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Morning Mist and Silver Sun by StarSpray

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Written for Tolkien_Weekly's "Mulled Wine" challenge series.

Sugar and Spice

The sun's rising has brought a new spring to Middle-earth--and a multitude of plant life never seen before.

Lúthien sniffs at one of the aromatic spices brought to Menegroth by one of the wandering tribes. It's pungent, and quite nice. "What is it?"

"Cinnamon," Galadriel says, breaking one of the sticks in two. "You can grind it up and mix it into pastries, or mulled wine, or apple pie..."

"Apple pie?" Lúthien picks up an apple, running her fingers over the smooth, shiny skin, redder than a ruby. "You can bake these?"

Galadriel laughs. "Of course. I'll show you..."


Many Uses

"Oh, I know ginger," Lúthien says when Galadriel picks it up. Círdan's folk use it on fish."

"So do..." Galadriel pauses, lips thinning for the briefest of moments. "So do the Teleri in Aman. They use it also in tea, to aid those who suffer seasickness."

Lúthien considers asking why she hesitated in speaking of Olwë's folk, but decides against it. "And do the Noldor use it to bake things?" she asks instead, lightly and teasing.

Galadriel smiles. "Among other things..." Lúthien laughs.

It isn't long before the smell of gingersnaps fills the kitchens, mingling with apples and cinnamon.


Three is Company

Celeborn follows the smell of baking and the sound of giggling to the kitchens. They are mostly deserted, which is odd, but the two he finds in a corner, sipping wine and surrounded by spices, are odder still.

Lúthien has flour in her hair, and Galadriel sports a dark smudge across her nose. Neither seem to notice, deep in a discussion of the subtle differences between nutmeg and mace.

Lúthien sees him first, and greets him with a bright smile. "Celeborn! Have you seen all the spices the traders brought? There are so many new things we can make, now!"


Slightly Tipsy

In addition to pies and cakes and things, Galadriel has brought with her from the West a delicious recipe for mulled wine. Lúthien insists that Celeborn sit down and enjoy a goblet, and sweeps up the ingredients to make some more. Celeborn thinks she has had more than a goblet herself, for he does not think he has seen her quite so giddy before.

His suspicions are further supported when she knocks over the ground pepper, sending up a cloud that has them all sneezing. Laughing, Galadriel cleans it up, and Lúthien hands Celeborn a goblet of warm, red wine.


How Does it Taste?

As Lúthien bends to get a loaf of cinnamon bread from the oven, she watches Celeborn and Galadriel as the latter raises a slender eyebrow. "Is something wrong?" She is practically daring Celeborn to criticize her recipe, while he frowns thoughtfully into his goblet.

"No," he says, looking up. "It is delicious."

"Then why do you frown?"

"I do not recognize all the spices. What is in it?"

"Nutmeg, among many other things." Galadriel tosses her hair over her shoulder as Celeborn leans over the table, searching for the spice in question. "It is this one, beside the mace."


Limited Vocabulary

After Celeborn bids them goodnight, Lúthien turns her attention to the sweetest thing the traders brought them. The sugar is sweet, but not like honey or berries. When she says so, Galadriel laughs. "Be careful, or you'll have Daeron trying to invent new words for 'sweet.'"

"Oh, he's been too busy trying to find the right way to describe sea foam in moonlight," Lúthien replies, waving a hand. "Never mind that he's never seen the sea."

Galadriel sips her wine, peering at Lúthien over the goblet's rim. "Have you seen the sea?"

"Of course I have! Don't look so surprised."



"When did you travel to the coast?" Galadriel asks as Lúthien foregoes the red, and opens a bottle of blackberry wine.

"Oh, ages ago," Lúthien replies. "Long before the moon first rose, when Menegroth was only a glimmer of thought in my parents' minds, and we lived not in Doriath but Eglador." She sighs, leaning back in her chair, hair falling over her face like a shadow. "The world was quieter, then. Less crowded. Saver. Celeborn took me to visit Círdan in the Falas." Her smile is one of melancholy nostalgia. "We dove for pearls, and I learned to sail."

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