How about this, my dear readers?
When Thorin first met Revna, daughter of Drori, not even twenty years had passed since Smaug had usurped Erebor. He was young then, full of sense of self-importance and bright hopes. She was the most beautiful woman he had seen. Her hair was so fair that it seemed almost white in the light of the candles in the Great Hall in the residence of the Longbeards in the Blue Mountains.
The Longbeards were slowly settling in their exile; and Thorin felt that a large part of the responsibilities and the burden lay on his shoulders, just as on his father's and grandfather's. Among other things, a marriage to a bride from an old family would benefit his kin; and revels were held, despite the scarceness of their belongings.
Revna stepped into the hall, followed by two ladies-in-waiting; and Thorin felt his breathing hitch. She was tall for a Khuzd, full-bodied, with light step and elegant posture. There was a soft smile on her full pink lips; and benevolence shone in her large green eyes. She was well-known for her even, kind character, her generosity, and her humble disposition. Her family tree was as renown as his; but he felt he would be just infatuated had she been a simple chambermaid.
Her skin was white and as if glowing in the flickering light. He approached her for the first dance, the craving to touch her hand the only thought on his mind. She lowered her eyes, accepting his hand; and his gaze roamed the long strong neck, and the beautiful round shoulders.
They danced; and when the music changed he didn't allow another to cut in. She smiled to him shyly; and he just couldn't tear his eyes off her face. They stepped to the table with refreshments then, and a short conversation followed. She showed herself intelligent, witty, and courteous. He listened in admiration to her perfectly articulated words; he laughed at her good-natured teasing remark about him taking over her dances; and then she smiled and whispered she was glad he did.
He felt inebriated, although he hardly drank any mead. His skin felt flushed, though the hall wasn't warmed through properly. Hunger and thirst tormented him, but not for drink or food.
And then Frerin walked up to them, and wrapped his arm around Thorin's shoulder. Frerin - with his beaming smile; always in good spirits; not a worry in the world attitude - was always forgiven for the lack of decorum, and for the conversations he interrupted; and even at the moment, when his world seemed to have shrunk to a small spot lit up with candles, near a table with jugs and plates, Thorin smiled to his brother and patted his back.
Thorin introduced then to each other; and Frerin said something playful and merry, in his usual manner; and of course, Revna answered just perfectly.
It took Thorin less than the length of one dance - the tune and the clapping washing over the three of them - to understand that Frerin wasn't behaving like himself. He was quiet and uncharacteristically serious. Instead of his usual interrupting, he was listening attentively to what the Dwarven maiden had to say. He didn't jest. He didn't take a simple sip from the goblet in his hand.
And Thorin could see how Revna's eyes never left Frerin's face.
Thorin stayed. Although everything inside him screamed to leave and hide, he stayed and watched how through one evening Frerin and Revna found each other. It went as such - a conversation by the table; a dance; then another; then they stepped aside to the wall, noticing nothing and no one; they spoke; someone approached; they first tried to pay attention to others besides the two of them, but failed; another dance followed; and then their hands intertwined; and they walked out of the Hall.
Their betrothal had been shortened, explained by the stranded state the Longbeards had to endure; and how new families were needed in the Blue Mountains. At their wedding Thorin drank too much, and almost started a fight. Dis was there to stop him.
And then their grandfather, Thror, son of Dain, son of Nain, travelled to Moria, with only one companion, and fell at the hand of the filth named Azog. The war started, and more and more young men were lost.
The first years of the war were grim, but gradually more and more of their kind were joining the Longbeards.
While Thorin stayed behind gathering more forces for an assault on Moria, Frerin, in the company of his closest kinsman Fundin, son of Farin joined Thrain in his fight in the caves under the Misty Mountains. What had transpired there very few knew, and even less were willing to speak of. Dark and bitter were the faces of those who had roamed the caverns; and evil deeds were said to be done by both sides, by night and by light. Revna was among the warriors, fighting along her new husband.
When Thorin met the two of them, the united army of Dwarves from all over the Middle Earth was marching towards the valley at the Eastern Gates of Moria. Thorin hardly recognised the familiar faces. Their eyes were sunken, and strange shadows and harsh lines lay on their faces. Revna's beauty - previously tender and as if etched in pale marble - was now just a shadow. She was thinned and as if frozen, her eyes widened. Neither of them seemed able to sleep, and they stayed in Thorin's tent till dawn, drinking in silence. It was with heavy heart that Thorin led these two people he loved most in the world into the Battle of Azanulbizar.
