2. Fight for the Ring
Legolas was dreaming of Mirkwood. He loved his home with an intensity that swelled in his heart. Mirkwood was a glorious place. Only a days hard ride east from Rivendell, it welcomed its visitors with an embrace of light and nature. Its forests were grand, brimming with life that seemed to rest in a perpetual balance, undisturbed by time. The trees were massive and ancient, sharing with each other and all that loved them an understanding that added a verdant love to a life. Forever it lingered in the greens of the freshest spring spun with the gold of the sun.
How he longed to run among the trees again, to perch atop their soft branches, surrounded by the green treasure of their leaves, and feel the pulse of nature around him. This longing was a part of him always, directing his weary feet home after many a travel. His mother had named him for the trees, after all, a divine premonition that her youngest child would fall in love with the forest guiding her spirit. Nothing could ever replace his love for Mirkwood, his home, his land. As its prince, he vowed to protect it. As its son, he longed for it.
In his dreams, he smiled. He thought of Aragorn. When they both had been younger they had frequented the glens of the forest often with a small scrape of luncheon. There they had played, slept, and dreamt. His friend had once asked him as they had lain beneath the soft warmth of a midday sun, worn from a game of tracking, why the groves of Mirkwood seemed so vibrant. He had explained it simply: The trees here have a spirit all their own. Our lives are not so different from theirs, really.
Years later, Aragorn had fallen in love with Arwen, and he visited Mirkwood less often. Still, when the heir to Gondor returned, old habits resumed. The most steadfast of friends never wavered.
His consciousness came crashing into his head, and his eyes snapped open. He saw the forest floor below him, jolting up and down nauseously. His skull wracked painfully, bile burning at the back of his throat, as everything dizzily spun. Closing his eyes was the only means to alleviate the painful disorientation. He slipped back into the darkness again.
When the discomforts of his body ripped away that peace, he opened his eyes once more. This time he realized why the forest floor seemed so unsteady. He was being carried. The blood had rushed to his head, his pulsing headache settling into a dull agony behind his eyes. His blond locks hung limply down around his face. He felt drying blood trickle down his temple. A few drops fell to the leaves below. Those, he realized, had come from his shoulder. As if in sudden recollection, the wound burned in fiery pain. He could feel wet heat seeping down his front, running from the back wound down over his shoulder to stain his tunic. A quick assessment left him reeling in panic and painful memory. He had been thrown over a large Orcs shoulder, the beasts fetid scent assaulting his senses. The bony shoulder plate was digging uncomfortably into the Elfs abdomen, making drawing breath a trying ordeal. He felt the Orcs beefy and strong arm wrapped around his thighs, holding him in place. Slowly his fingers traced the coarse ropes tightly manacling his wrists. His mouth, too, had been bound with a musky cloth that smelled of sweat.
Legolas exhaled slowly, trying to regain his composure and still his erratic heart. He closed his eyes, finding his stomach unsettled in fear, anger, and panic. It would do him well to remain still. The Orcs had not slain him. The notion was at once relieving and alarming. It meant they had some other plans for him. He suppressed at shudder and directed his desperate and racing thoughts elsewhere. When they stopped, he would try to escape. He did not dare test the knots binding his hands behind his back. From the lack of weight upon his shoulders he knew immediately they had stripped him of his weapons. However, it was unlikely they had thought to search his boots. In his left was a small hunting knife. Once they set him down, a moments distraction would be all he needed to find the blade and free himself.
Time seemed to progress slowly. Forever the army walked. He kept his eyes closed and body limp, despite the Orcs rough jostling of him. Although sleep called his weary and abused form, he would not oblige it. The pain had settled into a fierce hurt that plagued incessantly, but he struggled to disregard it. He would need all his strength to save himself.
Finally they stopped. He felt the Orc beneath him breathing heavily. There was rustling and harsh words he could not understand. He strained his ears for the slightest sound, fighting to keep still and maintain the façade. Another form, a large one, came to stand nearby. Has the Elf awakened? came a sick, deep voice in slurred Dark Speech.
