by Cassia and Siobhan

First > Previous > Next   

    When Legolas opened his eyes his head was pounding and he could still taste the lingering bitterness of the drug in the back of his throat. 
    The first thing he noticed was that he was alone in a room he did not recognize and that neither Aragorn nor Doriflen were anywhere to be seen.  The second thing he realized was that he was kneeling between two waist-high posts, held up by short chains that connected his wrists to a ring in the top of each post.  He had been stripped to the waist and no longer had any of his weapons.  None of this boded any good at all.
    He tested the strength of the chains and the fit of the manacles about his wrists.  Unfortunately both were more than adequate for their job.  Resigning himself for the moment, the prince turned his attention to the room around him.  It was puzzling because he did not believe his uncle could have taken him out of the palace without attracting attention, and yet he knew every inch of his home, or so he had thought, and this room was not familiar, not even as part of the dungeons.
    He did not have long to wait or wonder, for a few moments later the door opened and the person Legolas wished to see least in the world entered.
    Legolas glared at his uncle as several guards filed in after him.  “Where am I?”
    He didn’t actually expect an answer, so he was surprised when the older elf replied.  “Someplace no one will ever look for you,” Doriflen smirked.  “Out there, just down the passage outside that door,” he motioned back the way he had come, “are the storage halls and access tunnels for the lower palace... but no one knows about this place, or the passages beyond.  Nor will anyone ever find you.  They won’t even be able to hear you scream.”
    Legolas’ gaze was hard and he tried not to let Doriflen see his apprehension, or the cold shiver that ran up his spine at those words.  It was not the first time he had heard them from the older elf, and the last time was a nightmare to recall.
    “Are you surprised, nephew?” Doriflen walked slowly around Legolas, regarding the chains that held the younger elf on his knees between the two posts with satisfaction.
    “No,” Legolas shook his head with icy dignity, despite his position.  “It was only a matter of time before you started showing your true colors.  You’re a cruel tyrant, Doriflen. That much I learned about you when I was young.  It’s amazing anyone could be near you and not know that.”  Legolas glanced around at Doriflen’s guards when he said that. 
    Doriflen leaned quite close to the younger elf and grinned at him.  “But they do know it,” he whispered with a pleased, malicious tone in his voice.  “That is why they do not dare to do other than I say.  Believe me, two-thousand years is enough time to make a people understand what it means to get on my bad side.” 
    Doriflen laughed.  It was a very unpleasant sound.  “You on the other hand, dear nephew, have not yet begun to understand what it means.  Something I intend to remedy.”
    One of the soldiers brought in a bundle and Doriflen took it from him, unrolling the contents on the table in the corner.  Legolas could not see what it was from his position, but Doriflen’s voice behind him kept him aware of the elder elf’s position. 
    “Do you like to play games, Legolas?” Doriflen asked as he gathered up a handful of thin, pointed spokes from the pile that was contained inside the bundle, walking around and letting his chained nephew see them.  Half a finger in length, sharp as a needle and about four times as thick, the tiny spikes were a puzzling thing, but Legolas didn’t have to wonder too long what they were for.
    Doriflen circled around behind the prince once more and Legolas resisted the urge to flinch when he felt the sharp jab of pain that accompanied Doriflen pressing one of the spikes into the soft flesh of his back.  Doriflen repeated the procedure until he had used up his handful.  It was painful, but not nearly intolerably so, and Legolas just set his jaw, staring stonily ahead.
    “You know I’ve spent some time creating these toys just right,” Doriflen continued to talk pleasantly as he worked, obviously enjoying what he was doing.  “Not too bad right now, are they?  No, I didn’t think so.  But...” Doriflen grabbed Legolas’ chin from behind and twisted his nephew’s neck up and around until Legolas was looking at him over his shoulder. 
    “But each of these little spikes have been treated with a special mix I created.  Very ingenious little potion.  Doesn’t do a thing... until it gets near fire.”
    With that, Doriflen released Legolas’ head and rose.  Taking one of the candles from the stand behind them, Doriflen held the flame uncomfortably close to Legolas’ cheek and the younger elf turned away from the heat, much to his tormentor’s twisted amusement. 
    Carefully and deliberately, Doriflen set fire to one of the wooden spikes sticking into Legolas’ back.  It burned unusually slow and hot as the fire worked its way down towards his flesh.  The instant the hot flame touched the elf, a surprisingly unbelievable wave of pain radiated out from it.  Suddenly it didn’t seem small and localized at all, but felt as if someone were holding a heated iron across the prince’s shoulders. 
