When Legolas opened his eyes his head was pounding
and he could still
taste the lingering bitterness of the drug in the back of his
The first thing he noticed was that he was alone in
a room he did not
recognize and that neither Aragorn nor Doriflen were anywhere to be
seen. The second thing he realized was that he was kneeling
between two waist-high posts, held up by short chains that connected
his wrists to a ring in the top of each post. He had been
stripped to the waist and no longer had any of his weapons. None
of this boded any good at all.
He tested the strength of the chains and the fit of
the manacles about
his wrists. Unfortunately both were more than adequate for their
job. Resigning himself for the moment, the prince turned his
attention to the room around him. It was puzzling because he did
not believe his uncle could have taken him out of the palace without
attracting attention, and yet he knew every inch of his home, or so he
had thought, and this room was not familiar, not even as part of the
He did not have long to wait or wonder, for a few
moments later the
door opened and the person Legolas wished to see least in the world
Legolas glared at his uncle as several guards filed
in after him.
“Where am I?”
He didn’t actually expect an answer, so he was
surprised when the older
elf replied. “Someplace no one will ever look for you,” Doriflen
smirked. “Out there, just down the passage outside that door,” he
motioned back the way he had come, “are the storage halls and access
tunnels for the lower palace... but no one knows about this place, or
the passages beyond. Nor will anyone ever find you. They
won’t even be able to hear you scream.”
Legolas’ gaze was hard and he tried not to let
Doriflen see his
apprehension, or the cold shiver that ran up his spine at those
words. It was not the first time he had heard them from the older
elf, and the last time was a nightmare to recall.
“Are you surprised, nephew?” Doriflen walked slowly
regarding the chains that held the younger elf on his knees between the
two posts with satisfaction.
“No,” Legolas shook his head with icy dignity,
position. “It was only a matter of time before you started
showing your true colors. You’re a cruel tyrant, Doriflen. That
much I learned about you when I was young. It’s amazing anyone
could be near you and not know that.” Legolas glanced around at
Doriflen’s guards when he said that.
Doriflen leaned quite close to the younger elf and
him. “But they do know it,” he whispered with a pleased,
malicious tone in his voice. “That is why they do not dare to do
other than I say. Believe me, two-thousand years is enough time
a people understand what it means to get on my bad side.”
Doriflen laughed. It was a very unpleasant
sound. “You on
the other hand, dear nephew, have not yet begun to understand what it
means. Something I intend to remedy.”
One of the soldiers brought in a bundle and Doriflen
took it from him,
unrolling the contents on the table in the corner. Legolas could
not see what it was from his position, but Doriflen’s voice behind him
kept him aware of the elder elf’s position.
“Do you like to play games, Legolas?” Doriflen asked
as he gathered up a
handful of thin, pointed spokes from the pile that was contained inside
the bundle, walking around and letting his chained nephew see
them. Half a finger in length, sharp as a needle and about four
times as thick, the tiny spikes were a puzzling thing, but Legolas
didn’t have to wonder too long what they were for.
Doriflen circled around behind the prince once more
resisted the urge to flinch when he felt the sharp jab of pain that
accompanied Doriflen pressing one of the spikes into the soft flesh of
his back. Doriflen repeated the procedure until he had used up
his handful. It was painful, but not nearly intolerably so, and
Legolas just set his jaw, staring stonily ahead.
“You know I’ve spent some time creating these toys
Doriflen continued to talk pleasantly as he worked, obviously enjoying
what he was doing. “Not too bad right now, are they? No, I
didn’t think so. But...” Doriflen grabbed Legolas’ chin from
behind and twisted his nephew’s neck up and around until Legolas was
looking at him over his shoulder.
“But each of these little spikes have been treated
with a special mix I
created. Very ingenious little potion. Doesn’t do a
thing... until it gets near fire.”
With that, Doriflen released Legolas’ head and
rose. Taking one
of the candles from the stand behind them, Doriflen held the flame
uncomfortably close to Legolas’ cheek and the younger elf turned away
from the heat, much to his tormentor’s twisted amusement.
Carefully and deliberately, Doriflen set fire to one
of the wooden spikes
sticking into Legolas’ back. It burned unusually slow and hot as
the fire worked its way down towards his flesh. The instant the
hot flame touched the elf, a surprisingly unbelievable wave of pain
radiated out from it. Suddenly it didn’t seem small and localized
at all, but felt as if someone were holding a heated iron across the
Legolas drew his breath in sharply and clenched his
fists, making the
chains binding him clank dully as he shifted against the sudden
onslaught to his senses. It seemed impossible for so tiny of a
thing to hurt so incredibly much.
