Family Trouble

Chapter 3: Horribly Awry

by Cassia and Siobhan

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“Wait a minute! Wait a minute!” Aragorn interrupted.  His horror had mounted through the retelling.  He was having a hard time reconciling what Legolas was saying with the Thranduil he had met.  Oh he had heard the tales of the king’s quick temper and even seen it in action before. But he knew that Thranduil loved Legolas.  This was a part of his friend’s family life that he had never heard.  He needed to stop the story and get a few more details. 

“Are you telling me your father imprisoned you for not giving your word?  In a cell?  In the dungeon?!  You are kidding me, right?”  The ranger found that information incredulous and stared in shock at his friend.  “Why didn’t’ you ever tell him how much you feared the dark and the confines?  You’ve told me.  It can’t be that terrible of a secret.  Legolas, that stubborn streak of yours will be the death of you yet.” 

“Well it almost was,” Legolas answered softly.  He smiled up into the wide-eyed stare that Aragorn laid on him.  “You must know, Estel, that my father loves me very much.  He didn’t do it to be mean.  He thought he was helping the situation.  Believe me, he knows about my fears.  You have seen how hard-headed he can be at times and you know of my stubbornness.  They can be a nasty mix.  I fear I am more like him than we both want to admit.  Sometimes we just don’t communicate very well.  Ours has been a very different relationship than the one you have with your father.  I always worried that he would see my fears as weaknesses and I would lose his respect.  His love I always have.  But I needed to know that he knew I could take over in his stead should he require it.  An elf that is afraid of the dark and small places is not fit for leadership.” 

“Obviously that assessment is wrong,” Aragorn replied softly.  “Fears do not make you weak.  They make you more real, easier to get to know than if you were a perfect pointy-eared elf.”  The last was said with a quiet laugh. 

Legolas couldn’t help the quiet snicker that escaped his lips.  “Don’t make me laugh, Estel, it hurts,” he whispered through gritted teeth.  “It has taken many years for me to be able to agree with you on that.  But at the time the losses in my life outweighed my reasoning and I locked myself away from all others – even my father.  It was not wise.” 

Aragorn snickered softly.  “That’s an understatement.  Somehow Ada is always able to pry out of me what is going on in my head.  But if he imprisoned me every time I wouldn’t promise not to get into trouble or do something that he had asked us not to do, I think we should all still be serving out our time in our rooms.  You know, come to think of it, we don’t have dungeons in Imladris.  We don’t even have cells.” 

“Rivendell is not a kingdom like Mirkwood is,” Legolas explained a bit further.  “There are many differences in our homes.  It is important for a king to be constant in his rule even with his own children.” 

“You said it didn’t work out well...what happened?” Aragorn asked hesitantly.  He felt Legolas shudder slightly and he tightened his grip on the elf’s shoulder.  “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.  I mean I know you told me your father had put you in the dungeons before, but I guess I just thought you were kidding.  I never realized you meant it.” 

“No, I’m afraid this wasn’t the first time it happened.  Only it wasn’t meant to be for an extended period of time.  Later that same day word was sent of a violent orc attack on some of the patrols near the southern border.  So my father went out with a large contingent of reinforcements to see for himself what had happened and lend any aid he could.  When he reached the site of the battle, it was revealed that many had been killed but dozens more were taken as captives.  That was unacceptable and my father wished to journey with the garrison to free the prisoners,” Legolas continued the tale. 

He halted every so often to catch his breath or rest.  It was hard to keep up the conversation, but it kept his mind off his hurting body and their cramped predicament.  Aragorn was satisfied to simply wait out the elf until Legolas was ready to speak again, letting him have what rest he needed. 

“My father sent back a runner to tell Amil-Garil to release me, but confine me to the palace grounds until he could return.  Unfortunately, the messenger never reached the palace.  He was killed before he could return and his message was never delivered,” Legolas picked up the story again after a long pause.  Most of the tale evoked little emotion from him now.  It had all happened so long ago.  But parts of it were still painful to tell.  And this was one of them. 

Aragorn was shaking his head in disbelief.  His stomach churned as the prince’s voice dropped off. 

“I’m so sorry,” the ranger whispered.  “Was no one else sent back?  No word brought after?” 

