lay curled on his side, his eyes closed against the darkness around
was past time for his Uncle to come for him and he was trying not to
frightened. Yet he could not help jerking when the door scraped
open and he
saw Doriflen’s body framed in the entryway.
Doriflen was alone this time. He was beginning to question the effects that his dealings with his nephew were having on his guards. Because of what he planned to do today, it was best he be alone. Besides, he did not need them; Legolas was in no condition to fight back.
Dragging Legolas to his feet, Doriflen pulled the boy across the room, but did not place him in the center restraints as the prince expected. Instead, Doriflen pushed him against the far wall. There were several iron rings set into the floor in that corner and it was between them that Doriflen forced Legolas to kneel.
Legolas resisted stiffly, but had no real strength or hope to fight with as his uncle bound his left arm securely to one ring with a length of thick cording.
“You know, I don’t think your father takes me seriously,” Doriflen said in a conversational tone as he finished tying the knot off tightly, yet his eyes sparkled with dark malice. “Maybe I can convince him of the gravity of this situation... and you can help me.”
Legolas did not like the sound of that at all and watched his uncle fearfully as Doriflen forced his right arm through a second iron ring, jerking the boy roughly down to his stomach on the floor. Doriflen made Legolas bend his arm so that his elbow was hooked through the ring, stretching the boy tightly between the two restraints.
“Have you ever heard the story of Beren, a mortal man who dared set his sights on the daughter of King Thingol of Doriath?” Doriflen asked casually as he pulled Legolas’ right wrist forward, stretching the boy’s bent arm further forward and causing the metal ring around the prince’s elbow to dig painfully into his flesh. “Thingol set Beren to a task, but the human returned empty-handed... do you know why?”
Doriflen paused, giving Legolas a hard-edged look that the boy immediately recognized from his many ‘lessons’. His uncle wanted an answer.
Legolas was tired and hurt too much to be pointlessly defiant. “Because the wolf took his hand off with the Silmaril in it,” he said quietly, resting his head against the stone floor wearily as he watched his uncle pull his wrist level with a third floor ring.
“That’s right,” Doriflen nodded, binding Legolas’ right hand to the last iron ring so that the boy’s arm was stretched uncomfortably tight between the restraint around his elbow and the taut cords around his wrist.
“And what about Maedhros, son of Fëanor; you recall his story?” Doriflen rocked back on his heels, regarding the bound child.
Legolas’ slight nod of acknowledgement was all Doriflen needed to continue. He put on a mock-teacher’s attitude, a condescending facsimile of the role he used to play in his nephew’s life. “So tell me then, Legolas, like a good little princeling: Upon viewing their stories, what similarities do you find between Beren and Maedhros?”
Legolas did not have to think hard, although he was growing uneasy about where this game was heading. “They both lost a hand,” he whispered, fear beginning to crowd the shadows in his eyes.
Doriflen grinned mirthlessly and twisted Legolas’ bound right wrist viciously, making the boy gasp and wince in pain. “True. Ah, but Legolas, you disappoint me; do not always stop at the obvious conclusion, for there is often more hidden underneath. They both lost their hands because they were failures, having not prevented their enemies from taking them captive, and they also both ultimately died.”
Doriflen smirked, allowing the large blue eyes locked on him to read the intentions in his own dark gaze. “So on all counts nephew, you will be in memorable company, if that is any comfort to you.”
Legolas felt his heart lurch as he realized his uncle’s intentions. The young elf began to struggle vigorously with the ropes holding him, but Doriflen had done his work well and Legolas was completely trapped by the cords and the iron rings he was staked out between.
“No! Uncle, please don’t...” Legolas shook his head, his body filling with terror as Doriflen rose and retrieved a small, curve-bladed elven hand-axe he had left outside the door.
The elder elf returned and crouched in front of Legolas again, turning the deceptively graceful weapon over in his fingers and glancing between it and Legolas’ outstretched wrist.
“Ah but I must, for it seems your father could do with a more substantial reminder of what will happen tomorrow if he does not respond immediately. I mean to send him a token that cannot be ignored. Oh don’t worry, Legolas, it won’t kill you, not unless I want it to. There will still be time for Thranduil to change his mind before it comes to that... but not much. Still... ‘tis a pity really,” Doriflen smiled cruelly. “Even if he does come to his senses... you’ll never be able to handle a bow again. But then, there’s that element of self-sacrifice for the greater cause and all that that you always like to talk about. I hope that comforts you. And of course if he doesn’t change his mind, then it won’t matter anyway, will it?”
Legolas was still shaking his head desperately against the cold stone floor, squirming in his bonds and trying to pull his arm away, despite how useless he knew the effort was.
Doriflen liked the terror he could see running through his nephew’s eyes. Legolas had never looked quite this frightened before and he savored having found something that truly seemed to shatter the boy’s iron defenses so completely. He only wished he could be there to see his brother’s face when he received his little ‘gift’. Maybe he would send Naerdil with it; that way if Thranduil exploded and killed the messenger, he would be rid of someone who was quickly showing himself to be a weakling of suspicious loyalties.
The elder elf touched Legolas’ face in mock-gentleness, tracing the boy’s tear-stained, trembling cheek. “Are you afraid Legolas? Would you do almost anything I bid you to escape what I am going to do now?” Doriflen asked quietly, that odd, unbalanced mix of genuine curiosity and malicious playfulness sparkling behind his eyes.
Legolas swallowed and closed his eyes, curling in on himself as much as he was allowed and bowing his head in shame. Valar forgive him, at this moment his uncle was right, he was terrified and desperate.
Doriflen chuckled, releasing his face. “You would, wouldn’t you? You know that, and hate it. But you know there is no escape for you now, don’t you? Can you feel them, Legolas? The cracks running through your very soul? You are weak, Nephew; you refused what I tried to give you, the path of strength I would have shown you, and look where that has taken you. You will be destroyed, your father will be destroyed, your mother will be destroyed... and if I were really cruel, I would let you live to see it, but I won’t.” His hand tightened menacingly on the boy’s out-flung wrist.
“Please...” Legolas whispered hoarsely. “Don’t do this.”
Doriflen just shook his head. Fear, terror... they were such amazing things really. Give a person enough time and fear alone could kill them. It was just an emotion, just a feeling... yet one strong enough to break the will and the strength of the mightiest warrior if used properly. It always fascinated Doriflen to see just how much havoc a person’s mind and body could wreak upon itself if left to its own devices after a proper application of impending doom. Elves were more resilient in most cases, but he had seen some humans completely fall to pieces and become blabbering idiots with nothing but a little pain and a lot of fear to guide them. Sometimes you didn’t even have to touch them, their minds did all the work for you. It was really quite amusing.
It would be interesting to see just how far Legolas’ own fear would break him before Doriflen even applied the threatened amputation. Legolas always did hate to be made to wait for his punishments.
Smiling with morbid fascination, Doriflen rose to his feet, leaning the curved axe against the wall just out of Legolas’ reach, but well within his eyesight.
“I get ahead of myself. I should have a torchbearer here to cauterize the wound so you don’t bleed to death. Couldn’t have you dying too soon, now could we? Wait here, Legolas; I’ll be back presently,” he smirked, as if the boy had any choice.
Doriflen shut the door behind him and threw the bolt across the latch, locking it from the outside. He could not afford to wait too long really, because he needed there to be enough time for the messengers to deliver his little gift to Thranduil... but one more hour would not hurt anything. He wondered what kind of a mess Legolas would be when he came back... it was very intriguing.