“Surprising, isn’t it?” Doriflen smirked, far too
himself. “I worked a long time to get this just right.” He
lighted another spoke and contentedly watched Legolas squirm as it
“Poor little Legolas,” Doriflen mocked. “Poor
prince. Leading the good life while your dear uncle was stuck out
in the cold in some forsaken wasteland that couldn’t even support a
crop of grass!”
Doriflen was moving methodically now, lighting a new
spoke as soon as
the last one had burned down, giving Legolas no break, no respite from
the searing pain working at him.
Legolas closed his eyes tightly shut and tried to
focus on breathing
deeply and tuning out the pain and his uncle’s taunting words.
But it was becoming more and more difficult as each torturous moment
ate away at his strength and tolerance a little further.
“But all that’s changing now, isn’t it?” Doriflen’s
voice had begun to
acquire a slightly crazed, excited tone. “I’ve come back into
what was rightfully mine and you, dear nephew, have many long and
difficult lessons to learn. For I will teach you to know pain as
I have known it, to know fear the likes of which you have never felt
and to endure things a hundred times harder than you can bear.”
With these words, Doriflen lit all the remaining
spikes at the same
time, rocking back on his heels and watching smugly as Legolas’ body
tightened and jerked when the flames reached him.
The elf prince’s breathing sped up until he was
and he rocked back and forth in his bonds as the searing waves of pain
raced over him again and again, as if someone had pressed his back into
a bed of hot coals and just kept turning up the heat.
Doriflen laughed as he watched Legolas clench his
lips tightly and
squirm under the pain he was inflicting upon the younger elf.
“You might as well go ahead and scream, boy. You will sooner or
later. Your father did.”
Legolas’ eyes sprung open quickly and he fixed a
burning glare on the
elf torturing him. “What did you do to my father?!” he demanded
through his teeth, hissing sharply as another two burning spokes
reached his flesh, adding to what was already becoming nearly
Doriflen just smiled infuriatingly and went back for
another handful of
spikes. “What I’m doing to you. And worse. Like I
shall do to you,” he said almost carelessly. “Nothing he didn’t
have coming for everything he did to me. And your pain, my dear
prince, is just beginning.”
The mad elf twirled one of the insidious little
spikes between his
fingers. “Now... shall we do it again?”
Legolas leaned forward, letting the chains on his
wrists support his
trembling body. He jerked and hissed as Doriflen pulled the
charred spikes roughly and methodically from his back with a small,
pliers-like tool. Five times Doriflen had applied and removed his
insidious little creations, and Legolas’ body had long ago kicked into
pain-overdrive. His back shrieked helpless waves of burning pain
at him even when no one was touching him now.
Doriflen finished his task, but didn’t go back for
another set of his
toys this time. He was tiring of this game and wanted to move on to
“But this isn’t very much fun alone... Wait here,
nephew, and I’ll go
find a playmate for you,” Doriflen said, running his fingernails
cruelly across Legolas’ hurting shoulders on his way out. The elf
prince was almost in too much pain to notice, but Doriflen did not go
out the way he had come in, rather he exited through another door in
the opposite corner of the room.
Legolas snatched the moments alone to try to
re-gather his strength,
but there wasn’t much left to find. Letting his head sink down to
his chest he drew in the deep, sobbing breaths that he had avoided when
Doriflen was present, because his air intake wobbled and hitched when
he inhaled deeply and he wouldn’t let Doriflen see that weakness in
him. He had held his own thus far and denied Doriflen the
pleasure of hearing him cry out, but he knew it was only a matter of
time if things continued like they were.
A few moments later Doriflen re-entered with a smug
grin and Legolas’
heart sank as he realized the meaning of his uncle’s words to him a few
“I brought you a friend, Legolas. Now we can have
twice as much fun,”
the elf said as his men followed him, dragging a resisting Aragorn
“Leave him alone, Doriflen,” Legolas demanded,
desperately trying to
keep the pain tremor out of his voice. “You have no quarrel with
him. He has done you no wrong.”