“Well, eventually some of the warriors who had been wounded, but not killed in the previous fight, made their way back to Lasgalen.  From those soldiers we were able to find out what happened and where the king and the other contingent went off to.  However, they also brought with them no word from the king on my behalf and so my guards had no other orders but the last ones they were left with.  Amil-Garil and the rest of the guard had no choice but to continue to keep me imprisoned.  For their part, they did what they were supposed to do and it was to their honor that they did.  It brought them no pleasure and they were kind to me.  But they could not let me out without the king’s word.  They had no idea he had already given it.”  Legolas stopped speaking again and winced, holding his breath against a spasm of pain. 

“Legolas?”  Aragorn moved slightly, wincing in sympathy. 

“Perhaps I should sit up.  My ribs ache fiercely,” Legolas answered the question. 

“Maybe you should just stop talking.  I could tell a story instead.  Have you heard about the time we tricked Ada into drinking some of his own tea, but Elrohir made it and it was too strong?  There was a delegation from the surrounding towns coming for a council the next day and Elrohir and Elladan took turns pretending to be Elrond because we couldn’t wake Ada up.”  Aragorn laughed at the recollection. 

“Yes, I have! And shame on you all!  You are lucky it worked so well.  You and your brothers never cease to amaze me.” Legolas smiled up at his friend.  “But no, really, I just think I need to sit up for a bit, please, if that’s possible.” 

“Of course,” Aragorn complied.  “Wait a moment though...”  Gingerly he lifted his left arm from where it lay across Legolas’ abdomen and held it tightly to his chest. 

As Legolas tried to rise, Aragorn knelt beside him and helped him sit up as best he could with his right hand.  After a few moments the elf was resting against the warm shallow where Aragorn had sat a few moments ago. 

Moving slowly around the prince in the tight confines, Aragorn stepped over Legolas and seated himself on the elf’s left. 

“You need a sling for that arm,” Legolas commented softly.  He was breathing better now that he was sitting up, although the change in position hurt. 

“It’ll be fine,” Aragorn commented. “I’m more worried about you right now.”  He watched as the elf moved slowly, unfastening the catches on the leather belt that held his quiver in place. 

“Here, use this,” Legolas offered.  Leaning forward he clumsily adjusted the straps until they held Aragorn’s arm tightly to his chest, with the weight resting on the ranger’s right shoulder.  “That should help a bit.” 

It did indeed help and the human sighed as the pressure was taken off his collarbone. 

Sitting back against the rock, he shouldered the elf forward until Legolas was leaning against him, his warmth helping to ease the pain.  For several moments neither of them spoke as their bodies readjusted to the movements and the new positions they sat in.  The pain slowly ebbed away and in moments Legolas was breathing easier. 

“Better?” Aragorn whispered. 

“Yes much,” Legolas countered.  He laid his head against Aragorn’s shoulder as they sat there side by side. 

“They’ll find us.  I know they will,” Aragorn reassured quietly.  He spoke the words aloud as much for himself as for the elf. 

“I hope they do,” Legolas whispered.  “I really don’t want to remain here for the rest of my days.” 

With a laugh Aragorn glanced over at his friend.  “Yes, this would be much worse than one of your father’s cells.” 

“Ah yes, that’s right.  The story,” Legolas smiled as he returned to the telling.  “Well in all honesty I actually feel a little bit like I did back then.  It was hard to breathe in the dark.  It felt like the walls were physically closing in on me whenever I opened my eyes.  In fact I actually took to softly banging the back of my head against the wall behind me repeatedly for hours on end.  It was odd, but it helped, and at that time I needed anything to distract from the tightness that the fears were wrapping around my heart.  Eventually I lost all track of time after the first three weeks.  However, far from becoming accustomed to the prison cell, every passing moment seemed to make me more and more desperate to do anything to get away from it.  I couldn’t stand it, I couldn’t stay there.” 

“Oh, Legolas, tell me you didn’t try to escape,” Aragorn groaned quietly.  He squinted his eyes shut against the thought.  To him this retelling of his friend’s past was terribly painful. 

“I did,” Legolas answered simply.  “Elves were not made to subsist in the dark.  It is one the closest things to death that can ever be done to them.  To lock them away from all that is good and fair or to banish them forever from their people – both are death sentences to an elf.” 

“We’ll get out of here,” Aragorn repeated fiercely.  “I’ll not let you die here.  My brothers are out looking for us right now.  I know it.” 

