The Stars of Harad

Chapter 12

by Cassia and Siobhan

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All this time I can’t believe I couldn't see,
Kept in the dark, but you were there in front of me.
I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems...
Got to open my eyes to everything.

Bring me back to life
I’ve been living a lie
There’s nothing inside
bring me back to life.


They were barely into the structure when one of his captors shoved Legolas hard, clubbing the elf between the shoulder blades and making him stumble. A quick kick took his legs out from under him causing Legolas to lurch forward. Unable to catch himself with his hands bound behind him he fell, whacking the side of his head hard against the rough edge of the stone wall and painfully scraping his temple and cheekbone. Bright flashes of light seared across his vision as he was dragged back to his knees. Before he could even clear his thoughts a fist caught him hard across the other side of his head, another catching his ribs as Talft and Lur took their employer's request to heart with cruel pleasure.

Legolas curled in on himself, trying to become as small a ball as possible. He kept his eyes on the floor, on the wall, anywhere but the men who were beating him. He had too many horrific memories that would never leave him; he didn’t want to add to them. He didn’t want to be seeing these men’s faces in his dreams for years to come. If he lived that long.

Talft and Lur took far too much pleasure in their task and worked the elf cruelly with their fists until the fair being passed out from the abuse.

Cold water slapping in his face and stinging the bleeding abrasions across his temple and cheekbone drew Legolas back from the grip of semi-consciousness. He moaned slightly before consciousness returned fully. He was still on the floor of the punishment hut, held on his knees by the guards’ hands on his arms.

"You’re not getting off that easy, Tyndel," Lur hissed in his ear once he was sure that Legolas was again in the land of the waking.

The elf let his head fall forward. He ached fiercely and he had a sinking feeling that they weren’t going to be done with him for some time.

Legolas doubled forward with a soft hiss as Talft kicked him sharply in the stomach. Lur twisted his hand in the elf’s hair, tipping his head back so that he had to look into their faces as they beat him this time, unless he closed his eyes. But closing his eyes only seemed to make it hurt worse because then his body had no warning at all. At least if he saw what direction the blows were coming from it wasn’t so much of a shock.

The two guards seemed to know all the right places and right moves to cause the maximum amount of pain with the least amount of damage; they had had enough experience and practice, but damage was still happening anyway. Legolas knew what broken ribs felt like and the iron bands of pain that were wrapping around his chest told him that they were possibly the least of his worries.

A second time they beat him until his hurting body lost consciousness, only to be dragged back to a painful state of at least partial awareness so it could begin all over again. Legolas did not fully regain his senses this time and seemed trapped somewhere between semi-awareness and oblivion.

Lur slapped Legolas, trying to wake him all the way. Then, grinning with cruel amusement, he traced the line of Legolas’ bruised lower lip with his finger, catching the blood in the corner of the elf’s pretty mouth and dragging it across his lip. Legolas flinched and tried to pull back, obviously detesting the contact. Fleeting memories surfacing like cold nightmares were indistinguishable from reality and he could not stop the reaction.

Of course the two guards picked up on that and used it to torment him. Lur played his fingertips over Legolas’ swollen lips and in a circle around his mouth, because he could tell how much the elf hated that. Legolas struggled with his hazy mind and body, trying to pull away, but Talft stood behind him and rammed his knee into the elf’s back, holding him still. Icy panic ripped through the prince’s semi-conscious senses as Lur ran his hand slowly up the side of the prince’s face, touching Legolas’ ear and sliding back down his neck.

Legolas’ body had started shaking softly and his breathing was ragged and labored. "Saes..." the elf murmured, choking slightly on his own pain and fear as he was forced back to his senses and all the agony that came with them.

The guards didn’t know what the elvish word meant, but the way it was said was clear. Legolas wanted them to stop.

"Oh no, we’re not nearly done with you yet, Tyndel," Talft smirked, pressing Legolas' face down against the hardwood floor as Talft pulled the whip off his belt, shaking it out loudly so that the elf could hear him.

Legolas jerked when the harsh leather thongs snapped across his shoulders, leaving behind a stripe of fire. Another blow followed another until he was crying out softly under the rapid strokes, unable to help himself. It didn’t take long before he passed out once again, and this time he could not be roused.

"Rest while you can," Talft sneered. "We’ll be back." 


