Between Darkness and Dawn
Chapter 8: Inescapable Summons
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Wish there was somewhere else to be.
Wish there was somewhere else to go.
Wish that I knew how to run from here...
But there’s no running now, when you’ve hit the wall
Nowhere to go once you freefall
Fire or ice who can decide?
I just need to keep you by my side.
If we never see the light again
Will you blame me for this choice, my friend?
“You do not understand what the Úlairë desires from us,”
Legolas hissed, his imploring voice barely above a whisper. “If you did
you wouldn’t ask us to...”
Callously repeating himself, Yrin cut off the elf’s words. He
hated this part of his job. He hated most of the tasks the Wraith
set for him, but acquiring and conditioning new slaves was the
worst. He had adopted a closed exterior to those around him,
trying to keep his emotions as dead as possible. Unfortunately,
unlike the Nazgûl he served, he still had a heart and it still
ached sometimes at the plight of those who were caught up in the evil
that surrounded them.
“We have a room for you...” he tried to explain.
“You mean a cell,” Legolas growled at the man, cutting off his
explanation in turn. He had not relaxed at all, his knives still
being held in a defensive position. He did not trust this human
any more than he trusted the orcs. “Will you not help us then?”
Yrin did not respond to the comment, for he knew what awaited the two
newcomers. “Your friend is dying,” he said calmly, without much
emotion. “I have seen many in his shape and he is not long
intended for this world now without help. Inside I can treat him
and give him the antidote he needs to stay alive. There will also
be blankets and clothing should you need them and we have hot
food.” The human glanced at the ranger lying on the ground behind
the elf. “May I?” He questioned softly, indicating the
Legolas barely nodded and stepped slightly aside, watching the servant
carefully. He was not ready to give in to these people, but
Yrinvan was unfortunately correct. Aragorn did not seem to be in
any shape to survive without their help.
The orcs around them settled uneasily in a large circle about the elf, awaiting further instructions.
Yrinvan knelt next to the ranger, gently pressing the back of his hand
against the man’s cheek. The ranger was burning up; they had
little time left. Tilting Aragorn’s head to the side the servant
felt the erratic pulse beneath his fingers.
Turning on his heels Yrin glanced up at the elf. “Your friend is
failing very fast. He needs the antidote immediately or it will
be too late and he will not survive.”
“I will not turn him over to orcs,” Legolas whispered fiercely.
The hopeless desperation of their situation screamed inside his chest.
“You won’t have to.” Yrin glanced behind them at the creatures
that pressed in close. “They also obey the Master and will not
harm you if you pick up your friend and follow me. I’ll lead you
to your room.”
For half a heartbeat the elf entertained the thought of refusing, but
he could see no other way. Re-sheathing his knives with a bit
more flair than normal he cleared the space around the two humans and
himself, causing the orcs to step back and flinch slightly.
Dropping down next to the servant he pierced the man with a clear, hard
“You can save him then?” Legolas questioned further. “You promise
this is not a trick? If I follow you in there, you will give him
“It’s no trick. The Master wants him alive and I will help
him. You have my word,” Yrin answered honestly, piercing the elf
with an even stare.
It seemed the wood-elf stared straight through him into his soul,
touching on a place the servant thought was hidden from the world.
In truth Legolas had glimpsed into the man’s soul. There was no
hope for their escape out here; he read the hopelessness of such an
attempt in the other man’s gaze. Yet perhaps once Aragorn had
been given the antidote and they had a little more time... perhaps then
they could find a way. It was the best chance they had. No,
it was the only chance they had.
“If you want your friend to live, you must bring him now,” Yrin said
quietly. He knew it was hard for the elf, but the human’s time
was running out swiftly.