Legolas simply nodded and laid his back against the ranger’s shoulder.  It helped a little bit to have hope that someone was searching for them. 

In moments Aragorn’s breathing had evened out and deepened.  The man had fallen asleep.  With a soft sigh Legolas relaxed against his friend, content to wait.  At least this time he wasn’t alone. 


The night was quiet and warm.  The sounds of small animals and night insects serenaded the full moon that shone above the canopy of trees sheltering a grassy meadow near the small outpost Legolas and Strider had stumbled upon not so long ago. 

Silently two identical elves walked out from under the shadowed shelter of the woods and approached the clearing.  The meadow glistened in the evening moonlight.  On the far edge of the grassy bowl a group of men were sitting around a campfire, enjoying an evening meal and the company of one another.  The path that the elves were tracking passed right by this very shallow.  The fact that one of the human voices was familiar to the two elves was the very thing that had brought them out into the open. 

It hadn’t taken much in the way of tracking skills to find the hunters' campfire.  The sharp ears of the elves had picked up the sounds of full laughter and loud boasting while they were still some ways off.  With barely a word spoken between them they had shifted their course in hope of uncovering clues to the whereabouts of those they tracked.   In the moonlight their glow was set off by the natural illumination that fell on them.  As they picked up their pace they moved as one. 

The laughter round the fire died down as the men took note of the two cloaked beings that exited the forest.  A large man stood up and addressed them.  His eyes were quick and thick, graying hair crowned his head.  He was dressed in the brown, leather garb of the hunters this side of the Misty Mountains.   Next to him a younger man stirred but was pressed back down by the older hunter. 

“It’s late, friends.  What brings you out this way?  Care to join us?” 

The question was part invitation, part warning if the strangers had mischief in mind.  His right hand strayed to the hilt of his hunting knife as he waited for a response. 

“Told you it was Taradin,” a soft whisper traveled on the slight breeze. 

“Who comes calling?” the hunter called again. 

Elladan flipped the hood of his cloak back revealing his raven hair and fair features. A brilliant smile lit up his face. 

“Taradin, you scoundrel, we thought we heard your laughter above the rest.  How fare you and young Garith?  He is there with you is he not? Father has inquired on your well being many a time,” Elrohir called out to the man. 

“Elladan?  Elrohir?” Garith jumped to his feet and began shuffling the men over, making room for the two elves near the fire.  “Come!  Sit and join us!  Is Strider with you?”  The young man had a fondness for the ranger that they had befriended. 

“What brings you elf lords out this way?” Taradin asked jovially.  He rounded the fire and grasped each of the slender elves in a crushing hug.  “Been meaning to head out your way before the winter storms set in.  How is your family doing?” 

The twins exchanged worried glances.  The older hunter knew a bit about their family.  The exact nature of Aragorn’s relationship to them had never been fully explained.  They stepped round the fire and seated themselves next to Garith, easily exchanging greetings before answering Tarith’s questions. 

“The reason we are here concerns a member of our family,” Elrohir answered hesitantly. 

“Actually two of them, our extended family,” Elladan covered easily.  “Strider and Legolas have been missing for a few days.” 

“It wouldn’t be odd usually,” Elrohir continued quickly, “But they said they would return in a fortnight.  That was two days ago and their trail leads near some of the more outlying towns.  We were worried they may have fallen into trouble.  They were tracking orcs.” 

Taradin sobered.  He glanced across the fire and locked eyes with a man on the other side of the firepit.  The sandy hunter dropped the piercing gaze and shifted uncomfortably.  The man was more of youth. Caught in between the growing-up years, the young hunter was broad across the shoulders, his green eyes obscured by a shock of light brown hair that kept falling across his face.  He was obviously uneasy with the attention and the change in conversation. 

“Renning, didn’t you say your townsfolk ran into some odd travelers but two days ago?” Taradin questioned the younger hunter.  He turned to the elves seated next to him and explained the other’s presence.  “Renning here is from an outpost just over the next hill. Small town, mostly built on trading.  We passed through there just yesterday and some of the kin asked if they could accompany us – deer's been scarce this season.” 

“That would be from the orcs that Strider and Legolas have been tracking,” Elrohir offered.  “There is an enclave somewhere near these hills.  They were trying to uncover where the orcs are nesting before winter sets in and they become bolder ” 

Turning his attention back to the hunter across from him, Taradin pressed him for an answer. The youth had not yet been forthcoming.

