Between Darkness and Dawn

Chapter 8: Inescapable Summons

by Cassia and Siobhan

First > Previous > Next

Wish there was somewhere else to be.


Wish there was somewhere else to go.


Wish that I knew how to run from here...

But there’s no running now, when you’ve hit the wall

Nowhere to go once you freefall

Fire or ice who can decide?
I just need to keep you by my side.

If we never see the light again
Will you blame me for this choice, my friend?

-- Cassia

“You do not understand what the Úlairë desires from us,” Legolas hissed, his imploring voice barely above a whisper. “If you did you wouldn’t ask us to...”

Callously repeating himself, Yrin cut off the elf’s words.  He hated this part of his job.  He hated most of the tasks the Wraith set for him, but acquiring and conditioning new slaves was the worst.  He had adopted a closed exterior to those around him, trying to keep his emotions as dead as possible.  Unfortunately, unlike the Nazgûl he served, he still had a heart and it still ached sometimes at the plight of those who were caught up in the evil that surrounded them. 

“We have a room for you...” he tried to explain. 

“You mean a cell,” Legolas growled at the man, cutting off his explanation in turn.  He had not relaxed at all, his knives still being held in a defensive position.  He did not trust this human any more than he trusted the orcs.  “Will you not help us then?” 

Yrin did not respond to the comment, for he knew what awaited the two newcomers.  “Your friend is dying,” he said calmly, without much emotion.  “I have seen many in his shape and he is not long intended for this world now without help.  Inside I can treat him and give him the antidote he needs to stay alive.  There will also be blankets and clothing should you need them and we have hot food.”  The human glanced at the ranger lying on the ground behind the elf.  “May I?”  He questioned softly, indicating the prone man. 

Legolas barely nodded and stepped slightly aside, watching the servant carefully.  He was not ready to give in to these people, but Yrinvan was unfortunately correct.  Aragorn did not seem to be in any shape to survive without their help. 

The orcs around them settled uneasily in a large circle about the elf, awaiting further instructions. 

Yrinvan knelt next to the ranger, gently pressing the back of his hand against the man’s cheek.  The ranger was burning up; they had little time left.  Tilting Aragorn’s head to the side the servant felt the erratic pulse beneath his fingers. 

Turning on his heels Yrin glanced up at the elf.  “Your friend is failing very fast.  He needs the antidote immediately or it will be too late and he will not survive.” 

“I will not turn him over to orcs,” Legolas whispered fiercely.  The hopeless desperation of their situation screamed inside his chest. 

“You won’t have to.”  Yrin glanced behind them at the creatures that pressed in close.  “They also obey the Master and will not harm you if you pick up your friend and follow me.  I’ll lead you to your room.” 

For half a heartbeat the elf entertained the thought of refusing, but he could see no other way.  Re-sheathing his knives with a bit more flair than normal he cleared the space around the two humans and himself, causing the orcs to step back and flinch slightly.  Dropping down next to the servant he pierced the man with a clear, hard stare. 

“You can save him then?” Legolas questioned further.  “You promise this is not a trick?  If I follow you in there, you will give him the antidote?” 

“It’s no trick.  The Master wants him alive and I will help him.  You have my word,” Yrin answered honestly, piercing the elf with an even stare.  

It seemed the wood-elf stared straight through him into his soul, touching on a place the servant thought was hidden from the world. 

In truth Legolas had glimpsed into the man’s soul.  There was no hope for their escape out here; he read the hopelessness of such an attempt in the other man’s gaze.  Yet perhaps once Aragorn had been given the antidote and they had a little more time... perhaps then they could find a way.  It was the best chance they had.  No, it was the only chance they had. 

“If you want your friend to live, you must bring him now,” Yrin said quietly.  He knew it was hard for the elf, but the human’s time was running out swiftly.  

