The foul troop halted several hours later.
Legolas’ back was
placed against a tree and he was forced to sit at its base while his
arms were tied behind him, around its trunk.
Presently the Nazgûl approached him, crouching
down in front of
the elf. He held a long, dark-bladed, evil-looking knife in his
gloved hands. Holding it up where the prince could see it, he
twirled it lightly between his fingers.
“Do you know what happens to mortals when their
hearts are pierced with
a morgul blade?” the Witch King inquired somewhat tauntingly, like a
cat with a plaything.
Legolas did, but he said nothing. He wouldn’t
play the evil one’s
“They fade. They become as myself, neither
living nor dead, bound
to the will of the mighty one I serve,” the wraith placed the tip of
the dagger lightly against Legolas’ chest.
“Not so an immortal,” Legolas said coldly.
“The Firstborn do not
fade, nor do we serve the dark power, ever.”
“No, no, you are right, more’s the pity,” the
admitted. “My blade would kill you, but it would not turn
you. However... there may be other ways. You will serve me
in the end.”
Legolas’ hard gaze turned even icier. “I will never
“So you think,” the wraith’s voice held cruel
amusement. He let
his knife drift along Legolas’ chest until it came to rest against his
blood soaked shoulder. The wraith pushed Legolas’ bloody tunic
off his shoulder, cutting away the fabric that did not give and
revealing the wound. His actions were un-gentle and Legolas
flinched slightly in pain.
The elf did not know what the Nazgûl intended,
but was taken by
surprise when the wraith thrust his blade into the open wound, widening
and deepening the injury.
Legolas cried out in surprise and pain as the evil
knife cut deeper
into his flesh.
The wraith seemed pleased with his work, and
presently withdrew his
Fresh red blood ran down Legolas’ shoulder and he
felt almost dizzy
with pain. He closed his eyes for a moment, attempting to calm
himself. When something pressed against his injury, his eyes
popped open again and he found that the wraith was applying some kind
of poultice to him, but something about it felt wrong, incredibly
wrong. Whatever the Nazgûl was working into his wound was
evil and done with evil intent.
Legolas struggled, wincing at the fiery pain
blossoming in his shoulder
as the wraith forced the dark concoction down into the elf’s
wound. The poultice burned like fire and bit like steel and the
elf had to clench his teeth tightly to keep from making any
sound. A cold, icy dizziness swept over Legolas as the wraith’s
potion worked its way into his bloodstream, assaulting his mind and
making his body scream at the evil intrusion. After a few
minutes, Legolas blacked out, his exhausted body unable to handle
whatever was being done to it.
The Nazgûl continued to work over the
unconscious elf. He
had been wanting to test this new evil on someone and the elf was the
perfect subject. If he could subdue a strong will such as this,
then weaker ones would crumble before him like dust. It was going
to take time to bend the elf to his will. Time, and much pain on
the elf’s part, but he would see it done. Since the forging of
the One Ring, no elf had ever walked in the service of the Dark
Lord. The wraith intended to change that. He looked down at
Legolas’ unconscious form with a cruel gaze. “Soon you will serve
me, elf, whether you desire it or not. Soon.”
Aragorn held his bow strung and ready as he crouched
underbrush. Something approached and he waited patiently for it
to enter the clearing that he had covered in his sites.
The young ranger had expected a deer or even a boar,
for he and his
brothers were on a hunting party after all, but what came into the
clearing instead surprised him.
A young woman with auburn hair and a bundle in her
arms stumbled into
the view through the trees. A few steps closer and Aragorn could
see that the bundle was a baby. The young mother’s face was drawn
and pale. She looked nearly ready to drop.
Aragorn sprung quickly from his hiding place. It was
obvious that the
girl needed help.
Maraen was not prepared for his sudden appearance
and stumbled back
with a small cry of fear, bumping into a tree behind her.
Clutching her baby tightly she sank wearily to her knees. She had
been wandering for a long time now in the wilderness. She didn’t
even know how long she had been out here because somehow it seemed as
if she had lost time somewhere... and her sense of direction had been
unclear ever since then, although she attributed the haze to the stress
of the birth of her daughter, an event she could only dimly recall. It
had been weeks now since Estelle was born and Maraen had woken up in
the woods confused, disoriented and completely lost. By this time she
had almost given up hope of ever making it out alive.
