Narn I Auros

Opportunity Cost

Second Age 3215, Imladris

by Eonwë-(Valar)
January 27, 2024

"Oh no, not you too!"

Arandil jolted up from his crouch as the door to Dinmir's shop eased open. "Why not me too? What's wrong?" How did she manage to be so stunning even with that expression of dismay? The loose hair dangling in front of her face only added to the effect. She must've been leaning over some intricate pattern before she came to the door.

A puzzled look settled in as she paused and put her hair back in order. "You're... not trying to leave something on my doorstep and dash off before I catch you?"

"I was just tying my shoe. Have people been leaving things for you anonymously?" He wasn't sure what kind of face to put on. Did she expect a smile? A frown? Consolation? Consternation? Apprehension? Appreciation? There was no point dwelling on it. "I had a good hunt this week, and I thought perhaps you could put these to better use than I." Those words at least came out as planned as he hefted an armful of hides and furs for her to see. "Winter is coming, and I wanted to make sure you would be warm. I mean, I thought you might be able to use them to line a winter coat or something. If you already have all you need, that's fine. I just---"

"No! They're wonderful. It was wonderful of you to bring them." Dinmir's touch on his arm sent his heart racing. "Please, forget I said anything. Would you like to come in and sit down for a moment?" Her initial dismay had subsided, replaced by a grin that was both humorous and welcoming. "Those must've been quite heavy to carry all the way over here."

Arandil returned her grin. "Oh yes, quite heavy." Would it be too much if he feigned to struggle under the weight of five deer hides and a couple of coney pelts, or would she find it funny? He bent his knees a little and let out a meager groan.

"Oh dear! Such a taxing endeavor. I can't send you away so soon after such an arduous journey. There's nothing for it. You'll just have to come in and join me for lunch. Perhaps a hot cup of tea with some venison and fresh bread will help you regain your strength. You may have to stay for several minutes at least to catch your breath. Maybe even a whole hour!"

"Hey Sis! Arandil! Fancy seeing you here." Aldawë appeared as if from nowhere.

Arandil stiffened. "Aldawë."

"Nice of you to stop by, Aldawë." Dinmir made no effort to hide her frown. "Arandil was kind enough to deliver some furs from his recent hunt. He took such care to ensure they could be used for clothing! Don't you think they'll make a fine lining for a nice, warm coat?"

Aldawë brushed his hand along the furs. "That's soft! I warned you, Arandil: Don't let Dinmir know you're a furrier or you'll never get a moment's rest! She'll have you hunting day and night. Albeit, you'll never be in want of meat. I hear you've taken on another profession."

If only Arandil could take that in the jovial spirit in which it was meant. "Yes."

"How many does that make now? Six?"

"Five." Arandil fought the scowl.

"That many in so little time!"

"It's not like I'm flitting from profession to profession. I master one, then I move to the next." He shot a glance at Dinmir. "I put my all into everything I do. I'm capable of doing any task to make sure those who count on me are taken care of."

"Well, keep this up and you won't have time for your next dozen professions!"

Dinmir crossed her arms. "Not that I'm not happy to see you, dear brother, but was there some reason you decided to stop by at this very moment?"

"Ah! Sorry. I was just wondering if you were free for lunch. Farothel's promised something quite special, if we can get there quickly."

"Actually, I was just about ---"

Arandil thrust the bundle into Aldawë's hands with a wide grin that didn't touch his eyes. "I'm sorry. I just remembered I have a bookcase I promised would be done today, and if nothing else I am a man of my word. And some shelves, and one of my clients needs a new shed. I have locks to repair, other locks to make, meats to cure, hides to tan, and I still must prepare for my next hunt. So much work to do, so many people counting on me. I do sincerely apologize, Dinmir, for taking up so much of your time. If Farothel is cooking you shouldn't miss that. You can't miss that, especially not on my account." Bowing once, then again, he made his escape while he could keep his grin.