Before Renning could respond, an older man sitting on his left piped up. “The only people we seen in these here parts was that demon spirit of an elf and some poor ranger he enslaved to his will.  Weren’t your people,” he snapped at Elladan tersely.  “They’s the ones that haunt this area.  Finally caught them we did.  Took care of them right good.  They’s the ones scaring off the deer, not no orcs.”  The older man’s gaze shifted to Elrohir and his eyes narrowed.  “That one was pure evil, shoulda done him in long time ago.  Now he’s taken to capturing the bodies of good men and bending them to his will and lies – dangerous.  But he won’t be hurting no one, no more, now,” the balding hunter finished grumpily.  He locked eyes with Taradin and glowered at the man. 

“Uncle!” Renning growled warningly trying to stop the others tirade.  “That is not true and you know it.  They were not spirits.”

The news was disturbing and more than that, confusing.  A frown creased Elrohir’s brow and he glanced at his bother. 


Elladan gently touched Elrohir’s thigh. 

“I’m afraid you have confused us,” Elladan replied politely. “What elf are you speaking of?”  A mounting horror was eating at his heart.  He dreaded the hunters’ next words as much as wanted to hear them. 

“There ain’t no demon elves in this area, Trenth.  Haven’t been any for a few years now,” Taradin explained slowly.  “Only the elves from Rivendell.” 

“Nah, he weren’t like them.  His dress was different and his hair was lighter colored.  Not related they ain’t,” Trenth explained.  He leaned closer and pierced Taradin with a hard stare, “You know the one I’m talking of...killed your Elbamir a bit ago.  Bastard of an elf.”  The last was spit out as a curse. 

“Valar, no!” Elladan whispered as he finally understood what the man was thinking. 

“Elladan!  We have to find them,” Elrohir had risen to his feet in alarm. 

For Taradin it took a few moments longer to fully understand what Trenth was talking about.  When he realized that the townsfolk had mistaken the ranger and the elf for Hebrilith, the dark elf that haunted the woods a few years ago, he could barely believe what he had heard.  Memories of his own bouts with misperception dogged his conscience.  It was something he had learned to let go of but never forgiven himself for.  A lesson learned the hardest way possible.  The experience had left him no less gruff but much more humble and compassionate with those he encountered.  

At the moment however his ire got the best of him. 

Trenth had stood to his feet and was shouting about the townspeople having done what should have been done a long time ago.  His nephew was trying to calm the older gentleman and settle those around the fire.  He was doing a poor job of it.  When Taradin spoke the whole camp quieted under his angry bellow. 

“Trenth! I always took you for a damned fool but I never thought you were stupid enough to do anything like this.  Renning, you’re no idiot like your kin, why didn’t you stop them?  Have you any idea what you have done?” Taradin shouted angrily. 

Renning forcefully pushed Trenth back to the ground with a warning and paced around the fire till he was standing in front of the two elves.  Elladan’s glare made him flinch slightly as the elf turned towards him.  He would endure whatever they had in mind for him.  He needed to tell someone what had happened; it had been weighing heavily on his conscience.  Though he did not know these two, he hoped they could help.  It might not be too late. 

“I did try.  You know the myths they tell in these places, Taradin.  There’s no reasoning with them when they get of one mind.  When I attempted to stop them, Gentry strong-armed me and tied me up, took me back to the outpost.  They were convinced the evil elf had filled my mind with lies.  They wouldn’t listen to the ranger and they didn’t believe the elf that accompanied him.  News never gets up to us here about the true goings-on of things and that wood elf sure looked a lot like the evil one that used to pick us off.  Only he didn’t act like him at all.  Seemed he had a heart to him,” Renning explained softly.  He brushed the hair quickly out of his eyes before opening his hands, displaying them for the elves and men to see.  Rope burns still flared painfully around his wrists confirming his story.  “I tried all I could to stop them.  They knocked them out and planned on burying them near the cleft, the one with the overhang.  That was all I heard before they dragged me back to town.” 

The young man dropped his gaze and shook his head slowly. “I’m sorry, Taradin,” the tortured whisper was not lost on the elves. 

“It’s not your fault,” Elrohir replied softly.  He reached out and touched Renning’s shoulder gently.  “Could you take us there?  Do you know the way?” 