“Don’t hurt us, please,” she whispered, pressing her
eyes closed and
hunching over her baby. She felt ill and a perpetual chill that
even the bright sunshine could not drive away clung to her like evening
Aragorn crouched next to her, laying a gentle hand
on the young girl’s
shoulder. He could tell that she was quite a bit younger than
he. “It’s all right, I’m not going to hurt you. I want to
help. Who are you? What are you doing way out here?”
The baby in her arms could not have been more than a few weeks old at
most, yet the area they were in was almost completely unpopulated.
Where had these two come from and why were they alone in this vast
wilderness? The questions concerned Aragorn.
“My name is Maraen. O-orcs destroyed our
village, higher up in
the mountains. M-My husband and I were trying to get away... but
I-I fear they got him too,” the woman seemed too emotionally drained
and too ill to even cry, but her voice held her anguish. “I-I’ve
been lost out here forever... I don’t even know how long...”
There was more. She felt like there was more, but she could not
remember it if there was.
Aragorn squeezed her shoulder comfortingly. It
was amazing that
they had survived as long as they had. “Come, you need food,
shelter and rest. Rivendell is less than a day’s travel from
here; let me take you there. You and your child will be safe.”
Maraen nodded slowly. “Thank you,” she
whispered as he helped her
to her feet.
Elladan and Elrohir came upon them then and glanced
the woman and child and their younger brother.
“Well, Estel, this is an unusual catch you’ve
bagged,” Elrohir joked
with a smile.
Aragorn rolled his eyes. “She’s ill and in
need of shelter and
rest. I’m taking her back to Rivendell.”
“We will come as well,” the twin elves agreed, but
Maraen was looking
strangely at Aragorn.
“He called you Estel,” she said softly. “That
Aragorn stopped, a puzzled look on his face.
“Yes it does, but
how did you know that?” Most humans had a very minimal grasp of
Maraen glanced down at the sleeping child in her
arms and a real smile
touched her weary face for a moment. “Her name is Estelle.”
“A beautiful name for a beautiful child,” Elladan
said softly, as he
and Elrohir exchanged covertly questioning glances. It was an
unusual name for a human to give to a child.
Aragorn too was a little surprised to hear the
female form of his own
elven name. “You know elvish, Maraen?”
The woman shook her head blankly. “No.
No, someone else
told me what it meant...” Her brows furrowed as she tried to remember
who, but her memories were hazy and slid uncertainly through her
fingers when she tried to grasp them. She wavered slightly on her
feet, dark spots dancing before her eyes. “I-I can’t remember
who...” she nearly swooned, but Aragorn caught her. Elladan and
Elrohir hurried over to help their brother. Elladan took Maraen
from his younger brother, gathering the young girl up in his arms,
while Aragorn took the baby from her mother’s limp grasp. Elrohir
hurried to get their horses.
Elladan shook his head as he shifted the girl’s
weight in his
arms. “She’s burning up. We have to get her home as quickly as
possible or I fear she will not live.”
Elrohir came back with the horses and they mounted
kept Maraen’s unconscious form with him on his horse while Aragorn held
Estelle carefully in one arm, holding his reins in the other. He
realized that the child wasn’t even swaddled in a proper blanket, but
wrapped in a fleece-lined leather vest. It was obviously a man’s
vest and Aragorn wondered somewhat sadly if it had belonged to the
child’s father. He knew what it was to lose parents before you
were even old enough to remember them. “Don’t worry, little one,”
he whispered as they rode hard for home. “We won’t let your
mother go too, not if we can help it.”
Legolas resisted the urge to moan. Even
opening his eyelids
hurt. For almost three weeks he had done nothing but endure the
slow, poisonous torture that the ringwraith had seen fit to put him
through. They traveled but little, since in these initial stages
Legolas was left too weak to walk very far and the Nazgûl was
directing most of his strength and attention at overcoming the elf’s
Outside, the elf prince refused to give any quarter
that he could not
help giving. Inside, Legolas was terrified because he felt as if
he were losing himself slowly. A shadow was creeping into his
thoughts and his mind and although it could not own his spirit because
he was not choosing it, it was wearing away at his will and seeking to
take control of his body away from him. And it was working.
He realized that in some way the Nazgûl was
indeed trying to turn
him into a wraith of sorts, and the thought horrified the elf more than
any other could have.
