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Note: This is a tentative attempt to align Beornís book-verse and movie-verse dwellings with each other. I usually avoid everything movie-verse like the plague, but the idea of the cave-like lair was too tempting. Christmas gift fic for curiouswombat
Beta read by the generous small_hobbit, whom I owe my gratitude.
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When the killing was finally over, Beorn left the battlefield the same way he had come: in bear form, heading directly for his home.
Not for the longhouse surrounded by the tall, impenetrable thorn hedge where he dwelt most of the time and where he had played host to thirteen Dwarves, a Hobbit and a wizard, not so long ago. No, he was heading for his secret lair: a hidden place he had only ever shared with his beloved Ursa and, after her untimely death at the hand of the cursed goblins, with their son, Grimbeorn.
Near to the longhouse and yet deep in the darkest forest, this small hut was built of huge, rough stone boulders and squared logs set in posts, with a turf roof. He had used this retreat for such a long time that it had become part of the landscape, and one had to look really closely to spot it. Over the years he had richly carved it with imagery from the long history and beliefs of his own people which no-one else knew.
Well with the exception of the Brown Wizard, perhaps, who had lived among them for uncounted years and had taught them a great many things during that long, long time. Like how to build houses and how to become the master of the Change, instead of being helplessly subjected to it. Yet sometimes Beorn yearned for the old times, when he had been more a beast than a Man and lived like a bear, too.
This was one of those times.
When he arrived, the lair was empty; his son, who usually dwelt there, absent. For this one time, he did not truly mind. He needed time alone to get the killing madness out of his very being. He had willingly embraced it during the battle, allowing the beast to emerge so that he could tear his enemies of old apart, without hesitation and regret. But now he felt the weariness of all that rampage down to his very bones and he was overwhelmed by the need to sleep.
Still in bear form, he crawled through the opening carved through the beams of the hut, right to the small cave that reached deep into the hillside. There, in the comfort of what once had been his bed with Ursa, where their cub had been conceived and born, he finally slept.
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