“You do not know who this man is,” the elf’s tone was anguished as he realized submission was their only hope.  Legolas’ hand rested gently on Aragorn’s chest.  “Perhaps you do not care, but it matters to me. And it matters to you more than you can understand.  The one you serve wishes to destroy him.  That cannot be allowed to happen.”  Legolas risked a lot by saying even that much, yet something in him told him that as strange as it seemed, Yrinvan could be trusted, at least to a certain extent.  He had seen it in the man for only the briefest of moments, but it was there.  He could only hope he was right and the servant would not turn his confession against him.  But the reality was that they needed any and all help they could get.  When one is about to walk into his own tomb, one must be willing to gamble.  For Legolas and Aragorn, the stakes were very high. 

Yrin swallowed hard and glanced to his left, into the woods.  How many times had he heard families beg for their loved ones, as if there was something he could actually do about any of this?  As if he wanted to be part of the Dark One’s malicious schemes... how many more pleas would he have to endure?  Standing swiftly to his feet the servant looked back down at the elf, the Firstborn’s piercing gaze causing him to glance away again just as quickly.  Everyone thought their loved one was someone special.  The truth was that all of their lives combined meant nothing here.  

“There is no other choice.  You can come inside with me, or your friend will die and these orcs will kill you.  I cannot help you or do as you ask.  I cannot make your friend better if you don’t follow me.  We have tarried long enough as it is.”  Yrin glanced back at the castle’s turrets; he knew his master was watching them.  The Nazgûl did not understand delays, nor accept tardiness easily.  “Let’s take your friend inside and get some of the antidote in him and then...”  With a sigh Yrin stopped speaking.  “Accept my help; it’s all I can give you right now.  If you do not, you will both be destroyed,” the servant whispered harshly.  “Please.”  He held his hand out towards the elf.  

Rising slowly to his feet, Legolas did not take the proffered hand.  He knew the servant was doing as he was told.  He knew there was no other way out... but his heart balked fiercely.  He could barely keep the dread from choking him.  With a short nod the prince agreed to the inevitable and stooped to pull Aragorn up with him.  It surprised him when Yrin dropped to one knee and gently cradled the ranger’s head with his right hand as he shifted the Dùnadan into a standing position.  Yrin helped the elf support the ranger’s weight as he walked the two strangers through the castle’s main entryway. 

The orcs trailed behind the trio, unwilling to get too close to the elf but still forming a constant threat if the prince tried anything. 

As they stepped through the darkened portal of the Nazgûl’s home, a shudder ran through Legolas and he caught his breath.  Yrin tried not to notice.  He could still remember the day he was brought here as a child and he saw that fear echoed on the fair face of the elf that walked opposite him.  

Legolas held more tightly onto Aragorn.  It felt as if they were walking into a deep black void, worse than any cave he had ever entered.  Here the forests were silenced, the songs of the earth and sky were dimmed and an evil pervasiveness chilled his soul.  He remembered the touch of the Nazgûl, the way it had felt, the way it smelled, the way it slowly sought to kill his soul and poisoned all it touched.  The familiarity faltered his steps. 

An orc behind the prince shoved him roughly forward, causing all three to stumble. 

“Stop that.” Yrin barked the command in the dark tongue, one of the few words he had learned in his internment with the evil creatures.  “The Master wants them well and untouched.  Don’t you have other work to be about?”  His voice was low and menacing as he stared down the orc that had pushed Legolas forward.  “Leave us with Rhzaq; he is more than capable of seeing us to the... quarters.”  He stopped himself from using the word dungeon. All of Angmar was one big dungeon really.    

Legolas watched the exchange between the orc and the man curiously.  He had never seen a human work so easily and so fearlessly with the evil creatures before.  The alliance between Paxcyn and the orcs that had followed them into Eowioriand many years ago had been distrustful and uneasy at best.  If Drelent hadn’t killed them all they would have surely killed each other.  But here was a man totally un-intimidated by the vile creatures and they in turn were in full obedience of him.  

With a grunt, the orc Yrinvan had addressed led the contingent down the hall in the opposite direction, leaving one smaller-sized orc behind.  The dark-skinned creature watched the headservant curiously.  

