Autor Tópico: [Fanfic 4, cap. 24] Loyalty, Honor etc - In Lake Town  (Lida 843 vezes)

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Offline Luinwen

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[Fanfic 4, cap. 24] Loyalty, Honor etc - In Lake Town
« em: Novembro 21, 2013, 09:14:36 »
“Company!” Thorin’s call brought everyone to pay attention to him right away. Everyone had greeted everyone already, made sure their dearest ones were doing fine albeit wet and cold, and now was time to business. “We are close to Lake-Town now and night is falling. Is everyone able to walk somewhat to get to the city of Men? If not, the ones who are will go ahead and bring back help. No one of us will stay in the wild tonight.”
Lily thought it was quite a change. For the little she knew of him, in similar situations he would have simply communicated that they would go to the town and that would be all of his speech. Weird things must have happened to him while in the dungeons of the elven-king. Although some soreness and aching, all of them believed they could make it to the town. Having their king solicitous about their condition only made them eager to show how they were worthy of his concern. And so they headed towards the town bridge, greeting the barrel-gatherers who were going to the bend of the river from where they were coming with a nod or a wave of hand, like they were just sauntering for a pick-nick, leaving the men with no hint of what was going on.
Night was closing in when they got to the bridge; a pair of torches came out of the watch house and a dark haired man asked them their business, from above the palisade.
“I am Thorin Oakenshield, son of Thráin, son of Thror, King Under the Mountain, and I have come back to reclaim Erebor. I want to see the Master of Lake-Town.”
With a suspicious glance at the band of half drowned rats bearing heavy weaponry, although what could be so was sheathed, the man spoke quietly to the other torch bearer and that one seemingly ran away. The Company waited patiently, while Ellen remarked to her nieces that it reminded her of when Sir Shackleton came back to the town where he and his crew departed in the Endurance, a three-mastered ship, close to a year and half before, to try to cross the south pole.
“What happened to them?” Asked the always good story hearer Ori.
“It is a long story, to be told at another occasion, but in short their journey was to be almost like crossing Helcaraxë on foot after getting close enough by ship, but the ship got caught in the ice before it should, and the twenty-eight men had to make their way back to where they came from in biter cold and low on supplies. No one expected to see them back six seasons later, all of them alive. The last track was made by their leader plus two of the crew, and the master of the town was in shock when he came to his door and said ‘I am Shackleton’, like our leader just told the gate watcher who he is.”
“This is an astounding story, Lady Ellen. I will love to hear it in more detail when possible.”
“And I will love to tell it to you, at least as much as I remember it.”
“It is amazing to think that this was accomplished by humans.”
Dori made his best to mend his brother’s blunder.
“Shh, Ori, we are about to enter a human town, please pretend you are well-mannered!”
Iris was close by and didn’t take it so lightly; she was angry almost like if he’d called her a puppy.
“Don’t forget, you brat, there are three human-born in this Company, and...”
But then the second watcher was back and her menace had to be postponed.
“The Master says Durin’s folk are welcome to Lake-Town, if coming in purpose of peace.”
The man eyed them warily, only then noticing there were not only dwarves in the band. Thorin perceived his suspicious glance at the Company and answered accordingly.
“No purpose of war has our people or the ones who accompany us for ones who will not hinder the quest to what is ours by right.”
“Then, follow me; he is in the feasting hall.”
And follow him and his torch they did, plus half a dozen more guards, the whole Company walking proudly albeit wearing shabby damp clothes and some purple bruises from the barrel ride. It was obvious that the watcher had told some people about what was going on, as there were old legends and songs that told Thror would come back and gold would flow from the Lonely Mountain to Lake-Town once more. Just like if it had happened before, mind you. All that fishermen and traders were not at all worried that it was not really Thror, but his grandson, to them it was all reason to hope for better days.