    Legolas drew his breath in sharply and clenched his fists, making the chains binding him clank dully as he shifted against the sudden onslaught to his senses.  It seemed impossible for so tiny of a thing to hurt so incredibly much. 
    “Surprising, isn’t it?” Doriflen smirked, far too pleased with himself.  “I worked a long time to get this just right.”  He lighted another spoke and contentedly watched Legolas squirm as it burned down.
    “Poor little Legolas,” Doriflen mocked.  “Poor little pampered prince.  Leading the good life while your dear uncle was stuck out in the cold in some forsaken wasteland that couldn’t even support a crop of grass!”
    Doriflen was moving methodically now, lighting a new spoke as soon as the last one had burned down, giving Legolas no break, no respite from the searing pain working at him.
    Legolas closed his eyes tightly shut and tried to focus on breathing deeply and tuning out the pain and his uncle’s taunting words.  But it was becoming more and more difficult as each torturous moment ate away at his strength and tolerance a little further.
    “But all that’s changing now, isn’t it?” Doriflen’s voice had begun to acquire a slightly crazed, excited tone.  “I’ve come back into what was rightfully mine and you, dear nephew, have many long and difficult lessons to learn.  For I will teach you to know pain as I have known it, to know fear the likes of which you have never felt and to endure things a hundred times harder than you can bear.”
    With these words, Doriflen lit all the remaining spikes at the same time, rocking back on his heels and watching smugly as Legolas’ body tightened and jerked when the flames reached him. 
    The elf prince’s breathing sped up until he was nearly hyperventilating and he rocked back and forth in his bonds as the searing waves of pain raced over him again and again, as if someone had pressed his back into a bed of hot coals and just kept turning up the heat.
    Doriflen laughed as he watched Legolas clench his lips tightly and squirm under the pain he was inflicting upon the younger elf.  “You might as well go ahead and scream, boy.  You will sooner or later.  Your father did.”
    Legolas’ eyes sprung open quickly and he fixed a burning glare on the elf torturing him.  “What did you do to my father?!” he demanded through his teeth, hissing sharply as another two burning spokes reached his flesh, adding to what was already becoming nearly unbearable agony. 
    Doriflen just smiled infuriatingly and went back for another handful of spikes.  “What I’m doing to you.  And worse.  Like I shall do to you,” he said almost carelessly.  “Nothing he didn’t have coming for everything he did to me.  And your pain, my dear prince, is just beginning.”
    The mad elf twirled one of the insidious little spikes between his fingers.  “Now... shall we do it again?” 


    Legolas leaned forward, letting the chains on his wrists support his trembling body.  He jerked and hissed as Doriflen pulled the charred spikes roughly and methodically from his back with a small, pliers-like tool.  Five times Doriflen had applied and removed his insidious little creations, and Legolas’ body had long ago kicked into pain-overdrive.  His back shrieked helpless waves of burning pain at him even when no one was touching him now.
    Doriflen finished his task, but didn’t go back for another set of his toys this time. He was tiring of this game and wanted to move on to something new.
    “But this isn’t very much fun alone... Wait here, nephew, and I’ll go find a playmate for you,” Doriflen said, running his fingernails cruelly across Legolas’ hurting shoulders on his way out.  The elf prince was almost in too much pain to notice, but Doriflen did not go out the way he had come in, rather he exited through another door in the opposite corner of the room.
    Legolas snatched the moments alone to try to re-gather his strength, but there wasn’t much left to find.  Letting his head sink down to his chest he drew in the deep, sobbing breaths that he had avoided when Doriflen was present, because his air intake wobbled and hitched when he inhaled deeply and he wouldn’t let Doriflen see that weakness in him.  He had held his own thus far and denied Doriflen the pleasure of hearing him cry out, but he knew it was only a matter of time if things continued like they were.
    A few moments later Doriflen re-entered with a smug grin and Legolas’ heart sank as he realized the meaning of his uncle’s words to him a few moments ago.
    “I brought you a friend, Legolas. Now we can have twice as much fun,” the elf said as his men followed him, dragging a resisting Aragorn between them.
    “Leave him alone, Doriflen,” Legolas demanded, desperately trying to keep the pain tremor out of his voice.  “You have no quarrel with him. He has done you no wrong.”