Doriflen smiled cruelly as his men shoved Aragorn to
his knees opposite
the prince. “But he’s your friend, Legolas. And that makes
him my enemy. Besides, humans are so fun to play with. So
much less resilient than our kind.”
As if to try to prove his words one of the guards
kicked Aragorn in the
ribs, doubling him over. A second guard twisted the young
ranger’s arm sharply behind his back, pushing Aragorn down until his
face nearly touched the floor, stopping just short of dislocating the
shoulder. The first guard grabbed a set of manacles out of the
corner, but did not try to put them on the prisoner. Instead he
held both ends in his hand so that the long chain was doubled up and
dangled from his fist.
Aragorn had his face pressed barely half an inch
above the cold stone
floor, bent double over his own knees. His dark, unruly hair had
tumbled forward around his face, further obscuring his view and he
couldn’t see what was going on, but Legolas knew what the guard was up
to the moment before it happened.
“No!” the prince twisted his already sore wrists
harder inside their
restraints as the guard brought the looped end of the chain down
sharply across his friend’s shoulders. The force of the blow
slammed the young ranger’s face down against the floor, causing
Aragorn’s nose to start bleeding.
Unprepared for the blow he couldn’t see coming,
Aragorn gave a
half-checked cry of surprise that he choked off quickly, swallowing the
pain and holding his breath as a second blow from the chain slammed
into his throbbing shoulders and smashed his head down against the
floor a second time.
“Stop it!” Legolas’ face was fierce and stony as he
glared up at his
uncle. He knew this was probably exactly the kind of reaction
that Doriflen wanted out of him, but could not stand by and watch them
hurt Aragorn like this merely because the ranger was his friend.
“Stop this, Doriflen! What does it serve you
to do this to him?”
Legolas’ eyes burned as the guard chain-lashed Aragorn again.
Aragorn groaned softly, biting his tongue hard to keep from crying
“Your grievance is with me and my house, uncle, why
should this one
suffer for things that happened long before he was born?!” Legolas’
anger mounted and mingled with anguish as another blow elicited another
soft hiss of pain from his friend.
Doriflen laughed, but raised his hand, signaling the
guard to halt a
moment. Really it was only because he didn’t know just how much
the human could take, and didn’t want the young ranger passing out
until he’d served his purpose.
“What’s the matter, nephew? Don’t you know
what it means to be
royalty? Haven’t they taught you how you sometimes have to
sacrifice others to save yourself because, after all, you are so much
more important than they,” Doriflen sneered. “So he suffers
instead of you for a while, until you recover. And you can’t do
anything but watch. Not a fun feeling being this helpless, is
it? Well get used to it!”
Doriflen back-handed Legolas sharply, then walked
back over in front of
Aragorn who was still pressed close to the floor, shuddering slightly
as he drew in painful breaths.
“You choose, nephew, what should I start on with
him?” Doriflen grinned
evilly at Legolas, giving Aragorn a small kick in the shoulder as if
the ranger were a dog he was going to enjoy tormenting. “The
needles? Or maybe a few more rounds with the chain, he does seem
to be enjoying that, doesn’t he?” Doriflen kicked Aragorn again, less
gently this time.
“Or maybe,” a cruel idea flickered into Doriflen’s
you’d rather watch me take him apart slowly. Yes... yes I think
I’d like that.”
At a signal from their master, the guards flipped
Aragorn onto his back
and yanked his arm out to the side, pinning the young ranger down
Doriflen pulled his sword and let the tip rest
palm. The elder elf looked to Legolas with a malicious
grin. “Maybe start with the fingers and work my way up...” he
demonstrated what he meant, lightly running the razor edge of his blade
first across Aragorn’s fingers, then his wrist and then further up the
Dùnadan’s arm, drawing imaginary lines. “And then start on
the other side... He won’t live long, but it will be plenty long enough
for his screams to become forever burned into your memory.”
Doriflen spoke as one familiar with what he described.
Aragorn couldn’t help going slightly wide-eyed, so
he clenched his
eyelids tightly shut instead, icy fear gripping his heart in its clammy
fist. It was not a way he would have chosen to die.
Horror clutched at Legolas’ heart. “Leave him
be, Doriflen!” he
demanded desperately, hating his helplessness.
“You forget, dear prince, you are not in a position
to be giving
orders,” Doriflen purred wickedly. “Try asking nicely. Try
pleading for his life and maybe I’ll think about it.”