Yes, answered his captor, I smell his fear.
Terror turned his blood cold. A grunted chuckle. Drop him.
Suddenly he was falling. Legolaseyes snapped open as he hit the unforgiving ground hard. His shoulder screamed in fiery agony, and he could not stifle a cry. He lay there a moment, gasping, struggling to find the strength to defend himself in the ebbing waves of pain. Then a pointed boot rammed into his chest, ripping him to his back and crushing his hands. He gave a weak yelp again, feeling his ribs bend and bruise from the force. Dazed and breathless, he only groaned when the Orc reached down and grabbed his tunic, pulling him up. The yellow, monstrous eyes glowed and the hideous cracked face smiled. Little Elf he said in sloppy Westron. I will enjoy your suffering.
A glint came from the monsters belt and Legolas closed his eyes, preparing for the blow. It never came. In stead, the Orc cut the ropes around his ankles. The pressure relieved from his hobbled feet, the Elf prince stumbled back. Another Orc was already behind him and grabbed his hair viciously. Legolas only whimpered as he was dragged forward, tears burning in his eyes. His feet were kicked from beneath him and he fell roughly to his knees, the Orcs dirty claw tangled in his abundant hair. The hand yanked down, forcing his eyes skyward.
His anger boiled.
Son of Thranduil, Boromir announced almost joyfully. The man towered over him, grinning. So unlike an Elf of your skill to allow himself to be captured. Are you angry, dear Legolas? Boromir laughed and turned. The Orc holding him bodily hefted him to his feet and shoved him forward after the man.
All around him was the army. He had been taken to a clearing he did not recognize, but even pained, his senses told him they were taking him west in the direction of Isengard. He hid the terror the thought invoked deep inside him. All around him were hungry eyes. He heard Orcs yelling and grunting, fighting over a meal, brawling mindlessly. It was then his hopes were dashed. How could he escape when he was completely surrounded by Sarumans forces?
He felt another force watching him, this one weak, innocent, and terrified. Without directing his gaze, he paid his attention to a leafy shrub in the wall of trees to which he was being led. The sense was familiar. Frightened but fiercely loyal and honest. The fine hairs on the back of his neck prickled. Samwise Gamgee. Deep inside he could only think a soft Elvish prayer that the Hobbit run or remain stealthily out of sight. If the Orcs were to find him now, after winning their treasure, they would surely kill him.
Hidden behind the thick, leafy brush, Sam watched with wide and terrified eyes as the Orcs led the bound Legolas through their camp. The Elf had been injured; bright red blood stained his brown tunic, caking the cloth to his shoulder and flank in a great stain. Still the young archer walked with pride, holding his head high despite his dire condition, and Sam felt a strange sense of envy wash over him at observing the Elfs ever-stoic composure. Many times before had he admired the endurance of his Elvish comrade, enamored with the elegant strength of the ancient race.
Legolas did not seem to notice him, though, and he was at once troubled and relieved by that. His stomach had become great, burning pit of terror and worry that sped his pulse and breath and clenched his heart. If the Elf had been captured, what then had become of the others? He clenched a white and shaking fist into the soil below him, hot tears stinging in his eyes. For the foul and wretched state of things his soul quaked! Would his cowardice later be the sole cause behind the suffering of his friends?
And Frodo. Dear Frodo. When the Orcs had attacked, he had set off in a panicked run, and all he could concern himself with was finding his ward. But Frodo, a good, loyal friend for so many years, was lost to him in the maze of leaf and trunk. The army of demons swarming around him forced him into fleeing, which he did with a heavy heart, flying blindly and helplessly through the woods. Forever, it seemed, he ran, hiding behind trunks and rocks, gasping when his path became blocked. He had felt like a horrible and selfish coward as he cringed in fear at the vicious shouts and cries around him. When he had happened upon this clearing no more than a few minutes prior, he had crawled to this bush and watched as the Orcs tore at each other. The black mud of his guilt and horror threatened to suffocate him, and he sobbed quietly. Paralyzed with exhaustion and unsure of how to escape the situation, he had only sat and watched, praying that some grace of fate would deliver him from this wretched state and return him to the Fellowship.