“Is there a chance they are still alive?” Elladan asked hopefully.  He was sure his heart had stopped beating. 

“Yes, it’s not far,” Renning answered.  Turning his gaze on Elladan he shrugged helplessly.  “It’s possible they might still be alive.  From what I gathered they buried them in a shallow cave that the locals call the Cleft.  It was two days ago now.” 

“Trenth, I’m telling you the truth, that dark elf was put down nigh over two years ago now,” Taradin explained calmly.  “All those stories they still circulate are just that - stories.  If Elladan says there is a band of orcs nearby than you can bet there’s a band of orcs nearby, not elves.  These two were part of the ones that took that evil one down.  Why in the blazes didn’t you ask a few seasons back?  I thought we explained it all to Manneth.  Didn’t he tell you the truth?” 

Trenth was chewing on the inside of his mouth, his brow creased in a frown where he sat crosslegged on the ground.  “Well, there was talk that Manneth was cracked.  Some didn’t believe him and the killings haven’t stopped none,” the old hunter offered. 

“It’s the orcs,” Elrohir repeated patiently.  “You have sentenced my brother and his friend to death mistakenly.  The one you feared is dead.  He is in Mandos’ Halls now.  I pray the Valar have more pity on him than you have shown to strangers passing through your lands.  Take us to this place so we can free them and then we will help you with the orcs.” 

“If they are alive,” Elladan added darkly.  “If they are not, I will escort the orcs to your village and let them decimate it before I kill them.”

“You had best pray they live,” Taradin warned as he started packing his rucksack to accompany them.  He nodded at Garith who quickly joined him as they broke camp.  Some of the men would remain behind with the traps and their catches.  Most of them would be needed to help dig the ranger and the elf out – all of them were more than willing to help.  Garith quietly began dividing up the camp, designating who would remain behind. He was quickly becoming more adept at being Taradin’s second-in-command and the men accepted his orders with the ease that they took their leader's. 

Elrohir glanced at his brother out of the corner of his eyes.  The look on Elladan’s face frightened him. He desperately hoped Estel and Legolas were alive as much for themselves as for the sake of the townsfolk.  He hadn’t allowed himself to think through what his reaction would be if they found them dead.  He couldn’t.  They had to be alive.  Turning back to Taradin he helped the hunter collect what they would need. 

They would be heading out tonight. 


He wasn’t sure when they had fallen asleep.  It was during one of Legolas’ longer pauses that exhaustion had found the two and overcome them.  Time was lost in the cave and Aragorn had no way of knowing whether it was day or night.  He stirred and stretched his legs out in front of him.  They scraped the wall of collapsed rocks reminding him of how tight their confines really were. 

“You awake?” Legolas whispered. 

“Yes,” Aragorn answered around a yawn.  “Did you sleep?” 

“Not really,” Legolas confessed.  He had always found it hard to sleep when confined. 


“Did you really expect me to?” the elf questioned sarcastically. 

“No,” Aragorn sighed in defeat.  He was actually surprised he had fallen asleep himself. 

Silence settled between them for a bit. 

“Shouldn’t we try to get out?” Legolas offered softly. 

“I have.  We are in no shape even if we could.  I can’t lift the rocks on this side of the wall and neither could you without further injuring yourself,” Aragorn explained.  “And I don’t have my pack so we are out of food and water and any herbs or medicines.” 

“So what is the bad news?” Legolas joked lightly. 

The sound of Aragorn’s soft laughter cheered his heart. 

“The bad news is I am horrible at waiting,” the ranger responded.   He shifted slightly, readjusting his position against the wall behind them.  “And I think my back end has fallen asleep from sitting on the ground so long.” 

Legolas had to curl into himself to keep his ribs from hurting as a fit of laughter caught hold of him. 

“Stop.  Please, Estel, don’t make me laugh; it hurts too much,” the elf whispered through bouts of mirth that mixed with the deep ache in his chest. 

Aragorn chuckled lightly but refrained from commenting until the prince was able to catch his breath and relax.  The soft exhalation of their breathing was the only sound in the tiny cavern for some time as each of them dealt with his own private thoughts and emotions. 

The dark possibility that they would not cheat death this time overwhelmed the ranger and he turned to the elf for distraction. 