When he woke, Legolas wished he had not. He found himself hanging by his wrists from the crossbeam that ran down the center of the hut he had been in earlier. His shirt was still missing and his body hurt fiercely. Early morning light streamed in faintly under the closed doorway on the right, meaning that he must have been out for the remainder of last night. No one else was around, but no matter how much he twisted and squirmed, he could not get out of the binds that held him and his hurting body was soon unable to try anymore.

Legolas drifted in and out of consciousness for the better part of the day. The sun traveled overhead, and then sank slowly down in the west. Blood loss, dehydration and pain made him dizzy and pulled him towards delirium. Were it not for previous experience on more than one occasion, Legolas would have thought it impossible to be in this much pain, but unfortunately the prince knew otherwise. And he also knew that no matter how bad it was, it could always get worse.

That was proved true when the door of the shed finally opened somewhere near sunset, letting Talft and Lur back into the room with him. Legolas closed his eyes and let his head hang forward again, but it was no good, they knew he was awake.

"Enjoying your stay, Tyndel?" Lur mocked in an overly-cheerful voice. "I’m afraid you slid out on us a little prematurely last night." He had his whip in his hand, playing with the leather tongues where Legolas could see him. "But don’t worry, we’ll pick up where we left off..."

Biting back a hopeless moan, Legolas clenched his lips together and pressed his head against the side of his arms, preparing for what he knew he could not avoid as the guard moved around behind him, shaking the kinks out of the lash.


Many times that evening, Legolas cursed his own strength. Would that his body would simply give in and let unconsciousness claim him again... but he was too strong and his body too resilient to succumb easily. Even when he finally stopped responding to the bite of the guards’ lash, he was not fully gone, but lingering painfully on the brink, pain stealing his whole world and making him wish for anything that would make it stop, even death.

After a while, Lur touched Talft’s arm, pulling him back slightly and inclining his head at their limp prisoner. "If we want to try to keep him alive like the boss said I think we’d better stop."

Talft nodded and shrugged. He was getting tired anyway. "I’m not sure it isn’t too late for that," he murmured, roughly checking the elf’s erratic, faintly thrumming pulse. "Well I don’t want to have to bury him at any rate. Come on, help me cut him down and we’ll let the slaves bother with him. That way, if he dies, they can take care of it."

Lur nodded at the wisdom of the idea and cut the rope that connected Legolas’ bound wrists above his head, not bothering to remove the ropes still knotted about the new slave’s wrists themselves.

Legolas didn’t even have the strength to wince when the cut bonds dropped him roughly to the floor. He was only barely conscious of being dragged out into the fresh night air as he was carried across the compound.


The night was quiet and warm; Aragorn rested back against Cabed’s broad shoulders and sighed. Sircyn smiled at his friend, from where he lay mere inches from the ranger’s face. The small sleeping area had finally quieted and the slaves had fallen asleep pressed up against one another for warmth as much as for bodily contact. It was necessary to know you were not alone in this place and Aragorn had come to rely on that touch. The distant sounds of the oliphaunts in the fields drifted softly into the open aired tent.

"Long day." Sircyn commented quietly.

"Yes it was." Aragorn closed his eyes and smiled, "But it was a good day. We got a lot done."

Sircyn didn’t reply just nodded and allowed sleep to steal over him. The fire burned low in the center of the tented sleeping quarters. The only sounds that broke the stillness of the night was the soft breathing of the worn slaves.

Aragorn had nearly given in to sleep when the sounds of a scuffle outside the tent woke Cabed’s family and they started as the flap to their sleeping quarters was thrown back.

Two of Rhuddryn’s guards dragged a slave in, tossing the unfortunate into the middle of the small living area. The body tumbled across the floor, landing face down next to the nearly spent fire. Golden hair spilled around the being’s face, obscuring his features. It was the marksman Rhuddryn had hired several months ago to help with the Taerg attacks. He had been stripped to the waist and it was obvious from the bruises and lacerations that he had been severely beaten. Roped loops were still bound tightly about his wrists but the twine binding them together had been cut. He dropped soundlessly to the ground and did not move from where he had fallen.

"He’s yours now." The guard on the left nodded at Cabed without further explanation. "If you can patch him up enough to be useful in the fields, fine, but the master doesn’t really care what you do with him. It’s not likely he’ll live through the night anyway." He smiled cruelly at the still form.

