Curse of Angmar

Chapter 10

by Cassia and Siobhan

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Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone;
never more to wake on stony bed,
never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead. 

In the black wind the stars shall die,
and still on gold here let them lie,
till the dark lord lifts his hand
over dead sea and withered land. 

--JRR Tolkien

Kaldur stared at the spot where the door had been; where both Strider and Legolas had disappeared.  It was covered with grass and dirt like the rest of the hill now, completely invisible.  He shuddered involuntarily and hoped there was some way they could escape.  Thinking quickly Kaldur pulled a small, black knife from the back of his belt and flung it into the grass near where the entrance to the barrow had been moments before, marking the hilly mound.  He had a feeling he wasn’t getting away this night and the two beings trapped inside were going to need help if they were going to get out. 

He held the elf and ranger no malice; they seemed a decent sort, as far as honest people went.  Perhaps he could even trade his knowledge of where they were for his and his men’s freedom. 

Losmir bucked underneath him, throwing the smaller man off of his back and slamming him into the side of the barrow.  He whirled around, sword in hand once more and leveled the tip at his former employer.  Shouts from the elves and the ranger behind them drew their attention as one of the two identical black-haired elves, followed by the other ranger Kaldur remembered from the night before, came racing in their direction. 

The two thieves were out of time.  Their band had been taken and their adversaries were upon them; they could waste no more time on their own differences. 

“You’ll pay for this, Kaldur. I’ll find you wherever you go. I will hunt you down,” Losmir threatened. 

Unwilling to accept defeat and still attempting to evade capture, Kaldur smacked the sword blade away from his face with the flat of Legolas’ blade and jumped to his feet.  Slashing out with lightning speed Kaldur slashed at Losmir’s wrist, causing the man to recoil and drop the sword he held. 

Halbarad reached the two thieves first and tackled Losmir, wrestling the robber to the ground, surprising him by the suddenness of the attack.  He tied the man’s arms behind his back and hauled him to his feet. 

The robber was seething.  He couldn’t turn enough to see Halbarad behind him, so he glared at Elladan as he approached them, hatred flaring in his eyes.  “You’re not taking me anywhere, you elvish filth!  You’ll regret this, you all will!  Let me go!” he struggled to no avail.  “I’ll kill you, I swear it!” 

Halbarad twisted his arms tighter behind him, putting a little pressure on the bandit’s wounded shoulder to cut off his ranting.  “Quiet!” 

Elladan ignored the other bandit as he walked up slowly, his bow trained on Kaldur. The robber raised his hands, carefully allowing Legolas’ blade to drop into the grass near his feet. 

“Kick it over here,”  Elladan instructed darkly.  “Now move over there with the rest of your company.” 

When the highwayman started to object, the elf bent the bow a little more, increasing the tension on the string.  “Do it.  Now!” 

With a sigh, Kaldur walked towards the small group of men.  Elrohir stood with a length of rope, ready for the thief.  Patiently, Kaldur held his wrists together in front of him and allowed himself to be tied up and led away towards where the other bandits were being held captive, on the outer edge of the Barrow-downs 

“I think...” Kaldur’s words were cut off as Elladan turned towards him again, a scowl darkening his features.  He had retrieved Legolas’ knife and passed it off to his brother, who sheathed it in his quiver.  The elf was disturbed to have found the bandit wielding one of the prince’s weapons, especially since Legolas was nowhere to be seen.  As a matter of fact, neither was Estel. 

“I don’t want to hear another word unless I speak to you first, is that understood?” the elder twin growled. 

The highwayman raised his hands in a sign of defeat and sat down in the grass, crossing his legs beneath him, and dropping with an audible sigh.  He gazed out onto the glen, searching through the mounds, trying to remember exactly which one Legolas and Aragorn had disappeared into, but it was no good; from this vantage point they all looked alike. 

“Where is Estel?” Elladan asked, glancing between the ranger and his twin. 

Halbarad’s face instantly clouded and he looked around.  “I don’t know. He was with Legolas.” 

Elladan quickly ran further up the hill for a better view, his keen eyes scanning the darkened, misty landscape... but nothing moved.  Nothing living stirred amidst the hulking shapes of the barrows.  Most of the doors had been closed by now, but the thick mists persisted, making everything difficult and confusing to decipher. 

They seemed to have all the surviving bandits accounted for, but there was absolutely no trace of the prince or his brother.  A small shiver of fear that Elladan didn’t understand ran down the elf’s spine.  

