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R (for violence & one instance of implied rape)
out, come out wherever you are...," the tall, burly man said
as if calling to a stray cat in need of a beating. The fellow was
swarthy, with dark hair pulled back and hidden beneath a sturdy helm.
In his fist, he clenched a long, thick broadsword that weighed as much
as a small child. Walking warily at his heels was a huge, black dog
fangs like a warg.
fair-haired elf who hid in the tree above was the polar opposite of the
brutish man who hunted him. Slender and agile, the young elven prince
crouched low to the branch he rested lightly upon, absolutely
motionless save for the wafting kiss of the breeze stirring his long,
the large man pacing warily below, Legolas wrinkled his nose in
distaste and made a face at the man’s stupidity. Did he actually
the elf to just come out and say: "Here I am! Oh please,
won’t you kill me"
show your face, boy, or it’ll be worse for you when I get my hands on
your scrawny, skulking neck!" the man raged, his short supply of
patience waning quickly.
fact that this fellow, who could not have been more than fifty, was
calling Legolas a boy was ironic. Although by elven standards it might
be almost true since the young prince was but a mere one-hundred years
old, he still was at least twice the age of his would-be captor.
Legolas checked off another mental notch for this man’s diminished
intelligence, although he supposed it was a common enough mistake for
the ignorant to make.
held perfectly still. It was not this one man he was worried about, but
the scores and scores of men and dogs all around who filled the woods,
searching for him. It was harder to avoid the dogs,
whose natural abilities of smell and instinct made them more difficult
to fool than their less sensitive masters.
as an envoy for his father, Thranduil, the Elvenking of Mirkwood, the
young prince had responded to a message from King Melèch, ruler
men of Dorolyn. Dorolyn lay to the far northwest of Mirkwood, at least
ten days distant. King Melèch’s message had spoken of a vague
creeping towards their two kingdoms and requested an envoy come to
arrange a neutral meeting ground between the two realms to discuss news
of the unknown danger.
a certain amount of wariness hung between the two kingdoms, the elves
had no reason to distrust the men of Dorolyn, who had been their allies
in the last great alliance of men and elves not too many hundreds of
years before. Therefore it was without much misgiving that King
Thranduil dispatched his son to act as his representative in this
when Legolas and his two companions arrived in the halls of the human
king, it was a traitorous welcome that greeted them.
elves that had traveled with Legolas were now dead and the prince
mourned their passing in his heart, saddened by the shameful shortening
of immortal lives. He had barely escaped with his own life intact. For
hours now, he had been forced to play a kind of cat-and-mouse game with
the soldiers of Dorolyn. They had already lost many men to his swift
arrows, but now the elf’s quiver was empty and he had been forced to
abandon his bow in favor of one of his long, white-handled knives.
Elves were very good at not being seen when they didn’t want to be, but
with the number of searchers increasing by the moment it was becoming
more and more difficult to remain hidden and escape seemed an ever more
man below Legolas was Dagred, captain of King Melèch’s guard.
finally moved on, the elf remained still a few moments longer before
dropping lightly to the ground and taking flight once more. He had to
get out of here. He had to get back to his people and report the
treacherous threat that King Melèch had become.
swift legs moved with urgent speed, hastened even faster than usual by
the knowledge that the enemy which pursued him had in mind not only his
own death, but the cold-blooded murder of his father as well. The very
thought was too dark and horrible to consider, but he knew it was true,
he had heard it with his own ears. It was that knowledge, which
had never wanted him to have, that had turned this whole situation
disastrous in the first place.
dog suddenly started howling loudly and a few moments later an arrow
zinged by the elf’s head. Legolas dodged, swerving to the left. The
swift barrage that followed required all the elf’s skill and agility to
avoid. The dog’s baying was quickly turned into a chorus as other
animals took up the chase.
there! Stop him!" the cry was raised and Legolas pushed his legs
faster, preferring flight over battle when the odds were so
overwhelmingly against him.
men stepped out of the trees ahead of him, swords drawn. Catching the
tree limb above his head, Legolas swung up and kicked one of the men in
his chest, knocking him back into his companions. Landing sure-footed
like a cat, Legolas’ knife flashed in his hand as he twirled and
sidestepped the men’s attack, his long hair flying about him as he spun
pair of vicious, snarling dogs barked at the elf’s heels and Legolas
had to dodge them as well. One man fell to the earth, dead, and another
pulled back, clutching his arm. One of the dogs jumped, attempting to
sink his razor sharp fangs into Legolas’ arm. The elf flicked his wrist
at the last moment, catching the snarling beast upon the point of his
blade so that the creature’s own rush became its undoing. At that
moment, ten more soldiers arrived on the scene and things quickly
became more difficult.
knew he could not fight numbers like these alone for long. Giving way
slowly, he sought only the chance to break from the skirmish and flee.