Aragorn sat up but Sircyn stopped him, laying his hand firmly on the ranger’s shoulder and shaking his head in warning. This marksman was the guard that had been harassing them whenever they were out with the oliphaunts, shadowing Adrar’s movements and trying to fill his friend’s head with lies. The Haradrim stood to his feet and stepped over the bodies of his family members who had pressed closely together, shying away from Rhuddryn’s guards and the newcomer that had been thrown into their midst.

"I’ll take care of him." Sircyn eyed the still form cautiously. Accepting another slave was one thing, accepting a guard was another. If the masters didn’t want this one any more, then they certainly didn’t.

"Caution, my son." Cabed called out as he sat up next to Aragorn and watched anxiously.

The fair being, barely conscious, flinched as Sircyn bent over him and grabbed him by the arm; a small moan escaped Legolas lips at the rough treatment.

"Let us throw him outside. The Taergs can have him." Sircyn said.

"No! Wait." Aragorn was watching the elf cautiously, a deep frown marring his features; something tugged at his heart... or was it his mind?

"Adrar, this is the one that won’t leave you alone." Cabed gently touched Aragorn’s arm, redirecting his attention. "His very presence gives you much pain. Let Sircyn remove him. If he survives the night we can think about what to do with him later. Obviously the master no longer has use for him."

"Aragorn..." The soft word was whispered by the elf lying on the ground in the tent opening. It was obvious that the being was delirious for he was repeating the name over and over again, quietly calling out for someone while begging his tormenters not to hurt him anymore. "Please no... saes..." Legolas tried to move away as Aragorn stood to his feet and stepped over Cabed, despite the elder’s warnings, and crouched down near the elf’s head. He couldn’t stand seeing anyone suffer like this, even one of the guards... and despite how the things that the marksman said made him hurt, this one had never been overtly mean to him or his family in the way that the other guards were.

Legolas slipped in and out of elvish as the pain from his injuries overwhelmed him, his glazed eyes locked on the silver ones that stared down at him as he turned and looked up at Aragorn. "Strider, don’t let them hurt me anymore... make it stop." His hand slipped out from underneath him and he fell back to the earthen floor. His body was failing from the cruelly prolonged abuse and his strength was gone. The elf’s soft voice was like that of a small child pleading for someone to chase away the terrors of a darkened room. He couldn’t go on anymore alone, he needed his friend. But his friend didn’t remember him; his friend was afraid of him.

The young ranger’s heart seemed to break at the words and the pitifully pleading tone. Without conscious realization Aragorn responded to the elf in his native tongue, pressing the wounded body back down and holding the prince in place so he could not hurt himself any further, "No one will hurt you anymore, I promise you my friend." He touched the elf’s face gently, his fingers lightly brushing back the long strands of blonde hair that matted in the blood about his temple. The words felt right... felt like he’d said them before... but it seemed as if they came from someone other than himself. He didn’t know why he’d called the other being his friend, but when he spoke in that strangely beautiful tongue it just happened.

Cabed squatted down near the ranger and gazed at him intently, "Adrar, you speak his language?"

"I do. But I do not know how." Aragorn thought through the vague wisps of memory that snagged at his consciousness, vying for attention. Concentrating on the lost memories hurt and he pressed the palms of his hands against his eyes, trying to block the pain that thrummed in his head even as he grasped at the flitting thoughts that danced just outside his reach. Stars burst across his vision behind his closed lids and the pain was breath-taking, but he felt so close, so close... the young man pushed through the pain, looking, searching, refusing to let the fragile strands fall back into darkness again, even though the pain brought tears to his eyes.

"Aragorn?" Legolas touched the ranger’s hand, "Estel, remember... you’ve got to remember." The faintly desperate elven words finally broke through to the human’s blocked memory and Aragorn cried out softly as the recollection of his life flooded through his mind, cascading pictures and images faster than he could register; emotions swirling more rapidly than he could handle. It was as though a dam in his heart and mind had been broken and he could see the past once again, he knew who he was, he remembered the elf who lay on the ground before him. Images of his brothers and father flashed through his mind followed swiftly by the spark of a memory – the sight of his friend, Legolas, hanging like a criminal, beaten like he was now, but then it had been in a glade surrounded by men, a man...Taradin, and the elf was calling the same name softly then as he was now. Suddenly Aragorn knew that name, his name, his real name...

"Aragorn?" Legolas whispered softly, lost in his pain and delirium.

