Summary: The further cultural divisions the Noldor suffer in Beleriand.

First Age Year 100

Whenever he and Aikanáro visited Findecáno in Dor-lómin, their cousin made it a point to prepare the most lavish banquet the season and his storerooms allowed; penance, he said, for never finding the time to visit them in Dorthonion, and wouldn't hear a word against it. And so they were treated to soft, sweet cakes, and fruits served in their own juices, and wines, and all manner of meat. Things that would have been every day fare in Valinor had become delicacies in Endor.

"You should come some year in winter," Findecáno was saying blithely to Aikanáro, who was sipping on a glass of their cousin's finest red wine with the half-lidded expression of a cat in warm cream. "Our autumn harvest is exceptional." Some of the blissful savoring tightened around Aikanáro's eyes, but he smiled lazily in response, humming noncommittally and swirling the vintage just to see the span of its color.

Findecáno took Aikanáro's response as acquiescence—Findecáno always took everything except outright refusal as acquiescence—and turned expectantly to Angaráto. He sighed, stirring absently at the juices on his plate, left over from the strawberries that grew rampant over Dor-lómin in the spring.

"Findecáno, we could never leave Dorthonion for a whole season," he said, as gently as possible. "Especially not the winter season." Findecáno winced, the light from the chandeliers glinting off the gold tracing patterns through his braids, embarrassed and hurt and not quite hiding either emotion. Angaráto was never sure where his cousin had learned to emote; he knew no one more severe than Nolofinwë except Anairë.

"Of course," Findecáno murmured, busying himself with poking at what was left of his cake. "I keep forgetting the Pass freezes shut in winter." Of course you do, Angaráto thought but did not say, drawing swirls of tengwar over gleaming silver. Though roughly the same latitude as Dorthonion, Dor-lómin's proximity to the sea and the bowl created by the mountains on three of its borders kept the humidity high enough that it rarely froze solid and nearly never received sticking snow.

"It's not just the Pass," Aikanáro threw in conversationally, easing the slow burn of rejection Findecáno was prone to by turning it into a discussion. "Angaráto doesn't trust anyone else to breed his herds, and the goats are generally inclined for it starting as the days go shorter." With a smirk and a flick of his hair, he added, "He's turned into a regular boorish farmer, Fingonfin." Findecáno rolled his eyes, as much at the teasing as at the epessë, which Aikanáro had concocted in parody of Nolofinwë's chosen Sindarin name years ago.

"Well, I don't know that I can picture that," Findecáno teased back, drawn once again into contentment, and if it was at Angaráto's expense, he didn't mind; the lines of care had become too prominent on his cousin's face. "I'll have to visit you some time, just to see that you aren't exaggerating."

"Certainly," Aikanáro agreed gravely. "Midsummer would probably be the best time for it."

"Midsummer, then," Findecáno chirped, raising his glass in a toast.

"Dress warmly," Angaráto advised with a wry grin.

Author's Notes:

"…Findecáno always took everything except outright refusal as acquiescence…" I have this image in my head of Findecáno suggesting to Nolofinwë that they should rescue Maitimo, and Nolofinwë agreeing noncommittally, and Findecáno taking that as permission to run off half-cocked into Thangorodrim to save him.

"…nearly never received sticking snow." What about when Orodreth was talking about snow on the mountains? Ahem. Either the mountains collect snow, or, more likely, poor Orodreth was confused and was looking at the Mountains of Mithrim, which are far enough north that I (in no way a meteorologist) would say they could collect snow. Or maybe it was just exceptionally cold that winter =) Take your pick, I'm not fussy.

I am way off my schedule again. The reason is this chapter: I'm not happy with it (it sets up a larger, separate piece, but feels pointless on its own) and I haven't had time to overhaul it so I can be happy with it. So why am I posting it regardless? Because I looked at the date yesterday and realized it's been a year since Professor Klaus died. Prost Klaus. We miss you.