Until he had him completely under his control, the
Witch King made sure
that Legolas was kept bound and under guard at all times. It
wasn’t so much that he doubted the elf’s word that he would stay, but
he knew that now that the fair being was aware of what he was trying to
do to him, it was very likely that Legolas would prefer to choose death
at his own hand rather than life as a servant of Mordor.
Legolas tried not to flinch as his black-robed
torturer knelt over him
again. He knew what would come, but couldn’t help jerking in pain
when the foul potion was applied to him yet again. Each time it
left him weaker and weaker. The elf did not know how much longer
he was going to be able to fight the doom that was coming for him.
When it was over, the prince felt dizzy and
ill. He could barely
move on his own and each breath was beginning to feel like an
“Who is your master?” the wraith demanded, fixing
Legolas’ clouded eyes
with a piercing stare. He was not pleased with how long the elf
had been resisting him.
Legolas did not answer but turned his head
The Nazgûl grabbed the elf’s chin between the
spiked fingers of
his glove and forced the prince to look at him. “Who is your
“I have... no master,” Legolas forced out around the
of the darkness that was growing inside him.
The wraith slapped his head to the side. This
was not going
well. The elf should have been his by now. Rising in cold
anger, the Nazgûl summoned the captain of the orcs under his
control. “Tell your men that I’ve decided to let them have a
little fun with the prisoner,” he said harshly, glancing down at the
bound elf. “They can have their sport, but be sure that they do
not damage him severely, or permanently. Just teach him a lesson.”
“Yes, sir,” the orc captain grinned evilly.
Legolas swallowed hard, trying to still his
trembling body. He
was trapped in hell and there seemed to be no way out. He
wondered if anyone would ever know what had happened to him.
“Is she going to be all right?” Aragorn inquired of
his adopted father
with concern as the elf lord emerged from the guestroom where Maraen
had been laid.
Elrond nodded, but his eyes were lost in
thought. “She is awake,
but incredibly weak. Some of the ladies are still with her.
She was severely dehydrated and I doubt she has eaten in a long time.
It’s amazing her body found anything to give her child at all, but the
daughter seems to have fared better than the mother. Her fever
comes from not being properly cared for after childbirth, but we have
caught it in time and she will be all right. However...” he shook
his head slowly. “That is not the sole cause of her
illness. I see on her a shadow that I do not understand.
She has been touched by an evil far greater than she should have had to
cross, I fear, but how or why... I know not.”
“And the baby?” Aragorn inquired, deeply
troubled. This young
woman seemed full of mysteries.
“I am on my way to check on the little one now,”
Elrond said as they
walked down the hall together. “Telwen is looking after her and I
believe your brothers are down there as well. She is being well
cared for I think,” he grinned slightly. “It has been a long time
since there has been a baby in this house.” The elf lord glanced
fondly at his youngest son.
Celboril approached them and they paused to hear his
Elrond, visitors from Mirkwood are here to see you,” the elf reported.
“Oh?” Elrond queried.
Celboril nodded. “Two warriors, one is very
short. They are
looking for Prince Legolas, I believe.”
“It must be Raniean and Trelan,” Aragorn surmised,
friends quite well. Trelan was about the only elf he could think
of that ever fit the description of being short, although he had enough
fire in his blood to more than make up for his size. Why they
would be looking for Legolas immediately concerned the ranger.
Aragorn had actually been planning on going to
Mirkwood to seek out
Legolas and let the prince know personally that he was well. The
elf had not returned yet as he had promised and Aragorn was well enough
to travel now. He had intended to leave after the hunt, if they
were successful, but it seemed as the though the turn of events had
conspired against him.
“Then you can greet them for me, my son,” Elrond
told Aragorn. “I
will be there presently, but I wish to see the child first and be sure
that she is all right.”
Aragorn nodded and followed Celboril away.
True to his suspicion,
it was Raniean and Trelan who waited for him in the audience
hall. They traded warm welcomes and greetings, but the eyes of
the two Wood-elves were troubled.
“King Thranduil was concerned,” Raniean explained,
but Aragorn could
see in the elf’s eyes that the king was not the only one.
“According to the last word we received Legolas is long overdue.
We thought to meet him on the road perhaps... but we did not. We
were hoping that he had merely extended his visit again without
informing us. He did not attend the yèn
celebration.” The warrior was trying to remain light and hide the
true depth of his concern, but Aragorn could see through that.