"That’s it." Sircyn observed Aragorn’s pain, and, wishing to end it, immediately grabbed the elf, intending to drag him away from the northerner. The pull on his arms and shoulders lanced hot fiery agony through Legolas’ body and he cried out, unable to fight back.

The elf’s sharp cry brought Aragorn back to the present and he leapt at Sircyn with the fierce protectiveness of a taerg, bodily shoving the Haradrim away. "Leave him alone! You don’t understand."

The outburst surprised the slaves and they fell back slightly from the foreigner, watching cautiously as with the utmost tenderness Aragorn knelt next to the elf and laid his hand gently on the prince’s head, unwilling to cause his friend any more pain and unsure of the extent of his injuries.

Switching to elvish he softly spoke to Legolas, calming the elf with his words, the sounds of the soothing grey tongue.

"Legolas, it is all right I am here now." He smoothed the hair back away from the elf’s bruised face, "No one will hurt you. It is I, Estel." He leaned down and touched his forehead to Legolas’ temple as the prince weakly tried to turn towards him, clinging tentatively to awareness. The elf’s fingers brushed across the tops of the human’s and closed gently about Aragorn’s hand.

"I knew you would remember, given time," he whispered roughly. Legolas was finding it hard to stay conscious. He ached everywhere and the fear that his friend would abandon him had taken a terrible toll on him; even now he was half afraid he was dreaming... that he was still delirious and seeing only what he wished to see. Tears spilled over his cheeks and he smiled wearily at the man before the peace of relief claimed him and he passed into unconsciousness.

"Legolas!" Aragorn carefully turned the elf over onto his back, seeking out Cabed with his eyes. "Please help me. He is right, he is my friend. I-I remember now, it’s all coming back to me... I remember."

"Then what he says is true?" Sircyn asked quietly, kneeling next to the ranger once more. That made things a little different.

"Yes, all of it." Gently Aragorn pressed his hands across the elf’s ribs, feeling for broken bones. There was more than one. "What did they do to you, Legolas? And who did this? I will see they pay."

Cabed stepped around Sircyn and knelt on the other side of Legolas across from Aragorn, "In all likelihood, Rhuddryn has ordered this one to be punished for something." The dark-skinned slave watched Aragorn carefully. "So you trust him?"

"With my life." The human glanced up, tears barely concealed in his eyes shone brightly in the soft light from the fire that Mambre had rekindled.

The elder Haradrim smiled sadly at the man he had taken in. There were so many questions that all of them wanted to ask, but for now Cabed knew it was not wise for Adrar’s health to press him too hard or too fast about his returning memory. The time for that would come, but not now. "Then let us see to it that he lives."

"Thank you," the ranger whispered.

Kidrin leaned around Mambre, finally having worked up the courage to scoot closer to the newcomer. His eyes widened in surprise and he pointed at the elf, "He is dead."

Aragorn glanced quickly down at Legolas his hand easing up to the elf’s throat and seeking out the steady pulse that belied what Kidrin assumed. With a sigh the ranger turned towards the small boy and smiled. "No. He merely sleeps, Kidrin."

The child shook his head and leaned forward. "His eyes are open."

Aragorn suppressed a laugh as he looked between the slaves who had unconsciously drawn back closer to him.

"No, it’s all right." The ranger gently pulled Legolas into his lap and held the elf to him, "He is an elf, see?" Brushing back the prince’s disheveled hair he tipped the elf’s chin slightly, exposing the elegant pointed ears that marked elves uniquely. "Elves sleep with their eyes open." He turned a soft smile on the one he held, "Legolas is only sleeping. His injuries have caused him to pass out."

"Elves?" Kidrin pressed forward, reaching out to touch one of the prince’s ears. His people had never seen elves before, many had never even heard of them.

Mambre grabbed the inquisitive child and swatted at his outstretched hand, "Kidrin! Mind yourself," She scolded, pushing the boy towards the open flap, "Go quickly and fetch some water for your father and Adrar." She smiled apologetically at the ranger. "Forgive, Kidrin. He has so many questions."

"It’s all right, Mambre." Aragorn laughed lightly, "Legolas wouldn’t mind."

"An elf?" She seated herself next to Cabed and glanced at him with raised eyebrows, "Told you, did I not, that this one was different?" She chided her husband in their native tongue.

