Mael-Gûl: 40. Temptation

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40. Temptation

Authors note:
Completely A.U. Legolas slave fic. This story was inspired by Bluegolds story "Bound", which can be found here: http://daemel.freespaces.com/authors.html#blue
I use similar plot ideas here with her permission.
Betareader: Many thanks to Surreysmum, who polished this and made it so much better! All still remaining errors are my own.

Warning: Slash, m/m, BDSM, torture, toys, d/s, *very* graphic descriptions; abuse both physical and sexual. Non-con and debatable consent. Special warning for this chapter: none. Please heed the warnings!

Disclaimer: Universe and characters are not mine, but Tolkien's. The idea of the spell, however, belongs to me. In this chapter I am directly lifting dialogue both from Peter Jackson's movie "The Fellowship of the Rings (Extended Edition) and from J.R.R. Tolkien's book "The Lord of the Rings" again. Original dialogue will be marked with proper reference notes. Please bear with me!

Guide: Occasionally, I work with flashback scenes. Here is a Guide:
// /flashback/ //; ************Time change within a flashback***********; "speech"; 'thoughts'

For all other warnings, other disclaimers and author's notes see Story Intro.

________________________



XXXVIII. Temptations


It was a long, tiresome way up the mountain. Soon it grew colder, and after a while they passed the snow line, which was unaccustomedly low for this time of the year, especially as far south as they already were. The snow wasn't deep yet, but it did not make the walk more pleasant for any of them, especially since it obscured quite effectively any holes and treacherous ridges that might wait to catch an unsuspecting foot, or sudden patches of slippery ice hidden under the smooth surface. Aragorn could see the other members of the fellowship struggle with the deceptive surface each in their own way; Boromir with dour determination and a grim scowl that expressed his displeasure with their way, the Dwarf with grim stoicism, and Gandalf with a frown, that only deepened when the temperature seemed to drop around them.

Aragorn knew what concerned him; the weather was all wrong. It wasn't uncommon for Caradhras to hold snow, especially not in mid November, of course, but that should have awaited them much higher up the mountain, not as far down as here.

The hardest troubled of them all of course, were the Hobbits. Not only was the cold surface hard on their unprotected feet, they also were more hindered by the shin-deep snow than the taller members of their company. Aragorn watched with sympathy how the Halflings struggled to move on, holding themselves admirably although they grew considerably slower. It was anyone's guess how they would fare if the snow grew deeper.

Caradhras seemed to be quite unfriendly to the Fellowship.

Or to all but one. With envy, Aragorn cast look askance at Legolas, who, of course, walked easily on the smooth white surface as if it had been draped there especially to ease his way. It didn't help that he knew the Elf simply couldn't help it, and that it was a natural advantage of his race. It still made him grouse at the injustice that he, mere mortal, was forced to trudge along where his dear, subservient companion could walk and even run with ease.

Of course, had they but known in advance that their path would lead this way they could have brought – or made – some snow shoes for the mortals of the company. But there had simply been no time. So all Aragorn could do was force himself to bear the unjust natural advantage of his slave with grace, and fight down his own familiar envy.

Soon, the whiteness around them, the cold, blue sky and the monotonous walking lulled the members of the company into a kind of mindless trance.


Aragorn trudged through the snow, allowing his thoughts to wander. He still held the rear of the fellowship, and therefore the most vulnerable position, that also allowed for the most solitude. The company was spread out on the wide, open mountainside. Since they had passed the snow line and walking had become somewhat harder, especially for the Hobbits, their original walking order had been broken; while Gandalf still held the top of the line, Gimli had dropped behind the Hobbits and Legolas, and the Hobbits themselves were slowly abandoning their usual cluster in favor of a more individual walking formation.

Frodo, especially, seemed to tire much sooner. The Ring Bearer had dropped behind the other Hobbits and even behind Boromir; now he walked about ten paces in front of the Ranger, clearly struggling to keep on.