When Frerin's body burnt on the funeral pyre, Revna was thrashing on a cot in a healer's tent, her body bleeding out of the three large wounds on her torso - and in the pains of losing her unborn child. Thorin didn't know if she or Frerin had been aware what treasure she had carried into the battle and lost in it.
In the middle of lament and drinking, Thorin walked to the tent, and stopped behind the flap. Revna had fallen before Frerin, and Thorin cowardly wished there was someone else to bring her the news. He took a shuddered breath in, and pushed the flap to the side.
A young female healer was wiping Revna's face with a wet cloth.
"She hasn't come to, my lord," the woman said, but Thorin wasn't listening. In terror he was looking at the white face of the woman he loved, all features sharpened and wan. "She still might."
Another forty years passed, and Thorin was sitting in his study. He had just had a worrisome conversation with his father. Thrain had once again fallen in one of his restless moods, and kept talking about reclaiming the Lonely Mountain, and the key, and the map pointing at the secret passage into the Mountain. Thorin listened, growing darker and darker in the face. They had their life in the Blue Mountains; their people had only just started recovering from the war. Erebor was nothing but a faint memory.
Thrain left; and Thorin rubbed the back of his neck and grumbled, but finally settled to read the parchments that had arrived from the Iron Hills, when a courtier informed him that Lady Revna had just arrived to Ered Luin and was requesting the audience with him.
Thorin rose when she came in; and he just couldn't find any words.
The last time he had seen her was just after she had started her recovery. She was leaving for the iron Hills. He as much as begged her to stay, to regain her strength first; but she just shook her head. She hardly spoke since she had come to; and there was no life in her eyes.
The woman standing in front of Thorin now looked exactly like the girl he had met during that revel. Her eyes shone amicably, and she smiled to him.
"Nadad," she greeted him, just as she always had called him. Shortly, during the war, he had become 'my lord' to her, when he led her battalion into battle. "It is joy to see you!"
She stepped forward, and opened her hands. He grasped the long strong fingers.
"Revna… How are you faring?"
They sat down, and she told him of how her health had been restored, and how her family was prospering. She told him her younger sister was now married, and how her older brothers were planning to move their family trade to Ered Luin. She smiled to him shyly - his heart clenched at the familiar sight - and said that it seemed she would be residing closer to her other family now. She asked of Dis, and Thorin's father. Not a word was spoken of Frerin.
The following years Thrain was growing feebler in mind and body; Thorin would take more and more responsibilities upon himself. Dis had carried two sons and lost her husband.
Revna would come to the Blue Mountains quite often, with the merchants from her brothers' company. And then one night Thorin, who couldn't sleep the nights she stayed in the guest rooms in his halls, heard her screams.
He rushed into her bedchamber and saw her thrashing around the room, her white night dress like a specter in the moonlight. He called her name, but she continued her wails, and then she lunged at him, scratching and hitting. It took him a shockingly long time to overpower her. She was howling, pressed into the floor by his weight, and then she started sobbing and crying, and sense returned into her eyes.
They sat on her bed after that, and she told him that the terrors were her constant companion since the war. Thorin had nightmares as well; but nothing of the kind he had just watched to torture the woman. She said she could never speak of what had been done to them and by them in the darkness of the Misty Mountains. And then she started sobbing again, her arms wrapped around her middle, and the words 'my babe… my babe...' kept falling from her lips. Thorin pulled her into himself, and she let him.
He wasn't sure how it happened that they fell asleep in her bed together. He also didn't know whether the next night he was in the passage worried for her or hoping she would need him again. She did. He heard the screams, and came; and once again he held her in his arms through the night - this time he stayed awake.
She stayed for a moon, and after three nights he came before the candles were blown out. She stood in the middle of the chamber, and he met her widened pained eyes.
"What must you think of me..." she whispered, and he embraced her.
"I think that we both need this to sleep," he whispered in return.
There hadn't been a single kiss; but Thorin was a man. There was desire in him. He would have acted on it, he was intending to tell her so every night - but he never did; and then she left. Her departure was hasty, and left most of her kin puzzled - but not Thorin.
A letter came from her. It was decorous and proper - just as everything that Revna did - in which she said she was not intending to ever visit the Blue Mountains again. All Thorin had left were the memories of twenty two nights he held her in his arms, tortured by the most excruciating of fires; drowning in shame and lust; overcome with love and tenderness.
And then it was time for Thorin to wed. He had so little interest in such affair that he left everything to Dis to decide, organise, and watch over. He had a kingdom to rule, and a hollow heart to live with.
To be continued...