While walking to the feasting hall, Ellen could not keep from staring at the wooden buildings and asked Balin, who used to have better answers than most of the crew.
“Brother, why did they build it all in wood in the middle of the lake?”
“As long as I know, it is to be safe from the fire of Smaug.”
“What? Are they crazy?”
“What do you mean?”
“How using feedstock that burns to build in an open area can prevent it to get burned by a thing that flies and spits fire? Or do they fancy that Smaug would come nicely to the bridge gate and ask politely if he could enter, if they please?”
She was talking quietly, so as not to be heard by Lake-Town people who were curious about them and came to see the strange procession pass, but Kíli was close to her and made his best to hide a chuckle.
“It can be that they think they can use the water of the lake to wet the buildings. But I agree with you, if the stronghold of Erebor could not keep Smaug away, how can it be deemed that a wood town can resist an attack?”
The three of them shook their heads in unison and kept their pace, smiling friendly at the local dwellers, feigning they didn’t hear the whisperings around them. “It that a shield-maiden?” “See, a short-bearded dwarf!” “Do they travel with their women?” “I deemed there were no she-dwarves at all!” “And that two, are they children?” “Look at all those tatoos!” “Why is there an elf with them?” 
Thorin didn’t like all that gossip around his Company, but if people were to talk anyway, then let them have something to talk about, he thought, while glancing somewhat back to catch Lily’s eye. She was naturally shy, at least since dropped in Middle-Earth, but his silent command was not to be denied. The dwarf-lass hasted her pace a little bit, so not to seem she was running up to him, and when she got closer he reached for her hand and kept it in his, without a word.
When they entered the feasting hall there was an uproar of bewilderment and surprise. The Master was a smart man and anticipated that he could capitalize on the whole situation when the gate watcher told him who was coming, so he welcomed Thorin as warm as if he were and old fellow, and provided that all the Company was well tended and fed. His ability to manage things fast was shown when one after another of the unexpected guests was called quietly by an attendant lad or maid, according to the genre of the subject, led to one of the many rooms of the feasting hall and given clothes to change the damp ones they were in. Not that everything fitted perfectly, but at least they were dry. Lily and Iris wore dresses for the first time since Imladris, and Ellen hoped the one she was wearing would not be considered having too short a skirt, but her elven height was more difficult to manage than her nieces’ shortness, or so she thought; she kept her tracking boots on, anyway, to cover her ankles and halfway up to her knees so the shortness of the dress would not matter. Later the girls would ask her if she deemed it easy to squeeze actual breasts into dresses made for children or, at best, for young teenagers. Bombur managed to get into a large shirt, but no pants suited him and he kept the wet ones on.
The two sisters sat together and tried to put their pieces of information into a decent mosaic, but besides the boredom of being in dungeon things were too weird. Iris was quite unable to understand what they saw before the elves jailed them.
“What on Earth was that triplet of teen witches in Mirkwood? I thought we had fallen in Middle-Earth, not in Hogwarts!”
“Yes, we did, but I am sure that coat of arms was Griffindor’s, and that is Harry Potter stuff!”
“Maybe they were just people like us at a LARP meeting and dropped here in Middle-Earth too?”
“Hmm, good theory. It would even explain their magic wands working, as our boffers changed themselves in real weapons.”
“But wouldn’t it be too much of a coincidence to have another band of LARPers falling here?”
“What’s the alternative? It would also be too much a coincidence to have two worlds that we knew as fiction books to actually exist.”
“Well, if we think what a coincidence it was for us to be found by Radagast and then by the Company…”
“Aye, you are right.”
Iris chuckled.
“You are already talking like a dwarf!”
Lily elbowed the hobbit-lass.
“What’s the matter? Actually, I am a dwarf, if you didn’t find it out yet!”
Iris chomped on an apple pie and opened her eyes wide.
“Lily, and if they are all real and we are not?”
“What do you mean?”
“The stories! All the stories! Middle-Earth, Hogwarts, Narnia, Star Wars, all those stories, and if they are real and our Earth is a book?”
The dwarven-lass shook her head and moved Iris’ wine mug away from her.
“Fíli, you brat, what did you mix in Iris’ wine?”