His jaw was tense and his eyes clouded as he stalked back down the hill towards the others, his gaze lighting on the single knife tucked carefully in his brother’s quiver.  He rounded on the bandits.  “Kaldur, where is Legolas?  Where is Strider?” 

Any answer was cut off as a booming voice questioned them, “What is going on here?”  A stooped figure emerged from the trees on their right, walking slowly.  The glow of a crystal set in the man’s walking stick illuminated the ground before him, shedding light on the darkened vale. “The Barrows are no place to be this late at night.  It’s not safe even for a son of the Firstborn.  Did not your father teach you more wisdom than that?” 

“Gandalf!”  Elladan cried, stepping forward to wrap his arms around the old wizard.  Elrohir turned as his brother rushed passed him, his eyes lighting up as he recognized the newcomer. 

With a smile the twin stepped forward. “I’m so glad you’re here, Mithrandir.  I think we shall need your help.”  Elrohir glanced back into the valley behind them. He had not seen his brother fall into the barrow, nor Legolas follow him in, but the fact that neither had returned yet worried him deeply.  “Estel and Legolas are missing,” he said quietly.  Gandalf was speaking to Elladan and did not hear him. 

When he turned back Gandalf was frowning deeply, staring in his direction and speaking.  The elf sighed and tried to catch the words that the wizard was speaking.  “You asked me what?” he questioned the old man. 

“See, it is as I said, Mithrandir.  Elrohir cannot hear you.  We came to the Barrows after word was sent through the rangers that the wights were stirred up and attacking the villagers at night.  They asked our help in getting to the bottom of the strange goings on.  What we found instead was not wights but a group of highway men terrorizing the area.”  He cast a glance back at their captives. 

“They use some sort of device that explodes with bright lights and loud sounds to disorient their victims and then they take all the poor unsuspecting souls have, even their clothing.  It was one of these devices that the robbers used that hurt Elrohir.  It exploded too close to him and he has not been able to hear since.”  Elladan walked over next to his twin and gazed into the blue eyes that watched him so carefully, trying to understand what he was saying.  “We tracked them to their hideout and caught them in the Downs here tonight.” 

The wizard glared at the gang of thieves tied and seated on the side of the gently rolling hill they stood upon.  “I wondered at the ‘thunder’ that I heard on the road through the Old Forest.”  He cast his gaze to the clear night skies.  “Odd.  I didn’t think that men possessed the knowledge to create such things.  Makes one wonder.”  He chewed thoughtfully on the inside of his lip as he let his gaze pass slowly over the men. 

“That’s it. I’m going to make Estel teach me how to lip read when we get home.” Elrohir commented wryly. It was beginning to bother him that he could not hear what was being said, knowing that the conversation in part was about him.  He had never really given his hearing much of a thought before all this happened.  For a being who was so used to relying on his senses it was terribly frustrating to have lost one of them like this; especially his sense of hearing. 

Pressing his staff into the soft ground so that it stood on its own, Gandalf walked towards Elrohir, talking as he moved nearer the elf.  “It seems my coming is timely then.  I too heard of odd goings on near the Shire and intended to see what was about.”  He smiled slightly.  “I had actually intended to seek out a certain hobbit I know out this way, but instead I ran into him on the road here.  He was looking for someone who wasn’t too afraid to help, even if it meant making his way all the way back to your father’s house.” 

“Then Bilbo is safe,” Elladan sounded very relieved. 

The wizard gently placed his hands on either side of Elrohir’s head and tipped the elf’s face one way and then the other, inspecting the area around his ears and temples.  “Yes, he is safe.  I sent him home with strict instructions about staying put there, but you know how hobbits are.” The older man chuckled to himself, quietly amused by his own words. “He said that he feared for your safety and he knew that there were robbers still about because of the ‘thunder’”.  He emphasized the last word with another glare at the captives.  A few of the men shrank back, their gazes dropping to the ground under the wizard’s piercing stare.  

All but one.  A slightly-built man with long dark hair watched him openly as though trying to size the older man up.  Kaldur was intrigued, he had never met a wizard and he carefully followed everything the man said and did.  

“Well, young one,” Gandalf smiled at Elrohir, “we’ll have to let your father take a look at your ears.  I imagine he will have some sort of idea of how to aid your healing.  Although I have the feeling the damage is not permanent.”  The wizard frowned once more as he glanced about them.  He realized with a start that not everyone was here that should have been. 