Aragorn cast him a sympathetic gaze. 'Twas no surprise to him that of all four Halflings Frodo should be the one most affected. As admirably as the Ring Bearer had borne himself so far given his burden, not to mention the gruesome wound by the Morgul blade from which he had recovered, it was plain that the Ring was eating at his strength. And if the healer in Aragorn was any judge, the farther they were coming south on this journey of theirs, the heavier the burden seemed to become for the Halfing.

'Twas a desperate decision to leave so heavy and gruesome a burden to one so innocent as that.

Of course, the Ring might have been too dangerous in the hands of another with more power, but was this an excuse to endanger that kind hearted Halfling instead of those who should take up responsibility?

Not to mention that there were those among the Fellowship who hardly needed to fear falling deeper into corruption than they already were. Why not give the ring to such a one, who knew and was aware of his own demons, instead of dumping it onto an innocent who would just find himself twisted into some creature resembling Gollum along the way?

With a shudder Aragorn recalled that twisted creature, in Gandalf's opinion the former possessor of the Ring. And during most of the time the creature held it, the Ring had obviously been asleep, just half conscious. Not so now. Clearly the Ring had woken, and had done what it could during their short journey from Bree to Rivendell to draw the enemy to them. Their close encounter with the Nazgul at Weathertop spoke for itself.

How long, then, would it take that thing now to consume one unfortunate Hobbit?

And Frodo and his people were by no means those who should have to bear that burden. It had been Isildur who once had failed to destroy the thing.

It was Isildur's line who were bound to the fate of the One Ring ever since.

Therefore it should be the responsibility of Isildur's heir to bear that burden and see to its destruction now.

Shocked, Aragorn woke from his train of thoughts and shook his head quickly in denial in a futile attempt to clear it. How had this come about? Hadn't he already braced himself against this kind of temptation? Grimly he tried to ignore the voice inside his head and banish the ideas. But his treacherous mind failed to obey him. The thoughts persisted.

You are Isildur's heir, his mind told him. The Ring is your responsibility. And it should be your task to bear it. And besides, who says that you would have to destroy it right away? You could use it first, use it to overthrow the enemy and set you in his stead. Isildur was weak. He had no idea how to use this ring. You have been taught by Elrond. You have learned much. You are greater then your forebears were. You could use it and bend it to your power. And this is the Master Ring. All others answer to its power. Think – with one move, you could subdue all the Elven realms. You could subdue both Galadriel and Elrond. You could force Elrond to give you his daughter. You could force him to free Mirkwood. With one simple move, Legolas' people would be free. How he would adore you for that!...

The thought was so compelling, it made Aragorn gasp. He could see it before his waking eyes, Legolas' face, full of wonder and gratitude... He shook his head again. It did not help that he knew the voice in his head was that of the Ring, that he knew its promises to be sweet, but deadly lies. The voice persisted.

So did the images.

'I cannot wield it,' he dryly reminded himself. 'All it would do was turn me in a Ringwraith as it did the Nine, and wouldn't that appeal to Legolas!'

But the voice in his mind wouldn't be silenced.

'The Nine wear only lesser rings. This is the One. It would not turn you into a wraith. You are stronger than that. Instead, it would grant you the enemy's power. His magic powers as well as his strength to force his subjects under his own will – and to subdue the will of others. You need not fight the Nazgul and the Orcs, they would obey you. On your command, they would turn against their former master. Gondor would be safe. Mirkwood would be safe. You would be king, and the whole war could be ended before it even fully began.'

Aragorn shuddered at the thought. So easy – it would be so easy to give in, to fall for that sweet lie...

'Oh yes,' he muttered grimly to himself, 'and of course Boromir would just stand by and let me do this!' - but he knew the answer to that one before it came.