Cabed rolled his eyes, and snorted softly in return. Aragorn laughed at the two of them, his attention drawn quickly back to the elf as Legolas moaned softly and blinked several times.

"Easy. You are safe now," Aragorn whispered in elvish, leaning over, so that his dark hair fell about his face and shielded Legolas from the curious glances of the slaves about them for the moment.

"Strider?" The elf’s eyes were clearer and focused on the ranger, even though the human could see the pain reflected in their depths. He breathed in deeply and held the breath as his body reacted to the abuse he had sustained, tensing slightly in Aragorn’s grip.

"Yes, I am Strider." He smiled down into the blue eyes, claiming his newly remembered identity. "Kidrin has gone to fetch water. Hold on, all right?"


"You are in Cabed’s tent tonight. We are safe here. He has taken me in as his own. If I protect you, they will protect you as well." Aragorn’s hand gently held the elf’s head against his chest as he spoke. He had only to barely whisper for the prince to hear him and he dared not speak louder, unwilling to cause the elf anymore discomfort. "I need you to rest, while I see to your wounds." The prince nodded slightly against him.

Memory slammed into Legolas’ consciousness and fear spiked through his heart at the information he had uncovered the previous day. "We must leave quickly. If you remember, then you are not safe here, Aragorn!"

"You are not going anywhere, my friend." Aragorn switched back to common and glanced at Cabed. "He is not well. May I borrow some of the herbs you have and some cloth?"

"Of course!" The elder waved off Sircyn, motioning his eldest son to fetch the items. "How is the young one, will he be all right?"

"Young?" Aragorn glanced back up at Cabed once more, fighting the smile that tugged at his lips as Legolas laughed softly at his friend’s reaction.

"Young?" The elf echoed his friend, shaking his head.

Cabed glanced between the two, confused. The elf that lay in his tent looked barely older than his own Sircyn.

"Cabed," Aragorn addressed his adopted family, "Legolas is older than I am."

"By a bit." The elf chimed in quietly, staring intently at the dark-skinned human. He smiled softly at the man’s confusion. He doubted these people had any concept about his race save perhaps what they had heard of in legend.

"A bit?" The elder glanced at his wife, raising his eyebrows. She simply shrugged back in answer. "How much is a bit?" he continued, intrigued.

The conversation was interrupted as Kidrin ran back into the sleeping room, carrying a pot full of water. He stopped next to his father and handed the container down gently to the man. Leaning on his mother’s shoulders he pointed carefully at the elf. "Does he sleep?"

Legolas blinked and smiled at the child, who jumped quickly back behind Mambre, cautioning a one-eyed glance around the woman’s shoulder.

With a laugh Aragorn gently took hold of Legolas’ hand as the elf drew in a quick breath, trying to fight the waves of pain that caught at him. "No, Legolas is awake." He glanced at the prince, "Legolas, this is Kidrin. The woman he hides behind is Mambre, his mother, and Cabed is his father. Legolas is from Mirkwood and his father is King of Mirkwood."

"It is good to meet you all." The prince winced and glanced up at his friend. "Estel..."

Mambre noted the elf’s distress and began to shoo away the others that had quietly gathered round, "Everyone back to sleep with you. Tomorrow is no holiday and the master will not be pleased if we cannot keep up with the herds. Go. Go!" She smiled sweetly at the young man and the elf, "You see to your friend. We will cover for you tomorrow."

Cabed nodded and passed the pot of water to Aragorn who nodded his thanks. With help from Sircyn he moved Legolas nearer the fire to the back of the tent and began to carefully clean his wounds, talking quietly in elvish to the prince the entire time.

"Why were you beaten?" Aragorn questioned softly as he cleaned the dried blood from the prince’s face. He crushed the herbs he had been given and mashed them into a poultice in his hand with a bit of the water, spreading it carefully into the wound.

"Do you remember how you ended up here?" Legolas grabbed his hand, stilling his friend’s movements. His voice was barely above a whisper and his words Elvish to hide their conversation.

The ranger sat back thinking a moment, not removing his hand from the grip of the other as the tried to recall. Slowly he nodded and glanced back down at the elf. "Seobryn. I overheard he and his men speaking of..." He closed his eyes tightly as remembrance came slowly, "...of breeding a beast that could survive either south or north; a creature that they could use for oppression and suppression in either lands of men. They wanted a mix of the silent ferociousness of the taergs coupled with the evil cunning and controllability of the wargs. I never uncovered the source of the request or who the animals were for. We were taken by surprise, Laener and I." His eyes widen and he drew his breath in sharply, "Laener is dead!"