Seizing the first opportunity that presented itself, the young prince
clamped his knife in his teeth and swung up into the tree nearest to
him. Running along a branch above his assailants’ heads, he leaped to
the next tree, and the next, traveling with an almost feline grace and
Dagred, once more on the scene, swore with terrible oaths as he and his
men took up pursuit. "Let’s bring this squirrel down, men!" he shouted.
"But don’t shoot to kill. King Melèch wants the troublemaker
traveled swiftly through the trees, swinging and jumping with more
skill than any monkey and running lightly across limbs that should not
have been able to bear his weight. His balance was excellent and
somehow he managed to avoid most of the whistling arrows aimed his
direction as well... most, but not all.
humming shaft came too close and barely avoided piercing the elf’s
right arm. Instead it tore through the sleeve of his long green tunic,
cutting a painful groove in the flesh across the side of his upper arm.
For a moment, Legolas’ balance wavered as the pain and suddenness of
wound made him falter. His feet slipping on the thin branch, he slid,
but caught himself in time to leap to the next tree, his heart pounding.
was trying to outdistance his pursuers, but when more soldiers arrived
from the opposite direction, the elf had to change his course abruptly
and the possibility of losing them began to dwindle perilously.
loud, shrieking caw and a flutter of ebony wings was the only warning
Legolas had before a large hunting falcon swooped down at him. The
large, dangerous birds were raised by the men of Dorolyn for sport and
hunting and Legolas had just become their prey.
large bird swooped down, its beak jabbing and its sharp talons
extended. Legolas had just enough time to throw his arm up over his
eyes to protect them from the bird’s pecking thrusts, but the beast’s
tri-tipped talons caught his face, laying three painful, but shallow,
scratches across his cheek. The suddenness of its attack and the weight
of its body slamming into him made Legolas stagger, throwing off his
The falcon flapped wildly around the elf’s
head, pecking and clawing as it beat at him with its powerful wings.
struck at the bird swiftly, keeping his arms up to protect his head and
face from the attack. The falcon was unusually hard to defend against
as it moved and fluttered with furious agility and grace and the elf’s
precarious position did not help. Losing his footing, Legolas tumbled
from his perch, only catching himself at the last moment and managing
to land mostly on his feet in a low crouch.
three of the dogs were on him. One caught Legolas’ forearm in its teeth
and tried to yank him to the ground. It succeeded in throwing him
backward and was kept from sinking its fangs into his flesh only by the
sturdy black arm-guards that protected the young archer from his wrists
to his elbows. Legolas found himself on his back on the ground,
tussling with the three beasts that were attempting to sink their fangs
into his neck. Apparently the dogs did not understand, nor care that
their human masters wanted this elf taken alive. The falcon followed
Legolas down, adding confusion to the already desperate struggle.
to his hands and knees and springing quickly to his feet, Legolas shook
off the dogs only to run smack into six more soldiers. As he
quickly, the elf whirled his dagger in his grip, his grey eyes flashing
with defiance even as he began to feel fear forming into a cold knot
inside him. He was bleeding now from his arm and his cheek and this
conflict was turning desperate, but he was determined that he would not
go down without a fight.
men and three dogs lay dead, but more just kept coming and, with two
falcons now wheeling about and diving at him, Legolas was not able to
retreat to the treetops again. The young elf was wearying. He knew his
opponents were intentionally driving him back, maneuvering him to where
they wanted him, but he could do little about it.
a heavy net dropped over the prince’s head, either thrown from the side
or dropped from above, Legolas did not know. The weight of the snare
bore him down to his knees, but his sharp elvish blade made quick work
of the thick ropes and he cut himself free with lightning fast
only to be snared by another net, and another. He tried to dodge, tried
to move away, but the heavy ropes encumbered him, twisting about his
ankles and slowing his movement. One of the dogs leaped on his back,
knocking the elf forward and further tangling him in the twisting mesh
that enveloped them. Another net was thrown, until Legolas was trapped
under so many layers he could scarcely move.