Worry gripped his own heart. There was no reason that they should
not have met Legolas on the path, indeed, no reason that the elf prince
should not have already made it home.
“Legolas left here almost a month ago specifically
to attend the
celebration, I thought him safely home by now.” Deep concern flashed in
the ranger’s dark eyes. "I was coming to visit in the next few
days when we have had some unexpected guests whose arrival changed
those plans. I had wanted to tell Legolas myself that I was all
By the looks on their faces, Aragorn could tell that
that was not what
the prince’s friends had wanted to hear.
“Then I fear something grave has befallen him,”
softly. “They were to send out runners after us if he arrived
after we had left. None have come and I do not think it likely that we
could have missed him on the road. There is only one safe path
between Mirkwood and Rivendell.”
“Strider, we would speak to Lord Elrond if we
could,” Trelan requested.
Aragorn nodded, his heart beginning to spin with
“Of course, come, I’ll take you to him right away.”
They found Elrond still with baby Estelle and his
sons. The elf
lord held the wee babe cradled in one arm and was speaking to her
softly, his ancient face gentle as the little one gazed up at him with
huge, innocent eyes. Elrond looked up when Aragorn and the
Wood-elves entered and the looks on the threesome’s faces instantly
told him that something was wrong.
“Father, Legolas never made it back to Mirkwood and
Raniean and Trelan
did not meet him on the road,” Aragorn informed quickly, not waiting
Elladan and Elrohir stiffened visibly. They
had come to like the
elf prince quite a bit and they knew how close Estel was to him. The
news that he was missing was a hard blow, not made any easier by the
fact that they had had to practically chase the elf prince out of
“This is indeed grave news,” Elrond said
Telwen re-entered the room at that moment, having
left in search of
some proper clothing for the baby. Elrond passed Estelle to her
and the elf maiden removed the child from the vest she had been wrapped
in these many days and slid her into a clean, new blanket. Among
other things the little girl would need a bath, but on the whole she
seemed to have fared better than her mother and Elrond had only been
able to sense the very slightest tinges of shadow around her. It
was still enough to be troubling however.
“Ai!” Trelan reacted when he saw the discarded vest,
article up and showing it to Raniean. The warrior’s face
reflected recognition and confusion. “Where did you get this?” he
asked the others in the room.
“The baby was wrapped in it when we found her and
her mother wandering
around in the woods,” Aragorn said, puzzled. “Why?”
“Unless I’m very much mistaken, this belongs to
explained slowly, turning the article of clothing over in his hands as
if searching for something, stopping when he found it. “See,
here?” he pointed at a small crest emblazoned into the leather near the
waistband. It was easily missed if one didn’t know what to look
“That circle of leaves is the crest of King
Only he and his heirs may wear it,” Trelan explained, but it was not
necessary, almost everyone in the room already knew that. Elrond
certainly did, and even if he had not known what the crest meant,
Aragorn had seen that particular device worked into most of Legolas’
clothing in one way or another and had thought it a design his friend
“The question then is how did this baby come to be
swaddled in an elven
vest and given an elven name and yet her mother remembers none of it?”
Elrond said after a moment of thought.
“The prince would not willingly abandon anyone he
had taken under his
care,” Raniean shook his head. “If he aided this woman he would
not have left her to wander the woods alone as you say you found
her. So then what happened?"
“I think these are questions we had better put to
Maraen,” Elrond said
as he rose. He knew he needed to get back to her anyway. He
was still greatly concerned about her state of being.
At his father’s bidding, Elrohir stayed behind with
Telwen and Estelle
to keep watch on the child, because as slight as her brush with
whatever darkness they were dealing with had been, Elrond did not wish
her left alone until something could be done.
Elrond, Aragorn, Raniean, Elladan and Trelan made
their way back up to
the room in which Maraen lay resting. Only it didn’t sound like
she was resting when they arrived.
Low, wailing cries assaulted their ears from half
way up the hall and
they hurried faster. When they entered the room they found Maraen
tossing and turning restlessly on the bed, emitting infrequent, keening
cries. The two elf maidens attending her were beside themselves
“Lord Elrond, thank goodness you’ve come. I was just
about to send for
you,” said one of the ladies as she rose with deep concern in her eyes
approached. “She started acting like this about five minutes
ago. We can’t seem to get through to her.”
