Master Maenestad and Eli both turned as the tall figure of a dark haired ellon entered the Healing Hall and interrupted their discussion.
“Iorlas, what has happened to you?” The master healer frowned as he noted the blood staining the other elf’s tunic shoulder and leggings.
“I was attacked by a small elfling who thought to play at being a warrior. Unfortunately he borrowed a weapon from his brother and carried it in his belt without a sheath and you see the results.” He gestured at the wounds. “I do not think they are serious and would not have bothered you but Lord Glorfindel insisted when he found out the knife had been used in a recent battle with the yrch.”
Shaking his head Maenestad sighed. “Elros has stuck again! Glorfindel was wise since yrch blood will fester in the wound and if not dealt with promptly result in much worse damage then the original wound. Come with me and I will cleanse and bandage them.”
Iorlas nodded and followed the master healer into a small room off the main one. As he passed Eli he looked at her curiously and smiled and nodded his head. Eli smiled back and smothered a grin. It was fast becoming evident that her half brother was trouble incarnate and she was curious to meet him. Shaking her head she turned away and headed for the door leaving the master healer to tend to his patient. She hesitated as the master healer called after her.
“Mistress Eleiann, I would be interested in how your people would treat such wounds. Would you assist me?” He turned towards a small table and pulled out a stool. “Sit here Iorlas, and remove your tunic.”
Uncertainly she looked at Iorlas and then at the master healer. “I would be happy to Master Maenestad but only if the patient has no objections to a stranger doing so.”
Iorlas shook his head and pulled the now blood soaked tunic over his head and wadded it up before dropping it to the floor. “I have no objections, mistress. A healer’s touch is welcome whether one of ours or visiting.”
“Very well, I am at your service Master Maenestad. Tell me what you would have me do?”
The Master healer swore under his breath as he gently prodded the flesh surrounding the puncture wound. “I thought you said it was nothing penneth. It is bleeding heavily and already the flesh is turning dark. There definitely was a taint upon the blade. It will require a heavy poultice to draw out the poison.”
“May I see Master Maenestad?’ Eli asked as she peered over his shoulder.
“Of course, Mistress. How would you proceed?”
Eli frowned, “I fear my experience lay only with my people and I do not know if it would be appropriate for an elf.”
“Nonetheless I would be interested.”
“Well the first thing would be to wash the wound out with an antiseptic… a sort of astringent similar to that derived from sweet marjoram until it runs clear … to help cleanse the wound. After that we would pack the wound with a fine weave bandage soaked in a poultice that may not be available here. I have not seen a plant that could be its equivalent.”
“I understand. Go on.”
“Depending on the size and depth we would simply bandage it up at that point or stitch it up with a fine thread then bandage it. Again depending upon the condition of the wound and if or if an infection has set in we may have to reopen the wound to allow it to drain freely until the wound is clean and healing with the growth of good pink flesh. “
“What do you do if the flesh had died?”
Eli looked up at the master healer in surprise. “I did not think elves had that problem. Do they not have a powerful ability to heal quickly?”
“In most cases, but we have had men among our patients who might benefit with new techniques especially if you have found them effective.”
Eli considered her answer carefully. “In some cases our healers merely cut out the dead flesh until they have good healthy flesh and clean edges then resume the previous treatments. In the situation where that is not feasible due to location or type of wound they have employed maggots by adding them to the wound. The maggots eat away the dead flesh and leave the health flesh alone.”
Maenestad looked at her in disbelief and shuddered. “This is effective?”
Eli nodded and continued. “I was very lucky to be allowed to travel with my mother in the past few years and observe the treatments she and her fellow healers employed. My mother is a master healer among our people and would often travel to areas where such healers are not available among the people. In many instances all there was available were individuals we call shaman…a sort of primitive village healer…who dealt in superstition and fear. Some of them were truly knowledgeable in the use of plants and herbs as well as how to deal with wounds and broken bones. I also took the opportunity to work with one of the healers who accompanied my mother so that he could learn from those same shaman who were effect and willing to share their knowledge of local plants and herbs. We were relearning that many of the earlier old treatments were the best.”
“Hmmmm, most interesting. I will look forward to further discussions, Eleiann. I can see you have much to contribute to our knowledge.”
Eli shook her head. “I was only allowed to assist in the simplest of treatments, Master Maenestad. I doubt if what I remember will be of much help. If I am to be any good as a healer I will have to study here or at one of the healing halls in a city of men.”
Maenestad finished bandaging Iorlas and instructed him to return the next day for a bandage change before dismissing him to return to the barracks. Iorlas grinned at Eli and drifted slowly away with a regretful expression on his face.
The master healer chuckled. “I do believe he is interested, Mistress Eleiann, he would be a good friend to have. He is a recent arrival here as is your family. He was raised by a hermit and for many years lived alone in the deep woods with the old man. He often finds us strange.”
Eli flushed with embarrassment. “I am not sure he would find me a worthy friend just yet since my future may lay elsewhere. Until I know that I hesitate to waste anyone’s time.”
“Friendship is never a waste, penneth.”
Eli shook her head and smiled. “I thank you for sharing your time with me Master Maenestad. Perhaps sometime soon I will be one of your lowly students. I certainly hope so.”
He smiled at her evident efforts to disengage from their discussion then waved a friendly good-by as she turned and moved towards the hallway. He followed with narrowed eyes and considered their earlier discussions. It was clear she had picked up some very different healing techniques. When she was more conversant with their methods and knowledge it would be very interesting to revisit her information again. He could not help but fear what Middle Earth could face in the future. Certainly there would come a time when healers would be needed among all the peoples. She could be very helpful in improving their knowledge required to help men.
