Autor Tópico: [Fanfic 4, cap. 25] Loyalty, Honor etc - Shopping  (Lida 943 vezes)

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Offline Luinwen

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[Fanfic 4, cap. 25] Loyalty, Honor etc - Shopping
« em: Novembro 21, 2013, 09:30:04 »
In the meanwhile Ellen, Bifur and Glóin were helping Bombur in the kitchen, as cooking for the whole Company could be toilsome and the elf wanted not only to help, as she had never been one who could stand still, but also to see Bombur in action with all assorted foods and seasonings he had at hand. The round bellied dwarf was so cunning in cooking even with the least stuff that she wondered what he would be able to do with all that abundance of options.
The woman was mincing bacon to garnish a lamb when Thorin and the others came back from searching meds for Bilbo and went straight to the kitchen with what they gathered and what people gave them also. A somewhat sweet, somewhat acid smell reached her nose and startled the elf instantly. She washed her hands hurriedly to help them put down the stuff they brought, only to find a wicker basket full of assorted fruits in Kíli’s hands. Ellen had no clue it was one of the gifts Lake-Town people gave them and the dwarves did not know how to decline with no offense.
“You brought fruit to me?” The smile in her face and widening eyes was priceless. “Do you know how much I missed fresh fruit since Elrond’s house? Even in the elven-king halls I had fruit only seldom…”
Kíli was disconcerted, as it was not his doing at all, but he was getting used to the idea that, when feeling safe but still malnourished, Ellen’s craving for the foods her elven body needed made her skip reason and see only what she wanted to. He lifted the basket a little towards her, a crooked smile I his face, not knowing what to do. She took the basket in her hands and put it on the counter with an almost adoring look in her eyes.
“Did I ever tell you that I love you?”
Now he got really embarrassed.
“Hmm, well, yes, but, actually, never in front of anybody...”
Ellen took a black plum in her hand, looking straight at Kíli, ignoring the three cooking dwarves in the kitchen and Lily brewing tea.
“I hope there is no forbiddance in the dwarven traditions about expressing feelings in public.”
She bit the plum very slowly, closing her eyes in delight; some juice dripped from the corner of her mouth and she wiped it with the tip of a finger, then licked the juice gazing at Kíli so intently one could almost see the electricity running between them.
“Not quite, lass, but it is considered private matter and so, ungraceful to be mentioned in public.”
It was Glóin who explained, while peeling some potatoes.
“Uh, sorry, I didn’t know.” Glóin’s remark brought her back to her feet. “Thank you for explaining, master Glóin, I still have so much to learn to behave properly.”
She sighed and finished the plum and, even disconcerted, the unbroken gaze exchange between her and Kíli spoke more than any words would have. It had been weeks of loneliness in the elven realm, and although they kept as close as they could since getting out of the barrels the day before, they had had little or almost no private time at all.
“No problem at all, elf, I know how it is to be in love, sometimes you lose all sense of what is proper or not.” Replied Glóin, chuckling. Being the only married dwarf in the Company made him more comprehensive of the young couple drives, and also made him feel a bit responsible for giving them advice.
“Hey, Kíli, Uncle is calling.” Fíli irrupted in the kitchen and took his brother by one arm, breaking their magic gaze apart; the blond looked at what Ellen went back to work on and smiled broadly. “Hmm, stuffed lamb? It is my favorite!”
Food is your favorite!” Kíli replied while they got out of the kitchen, casting a last longing look to the woman that braided his hair.