    Doriflen smiled cruelly as his men shoved Aragorn to his knees opposite the prince.  “But he’s your friend, Legolas.  And that makes him my enemy.  Besides, humans are so fun to play with.  So much less resilient than our kind.”
    As if to try to prove his words one of the guards kicked Aragorn in the ribs, doubling him over.  A second guard twisted the young ranger’s arm sharply behind his back, pushing Aragorn down until his face nearly touched the floor, stopping just short of dislocating the shoulder.  The first guard grabbed a set of manacles out of the corner, but did not try to put them on the prisoner.  Instead he held both ends in his hand so that the long chain was doubled up and dangled from his fist.
    Aragorn had his face pressed barely half an inch above the cold stone floor, bent double over his own knees.  His dark, unruly hair had tumbled forward around his face, further obscuring his view and he couldn’t see what was going on, but Legolas knew what the guard was up to the moment before it happened.
    “No!” the prince twisted his already sore wrists harder inside their restraints as the guard brought the looped end of the chain down sharply across his friend’s shoulders.  The force of the blow slammed the young ranger’s face down against the floor, causing Aragorn’s nose to start bleeding.
    Unprepared for the blow he couldn’t see coming, Aragorn gave a half-checked cry of surprise that he choked off quickly, swallowing the pain and holding his breath as a second blow from the chain slammed into his throbbing shoulders and smashed his head down against the floor a second time.
    “Stop it!” Legolas’ face was fierce and stony as he glared up at his uncle.  He knew this was probably exactly the kind of reaction that Doriflen wanted out of him, but could not stand by and watch them hurt Aragorn like this merely because the ranger was his friend. 
    “Stop this, Doriflen!  What does it serve you to do this to him?” Legolas’ eyes burned as the guard chain-lashed Aragorn again.  Aragorn groaned softly, biting his tongue hard to keep from crying out. 
    “Your grievance is with me and my house, uncle, why should this one suffer for things that happened long before he was born?!” Legolas’ anger mounted and mingled with anguish as another blow elicited another soft hiss of pain from his friend.
    Doriflen laughed, but raised his hand, signaling the guard to halt a moment.  Really it was only because he didn’t know just how much the human could take, and didn’t want the young ranger passing out until he’d served his purpose.
    “What’s the matter, nephew?  Don’t you know what it means to be royalty?  Haven’t they taught you how you sometimes have to sacrifice others to save yourself because, after all, you are so much more important than they,” Doriflen sneered.  “So he suffers instead of you for a while, until you recover.  And you can’t do anything but watch.  Not a fun feeling being this helpless, is it?  Well get used to it!”
    Doriflen back-handed Legolas sharply, then walked back over in front of Aragorn who was still pressed close to the floor, shuddering slightly as he drew in painful breaths.
    “You choose, nephew, what should I start on with him?” Doriflen grinned evilly at Legolas, giving Aragorn a small kick in the shoulder as if the ranger were a dog he was going to enjoy tormenting.  “The needles?  Or maybe a few more rounds with the chain, he does seem to be enjoying that, doesn’t he?” Doriflen kicked Aragorn again, less gently this time. 
    “Or maybe,” a cruel idea flickered into Doriflen’s eyes.  “Maybe you’d rather watch me take him apart slowly.  Yes... yes I think I’d like that.”
    At a signal from their master, the guards flipped Aragorn onto his back and yanked his arm out to the side, pinning the young ranger down firmly. 
    Doriflen pulled his sword and let the tip rest against Aragorn’s palm.  The elder elf looked to Legolas with a malicious grin.  “Maybe start with the fingers and work my way up...” he demonstrated what he meant, lightly running the razor edge of his blade first across Aragorn’s fingers, then his wrist and then further up the Dùnadan’s arm, drawing imaginary lines.  “And then start on the other side... He won’t live long, but it will be plenty long enough for his screams to become forever burned into your memory.”  Doriflen spoke as one familiar with what he described.
    Aragorn couldn’t help going slightly wide-eyed, so he clenched his eyelids tightly shut instead, icy fear gripping his heart in its clammy fist.  It was not a way he would have chosen to die.
    Horror clutched at Legolas’ heart.  “Leave him be, Doriflen!” he demanded desperately, hating his helplessness.
    “You forget, dear prince, you are not in a position to be giving orders,” Doriflen purred wickedly.  “Try asking nicely. Try pleading for his life and maybe I’ll think about it.”
