This will be set entire in movie!verse, but due to time jumps, there will be spoilers for later events in the book. The chapters are short and drabble-like, although some might get a bit longer down the line.

Chapter title taken from Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons.

I. your boldness stands alone among the wreck

Her hands brushed angrily against the clods of mud that clung to her coat like a second skin, grey and dry, crumbling beneath the touch of her palm. There was a deep rumble outside, a thunder approaching, like faceless murmurs in the darkness.

The smithy was dark, illuminated only by the fierce orange glow of the fire, and no living soul would ever have thought of the harsh wind slicing through skin outside. The flames from the fire seemed to crawl along the stone walls of the small room, heat seeping into every crack, and her skin felt damp under the layers of worn out clothes already. Heat. Warmth. The ever freezing woods and creeks offered no such comfort, and her body felt lost and unsure.

Perhaps it was this lack of familiarity, perhaps the oh so familiar sense of anxiety at being in the midst of a blooming town, people running and chatting and living their lives around her in an unsettling way that tore at her patience. Trees and fields, rocks and rivers, leafs and soft breezes, none of those unsettled her, instead offered nothing but peace and the only sense of home she had ever known.

You are very small. The blacksmith's voice was deep, much deeper than she had heard in a very long time, and, as she turned and her heels, she felt as fascinated by his appearance than she had upon stepping to the cramped smithy earlier.

For a moment, she looked at the man sitting by the fire, his features illuminated by flames, sweat-covered skin shimmering in the darkness. A dwarf, no doubt, yet unlike any she had come across. Broad and strong, but with a foreign aura of elegance that seemed out of place within the ash covered, heated walls. Hair black as that of the turning sky, eyes clearer than a fresh stream after the melting of the snow.

His words echoed in her ears as he mirrored her invasive stare, and she felt anger boiling inside her veins like the fire stirring across the room.

I did not know it was the business of a blacksmith to make such remarks on his customers. And it seems rather unfit coming from a dwarf. The smell of iron was prominent in the room, and it reminded her so much of blood that her insides coiled painfully. It did not matter how many times she had seen it, how often it had covered her hands – sickly warm and never truly gone. The smell, it was always the unique scent burning her from the inside out.

You speak very freely.

Is there a reason I should not? She had expected no less stepping into the smithy earlier. He was not the first, and would not be the last. Too many had taken her for a joke, a foolish woman on the run, her female features too prominent to let her pass as a man.

Not one I know of. In that moment, she looked up from the violent flames of the fire that her eyes had been fixated on, the wild dance so fluent, so gentle, that it carried the power to trick even the mightiest mind into a state of trance.

The blacksmith's words were followed by a heavy silence, and she knew in this moment, that he was different.