dog was trapped with Legolas, but barely seemed to notice. Snarling
and trying to snap at the elf, he managed to tangle them both up worse
than they already were. As Legolas tried to fend him off, his arms
caught and snarled in the heavy weave; it was like attempting to swim
through mud. A tangled heap on the ground, the beast stood on Legolas’
chest, snapping and snarling at the elf between the layers of netting
that separated them. On his back, Legolas grappled with the dog and the
heavy snare at the same time.
dog was cut free and pulled away from the downed elf, and Legolas,
still trapped, felt the cold steel of several sword-tips come to rest
against his neck, chest and stomach. His captors were taking no chances
with him anymore.
stamped heavily on the elf’s slender wrist, forcing Legolas’ fingers
open, and kicked the knife out of his hand. The elven prince was so
tangled in the nets with which he had been snared that they ended
up cutting them away to get him free as well.
out, Legolas’ hands were immediately bound behind him, the ropes pulled
painfully tight. A thick leather collar with sharp spikes ringing the
inside was fastened about his neck, just tight enough so that the
pointy spines dug lightly into the flesh of his throat and neck without
breaking the skin.
glowered at the elf as he buckled the wicked contraption into place,
his eyes filled with spite and anger at the long chase Legolas had led
use these collars on disobedient dogs," he growled derisively. "You
give us trouble and you’ll find out why." Dagred gave the collar a
swift yank, just to let the elf know what he meant.
Legolas could not help flinching in pain
as the sharp spikes cut into his flesh when Dagred jerked the cruel
length of rope was threaded through the loop on the front of the
collar, effectively creating a leash by which his captors could handle
the young elf.
right then, let’s head back. King Melèch wants to see you,"
Legolas, giving the rope in his hand a quick, ruthless, and totally
unnecessary tug to get the elf started.
eyes were cold and as hard as steel. If these men wanted to see fear in
his face, they were going to be disappointed. He might feel it in his
heart, but he would never give them the satisfaction of seeing it.
captors seemed to delight in jerking on the hellish collar whether
Legolas obeyed them or not and, by the time they reached the palace,
the elf prince’s neck was beginning to bleed from the abuse.
into King Melèch’s presence like a beast on a chain, Legolas’
kicked out from under him when he refused to bow to the evil monarch.
tangled his fingers in the hair on the back of the elf’s skull, forcing
Legolas’ forehead to the floor in a submissive grovel, before releasing
him and allowing the proud elf to quickly straighten up once more. The
hands on Legolas’ arms held him firmly on his knees, however.
regarded his captive coldly. The great, black hunting falcon that had
followed them back swooped down and landed on the thick glove which
adorned the king’s left arm for just such a purpose. Melèch
pet, smoothing the feathers on the back of the bird’s neck. Tall and
imposing with striking silver-grey hair, the king of Dorolyn fixed his
elven prisoner with an icy glare. He was obviously upset.
"Who are you?" he demanded of Legolas.
"What is your name?"
did not answer, jerking only slightly when his stubbornness was
rewarded by a sharp kick in the ribs from one of the guards.
"I ask you again," Melèch said
darkly. "Who are you?"
Legolas refused to speak. This time Dagred kicked him in the chest,
throwing the elf backward. Jerking him up by his collar, Dagred struck
Legolas forcefully across the face, splitting the young elf’s lower lip
before throwing him forward onto his knees once more.
will quickly find that disobedience can be very painful and very
foolish here, master elf," Melèch threatened darkly. "I already
are from Mirkwood, one of the three envoys sent by King Thranduil. It
will not be terribly hard for me to find out the rest on my own, but
before I let Captain Dagred and his friend teach you a rather painful
lesson in manners, I will give you a chance to save yourself a lot of
absolutely needless agony, and ask you one more time. Who are you?"
sucked his bleeding lip. It would absolutely never do for Melèch
know that he
was the prince Melèch had been conspiring to kill
with his father. His life might be forfeit now anyway, but he did want
this evil, traitorous man to have the kind of leverage that a royal
hostage provided. Yet if he did not speak and Melèch found out,
was bound to do, that Prince Legolas had been one of the envoys sent,
he would easily put two and two together.
