A dwarf maiden sat resting her back against a great old oak growing on a small hill by the northern trail to Erebor. Her face turned towards the Grey Mountains far in the north. Her eyes were firmly set on the road, eagerly waiting to spot a familiar figure on a horse. It was a quiet, lazy spring day, and the afternoon sun shined on the flourishing land below. A gentle breeze passed through the oak’s branches and nearby bushes. Not seeing any signs of the rider, the young woman sighed and returned to her drawings. Her hand was absentmindedly chalking some abstract shapes in a sketchbook resting against her lap.
“He’s coming back today, I can feel it,'' Ása reassured herself for the tenth time that day, not being able to focus on her work. If she could only conjure it up by uttering the words aloud.
The Bonfire Festival would happen in less than two weeks. The whole city of Dale was already busy as a beehive with all the preparations.
Thorin had promised her that they would celebrate it together, as soon as he came back. He was going on this long diplomatic mission, accompanying his father, Thrain. She closed her eyes for a few moments, recalling that day. It was a few months ago when they had said their goodbyes. Much too long. She still remembered his touch, his hungry mouth, and his affectionate words when they last met in their secret place. Her heart was painfully yearning for him with each passing day. But now her Mizim* was finally coming back to her.
Not until the first raindrops fell on her face did she realize she had somehow managed to fall asleep. She sighed, not opening her eyes, and wrapped herself tighter in her shawl. Rain or no rain, she desperately wanted to get back to the dream of her beloved she was having just a few moments ago. She knew she should be heading home soon, lady Barba has probably already discovered her ward has disappeared. As far as she knew the energetic matron, Ása suspected that Barba had half of the Erebor’s guards searching for her by now. She should not have sneaked out again, she knew it very well, but the thought of finally seeing Thorin was overwhelming. Ah, Thorin, the only dwarf she had eyes for...
Suddenly, she felt a whiff of cool air and a rush of quick movement. A very well-known voice whispered something into her left ear... Was she dreaming again?
“What a lovely surprise, my lady,'' the deep baritone voice murmured, almost instantly making her shiver with pleasure. “May a humble traveler ask who you might be waiting for?”
Her heart fluttered. She opened her eyes and her smile widened. This was much better than any dream. Just a few inches away, she saw his handsome face, tanned during recent travels. His dark beard seemed to be thicker and a bit longer than she remembered. And those deep blue eyes that always made her think of a stormy sea were now expectantly looking into her own. He smelled of fresh air, bonfire smoke, and pines. Of adventure and freedom.
“Oh, but my lord,'' she whispered, feeling his body heat so close to her, “You must know that I have not been waiting for anyone. I have been simply observing the white-eyed kestrels and sketching these birds for artistic purposes. Travelers, humble or not, do not interest me in the slightest.” Saying this, she sat straight up, just like a proper lady would.
She even moved slightly away from him, breaking their eye contact and trying to look unmoved, but her body betrayed her. She felt her cheeks flush. She swallowed and licked her lips in anticipation, not daring to look at him.
“Is that so?”, his mouth came even closer to hers. Dangerously close. She could feel the warmth of his steady breath on her left cheek. The sensation mingled with the scarce raindrops falling from between the tree branches. Her heart started beating even faster, her cheeks flushed with excitement. He smiled, realizing he was close to winning the teasing game they both knew by now almost by heart.
“Is that so?”, he repeated, his voice deepened even more. His eyes twinkled. “And is it a bit unseemly for such a young lady of a noble house to wander alone and unchaperoned into the wilderness, where the wild beasts roam?”
“I am not afraid of any wild beasts, my lord,” she teasingly moved her face a bit away from him. She made an effort to avoid his eyes and tried to keep her resolve.
His warm fingers touched her right cheek, slightly damp with rain. He gently turned her face towards him. Their gazes met again, and she could almost see the sparks flying between them. She could drown in those magnetic eyes that seemed to never leave her face.
“Then tell me, my lady, what are you afraid of?” he asked, looking at her expectantly.
“I think you know the answer to this question very well, my lord. I am only afraid of a certain Beast... This Beast roams the halls of Erebor and pretends to be fully tamed,” she whispered, knowing she could not resist any longer. Slowly, she leaned towards him, almost closing the distance between their lips.
He chuckled, shaking his slightly wet mane of dark hair adorned with silver beads. She could feel the water droplets landing on her flushed neck.
“If this dangerous beast strikes fear into your heart, my lady,” he murmured, “I feel obliged to alleviate this unpleasant feeling... at once.”
Just then, their lips finally met in a hot, passionate kiss of two lovers kept apart for too long. Thorin tried very hard to keep his resolve, to act like a gentledwarf, but when he tasted her, her closeness and scent made him feel intoxicated. She smelled just like he remembered, with lilac and lavender. And she was finally in his arms.
He had been waiting for this moment for far too long, but it was certainly worth it. Her closeness and her warmth, it was all he needed right now. He gently nibbled on her lips and then placed a flutter of butterfly kisses on her face, enjoying how she responded to him, her breath quickening, a barely audible moan escaping her lips.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, one of them delving into the long hair on his neck, while she playfully sucked on his lower lip. He growled, and then pressed his torso against her breasts, almost crushing them. He skillfully slid his tongue between her lips, moving deeper, exploring, their kiss becoming more and more passionate.
When she purred with pleasure, he grinned and murmured, “I am sorry to inform you, my lady, but I believe this beast can’t pretend any longer that he is untamed. He needs to ravish you here and now.” Saying this, he laid her on the ground, moving on top of her and covering her mouth with his.
“But my lord…” she started, feigning outrage in her voice and pulling him closer to her. He moved to her neck, nuzzling her with his mouth and arousing her even more.
“Oh, Thorin...”, a soft moan slipped her mouth.
“I missed you too, Ása, my love,'' he replied, raising his head and looking into her eyes with the look that made her heart pound even faster.
He playfully smiled with that secret smile he had just for her, and then Thorin’s mouth rushed towards her neck and further, to her collarbone. His hair and beard tickled her sensitive skin. She chuckled.
“Oh… Please, my lord… have mercy on me, my untamed Beast...!” she muffled a giggle.
“Oh no,'' he growled mischievously into her ear, “nothing can save you from the Beast now,” and returned to nuzzling and tickling her neck even more. She couldn’t contain her giggling.
All of a sudden, they heard a horse quickly trotting, stopping and whinnying in a distance. They both froze, exchanging an alarmed glance. This could mean only one thing. They have been discovered!
“Thorin!”, a voice shouted. “I know you’re there!”.