapons.

He cast a look at his friends who were standing by his side, all in full armour with weapons attached to themselves. He couldn't help but see what a force they'd all be if there was more of them. In full Dwarfish armour they did look like an imposing sight to behold.

"Who goes there?!" Thorin called out when a small cluster of the band had moved forwards to inspect the Mountain. "Who are you dressed in full armour as if marching to war? Who are you who now stands on the door step of Thorin son of Thrain, King Under the Mountain, and what do you want?" Thorin frowned down at the people below the barricade. He stood unmoving and unwavering in his looks, he crossed his arms over his dark armour and watched as the small group slowly backed away. He tilted his head to the side as the small band joined the rest of the mass and together they turned and walked away.

"What was that?" Bilbo asked confused by the moment. He thought for sure they were going to try and break in. They all looked determined enough.

"That was a scouting mission. Assess what they can find and report back whatever information they've gathered." Thorin replied while turning away and walking into the Mountain.

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