ooo000ooo

The first week was spent recovering their health from being locked in the dungeons and banged in the barrel ride, and it meant mountains of food, newly combed, braided and trimmed beards and hairs, clothes made in their favorite colors and lots of training to regain fitness. Bilbo recovered fairly well from his flu, although his speeches in the banquets Lake-Town people held in honor of their guests were limited to a “Thag you very butch” for the first three days. As expected, the healer became greatly prized for having cured the halfling, and the Company kept their secret of what became of the leech.
Then Thorin became restless and started to plan the last leg of the journey, up from there to the Lonely Mountain. The Master of Lake-Town, still capitalizing on the opportunity of having the dwarves in his debt, had put into his service what they would need in ponies, boats and supplies. The dwarf insisted in having a price named for what was being dealt, but the Master wouldn’t, arguing that is was nothing more than fair to help those who would get them rid of Smaug, and that any compensation Thorin would deem as fair could be thought of later.
He was at the house one late afternoon grumbling these thoughts with himself when he got distracted by the female triplet of his party that burst into the living room chatting loudly with their hands full of packs of assorted sizes. They greeted him warmly, Lily placing a quick kiss on his startled mouth and then closing themselves in their own room. Thorin wished he could be less tied to tradition as to care less for reputation, but he couldn’t, else he would have her sleeping into his own room, but it would be completely inappropriate, even if they slept cuddled together in their sleeping rolls out in the wild. He could not make her be seen as less than completely respectable if he wanted her to be at his side in the future and reckoned as fit for queenship.
Thorin was lost in this line of thought, trying to find a way to cheat traditions like if he were a youngling like his nephews, when Lily came back to the living room smiling brightly in a brand new silken dress, a prussian blue color that made her eyes outstand and favored her hazel color hair; white lace added refinement and embroidered pearly white beads made her every movement set out a delicate gleam. She spun herself around in front of him, smiling
“So, do you like it?”
He was smiling. Was Lily bothering herself if he liked what she wore?
“Yes, but…”
“…But?”
'But I’d rather see you with no dress at all', he thought, but of course didn’t say a word of this; instead he teased her. “Don’t you deem it is too fair a gown to climb up a mountain?”
She felt clumsy and lowered her eyes.
“Of course, Thorin, it is not meant to use in the wild, I just wanted to wear something pretty while were at Lake-Town, and then later, when Erebor is taken back and I’ll have to wander in the wild no more.”
The dwarf stood up, smiling at the young woman, holding her close to him with one hand in her waist while tracing her beard-braid with the fingertips of the other hand.
“This is not pretty. This stands beautiful on you. It is perfectly fit for a dwarven lady to wear wherever she wants. Erebor’s gold is more than enough to pay for any gown you like.”
“But you don’t have to pay for anything!” She complained.
“Don’t worry, Lily, everything that Lake-Town is providing us will be compensated in due time.”
“But it will not be necessary, Thorin, we already paid for the dresses and all other stuff!”
“Who paid for what?”
He didn’t quite understand what she meant with all other stuff and gave her a queer look. Fíli was playing craps with Kíli, Ori and Nori at a table nearby and turned to Thorin, elucidating the mystery.
“It must have been Ellen, Uncle. It seems the money she had with her when they came to Middle-Earth changed itself so she could use it, like their swords and other stuff.” He turned to Kíli, smilingly. “It looks like you have a rich bride, brother.”
Kíli lowered his eyes, slightly disturbed but not wanting to show.
“I cannot call her my bride, yet. It has not been announced.”
Thorin looked at his unhappy nephew, felling a strong connection. He too wished somethings could be otherwise, but was his duty to grant his people’s traditions and beliefs should be respected and followed.
“Betrothal will come in due time, son. For both of us. I, for myself, will not announce my intentions while the home I have to grant my beloved one is back at the Blue Mountains. Would you?”
The young dwarf looked up at his uncle, understanding. If his betrothal was announced before they reclaimed Erebor, they would have to have their wedding at Ered Luin and dwell there for at least a year and a day. His heart yearned for Ellen and to have her at his side as soon as possible, but also craved for Erebor, a realm he never knew, but that was set into his heart as his righteous home since he was a toddler. Going back to live at the Blue Mountains was not a choice. He swallowed down his desire.
“You are right, Uncle. It is not only the Jewel who mustn’t haste.”

ooo000ooo

Ellen wanted some fresh fruit to last her while going on boat up to The Desolation of Smaug and persuaded Kíli to help her carry it. She still deemed it strange to wear weaponry while in a town, as it was completely improper at her own old world and also at Imladris, the only town she knew in Middle-Earth, but understood in Lake-Town they had to show people what they were at, at least out of the house they were dwelling in for the time being; so, she shook her head and fastened her short sword scabbard around her waist and took the wicker basket where fruits had been given to the Company right after they came.
Kíli tried to push her into every alley they found so he could kiss her or touch her without any witness, as his uncle and her brothers were playing the perfect watchdogs around them, but it seemed to be quite impossible with every person in the town wanting to seem them, to get close to anyone of the Company who would defeat the dragon and make gold run the River from the Mountain to Lake-Town as the prophecies said. So he conceded that they would just buy fruits and wander aimlessly as long as the staring humans didn’t bother them.
The elf had chosen to buy fruit from a certain marketer she got acquainted that she knew always had high quality fruit. Kíli hadn’t been there before, as the elf used to go ‘fruiting’, as the dwarves got to say, along with her nieces. But that day she got him to accompany her, as it seemed to be the last ‘normal’ day they would have in a long time. Actually, she got used that the ‘normal’ in her Middle-Earth life was quite different from the ‘normal’ she was used to in her former world. They reached the fruit seller.
“How’re faring, Lara? And little Ulfir?”
Ellen made him a beckoning gesture with her fingers, smiling, and the baby in the fruit marketer’s lap giggled, already acquainted to her, which surprised Kíli. Ulfir stretched his chubby arms to be held by the elf lady, and his mother lent him to the tall stranger.
“What does Milady fancy today? We have apples, peaches, cranberries, pears, plums, elderberries, blackberries...”
The elf-woman listened what the supplier had, even if it was not quite different from what she had the day before, while cradling the baby. Then she ordered what she wanted, making the baby giggle in her arms and making Kíli look confused and suspicious.
“I didn’t know you knew so well how to deal with babies.”
The elf tickled the little boy’s belly just to make him giggle, with not even a glance to the dwarf.
“Kíli, Kíli, Kíli, did you forget I helped my brother to raise my nieces?”
Ulfir decided it was time for a nap and stuck a finger in his mouth, albeit all the teasing from the tall woman. He giggled again, thumb still in his mouth, resting his face against her breast, to which Ellen instinctively patted his back as if to make him burp.
Half ashamed for almost forgetting what he knew about the one he loved, half grateful for having someone who knew something about a matter he had no experience at all and he hoped would be needed in the future, he closed his mouth and just gazed at her, trying to understand what kind of Jewel Mahal put into his hands, remembering what he already knew about her, that he learned back at Imladris’ forge.
“How could I possibly forget the day you told me that?”
The memory of that day made the dwarf to smile as the recalled it to himself.

