Each clang of the hammer hitting the iron bar on the anvil is another reminder that he isn't where he belongs. Forging blades for others, instead of being able to craft beautiful items to add to his family's treasury. Someday, he will leave this place and retake his home again.

...

After her daily bakery deliveries, she loves to take a peek into the dwarven smithy and watch him. His work is unmatched, every blow of the hammer seems to ring with a determined purpose. But he keeps to himself and he seems so alone. The rumors she hears in town, do nothing but increase her curiosity.

Today, she's made up her mind she'll be brave enough to talk to him. She pulls out a loaf of the heavy hearty bread that is so popular among his people. It's wrapped carefully in waxed parchment and a square of her favorite fabric.

Hugging the bread to her, she steps into his domain. He looks up and politely says the shop is closed, if she has anything for him to work on he'll get to it in the morning.

She shyly holds out her bread in an offering, "I watch you every day, I don't think the people here appreciate your work enough."

"Ye drive a hard bargain for bread lass, how much do I owe ye?" Thorin asks happy to hear the compliment, but unable to really accept it as he puts his tools away for the day.

Her face falls a bit for a moment, but she rallies and shyly twirls her silver blond hair in her free hand. "N...nothing. I just wanted you to know, you're not alone. I lost my home too."

He hesitantly takes the bread, lifting it in thanks and opens it to tear off a piece to taste. It does remind him of home, and he tries to not let the shadow of memories cross his face. It's been decades since he tasted bread like this in Erebor.

She can see his change in mood though, "Sorry for taking your time," and she starts to make for the exit.

"Will ye bring an order for my kin and I tomorrow? They'd be appreciative," he requests unsure if he needs someone poking around in his past. But his sister Dis and his nephews get so few treats and reminders of home.

She brightens and nods as she leaves and looks forward to seeing him again tomorrow.

...

The next day she patiently waits by the door for the last customer to leave. This one is shouting because he wants his horse shod today and Thorin just said his shop was closed. A brawling match ensues. She steps back just as the would be customer is unceremoniously ejected from the shop. He nurses his jaw and spits, "You dwarves think you're better than everyone else! You're not! You're just short and stupid ingrates! I'll take my horse across town!"

The door slams shut so hard that the window cracks and the little door bell rings, signaling the end of the match.

She nervously opens the door just a tad and it creaks giving her away.

"I said the shop's closed!" Thorin growls with his back to her, leaning on his forge.

In her gentlest voice she whispers as she sets the bread order inside the door, "I'll just leave these here. You can pay me tomorrow."

He pinches he bridge of his nose to help him focus, "No. No. I'll pay ye today. I'm just not fit to be around anyone right now."

She smiles in sympathy as she unwraps a small dark cake, "I have something for you to try today Mr. Oakforge. Hopefully we came close with the recipe, so it can bring a little cheer."

After motioning her in and handing her the coins, he takes the offered dessert. It has a little crown dusted onto the top and smells just like the anise cakes that his family had in the feast hall. His surprised look is just what she was hoping for.

"Why this?" He asks pointing to the crown.

"I'm pretty sure Dalith Oakforge isn't your real name. If you're really who I think you are, I wanted you to have a little something special to know that many of us look up to you - despite what a few of the pompous idiots in town say."

"Just who do ye think I am?" he lets his suspicion show.

She shuffles nervously, "Well...I'm betting you're Thorin Oakensheild the exiled king..." He looks away, as she continues, "I'm right aren't I?"

She steps into his line of sight and gives a little encouraging smile, "Don't let anyone look down on you, ok?"

"So this is common knowledge?" he looks down then back up at her with what she thinks might be a tinge of sadness.

"I don't think so. It's taken me a while to piece lore and the old rumors of when you came here together. Lore is the hardest part. It's particularly hard to find someone who will share it. Your people sure keep to themselves."

He seems to breathe a sigh of relief.

"You really don't want anyone to know, do you?" His stern shake of the head speaks volumes, as he sets the cake down with his soot covered hands and goes back to cleaning up the smithy.

"I can keep a secret. The last thing you need is that twit Boln that you kicked out of the shop knowing!"

"Ye saw that, did ye?" he turns back with a wary raised eyebrow.

A giggle emanates from her and she covers her mouth as she nods, "He deserved it. You're the first to stand up for yourself. Boln tries to push around every shop keeper. I'm glad you did it."

His ever so slight smirk is a wonderful reward for her efforts today.

"I'll check with you tomorrow to see how you like the cake." She picks up her delivery basket and leaves him to his clean up.

He quietly wonders if it's worth the risk of staying to have his first ally in this town, aside from his kin.