Halbarad and Elladan had moved away from the group and were talking quietly together, glancing furtively out onto the plains.  The ranger had wandered off searching for Aragorn and Legolas while Elladan had explained their reasons for being so near the Shire.  He had found no trace of the friends and was even more worried than before. 

“Elladan?” the Istar called, walking towards them.  “Where are your brother and Legolas?” 

“They were in the Barrows only moments before.  Now, however, they are nowhere.  I do not know Mithr...” Elladan’s response was cut short as Kaldur cleared his throat. 

“I might know something about that.”  The leader of the robbers stood carefully to his feet as he approached the group of beings.  A small smile crept onto his face.  “Perhaps we can trade.” 

“Trade?” Halbarad pushed Elladan behind him and met Kaldur halfway.  “You are in no position to speak of trading.  Tell us what you know!” 

“Free my men and I’ll show you where your friends are.”  The highwayman tipped his head, gazing up at the tall ranger, his smile infuriating Halbarad. 

Elladan forced his way forward, grabbing Kaldur by the collar and lifting the slight man off the ground, “You tell me now, or so help me there won't be enough of you left to imprison with your men.  Where are they?” 

“You know, you really have to work on your temper, mate,” Kaldur observed in a slightly choked voice as he found himself pinned by his shirt collar for the second time in their short acquaintance. 

“Elladan, put him down.”  Gandalf retrieved his staff and approached the thief.  “What did you see?  Perhaps if you share what you know it may go better for you and your men.”  The wizard spoke calmly but there was a force to his words that set Kaldur on edge and he stepped back a pace.  He did not think the older man would bargain with him; there was something in the wizard’s quiet words that sat uneasily with the thief. 

Undaunted by the robber’s silence Gandalf moved in closer until he towered over the captive, intimidating the man with his presence which actually seemed to grow visibly.  “Now, what do you know?” 

Kaldur gazed out onto the fields and felt something inside him give way.  This was right, no matter the outcome.  He had never wanted people hurt.  Yes they were bandits; yes they robbed and took all they could, haunting the merchant trails and the main highways.  But never had anyone been seriously harmed because of them.  So far things had gone easily enough. 

Until now... 

“All right,” the thief whispered.  He walked to the edge of the knoll and motioned with his head into the valley.  “Strider was pushed into a barrow by one of my men and Legolas followed to try to help him get out.  The mound sealed up behind them and they were trapped inside.” 

“Are you sure?  Were they the only the two lost in this way?” Gandalf glanced quickly about them, his heart darkening with apprehension at the words.  This was ill news indeed.  How long now had they already been trapped while precious time was wasted?  He knew as well as Elrond the dangers of crossing a wight. 

“Yes, I am positive, I saw it happen.  And no, they weren’t the only ones.  Three of my men were taken by wights, but I don’t know which barrows they are in anymore.”  Kaldur stared across the plain, a pang of guilt wrenching inside of him before he shoved it away and glanced over his shoulder.  It was no use agonizing over what couldn’t be changed.  “I marked the one that the ranger fell into.” 

“Which barrow?”  Elladan asked, panic devouring his heart.  “Which one holds Strider and Legolas?” 

“Elladan what’s going on?  What is wrong?”  Elrohir stepped closer, trying to see what everyone was looking at, trying to in vain to understand what they were saying.  “Is it Estel?” 

“Yes.”  Elladan mouthed the word to his brother. Switching to elvish to conceal their conversation he explained what they were discussing, speaking his words slowly although his heart and mind were racing. 

To his surprise Elrohir found it easier to read the words in elvish than common and he replied in kind. “They are IN a barrow?  We have to get them out!  Estel can't be taken by them, he is human. He will not be able to withstand them!” 

“I know. I know.”  Elladan turned as Halbarad shoved Kaldur down the hillock. 

“Find them!” he ordered the thief. 

“Halbarad,” Elladan called to the ranger, stopping him from following the bandit, “please stay with Elrohir and watch the captives.  Make sure they do not try to escape. I do not trust them.  I’ll go with Gandalf, we’ll find them.” 

The ranger nodded curtly and walked back up the hill as Elladan quickly explained the situation to his twin before running down to join Gandalf and Kaldur, who had moved out to the edge of the field. 


The instant Legolas stepped into the barrow he had to catch his breath.  It was like stepping into a shocking lake of ice.  He didn’t hear the door seal shut and disappear behind him as he stumbled forward into the gloom, but he felt it.  It reverberated in his chest like the strike of a hammer driving the last nail into a coffin. 