“Rhzaq, we’re heading to the empty room.  I’m going to need some salve and bandages.  See that they are waiting there, we’ll follow you,”  Yrin ordered the orc softly. 

With a nod, the creature limped down the hall, eager to obey. 

“He is not all there,” Yrin remarked to the elf next to him, tapping his forehead with the fingers of his free hand.  “I have heard there were complications when he was birthed and the Master has experimented on him...” Yrin watched the orc shuffle away.  Ironically, the creature’s damaged mind seemed to have taken the brutality out of his nature.  “Of them all, he is harmless.  Sometimes the Master tampers with things.  He has a laboratory where he works...” 

Yrin shifted Aragorn a bit as he helped carry the ranger down the hall.  He didn’t know why he was telling the elf any of this.  He didn’t even know these people and he had no desire to become better acquainted.  The less he knew, the less it would hurt when they were destroyed by the Nazgûl.  It was better to not make friends in Angmar, especially not with newcomers.  They rarely lasted. 

“You do not approve.  Why do you stay?” Legolas asked quietly.  

Yrin turned a quick, hard look upon him.  “I do not question the Master!” he hissed.  He did not know if they were being watched or not.  He could not afford to have it ever get back to the Nazgûl that he had shown even the slightest inkling of disagreement.   

The elf wisely judged he should not press that line of conversation and continued in silence.  He walked with the human, following the orc down a flight of stairs and into a small, softly lit room.  Small lamps in the four corners cast a warm light on the makeshift beds that decorated the far corner.  The beds were really blankets piled on meager straw mats.  Unused manacles decorated each of the four walls, dark and ugly in the firelight.  The elf balked, realizing that it truly was no more than a cell. 

“No, please come in.”  Yrin pulled Aragorn’s limp body away from Legolas and into the room.  Laying him down on the blankets, he ignored the elf for the moment.  

Rhzaq, standing near Legolas, gently pushed the elf forward, causing the prince to flinch and move away from him. 

“There is food and antidote just as I promised.  No one will bother you tonight.  I doubt the Master will come around until your friend has recovered sufficiently.  It will be a day or so before he is coherent,” Yrin explained, moving around the small room and gathering supplies from a shelf that had been cut into the rocky face.  He spoke to Legolas as he went about his tasks.  Kneeling near Aragorn, he pulled the man’s cloak and tunic back from his shoulder and lathed a pungent lotion over the festering wound.  

The pain of the gentle touch reached into Aragorn’s stupor and the Dúnedain opened bloodshot, blurry eyes, trying to focus on the face that swam before him. 

“Legolas?” he whispered, his voice cracking. 

“No.  My name’s Yrinvan, you may call me Yrin, if you wish,” the servant answered, moving aside as the elf dropped quickly beside him.  Yrinvan instructed the prince to hold the ranger up in a sitting position.  Legolas complied readily, speaking softly to his friend in the grey tongue. 

“I need you to drink this for me.”  Without explaining further, Yrin pressed a glass vial to Aragorn’s lips and tipped the man’s head back, forcing him to swallow the contents.  

Aragorn flinched and pressed weakly back against the elf that sat behind him.  He tried to breathe, but a coughing fit caught him instead.  His head was pounding and he couldn’t catch his breath.  The room seemed to spin out of control and he could not handle the input. With a sigh Aragorn passed out once more. 

“What did you do?” Legolas demanded, pulling the ranger back into his lap in alarm. 

“Nothing.  He’ll be fine.”  Yrin took the man’s hand in his own and felt the pulse in Aragorn’s wrist.  Already the Dùnadan’s heartbeat was beginning to calm.  The only good thing about the foul antidote was how quickly it took effect.  “Your friend is strong, I feel certain he’ll survive.” 

