I spent Saturday walking the wilds of Rhovanion. There, I struck upon the Celduin river flowing southward, and I hiked upstream until I reached the ruins of Dale and the great gaping mouth of Erebor. No fumes could I espy escaping the ancient archway; so, taking heart, I entered the halls of Thráin.
Deep I crept into the living rock, and the air grew ever hotter as I descended. Then, through the darkness, I descried a reddish glow coming from a great stone archway before me; this led onto a high balcony.
There it was that I saw him: the great wyrm Smaug, lying below, asleep upon his mountain of stolen gold and jewels. I held my breath, but the monster slept on.
Daring fate ever further, I set up my easel and sketched the barrel-vaulted hall beneath me. The rainbow colours of the hoard and the thin light shimmering upon the dragon’s scales beguiled me, and even as I finished my work, I felt a desire to find my way down to the hoard and finger the yellow gold. But then I noticed the creature’s eye, which had been closed; it was now fixed upon me.
And I fled, saving only my canvas; I left behind all else that I had brought with me into the ruins of this cursed realm. But I knew that I had been lucky to return at all to the sunlit lands.