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Calm The Fire: 110

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"Why do you tell us this? Are you betraying your friends, or are you threatening us?" Bard questioned while narrowing his eyes slowly. The firelight made them turn to dark smouldering slits which were aimed right at Bilbo.

Bilbo in return let out an awkward noise and shook his head. "I'm doing neither, I'm just wishing to avoid trouble all round." Bilbo said, although granted sharing this information was betrayal.

"Are your feelings shared?" Thranduil asked while entwining his hands in his lap. Bilbo looked confused. "I cannot see any Dwarf sharing your thoughts and feelings."

Bilbo frowned lightly. He could see where he was aiming. "Náriel wishes for peace. It is her who prompted me coming here..." Bilbo trailed off slowly, Thranduil seemed content with these words and inclined his head. "I have an offer to make." He said thinking now was as good a time as any to get to the point.

"Yes?" Bard raised a curious eyebrow at his words.

Bilbo merely nodded. Reaching carefully within his pockets he moved both the blanket and the cloak aside and pulled out the precious item he was carrying. Unwrapping the cloth slowly Bilbo held out the Arkenstone.

It glimmered and shone in the light of the fire. The different colours within it shifted and swirled with peaceful ease. Bilbo just looked at it simply. It's wonder had slowly become lost on him. He could admit it was a brilliant jewel. But he didn't understand the fascination.

His lack of fascination wasn't shared by some. Thranduil sat up straight and leant forwards to peer at it. He was accustomed to beautiful wonderful things, but even he was taken back by the sight before him. Even Bard was in a similar state. His eyes widened as he looked to the item in the Hobbit's hands.

"This is the Arkenstone of Thrain." Bilbo explained. Though he was sure they'd know this already. There was only ever one Arkenstone. Perish the thought of another one existing. "The heart of the Mountain, and also it is the heart of Thorin." Bilbo said, he did briefly glimpse the disagreeing expression which flitted onto Thranduil's face. Of course he still seemingly believed Náriel had some hold in this department. Or rather it was the thought of Thorin ranking a jewel in higher regards than his niece, perhaps that wasn't a look of disagreement which flitted onto the Elvenking's face. But one of distant sadness, worry, concern.

"He values this above all else. And I give it to you. It will aid you in your bargaining attempts." Bilbo said quietly bringing the topic back to the forefront of everyone's attention.

It seemed with hesitance that Bilbo moved and put the jewel in Bard's hands. He looked at it with some longing before giving a nod and stepping back from the dark haired man.

Bard looked to the glowing jewel in his hands before looking down at Bilbo. "How is this yours to give?" Bard asked seriously.

"Oh, well," Bilbo shifted awkwardly and seemed at a loss then. Letting out a quiet hum he shrugged and looked around before looking back at Bard. "It isn't, not really. I am willing to let it stand against all my claim. I may be a burglar - or so they said though I never felt like one - but I would like to believe I am an honest burglar." Bilbo paused to shift from foot to foot and nod. "Or at least, I'd hope... I am going to return now. They can do what they will to me, though I hope you find it useful." Bilbo smiled faintly.

"Bilbo Baggins," Bilbo looked up at Thranduil. He looked down at Bilbo with a new sense of respect. "I have more knowledge of Dwarves on a whole than you perhaps do, or ever will have. I must say that it'd be unwise to return. You should stay here." Thranduil said calmly. All he could foresee for Bilbo when he returned was trouble. For someone trying to avoid trouble he shouldn't go walking simply back into it.

"Thank you for your advice." Bilbo said while bowing slowly. "But I cannot leave my friends. Not like this anyway. We have all been through so much together." Bilbo looked up and blinked slowly as he thought over his words.

Nothing either of them could say would make him stay. He was determined to go. Between them they managed persuade Bilbo to have an escort out of the camp and back to the Mountain.

Just as he was leaving he stopped and turned slowly. Thinking over his words he shrugged and took a step forwards. "I asked if there was a message I could relay to you. I never got given one. And quite frankly I may be speaking out of term - add it to the existing list - but she misses you. The thought of conflicting against you weighs heavily on her mind. Just as much as acting out against Thorin."

Thranduil smiled faintly and crossed his hands behind his back. Shaking his head he looked to the floor then up at Bilbo. "Náriel has always been one for managing to get herself in the most awkward of situations. Yet you say she prompted you to come here? That alone shows that she is aware that we can bring a full stop to this foolishness, not him." Thranduil sighed and shook his head slowly. "We have always conflicted. Though this is a new level I must admit. Give her peace of mind."

Bilbo frowned. "How?"

Thranduil stood in silence thinking heavily before stepping forwards and stopping in front of Bilbo. "We are family, she is governed by her heart, whereas I am more logical. Yet, like her, conflict is the last thing I want and it is the first thing I'd try and avoid." With this said he turned away.

Bilbo blinked slowly and decided then that he best leave. As he was walking away with his escort he looked quickly up as an elderly man in a cloak appeared from the doorway of a tent.

"I must say well done to you, Mister Baggins!" Bilbo gave a start as he was suddenly clapped on the shoulder. "There is always more to you than anyone suspects." Narrowing his eyes upward Bilbo suddenly let out a breathless sounding sigh. Gandalf. The elderly man was their Wizard companion! Where did he come from? How did he come to be here? Gandalf could see the questions flit across Bilbo's face.

"All in good time. The end is drawing near, I believe. Though there is some unpleasant business closing in." Gandalf said, his voice slowly trailed off quietly as he looked down at the confused Hobbit in front of him. "Best be off, Bilbo. Good night." Gandalf smiled and stepped aside to let him and his escort continue on their way.

Bilbo managed to scramble his way back up the path. When they got within reach of the barricade he told the escort to return back to the camp. They weren't in direct sight of it. But they were close enough to see the light flickering beyond.

Once he was sure the escort had gone, Bilbo picked up walking. With slight effort he managed to climb his way up. Walking over he nudged Bombur awake before walking slowly past Náriel. He unclipped the cloak and folded it up before placing it beside her. With this done he looked to Bombur, who was back on guard duty, and slowly moved off to find somewhere to settle for the remainder of the early morning. It didn't take him long to get comfortable. Or reasonably comfortable to the point of being able to drift off. All his walking and talking had quite tired him out.

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(A/N: Oh my life, that teaser trailer...............BoFA........is going to be so epically awesome (and depressing), I actually can't wait tbh.)

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