12. Chapter Twelve
It had been a few miles before he began to fall. Each time he was hoisted to his feet and prodded forward again. But eventually the time came that he couldn’t be forced to walk any further. His feet were cut and bleeding, his legs refusing to support him any longer. At that point the uruk-hai had simply lifted him and carried him the rest of the way, while he slipped in and out of consciousness.
He expected to be dragged in front of Sauron immediately, but that wasn’t the case. He wasn’t taken to Maglor either though. The uruk-hai deposited him in a small bathroom, and he awoke from reverie again to find orcs washing him. They removed the small sharp stones from the soft skin of his feet, cleaned the ash and dust from his hair so that it once more hung straight, shining and perfect. They washed the blood away from his hands and shins – the wounds were already healing. It felt so good to be clean. But everything ends, and too soon he found himself being led silently to a large room.
He waited. The orcs left Legolas in the centre of the room, a short distance away from where the dark lord stood watching him. The strangest feeling came over him as he looked on Sauron, and he struggled with it for a few moments before he realised that after the last few hours, he was glad to see him again. Legolas lowered his eyes and folded his arms across his body, holding his elbows with his hands. He waited.
Without looking up he knew that Sauron was walking towards him, and he became frightened, his feet shifting minutely, twitching, as if he would run.
“Do not move.” Legolas still didn’t look up, but he concentrated on obeying the order, fighting with his own instincts to get away, to move back, so that when Sauron finally stood before him he was shaking with the effort of staying still.
“You should tremble,” Sauron observed wryly. Legolas still didn’t look up, but he felt Sauron’s gaze moving over him, lingering lovingly like a connoisseur on the cuts and bruises that covered his skin. The dark lord laughed softly, and his hand came into Legolas’ view. He watched as Sauron brushed his thumb over a nipple. It was still bruised and darkened from the rough treatment of the uruk-hai earlier, and the soft touch on the sensitive area made Legolas hiss in pain. Now Sauron carried on speaking, his hands examining the swell of his belly.
“Yes, you should be afraid. He will not protect you for much longer – and already you have so much to be sorry for.” He looked up then, into Sauron’s eyes. He wished he didn’t know what the dark lord meant, but he did. His first panicked flee after he awoke so long ago, his latest attempt at an escape. It was all there in his mind, and he realised for the first time that all of Sauron’s threats were much more than that – they were promises. Sauron smiled, seeming to see Legolas’ thoughts.
“I see you remember,” he said dryly. Then his voice became cold. “Good. When the time comes, you will have no trouble naming your crimes to me.” For a moment the words were left there, between them, and Legolas saw a time when he would be begging for forgiveness, knowing exactly what he was apologising for, and much more than that, believing in it. He was almost sorry already.
The mood changed then, and Sauron’s hands moved lower, taking hold of his soft member, bringing that strange magic to bear on his desires at the same time, not that he really needed to. It was impossible not to want him, not to react to his touch. He was frightening in his perfection, and before long Legolas was sighing breathlessly, helpless to refuse the dark lord anything, looking into Sauron’s eyes, still trapped by his will. It seemed to him that only the two of them existed, and he wanted to beg, to plead. What for he didn’t know. Perhaps only that he didn’t stop. He rested his hands on the dark lord’s shoulders and closed his eyes.
“I could hurt you.” The hand that was slowly stroking him stopped and the pressure of his fingers increased ever so slightly. Legolas gasped helplessly. “You know that, don’t you?” He couldn’t do anything, couldn’t even move away. Sauron just waited, everything completely still, until Legolas was sure he would scream, that he must do something to make time move forward again. Even if only for the dark lord to carry out his threat. Sauron could hurt him – so easily, and there was nothing to say that he wouldn’t. But he didn’t move, and Legolas was held in a kind of limbo, still feeling the desire along with the fear, until they combined in him to form something different, something new. Sauron spoke to him then.
“And would it be any less than what you deserve?” Legolas cried out when Sauron moved his hand again, not knowing what to expect, but he only stroked Legolas again, moving over his hardness with experienced fingers, knowing exactly the way to squeeze and pull at him. The pleasure was intense, with an edge that was the threat of violence and pain. Legolas’ existence narrowed, until there was only Sauron’s hand, and what was happening to him. Just before the instant when it would all be over, everything stopped. Even the magic changed, now becoming a restraint to him, so that he whimpered at the cruelty of being denied in such a way.
“Not yet,” Sauron warned. “Such perfect fear will come for you when I decide to allow it, and not before.” He was pulled closer, into Sauron’s embrace as he began to cry, resting his head against the dark lord’s shoulder, ready to surrender to anything now. Sauron’s hands stroked gently down his back, almost seeming to soothe him.
“Legolas, you should have confessed to me, I know you wanted to, and I would have been merciful then. I am not without sympathy.” There was a kind of reproach in his tone, and Legolas only wept as his own thoughts and feelings were changed and re-ordered, until he didn’t know what the truth was anymore.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered miserably. Sauron continued.
“But instead you endangered yourself, and now I must do something to ensure that such ideas do not take root in your mind.” He sighed. “How should I save you from yourself?” he asked without seeming to want an answer. “What can I take from you to teach you the error of your ways?” He sounded as though he was dealing with an errant child, and all Legolas could do was accept it. He couldn’t even remember why he had run away, not now. He clung to the dark lord, taking comfort from being in his arms.
“Your sight, perhaps? That is disabling, and will keep you here.” Suddenly Legolas had a terrible premonition. An existence without light or shape, without colour or warning. Only his touch, leading him on. His voice, giving sustenance to a hungry mind. Wandering blindly in a world of monsters, with only his directions to follow and to trust. Only his truth to believe in. So helpless…
“I have but to speak a word,” Sauron reminded him, pulling him back to awareness. Legolas’ fear was an instrument that the dark lord played easily, and he trembled in response, still imagining what it would be like to be so dependent on Sauron.