ooo000ooo

“You really love your uncle, I see.” Said the elf, smilingly, while fastening the tangs of the arrow points to the shafts. They were chatting at ease while making more arrows, as Ellen wanted to give a full quiver to Arwen as a gift, and Kíli just told her a funny story from his childhood.
“Of course I do. He may be though to deal with, sometimes, but he is really a caring uncle.” Kíli feathered one more arrow and stood up to fetch a mug of water. The forge was hot that afternoon, but they liked the secluded place. “Your nieces love you too, I see.”
She kept her eyes on the arrow she was making.
“I helped to raise them. I was about the age Iris is now when my parents died in a car crash, and I moved to my brother’s house. He is twelve years older than me, just as I am twelve years older than Lily, and he was already married, Lily was four years old when I moved in. We were not quite over that loss when Iris was born, and her mother died in childbirth. I helped to take care of the girls.”
There was an uncomfortable silence where Kíli didn’t know what to say. He was about to try to change the subject to something lighter when the elf spoke again, very quietly. The unfinished arrow lay on the bench where she sat, her eyes in the dying fire of the forge, but her gaze lost somewhere in the past.
“My brother was writing his PhD thesis when it all happened; he could not lose the deadline, else he would have to pay back his scholarship, and would lose his job in the lab, and he could not afford it, it was all he had to maintain us all; so he worked at it and I took care of the girls, though I was still in highschool, the girls stayed in childcare part time so I could attend classes.” Ellen took a deep breath. “Each night, when my brother came home from the lab, we would hold each other and cry.” Her voice faded into a whisper. “I was seventeen.”
Kíli knew not what to say, in part because he had not the slightest clue of what a ‘lab’ or a ‘PhD’ could possibly be, but put the mug of water on the worktable and got closer to her. Seventeen was an early age even for a human to get through all that. Ellen lifted her face to the touch of his rough thumb erasing a tear from her cheek and looked at him with hurt gray blue eyes.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t vent out on you, just it’s been a long time I don’t recall this part of my life, and…”
She looked down again and suppressed a sob. The dwarf gently stroked her hair, caressed her shoulder and made her lean to his chest while silent tears run from her eyes, and Kíli spoke softly to her.
“Hey, it’s all right, lass, it is all right…”
“I shouldn’t be bothering you…”
He made her look up at him again, lifting the elf’s face from the soft fabric of his shirt, touching her chin with two fingers.
“You are not, Ellen. We are members of the Company, we are friends, and friends care for each other, and take care of each other...”
The serious look in his dark emerald eyes gave her strength. The thought of someone like him taking care of her made the elf feel warm inside, and it wasn’t due to the fire of the forge. Ellen reached a tentative hand to touch Kíli’s stumble beard, smelling the musky scent that emanated from his strong muscles so close to her, and felt his breath get a bit faster, like her own, then asked, a questioning frown on her forehead.
“Do you care for me, my friend?”
“I do.” He stroked her hair, and then traced the line of her pointed ear. “More than a friend would.”
She entwined her long fingers in his hair, in a mild suggestion.
“Would you take care of me?”
“I would.” Kíli leaned down. “I will.”
It was almost dinner time when Fíli saw them coming from the forge with a full quiver of newly made arrows, and asked his brother in Iglishmêk, to which Ellen was oblivious.
What took you so long? Your smile is so big you’re almost biting your own ears!”
Kíli answered in the same gesture language, not changing his grin at all.
I kissed the elf!”

