What is Lost
Disclaimer: The Hobbit et al doesn't belong to me.
Dwarf sense they called it. Underground, whether it be the mines of Erebor or goblin tunnels, Thorin could find his way. Outside, without the surrounding earth to guide his senses, was a different matter entirely. This was discovered when he was only 10 years old. He was supposed to have been accompanying his mother to visit the marketplace in Dale, but somehow got separated from her. When next a frantic Thrain found him he was all the way at the other end of the Long Lake.
"Why did you not head back towards the Lonely Mountain," demanded Thrain.
"I was," said Thorin, and pointed to the low lying mountains of Mirkwood.
Thrain made sure Thorin never left Erebor without someone with him again.
After they were driven from Erebor, Thorin often went off on his own to seek work and ways to support his people. His kin grew resigned to him returning days, if not months later than planned.
"What did you see, Uncle?" demanded six year old Kili once Thorin had returned from a particularly long trip.
"I was heading for the Misty Mountains, but instead I came upon this wide plain that went on for days and all who lived on it were horsemen."
"That would be the Gap of Rohan and Rohan itself," said Thorin's sister, Dis.
"I shod many of their horses and they pointed me towards the mountains again, but instead I found lots of small rivers and marshes, which gave way to more marshes filled with dead elves!"
"Eww," said Fili. He was playing with a small toy soldier Thorin had brought him. It had a white tree painted on its' stomach.
"And that would be the Dead Marshes. The ones people get lost in forever," said Dis. She ignored the look of annoyance Thorin shot her.
"Well, I did not get lost," said Thorin. "I made my way to the White Mountains and back to here."
Dis laughed. "So, you have been gone for nearly a year and you never even found the Misty Mountains? That is impressive, even for you, Thorin."
"I found my way back here, didn't I?" challenged Thorin. He was well aware of his problem, but refused to let it hinder him.
Dis smiled, and gave her brother a quick hug. "That you did."
Gandalf and the older dwarves like Balin and Dwalin knew they were taking a chance letting Thorin travel on his own to find the hobbit hole. They had seen him just a few days earlier though and the Shire was not that large, so how lost could he get?
"How did you get lost twice?" Balin asked privately after the singing had died down.
"Their roads look like footpaths, and Gandalf mentioned nothing about a ferry," said Thorin.
Balin winced inwardly. The only ferry he knew about nearby was all the way near Bree. "Yes, well, it'll be easier to find our way by daylight tomorrow."
The look Thorin gave him held a hint of self-depreciating humor. "It was daylight when I started out."
The one thing Thorin had secretly enjoyed about their trip through the goblin tunnels was knowing exactly where he was for the first time in many years. When Gandalf had suggested they head for sunlight, he had confidently headed in the right direction. Then they had left the caves, and Thorin chose to blame Gandalf for running them right off a cliff. Now, he was injured and it had taken them all day to climb down from the towering stone where the eagles had left them, but he still thought they could get an hour or two of travel in before the sun set.
"We head east," said Thorin, walking confidently towards the sun.
The rest of the company watched him go. Finally, Bofur spoke up. "Do you think we should tell him that the sun sets in the west?"