He stifled a wail of despair. This was a far cry from the salvation he sought.
The Orcs dragging Legolas along growled in rage when the Elf slowed his steps. Sam bit his lower lip hard enough to draw blood in fear as the butt of a spear rammed into the Elfs stomach, knocking the wind from his form. All that escaped the Prince of Mirkwood was a mere grunt of pain as he stumbled and fell, crushing his legs beneath him. Sam watched in horror as one of the beasts twisted a claw into the Elfs abundant blonde hair. Get up! an Orc roughly demanded, hauling him to his feet. Legolas stumbled and coughed through the gag binding his mouth. The Hobbit yearned to do something, anything at all that would aid his threatened friend. But his courage once again evaded him, and he could only witness the brutality in immobile fear.
A shadow fell over the bush, a cold aura that froze Sams heart and made his flesh crawl in disgusted fear. An immense evil had assumed the form of a man he had once trusted and respected. Sam held his breath, his eyes slowly tracing Boromirs form as he towered over his captive. He nearly choked when the man backhanded the hobbled Legolas, sending the Elf once again sprawling. And the Orcs cheered in elation.
There was a glint in the blaring sun as the son of Gondor turned to the massive army, a flash of gold that was bright and painful. Tears blurred Sams vision. The One Ring glowed in the sun as it dangled from Boromirs gloved hand, still attached to the silver chain of Frodos necklace. Confusion riddled Sam and for a moment he could only breathe the shock was so great. Then his heart began to pound. His mind raced with thousands of frightened and panicked thoughts. He tried to deny this to himself, putting forth all his efforts into ignoring the horrible truth. It pushed at his mind with knives and daggers laced with the poison of despair. Boromir had taken the Ring. Boromir had betrayed them all.
Sam sobbed for Frodo, swallowing the wail in his throat. He felt his heart bleed. Denial burned inside. He wanted to scream, to howl, to do something to rid himself of the horrible dirt he felt cover his soul. But all he could was silently weep for them all.
The world shifted in and out of a blurry focus for Legolas as he blinked tears from his eyes, but the flash of gold was alarming enough to snap him from his stupor. The Ring glowed menacingly in the sunlight as though made of fire. Its beauty was stunning and oppressive. The simple elegance of its curves drew eyes into hypnosis, the mind lulled by the waves of power and seduction radiating from it. For Elves, it spoke not of glory and strength, but of black tidings and repulsive death. Legolas had to avert his eyes, the evil that was reaching to caress him turning his stomach.
Boromir smiled gleefully. A marvelous treasure, he whispered, a sick reverence in his voice. His hand snapped forward and grabbed Legolaschin tightly, forcing his eyes upward. The horrible sight of the One Ring burned into his gaze. Surely you must feel it. The Elf swallowed uncomfortably. He didfeel it, though the emotions spawned by the Ring screaming in his soul were far from the pleasant allure that drew the hearts of men. Nausea clenched him, causing the bright blue sky overhead to spin. Thousands of senses of blood and death raked over his light. A horrible terror crawled along his mind, eliciting a rush of his blood, and he closed his eyes. Its a glorious power, Boromir whispered in obvious awe, palming the Ring, like the warm rays of the sun filling your heart. Such a beautiful bliss. Legolas gave a cry of surprise and fear when Boromir pressed the horrid trinket against the pale flesh of his cheek. He tried to wriggle away, but the mans grip was far too tight. The Ring seemed to burn through his skin to his soul, the contact with it spreading over his body with a fiery rage that sundered his senses. He thought he might pass out; he nearly yearned for it. Beautiful. Can you feel it?
One of the Orcs howled something vile in Dark Speech, and Boromir dropped his grip. Legolas sagged in relief as the horrible torture ended, gasping for breath. Boromir smirked then turned to the monsters beside him. Legolas swallowed his nausea, sensation slowly returning to his body. Pain and heat. Blood. His hand was stinging, and the memory crashed back into his head with pounding insistence. When the Orc had felled him, he had made sure to land upon his left boot and had quickly and inconspicuously drawn his concealed knife, which he now held clenched into his palm. He hoped his captors had not noticed this small move, nor the relief on his face when he found they had not taken this last weapon from him.
