4. Observations and Experiments
Gasping from want of air, Neldor gingerly pried away the vice-like grip around his waist and tucked the still sobbing elf back into (the still somewhat damp) bed. Then he carefully fed Glorfindel the warm broth he'd brought, and murmured soothing words until the elf had calmed and fallen asleep. Neldor's gentle, benevolent smile immediately relaxed into a scowl.
Neldor quietly slipped out of the room, shut the door, and made his way to the adjoining study. Settling down in front of his desk, he hauled a massive book from a shelf, picked out a quill, and began to write on an empty page.
"Case 8,005,568, Glorfindel of Gondolin," he wrote. "Height: six foot five, weight: too heavy, age: 5,631, discounting years spent dead. Occupation: none; ex –Balrog-Slayer. Physically fit; no injuries barring a large bruise on left temple from blunt-force trauma, administered for therapeutic purposes." Neldor chewed reflectively on the tip of his quill before continuing. "Patient appears to be in state of high mental confusion, possibly from psychological trauma of resurrection. Patient speaks in a strange, guttural language, calls himself 'Elli', and seemed devastated upon discovering himself to be an elf. The physician thereby concludes that said patient is deluded and thinks himself a dwarf."
Neldor set down the pitifully mangled quill and gazed thoughtfully at his entry. The assumed-identity thing was somewhat of an unexpected setback, but it mattered little. He was confident of his abilities (or, as his rivals would say, his stunning repertoire of unorthodox methods).
By the end of the week, Glorfindel would remember every single wretched detail of his past life.
After riding briskly away from Mithlond for some miles, the Havens' official courier dismounted on top of a hill overlooking the sea. The elf spent some time searching for the perfect spot, and found it under a blossoming cherry tree. Rummaging in his pack, he shook out a pink and white checkered picnic cloth and proceeded to have a most enjoyable afternoon lunching and dozing in the sunshine while his horse rolled about in the grass.
"This is very important," his dispatcher had said, handing him three letters and a large picnic basket. "Take all the time you want. Have a holiday on the way. Enjoy yourself." His was the best job in Arda, decided the elf, as he downed another mouthful of wine.
"I have rights!" roared the dark-haired elf (or rather, spirit that looked vaguely like a dark-haired elf) chained (figuratively) to the wall in Mandos' sparkly-new state-of-the-art laboratory (courtesy of Aulë). "I demand fair treatment!"
"Oh be quiet, Fëanor," replied Mandos, quite unaffected, as he prepared for his experiment. "You ceased having rights ever since that mess at Aqualondë, which, if I may remind you, filled my halls to bursting and wrecked havoc with the paperwork. And if this works you shall have a new body to live in, albeit temporarily, which is a really good deal considering your history."
"I do not want his body!" spat Fëanor, glaring daggers at Random Newly-Re-embodied Elf #2, who was trembling violently as he lay bound on the table.
"You do not have a choice," pointed out the Vala.
Fëanor changed tactics. "But that poor elf on the table has done nothing to deserve this treatment, my lord," he whined. "It is most unjust. Think of his feelings!" Random Newly-Re-embodied Elf #2 squeaked faintly in agreement.
"Shut up," suggested Mandos.
Fëanor lost his temper. "Eöl and Maeglin do not have to undergo this…this torment! They were the cause of this chaos, not I!"
"They have…other uses," replied the Vala dismissively. He raised his hands, and there was a dramatic flash of lightning and choking smoke of the kind to be found in the basement of Angband.
When the smoke cleared, the Spirit of Fire had disappeared.
"Is that you, Fëanor?" asked Mandos of the figure on the table.
"Um…n-no?" stuttered Random Newly-Re-embodied Elf #2. He had not stopped shaking, and a dark stain was spreading on the front of his leggings. No? Mandos frowned, wrinkling his nose at the stench of ammonia. Where was Fëanor then?
An angry hiss claimed Mandos' attention. He looked down to see Vaire's pet cat staring balefully up at him with Fëanor's eyes.
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