ooo000ooo

Some days later a small herd of ponies and sturdy horses left Lake-Town loaded with provisions to last the whole Company fairly long. Much of it was dehydrated food, which would be reconstituted with River Running waters in due time, so it would be lighter to carry; the women had put half of the Company to crack and mince nuts, and they knew they’ll have lembas to grant them nourished enough for several days; Lily found out the herbalist had black pepper down from Far Harad, and Ellen granted her the gold weight it cost; several other medicinal herbs were bought also, along with assorted bandages; they were fairly far into autumn, and not knowing how long would it take to accomplish what they dared, winter clothes and assorted garments and comforters were provided too.
The morning they would part in the boats was heavy on the whole Company. They had made some friends at Lake-Town, as side effect from having a banquet or a party every night since they arrived, and also from having their training sessions on shore. There was no enough room in the small courtyards built out of wood, meant mostly to marketing; even the small town guard used to train ashore, and leant their humble facilities to the Company, eager to witness what they were able to do.
Knowing what they might be facing soon, Thorin had decided on changing training focus from one against many to many against one. The women had some training in pitched battle when boffer fighting at their old world, but even then it was a fight against opponents the same size as them. They had not the slightest idea of how they could actually train how to defeat a dragon when the whole army of Erebor didn’t manage it when Smaug came first time. Of course it could not be discussed with Thorin in front of the others, but Ellen and Bilbo really wanted to talk about it sometime. It was kind as if their leader was trying to ignore their uttermost calamity, and they felt it would do no good to the quest.
His stubbornness made it impossible to discuss dragon-slaying matters with Thorin, and in later days not even Balin or Lily managed to talk to him touching what would be done when finally opening the Back Door, as if he could focus only one issue at a time and had to reject any mention to further topics. Maybe coming closer to the Mountain would help to bring him to reason.
The same dark haired man who greeted them when the Company first reached Lake-Town was the one to accompany them upriver, as it was not just rowing and rowing. The lake could be treacherous, mainly where River Running fed it, two days of rowing from the Town. Bard was dark mooded man, who didn’t rejoice in the coming of the dwarves as most people did, considering the real menace of the dragon, even if Smaug was not to be heard of for the last sixty years. He was of the line of Girion, the last Lord of Dale, whose family barely escaped the destruction that came with the dragon, so many years before. His friendship to them was that of a brother-in-arms, that of one who dealt with warfare like them, but not much else. He didn’t believe Smaug was dead, and, being the leader of the first boat, was not at all shy to discuss the matter with Thorin while they both rowed. It was obvious that it would do no good.
When they camped that night at the western shore, Thorin’s mood was the one they were mostly used to, which means, his personal black cloud hovering above his head. He spread out orders swiftly and went to wander along the shore alone, smoking his pipe. His nephews and his burglar asked Lily, who was with him in the first boat along with Balin, what was going on.
“He doesn’t want to hear anyone who questions him about dealing with Smaug. Bard believes the beast is alive, as dragons live as long as none kills them, and there is no news of anyone having done so. He said to Thorin that he would be held responsible for any trouble the dragon may bring to Lake-Town if he is stirred.”
“I understand why he is upset, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is a dragon and we have no strategy to deal with it.” Ellen intervened. “For what I know, these overgrown lizards are almost invulnerable, else Thror’s army would have dealt with him when he came. There is really a problem and Thorin is either ignoring the lack of a solution or he has a plan he doesn’t want to share yet.”
“If Uncle had a plan he would share it, I’m sure. We tried to discuss it with him already, there comes no word out of him.”
“Pebbles!” Lily cursed. “He cannot hide his head in a hole in the ground like an ostrich, pretending nothing is happening!”
“What is an ostrich?” Asked Kíli, wide eyed.
“Hmm, a big stupid haradrim bird, so to say.”
Fíli added ostrich to his long mental list of insulting names, smilingly.
“But then, there is a point we are not pondering.”
“Yes?”
“We don’t know what we will find once there. We are in hope of finding the Back Door, but if we don’t find it? If we find it, then, what if we’re not able to open it? If we open it, what will we find inside? We don’t know what Smaug has done to the insides of Erebor, we don’t have how to plan!”
“What do you mean with we have not how to plan? It is the basics in strategic planning, to plan under conditions of uncertainty!” Ellen was feeling herself in her own ground and counted on her fingers. “You gather all available data, filter what is relevant, delineate possible scenarios, weight the probabilities, consider the alternatives, and draw a grid of approaches to the problem! It’s quite simple!”
They eyed her queerly.
“Hmm, Aunty, have you ever done something like this without a computer at hand?”
“Lily, a computer is just a tool. Bonaparte, Churchill, Julius Cesar, Alexander Magnus, Genghis Khan, Sun Tzu, do you think they had computers?”
“Of course not, but they didn’t have a dragon to kill with only a dozen and half warriors.”
“I’m not even a half-warrior, just a half-ling!” Complained Bilbo.
“You lack faith, dear; they didn’t have the warriors we have!”
"I´m shieldmaiden, and my hand is ungentle."