3. Elrond, Elrond, Elrond and a Rude Shock
Just then, the door swung open to reveal a very displeased-looking Círdan, apparently drawn by the commotion. He raised a very lordly silver eyebrow at the sight of the rapidly developing bruise on the unconscious elf's temple, and looked sidelong at the healer. Neldor swallowed nervously and attempted, vainly, to hide the incriminating evidence behind his back.
"My lord," Neldor began. "I can explain."
"Please do," replied Círdan mildly. "Please explain why you just thwacked the Lord of the House of the Golden Flower, hero of Gondolin, twice-born Balrog Slayer and beloved emissary of the Valar, on the head."
Neldor's eyes grew as large and round as saucers. "You mean Glorfindel?"
"That half-Vanyar fellow?"
"The very one that fought the Balrog and died?"
"The one that was rumored to have a weakness for purple silk tights?"
"Aye-nay!" said Círdan, annoyed. Glorfindel did not wear purple silk tights-that was Duilin, who loved the color so much he dyed his arrow fletchings to match (1). "Now will you tell me why you hit Glorfindel on the head or not?"
Neldor sniffed. It was not his business, he supposed, to wonder why his lord had lugged in an unconscious long-dead hero like the day's catch of herring, and why said long-dead hero, upon attaining consciousness, didn't act like a long-dead hero at all. So Neldor straightened his back, puffed out his chest, and tried to look as important and professional as possible.
"I had no choice, my lord," he began. "Lord Glorfindel was exhibiting symptoms of extreme mental instability – spouting nonsense, calm one moment, hysterical the next… if you ask me, these are the classic signs, almost textbook, really, of -"
Círdan held up a hand, interrupting the healer mid-ramble. "I think you should send for Elrond," he said.
"What?" spluttered Neldor. "But why? I am sure that the Lord Herald has more important business…"
"This is more than important business," corrected Círdan. "It is critical business. I have ships to build, new blueprints to review, papers to sign and teary farewells to organize, and I can not do any of these things efficiently unless the Valar leave me alone to have a good night's rest. And for the Valar to leave me alone I need Glorfindel up, coherent, and completely sane. Do you understand, healer?"
"Yes, Lord Círdan," replied Neldor sulkily.
"Good. Then see that it is done." The Shipwright turned on his heel and exited, slamming the door shut behind him.
Neldor glared at the uncooperatively unconscious form in front of him. Elrond, he thought bitterly. It was always Elrond. Break a leg? Send for Elrond. The missus' feminine discomforts acting up again? No fear, Elrond Halfelven is here! Dying of grief? Fading? Just call for Elrond, and everything will be right as rain, even if all he does is send you over the Sea. It was true that ever since his appointment as Herald, and newly discovered hobby of aggravating Annatar (2), the Peredhel seldom made house calls. But that didn't stop big shots like Círdan from summoning the healer whenever the fancy took them. That's what Elrond was. The Healer, with a capital T and H. No one ever remembered that other healers actually existed. No one cared that Neldor son of Almir, Master Healer of the Havens, author of "144 Uses of Athelas (3)", was the leading expert on the use of common weeds in healing, and had probably saved more people in the past millennium than Elrond had ever seen in his entire life.
No, it was always the young, brilliant ones that got all the attention. And now, Elrond was to treat this resurrected celebrity- his patient, thought Neldor passionately- and would get all the credit, again. Unless…
Slowly, Neldor's lips curved up in a devious smile. Unless he struck first.
No, he would not disobey Círdan (who was the source of a sizable income). He would send for the Peredhel. But he would ensure that Elrond took the longest possible time to reach the Havens (no mean feat considering that it wasn't all that far away from Lindon). And by the time he arrived, he, Neldor son of Almir, Master Healer of the Havens, author of "144 Uses of Athelas", and not Elrond Peredhel, would have restored the Lord of the House of the Golden Flower to all his shining golden-flowery glory.
Ellie was persuaded to awaken by the application of several litres of cold water. She sat up, gasping and cursing and very cross indeed. Then she looked about and was greeted by the disturbing sight of Handsome smiling sweetly at her, a large, suspiciously damp and ornately carved basin cradled in his arms. There was a nagging feeling at the back of her mind that told her that Handsome, charming and innocent looks notwithstanding, probably had something to do with her last blackout as well, being a glowing alien and all. Never, ever judge a book by its cover.
"What's your problem, E.T?" she snapped, wringing out a waterlogged handful of hair. Handsome's brilliant blue eyes widened ingenuously as his perfectly formed lips pursed into a most lovely pout. Ellie's irritation evaporated instantly, leaving her brain free to undergo meltdown once more. Ah, hell. This book had a really pretty cover, even if it came from outer space.