“You do not know who this man is,” the elf’s tone was anguished as he
realized submission was their only hope. Legolas’ hand rested
gently on Aragorn’s chest. “Perhaps you do not care, but it
matters to me. And it matters to you more than you can
understand. The one you serve wishes to destroy him. That
cannot be allowed to happen.” Legolas risked a lot by saying even
that much, yet something in him told him that as strange as it seemed,
Yrinvan could be trusted, at least to a certain extent. He had
seen it in the man for only the briefest of moments, but it was
there. He could only hope he was right and the servant would not
turn his confession against him. But the reality was that they
needed any and all help they could get. When one is about to walk
into his own tomb, one must be willing to gamble. For Legolas and
Aragorn, the stakes were very high.
Yrin swallowed hard and glanced to his left, into the woods. How
many times had he heard families beg for their loved ones, as if there
was something he could actually do about any of this? As if he wanted to be part of the Dark One’s malicious schemes... how many
more pleas would he have to endure? Standing swiftly to his feet
the servant looked back down at the elf, the Firstborn’s piercing gaze
causing him to glance away again just as quickly. Everyone
thought their loved one was someone special. The truth was that
all of their lives combined meant nothing here.
“There is no other choice. You can come inside with me, or your
friend will die and these orcs will kill you. I cannot help you
or do as you ask. I cannot make your friend better if you don’t
follow me. We have tarried long enough as it is.” Yrin
glanced back at the castle’s turrets; he knew his master was watching
them. The Nazgûl did not understand delays, nor accept
tardiness easily. “Let’s take your friend inside and get some of
the antidote in him and then...” With a sigh Yrin stopped
speaking. “Accept my help; it’s all I can give you right
now. If you do not, you will both be destroyed,” the
servant whispered harshly. “Please.” He held his hand out
towards the elf.
Rising slowly to his feet, Legolas did not take the proffered
hand. He knew the servant was doing as he was told. He knew
there was no other way out... but his heart balked fiercely. He
could barely keep the dread from choking him. With a short nod
the prince agreed to the inevitable and stooped to pull Aragorn up with
him. It surprised him when Yrin dropped to one knee and gently
cradled the ranger’s head with his right hand as he shifted the
Dùnadan into a standing position. Yrin helped the elf
support the ranger’s weight as he walked the two strangers through the
castle’s main entryway.
The orcs trailed behind the trio, unwilling to get too close to the elf
but still forming a constant threat if the prince tried anything.
As they stepped through the darkened portal of the Nazgûl’s home,
a shudder ran through Legolas and he caught his breath. Yrin
tried not to notice. He could still remember the day he was
brought here as a child and he saw that fear echoed on the fair face of
the elf that walked opposite him.
Legolas held more tightly onto Aragorn. It felt as if they were
walking into a deep black void, worse than any cave he had ever
entered. Here the forests were silenced, the songs of the earth
and sky were dimmed and an evil pervasiveness chilled his soul.
He remembered the touch of the Nazgûl, the way it had felt, the
way it smelled, the way it slowly sought to kill his soul and poisoned
all it touched. The familiarity faltered his steps.
An orc behind the prince shoved him roughly forward, causing all three to stumble.
“Stop that.” Yrin barked the command in the dark tongue, one of the few
words he had learned in his internment with the evil creatures.
“The Master wants them well and untouched. Don’t you have other
work to be about?” His voice was low and menacing as he stared
down the orc that had pushed Legolas forward. “Leave us with
Rhzaq; he is more than capable of seeing us to the... quarters.”
He stopped himself from using the word dungeon. All of Angmar was one
big dungeon really.
Legolas watched the exchange between the orc and the man
curiously. He had never seen a human work so easily and so
fearlessly with the evil creatures before. The alliance between
Paxcyn and the orcs that had followed them into Eowioriand many years
ago had been distrustful and uneasy at best. If Drelent hadn’t
killed them all they would have surely killed each other. But
here was a man totally un-intimidated by the vile creatures and they in
turn were in full obedience of him.