While the elf focused on his friend, Rhzaq had stepped behind the prince and quickly pulled Legolas’ knives from their sheaths, disarming the lethal being.  The small orc jumped back as the elf spun halfway around in surprise.  With Aragorn in his arms, Legolas was unable to move fast enough and the orc shifted towards the door. 

“Let him take them, and your bow and quiver as well.  It will be easier for you if you give them up voluntarily.”  Yrin motioned Rhzaq back towards them. 

“Why are you doing this?” Legolas asked.  His haunted question touched those places in the servant that still balked at his own enslavement. 

“I don’t have a choice.” Yrin answered quietly as he stood and placed the now empty vial in a large pocket sewn on his tunic.  Carefully he removed the elf’s quiver and handed the weapons to the orc before taking Aragorn’s hunting knife, sword, bow and quiver as well. 

The elf stiffened, but in the end did not fight as Yrinvan relieved them of their weapons.  They were deep inside the fortress now.  There was no escape possible and defiance without hope of success would only diminish their chances of survival. 

“Everyone has a choice,” Legolas answered more bitterly than he had intended.  He couldn’t help the feelings of helplessness that washed over him.  If given the opportunity he could fight his way out of here, he would.  He just could not leave Aragorn to suffer the Witch-king alone. 

“No...” Yrin glanced down at the elf.  “Not everyone does.”  Handing the weapons to the orc standing next to him, the servant pulled his tunic off his left shoulder, allowing the prince to see the jagged, partially healed scar that marred his flesh.  The cut on the human’s body was very similar to the one on Aragorn’s, but looked much, much older. It had closed for the most part, but looked as if it had never fully healed.  It was not raw and inflamed like Aragorn’s, but the signature dark tendrils laced the outside of the mostly healed wound in spider-web patterns.  This was an old injury and Yrinvan’s body seemed to have accepted its presence, but it was still frightening to look at. 

Legolas drew his breath in at the sight.  

“The Master gives us enough antidote to keep us alive from week to week.  Even if I ever was foolish enough to try to run away and somehow miraculously lucky enough to succeed, I would die like your friend nearly did,” Yrin said flatly.  These were the facts of his life, and here in Angmar you either accepted them or you died, it was just that simple.  “My wife and children are enslaved here as well.  The Master would take out his wrath on them.”  Pulling his shirt back over the black cut, Yrinvan pushed Rhzaq out into the hallway before him.  “So you see, there is no choice.  It was taken away a long time ago.  Just like yours has been.  I’m sorry.” 

“I won’t accept that.”  Legolas tightened his grip on the ranger in his arms. 

Ignoring the elf’s comment, Yrin continued.  “I have left food for the both of you.  Your door will not be locked, but it will be guarded, if you try anything, that will change.  I would advise you to stay here and rest while you may.  If you have any needs simply tell your guards and one will come and find me.”  Legolas could see four orcs positioning themselves against the far wall in the hallway, outside their room.  

“I’ll be back in the morning to see how he fares.”  Yrin nodded at Aragorn before turning and walking away.  Rhzaq quietly closed the door behind them. 

Yrin sighed as he walked away.  He did not know what the Nazgûl wanted with these two, but it could not be good.  He should have known the Master was up to something when Tynair was sent out.  The fellow servant had been dispatched some time ago with a missive for the Wraith’s compatriots in Dol Guldur.  The slave had asked for enough antidote to make the trip, but the Wraith had restricted Yrin from being generous with the medicine.  It was a hard, fast trip to make.  The Witch-king barely gave his messengers enough antidote to keep them alive until they returned.  If the Wraiths delayed the messenger down south, which they often did, the slaves rarely made it back alive.  Yrin had done it once and it had nearly killed him.  

The headservant had known there was more to Tynari’s mission than just a delivery.  The Nazgûl had given Tynair a special mixture of poison and instructions that he was not allowed to share, even with Yrinvan.  When he left, Yrin was certain he would never see the man again.  Something about the look Tynair had laid upon him as he had ridden out had touched Yrin’s heart.  His friend was saying goodbye. 