“Strider?” he called out, a little disorientated.  The elf’s faint glow illuminated himself alone and he could see nothing else for a few moments as he moved blindly forward, one hand stretched out to the side, his fingers keeping him anchored to the wall of the barrow.  That felt better somehow than bumbling blindly forward into a yawning abyss he knew nothing about.  Cold shivers were running up and down his spine.  Evil was heavy here.  Suffocating. 
His boots clanked on something and he looked down, realizing with a start that he was not walking on gravel anymore, but a rough bed of pale golden coins, layered so thick that he could no longer see the earth beneath.  As his eyes adjusted to the dark, Legolas could see that crowns, necklaces, jewels and arm-rings written upon in dead languages lay strewn about and heaped in corners.  None of it stirred any fire of delight or beauty in the heart to behold.  Somehow it all looked disturbingly dead and eerie, like a shadow of greed that seeks to possess beyond the grave that which cannot be taken from this world. 

“Strider!” Legolas’ call was louder this time.  He did not want to stay here.  He had the urgent feeling that they must get out.  The barrow hadn’t looked very big from the outside, and Aragorn had fallen in only moments before he followed. Where in the name of Elbereth was he? 

Legolas’ searching hand met what was probably the back wall of the barrow at the same time that he heard his friend’s voice.  

“Legolas?” A skittering sound of someone moving across the carpet of treasure accompanied the voice and Legolas turned towards it as his friend’s shape pulled itself out of the darkness. 

“Legolas, is that you?” Aragorn’s voice was hushed and his breathing rapid.  Terror clung to the inside of these walls like fog clinging to a darkened hillside. 

Legolas reached out and grasped his friend’s hand in the dark.  “Im sí,” the elf nodded, feeling compelled to whisper although there was no cause.  “I am here.  Fuin sui haudh nedh sí...” the prince’s voice was slightly ironic. 

Aragorn shuddered at the comparison his friend drew.  “Can we please not talk about graves?” he hissed quietly, although Legolas was right, he now had a whole new appreciation for the meaning of the phrase: ‘dark as a tomb’. 

Legolas’ hand tightened in his.  “This is no place for the living; we have to get out, now!  I feel the evil growing... we will not be alone for long.” 

The friends followed the circumference of the mound that had become their prison, but found no break in the hard-packed earth, no escape.  It was as if they had been buried alive and the darkness pressed in heavily around them, like the earthen walls of their prison.  

They were trapped. 

Aragorn heard Legolas’ breathing accelerating beside him as they realized that there was no way out of this dark hole.  He knew how the elf felt about being underground.  And here, in this place... If the clammy horror that was making his own palms moist and his heart race were any indication of what his friend was going through as well, then Legolas must be terrified. 

He was. 

Garechor...” Legolas whispered, his voice trembling more than he would have liked.  “Trapped...”  The elf stiffened suddenly.  “Something comes.” 

Aragorn stiffened as well.  Legolas was right.  A change was taking place around them, heralding the approach of a nameless dread. 

The dark fear that flowed like a current around them was increasing.  The temperature in the small enclosure dropped so fast that even Legolas felt the chill sweep through into his bones. 
Terror.  Terror so thick it made one choke permeated the air, fit to drive a man mad. 

Legolas’ faint glow seemed almost swallowed by the gloom, sucked into its vacuum.  For a moment all the pair could hear was the rapid, shallow sound of their own breathing and the pounding of their hearts. 

Then they heard it: a soft, rasping sound of something moving across the pale mounds of gold in the darkness beyond them. 

Aragorn backed up unintentionally, only to bump into the wall of the barrow.  The feeling of being trapped increased a hundred-fold, building to a screaming panic in his head that wanted only to run, to escape, to flee the terror approaching them, hidden in the dark.  He groped for his sword, but found it missing.  Whether he had lost it inside or outside the barrow when he fell in he did not know.  It hardly mattered, as there was little that such weapons could do against the foes they now faced. 

Legolas felt the icy, black tendrils of evil finger through his consciousness and wrap around the base of his spine.  A familiar type of evil, too familiar... the elf shuddered.  Mordor.  It felt like Mordor in here, as if he were no longer in the fair lands of the west, as if he had never escaped that nightmare that held him for far too long.  He couldn’t move, he couldn’t breathe... it was all still a little too fresh. 

An eerie, unnatural green light had been growing in the darkness around them, although it didn’t seem to make things any brighter, in fact it actually seemed to increase the darkness.  The dead glow crept slowly out across the pale mounds of cursed treasure, casting it all in a sickening hue.  Then... they saw the wight. 