“It’s all right, Eliwen. I’ll take over from here,”
quickly, dismissing them. The elf maidens left and Elrond sat
down on the edge of the bed, beside the young girl. The others
gathered around the bed, looking at the shaking, moaning girl with
worry and alarm.
“It’s as I feared,” the elf lord said with deep
concern, smoothing the
girl’s hair back from her clammy forehead and trying to still her
trembling, convulsing body. “The shadow is devouring her.
It is possible that it is also what was affecting her memory.”
“You... I-I know you...” Maraen fixed fever-bright
eyes upon Raniean,
reaching out towards him for a moment before her arm fell limply back
to her side. The blonde elf reminded her of someone... another
elf... but not the dark-haired elves of Rivendell who had been caring
for her. She tossed her head on her pillow with a small
moan. “No... no I don’t, not you... where is he? He
said he wouldn’t leave me, he said he wouldn’t!” she continued to
ramble deliriously, but Aragorn and the elves did not miss the
implication of her words.
“Who said, Maraen?” Elrond asked gently, squeezing
her shoulder in a
calming manner and holding her hand. “Who?”
“E-elf...” she murmured, her face creasing with pain
as if trying to
remember actually hurt her. “Beautiful elf. Saved me...
saved me from them... delivered my baby...” her words broke off in a
small cry of pain as her body convulsed and she retreated back into the
delirium that had her in its grasp.
“Orcs!” she cried in wide-eyed terror, her eyes
again. She tried to push herself further back against the
headboard of the bed, trembling with fear and illness. Her face
was wild and she was obviously not seeing anyone who was truly in the
room. “Orcs!” she half-screamed a second time. “Don’t let
them get my baby, don’t let them get my baby!!” she was nearly
shrieking in hysteria.
Elladan and Aragorn helped Elrond restrain the
delirious girl before
she could do herself damage, gently trying to push her back onto the
bed. Whatever she had been through must have been horrible.
“Shh, shh... It’s all right child, it’s all
soothed reassuringly, reaching out to her with the power of the light
that was within him and attempting to dispel the darkness around her,
but the shadow was curiously strong. Still, he had a calming
effect on her and Maraen’s tense body relaxed a little bit as they laid
her down again.
“Don’t let them get Estelle... Take her Legolas,
run!” Maraen murmured
in fevered exhaustion, dry sobs shaking her slim shoulders as she
relieved the events that were still partially blocked from her full
Everyone in the room stiffened at the mention of
They had already felt almost sure that the prince was the elf Maraen
spoke of, but now there was no doubt. Yet what had
happened? Where was he now and why had Aragorn found Maraen and
the child alone?
“No, no...” Maraen moaned softly, closing her eyes
and clutching at her
Elrond softly told Elladan the things he needed and
the younger elf
hurried off to get them. Elrond knew he was going to have to do
something for Maraen soon or they would lose her, but he could not let
go of her because at the moment he was about the only thing keeping her
from disappearing into the shadow of madness and death that wanted to
“No, let him go!” Maraen’s eyes sprung open once
more. “Let him
go!” her eyes roved the room wildly. “They took him,” she
moaned. “They took him. It’s my fault. They took
him. No, no, no, no, no....”
Aragorn felt a cold sick feeling settle in his
glance he exchanged with Raniean and Trelan told him they were feeling
the same thing. If Legolas had been taken by orcs... Aragorn
closed his eyes for a moment, repressing evil memories with a
shudder. He knew first hand what that was like. Yet how
could he have been taken and Maraen escape? It didn’t make
Elladan re-entered the room with the things Elrond
Without warning the girl’s body shuddered and went
rose quickly. “She is not dead,” he answered the unspoken
question. “But she soon will be if the shadow upon her is not
lifted. I need everyone to leave so I can work.”
They all obeyed immediately, but Elrond caught his
arm. “Not you, Estel, I want you to stay here with me.”
“Yes, Father,” Aragorn nodded quickly. He was
glad to be able to
help, but pained because he wanted to begin searching for his missing
“Patience, my son, all things in their time,” Elrond
accurately read the
young ranger’s heart. “Right now we must be swift if Maraen is to
have any hope. Heat the water,” the elf lord instructed as he
unrolled a cluster of herb leaves. Aragorn recognized the plant
as athelas, or kingsfoil in the common tongue.