'Boromir only wants the ring to be used. He would not mind if it was you who did it. He is half ready to follow you, if you would only claim the One and declare that you intended to save Gondor' the voice told him. 'And Legolas? The Elf is bound to you already heart and soul. He would fight for you, especially if you reward him with freedom for his people. Legolas has always cared more about them than for himself.'

It did not help that Aragorn could not completely discount that, although he imagined his sweet Elf would have quite a lot to say to him if his master actually went so far as to betray his oaths. Even if it would result in a gruesome punishment.

Oh yes. There was that.

'I swore to protect Frodo' he reminded himself. 'And Legolas swore to serve me. And recently he also swore to Glorfindel to protect Frodo and the free people from any harm. He swore to protect the Ring Bearer with his life. So did I.'

'And doesn't the life and the freedom of the free people weigh much more than that particular oath?'
the hateful voice retorted. 'Besides, Legolas' first oath and first line of duty is to you. Whatever you decide, he is bound to welcome, and will do so as long as you do not turn against his own. He would be glad to serve you and to follow you as long as you lived. Even more – with the Ring you need not die. You would live on as did Bilbo. You need not fear dragging Legolas and Arwen with you into mortality. You would live, as long as you choose to, and so would they.'

Aragorn swallowed dryly. Of all the tempting promises of the hateful thing, that one was perhaps the most inconsequential, since his first action if he ever had established peace again would of course be to throw the thing into the fire where it belonged. And yet. To save Legolas' life, that easily... to allow Arwen to be with him and still keep the life of the Eldar...

Forcibly, he had to remind himself what such a life would mean for his Elf.

Pain and torture, whenever his master chose to subject him to his needs.

He shook his head, determined to banish the voice from his mind, once and for all.

Legolas needed freedom. Being subjected to an eternity of pain was the last thing he'd like to give his Elf. At least if he could help it.

'You could make him like it!' the thought came unbidden to his mind.

'The One Ring's power can bend and affect the mind of others. You could make Legolas like what you do to him. Make him truly enjoy it. Like that slave in Harad. Think! He could be glad and happy while he served your needs, and you could both live happily together.'

The thought was so intense and so compelling, the images accompanying it were so convincing, they made Aragorn nearly stop cold in his tracks. Vivid images flashed for a moment in his mind: Legolas in his bonds, but this time shivering not with dread and fear at his master's actions, but with eagerness and anticipation...

Aragorn gasped. He could have screamed at the sudden, intense surge of desire settling in his groin, at the intense yearning in his soul, at the sudden longing for the warm, sweet body of his slave, for his comforting and unquestioned submission...

Swallowing hard, he tried with all his strength to force his body back under control, to clear his mind.

Just at that moment, Frodo, walking some ten paces before him, slipped and tumbled down the mountain, rolling directly in front of his feet.

For a moment, Aragorn was frozen. Then he shouted: "Frodo!" and quickly bent to help the Halfling up. He helped him stand, grasping him by his shoulders.

'Right now!' the voice unbidden whispered in his head. 'It would be easy! Just a flick of your sword... he would be dead before he knew it... do it, now!'

For a moment, he could actually see the image before his eyes, him, drawing his sword, a quick, practiced swing, the head of the Hobbit rolling away, leaving a red stain in the snow...

-- bile rose in his throat, and involuntarily he grabbed the shoulders of the Halfling tighter.

Just then, Frodo straightened in alarm and gripped his throat, feeling under his tunic. For one terrible moment, Aragorn thought the Hobbit had somehow actually read his thoughts, but then he saw Frodo frantically looking around and followed his gaze.

To the place, ten paces before them, where the Halfling had walked just moments before.

There, gleaming in the sunlight, lay the Ring, the chain that had closed around the Hobbits neck inexplicably open.

And just at that moment, it was picked up by Boromir of Gondor.

Aragorn stiffened.

Did that thing mean to set the two of them up to fight for its possession?