“Please, Doriflen, let him go, please! I’ll
beg you if that’s what
you want to hear, but let Strider go!” Legolas ruthlessly shoved his
pride aside. He hated having to play Doriflen’s twisted games,
but if Aragorn’s life were the stakes, then he would play them.
His own life he would gamble with, but not his friend’s.
Doriflen smiled. He liked the power the young
human gave him over
his nephew. Legolas obviously cared very much for this half-grown
upstart, although the elder elf couldn’t imagine why.
“Hmm... no.” Doriflen pretended to consider it and
then shook his head,
turning back to Aragorn and lifting his sword.
“Coward!” Legolas’ wrists were beginning to bleed
from pulling against
the cuffs that trapped them. “Are you so afraid that you aren’t
strong enough to break me yourself, that you settle on tormenting
children to make yourself feel powerful?” Legolas spat the words at his
uncle with the full force of his rage behind them.
Legolas was no fool. He knew exactly how his
uncle would react to
such an affront. He was counting on it.
Aragorn’s eyes popped open and he turned his head,
looking at Legolas
in surprise and fear as Doriflen turned away from the young ranger and
stalked back in front of his nephew.
“You’ll never break me, uncle. Never.
And you know it,”
Legolas threw the bold words up in Doriflen’s face. “You couldn’t
when I was a child and you can’t now, because I’m stronger than you
are. Just like father was. You lost Mirkwood because you
were insane and weak and you still are!”
Legolas’ heart was pounding wildly in his chest, and
his throat had
gone so dry it was hard to get the words out, but he didn’t let
Doriflen see that. He knew his uncle would make him pay dearly
for those words, but that was the point. If he made Doriflen
angry enough, the wicked elf would forget Strider and turn his
attention back on Legolas. He didn’t have to pretend any of his
scorn or contempt though, that was very real.
Aragorn, still pinned on the floor, couldn’t believe
his friend was
being so foolish. Didn’t Legolas realize what his uncle would do
to him for being so brash?!
Doriflen scowled darkly at Legolas. He slapped
the younger elf
roughly, his face twisted with rage. He hit his nephew again and
again until blood ran down the corner of Legolas’ mouth and chin.
Twisting his hand in Legolas’ hair, he jerked the prince’s head up,
placing his own only a few inches away. “You’ll pay for that,
Legolas,” he threatened. “Your father should have taught you some
respect, as well as some sense. But never mind, I’ll teach both
to you now and it’s a lesson you won’t soon forget!”
Grabbing the looped chain from the guard still
standing over Aragorn,
Doriflen walked behind his nephew.
Aragorn saw the fear on Legolas’ face that his
friend was trying to
hide, but he saw something else momentarily flash through his friend’s
eyes. Success? But what... Suddenly Aragorn
understood and he felt immediately ill. Legolas had done that for
“Legolas!” Aragorn shook his head. “Don’t-” a
sharp kick from one
of the guards stole his breath and choked off his sentence.
“Shut up, Strider!” Legolas snapped, fear and pain
sharp. The last thing he wanted was for his uncle to think of
making him pay by turning his attention back to the ranger.
Legolas wanted Doriflen to forget Aragorn all together.
Aragorn did not seem ready to accept that sacrifice
on his behalf, but
Legolas’ eyes met and held his for a moment and the fierce warning in
the elf’s gaze actually backed the ranger down a little as he realized
that anything he said would probably just land Legolas and he in more
pain at this point.
Doriflen brought the chain down across his nephew’s
shoulders with the
full force of his rage behind it. Legolas gasped between gritted
teeth as the punishing metal links dug into his already abused
back. A second blow fell lower, curling partway around his ribs,
and a third followed quickly in nearly the same place. Legolas’
bare skin caught between the thick links when they twisted on impact,
causing the chain to brutally pinch and bruise the prince wherever it
Legolas sagged forward against his bonds as his
uncle’s rage fell full
upon him, working him without mercy. His breath started coming in
ragged sobs that he couldn’t control as the pain overwhelmed him.
Aragorn had been allowed back up to his knees, but
the guards held him
firmly back against the wall, forcing him to watch helplessly as
Doriflen visited his brutal rage upon Legolas. Tears stung the
young Dùnadan’s eyes and he struggled with his captors despite
the many cuffs and blows it earned him.