ooo000ooo

Some elves from Thranduil’s halls that were there recognized Ellen, and shot questionings at her.
“Is this not the one who was guest at our king’s halls claiming she had been a prisoner of the dwarves? Why are you here amongst our enemies?”
She couldn’t help but to smile, while leaning closer to Kíli to make it evident the elves had been cheated.
“You see, it looks like the terrible dwarves kidnapped me again!”
The dwarves roared in laughter, while the elves got red with anger.
“It is betrayal! Our king trusted her!”
Ellen laughed heartedly, with a mischievous smile in her face, thinking to herself. “Yes, he trusted me so much that I was locked in my room every night and had a permanent watcher over me all day long.” But that would be quite aggressive, and she chose to just tease on.
“You see, your king may have something to learn yet; my king, at least, always says ‘you can never trust an elf’. You should learn with him.”
The Master of the town didn’t know how to handle this, but Thorin made it up for him.
“Lady Ellen, please; we are here as guests of the Master of Lake-Town, city of Men, who acknowledge us in our right; you don’t have to answer to other guests’  unfounded accusations.”
She smiled back at her king and friend, nodding in acquiescence like a good girl, knowing he was as amused as herself, but more determined to be diplomatic right then. Ellen had had her lot of diplomatics back at Mirkwood and needed a little mischief to regain her mental sanity. Thranduil’s elves stood up and went away very distressed, which had no effect at all but to make the whole Company laugh thunderously.
After a whole day barrel ride, the Company needed a good long dinner to recover, plus a lot of ale too, and it was time enough for the Masters’ attendants to provide a house where they were comfortably hosted. Bilbo was the first one to head there, shivering with cold even in his dry clothes. Soon most of the others followed him, and only some of the youngest and the most stubborn remained, that means, the Durins and the women. Thorin himself drank little, knowing he had to had his wits alert to deal with the Master, and made his best to postpone to the next day any meaningful negotiation; but knowing his nephews, it would do no harm to keep an eye on them when they were drunk. Just in case.
While they were walking to the house where the Company was, two families together as none of them would guess half a year ago, Ellen asked Thorin something that was in her mind for a long time already but never seemed to have a chance to be mentioned, and now having the Lonely Mountain close at hand she remembered to.
“Thorin, when you were against me and Kíli coming together, one of your arguments was that I would go back to my world after we reached Erebor.”
“Yes?”
“But why didn’t you mind it when you thought it was Iris who would be one with Fíli?”
He laughed quietly.
“She is younger, and usually younger people are more willing to change their own minds than grown up ones, like you.”
“So...?”
“She was not the one who put herself at risk daring my best warrior to grant her going to Erebor. One who had that determination to find the Gate was not expected to give it up.”
“I understand.” She glanced down at Kíli, walking at her side, hand in hand, smiling at her a somewhat drunken smile, and nodded in agreement. “But sometimes we must give up things once important for the sake of others, that are better.”

