Well, I wanted this to be a one-shot, but I can't seem to do that and get all I want written in, so there will be more chapters to follow. A pre-Hobbit DoS story, totally my own idea. Hope you all enjoy, and Happy Holidays!
A silent horizon. The birds weren't singing nor nesting in close proximity to a toxic fume, and the spaces between the boughs were scarce in the small brush of forest that dusted over the plateau and mountain side. Summer was fading into the chill of autumn, a voice that whispered over the valley as nature prepared itself for the vast change. The air was quiet, only the echoes of stones tumbling downhill from the gentle wind, nothing stopping its westerly course as it blew through tree, grass and building alike. The ruins of Dale could hardly be considered real buildings anymore. No abode there hosted comfort and warmth from the elements, not after the decay that swept through the paths over time. A tangerine sun hung over the destroyed city, casting shadows against the sharp corners that grew longer on the ground as daylight fell away. It had only been the passing of a fourth decade in which the city was loss of life, abandoned in fire and fleeing terror from the one who lay in the mountain.
Tales of Smaug had grown faint in the passing generations until only mere whispers of his awful magnificence remained. No eye had taken to seeing the red wyrm come out from the mountain, and none thought he ventured from its bowels any longer. Dragons could live off of one last hardy meal before ages in slumber, and that was the hopeful belief amongst the many. Better unseen as it meant they were safe in their beds another night, and if ever he did leave the mountain without their knowing, he couldn`t have ventured far or high in the sky for them to pay any heed. No alarm had been raised, and the residents of Lake Town were content with the way things laid.
Of all the things to go through her mind as she left, she thought the lot of them fools for living with such a naïve concept of security. Lake Town was no longer her home though, and she had started her day like any other, her behavior unnoticed even as she continued to leave by boat up the lake. Her early start at dawn began with her packing dry bread, hard cheese, a skin filled with chilled water, and a woolen blanket. She had passed by fish markets, taverns and spruce lodges in town before she came to the docks. No one had tried to stop her. They had been seeing through her lo those many years, so her departing had been witnessed without effect. The apparent sickness she suffered from made her a child without parents, a woman without a name. She couldn`t even say for certain if she was of the race of men.
In the confines of what was normal, she befitted the title of 'odd'. An anomaly that no man had ever seen before. She was still breaching into the years of womanhood, forming into a maiden without a house or title. Hers was a face thought ugly, and people turned away from her, aquiver in fright. The years had made her skin grow thick to such malevolent attacks, though she had lost the favour of looking at her own reflection. She was careful on the water not too look down and see what image was already burned in her mind, like a scorch mark on fur, as it brought about ill feelings. While age dictated she should resemble a mature woman in years, she was still youthful if not adolescent in face. Her cheeks were well rounded like a pair of plums, one slightly larger than the other. Gangly body, neither tall nor short, and a pair of long hands and feet that would have suited a dancer if she had any rhythm in her bones to speak of. Folks couldn't get over the idea that she was dying slowly of an incurable disease. Her skin was a little more ashen to be brushed off as pale. Living on the lake made it impossible not to get sunbaked after all. The lavender tone in her blonde hair appeared gray in the wrong lighting, and some thought she was an old hag, perhaps delving into magic to preserve her youth. Illness or magic, it made no difference to her. As far as she could remember, this was how she was, and had always been.
Seven days and nights she had journeyed. Her food was already running low, not that it mattered now. Her body had gone frail in the passing weeks, and she was under the assumption that there was a sickness in her, eating through her until she'd waste away, like flowers to snow. She wanted to go in her own way, alone without the judgment and words spat behind her back, or worse, to her face. She limped through the cold, the air clearer up on the mountain as she mindlessly walked the ruined city. The air she breathed was filled with ice, burning cold as it went down her windpipe and into her lungs. No water did she carry, and only crumbs of the bread and cheese remained. The thin wool cloak brought a shiver to her body, like being wrapped in a sheet of ice, while the boiled leather vest and cotton pants she wore beneath were powerless to stave off the northern weather. She tugged at her braided hair as she lowered herself into the nook of what was left of a storage house. The sun was peeking through the caved in roof, lines of light beating down upon her as she hugged her limbs close to her chest. She balled up the blanket she had brought with her, bringing her head down upon it, not bothering with the warm it could give her now. The cold wasn't so bad. It stung at first, pinching the skin tight until the first layer was hard and red from the frost. Her insides were left melting into a warm pool, and fatigue was a struggle to fight as her eyes looked up at the pale blue sky. It was quiet, but she hadn't been searching for sounds, only a place to die.
