Calm The Fire: 109

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The darkness seemed almost absolute. The moon was still hiding behind the clouds and the stars were the only source of light which was really around. But even then they weren't providing much light.

More often than not Bilbo found himself stumbling down the path. The starlight would partially illuminate part of the path he was trying to traverse, only for it to not illuminate it all and for his feet to go off on the wayside, or into a ditch, or stubbing against a shape boulder.

Travelling at night was a lot harder than he originally thought. If it were possible he would have greatly liked to have a light with him. Be that a makeshift torch or one of the dusty lanterns from the Mountain.

Even without proper light, he could hear the quiet bubbling of a stream. With the stream came voices and light. Bilbo tentatively walked forwards and found himself stumbling into the stream. Letting out a groan he pulled himself up and looked up sharply when two figures appeared on the bank before him.

"Fish," one of the figures said as it lifted up the lantern in its hands. When Bilbo squinted he could see the figure was an Elvish male.

"That wasn't a fish. There's someone out there." The other figure said while leaning forward and squinting in the light. He too was Elvish. Bilbo stayed still though this was something he begrudged because he could feel the cold water of the stream seeping through his clothes more and seemingly setting a chill in his bones.

"Probably that little fellow that's said to be their servant." The second figure continued. "Hide the light, it'll be more help to him than us."

Bilbo didn't quite know where to started with these words. "Servant?" He whispered in outrage. "Servant?! I'm right here if you want me!" He exclaimed in an annoyed tone. He was annoyed. Firstly over the fact of being classed as someone's servant. And secondly of the cold chill which made him shiver and let out a sneeze half way through his sentence.

Regardless he shifted forwards and slipped the ring off. Despite their sudden confusion they managed to reach forwards and grasp onto him. Bilbo found himself lifted up and plucked out of the chilled water.

"Who are you? Are you the Dwarves' Hobbit? How did you manage to get this far?" One of the Elves asked. It wasn't until Bilbo looked around did he notice he had seemingly come round the side of the camp. He had got past sentries and guards.

Giving an uncomfortable fidget, Bilbo crossed his arms over his wet clothes. He tried not to wince over this and kept his eyes on the figures in front of him.

"I am Bilbo Baggins," he started off rather informatively. "A companion to Thorin Oakenshield, if you must know. I know your King by sight, though he won't know me. But Bard will know me. It is Bard who I mainly wish to see."

"On what business?" Was the simple question asked.

"I'm afraid I cannot tell you. It is for him to hear me out, not you two." Bilbo gave a shiver and looked down at the ground before looking up at them. "Please, let me dry off in front of a fire and I shall relay what I've come to say. I only have an hour or two to spare."

And that's where Bilbo found himself. He'd escaped from the Mountain no longer than an hour ago, almost two tops. He sat huddled in front of a fire which was burning brightly before a large tent. It would have been a moment he could have enjoyed if he wasn't being looked at by both Bard and Thranduil.

The first of which sat leaning his chin against his hand, the other rested against his knee. He really didn't expect to see Bilbo again any time soon admittedly. Let alone see him dripping wet, cold, looking a little sorry for himself and being suddenly wrapped in a blanket as well as his cloak, which he seemed to refuse to remove.

And the second just looked at him plainly, he was trying to place this curious being with a group of Dwarves; it was something he couldn't envision. Thranduil did however tilt his head to the side ever so slightly when he glanced over the cloak which was tightly wrapped around the Hobbit's shoulders. Elvish, it was Náriel's. It was something which filled him with curiosity to say the least. Did she know he was wearing her cloak? Did she give it to him? If so surely that meant she knew what he was doing?

"Really," Bilbo started while looking to the two opposite him. "Things are quite impossible. Personally speaking I'm rather tired of this whole thing. I do wish I was back in the West, in my own home where people seem more reasonable. Not that I'm saying either of you aren't reasonable! Just...well," Bilbo never finished this sentence because he awkwardly coughed and held his hands out to the fire. "I have an interest in this whole thing. One fourteenth to be precise, a share in the profits." Bilbo paused to look away from the fire and at the two who were listening to him intently. "I'd rather listen to your claims before putting in my own though." He said quietly and thoughtfully. "Though I feel like I should say that you don't know Thorin as I now do. He will sit and starve on a pile of gold as long as you are all out here."

"Someone so foolish deserves to starve." Bard said guardedly while moving away from his hand and looking to the fire.

"Well yes, I suppose you are right." Bilbo mumbled thoughtfully to himself. "I do understand your point of view. As such as I do, need I almost bring up the change in seasons? Winter is drawing in. Soon you will have snow, and I imagine supplies will be hard to come by. There will also be other difficulties." Bilbo said awkwardly. "Have you heard of Dain and the Dwarves of the Iron Hills?"

Thranduil looked curiously to Bilbo. "Yes, we have, but it has been a long time since we've heard word of them. But I do not see what he has to do with this." Thranduil's eyes narrowed slowly.

Bilbo gave a fidget under his icy gaze and wrapped the blanket more around himself. "I am more informed than you." Bilbo said while the two looked at him patiently waiting for him to continue. "Dain is now less than two days away. With him he has a company of more than five hundred Dwarves. When they arrive, there'll be trouble." Bilbo said letting his words sink in.

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