As if on cue, the hated voice inside his head screamed at him:

'He wants it for himself! He means to rob you! He will take your throne, he'll take your Elf... kill him! Kill him!!!'

Reflectively and nearly of its own volition, his hand wandered down toward his sword.

Boromir raised the ring up to his face, holding it by its chain. He seemed oblivious to everything around him and utterly fascinated.

"It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt," he began, and his other hand traveled up to the golden band, "over so small a thing.(1)" His other hand reached higher, nearly touching.

"Such a little thing."

Behind Boromir, Aragorn could see Gandalf turn around, then the whole Fellowship coming to a halt and turning to watch them. Legolas looked back, arms crossed before his breast, not yet ready for action.

'He's waiting for your order' the voice in Aragorn's head goaded. 'One command and he will drop that Gondorian where he stands. Just give the word. He will obey you...'

Fighting the voice down, Aragorn spoke. He could hear his own voice, oddly flat.

"Boromir," he said. "Give the Ring to Frodo!"

Boromir looked up as if suddenly woken from a dream, and his gaze met Aragorn's. Doubtless, he saw Aragorn's hand ready at his sword.

He hesitated.

'He wants it for himself!' the voice in Aragorn's head screamed again. 'Kill him! Kill him now!!!'

With all the considerable strength of his will, Aragorn ignored it. He waited.

The moments seemed endless. Then, after what seemed like forever, Boromir shrugged.

"As you wish," he said. "I care not!"

And he stepped close and gave the Ring to Frodo, who took it hastily and placed it back around his neck. As if in an afterthought, the man of Gondor patronizingly stroked over the Hobbit's curly locks.

Then he smiled and turned around, pretending not to see Frodo's stiff posture at his demeaning joviality.

Frodo shuddered and stepped away from Aragorn, slowly starting to walk again.

Aragorn watched him go. It was a long time until he could convince his hand to leave the hilt of his sword.

__________________ o ____________________


Boromir trudged on, face set in a scowl. Did that Ranger believe he had not seen the threatening hand at the sword-hilt? What did that so-called heir of Isildur take him for? A thief?

And when he turned he had seen the posture of the others, uneasy, watching, as if they were waiting for the two men among them to fight it out among themselves. Especially that Elf, standing with his arms crossed, as if he was waiting to see which who of the two men would win the competition...

Angrily, Boromir shook his head to banish the stupid thought. There was no competition. Not over the Ring, anyway. He had not intended to take it, nor had the Ranger...

And yet. Even now he could see the enticing golden band, flashing before his eyes, could feel the pull of power, the promise of might and victory...

How strange that this little thing should hold such power, that something that small should be the source of all their dread, and should hold the Enemy's most potent powers.

And if it did, how foolish of them all to carry it all the way to his doorstep, instead of using it against him and to overthrow the threat he posed. That small thing could be the answer to the prayers of his people!

And his companions and the so-called 'wise', all of them, feared to make use of that.

None of them could understand his people's desperate need. They all sat safely far away, secured by Gondor's forces. Sure, that little Elf had told him of the battles of his own Elven woodland realm against a stronghold of the Enemy; but after what they had learned about him, now, Boromir asked himself how much of that was true. And if it was, then Legolas should be the first among the fellowship to understand Boromir's plight.

It was foolish beyond belief to throw the Ring away. If it truly held such power, the only course of action was to take it for themselves and use it against the Enemy! With that golden band, Sauron could be overthrown and Gondor's people could be spared!

And yet this company was on their way through the wilderness, facing whatever dangers, in a fool's errand to throw the thing away. In an open invitation to whatever force the Enemy might send to kill them, one by one, as easily as one might pick some berries from a plate.

Frustration coiled again in Boromir's stomach, impotent anger at the cowardice and foolishness, the questionable wisdom of Elrond's council, and of the other members of the Fellowship – namely the wizard and the Ranger.

Again the memory of the golden band flashed before his eyes.

If he just could have touched it!