The hour had grown late as the mountain was ever unchanging. He liked the familiarity here, the assurance that no power could ever best him in his high castle above lesser beings. He slept through the changing seasons for many years, little fluctuations that were but a blink of an eye in his life. While awake, no alterations had come to the mountain, and his plunder remained intact. The hand of greed could not extend its reach to him, and never did he fret over the stirrings of men, elves and dwarves alike.
Coins of gold and silver glided away from his body, like a torrent of water, as he sat up on his haunches, both layers of eyelids peeling back as he gazed upon the glory of his hoard. The thick hide of his wings unfolded, and his jaw snapped closed like a locked coffer as he finished off a yawn. The ivory gleam of his teeth had caught the bright reflection of gold, polished clean without a meal passing through his gullet in the months he had slept. In order to stay the hand of laziness, he oft would wake between months at a time to sate his hunger with a catch of bulk and fat that would stay in his belly to tide him over during slumber.
The length of his claws was impressive as he spread them apart, each edge sharper than any spear of man. He dug his way up through the piles of treasure, the air around him stagnant as the world outside was shutout from entering the mountain, no breeze or trickle of water had touched his scales in the weeks that had passed. Bursting up suddenly through the air like a cork from a bottle, the King of the mountain slipped through the beams and columns of the dwarf city, his reptilian body soaring between rock and stone as he broke into the daylight through the top of the mountain. Twas a height that only he could achieve as he flapped the great span of his wings, cutting through the air like a knife through soft butter. The golden hue of his underside was dazzling; to look upon it was worth more than all the wealth of any Elf King. The rest of his scales were as rich red as the rubies among his treasures, and harder than diamond.
His amber eyes stole sight of the mountain side, looking for any creature to capture in his jaws. His tongue could taste the air, a foreign scent amidst the frozen smells of the Lonely Mountain and its plateaus. His eyes took to the destroyed city of Dale, his gaze now fixed upon it as a rumbling growl coursed up through his throat and slipped out from his lips as he turned his direction, thoughts only occupied on the ruins. Who dared to travel so high into the midst of his territory? A fool and a thief. No sounds came and the intruder was alone as he smelt and tasted the air. Female, her moon cycle had come to pass five days before, and there was a bitter hint of lilac and fish from the markets of those lake men. As he caught himself on the side of a ruined structure, his claws digging into stone and mortar, he peered between the rows of buildings, catching the close scent as his tail whipped back and forth in a display of anger. A heartbeat was steady, alive and breathing away from his sight as he hovered above the city with an occasional beat of his wings. He created a great bluster of wind that filtered through the thatched roofs, mixing up a cloud of debris on the paths as he poked his large head down between walls to look for his little thief.
Her heart was slowed from the cold and he wondered how many days she had hid in shelter before he had acknowledged her intrusion. While he could not fit his body down into the streets of the city, he could tear the roofs from the buildings, and his acute senses led him to a brick storage house, shattered pottery abandoned at its door while a sizable hole in the ceiling allowed for his large eye to peek inside. It narrowed into a black slit as he viewed a girl sleeping, a faint smell of death emitting from her even as she was very much alive from the rise and fall of her chest. She had no supplies, making for a very poor thief if she had gotten far enough to try. While it was impossible for his size to keep quiet, she was barely clinging to consciousness as she hadn't awoken from the thunder his wings caused. He drew back, lifting higher into the air as he struck his tail against the building, knocking the roof clean off as the sun poured into the exposed crevice.