While Ellie was at a loss for words, Handsome set down the basin and turned earnestly to her. He began to speak very slowly, looking deeply into her eyes. Ellie shook her head dazedly, enchanted. "No dear," she said. "I'm afraid I don't understand you." Handsome frowned and tried again, speaking in a tongue that seemed similar to the first, but less lilting and richer in sound. She shook her head again. "No, I'm sorry. Don't you guys have like universal translators or something? I mean, you traveled across space to abduct me? Where's all your technology?" She waved a hand at her surroundings. "I mean, everything looks almost Middle-Ages, only much prettier. I was expecting computers and sleek black consoles and stuff. I guess you guys are rather odd, huh."
Handsome then replied in the first language he had used, and Ellie's faltering brain, inundated by strange words, unexpectedly clung onto one particular word like a drowning rat to a piece of driftwood-Mithlond. Why that was familiar Ellie had no idea. Perhaps it was the name of some faraway galaxy she was in?
"Is this place," she started slowly, spreading her arms and gesticulating to indicate the general area around her. "This place…is Mithlond?" Handsome let out a small excited cry and clapped his hands, nodding enthusiastically and jabbering away all the while. Ellie couldn't help smiling; Handsome's antics were so…human. "Alright," she enthused. "Perhaps we can get somewhere after all." She pointed to herself. "Ellie." She then pointed to Handsome, raising a questioning eyebrow. "What about you?"
Handsome looked handsomely perturbed. "El-ly?" he repeated. Ellie nodded. "Yes, yes, me Ellie," she said, patting herself on the chest. "You?" Handsome placed a hand on her shoulder and said her name, then shook his head vehemently. It was almost as if he were saying she wasn't Ellie. He placed his other hand on his chest. "Neldor," he stated clearly. Then he patted Ellie's shoulder. "Glorfindel."
Ellie was about to protest when a thought struck her. Glorfindel-that was what she had been called. Handsome (or rather, Neldor) appeared to know her. What if she hadn't had a sex change and hair transplant, and was actually in someone else's body? Someone whom Neldor recognized? And why was the name so darned familiar?
"Glorfindel," said Neldor again, softly, almost pleadingly.
Glorfindel, Glorfindel, Glorfindel…… The gears in Ellie's already overwhelmed brain creaked and groaned into action, trying to find a connection somewhere. A lesser mind might have given out and imploded from the strain, but Ellie's was no ordinary cerebrum. It was a botanist's brain, honed by years of memorizing obscenely long, complicated Latin names and well used to trapping and hoarding any helpless bit of information that so happened to drift by.
And so, as expected, she remembered. She remembered where she had first come across the name in a book, and she remembered what sort of person this Glorfindel was supposed to be. It all added up- the lustrous golden hair, the rock-hard abs, the inexplicable if vague feeling of having died recently…And in that context, she knew what, and where Mithlond was too. Bits and pieces of related information started popping up throughout her brain.
"This is…Arda?" asked Ellie weakly, pointing downwards at the ground. Neldor beamed.
"And I," continued Ellie hoarsely, indicating herself. "Am Edhel?" Neldor looked slightly puzzled at this, but nodded enthusiastically. "Edhel," he confirmed.
There was no doubt about it.
The rational, scientific part of her mind surrendered and fled screaming into some remote corner of her cranium.
"I'm in a book universe?" Ellie murmured incredulously. "I'm an elf? I'm Glorfindel?" This could not be happening; it was not possible, as far as modern science was concerned. She (or rather he whose body she was currently inhabiting and who was probably really, really upset at the moment) was a mighty hero who had perished in the deed of slaying a big ugly fiery monster and sent back to the living world by the Powers That Be to carry out some Very Important Tasks (which she wasn't really sure of, but she supposed the Powers That Be had to have an agenda). She was, as far as she knew, stuck in Tolkien-Fantasyland, with no way of returning to her beloved plant tissue cultures and orchid garden. Heck, she probably would never be able to wear a dress again. Ellie buried her face in her hands and wept.
A light touch at her shoulder made her look up. While she had been engrossed in her thoughts, Neldor had gotten up and returned with a mug of something hot and steaming in his hands. He held it out to her, his face full of gentle concern. Ellie flung her arms around the startled healer's waist, almost upsetting the liquid, and sobbed into his tunic.
(1) Duilin, chieftain of the House of the Swallow, a house of archers. Their symbol was a fan of purple feathers. (acc. To Wikipedia)
(2) What Sauron called himself when he presented himself to the Elves in his fair form. And neither Elrond nor Gil-galad liked him at all, to his great disappointment.
(3) Why 144? Because the Eldar like multiples of twelve. Really. And 144 is the biggest number they count to. After reading countless fanfictions where athelas seems to be some kind of miracle drug for almost any ailment, I decided that there had to be a book somewhere detailing all its uses.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.