Then Boromir raised his voice to the troops. Legions of Saruman! he shouted. The clamor did not quiet. Pay heed, warriors! The great disharmony ended. Boromir raised his hands to the sky. Clenched in one was the Ring, dangling precariously and glistening wickedly on Frodos necklace. We have won our prize!
A lurid, guttural cheer went through the crowd. Legolas steeled himself, drawing slow breaths, as the Orcs around him abandoned their watch, taken with the euphoric roar. Now was his chance. There was one on either side, and another, larger brute, stood behind him, his grubby fingers still tangled in the Elfs hair. His pulse racing, he fumbled slowly with the blade until its sharp edge rested against the thick ropes. His hand was slick with blood, but his grip was sure as he worked the knife against the bindings quickly. The Great Sauron himself will revel in our triumph! Boromir shouted.
Forever he seemed to saw, his fingers slippery and his heart thundering. The Orcs were celebrating in vicious and violent shouts. Boromir was proclaiming dreams of domination. Legolas ignored it all, concentrating without falter on freeing himself. He had to get the Ring. He could not allow it to fall into evil!
The ropes gave. Legolas wasted not a breath, for the element of surprise would fade quickly, and ripped around, dismissing the pain at his scalp as the rash movement yanked at his hair. He slammed the knife upward into the abdomen of the Orc at his rear, causing the beast to howl in pain and shock. Ripping it free, he then jumped up before the others could react. The Ring sang a dangerous lyric of glinting sunlight, and he loathed its sight. But he would not fail.
Boromir was caught unaware as the Elf thundered to him, bloody hand outstretched. All of time slowed, as if teetering between uncertain and ambiguous paths, waiting for its children to decide the turn of events. Then Legolasfingers touched the chain and closed tightly about the Ring, snatching it from Boromirs weak grasp. The Elf hit the ground hard, jarring his injured body. The Ring felt horrible in his hand, aching in his bones and blood, and he winced against its vile caresses. Concentrating on what he must do, he stood and sprinted towards the woods, towards the shrub where he knew Sam to be hiding.
He tore through, ignoring the pain in his chest and shoulder and the branches that snagged his hair and clothing, and grabbed Sams arm. The alarmed Hobbit stumbled but ran. Mister Legolas! he cried as they tore through the woods. The sound of the army was close behind them. Still, he did not stagger, pulling Sam along as he ran. Discounting the pain allowed him to put distance between them and the army. Even so, he despondently knew that was only postponing the inevitable. The Orcs had smelled his blood. They would track him to his death. Even if his body could endure the grueling run back to the camp, he would only bring the wrath of the enemy down upon his friends.
If his friends were still alive.
Such thoughts only bring agony and worry, so dwell not! Desperation filled the Elf prince as he felt his strength wan in body and mind. No other choice was apparent to him. His life was inconsequential compared to success of the Fellowship. His heart burned in fright and panic, but he forced his composure to be steadfast. What else could he do?
There was a large fallen tree ahead. He pulled the small creature up over it and tucked tight to the concealing trunk. Then he ripped the cloth from his mouth. Take the ring, Sam, he gasped, finding each breath stabbing him with hurt.
Sam looked pale and terrified. He had obviously been weeping. Mister Legolas, I-
The Elf took his small, dirty hand and dropped the Ring to its palm. He resisted the urge to shudder in relief at being released from the evil touch. Curling long fingers over Sams, he forced the Hobbit to grasp the demonic treasure. You must take it, Sam. Return it to Frodo! A sharp agony from his shoulder brought fear to his heart and then tears to his eyes. Oh, but for the forlorn pain he felt now, faced with such an inevitable disaster! However he only swallowed heavily and kept his black forebodings to himself, holding the Hobbits horrified gaze. He had to be strong for them all. His weakness would become the others. You must, Sam!
