I can’t last here for too long
I feel this current it’s so strong
It gets me further down the line
It gets me closer to the line..
And all these little things in life,
they all create this haze
There’s too many things to get done,
and I’m running out of days
-- Three Doors Down
Having heard the trumpet blast, the orcs that had passed by the hiding
prisoners earlier turned and headed back they way they had come.
Graghnak led the way, an evil, satisfied grin on his face. He had
no love for any of the creatures that served in his troop but it did
not please him to have to report the unnecessary demise of them
either. Prangtz had been an idiot, but someone was going to pay
for his death. Their master did not take news of escapees and
lapses of attention lightly.
The valley they were in was now quickly becoming blocked off from
before and behind, leaving the two friends no choice but to turn aside
and take their chances with the hills. Aragorn and Legolas
scrambled up the steep incline next to them, their boots sliding and
scrabbling on the loose, dry earth as they sought for purchase.
Desperation hastened their frantic movements as they half ran, half
climbed towards a low plateau above. Neither of them wanted to be
Legolas felt his heart pounding in his chest so hard it made him
dizzy. The mix of physical exertion and fear shot through his
injured body, making him tremble lightly. His injured ribs
screamed as he scrambled up the steep grade, shooting sharp knives of
pain into his consciousness, but he paid them no mind. He would
run until he died if it kept him away from being recaptured by the
Aragorn felt the heavy air stick and choke in his throat, mixing with
the dust their wild ascent was kicking up. Fearful adrenaline
drove him up the hill, sometimes climbing more than
running. They could not be captured; he had been a captive of
orcs before and the memory was very dark. Yet even more important
to him, he could not let Legolas be put back in their hands.
The ranger whipped around as quickly as he could without losing his
footing when he heard a heavy thud and the scrabble of rocks behind
him. Legolas, far more unsteady than any elf usually was, had
lost his purchase on the shifting shale and fallen hard, sliding
backwards a few paces.
The elf barely kept from crying out when his stomach and chest slammed
against the ground, cushioned only a little by having caught himself on
his hands. The fall knocked the air out of his lungs and for a
moment he couldn’t move or think.
Aragorn scrambled and slid down the hill back to where his friend had
fallen. The orcs they had nearly run into were now in active
pursuit, closing in on them at an alarming rate, and the rest of their
company that had been alerted were no doubt not far behind. He
knew Legolas was hurting, but he didn’t even have time to ask if the
elf was all right as he grabbed his friend, pulling him up. He
winced slightly as he grasped Legolas’ hands, seeing the blood on the
prince’s palms, torn by his fall. Wrapping Legolas’ arm around
his shoulders so he could support the elf’s weight, the ranger dragged
the prince swiftly up the hill again.
Legolas winced at the abrupt movements, inhaling sharply, but motion
was quickly coming back to him and Aragorn released his friend as soon
as he felt the elf moving under his own power again.
The orcs’ horn was blowing again as the two hunted beings reached the
plateau. Ahead of them loomed another hill and to their right was
a steep drop back into the valley they had just come from. Down
there they could see the dark shapes of more than two dozen orcs
rushing to join the ones already on their heels. This land seemed
infested with the foul beasts!
Turning towards the left, which was their only option, Aragorn suddenly
found himself thrown backward, the dark, heavy form of an orc appearing
from almost nowhere as it jumped on him.
“Strider!” Legolas shouted in alarm as Aragorn went down beneath the
Reacting quickly Aragorn tucked his feet up even as he fell, getting
his knees between he and his attacker so that when they hit the earth
he pushed upward and kicked the orc off, over his head.
The dark creature grabbed the shoulders of the ranger’s coat as he went
over, dragging Aragorn around with him so that the two of them ended up
rolling across the slanting ground. Tumbling to the right they
rolled towards the steeper drop back to where they had just come from.
Legolas ran after them, realizing with frustration that he had no
weapons, nothing to fight with.
The force of their struggle carried Aragorn and the orc off the edge of
the plateau. The small cliff was not entirely sheer and the two
combatants landed on the edge, clinging on and struggling with one
another at the same time.