“So did you escape?  Did you get free?  You left the story there last time.  I’d love to hear the rest of it.” Aragorn asked, curious to hear his friend’s tale.  “Please tell me that they didn’t recapture you.” 

Legolas barely laughed, trying to contain his mirth as he watched his friend wince with the thoughts of the elf’s recapture. 

“If you like, I can tell it that way,” Legolas smiled softly.  “But that was not the way it happened.  You see, finally I could take it no more.  I was positive that my father really did hate me.  He had left me down in the dungeons with no word for over three months.  He hadn’t come to see me and no one had told me what had occurred or that he had been called away.  I simply thought I had lost him forever.  When Renault came in one morning to bring food for me to break fast with, I caught him off guard.  I took his hunting knife, overpowered him and locked him in the cell and I fled up the halls.” 

When Legolas paused Aragorn did not interject.  He quietly sat next to friend and wondered at the depth of pain the young elf had erroneously endured.  How could the light-hearted person he knew as Legolas ever bounce back so easily from such hurt and pain that he kept buried so deeply within.  He kept reminding himself that this was the elf’s far past and had happened long before even his father’s father was born. 

“I nearly made it too, but Amil-Garil discovered my escape and cut off my route...” 


“What are you going to do with that, Legolas?” Amil-Garil kept his hands up and his distance even.  He would not draw a weapon on the prince, but neither could he ignore his King’s orders and let the boy escape.  “Are you going to kill me?” 

Legolas wavered uncertainly, the blade in his hand lowering a few inches.  Of course he wasn’t going to kill anyone.  He had no intention of harming the guards, he knew they were only doing their job... he just wanted out.  He needed the free air like a starving man needs food.  The confinement and lack of light was killing his spirit.  

He would fight if he thought he could get away without hurting anyone but, with the passage behind Amil-Garil filling up with guards, he knew that was becoming impossible.  He was trapped.  

“I want out.  Please, Amil, I just want out!” his voice shook slightly, but the dangerous look had left his eye, replaced by one of despair. 

“I know you do, I’m sorry,” the captain of the guard moved forward slowly.  Gently he took the long dagger from the prince’s hand.  Legolas did not fight him; there was no point.  He had lost and now he had to suffer the consequences.  

Amil-Garil shook his head, touching the prince’s shoulder gently.  Legolas flinched instinctively and pulled back.  The guard’s eyes reflected pain.  He wanted to tell the young elf he wasn’t going to hurt him, but that would be a lie, because he knew he was going to have to hurt him, and that thought tore his heart.  

“Your Highness...” Amil-Garil wished he knew what to say.  “Why did you have to do this?  You know our orders.”  He did not want to do what he knew he was going to have to do to the young prince. 

Legolas, breathing hard as he leaned against the wall just turned and pressed his forehead against the cool stones.  He was trembling slightly.  “I-I know.  I’m sorry.  I... I just had to get out!  I cannot take the darkness anymore, I shall go mad!” 

Renault moved up next to his captain, still rubbing the sore arm Legolas had given him.  He felt no anger towards the prince, however.  The guard’s anger was reserved for the King who could be heartless enough to punish his son this severely.  It was totally unlike Thranduil and they did not understand it.  Unfortunately, theirs was not to understand, theirs was to obey. 

“Come, your Hhighness, let’s get this over with,” Renault said quietly, taking Legolas’ arm with the utmost gentleness as he and Amil-Garil led the younger elf back down the passage. 

Legolas felt an icy slick of fear enter his stomach, making it churn.  He dug his heels in slightly, checking their forward progress.  “P-please, wait,” his voice shook slightly although that irritated him to no end.  “I know you will do what you must do, but... if I could spend just ten minutes in the garden first.  Please, I swear to you on my honor I will not try to run again, I-I just need to see the sun.  Please.” 

Amil-Garil and Renault looked at one another.  They had never had a duty they hated this much.  There was nothing in them that could refuse the young prince his sorrowful plea, especially knowing what they would have to do to him afterward.  If they got in trouble for it, then they got in trouble for it. 

The two guards nodded softly and turned their course, escorting the prince towards the outside of the palace.  “We could no more deny you sunlight than deny you air, my Lord,” Amil-Garil whispered sadly as they exited out into the palace gardens.  “Please know... nothing we do is born of our wish.” 

“I know,” Legolas whispered, stepping away from the guards who let go of his arms.  They trusted his word to them that he would not try to run.