With a grunt, the orc Yrinvan had addressed led the contingent down the
hall in the opposite direction, leaving one smaller-sized orc
behind. The dark-skinned creature watched the headservant
“Rhzaq, we’re heading to the empty room. I’m going to need some
salve and bandages. See that they are waiting there, we’ll follow
you,” Yrin ordered the orc softly.
With a nod, the creature limped down the hall, eager to obey.
“He is not all there,” Yrin remarked to the elf next to him, tapping
his forehead with the fingers of his free hand. “I have heard
there were complications when he was birthed and the Master has
experimented on him...” Yrin watched the orc shuffle away.
Ironically, the creature’s damaged mind seemed to have taken the
brutality out of his nature. “Of them all, he is harmless.
Sometimes the Master tampers with things. He has a laboratory
where he works...”
Yrin shifted Aragorn a bit as he helped carry the ranger down the
hall. He didn’t know why he was telling the elf any of
this. He didn’t even know these people and he had no desire to
become better acquainted. The less he knew, the less it would
hurt when they were destroyed by the Nazgûl. It was better
to not make friends in Angmar, especially not with newcomers.
They rarely lasted.
“You do not approve. Why do you stay?” Legolas asked quietly.
Yrin turned a quick, hard look upon him. “I do not question the
Master!” he hissed. He did not know if they were being watched or
not. He could not afford to have it ever get back to the
Nazgûl that he had shown even the slightest inkling of
The elf wisely judged he should not press that line of conversation and
continued in silence. He walked with the human, following the orc
down a flight of stairs and into a small, softly lit room. Small
lamps in the four corners cast a warm light on the makeshift beds that
decorated the far corner. The beds were really blankets piled on
meager straw mats. Unused manacles decorated each of the four
walls, dark and ugly in the firelight. The elf balked, realizing
that it truly was no more than a cell.
“No, please come in.” Yrin pulled Aragorn’s limp body away from
Legolas and into the room. Laying him down on the blankets, he
ignored the elf for the moment.
Rhzaq, standing near Legolas, gently pushed the elf forward, causing the prince to flinch and move away from him.
“There is food and antidote just as I promised. No one will
bother you tonight. I doubt the Master will come around until
your friend has recovered sufficiently. It will be a day or so
before he is coherent,” Yrin explained, moving around the small
room and gathering supplies from a shelf that had been cut into the
rocky face. He spoke to Legolas as he went about his tasks.
Kneeling near Aragorn, he pulled the man’s cloak and tunic back from
his shoulder and lathed a pungent lotion over the festering wound.
The pain of the gentle touch reached into Aragorn’s stupor and the
Dúnedain opened bloodshot, blurry eyes, trying to focus on the
face that swam before him.
“Legolas?” he whispered, his voice cracking.
“No. My name’s Yrinvan, you may call me Yrin, if you wish,” the
servant answered, moving aside as the elf dropped quickly beside
him. Yrinvan instructed the prince to hold the ranger up in a
sitting position. Legolas complied readily, speaking softly to
his friend in the grey tongue.
“I need you to drink this for me.” Without explaining further,
Yrin pressed a glass vial to Aragorn’s lips and tipped the man’s head
back, forcing him to swallow the contents.
Aragorn flinched and pressed weakly back against the elf that sat
behind him. He tried to breathe, but a coughing fit caught him
instead. His head was pounding and he couldn’t catch his
breath. The room seemed to spin out of control and he could not
handle the input. With a sigh Aragorn passed out once more.
“What did you do?” Legolas demanded, pulling the ranger back into his lap in alarm.
“Nothing. He’ll be fine.” Yrin took the man’s hand in his
own and felt the pulse in Aragorn’s wrist. Already the
Dùnadan’s heartbeat was beginning to calm. The only good
thing about the foul antidote was how quickly it took effect.
“Your friend is strong, I feel certain he’ll survive.”