ooo000ooo

Next day poor Bilbo was pure fever, as seemingly his day long in the cold water took more from him than he had to give. Óin was fast asleep, seemingly with a tremendous hangover, so Thorin sent for a healer and asked Lily to see him work along so she could learn something, as she was so good with herbs. The healer was promptly provided, but the man insisted that a horseleech should be applied to put his fever down. Considering their former world had had its own Dark Age long before, Iris and Lily were about to defenestrate the poor fellow for his medicinal beliefs when Ellen intervened, with a quick blink of an eye.
“Girls, please, let the healer work. I know you don’t like it, but do as Iris always does to your dear Aunty, would you? The sooner he starts it, the sooner Bilbo will be better.”
Bilbo himself was too weak to protest, but his wide eyes to the idea of having a thing sucking his blood out showed what he thought about it. Iris agreed, perceiving Ellen had something in mind, and the healer went to fetch the medicinal horseleech, promising he would be back in a minute. Lily stirred the fire in the hearth, guessing where to that would lead. The hobbit turned to the elf.
“If I survive this, I’ll kill you!”
“No, you won’t, dear fellow. We will do as Iris always does to me, and it will be all right.” The she turned to the girl. “Iris, dear, go to your brothers and provide some distraction for the healer right after you hear Bilbo yell.”
“What do you mean?”
Right then the healer was back, with a dark slug-like thing at the bottom of a bucket. Iris went out of the room and left them to look after the hobbit. She knew bleeding was once upon a time believed to be the best medicine to quench fever because when the person lost blood her face got pale and her temperature really dropped, but for no reason than side effect from hypovolemia.
The healer chose Bilbo’s left side of the belly to apply his remedy, and good willing Ellen and Lily helped him in immobilizing the poor hobbit. As expected, the patient yelled as soon as the grub touched his skin, and in no time at all a loud thud and a cry were heard from the living room.
“What a luck you are here, master healer, please go see what happened in the living room, I’m sure someone needs your skills right now!”
Lily shoved the man out of the room, closing the door after him.
Ellen had got a coal from the fireplace already, touching only its completely black places, and Lily hold Bilbo’s shirt up to expose the bleeder. Bilbo was about to panic seeing the elf coming to him with a living ember in her bare hand, but the dwarf hushed him quickly.
“If you shout, I’ll call the healer!”
The poor hobbit swallowed down at this, preferring to have those two non-healers with an ember next to him that that bloody healer and his yet bloodier leech. And speaking about leeches, the thing coiled upon itself and released its bait as soon as Ellen touched its head with the brazen coal, leaving a small bleeding spot where it had stuck. Lily took the disgusting thing and hurled it through the open window. Ellen put a handkerchief upon the bleeding spot, then Bilbo’s shirt down and the blanket up. It was just in time for the healer to come back.
“What happened out there, master?”
“Oh, nothing serious, some of the dwarves were training to throw the halfling and she got dropped on a table, but nothing was broken.” He noticed the covered patient. “Did the horseleech fasten well?”
“Yes, yes, we just pulled the blanked over for him to be more comfortable. How long must it be there?”
The healer thought for a while.
“Usually, I’d leave it there for as long as day, but considering his size, it can be pulled out at the setting sun. I’ll be back by then to do it.”
“Oh, there is no need to trouble yourself because of so a little thing, just tell us how we should pull the thing out?”
“As a matter of fact, it cannot be pulled.” He said quietly to them as if he was telling some magic secret. “It has to be burned. Take small pine stick, lit it and get close to it. It can char the patient a little, but it is still the best way to get a horseleech out, trust my words. Don’t forget, it has to be a pine stick, no other wood will work!”
Ellen gave him her best wide-eyed 'I’m amazed' look and led him to the front door, thanking him for his thunderstrucking healing skills. As soon as he was out of sight and of hearing, she closed the door, leaned back on it and laughed until tears flowed from her eyes, just as Lily and Iris were doing; Thorin, his nephews and some other dwarves looked at them without understanding anything.
“So, may I know what is this all about?” Asked the grumpy leader of the Company.
“Nothing... really...”
None of them stopped laughing completely, and were still trying to catch their breaths.
“Lily, have you learned something from the healer?” Thorin demanded.
“Sure!”
She roared, and there were more five minutes of nonsensical laughter. When they calmed down again, Bilbo’s small voice could be heard from his room, asking for water.
“Are you feeling better, my friend?”
Thorin asked his favorite burglar.
“Better! Much better, now that the bloody healer is far away from here. Leeches! He wanted to bleed me with leeches!” He drank the water down, trying to quench his feverish thirst. “Ellen, what was that talk about doing things like Iris does to you? I didn’t understand a thing!”
The women chuckled hard.
“It is quite simple, Bilbo. When I say to Iris to do something one way, she feigns she agrees and when I turn my back to her she does things her own way. That’s what we’ve done with the healer! Now he is happy and content that his treatment was followed and won’t pester you anymore.”
“But why had we to agree to his treatment at all? It was my blood going into that worm!”
Ellen managed to control her laughter, and spoke earnestly.
“Because we need the help of this town; if we openly reject their most capable healer the very first day we are here, they can get resentful and less willing to help us. Sorry for the blood you shed, but it was for a good cause.”
Thorin shook his head.
“I must agree you three have a strange way to deal with sticky situations, but it works. Even if now the whole Lake-Town will gossip for a year and a day about the strange training of my nephews.
“Don’t worry, Uncle, we told the healer it was for me to jump into higher grounds when we reach the Lonely Mountain and have to climb it; I’d bet a tuna can, if I had one, that he believed!”
Thorin still thought it strange to be called ‘uncle’ by the red haired hobbit brat, but as she was his nephews’ Little Sister, he was, technically, a kind of uncle to her, too. He turned to Lily.
“Now, what can you say you learned from the healer, my lady?”
She chuckled again.
“I can say that a curious woman from my old world with some knowledge on herbs can be more effective than a healer from this town of men.” She pondered, then. “Of course I have no knowledge in matters he might be skilled, like stitching wounds, set broken bones, childbirth, but I think I can deal with smaller wounds and assorted illnesses doing more good than harm. By the way, I must go find some herbs to help Bilbo.”
The hobbit weaved a hand at her, while reaching for a clean handkerchief with the other.
“Thag you very butch!”

