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An Unspoken Promise (Rewritten)

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“Indeed, as your kind rarely cares for the subtleties of speech.”  King Thranduil continued, not even pretending to keep the patronizing tone out of his words.  “Your use of a statement instead of an outright question was, I’ll admit, well done, but your lack of any semblance of tact certainly wouldn’t do you any favors with those less inclined towards patience than I.”  King Thranduil thought himself patient?  “And yet once something has been spoken, it cannot return.  It will gain you no favours as king.”   


Bard frowned, opened his mouth, closed it, and then decided, who cared about tact, this Thranduil wasn’t even real. “You never hesitate to insult others.”


“And my kingdom has existed since long before your ancestors were even thoughts in their ancestor’s heads.”  Thranduil retorted lightly.  “You are a new king, of a new city.  When you have the strength and wisdom to face your enemies, then you may make them.  Until then, stand with strength and without offence.”


That was, surprisingly good advice actually. 


Still, “I’m as new as you say, but I know when I’ve done something wrong, and I have unintentionally insulted you before.  And don’t tell me it’s because you’re patient, don’t forget I’ve seen you with the dwarves.” Bard added sharply before Thranduil could answer.


The imitation of the elvenking looked amused, and paused before answering, as if waiting for Bard to interrupt again.  Not that he had any intentions of doing so.  Again, he knew this wasn’t the real Thranduil, but it would be nice to have an answer, even if one snatched from the depths of his sub-consciousness.


“If you must know, I find you interesting.”  For all that the words sounded as bland as they could while coming from such an ethereal being, the small smirk tilting Thranduil’s lips up gave them a quality Bard couldn’t quite flesh out. 


Frowning at the non-response, Bard clarified, “And so you’ve brushed off any insult I’ve unintentionally offered, and have been helping me, all because I’m ‘interesting’?”


There was another pause, and just as Thranduil opened his mouth to give what Bard had little hope was a clear, understandable answer, the world seemed to blink and the bargeman was staring up at a stone roof shrouded in Dale’s early morning darkness.