Chapter 26: Food and Fellowship

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“It is nearly time to eat,” Nelyo said to their small group as they stood by the musicians. “Ah look! They are bringing in the tables.”

Findekáno’s smile faded. “I hope our grandfather was not the one to pick our seats. He should leave that task to our mothers.”

Turvo agreed with him immediately. They watched as thirteen tables were brought into the ballroom by strong workers. The circular tables, crafted of a dark mahogany wood, stood around the hall now. A new group of musicians came in to allow the others a time to eat and rest. The cousins walked towards the front three tables, evidently knowing exactly what to do. Eve followed curiously behind them.

When they reached the opposite end, everyone joined them. Curvo and Tyelko stood with the twins near the outside of the gathering while Angaráto and a black haired maiden stood next to Aikanáro holding Artanis. She frowned angrily at her brother, hissing that she wanted to be put down in no uncertain terms. Iríssë rushed over to her eldest brother and grabbed Finno’s hand. Eventually Moryo joined them all and Finwë smiled.

“It brings me so much joy to have all of you here.” He smiled, standing tall at the front of them. At his right stood Fëanáro and Nerdanel, while to his left stood Indis and her four children. Finwë gestured to the third generation. “We are not often, dare I say never, together as one like this now that most of you are older. As always, we gather to honor the departed today, and thank Ilúvatar that through tragedy came joy.” He took Indis’ hand. “We stand in solidarity today. And we eat in solidarity,” he joked as he gestured to the tables. “Find your seats and enjoy!”

The first and second generations sat down at a round table with a light blue table cloth. Clockwise from the furthest point sat Finwë, Fëanáro, Nerdanel, Eärwen, Arafinwë, Írimë, Findis, Anairë, Nolofinwë, and Indis. They chatted quietly, Fëanáro visibly uncomfortable as his other half siblings spoke to one another. Nerdanel held his hand under the table cloth for a little and would place her hand on his thigh whenever she noticed the agitation growing.

The cousins fared about as well as Fëanáro. According to a whisper from Nelyo, it had definitely been Finwë to set the seating arrangements. Eve sat at the first of two tables for the third generation. Clockwise from the farthest point, the second table went Findaráto, Nelyo, Moryo, Eve, Iríssë, Finno, Eldalótë, Angaráto, and Amarië. The third and final table sat Tyelko, Curvo, Pityo, Telvo, Káno, Turvo, Elenwë, Artanis, and Aikanáro.

Eve sat awkwardly, trying desperately not to shoot pleading stares at Findekáno to rescue her from the palpable discomfort around the table. She ended up glancing his way once everyone was seated, over the head of his little sister. He sent her back a conciliatory smile. And so she turned to Moryo at her right.

“What’ve you been up to?” She asked him with a small smile.

He shrugged. “I visited our summer house. Stayed for a few days.”

“That sounds cool!” Eve twiddled her fingers below the table.

The arrival of their dinner saved all from awkward conversation. It was a delicious meal of salads, prime meats, corn, and other sides that Eve had no name for. She suspected one to be mashed potatoes after a small taste. The room quieted for awhile as all the tables ate in peace. But soon enough small conversation cropped up again, beginning with Findekáno at their table.

“We must make a list of all the places to show Eve,” he suggested to the gathered elves between bites. “What do you all suggest?”

“That is a silly question, brother,” Iríssë snorted back at him in reply. “She must see all of Valinor.”

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