The girl stirred awake upon the chaos, her eyes weary as she clutched at her chest, dusting away the rocks and straw that had fallen onto her body. She must have realized the sudden warmth from the sun as she looked up startled, her bark brown eyes meeting the vision of his immaculate form. A small noise escaped her as she slid her body back against the broken wall in terror. Her hood had fallen from the crown of her head, revealing coarse, pale hair, an array of silver lavender mixed through the strands, though she was too fair in face to be old in years. In the short span of her life, she looked to be springing into womanhood, awkward and bizarre to behold in the threads of man. He cared little to understand the beauty of lesser beings, her only handsome feature being her hair, a resemblance to mithril.
"There you are thief!" He spat, vocal cords drumming up a deep sound that made her eyes pop, as if she hadn't expected him to speak.
Dull creature, she stood clumsily and began to sprint away from him on her narrow feet, heavy boots clunking on the cobblestone. Much like a jackrabbit fleeing a lynx, he knew she wouldn't get far. Her hands grabbed at the buildings she passed as she attempted to duck around corners to throw him off of her trail. He merely drifted above, watching as she became trapped in her own labyrinth as she came to a dead end of a street. Her fingers like sticks flattened against the wall, as if in her desperation she could wish the obstruction away. It was plain that she flattered herself into thinking he thought her a suitable meal, but he was much too prideful to ingest something so sickly into his body. Her presence was unwelcome so very close to his plunder, and it had been long since any man had even dared to venture so high, yet this girl had done what her people would say is unwise.
"It is bravery or ill advisement that has brought you here girl." His voice was sharp in vengeance, like the crack of a whip as he clawed at the buildings above her. Straw and shingles breaking away on to the path below as he crept closer, his neck bent as his head lowered closer to her trembling frame, "Speak!" He commanded.
She jumped, her shoulders lifting in surprise as her hands went for her ears to shield from his hard voice so very close to her person. His head was massive, and she so small that she had to look up the length of his snout, the puffs of air from his flared nostrils wrinkling her clothes as he exhaled. All at once her voice seemed to come back to her, she blinked a few times as her stance solidified, "I am sorry . . . oh Smaug the resplendent. I mean not to steal from you or your mountain. One so lowly as me, I am only a beggar without a home."
He opened his mouth wide, flashing his straight set of fangs, all perfectly white, and more importantly sharp for cutting into his prey. A plume of smoke wafted into the air, expelled from him as she held back a choke, her hands coving her nose and mouth as she wheezed. Her eyes burned brightly red with tears combating the dryness, her body racked with shakes once more. "You lie." He said deeply, testing her resolve to her story.
"I am no liar!" She responded indignantly.
He snapped his jaws before her face as she winced back, hoping to be swallowed by the affronting surface of the wall, "Insolent girl. You are quite proud for the beggar you claim to be."
With her harsh frown and unconsidered reply, it was conceivable that she was hunting for death, be it from ice or fire. He cared nothing of her pain, and she furthered in her disgraceful acts against him as she took a step forward, slapping her boney hand down on his snout between his nostrils. She didn't attempt to run as he reared his head back, a roar bellowing deep from within. Between the scales of his underside, his chest began to glow hot red, summoning his fire up from his thorax to his gaping mouth poised high, aimed for the girl. The explosion erupted from his mouth, and as if all the stars themselves had fallen out from the sky, he engulfed her in flames of orange and yellow. The wall to where she stood began to melt down, and other structures caught the tail of the flames, going up in smoke as he flapped his leathery wings, making wind to spread the fire. When the hot jets ceased from spurting out from his mouth, his jaw sprang closed tight, a loud snap resonating. His eyes peered down at his good work, only to leave him astounded for the first time in an age.
The girl was still alive. Her clothes and boots had been singed from her body, her skin now covered in black and gray soot, and not a hair on her head had been harmed. She brought her knees up to her chest, covering her nude form from his eyes, not that he bothered with the nakedness of her species. Words were lost on the situation and he knew this trickery hadn't occurred only to baffle him, for she kept silent, her eyes looking at her covered flesh in shame and dejection, hating what she saw. It was a feeling not shared on his part, him growing rather fascinated at this new treasure to so haphazardly stumble into his grasp. It was by chance meeting that he had left his mountain, and had he not; she likely wouldn't have survived another night of the cold, weak as she was.