Again Boromir recalled the warning glitter in Aragorn's eyes, and again he scowled. What did they think, that he would fall into mindless possession if he but touched the thing? Then why did they allow that privilege to Frodo?

Besides. 'Twas true that Aragorn had said none of them could wield the Ring, that the thing only answered to the enemy, and would not obey another master.

But that might be true for wizards, and for Elves! It might even be true for Aragorn, since he was of the line of Isildur, and obviously that line had been thoroughly corrupted. That man had even fallen to the point where he kept slaves, for Eru's sake! He had been hiding in the wilds, associated with a corrupt race of Elves who enslaved their own kin, and his whole line was long bereft of kingship.

But surely it would be different for a strong man of Gondor! He, Boromir, was of the line of Hurin, a strong, long line of Stewards who had held Gondor against all comers without the presence of a king for nigh one thousand years!

Surely, he or his father would have the power and the strength to use the Ring according to their need...

But how could he convince the others of the Fellowship to let him try? He had seen the distrust in their eyes. His so-called comrades would rather fight him, than admit that they might be wrong!

Frustrated at the foolishness of his companions, Boromir trudged on. His thoughts returned to Legolas and to the expectant posture of the Elf when he had watched him.

Legolas had the least to gain by destroying the ring, and the most – beside Boromir himself – if they would use it. To throw the thing away would hardly free his people. But if Boromir took the ring and used it to free Gondor from the threat of Sauron, then he could maybe afterwards also use it to overthrow the other Elven realms, or at least humble them into submission. Mayhaps he could even use it to break their hold over Legolas' realm...

And wouldn't that appeal to the little Elf? He would be grateful, and he would leave that abusive master of his and stay with Bomomir as new protector. Boromir would have his loyalty and gratitude, and the pleasure of him sharing his nights willingly...
All Boromir needed to do was convince the Elf that he would be a better choice for a protector than the Dunadan. Maybe that was the way to go. Maybe he could convince Legolas to follow him. Merry and Pippin, too... the Halflings would surely rather stay in safety in Gondor than fight the Enemy on his own ground...

Boromir shook his head again, mockingly smiling at himself. What was he thinking? He did not even knew if half of what the Elf had told him about himself was true, or if all of it was a lie.

And did he truly believe he could turn that little bed-toy from his master to act in his favor, and even more, convince the Hobbits to act against the wizard and against that Ranger whom they had at first liked so much?

Well, at least they did not seem to trust the Dunadan that much anymore, now...

Sighing and banishing his thoughts, Boromir set his brooding aside for now and adjusted the shield on his back. He could hardly do anything right now.

But he reconsidered the plans he had for tonight.

Oh yes. It was definitely time to ask the little Elf some questions!

Then he blinked, as a wet sensation hit his face, and stared around in disbelief.

As if by magic, the blue sky of only half an hour ago had disappeared. Great clouds were gathering over them, and it began to snow anew.

'Oh, great,' the man of Gondor dryly thought. 'And now, we have to deal with the weather, too!'

___________________ 0 ______________


Not three hours later, Boromir's mood was even worse. It was now nearly so dark that they were not sure if it was already night, and they had to turn back after their way was blocked both by a raging snow storm and by an avalanche of snow and rocks set loose by a bolt of lightning, that had nearly thrown Gandalf down the cliff if not for the quick reflexes of the Elf, and had then buried them in snow.

They could not hope to overcome that obstacle; of all of them, only Legolas could walk atop the snow, and the others would be in danger of losing the path and just go down with another avalanche if they did not freeze first. And the Hobbits were nearly frozen to death already, anyway. Boromir had tried again then to talk the others into risking the path west of the mountains, down to Minas Tirith, but again he had been overruled. The company instead decided to go through Moria, whereever that might be. That was, if they could survive the night and make it down at all. They had found cover under a small ledge of rock, not much to keep the wind away, but at least enough to protect them from falling stones; but the temperature was freezing, and none of them had been able to start a fire.