While the elf focused on his friend, Rhzaq had stepped behind the
prince and quickly pulled Legolas’ knives from their sheaths, disarming
the lethal being. The small orc jumped back as the elf spun
halfway around in surprise. With Aragorn in his arms, Legolas was
unable to move fast enough and the orc shifted towards the door.
“Let him take them, and your bow and quiver as well. It will be
easier for you if you give them up voluntarily.” Yrin motioned
Rhzaq back towards them.
“Why are you doing this?” Legolas asked. His haunted
question touched those places in the servant that still balked at his
“I don’t have a choice.” Yrin answered quietly as he stood and placed
the now empty vial in a large pocket sewn on his tunic. Carefully
he removed the elf’s quiver and handed the weapons to the orc before
taking Aragorn’s hunting knife, sword, bow and quiver as well.
The elf stiffened, but in the end did not fight as Yrinvan relieved
them of their weapons. They were deep inside the fortress
now. There was no escape possible and defiance without hope of
success would only diminish their chances of survival.
“Everyone has a choice,” Legolas answered more bitterly than he
had intended. He couldn’t help the feelings of helplessness that
washed over him. If given the opportunity he could fight his way
out of here, he would. He just could not leave Aragorn to suffer
the Witch-king alone.
“No...” Yrin glanced down at the elf. “Not everyone does.”
Handing the weapons to the orc standing next to him, the servant pulled
his tunic off his left shoulder, allowing the prince to see the jagged,
partially healed scar that marred his flesh. The cut on the
human’s body was very similar to the one on Aragorn’s, but looked much,
much older. It had closed for the most part, but looked as if it had
never fully healed. It was not raw and inflamed like Aragorn’s,
but the signature dark tendrils laced the outside of the mostly healed
wound in spider-web patterns. This was an old injury and
Yrinvan’s body seemed to have accepted its presence, but it was still
frightening to look at.
Legolas drew his breath in at the sight.
“The Master gives us enough antidote to keep us alive from week to
week. Even if I ever was foolish enough to try to run away and
somehow miraculously lucky enough to succeed, I would die like your
friend nearly did,” Yrin said flatly. These were the facts of his
life, and here in Angmar you either accepted them or you died, it was
just that simple. “My wife and children are enslaved here as
well. The Master would take out his wrath on them.” Pulling
his shirt back over the black cut, Yrinvan pushed Rhzaq out into the
hallway before him. “So you see, there is no choice. It was
taken away a long time ago. Just like yours has been. I’m
“I won’t accept that.” Legolas tightened his grip on the ranger in his arms.
Ignoring the elf’s comment, Yrin continued. “I have left food for
the both of you. Your door will not be locked, but it will be
guarded, if you try anything, that will change. I would advise
you to stay here and rest while you may. If you have any needs
simply tell your guards and one will come and find me.” Legolas
could see four orcs positioning themselves against the far wall in the
hallway, outside their room.
“I’ll be back in the morning to see how he fares.” Yrin nodded at
Aragorn before turning and walking away. Rhzaq quietly closed the
door behind them.
Yrin sighed as he walked away. He did not know what the
Nazgûl wanted with these two, but it could not be good. He
should have known the Master was up to something when Tynair was sent
out. The fellow servant had been dispatched some time ago with a
missive for the Wraith’s compatriots in Dol Guldur. The slave had
asked for enough antidote to make the trip, but the Wraith had
restricted Yrin from being generous with the medicine. It was a
hard, fast trip to make. The Witch-king barely gave his
messengers enough antidote to keep them alive until they
returned. If the Wraiths delayed the messenger down south, which
they often did, the slaves rarely made it back alive. Yrin had
done it once and it had nearly killed him.
The headservant had known there was more to Tynari’s mission than just
a delivery. The Nazgûl had given Tynair a special mixture
of poison and instructions that he was not allowed to share, even with
Yrinvan. When he left, Yrin was certain he would never see the
man again. Something about the look Tynair had laid upon him as
he had ridden out had touched Yrin’s heart. His friend was saying
Two weeks ago the Master’s steed had returned without a rider.