ooo000ooo

Lily had so much as stepped outside the house and was surrounded by curious people who cheered up anyone of the Company who dared to show his nose. She weaved a hand, smiled shyly and stepped back into the house. Nothing in her live prepared her to be the center of attentions like that, and back at Imladris people were really nice to her, no elf ever stared at her like those people, nor mentioned anything about her being a wandering-she-dwarf-shield-maiden. Human people seemed so uncouth in comparison Lily shivered from thinking she could have been like them in other circumstances.
“I don’t know if I’ll be actually able to get out of here alone. Is this crowd out there all the time?”
It was. When she was at Bilbo’s room she could not hear it, but the people was there, singing old songs about the return of the King Under the Mountain and all richness and wealth that would run through the River Running down from the Mountain into Lake Town. Thorin didn’t like very much what was implicit in this kind of song, but had to cope with it because he really needed Lake-Town’s help to accomplish his goal. They would need provisions, clothes, transportation, lots of things that he was yet to negotiate with the Master and deemed would cost him more than what would be fair. His strong dwarven instinct sought a way to protect his jewel.
“If you’d like better to stay, just name what you need and it will be provided. Do you need to see an herbalist or you’d rather search in the wild for what you need?”
She thought for a moment.
“I don’t know. There are things that can be found at any grocery store, I just must see what is available; I don’t know what kind of plants I may find in the wild, and how long would it take for me to find them; maybe an herbalist could help a lot, but I don’t know if the herbs I know have the same name here, so I should have to see them to make sure.”
“I can ask for an herbalist to come here; you can discuss the uses of the plants you need and pick up what you choose.”
“No, if we are not to openly reject the healer’s choice of treatment, then we cannot call for an herbalist to come here. I must go out.” Lily looked into Thorin’s eyes with a new flame and resolution shining in them. “And I cannot hide myself as if I were in shame, I’m a proud member of the Company of Thorin Oakenshield and if I believe I have the nerve to face a dragon then I must have the nerve to face a bunch of curious people.”
“Let us go shop, then.”

ooo000ooo

It took no more than two hours for Lily to gather everything she wanted and a little more. When she, Thorin, Kíli and Dwalin came back to the house, they had not only herbs and food that would be prepared in certain ways to favor Bilbo’s healing but also gifts people gave them as they crossed the wooden paths of the town. Some of them were embarrassing, but they could not reject any, so they would not offend those who saw in them the hope of the coming of a new age of wealth and abundance.
The first gift to be misused was a very strong brandy bottle, of which Lily mixed a cup to fresh water and gave it to Iris dampen a cloth and sweep Bilbo’s face and arms. It wasn’t exactly pure alcohol, but would do. He was asleep, but sweating profusely out of his fever; Iris had taken the blanket away for him to cool down, but then he got shivers and she didn’t know what to do. Soon afterward Lily came in with a tea mug for the hobbit and they woke him up to drink.
“How’re you feeling?”
“Like an oliphaunt trampled over me.”
He took a probing sip and thought it tasted good, against his fears. Healers’ teas didn’t use to taste that good. Lily had cooled the elderflower tea with lemon juice and added honey.
“Can you breathe in deep?”
He tried.
“Yes.”
“Any pain when you do it?”
“Hmm, no. Not more than my whole body aches anyway.”
“That’s fine.” She took the empty mug back. “Bombur is cooking a chicken soup for you, it will make you feel better. I hope you like garlic. Sleep as much as you can, your body needs rest to recover. Iris, make sure he drinks plenty of water and any tea that I will bring later.”
And so the new official healer apprentice of the Company left the room and her patient under the care of Iris.
"I´m shieldmaiden, and my hand is ungentle."