    “Please, Doriflen, let him go, please!  I’ll beg you if that’s what you want to hear, but let Strider go!” Legolas ruthlessly shoved his pride aside.  He hated having to play Doriflen’s twisted games, but if Aragorn’s life were the stakes, then he would play them.  His own life he would gamble with, but not his friend’s.
    Doriflen smiled.  He liked the power the young human gave him over his nephew.  Legolas obviously cared very much for this half-grown upstart, although the elder elf couldn’t imagine why.
    “Hmm... no.” Doriflen pretended to consider it and then shook his head, turning back to Aragorn and lifting his sword.
    “Coward!” Legolas’ wrists were beginning to bleed from pulling against the cuffs that trapped them.  “Are you so afraid that you aren’t strong enough to break me yourself, that you settle on tormenting children to make yourself feel powerful?” Legolas spat the words at his uncle with the full force of his rage behind them. 
    Legolas was no fool.  He knew exactly how his uncle would react to such an affront.  He was counting on it. 
    Aragorn’s eyes popped open and he turned his head, looking at Legolas in surprise and fear as Doriflen turned away from the young ranger and stalked back in front of his nephew. 
    “You’ll never break me, uncle.  Never.  And you know it,” Legolas threw the bold words up in Doriflen’s face.  “You couldn’t when I was a child and you can’t now, because I’m stronger than you are.  Just like father was.  You lost Mirkwood because you were insane and weak and you still are!”
    Legolas’ heart was pounding wildly in his chest, and his throat had gone so dry it was hard to get the words out, but he didn’t let Doriflen see that.  He knew his uncle would make him pay dearly for those words, but that was the point.  If he made Doriflen angry enough, the wicked elf would forget Strider and turn his attention back on Legolas.  He didn’t have to pretend any of his scorn or contempt though, that was very real.
    Aragorn, still pinned on the floor, couldn’t believe his friend was being so foolish.  Didn’t Legolas realize what his uncle would do to him for being so brash?!
    Doriflen scowled darkly at Legolas.  He slapped the younger elf roughly, his face twisted with rage.  He hit his nephew again and again until blood ran down the corner of Legolas’ mouth and chin.  Twisting his hand in Legolas’ hair, he jerked the prince’s head up, placing his own only a few inches away.  “You’ll pay for that, Legolas,” he threatened.  “Your father should have taught you some respect, as well as some sense.  But never mind, I’ll teach both to you now and it’s a lesson you won’t soon forget!”
    Grabbing the looped chain from the guard still standing over Aragorn, Doriflen walked behind his nephew.
    Aragorn saw the fear on Legolas’ face that his friend was trying to hide, but he saw something else momentarily flash through his friend’s eyes.  Success?  But what...  Suddenly Aragorn understood and he felt immediately ill.  Legolas had done that for him. 
    “Legolas!” Aragorn shook his head.  “Don’t-” a sharp kick from one of the guards stole his breath and choked off his sentence.
    “Shut up, Strider!” Legolas snapped, fear and pain making him sharp.  The last thing he wanted was for his uncle to think of making him pay by turning his attention back to the ranger.  Legolas wanted Doriflen to forget Aragorn all together.
    Aragorn did not seem ready to accept that sacrifice on his behalf, but Legolas’ eyes met and held his for a moment and the fierce warning in the elf’s gaze actually backed the ranger down a little as he realized that anything he said would probably just land Legolas and he in more pain at this point.
    Doriflen brought the chain down across his nephew’s shoulders with the full force of his rage behind it.  Legolas gasped between gritted teeth as the punishing metal links dug into his already abused back.  A second blow fell lower, curling partway around his ribs, and a third followed quickly in nearly the same place.  Legolas’ bare skin caught between the thick links when they twisted on impact, causing the chain to brutally pinch and bruise the prince wherever it made contact.
    Legolas sagged forward against his bonds as his uncle’s rage fell full upon him, working him without mercy.  His breath started coming in ragged sobs that he couldn’t control as the pain overwhelmed him.
    Aragorn had been allowed back up to his knees, but the guards held him firmly back against the wall, forcing him to watch helplessly as Doriflen visited his brutal rage upon Legolas.  Tears stung the young Dùnadan’s eyes and he struggled with his captors despite the many cuffs and blows it earned him. 
