The days passed by slowly and wearily as the days turned into weeks with winter approaching quickly. But still they waited
A few nights later the sky became black and moon less with a very cold chill in the air. Silvren sat by a warm fire, wrapped in a warm blanket with Legolas, King Thranduil and Bard sitting around the fire as well.
All was quiet when two elves walked up to them with a Hobbit, clad in Elvish armour in between them. One of the elves draped an old blanket around the Hobbit’s shoulder and helped him sit down on op of a round log. Then Thranduil dismissed the two Elves.
“Things are becoming quite impossible. Personally, I am tired of this whole affair and want to end it once and for all.” the Hobbit, Bilbo said. “I wish I was back at my Hobbit hole, where folk are more reasonable, if you ask me. But, I do have an interest in this matter. Thorin has promised me one-fourteenth of the share. However, you don’t know Thorin as well as I do. And let me tell you, he is willing to sit on that mound of treasure and starve as long as you sit here.”
“Well let him.” Bard said. “A fool like himself deserves to starve. “
“Quite so. I see your point view, but winter is coming and you have heard about Dain and the Dwarves of the Iron Hills, have you not?”
“We have, long ago, but what does that have to do with all of this?”
“Ah, so you haven’t heard. Well, Dain is now less than two days march off and has at least five hundred Dwarves with him. There may be serious trouble when they arrive.”
Both Silvren and Legolas glanced at each other with nervous expressions. They didn’t think it would get that worse and didn’t want to be stranded out there during a hard, cold winter.
“Are you threatening us? ” Bard asked grimly.
“Oh, no!” squeaked Bilbo. “Please, don’t be so hasty! I am merely trying to avoid trouble. Now,” he said, gaining his composure. “if you wish, I will make a deal with you. “
“Let us hear it.” Bard said.
“You may see it.” Bilbo smiled. “It is this. ” he drew out a bundle of rags and threw the wrappings aside.
Thranduil stood up in amazement and stared at the wondrous gem. Bard and the others stared at it in silence.
Within the Hobbit’s hand, he held a great white gem that shone like silver in the firelight and snow under the brilliant stars. The gem looked like a globe that had been filled with silver-white moonlight, wrapped in a net woven of the light of the frosty stars.
“This is the Arkenstone of Thrain. Thorin values it more than anything else.”
“Even a river of pure gold?” Bard asked.
“Yes, even a river of pure gold. Here, I’m giving it to you, for it will aid you in your bargaining.” Bilbo handed the marvelous stone to Bard, not without one last glimpse, a small bit of regret pulling at his heart.
“Well, I must be going back now. The Dwarves can do what they want with me. I hope that you will find this gem useful.”
The Elven-king looked down at Bilbo in wonder and amazement. “Bilbo Baggins! You have every right to wear the armour of an elf-prince and are more worthy than some that look more pleasing in it. Why don’t you stay here with us, where you shall be honored and welcomed like a king?”
“Than you very much.” he said with a small bow. “But really, I must be going. I did promise to wake old Bombur at midnight!”
They tired many things to get him to stay but nothing would convince him. So, Thranduil had an escort see him safely back to the river and on his way out, Thranduil and Bard saluted him with honor.
As he passed through the camp with his escort, an old an, wrapped in a dark cloak, rose from where he sat by a tent door. “Well done, Mr. Baggins!” he said as he clapped Bilbo on the shoulder. “There is always more about you than what anyone expects. “
Bilbo smiled as he looked up into the warm, friendly face of Gandalf. He had so many questions that he wanted to ask Gandalf, but he knew that now was not the time.
“Unless I’m mistaken, things are finally drawing towards the end. An unpleasant time is in front of you but keep your heart up and mind open. There is news brewing that even the ravens have not yet heard. Good night. Bilbo.”
Puzzled, but cheered up. Bilbo hurried on towards the river. He said his farewells to the Elves and climbed carefully back up the mountain.
“A Hobbit! We actually got to see a Hobbit!” Silvren cried out happily, once she and Legolas were alone with Gandalf.
“Yes, you did. ” Gandalf said as he lit his old pipe and leaned back against a tree. Puffing away at his pipe.
“It’s so different to actually see one after reading so much about them from father’s books.”
“I suppose so. ” Gandalf simply replied.
“It’s getting late, we best be going to bed. ” Legolas sighed and stood up, helping Silvren to her feet.
“Good night, Gandalf. ” Silvren said as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “It’s so good to see you again.”
“It’s good to see you too. Now get some rest. You may need it later.”
“As you wish. Good night.” she said and turned back towards their tent, retiring for the night.