Study of Anatomy, The
1. Chapter 1
by LOTR lover
Elrond awoke feeling out of sorts. His dreams had been strange lately, some taking him into bizarre adventures from which he had difficulty freeing himself. Others were like memories, but memories twisted awry, so that when he woke he had to spend a few moments reminding himself that the real events had not taken place the way he had just experienced them.
He stumbled up from his cot and glanced blearily about him, taking in the clothing thrown across a chair and the untouched meal left sitting on his table. When he had returned from the meeting with the Kings' Advisors last night he had been too weary to do anything more than strip and fall onto his cot. Both Elves and Men had worked hard to plan out a new supply route to replace the one where a band of Orcs and Haradrim had plundered a convoy two nights ago. The loss of several wagons of food and water supplies had been damaging indeed. Elrond ground his teeth at the thought that some of the besieged had supped better than had the Alliance troops last night.
He went to the small washstand that held his mirror and basin, but when he started to pour water to wash himself he thought better of it. The pitcher was only half full, and if they had to wait long for another caravan of supplies, he might need to drink that water rather than bathe in it. He set the pitcher down harder than he had intended to, and turned to put on last night's clothing.
He breakfasted on his neglected supper, gnawing on the hardened cheese and dunking the stale bread in the soured wine. At least the apple was still sweet, if somewhat shriveled, and served to refresh his mouth. Then he cleared the table, took up a pile of parchments that lay on his desk and left for Gil-galad's tent.
Gil-galad looked up from his worktable as Elrond entered, then frowned and stood up, eyeing his Herald carefully. When Elrond began to ask what was wrong, the King put up a hand and forestalled him. "You look terrible."
Elrond raised an eyebrow. "Why, thank you, my King."
One side of Gil-galad's mouth quirked. "You know I meant no insult, young one. But you do look drawn, and wearier than I have seen you look before. How long has it been since you did something other than deal with problems and pore over maps?"
Gil-galad answered his own question. "It has been too long." Putting on a waggishly pompous expression, he struck a pose. "I hereby decree that Elrond Peredhel, Herald of the High King, should do nothing this day except what he chooses to do."
Elrond was not in the mood to enjoy the joke. "Indeed. Then I choose to continue to do my duty." He held out his parchments. "Here is the map of the new supply route, and here are the lists of the troop reassignments since our last sortie against Barad-dûr."
The playful affectation dropped from Gil-galad like a cloak. "Continuing as before is not among your choices, Elrond. You look unwell, the way Men do sometimes, and I am ordering you to take this day for yourself." He took the documents and tossed them onto his worktable. "Let another take your place for today, lad. Take a walk, write a poem, or sleep the day away if you will. Go for a swim, if you can find clean water (and if you do find a source of clean water, send word to me immediately). Do anything you wish, except come back here." Grasping Elrond's arm, Gil-galad walked him toward the tent flap, then lightly pushed him outside. "Go. I do not want to see you again until tomorrow."
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.