There were many ways to describe Thorin Oakenshield.
“Loyal to a fault,” his close friend and advisor, Balin, would say gently.
“Stubborn as a mule,” his best friend Dwalin would say, loudly enough for Thorin to hear.
“Grumpy as a bear,” his nephew Kili would whisper, ever fearing his uncle’s glare.
“King Under the Mountain,” his people would proclaim, and indeed he was.
But there was one word only those closest to the king would use to describe him. One word that summed up the pain in his eyes and the slump of his shoulders.
And how could he not be when his heart was all the way across Middle Earth, carried by a simple hobbit from the rolling hills of the Shire?
Thorin had his throne, his nephews, and wealth beyond belief. He had done honourably by his people, and had even made peace, as uneasy as it still was, with the elves. Yet, there Thorin sat, his mouth a thin line, his cold glare steady and unwavering, on the day he should be celebrating his victories. What no one knew, however, was that one year ago that day, Thorin lost something more dear to him than anything in Middle Earth. Exactly one year ago that day, Bilbo Baggins, a simple hobbit from the Shire, left Erebor with Thorin’s heart.