Two weeks ago the Master’s steed had returned without a rider.  The poison was gone, as was the antidote.  The horse carried a return package from Dol Guldur in the saddle bags, but Tynair was never found.  They were forbidden to go looking for him.  Yrin had known deep in his heart the man had carried out his errands and probably died along the road, trying to get home before the toxins killed him. 

Now he was certain of it and quietly cursed his friend for following through with the Wraith's plans.  Because of Tynair’s obedience there were two more that would unwillingly be forced to take his place.  If the roles were reversed though, Yrinvan knew he would have done the same, hoping against hope to make it back to his family alive.  It had broken his heart to tell Tynair’s wife and children that he wasn’t coming back.  Did the elf and the ranger have family somewhere?  If they did there were now two more families out there in the midst of heartbreak because of his friend’s actions.  It was such a hopeless circle.  

Yrinvan shook his head.  Sometimes it hardly seemed worthwhile to continue breathing.  In the darkness of Angmar, there was no room for hope.   


True to his word, Yrinvan checked on Aragorn the next day.  The servant was responsible for the care and training of all new slaves and prisoners.  He took his duties seriously. 

Aragorn was in a deep sleep, but he looked better than he had when the elf carried him in here the day before.  Yrin brushed the human’s hair away from his forehead, checking his temperature.  

Legolas hovered protectively nearby.  “Are you going to give him more antidote?” 

Yrin shook his head.  “No.  The Master allowed him one dose only for the present.” 

The elf watched the servant carefully, gauging him.  He wasn’t sure yet what to make of the human.  He decided to risk a bold question and see how the man reacted.  

“What’s the best way out of here?”  Legolas expected Yrin to be angry at the question, or not answer him at all, but neither proved to be the case. 

“Death,” Yrin said quietly as he pulled a blanket over Aragorn’s sleeping form.  “But make no mistake, the Master rations even that exit sparingly.  I will give you the advice I have given many others: do not fight the Nazgûl.  You will always lose and death will not be the easy option it seems.  Accept your situation and you may survive.  If you do not, you will discover there are worse things than death.  I do not say this in an attempt to frighten you, but to help you.” 

Legolas folded his arms, fixing Yrin with a steady gaze as the human rose to his feet.  “We can never accept this.” 

“Then you condemn yourselves,” Yrin said plainly, turning to leave.  

“Yrin, wait,” Legolas halted the man before he could reach the door.  “I know it would seem foolish to help us, but I do not ask the unreasonable.  Help us, and we’ll help you.  My friend... he is a healer.  He knows about medicines and how to make them.  If he were well enough and could study the antidote, he could recreate it for all of you.  Your people could be free.  Don’t you want that?”  

Legolas hoped he did not over-extend himself with that promise.  He had seen Lord Elrond analyze and pull apart a pre-made concoction element by element in order to recreate it.  He had to believe that Aragorn would have learned some of this from his father.  He had ultimate faith in his friend’s abilities. 

Yrinvan turned back for a moment.  “Always the new ones talk of freedom.  It brings only suffering.  You do not know the Master as I know him.  Everyone thinks they’re different, but they all die the same.  I would not see that happen to you, but the choice is in your hands.”  With that, he left. 

There were days when Raniean thanked his lucky stars that he was not the Prince of Mirkwood.  Most days actually, but today was one of those that made him particularly grateful. 

Thranduil was in one of his quietly livid moods.  The kind where all that could safely be said was, ‘Yes, Sire’ and, ‘No, Sire’... but mostly, ‘Yes, Sire’.

“Raniean, I want you to take this to Rivendell.” Thranduil’s voice was deceptively quiet as he placed the dispatch pouch into his Captain’s hands.  “Take Trelan and Brenyf with you.”

“Yes, Sire.” Raniean accepted the charge.
“Deliver it to Lord Elrond personally,” Thranduil continued.  “Do NOT leave him until he gives you a response.”

