Susan endured the badge-check and strip search, but she balked for a bit at the giant gate to Mandos.

However, Vaire herself offered to lead the visiting reporter on a short tour en route to the interview, and that calmed Susan's wibbles somewhat. On the way, Namo's very hospitable wife pointed out some particularly startling tapestries. Whoa impressive. Susan didn't even attempt to jot down all the prognostications she saw in thread: It was just too much, both in content and in scope. She couldn't take it all in, no less process and polish it for publication. Which was probably what these snooty Valar folks had planned, she reckoned: overwhelm the bumpkin from over the sea. Well, she'd show them.

She heard Vaire shut the cell door behind her and slam the locks home.

In a 12-by-6-by-10 cube with a window looking out over the Encircling Seas, the Greatest Elf Ever sat on a low stool, hunched over a piece of wood-looking stuff that he was whittling with his overlong fingernails (knives and forges and such being strictly off-limits in the fortress of Namo, who absolutely refused to work up new bodies for post-suicidal elves). As the cell boasted only one stool, Susan sat gingerly on Feanor's bunk by the window. She drew out her supplies, uncapped her pen, and turned to a fresh page in her notebook. She wasn't quiet about it, but Feanor didn't bother looking up.

"Uh, good morning," Susan began, her earlier bravado wavering. It was true what folks said about him: he radiated the force of his presence. Oh, other elves sparkled and shone a bit, like somebody had used a fancy Photoshop filter all over 'em, but this elf affected all the senses at once: bright to the eyes, warm on the skin, woggy in the belly, sharp on the tongue. She waited for him to talk, sure that his voice would be as unmanageably compelling as the rest of him.

"Um" she started again. "Thank you, by the way, for letting Namo give you a body for this interview. I really appreciate not having to talk to a ghost." She said it with a smile/grimace, so he would know she was joking; to break the ice, so to speak.

At that, Feanor looked up, and his eyes blazed from his face like twin suns. They roiled and sought and burned and knew. If Susan had harbored any secrets, they all lay naked beneath those eyes. Right then, Susan forgot every question she'd memorized and worked out on note cards, every interviewing technique she'd studied in university, every word she'd ever written. Dang if Susan didn't forget her own name there for a second.

In that moment, when he first looked at her, she would have followed him anywhere, promised him anything.

And that's what, ultimately, reminded her about the interview.

"You're Feanor," she croaked, her voice rasping like a rusted hinge, "the dude who made the Silmarils. You know you caused the deaths of all your sons and many of your other relatives, right? Not to mention all of the recorded elf-on-elf murder in history and the ultimate downfall of elvendom in Middle-earth." If it sounded like an accusation, that's because it was one. She refused to let him overcome her, and she figured elves didn't know the half of human stubbornness.

He stopped whittling.

"I standardized the writing system for my language," Feanor replied. (She'd been right about his voice.) "I wrought stones that yet see from here to your pathetic little cubicle in Santa Monica. I reminded elves of the divinity within us and encouraged them to celebrate our own spark rather than that of the demigods. I captured holy light and tamed it by my own hand. What have you done lately?"

- - -

AN: Written for the Open Scrolls Drabble Challenge: Blonde Hare and Assure I's, though obviously I didn't manage to fit it into a drabble word count.