"Yes I know." Legolas released the ranger’s hand and tried to shift into a sitting position; his back ached terribly. Aragorn quickly came to his aid and slipped his hands gently around the elf, helping him to sit up and allowing the prince to lean against him as he cleaned the red, welted stripes that decorated his back.

"I ran into Seobryn’s men on their way back from somewhere north of Gondor." Legolas continued, drawing his breath in quickly as Aragorn worked a particularly nasty gash. "It was how I came to know where you had been taken." He glanced back at Aragorn, his stare serious and hard. "Rhuddryn is involved in the warg breeding. He is the one who has Seobryn and his men working in the hills on the south side of his property. Who it is that wants the creatures I could not find out." He swallowed hard and glanced at the sleeping occupants in the tent, lowering his voice even more, "I uncovered letters in Rhuddryn’s study, from a benefactor who was unnamed that has been funding Rhuddryn and Seobryn to breed these foul beasts. Whatever their use, it is an evil one and whoever has requested it has no good intent. You were sold to Rhuddryn in order to make sure you would never remember and if they know that you have, they will not hesitate kill you. I was caught in the study and could not escape. That was why I was beaten. They believe I was working for a competitor."

Aragorn nodded. Shifting slightly around his friend so they faced one another, he let his gaze fall to the dusty floor beneath him. So many thoughts chased through his mind and guilt edged them all.

"Strider?" Legolas noted the changed in the human’s emotions so clearly etched on his tanned face.

"It’s just that..." He shook his head, letting the words die.

"What?" Legolas reached out and gently touched his fingers to Aragorn’s chin, redirecting the man’s attention. "Tell me."

"If only I had listened to you before, if I had remembered sooner, none of this would have happened." His eyes lighted on the deep, dark bruises that covered the elf’s ribs. It was not the first time he had felt this way, nor the first time his friend had been cruelly beaten when he felt he could have or should have been able to prevent it. Some of the returning memories smote his heart and incriminated the human in his own mind. Now that he could remember, he didn’t understand how he couldn’t before. "I am so sorry, my friend. This is my faul-"

"Strider," Legolas halted his friend when the silver eyes locked onto his own, "None of this was your fault, unless you intended to lose your memory? I know that you would not have allowed this if you had remembered sooner but your mind was not ready, nor was it fully healed. Do not start feeling responsible for everything again... Isn’t that one trait you could have lost permanently?" The elf’s teasing smile relieved some of the anguish in the human’s heart. "Besides it was necessary for me to find out where they are breeding. We must stop what is going on."

"If we are caught..." Aragorn’s eyes flashed angrily as he took Legolas’ left wrist gently in his hands and began working the rope tied tightly around it, easing the loop away from the elf’s soft skin before starting on the right one. "I will not see you treated like this again. Rhuddryn has always been a fair mast..." The ranger stopped speaking and glanced up at the elf, aware for the first time of the fact that he considered being a slave part of his normal, day-to-day existence.

"You are no man’s slave Aragorn, son of Arathorn," the prince whispered. "They cannot know your memory has returned, so let us pray that we are not caught before we can take them down."

Aragorn nodded and released Legolas’ right hand, flinging the offending pieces of rope out into the night under the edge of the tent. Grabbing the thin blanket he used for bedding, the ranger wadded the cloth up and laid it in his lap, pulling the prince easily down until the elf’s head rested on the makeshift pillow. "Sleep. Tomorrow I’ll get a better look at your wounds."

"I cannot be seen with you," Legolas murmured, fighting his body’s desire for rest.

"Do not worry, my friend. I will take care of that. Rhuddryn has no reason to suspect me and he will not think it odd to find me tending you tomorrow, trust me on this. Now rest. Your body needs it."

Legolas nodded slowly, his eyes fixed on the sparking fire in the middle of the tent. "These people have been good to you?"

"Yes." Aragorn smiled knowingly. He leaned down and kissed the elf lightly on the head, speaking softly to him, trying to quiet his anxieties. "Sleep, Legolas Greenleaf. You are safe here."

"At least for now," Legolas murmured.

"Yes, at least for now," Aragorn conceded quietly. "At least for now."

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