 “Yes, Sire.”
“And if you find my son there, or along the way...” the King seemed to be considering what he said.  “Bring him home immediately.”
“Yes, Sire,” Raniean agreed yet again.  He hesitated, unsure if there was more since he had not been dismissed.

“What are you still here for?” Thranduil asked, not unkindly, but definitely impatiently.  “Go!”
“Yes, Sire, at once.”  Raniean bowed swiftly and left to find his friend and his second-in-command.  As he passed through the throne room doors, he decided he did not want to be in Legolas’ shoes right now.
“Are we finally going to look for Legolas?” was the first thing Trelan said when he saw Raniean approaching with a courier satchel slung over his shoulder.  They were surprised that Thranduil had waited this long.  

Brenyf fell in behind the two elves wordlessly.  He’d been here before as well and knew the routine.  He had just been talking to Trelan about the prince when their captain approached them. 

Raniean nodded in answer to Trelan’s question.  He was not yet as worried as he could tell his liege was, but he could not deny a creeping sense of unease.  Legolas should have been home over a month ago.  He had promised... 

Oh, Legolas,” Raniean couldn’t help thinking as they rode away down the forest road, heading for the Misty Mountains.  “If I had a horse for every time I’ve had to come after you... what have you gotten yourself into this time, my friend?


Aragorn’s strength did not return fully, but the next few days brought definite improvement.  It was a temporary reprieve and the two friends both knew that, but they held onto their hope that, while they were alive and together, they still had a chance.

The first several days of their stay were truly not that bad.  They were fed and ignored for the most part, while Aragorn recovered.  On the fourth day, the antidote’s potency reached its full effect before it would start going into decline again.  What peace they had came to an abrupt end. 

“We need to find a way out of here,” Aragorn whispered, unsure if there were guards in the hallway. 

“You weren’t given enough antidote,” Legolas countered softly, “We need to discover where it is stored or how to make it and treat you fully first.”  The elf rotated his shoulder stiffly.  The injury the fell beast had given him had finally closed over on the outside although it felt as if it still had a fair bit of mending to do on the inside before he would be able to move the arm without feeling the ache.  

“Grand, if you have any suggestions on how we’re supposed to do that.  There must be a way.  What have you discovered since we arrived?” Aragorn pressed further.  He felt better than he had in days although the ache had never fully left his bones.  He didn’t like just sitting here waiting for the hammer to fall.  He wanted to act. 

“I have spoken with...” Legolas’ answer cut off as the door to their cell opened.  For the first time it was not Yrinvan who stood there. 

“Enough rest for you,” the hulking orc in the doorway barked with a cruel smile.  “The Master will see you now.” 

Several of the dark, twisted beings entered the cell.  Grabbing Aragorn by the arms, they pulled him towards the door.  The ranger did not fight them, knowing all such resistance was futile.  The orcs cuffed and slammed him from side to side just the same.  

Several more of the dark creatures approached Legolas.  If their eyes gleamed with hatred for the human, they positively glowed with loathing for the elf.  

Legolas felt a flash of dark panic when their clawed hands closed on his arms, his shoulders, his hair.  They were being intentionally rough and their twisted nails dug into the exposed flesh of his neck.  Legolas bucked and tossed his head to clear their filthy hands from his head.  He hated them.  He hated these beings.  His senses screamed when they touched him.  He was in Mordor again, and he could not go back there.  

“Don’t touch me,” Legolas growled, yanking away from the orcs and stepping further back into the cell.  Yrinvan was in the hall, overseeing the handling of the prisoners.  The deadly tone in Legolas’ voice made him pause.  There was something in the elf’s disturbed, almost panicked motions that said he would take drastic measures before letting the orcs lay a finger on him.  

Aragorn heard the tone as well and looked back over his shoulder at the elf in alarm as he was dragged out of the room.  “Legolas, sîdh mellon-nín, pân natha mae!  Be calm my friend, it will be all right,” he tried to reassure the elf as the orcs manhandled him roughly away.  Aragorn understood his friend’s reaction, but he feared it was going to get the elf into a world of pain and trouble.  He could not catch Legolas’ eye and the orcs seemed intent on brutally separating them.  