The poison was gone, as was the antidote. The horse carried a
return package from Dol Guldur in the saddle bags, but Tynair was never
found. They were forbidden to go looking for him. Yrin had
known deep in his heart the man had carried out his errands and
probably died along the road, trying to get home before the toxins
Now he was certain of it and quietly cursed his friend for following
through with the Wraith's plans. Because of Tynair’s obedience
there were two more that would unwillingly be forced to take his
place. If the roles were reversed though, Yrinvan knew he would
have done the same, hoping against hope to make it back to his family
alive. It had broken his heart to tell Tynair’s wife and children
that he wasn’t coming back. Did the elf and the ranger have
family somewhere? If they did there were now two more families
out there in the midst of heartbreak because of his friend’s
actions. It was such a hopeless circle.
Yrinvan shook his head. Sometimes it hardly seemed worthwhile to
continue breathing. In the darkness of Angmar, there was no room
True to his word, Yrinvan checked on Aragorn the next day. The
servant was responsible for the care and training of all new slaves and
prisoners. He took his duties seriously.
Aragorn was in a deep sleep, but he looked better than he had when the
elf carried him in here the day before. Yrin brushed the human’s
hair away from his forehead, checking his temperature.
Legolas hovered protectively nearby. “Are you going to give him more antidote?”
Yrin shook his head. “No. The Master allowed him one dose only for the present.”
The elf watched the servant carefully, gauging him. He wasn’t
sure yet what to make of the human. He decided to risk a bold
question and see how the man reacted.
“What’s the best way out of here?” Legolas expected Yrin to be
angry at the question, or not answer him at all, but neither proved to
be the case.
“Death,” Yrin said quietly as he pulled a blanket over Aragorn’s
sleeping form. “But make no mistake, the Master rations even that
exit sparingly. I will give you the advice I have given many
others: do not fight the Nazgûl. You will always lose and
death will not be the easy option it seems. Accept your situation
and you may survive. If you do not, you will discover there are
worse things than death. I do not say this in an attempt to
frighten you, but to help you.”
Legolas folded his arms, fixing Yrin with a steady gaze as the human rose to his feet. “We can never accept this.”
“Then you condemn yourselves,” Yrin said plainly, turning to leave.
“Yrin, wait,” Legolas halted the man before he could reach the
door. “I know it would seem foolish to help us, but I do not ask
the unreasonable. Help us, and we’ll help you. My friend...
he is a healer. He knows about medicines and how to make
them. If he were well enough and could study the antidote, he
could recreate it for all of you. Your people could be
free. Don’t you want that?”
Legolas hoped he did not over-extend himself with that promise.
He had seen Lord Elrond analyze and pull apart a pre-made concoction
element by element in order to recreate it. He had to believe
that Aragorn would have learned some of this from his father. He
had ultimate faith in his friend’s abilities.
Yrinvan turned back for a moment. “Always the new ones talk of
freedom. It brings only suffering. You do not know the
Master as I know him. Everyone thinks they’re different, but they
all die the same. I would not see that happen to you, but the
choice is in your hands.” With that, he left.
There were days when Raniean thanked his lucky stars that he was not
the Prince of Mirkwood. Most days actually, but today was one of
those that made him particularly grateful.
Thranduil was in one of his quietly livid moods. The kind where all that could safely be said was, ‘Yes, Sire’ and, ‘No, Sire’... but mostly, ‘Yes, Sire’.
“Raniean, I want you to take this to Rivendell.” Thranduil’s voice was
deceptively quiet as he placed the dispatch pouch into his Captain’s
hands. “Take Trelan and Brenyf with you.”
“Yes, Sire.” Raniean accepted the charge.
“Deliver it to Lord Elrond personally,” Thranduil continued. “Do NOT leave him until he gives you a response.”
“And if you find my son there, or along the way...” the King seemed to be considering what he said. “Bring him home immediately.”