Aragorn felt the orc’s weight dragging him towards the drop and he
struck at the fell beast with one hand as he fought to keep his grip on
the rocky ledge with the other, his feet swinging free. It was
not a very far drop to the ground, maybe twenty feet at the most, but
it was not the fall that worried Aragorn, it was the scores of angry
orcs at the bottom.
The ranger felt his fingers slipping as the loose rocks shifted under
his tenuous grip, the weight of the orc still clinging to him dragged
him steadily down like an anchor. Just as his hand began to pull
free he felt it caught in a strong, familiar grip. His eyes shot
up to lock with Legolas’ as the elf prince leaned down over the edge to
grasp his arm and keeping him from falling.
“Aragorn, I swear, you should not
go near anything that drops off,”
Legolas actually found enough breath to say, even if he didn’t have the
strength to smile. It was true. If Legolas had bad luck
with caves, then Aragorn’s misfortune seemed to run towards
cliffs. The strain of holding his friend shown in the tension on
his face as the elf focused on pulling the ranger back up.
Settling himself firmly against the rocks that lined the lip of the
cliff, Legolas grasped the ranger’s coat sleeve with his other hand
trying to find the leverage he needed.
The orc holding onto Aragorn dug its fist into the ranger’s stomach,
kicking the back of the man’s knees, in an attempt to dislodge the
human. Aragorn jerked and his arm slid in Legolas’ grasp as he
slipped further down over the edge.
Legolas bit back a gasp as the combined weight of Aragorn and the orc
pulled full upon his injured body; but his hands just tightened in
Aragorn’s sleeve. He was trying to pull his friend up, but the
ongoing struggle and his own weakened body was preventing
“Lose the orc!” the elf grit out through his teeth as he felt his hands
beginning to tremble. “I can’t hold you both!”
Desperation flooded Aragorn’s mind as he struck and kicked at the
creature clinging to him with his legs. If they didn’t move soon
it was going to be too late anyway, they were running out of time
before their pursuers caught up with them.
As if in answer to his worried thoughts a dark shape loomed up over
Legolas’ head, casting a shadow upon them.
“Legolas!” Aragorn’s warning did little good. What could the elf
do without dropping his friend?
The prince cried out as the orc behind him clubbed him between the
shoulder blades, knocking him forward and Aragorn felt himself slide
further down the drop. Legolas kicked backward, knocking the
creature back a pace. The fact that the brute had not drawn a
weapon on his disadvantaged adversary showed that the orcs were
interested in retaking their captives alive.
“Strider!” The elf’s long fingers remained firmly enmeshed in his
friend’s sleeve, holding bruisingly tight to Aragorn’s forearm and
wrist, but he could feel his friend slipping even as the shadow of the
orc fell on him again, causing fear to pump wildly through his veins.
Aragorn kicked viciously at the orc he was tangled with. “Let go,
Legolas, let go!” The elf had no chance if he kept holding on to
Legolas did not waste energy refusing, but his knuckles whitened as he
gripped tighter, trying even harder to pull his friend up. The
orc came again and Legolas twisted away as much as he could while still
holding Aragorn, lashing backward with his elbow to catch the creature
in the chin.
The angry orc grabbed the elf’s shoulder, trying to drag Legolas
backward, away from Aragorn. A vicious punch to the elf’s already
burning stomach made Legolas cry out in pain as his fingers loosened
Aragorn slid down sharply, starting to fall until Legolas’ hands
tightened quickly around his wrist once more, catching him at the last
moment and jerking him to a halt. The jolt was enough to shake
the orc clinging to him, and one good kick finally sent the creature
tumbling down into the midst of his companions who were watching the
battle from the ground. There were far less down there now then
there had been a few moments ago and Aragorn knew that they must be on
their way here.
Rid of the orc’s weight, Aragorn used his free arm to claw at the
edge, straining to swing his legs back up over the lip. The orc
fighting with Legolas inadvertently helped them by dragging the elf
backward a pace or two, which gave the ranger just the tug he needed to
swing his knee up onto the ledge.
Quickly scrambling all the way up, Aragorn released Legolas’ hand and
the elf was free to turn his full attention on the orc harassing
him. The prince was ill-prepared for a fight, but the orc still
never knew what hit him as the previously helpless elf spun quickly to
nail the beast in the jaw.
The orc stumbled back and Aragorn, having gained his feet, rammed into
it with his shoulder, pushing it off the ledge from which he himself
had recently been dangling.