It appeared like a twisted, skeletal monster vaguely resembling human form, but whether that was its true appearance or merely the long-forgotten corpse of this barrow that the wight had taken as its corporeal form they knew not, nor did they care.  All they knew was that when its dead, empty eyes fixed on them, all reason fled like storm clouds chased on a gale before the force of the sheer terror flowing from that dark presence. 

The apparition approached slowly, reaching towards them with cold, bony fingers.  

Looking into those dull, dead eyes Aragorn felt frighteningly like he was falling as the dark shadow spread over him, seeking him, wanting him... 

Legolas saw his friend’s face blanch and pale at the silent assault.  The prince could feel the evil, but it did not affect the elf in quite the same way as the human... not yet.  The immortals had a natural guard that aided them; unfortunately, Legolas’ had been greatly weakened by his recent time in Mordor. 

“No!” with great effort, Legolas tore his feet free of the horror holding him and put himself between the wight and his friend, holding his own hand out in a gesture of rejection and denial.  “Daro!  Stop!” 

The wight paused, seeming to momentarily recoil a pace at the command of the Firstborn.  It didn’t speak so that you could hear words, but somehow they seemed painfully aware of its thoughts.  It was angry at the elf’s interference, unpleased at finding an immortal in its home.  

The full attention of the creature’s wrath turned on the elf and Aragorn felt his knees weaken as if an unseen hand that had been holding him clenched in its grip had loosened its hold.  He sagged slightly against the earthen wall, his lungs aching as he inhaled deeply, his head clearing for a moment.  He used those moments to gather his resolve and his strength of will; he had a feeling he was going to need all he possessed.  Aragorn was much stronger than most mortals, yet these wights had an ancient power that there seemed to be no escape from, and the ranger was afraid that he could not resist the raw force of their evil for very long when there was no way of escape. 

Legolas felt the wight’s fury fall on him like being pierced with a thousand points of ice.  He winced and sucked his breath in, but continued to hold his ground, staring the evil being down. 

Le ú-innas gar-ín!  Darad!” he ordered, struggling to breathe around the suffocating assault on his body.  “You will not have him!  Stay back!” 

The wight laughed, a bone-chilling sound that made every hair on the back of the prince’s neck stand on end.  “You cannot stop me, elf...” it rumbled in a voice as harsh as nails grating upon stone. 

The apparition drew a step nearer, its darkness reaching forward to test the strength of Legolas’ light.  A quiet hiss of surprise and satisfaction issued from its twisted, shadowy lips.  “You have been touched, I can feel it... You are one of ours, you have walked in our world, seen through our eyes... you belong to the same master.” 

Legolas felt the air leave his body in a rush as the wight enveloped his consciousness.  For the second time since entering the barrow, he felt an almost paralyzing jolt of familiarity flood him.  Yes, he had walked in this horrible twilight world under the control of the Witch-king, and even after all the years in between, the feeling, the taste, the deadness... it came back with a sickening rush, as clearly as if it were yesterday.  A few moments of blind panic gripped the prince.  Elrond had assured him he was untainted by the darkness that had controlled him, even after his near surrender in Mordor. Could the elf lord have been wrong?  What darkness was in him that this creature could see? 

Aragorn saw Legolas flinch and stagger as he stood between the human and the wraith and his mind screamed for him to do something, only he didn’t know what.  He reached out and squeezed Legolas’ shoulder. 

Legolas forced his eyes open, not realizing they had closed.  The wight was glowering at him, thinking it had won.  The evil being was in for a surprise, however, when the elf’s gaze rose up to meet him and a cold, hard smile played on the immortal’s lips. 

The prince felt Aragorn’s hand on his shoulder, and it was a soothing touch against the hot ache that the wight had once again reawakened there.  It seemed that old wound would never fully leave him, but that was all it was, a wound, and all the pain was, a memory.  He was scarred by the evil that had tried repeatedly to claim him and he did not deny it; that was what the wight saw in him.  But the bone that has been broken re-grows stronger than before and scars are only weakness if they are not turned into strength.  The elf’s pale blue eyes hardened into blazing points of ice.  He had already faced this battle in Mordor, he had already stood against that dark claim to ownership.  This wight was wasting its breath.  If it had breath. 

The prince smiled despite the oppressive evil, his eyes flashing in defiance.  “If you think that, then you do not see half as much as you suppose you do dark one!  I have never served your master!  You cannot have me and you cannot have him!” 