In places the force of the beating and the
repetitious blows broke
Legolas’ skin, causing blood to trickle down his back. When
Legolas couldn’t take the pain in silence anymore he cried out, but
only softly, and he begrudged his uncle every single sound that was
torn from his trembling lips.
At first Legolas had been aware of Aragorn’s
emotional anguish in the
corner of the room, but his world quickly funneled down into one long
tunnel of pain that kept growing narrower and narrower until it seemed
to be blocking out all the light around him. Legolas’ head fell
forward as consciousness slid away from him and his senses fled into
the release of temporary oblivion.
When Doriflen noticed the change he stopped,
dragging Legolas’ head up
by a handful of his long, tangled golden tresses and gazing
dispassionately into the pale young face. “I told you, nephew,”
whispered. “My lessons are not easy to learn.”
Doriflen turned his grey blue eyes on Strider and
slightly. “Next?” He questioned softly.
Aragorn's eyes were fixed on Legolas, looking for
hints that the elf was
only unconscious and not dead. He knew full well a beating like
that would more than likely have killed a human. It would be a
wonder if the prince had no broken ribs from the force with which his
uncle had lashed him.
When Doriflen spoke to him the ranger barely glanced
up. As angry
as he was, he feared more what the insane elf might do to the prince if
he challenged him.
Doriflen shrugged and moved away from Legolas.
Rounding the poles that
supported the elf’s weight, he slowly stalked towards the ranger.
“I have no fondness for rangers, or any human for
Doriflen played with the chains in his hands, idly running his
forefinger down the metal length and smearing the blood that stained
them around their circular links.
One of Aragorn’s guards grabbed the man by his hair
and jerked his head
back, holding him still while Doriflen stepped in front of him,
blocking the ranger’s view of his friend.
The insane elf touched his bloodied finger to the
human’s cheek and
drew a line on the man’s face with Legolas’ blood.
It took every ounce of strength Aragorn had to
submit to the elf’s
touch. He did not even try to constrain the anger in his
The human’s frustration humored the elf and he
stepped away quickly
allowing the ranger full view of the prince.
“Pretty don’t you think?” Doriflen swept his hand
back and indicated
Legolas as though he had done something worth applauding. He
turned back to the man and tipped his head slightly in thought, tapping
his lips idly with his finger. “You know I was going to practice
on you next but...” Doriflen glanced back at Legolas, “Somehow I just
don’t think it would be any fun without my nephew here to enjoy
Aragorn couldn’t help flinching as the elf stepped
quickly closer to
him, “I think I’ll just wait and save that for later.” A
malevolent grin spread across the fair being’s face as he stared down
into the dark eyes of the human.
“Tie him to the post Legolas is chained to. Make
sure he is able to get
a good look at my handiwork.” Doriflen ordered the guard on
Aragorn’s right. “It’ll give you a small idea of what I have in
store for you when I come back.” The elf lord smiled at the
ranger before leaving the room without a backward glance.
Aragorn was pulled up to a standing position and
drug to Legolas’
side. The guard on his left kicked the human’s feet out from
under him and pushed him roughly against the post, holding him against
the wood as the other guard tied his hands to the ring Legolas was
They had just finished securing the ranger when
Doriflen stormed back
into the room.
“My lord?” the two guards bowed, slightly confused.
“I was thinking.” Doriflen glared at Aragorn, “I
don’t imagine you’ll
stay put and wait for me will you? You’ll probably make a very
resistant captive and it wouldn’t please me if you escaped before I was
able to spend some more time with you.” The elf walked back
towards the door and stopped, swiveling on his heels he smiled
gleefully at the human, “I have an idea!”
Doriflen stepped towards the guard nearest the
ranger and pulled the
elf’s sword from its sheath. Without hesitation he drove the
point of the blade deep into the man’s thigh, dragging it down through
the muscle just enough to create a jagged tear.
Aragorn cried out and arched back against the pain,
struggling with his
bonds, trying to escape, but it was useless. Doriflen waited
until the ranger had stilled himself, his head falling against the
wooden post, before he removed the sword from the human’s leg.
Aragorn tried unsuccessfully to stifle a moan, he was panting heavily
to keep from passing out.
“There. That’s much better.” Doriflen crouched down
next to the man and
looked into the pain-filled eyes. A smile widened once more on his
cruel face, “Much better indeed.”
This time when he left, Doriflen’s guards followed
him out, leaving the
two prisoners alone.