Hunger aside, his new fixation was on the girl and he acted on compulsion, scooping her up into his mouth as she yelped in fear. He was careful that her flesh wasn't nicked on the edges of his teeth, certain she would bleed before she'd burn. He kept the back of his throat closed as he dove up from Dale like a firework, the girl held snug between his tongue and the roof of his mouth as he warmed her frigid form. Sometimes he'd feel her limbs squirm, and the vibrations of her whimpers could be felt on his tongue, her still holding the fear that he'd swallow her whole. His flight was short to the high entrance of his mountain, and he pushed his way back down inside, gliding between the hindering structures of Erebor until the glistening of his gold was in sight. He eased up on momentum as his body landed gracefully back down on the bed of coins as he lowered his head to spit out the girl. She gasped in surprise, her body half covered in his saliva that had washed off most of the soot. She was wrapped in the cold silver of his treasures, some sticking to the wetness on her body as she rolled down a stack of treasures, coming to a halt as he watched on in dispassion. Her body jackknifed into a seated position, her hands clutching to cover her chest after she brushed away coins from her legs and torso. His massive frame casted a shadow over her, and she braved a look up at him as she crossed her legs up under her chin, hiding in plain sight.
He lowered his head until his left eye was level with her entire being, her reflection casted in his onyx pupil, "Now then, my little paragon of fire, what are you?" He blew a small fountain of fire beneath her, heating the coins to see if she felt the roasting heat. The little pieces glowed, but no steam emerged from her flesh as they both witnessed her phenomenal defect. He taunted her by finishing with a large smoke ring that encircled her as she flinched back, shoulders caving into herself as a visible subservient.
"I am human." She said quietly.
He snarled slightly as he rose above her again, "Dense girl, do not play games with me. I would not have brought you here if you were vapid."
"But I was raised and lived among humans. How could I be anything but?" She cried, arguing against him.
He pushed at the coins beneath her with his tail, causing her to go for another tumble in dispersion through his hoard. He followed after her body, finally halting as she was sprawled out on her stomach, limbs wide in abandon as he trapped her down with his claw, sharp edges digging around her, ensuring she had nowhere to turn as he applied pressure on her torso. Her head turned to the side as she struggled to breathe under the power he was displaying, eyes misting when she couldn't bring herself to look at him.
"Ignorant creature; you seek death with much enthusiasm."
He was amused by her fragility, her body trying to twist and turn under his claw, "There is no place in this world for me."
"Do not waste your tears on me. I have no sympathy for your plight. Your new home is here, within the walls of my mountain to be guarded as any treasure in this hall. To be my little paragon of fire, until the years would have you waste away into ash. Your worth is not of an ancient treasure like gold or diamond, but your allure will keep you here for my pleasure."
He released his hold, and she skittered in a rush to stand on shaky legs, glaring at him hatefully over her shoulder, "I am no prize for you to keep!" She quipped.
His mood darkened to black, and he let out a shout of laughter without joy, a sound that would strip a forest bare of its leaves. In the dark underground, his scales were blood red like garnets, and his eyes two obsidian orbs, like the scales of Ancalagon the black. The shape of his mouth appeared in a sinister smile as he loomed over her with all of his grandeur, summoning up great heights of majesty while they were ensconced in his riches, "Dear child of flame, you are mine now."
This will be a short story, maybe five chapters though I'd prefer three, but I can't seem to be able to do one-shots as it seems I start to gab when I write. This category is seriously missing Smaug/OC fics anyway (because of the Bilbo/Smaug pairing already), so I thought I'd give this out as an early Christmas present to readers. We'll learn more about the OC yet, it's supposed to be purposefully ambiguous. I was a little inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire, but my goal is ultimately to stay in a middle-earth tone. Might jack the rating up to M if people want that ;)