    In places the force of the beating and the repetitious blows broke Legolas’ skin, causing blood to trickle down his back.  When Legolas couldn’t take the pain in silence anymore he cried out, but only softly, and he begrudged his uncle every single sound that was torn from his trembling lips. 
    At first Legolas had been aware of Aragorn’s emotional anguish in the corner of the room, but his world quickly funneled down into one long tunnel of pain that kept growing narrower and narrower until it seemed to be blocking out all the light around him.  Legolas’ head fell forward as consciousness slid away from him and his senses fled into the release of temporary oblivion.
    When Doriflen noticed the change he stopped, dragging Legolas’ head up by a handful of his long, tangled golden tresses and gazing dispassionately into the pale young face.  “I told you, nephew,” he whispered.  “My lessons are not easy to learn.”
    Doriflen turned his grey blue eyes on Strider and smiled slightly.  “Next?”  He questioned softly.
    Aragorn's eyes were fixed on Legolas, looking for hints that the elf was only unconscious and not dead.  He knew full well a beating like that would more than likely have killed a human.  It would be a wonder if the prince had no broken ribs from the force with which his uncle had lashed him.
    When Doriflen spoke to him the ranger barely glanced up.  As angry as he was, he feared more what the insane elf might do to the prince if he challenged him.
    Doriflen shrugged and moved away from Legolas. Rounding the poles that supported the elf’s weight, he slowly stalked towards the ranger.
    “I have no fondness for rangers, or any human for that matter.” Doriflen played with the chains in his hands, idly running his forefinger down the metal length and smearing the blood that stained them around their circular links.
    One of Aragorn’s guards grabbed the man by his hair and jerked his head back, holding him still while Doriflen stepped in front of him, blocking the ranger’s view of his friend.
    The insane elf touched his bloodied finger to the human’s cheek and drew a line on the man’s face with Legolas’ blood.
    It took every ounce of strength Aragorn had to submit to the elf’s touch.  He did not even try to constrain the anger in his eyes. 
    The human’s frustration humored the elf and he stepped away quickly allowing the ranger full view of the prince.
    “Pretty don’t you think?” Doriflen swept his hand back and indicated Legolas as though he had done something worth applauding.  He turned back to the man and tipped his head slightly in thought, tapping his lips idly with his finger.  “You know I was going to practice on you next but...” Doriflen glanced back at Legolas, “Somehow I just don’t think it would be any fun without my nephew here to enjoy it.” 
    Aragorn couldn’t help flinching as the elf stepped quickly closer to him, “I think I’ll just wait and save that for later.”  A malevolent grin spread across the fair being’s face as he stared down into the dark eyes of the human.
    “Tie him to the post Legolas is chained to. Make sure he is able to get a good look at my handiwork.”  Doriflen ordered the guard on Aragorn’s right.  “It’ll give you a small idea of what I have in store for you when I come back.”  The elf lord smiled at the ranger before leaving the room without a backward glance.
    Aragorn was pulled up to a standing position and drug to Legolas’ side.  The guard on his left kicked the human’s feet out from under him and pushed him roughly against the post, holding him against the wood as the other guard tied his hands to the ring Legolas was manacled to.
    They had just finished securing the ranger when Doriflen stormed back into the room. 
    “My lord?” the two guards bowed, slightly confused.
    “I was thinking.” Doriflen glared at Aragorn, “I don’t imagine you’ll stay put and wait for me will you?  You’ll probably make a very resistant captive and it wouldn’t please me if you escaped before I was able to spend some more time with you.”  The elf walked back towards the door and stopped, swiveling on his heels he smiled gleefully at the human, “I have an idea!”
    Doriflen stepped towards the guard nearest the ranger and pulled the elf’s sword from its sheath.  Without hesitation he drove the point of the blade deep into the man’s thigh, dragging it down through the muscle just enough to create a jagged tear. 
    Aragorn cried out and arched back against the pain, struggling with his bonds, trying to escape, but it was useless.  Doriflen waited until the ranger had stilled himself, his head falling against the wooden post, before he removed the sword from the human’s leg.  Aragorn tried unsuccessfully to stifle a moan, he was panting heavily to keep from passing out.
    “There. That’s much better.” Doriflen crouched down next to the man and looked into the pain-filled eyes. A smile widened once more on his cruel face, “Much better indeed.”
    This time when he left, Doriflen’s guards followed him out, leaving the two prisoners alone.

First > Previous > Next