“Yes, Sire,” Raniean agreed yet again. He hesitated, unsure if there was more since he had not been dismissed.
“What are you still here for?” Thranduil asked, not unkindly, but definitely impatiently. “Go!”
“Yes, Sire, at once.” Raniean bowed swiftly and left to find his
friend and his second-in-command. As he passed through the throne
room doors, he decided he did not want to be in Legolas’ shoes right
“Are we finally going to look for Legolas?” was the first thing Trelan
said when he saw Raniean approaching with a courier satchel slung over
his shoulder. They were surprised that Thranduil had waited this
Brenyf fell in behind the two elves wordlessly. He’d been here
before as well and knew the routine. He had just been talking to
Trelan about the prince when their captain approached them.
Raniean nodded in answer to Trelan’s question. He was not yet as
worried as he could tell his liege was, but he could not deny a
creeping sense of unease. Legolas should have been home over a
month ago. He had promised...
“Oh, Legolas,” Raniean couldn’t help thinking as they rode away down the forest road, heading for the Misty Mountains. “If I had a horse for every time I’ve had to come after you... what have you gotten yourself into this time, my friend?”
Aragorn’s strength did not return fully, but the next few days brought
definite improvement. It was a temporary reprieve and the two
friends both knew that, but they held onto their hope that, while they
were alive and together, they still had a chance.
The first several days of their stay were truly not that bad.
They were fed and ignored for the most part, while Aragorn
recovered. On the fourth day, the antidote’s potency reached its
full effect before it would start going into decline again. What
peace they had came to an abrupt end.
“We need to find a way out of here,” Aragorn whispered, unsure if there were guards in the hallway.
“You weren’t given enough antidote,” Legolas countered softly, “We need
to discover where it is stored or how to make it and treat you fully
first.” The elf rotated his shoulder stiffly. The injury
the fell beast had given him had finally closed over on the outside
although it felt as if it still had a fair bit of mending to do on the
inside before he would be able to move the arm without feeling the
“Grand, if you have any suggestions on how we’re supposed to do
that. There must be a way. What have you discovered since
we arrived?” Aragorn pressed further. He felt better than he had
in days although the ache had never fully left his bones. He
didn’t like just sitting here waiting for the hammer to fall. He
wanted to act.
“I have spoken with...” Legolas’ answer cut off as the door to their
cell opened. For the first time it was not Yrinvan who stood
“Enough rest for you,” the hulking orc in the doorway barked with a cruel smile. “The Master will see you now.”
Several of the dark, twisted beings entered the cell. Grabbing
Aragorn by the arms, they pulled him towards the door. The ranger
did not fight them, knowing all such resistance was futile. The
orcs cuffed and slammed him from side to side just the same.
Several more of the dark creatures approached Legolas. If their
eyes gleamed with hatred for the human, they positively glowed with
loathing for the elf.
Legolas felt a flash of dark panic when their clawed hands closed on
his arms, his shoulders, his hair. They were being intentionally
rough and their twisted nails dug into the exposed flesh of his
neck. Legolas bucked and tossed his head to clear their filthy
hands from his head. He hated them. He hated these
beings. His senses screamed when they touched him. He was
in Mordor again, and he could not go back there.
“Don’t touch me,” Legolas growled, yanking away from the orcs and
stepping further back into the cell. Yrinvan was in the hall,
overseeing the handling of the prisoners. The deadly tone in
Legolas’ voice made him pause. There was something in the elf’s
disturbed, almost panicked motions that said he would take drastic
measures before letting the orcs lay a finger on him.
Aragorn heard the tone as well and looked back over his shoulder at the
elf in alarm as he was dragged out of the room. “Legolas, sîdh mellon-nín, pân natha mae!
Be calm my friend, it will be all right,” he tried to reassure the elf
as the orcs manhandled him roughly away. Aragorn understood his
friend’s reaction, but he feared it was going to get the elf into a
world of pain and trouble. He could not catch Legolas’ eye and
the orcs seemed intent on brutally separating them.
