Disclaimer: Same as always
And no, I'm not dead. V. Distracted, but, to quote quite possibly the most awesomest character ever, I aten't dead.
Here's .. the whole chapter! Hooray!
The last two days had been quiet, damp and, overall, moderately unpleasant.
Nothing that was actually bad had happened, but the others all seemed to be slightly depressed about something, and Dawn had no real intention of talking to any of the large beardy-people or their even larger and annoyingly cryptic friend.
So, that left Bilbo.
Pretending to have amnesia had so far prevented anyone from asking inconvenient questions like ‘who are you?’ or ‘what were you doing out there?’ more than once, and it also gave her a good excuse to ask questions of her own. After all, despite her fully-functional memories, she still didn’t have the faintest idea of … well, anything, really.
And Bilbo, despite his initial shyness, had been more than happy to answer her questions, apparently glad for the distraction from the miserable atmosphere generated by his companions.
The first question Dawn had was, quite simply, about where they were, and she wasn’t exactly thrilled to learn that Bilbo wasn’t entirely sure about that, either. However, he was pretty sure that they were heading to some place called Rivendell, and that, yes; they probably did have beds there. And baths.
Talking about the amenities that they would probably find there cheered both Bilbo and Dawn up immensely, to the obvious irritation of the dwarves, and to Gandalf’s amusement.
That had been the second question that Dawn had asked. Apparently Bilbo – and, it seemed, Dawn herself – were Hobbits, something that Dawn had never heard of, much to Bilbo’s surprise. Then he had talked about the others - the beardy people were called dwarves, despite the fact that they were more than a little bit bigger than Dawn, and that the really big guy was a man, a wizard, and called Gandalf. Bilbo had tried to introduce her to the dwarves, but they had seemed more interested in being grumpy at the time.
So, she had concentrated on Bilbo and more or less ignored the dwarves as she persuaded her fellow hobbit to tell her everything that he could.
While Bilbo had seemed a bit nervous and shy to begin with, he soon relaxed and told her about where he had come from and what little he knew of the surrounding lands. It seemed that this was the furthest from home that Bilbo – or any hobbit other than himself and Dawn – had ever gone from the Shire, the apparent home of hobbit-kind, so he knew next to nothing of anything that lay ahead. What lay behind, however, he knew well, and those two days were spent listening to his description of the Shire and the nearby Breelands, and Dawn was more than happy to listen to Bilbo talk about his rather English-sounding home. It was certainly a lot nicer than trying to talk to the dwarves.
Whilst Bilbo was entertaining her with a surprisingly descriptive retelling of how a Hobbiton baker had needed to run around chasing down a batch of bad pies before anyone could eat them, Dawn gradually became aware of another sound: The sound of singing.
After a few moments, she frowned.
“That song is just … stupid.”
The elves - for that was what they were, according to Bilbo's surprised little whisper - didn't seem to care about Dawn's criticism, merely laughing and then continuing their silly songs as Dawn, Bilbo and the others continued to head down into the little valley that had seemingly come out of nowhere. One of the dwarves - Dawn still couldn't get their names right - muttered something to his companion that made Dawn feel better.
After all, she quite agreed with calling the elves silly.
Once they left the shelter of the trees, though, Dawn saw that those silly elves had style
The little settlement that was hidden away in this little valley was ... well, pretty, like those little mountain towns that you only ever saw on postcard - but better.
The houses, towers and less identifiable buidings were all graceful but, somehow, they also looked sturdy as well as light and graceful.
Clearly, while the elves couldn't put together a better song than 'tra-la-la', their builders and architects actually knew what they were doing.
Abruptly realising that she was just standing there, staring at the pretty buildings, Dawn blushed faintly in embarrassment. Fortunately, though, Bilbo looked even more awestruck than she did.
"Amazing," he was saying softly to himself. "I've read about this place, but .. I would never have ..."
Dawn found herself nodding in agreement, as well as wishi- ... as well as hoping that she would somehow get a chance to look at some of the books that Bilbo had mentioned.
"I think I know what you mean," she said, startling Bilbo out of his contemplation of the elven refuge. "It's one thing to hear or read about a place, but it's not the same as actually seeing it for yourself."
Bilbo nodded back. "Well then, my lady," he said, grinning as he offered Dawn his arm. "Shall we see this place for ourselves?"
"We shall," Dawn grinned back, as happy as Bilbo was to finally be back in something approaching civilisation.