son of Ehnärfin," Legolas said coldly, taking the identity of one
his slain companions. That way even if Melèch did find out the
of all the envoys sent him, he could think that the prince had been
Nindäl," Melèch locked eyes with the elf. "You and your
put me through quite a bit of trouble. Everything could have been so
simple, but you couldn’t leave well enough alone, you had to be where
you shouldn’t have been and heard things you should never have heard."
eyes flared. "You wanted to use us. You only wanted to set up a meeting
with King Thranduil and his son so you could assassinate them both," he
accused. The frightening thing was that he could have arranged his own
and his father’s murder if he and his friends had not taken the wrong
path through the woods and overheard the secret plotting of
some of his subordinates.
I still will, my friend, I still will," Melèch grinned
sure the Elvenking will be most distressed when he finds out that a
band of marauding orcs set upon your company and destroyed them all. As
a gesture of our sorrow and regret, we will help him search for the
bodies until they are found, and then explain that this is the very
reason our need to meet grows ever more urgent. And if they only find
two of the bodies... what of it?"
shaking his arm, Melèch indicated to his falcon that he wanted
move and the obedient bird flapped over to light on the arm of the
heart tightened with apprehension partially for fear that this man’s
twisted plans might succeed, and partially because Melèch spoke
recovering only two bodies. Legolas was not sure where that left him,
and was even more unsure that he really wanted to know. Following
quickly on the heels of this concern was the thought that if the
bodies of his companions were indeed returned to Mirkwood but his was
absent, there would undoubtedly be questions asked. Legolas was unsure
whether his father would be suspicious of the story of their deaths or
not. He certainly hoped he would be, but he was
sure that King
Thranduil would most assuredly ask about the missing body of his son.
If that happened, and he were still a captive, then Melèch would
who he held...
of me?" Legolas asked, trying to keep his own worries to himself. The
more he learned of this man’s intentions, the better. After all, he
still did not understand why
King Melèch would want his
smiled wickedly. "Now there’s the question, isn’t it?" he said, pacing
slowly in front of his prisoner. "I could question you... it would be
fun to see how much pain it took to make you scream." He paused
slightly as if toying with the thought before discarding it.
I have a feeling my energy would be wasted," Melèch said as he
Legolas’ stubborn, flinty eyes. "You’d die before you’d tell me the
most insignificant thing, wouldn’t you?" The King was almost amused.
"And besides, there is really no information that I need from you...
no, I really have no use for you at all."
drew in a deep, quiet breath. If these men had no use for him, then he
would very likely not live to leave these rooms. He did not want to
die, but he was not afraid. He regretted only that he would be unable
to warn his father of the evil that was attempting to ensnare him.
drew his sword, letting it rest against the back of Legolas’ neck,
above the collar, as if eager for the command to slay the young elf who
had cost him so much trouble and so many men.
Melèch’s grin hardened. Taking Legolas’ chin in his hand he
young elf’s head up, tracing the scratches on Legolas’ cheek with one
finger. "Then again, there may be other ways you could be useful to me.
After all, how many mortal kings can say that they have one of the
Firstborn as a slave? You’ll make a pretty trophy, my dear elf, a
portent of the power I shall hold."
jerked his head away, fixing Melèch with smoldering eyes. "I am
man’s slave," he spat defiantly. "And even less a prize for you to
flaunt. Those who seek power will be consumed by their own lust. It is
a road that leads to destruction."
Melèch pulled the thick, leather falcon glove off his arm and
the kneeling prisoner across the face with it, snapping Legolas’ head
to the side.
time, my young friend, you will learn to hold your tongue as is
befitting a slave," Melèch said harshly, making the same mistake
Legolas’ age that his Captain had. "You will learn to cringe at my
command and know me for your lord, because I own you body and soul."
elf’s eyes blazed defiantly and his lips pressed into a tight, hard
line. "Body only, and only for now. I will never call you master,"
Legolas swore coldly.
shook his head slowly, a small, cruel smile tugging at one side of his
mouth. He was going to enjoy breaking the will behind those strong grey
eyes. "That will change. You will learn to fear me," he promised darkly.