The Hobbit paled as if in sudden realization. All Legolas could do to erase his pain was offer a weak smile that did not carry to his eyes. The thunder of approaching demons grew ever louder. I will be fine, he assured quietly. The lie burned in his throat and salty moisture stung his eyes. His will was crumbling, but he forced the final words from his dry mouth. Your first duty is to the ring and to Frodo. As long as Frodo has the ring, the Fellowship is strong. I will not give up.
Sams face broke in sniffling tears, but he said no more. He nodded weakly and then crawled away slowly, scrambling across the leaves. When he looked back, Legolas nodded resolutely. After the Hobbit wiped away tears and rose into a run.
The young Elf watched Sam until his form was indiscernible among the foliage. Closing his eyes, he whispered a quiet Elvish prayer for the Hobbits protection. Then he gripped his bloody knife tighter.
A shout in Dark Speech. Directions and orders. They had caught his scent on the still air. Fear churned within him, but he knew he could no longer run. His right shoulder was numb in misery, his body aching and cold from its exertions. He would face them. There was no chance of retreat. His soul quaked at the thought of what he would endure when they found only him, the Ring gone from his being.
They were very close. The trees screamed a warning to him, one he forced himself to disregard, and he stilled his charged breath. He dared not look up. His mind ran with possibilities, but he fearfully knew each to be folly. He did not have the power within him to beat them now. He gritted his teeth. That did not mean he would not fight.
There was a roar above, so loud it boomed through his ears. He yelped in pain as a gruesome hand ripped down and grabbed his wounded shoulder. The vicious meaty paw gave a hard yank, and he was pulled up from his cover and hurled to the ground roughly.
He closed his eyes against the blaring pain and spinning sun only momentarily, but it was enough to rip the last chances of defense from him. A boot smashed into his wrist, crushing the small, thin limb into the forest floor. Weak fingers dropped the blood-slicked knife. He blindly struggled against them as they dragged him to his knees. The Orcs snarled and snapped, one harshly restraining his arms behind his back. He drew in breath after painful breath, fighting to fill his burning lungs.
He blinked tears from his eyes as rapid footsteps filled his ears. Then Boromir appeared overhead, his face red with uncontrollable rage. Legolas groaned as the man decked him viciously, ripping his face to the side. Where is it?! he demanded. A vile insanity of a deranged passion filled his tone as he towered over his captive.
The Elf swallowed warm, bitter blood in disgust, the world slipping in and out of focus. Boromirs eyes burned in fury as he struck the Elf again. The force of the blow knocked Legolasbody hard to the left, and the Orcs tightened their grips. Damn you, where is it?! Answer me! A kick connected with his side, smashing into already bruised ribs. He coughed as he fought to breathe.
Frantically, Boromir grabbed his shirt and pulled him forward from the Orcs restraining holds. Legolas kicked at the man as he pinned him to the ground, powerful fingers ripping at the Elfs bloodied and dirtied tunic. Over and over again, Boromir cursed him and chanted Where is it?! in a blood lust.
When his desperate search revealed nothing but the Elfs bare and bruised chest, Boromir leaned back up slowly. He scrubbed a frantic hand over the stubble of his chin, sweat beading upon his brow. A slow breath escaped him, as though he were struggling to control his temper. The cold sadistic hardness returned to his eyes as he leaned down over the fallen Elf once more. You will tell me, Prince of Mirkwood.
Defiance burned in blue eyes. I would rather die, Legolas hissed back angrily.
They glared at each other for an endless, tense moment, the world closing about them. Each was strong. Each was proud. Then Boromirs face snapped in anger, and he met Legolascomment with another cruel cuff to the Elfs cheek, leaving the side of his face red and abused, smearing blood from a split lip. Then the son of Gondor turned. Comb this area! He stalked away, leaving his captive gasping at the feet of the Orcs. Strip him and search him, ordered he. Beat him until he talks.
The Orcs laughed their understanding and looked hungrily to their prisoner. Legolas eyes widened, his heart still in panic. When the first blows landed, when the hands tore at his clothes, he could not stifle his screams.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.