“Do not touch me!” Legolas’ second warning was more desperate and much darker as the orcs surged around the prince, their clawed hands pawing all over him.  Things were about to go badly.  

Yrin stepped quickly into the room, pushing his way through the orcs.  “Enough!” he barked, managing to back the orcs off with a glare and a fair amount of pushing and shoving.  “The Master is waiting.”  The human took the elf’s arms firmly but without malice, prodding him towards the door.  

“You won’t be helping yourself or your friend if you fight now,” the human hissed quietly in the elf’s ear when Legolas started to resist him. 

The prince did not react as badly to Yrin’s proximity and finally allowed the human to hold his arms and lead him into the hall.  He understood that Yrin was trying to help by putting himself in place of the orcs that the elf could not seem to abide.  As far as the gesture went, the prince appreciated the thought.  It was hard to be very grateful, however, as they were led down the long, dark hallway and the evil presence ahead of them swelled out like a thundercloud, enveloping them.


At the end of the hall a steel door as black as obsidian loomed like the entry to a tomb.  The mental comparison made Aragorn shiver.  The cold perspiration that gathered on his brow made his hair cling to his face.  He did not feel well and the invisible dark cloud they were entering only increased the effects of the poison already coursing through his veins.  He had the sudden, horrible feeling that his death lay beyond that door.  The ranger shivered.  

The door opened before the human and the orcs dragged him inside.  Legolas started to follow, but Yrinvan held him back.  “Not yet.  The Master has not summoned you both yet.” 

Aragorn’s heart jolted as he was quickly dragged through the doorway alone.  He twisted frantically in the orcs’ grip.  No!  His heart cried out against what was happening.  Not alone!  He did not feel ready or able to face the nameless terror ahead without the elf at his side.  

“Legolas...” the whisper was soft, but the momentary gleam of fear in the human’s cloudy eyes was very clear.  Legolas felt his heart lurch to a stop.  He was unused to seeing such abject terror in his friend’s eyes. 

“Strider!” Legolas called his friend’s name in alarm, surging forward as the door banged shut between them, shaking off Yrin’s firm grip.  The elf pulled away from his captor easily, pounding his fists against the dark, unrelenting door.  Evil like a liquid malice flowed through his fists and up his arms when he touched the door, making the elf’s eyes widen and his heart race.  Yanking away as if disconnecting from an electric current, the elf reeled back a pace.  The orcs bristled around Legolas, more than ready and willing to restrain him if Yrin could not.  

“You must be still,” Yrinvan commanded sharply, his hands falling to rest on the elf’s shoulders again.  He knew the orcs would take over if Legolas created a scene.  “The Master will summon you shortly or he would not have had you brought here.  If you do not behave, we will have to take you back to the cell.” 

Legolas quieted, still a little stunned by the malevolent contact with the door.  “No,” he whispered, shaking his head.  “I need to be near him, Yrin...” 

Yrin’s grip tightened almost painfully on the elf’s shoulders and the servant gave him a hard, warning glare.  Alone in the cell it was all right, but Legolas could not be that familiar with him in front of the orcs.  

“Then you will obey the Master and wait without protest,” the slave’s voice held a steely tone.  

Legolas realized he had overstepped the line.  The servant had been sympathetic to them to this point, but he did not want to alienate Yrinvan or get him into trouble.  They may yet need his continued consideration in the future.  Slowly, the prince acquiesced, allowing Yrin to bind his hands around one of the iron torch sconces set into the wall.  

The elf fixed his eyes on the door, straining to hear what happened beyond the portal.  To his frustration, whatever dark magic lay upon this place dulled his elvish senses and Legolas could hear nothing from the other side.  The lack of information was nauseating and Legolas shifted anxiously.  

Oh, Strider, where are you?  What’s happening?” the elf wondered silently.  Not knowing was torture.