Author's Note: Well, this is what happens when I get far to much time on my hands... It was supposed to be longer, but I ran out of time and inspiration. I hope you like it, and please review.
As song echoed through the fair valley of Rivendell. This wasn't, actually, an unusual occurrence, and since Rivendell was a place inhabited by elves an ethereal melody or two was almost always drifting on the wind.
This evening, however, the song couldn't by any stretch of the imagination be called ethereal, and the voices singing it, though fine, were about as far as you could get from being a heavenly chorus.
Though, because the singers were all concentrating more on volume than coherency, the lyrics were rather hard to decipher, one could, after a minute or two of listening hard, figure out that the song was about inns and ale, and many other such cheerful subjects.
The song trailed off midway through the last verse, not because any of the seven people (well, not people, actually, but dwarves) singing were too embarrassed to sing the song's rather colourful and quite crude ending, but because half their number had succumbed to contagious fits of laughter.
It was a good, cheerful song, but not one that the singers, who consisted of Ori, Dori, Bifur, Bombur, Oin, Fili, and Dwalin would have chosen to sing if Thorin had been present. But he was off somewhere with Balin, Gandalf, and the burglar. And that elf, Lord Elrond.
After their unusual and a little unsatisfactory meal upon arriving in Rivendell, the dwarves had chosen a nicely paved pavilion, and, when no one objected to their presence, set up camp. Oin and Kili had chopped up one of the beautifully made elven chairs for firewood. Gloin had found some water to wash the dirtier of their garments in, and Bifur and Fili had rigged up a line upon which the before-mentioned garments could dry by the fire.
After they'd rearranged the few chairs and elegantly carved tables that had furnished the pavilion to their liking, the dwarves had begun to get a bit hungry, and had sent out a delegation to go find some more food.
This foraging party consisted of Gloin, who was The Company's spokesman when Thorin and Balin weren't around, Kili, who similarly represented the Line of Durin when his uncle wasn't there and Fili wasn't willing to come, Nori, who always had a talent for picking up odds and ends, and Bofur, merely because he was the best at diffusing any potentially difficult situations that might arise if they ran into any elves.
And now, as the dwarves' drinking song dissolved into chortling, the delegation had returned, triumphant.
"Here you go," said Kili, grinning as he tossed Bombur a greasy parcel wrapped in cloth and twine.
There were a few heartfelt noises of appreciation as it was unwrapped to reveal a large piece of venison.
"Meat. Where in this accursed valley did you get meat, you - you most wonderful of dwarves?"
"Forget where, what about how?"
"Yes, how did you get this?"
"Diplomacy," Gloin said, settling himself down by the fire and beginning to pass around some sausages "Tact and diplomacy."
"Charm," said Bofur, already hunting around in their packs for a toasting fork.
Nori merely gave a small shrug; the mince pies that he had brought back as a contribution to their supper having been procured neither through diplomacy nor charm, but simply by snatching them off a table when nobody was watching.
"Pleading, mostly," Kili admitted, setting down next to Bofur and grimacing with the attitude of one who has done a nasty and uncomfortable job, but done it well "I more or less had to get down on my knees and beg the first elf I saw for some real food. Not dignified - and no one's to say a word to Thorin about it - but it worked."
None of the dwarves chose to make a derisive comment or two about what depths a dwarf would have to sink to to beg an elf for anything. They were all too happy at the thought of being able to eat something that wasn't green and (and here they shuddered with horror) oppressively good for you. Speaking of which...
"So what do we do with this?" asked Fili, gesturing to the bowls of greens that the elves had pressed their guests to take with them after luncheon, in case they grew hungry later on.
The dwarves looked at what they basically considered to be foliage cunningly disguised as edible food, and frowned.
"Can you...can roast it, do you think?"