The frustrated howl of the wight’s anger shook the air around them, making both ranger and elf cover their ears. 

Legolas stumbled sideways a pace, falling to his knees when the invisible hands wrapped around his chest and head suddenly discarded him, almost literally throwing the prince aside.  The wight knew it could not win against the elf, that damnable race had too much strength, too much light in them.  Even looking too long at the elf’s faint glow hurt the twilight creature’s eyes. 

But the human... ah, the human... he could be handled.  True, there was incredible strength in him, an almost elven glow about his spirit if not his body, but he was mortal.  Any mortal could be taken, given time, and they had plenty of time.  If nothing else, it would spite the elf. 

Aragorn bit his lip as the wight’s focus shifted back to rest upon him, trying to crush him.  He could feel it worming its way inside him, attempting to freeze his heart and pull him into the deep sleep of the dead.  He fought back with everything he had, but the wight was undeterred.  It simply pressed back even harder, pummeling the ranger’s defenses until eventually it knew they must fall. 

The human balled his fists, sinking to his knees and holding his clenched hands against the sides of his head as if he could block out the intrusion. 

“No... never!” he grit out through his teeth.  “Legolas...” the last was a semi-desperate plea as he felt the wight relentlessly peeling away his defenses no matter how fast he tried to pull them back up. 

Legolas scrambled to his friend’s side, the hard coins beneath them digging into his knees.  He could see Aragorn’s struggle and his pain; it infuriated and scared the elf. 

Lasto beth-nin, Estel!  Maeth ha!” the elf urged, grabbing his friend’s hunched shoulders.  “Listen to me Aragorn!  Fight it!” 

Im ú-caro...” the ranger murmured, pressing his head against Legolas’ shoulder, trying to find an escape from the waves of pain and mind-shredding dread that were tearing up his consciousness under the wight’s assault.  “I cannot...”  The alarm of that realization spread through the Dúnadan’s body.  He was fighting, but it did not make a difference.  He was up against an evil too old and too dark for him to conquer.  

Horror raced up Legolas’ spine, turning his stomach.  “No!  You have to, mellon-nín!  You have to!” 

Hunching around the human and shielding Aragorn’s head in his arms, Legolas tried to protect his friend, tried to fill the space between them with enough light to harbor Aragorn as well as himself.  

The darkness around them intensified and the wight’s dead eyes flashed.  “You don’t have enough for you both, child of the West...” the disembodied voice of the wight hissed through their minds like tendril of shadow.  “If you try to protect him, I will have you both...” 

“Legolas...” Aragorn weakly tried to push the elf away, not willing to let that kind of sacrifice take place.  It would not be the first time the elf had put his own survival on the line by linking it to the ranger’s, but Aragorn remembered all too well his elven father’s warnings.  //Do not let him over-exert himself...//

The ranger’s heart twisted as he tried to remove himself from his friend’s arms.  Legolas could not do this, his friend was not strong enough yet, the strain would be too great! 

Legolas clung to the human even more firmly, resisting Aragorn’s struggles and pulling the ranger to his feet.  Without releasing him the prince dragged the human backward, away from the wight and towards the far side of the barrow. 

“No, no, my friend, do not listen to him,” he hushed the ranger, keeping Aragorn’s back hugged up against his chest.  Legolas knew in his heart that the wight spoke true, he could not protect them both... but he would try. 

Aragorn moaned at the pain in his head. Legolas’ presence helped, but it could not keep the wight out of his mind and body, it could not completely halt the vicious attack that was sapping his strength and making him tired... so tired... 

Legolas held the human tightly, but he could not back the wight down entirely.  His will was keeping the dark creature a little at bay for the present, but it would not last forever.  The prince wondered if anyone even knew where they were and even if they did... what could be done? 

The elf realized that the hopelessness pulling at him was emanating from the wight, pulling at him, wearing at him... Legolas’ jaw tightened.  No.  It would not have them.  It would not! 

“He is mine...” the evil voice hissed as the wight drew closer once more, cornering them.  “Mine... mine... mine....” it became almost a chant, hypnotic and deadly. 

Aragorn felt his breath coming short.  The sharp pain dulled seductively, replaced by a huge, dark weight pulling at the human’s spirit, tugging him down... 

Legolas felt his friend begin to relax against him and alarm flashed through him.  “Estel?  Estel fight, stay with me!” 

Aragorn’s face was pale when the elf turned it towards him.  “Legolas...” he whispered the word.  The ranger’s eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped forward against his friend’s chest.  


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