“No, please,” he implored Sauron without meaning to, and his own voice already sounded childlike and lost to his ears, as if it had already begun.
“No?” Sauron laughed softly. “Then what about your hair? It would be a symbolic gesture on your part.”
His hair? Legolas looked up in confusion and the dark lord laughed at him again. “Forgive me, I am playing with you.” His voice was still full of sardonic amusement. But then the sarcasm didn’t seem to please him enough, and his smile vanished like green grass under the snow. Legolas shivered.
“I couldn’t resist.” Now he became cold and deliberate, looking deeply into Legolas’ eyes to make sure he understood.
“Because I already know what you will miss the most, what you have forgotten to appreciate.” What did he have that Sauron could still take from him? For the first time he wondered what Sauron might do when the child was finally born. Would the dark lord kill him? Legolas swallowed, wondering how it would happen.
“So easily forgotten,” Sauron said in disapproval. “Although he didn’t forget you, and he fears for you, even as he pays for what you have done.” Sudden shock. There was only one word in Legolas’ mind now. Only one name.
“Maglor…” he breathed, in sudden understanding. But he didn’t understand it all, not yet.
“Yes. I’m afraid you will not see him for some time. He has his own lessons to learn.”
“Where is he?” Legolas asked timidly, already knowing he wouldn’t receive an answer.
“That is none of your concern now. He is already sorry, aren’t you?”
“You are sorry for what he endures, and yet it is entirely your fault that he is gone. If you couldn’t confess to me, then you should at least have confided in him – for his sake. He pays the price for not gaining your trust.” Now everything clicked into place, and Legolas nearly fell as he remembered…
“I can’t trust you, can I?” Maglor. Considering, thinking, and then the answer.
“No, pen neth, you can’t”
Then another memory…
“Won’t you tell me what he has done? I could help you…” Concern and worry from Maglor, and Legolas had become angry.
“No, you can’t. Just leave me alone.” And Legolas had hurt him, it was plain from the look on his face. But at least it meant he could be alone, with his thoughts and plans. He barely listened to Maglor’s quiet answer.
“You’re right, of course. I wasn’t thinking. I’m sorry.”
He realised for the first time what it meant that Maglor had told him not to trust. That he had done it knowing he would pay a terrible price with Sauron. He had gone against the dark lord’s wishes, for him. Then he remembered his own thoughts earlier, before his escape, and the guilt came crashing down on him.
What had he done? How could he have been so blind, so selfish, and so cold? He began to despise himself.
“Valar,” Legolas whispered, wishing for forgiveness from someone who wasn’t there. It was almost as if he and Maglor had traded places for a moment.
“Oh?” Sauron laughed derisively. “But they no longer think of him. He is completely alone, forgotten by all, seemingly even by you.” Sauron looked down on him with contempt, and Legolas knew he deserved it. “You.” He sneered. “An Elf. The very image of what ‘good’ is. Yet you are far more cruel than I have ever been. As time passes, Maglor will cling to one surety. That although he doesn’t know how long it will last, and although I am cold, and distant… I will not forget him.”
Legolas felt the accusation as a dagger in the heart, and he welcomed the pain. But he couldn’t let it go there. He had to try. For Maglor.
“Please,” he began nervously.
“What are you asking for?” Sauron demanded impatiently. Legolas nearly stuttered. But then all his thoughts came out as a rush of words in his desperation to stop whatever was happening.
“It’s my fault. I’m sorry. He doesn’t deserve it. I should have trusted him, I should have told him. Please, punish me, and not him.” Sauron only smiled in satisfaction.
“But as I have already told you, Legolas. By taking him away, I am punishing you.” Sauron let him go then, almost pushed him. Legolas didn’t realise how much strength he was lending from his touch until it was taken away, and he fell to the floor. Sauron looked down on him scornfully.
“I suggest you get some rest, I’m sure you are tired, and soon you will need your strength.” He was about to walk away, but then stopped. “Forget about Maglor,” he advised, without looking down again. “I’m certain that for you, it will not be so difficult.” Then he was gone, leaving the orcs to take Legolas back to an empty, cheerless room, with his last impression of Sauron being the black robes that brushed against his face as he walked away.
The next week or two passed slowly, and still Maglor did not return. Legolas tried to deal with his guilt, but it was impossible when he didn’t know what was happening to the other elf.
His pregnancy advanced quickly too in that time. More and more milk was leaking from him. He didn’t develop breasts, as he had at first feared, but the flesh around his nipples became softer, as if he was losing the tone of his muscle. He found the extra weight a burden, and it was difficult to keep still, to stay in one position. It was hot too, and even in his nakedness – Sauron didn’t allow him to wear clothes – he began to wish for an open window so that he could feel the breeze against his face.
The fear grew too, and he found himself unable to think directly of the birth. He thought around the edges of it, and he still didn’t know exactly what it would mean for him. Always alone, he confided his fears to his children. He talked and sang to them as if they were already there, hoping that somehow everything would be all right, knowing it couldn’t be – not here.
It was almost a relief when Sauron appeared. He had been left completely alone all this time. Only the orcs visited him, to leave food and water, and they locked the door behind them. Now it seemed something would happen. Sauron gestured at the uruk-hai that had entered with him, and they took his arms to lead him from the room. He didn’t fight them – actually he was glad of their help, and he leaned on them without shame. It was difficult to move so easily now, and especially to keep up with Sauron.
However, when they reached their destination he was screaming to be let go. But it was much too late by then. It had been too late for a long time.