The creature fell with a cry, but neither elf nor ranger waited to see
it hit the ground; they were already moving again, running back towards
their only possible hope of escape.
Suddenly six or seven orcs spilled into their path. A moment
later half a dozen more came scrambling down the hill to their right
while nearly twice that many gained the plateau from the valley below.
The area was positively teeming with orcs in a matter of moments and
all routes of escape were cut off as Aragorn and Legolas were pressed
back to back, slowly circling. The ranger passed his knife off to
the elf and quickly unslung his bow, stringing an arrow and loosing a
volley into the dark press around them. Yet more orcs were
arriving by the moment, twenty, thirty... the sheer number of the enemy
was overpowering and no matter how hard they fought, the pair was
overcome by the press of orc bodies.
Graghnak struck out at the ranger, catching Aragorn’s bow and slapping
it aside. He crushed the weapon underfoot, snapping it in
half. The orc grabbed for the human, who ducked his clumsy move
and pulled a sword, backing the orcs up a few paces and widening the
circle that surrounded them.
“Put that down and I won't kill you right here,” Graghnak growled
at the ranger.
Aragorn didn’t respond. It wouldn’t matter what they did now,
they were both dead and he knew it; there was no way out of this, but
he planned on taking as many of the foul beasts out with him as he
could. Lunging, he impaled a slower orc on the sharp blade before
spinning out of reach and smashing his fist into the hard jaw of
another sending the orc sprawling.
He could hear Legolas fighting as well but the battle with the elf was
short-lived and the injured prince was soon overpowered. He did
not posses the strength of his human counterpart right now and what
little he had had been spent in the previous struggle. It
frustrated him to no end when his arms were painfully pinned behind him
and Aragorn’s elven blade, which the orcs had taken from him, slid
roughly under his chin.
“Stop now or I’ll let them kill the elf.” Graghnak pointed to a place
behind Aragorn. The ranger was standing over a slain orc and had
nearly decapitated another when the command rang out.
Breathing heavily but unwilling to drop his gaze from the large orc
commander that stepped in front of him, Aragorn called to Legolas in
elvish, “Legolas, is it true?” he asked raggedly, his sword wavering
slightly in front of him.
Graghnak smiled evilly. He was having fun hunting these two down; they
hadn’t had this much excitement in a long time. He would make
sure they paid for the blood they had spilt, but the human amused
“I’m sorry, Estel. Don’t let them take us. Kill as many as you
can,” the elf answered. He groaned softly as his arms were
twisted tighter behind his back in response to the length of his
answer. Aragorn could not become a prisoner in Mordor. If
the orcs did not kill them both right away... if Sauron’s eye ever
turned to rest on the human who had so long been hidden from him and he
saw the truth of who the ranger really was... Aragorn’s fate would be
far worse than even that which would be contrived for an elf.
Aragorn chanced a quick glance over his shoulder. His own blade
was held firmly to the elf’s neck. A thin trace of blood edged it
and the orc that held the fair being turned Legolas’ arms a bit harder,
just for fun, as the ranger eyed his friend.
Slowly standing down from his defensive position, the ranger dropped
his sword. He couldn’t watch them slit the elf’s throat.
Moving swiftly for such a large creature, Graghnak stepped forward and
slammed his fist into the side of the man’s head, knocking Aragorn to
the ground. The ranger barely caught himself on his hands as he
fell hard to his knees, temporarily stunned. He winced
as his arms were held in a vice-like grip behind him. He was
hauled to his feet and manhandled back to the orc camp.
Legolas felt terror so dark and deep coursing
through him that it chilled his bones . This was the worst thing
that could have happened,
the worst. Now not only
he, but Aragorn as well, would be
subjected to the orcs’ cruelties. He wished he would have died
rather than get his friend into this kind of trouble. Aragorn
should have either killed him or left him. Now they were both
The orcs holding Legolas cuffed him repeatedly as they dragged him
along, snarling at him about running away again. The elf fell
frequently under their abuse, but it hardly seemed to matter to them
since they were more dragging than guiding him anyway.