“Do not touch me!” Legolas’ second warning was more desperate and much
darker as the orcs surged around the prince, their clawed hands pawing
all over him. Things were about to go badly.
Yrin stepped quickly into the room, pushing his way through the
orcs. “Enough!” he barked, managing to back the orcs off with a
glare and a fair amount of pushing and shoving. “The Master is
waiting.” The human took the elf’s arms firmly but without
malice, prodding him towards the door.
“You won’t be helping yourself or your friend if you fight now,” the
human hissed quietly in the elf’s ear when Legolas started to resist
The prince did not react as badly to Yrin’s proximity and finally
allowed the human to hold his arms and lead him into the hall. He
understood that Yrin was trying to help by putting himself in place of
the orcs that the elf could not seem to abide. As far as the
gesture went, the prince appreciated the thought. It was hard to
be very grateful, however, as they were led down the long, dark hallway
and the evil presence ahead of them swelled out like a thundercloud,
At the end of the hall a steel door as black as obsidian loomed like
the entry to a tomb. The mental comparison made Aragorn
shiver. The cold perspiration that gathered on his brow made his
hair cling to his face. He did not feel well and the invisible
dark cloud they were entering only increased the effects of the poison
already coursing through his veins. He had the sudden, horrible
feeling that his death lay beyond that door. The ranger shivered.
The door opened before the human and the orcs dragged him inside.
Legolas started to follow, but Yrinvan held him back. “Not
yet. The Master has not summoned you both yet.”
Aragorn’s heart jolted as he was quickly dragged through the doorway
alone. He twisted frantically in the orcs’ grip. No! His heart cried out against what was happening. Not alone! He did not feel ready or able to face the nameless terror ahead without the elf at his side.
“Legolas...” the whisper was soft, but the momentary gleam of fear in
the human’s cloudy eyes was very clear. Legolas felt his heart
lurch to a stop. He was unused to seeing such abject terror in
his friend’s eyes.
“Strider!” Legolas called his friend’s name in alarm, surging forward
as the door banged shut between them, shaking off Yrin’s firm
grip. The elf pulled away from his captor easily, pounding his
fists against the dark, unrelenting door. Evil like a liquid
malice flowed through his fists and up his arms when he touched the
door, making the elf’s eyes widen and his heart race. Yanking
away as if disconnecting from an electric current, the elf reeled back
a pace. The orcs bristled around Legolas, more than ready and
willing to restrain him if Yrin could not.
“You must be still,” Yrinvan commanded sharply, his hands falling to
rest on the elf’s shoulders again. He knew the orcs would take
over if Legolas created a scene. “The Master will summon you
shortly or he would not have had you brought here. If you do not
behave, we will have to take you back to the cell.”
Legolas quieted, still a little stunned by the malevolent contact with
the door. “No,” he whispered, shaking his head. “I need to
be near him, Yrin...”
Yrin’s grip tightened almost painfully on the elf’s shoulders and the
servant gave him a hard, warning glare. Alone in the cell it was
all right, but Legolas could not be that familiar with him in front
of the orcs.
“Then you will obey the Master and wait without protest,” the slave’s voice held a steely tone.
Legolas realized he had overstepped the line. The servant had
been sympathetic to them to this point, but he did not want to alienate
Yrinvan or get him into trouble. They may yet need his continued
consideration in the future. Slowly, the prince acquiesced,
allowing Yrin to bind his hands around one of the iron torch sconces
set into the wall.
The elf fixed his eyes on the door, straining to hear what happened
beyond the portal. To his frustration, whatever dark magic lay
upon this place dulled his elvish senses and Legolas could hear nothing
from the other side. The lack of information was nauseating and
Legolas shifted anxiously.
“Oh, Strider, where are you? What’s happening?” the elf wondered silently. Not knowing was torture.