“Estel, I want you to pay attention to what I am
going to show you,”
Elrond said as he worked. “This girl has been touched by a morgul
darkness. I know not how, but it is an evil that comes from
Mordor in whatever form she encountered it. The shadow must be
driven away and she must be called back to the light before it is too
Aragorn nodded gravely, even if he did not
completely understand what
his father had just told him. He watched as Elrond took the
athelas leaves in his hand and breathed across them. Crushing
them and releasing their sweet, fragrant odor into the room, he threw
them into the water. Aragorn had seen his brothers do something
similar for his father when Elrond had been injured in an earthquake
some time ago, for the wholesome herbs cleaned the air and seemed to
aid the healing of mind, body and spirit, but what Elrond did next was
wholly new to Aragorn.
Bending over Maraen, Elrond took her hand again in
both of his.
“Maraen, Maraen...” he called softly. A call so compelling that
Aragorn did not think any who heard could resist answering.
“Leave the shadow behind, child. Be free. Wander no more
down the dark paths of forgetfulness and death, return to the
light. Return to your daughter whole.”
Maraen stirred slightly and a faint smile brushed
her lips as some of
the lines began to ease from her young face.
Elrond stepped back, satisfied. Squeezing her
hand one more time
he laid it back by her side. “Rest then, young one, regain your
Aragorn watched with wonder. It was as if he
could physically see
the change come over her; see the darkness fleeing away as Maraen
returned to herself.
Elrond laid his hand upon his son’s shoulder.
“There are not many
now who can dispel the morgul darkness when it falls upon someone,
Estel. Your brothers and I are some of the last. But the
reason I show you this is because you alone among the world of men have
the ability do as I have just done, and someday my son, you may need
Aragorn regarded Elrond seriously. “I don’t
know that I could
ever do that...” he whispered softly, looking at Maraen’s still form,
so changed from what it had been just moments before.
Elrond shook his head. “Do not underestimate
power of the kings that runs in your blood is stronger than you know,
son of Arathorn.”
Legolas wasn’t sure when his eyes were open and when
closed. Darkness seemed to be all around him now, his very being
ached with it. He had tried to cling to his memories, but slowly
the shadow had grown up and devoured them all. He couldn’t
remember anything past the pain. He could recall no time when he
had not lived in this murky twilight world. He didn’t feel like
he belonged there, but he must because there was nothing else.
A voice called out to him. A voice he could no
refuse. Indeed, he couldn’t remember why he had been refusing
it. Something in him resisted, wanted to fight... but he didn’t
know why, and the call was too strong.
“Who is your master?” the ringwraith hissed at the
looking deep into the prince’s pain-glazed eyes.
Legolas blinked slowly, and when his gaze came to
rest on the robed
figure above him it was as dark and empty as the blackness that hung
behind the shadow of the Nazgûl’s dark hood. “You are,” the
elf’s voice was toneless and as dead as his eyes.
The wraith hissed in pleasure. Finally.
Finally it was
beginning to work. “And whom do you serve?” he pressed.
“The Dark Lord of Mordor,” came the response.
Yet even as he said
it something twisted inside of Legolas. The words were what was
expected, what he felt he was supposed to say... but something
somewhere felt terribly wrong.
The wraith was pleased; he stroked the elf’s pale
“Good... good,” he purred softly. Cutting Legolas loose from his
bonds, he let the elf sit up on his own for the first time in
Legolas rubbed his raw wrists absently. They
hurt, but pain was
beginning to take on a new meaning to him. It seemed that it was
part of life and it almost didn’t matter. Every moment seemed
painful because of the darkness that had wrapped itself around him, but
he did not know of any other way to be, so he could not think it an
“Get him something to eat and drink,” the Witch King
instructed one of
the orcs. That was another thing that Legolas had had precious
little of this whole time.
The wraith placed his hands on the elf’s shoulders
repressed a cold shudder, but did not pull away.
“It’s time to start building your strength up
again. The more I
find I can trust you, the more freedom I will give you. Please
elf, and you will be rewarded. Provoke me and I will make your
life miserable... do you understand?”
Legolas nodded slowly, his empty eyes focusing on
The ringwraith’s hand tightened on his shoulder
slightly, his voice
quietly seductive and threatening at the same time. “Yes, what?”
“Yes, master,” the elf murmured.