When blood started trickling from the corner of the prince’s mouth,
Graghnak gave a silent signal for his underlings to lay off. The
elf looked spent and the orc captain was not ready to have the pretty
little trinket die just yet. Oh he would be more than properly
punished for this, but not yet, not until he was strong enough to
The human however... that was another matter. He had trespassed
in their lands, stolen one of their slaves and probably killed one of
their own. He was going to need some very immediate
When they re-entered camp, the body of the guard the ranger had slain
still lay where it had died in its sleep. Graghnak walked over to
the dead orc, kicking the corpse with disdain.
“You did this?” he growled looking back at the pair. When neither
answered, the commander grabbed the human from his underlings and
dragged the ranger back into the center of camp, throwing the man
roughly to the ground. Before Aragorn could rise another orc
grabbed him by the back of the neck, holding him in place, bent over in
a kneeling position, his face only inches from the rocky floor.
The ranger’s left arm was jerked roughly out to the side and he felt
the cold bite of a manacle fasten around his wrist. He stopped
struggling when the toe of Graghnak’s boot caught him sharply in the
“Lie still or I’ll make you wish you had,” the dark creature growled as
he pulled Aragorn’s arm farther away from his body, the metal cuff
digging into the soft skin. He couldn’t turn his head but the
ranger could hear Legolas cry out softly and the sound of another
manacle being secured. He only assumed that Legolas had been
bound in much the same way as he was. The rattle of a chain
length caught his attention and he flinched involuntarily, thinking the
metal links had been brought out to punish them with.
When his wrist was released by the large orc that had recaptured him,
Aragorn tired to pull his arm back in close to his side, but the sudden
movement brought a cry of pain from the elf. With mounting fear
the ranger realized they had been chained together. Struggling
underneath the bulk of the weight of the orc that pressed him down, he
desperately tried to get away.
The struggle was useless.
Graghnak noticed the difficulty his underling was having in
constraining the human and he smiled darkly. Motioning to the
elf, he ordered the fair being held down and laughed as he was quickly
obeyed. Legolas was pressed flat to the earth as a large orc
kneeled on his back, digging his bony kneecap into the middle of the
“The new one needs a lesson, you maggots, needs to learn how to mind!”
Graghnak grinned evilly. “Teach him!” he hissed.
“Strider, be still!” Legolas could see what the orcs intended and
he feared for his friend.
Held down as he was and unable to breathe properly, the ranger was
panicking as the orcs crowded around him.
“Legolas!” His muffled cry was cut off as the orcs that converged
on him began to follow through on their captain’s commands and tried to
subdue the human by beating and kicking him.
The elf watched in horror as the ranger was completely blocked from his
sight. There was nothing he could do and when he writhed
underneath his captor, the orc simply kneeled on him harder, pressing
the air from his lungs.
From amid the teeming tangle of orc bodies Legolas heard Aragorn cry
out in pain as the dark creatures battered him without restraint.
“Stop! Stop it! Strider!” Tears ran down Legolas’
face as he was restrained, unable to aid his friend. Aragorn’s
left hand reached out towards Legolas, frantically. The elf
stretched his right arm out until his fingers barely touched the
human’s. Aragorn desperately latched onto Legolas, unwilling to
release him. His soft cries were muffled by the laughing orcs
The orc perched on the prince laughed and taunted Legolas, pointing out
that the two prisoners were trying to help one another. Graghnak
looked over the huddle of his minions beating on the man and laughed
with dark mirth.
“Let them,” he said as he noted the way the two beings held on to one
another, the chain that bound them together pooling beneath their
clasped hands. “It won’t do them no good.”
Noting the fun that their companions were having without them, the orcs
guarding the slaves left their posts and wandered over. Purtang,
a relatively young orc that had just joined Graghnak’s clan, stumbled
forward gleefully having retrieved a large tree limb that was destined
for the fire ring.
As he approached the orcs that pinned the human down he tripped over
the feet of the one that held Aragorn’s neck in a viselike grip.
The older orc turned, enraged, and Purtang fell back, dropping the log
he held. The thick wood impacted the back of Aragorn’s skull,
smashing his face into the ground underneath him and he lost
consciousness, slumping sideways.
The hand that had gripped the elf’s so tightly went lax and fell from
“STRIDER!” Legolas screamed his friend’s name, fear flooding his
heart with adrenaline he had no way to release. “Strider!”