Eli was finally able to sink into the steaming tub! With a sigh, she closed her eyes and let the heat permeate through her skin and soak into her muscles. Luxury! After enjoying the feel of the scented water she washed her hair and wrung it out before wrapping it in a towel and then scrubbing the rest of her skin briskly to remove the dirt that seemed to be embedded permanently there these days. Looking at her roughened hands and short nails she sighed remembering how they had once looked. Perhaps one day they will look less like a scrubwoman’s, she thought disgustedly.
Eli started at the sound of a knock at the door of her sleeping chamber. Swiftly donning a robe she found hanging in the bathing chamber she crossed the outer chamber and paused at the door. A second knock sounded.
“Who is it?”
“Ildris, Eleiann. May I come in?”
“Of course.” She pulled the door open and Ildris entered carrying a tray of food in her hands and a basket slung over an arm.
Ildris smiled. “I thought you might enjoy eating in your room after your bath instead of the dining hall. The fact that you are new here would guarantee that you will be surrounded by the curious and the focus of many questions you are not ready to answer just yet.”
“Ildris, you are the answer to a maiden’s prayer. I do not know how you knew I was dreading the evening meal, but I thank you for your thoughtfulness.”
She set the tray down on a small table and shifted the basket to a hand. “I also brought you some fresh clothes. I know you wear your own as a disguise of sorts, but perhaps you might enjoy seeing what you will look like as an elf when you reveal yourself to your father.”
“I am not sure that is wise, Ildris, though I do appreciate your thought.”
“You need not wear them outside these rooms, but it would give the house elves a chance to clean and repair your things before you return to the village.”
Eli smiled at her. “In that case I thank you. I will be delighted to wear them.”
Ildris nodded. “Will you allow me to show you how they are worn?”
Eli grinned ruefully. “Since I have no idea how to put them on it would be quite helpful if you would.”
Ildris returned the grin as she removed a pile of folded fabric from the basket and shook out a pale rose silk dress. Holding it up she studied it and Eli then nodded. “I thought this would fit you. You are slenderer then my sister, but a belt will take care of that. I think the color will suit also.”
“This is your sister’s dress? Ildris, surly she will object to my wearing it.”
“No she will not.” Ildris shook her head. “She has worn it twice and declared it did not suit her at all. It has been stored in her wardrobe for years. In that she was quite right, the color is all wrong.”
She bent back to the basket and removed a long embroidered belt and small box. This was followed by a pair of matching slippers and under garments consisting of a chemise and panties. She handed these last to Eli and gestured towards the bathing chamber.
“I know that women are much more conscious of their bodies then ellyth and expect you will wish to change to these in there.”
Eli nodded and returned to the bathing chamber then emerged a short time later wearing the undergarments. She picked up the dress and studied it. ”How do you manage these sleeves with out knocking over everything you pass?”
Ildris smiled. “It is not difficult if you keep your arms close to your body.
Actually they are quite beautiful and dramatic once you understand how to wear them.” She took the dress from Eli and pulled the towel from her head. “Turn around, it slips on over your head like this.”
With that she pulled the dress down over Eli’s head and body, smoothing the fabric over her hips. Adjusting the neckline to lie evenly just off of the shoulders she then folded the sleeves back on themselves revealing Eli’s hands. She stepped back and looked at Eli with approval. “The color and fit suits you. Let us add the slippers and adjust this belt so that the dress will stay where it should.”
Once that was finished, she turned Eli around facing the mirror hanging near the wardrobe and grinned broadly. “Imladris has a new elf.”
Eli let out a gasp. After wearing leggings and tunic for over a year, she had a difficult time recognizing herself in the figure reflected back in the mirror. “It is beautiful, Ildris. It has been a long time since I have looked like an woman.”
Ildris frowned. “Something is not quite right. It is your hair. It needs to be styled in our way.”
Eli looked at the mass of tangled locks that fell about her neck and shoulders and nodded. “It is much longer now then when we left home, but I have not bothered to do anything with it. I usually just put it in a couple of braids. It is much more practical that way.”
“Well sit down and let me see what I can come up with.”
Sometime later Eli looked at the elf staring back at her from the mirror. Ildris had brushed out her hair so that it hung down her back in a smooth curtain. Small sections had been pulled back from over her brow and ears then fasten with small clips. Her pointed ears were now clearly visible and her eyebrows swept up like those of her sire and half brothers.
“Sweet Eru.” Ildris gasped in shock and met Eli’s eyes in the mirror. “Your father is….”
“Ildris do not say anything, please. Even if what you suspect is true he cannot know just yet. It could cause great pain and sorrow to his family if he is forced to acknowledge me before he is prepared to.”
“But Eleiann, surely you deserve to be acknowledged?”
“Not before I find some answers. Please do not reveal what I have told you nor what you suspect to anyone.”
“You need some help to find your answers and I do not know if I am the one to help you.”
“Gandalf has helped us in the past and if need be I will ask him again in the future. Above all I will not see my father or his family hurt. He has already had enough of that and I fear there is more to come.”
Ildris stood there indecisively and then nodded slowly and placed her hand on Eli’s shoulder. “If that is your wish. But please let me help you when the time comes.”
Eli reached up and covered Ildris’s hand with her own. “If I can count you as my friend, that would be the best help you could offer.”
Ildris nodded again and smiled, “Then friend it shall be as you wish!”
Eli smiled back. “Friend it is.”
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.