Neither Boromir himself nor the Dunadan, nor the Hobbits or the Elf, and not even that Dwarf, had succeeded in getting any of the wet faggots of wood they had brought to burn. The members of the company were desperate. Starting a fire was no matter of secrecy or risk of discovery anymore, but a matter of sheer survival.

At last, reluctantly, Gandalf himself took a hand. Picking up a faggot he held it aloft for a moment, and then with a word of command, naur an edraith ammen! he thrust the end of his staff into the midst of it. At once a great spout of green and blue flame sprang out, and the wood flared and sputtered.

"If here are any to see, then I at least am revealed to them," he said. "I have written Gandalf is here in signs that that all can read from Rivendell to the mouth of Anduin.(2)"

Aragorn shrugged. "At least hopefully we will be still alive tomorrow to be concerned if we have been seen," he said grimly, "if we are lucky." He looked around. "Legolas, I believe it is your turn to take the first watch."

The Elf gave him an obedient nod, and the Ranger made as if to settle down beside the fire, near Gandalf, but Boromir shook his head.

"Oh, no!" he growled. "You agreed that Legolas and you should take the watch tonight. So you can take the first. You may take comfort of the fire soon enough, but first leave it to the Hobbits!"

Aragorn turned around to him, and they glared at each other.

After a moment, though, the Ranger averted his eyes and bowed his head.

"All right," he relented, "if you insist. I will leave Legolas the second watch, then."

And without another word, he trudged off to the edge of the camp, gesturing to his Elf with a short sign to stay behind.

Puzzled, Legolas obeyed.

Gandalf stared at them, drawing his eyebrows down. "What was all this about, Son of Denethor?" he demanded.

But Boromir wouldn't relent. "Just the matter of a promise," he said. "He did offer yesterday evening, after all."

Gandalf still stared at him, but then he relented. Soon, he and the Hobbits were settled around the fire, and Gimli placed himself as close to them as he could get while leaving them the best places.

Boromir turned to the Elf, who stood a bit aside. "Legolas, if you don't mind, I would have words with you."

He saw the startled look of the Elf and nearly scowled. "Come, Master Elf, since we are to leave the fire to the Hobbits, we can as well share warmth. I will not bite," he said.

He placed his bedroll on the ground and sat on it, patting the place beside himself invitingly. "Are you coming?"

The Elf hesitated. But then, after a moment and a quick look at the back of his master, who stared obliviously out into the storm, he relented. Reluctantly, he sat down beside the other Adan, and at Boromir's unmistakable gesture, he settled against him.

Disbelievingly, he whispered: "You would have me here?!"

Boromir snorted. "I crave the pleasure of your company again, Sir Elf, but I want to enjoy it, not to freeze myself! No, I just mean to share a little warmth, and to ask you some questions."

He paused to settle his coat – and one of his blankets – around them as comfortably as he could. "I believe, you owe me some explanations."

Reluctantly, but obediently, the Elf suffered the man to wrap the blanket around them. He could not yet bring himself to snuggle against him, as he would have done with Aragorn; but he stayed close enough that indeed their bodies had the chance to share some warmth.

"What would you wish to know?" he finally asked carefully.

Boromir sighed.

"I would wish you to tell me the truth," he said. "How much of it was true? Of what you told me?"

Legolas stared at him uncomprehendingly. "About what?" he asked.

Boromir scowled. "About you!" he said. "What you told me about your home, about yourself, a fortnight ago. Soon after this quest started."

Legolas bowed his head. That seemed an eternity in the past, now.

Looking up again and meeting the Gondorian's eyes, he said quietly: "Everything was true, Master Boromir. I just left out a few things."

Boromir made a face. "Like the fact that you are a slave."

Legolas looked away. He fought down his bitterness and swallowed his dismay and his anger. "Among other things," he replied.

He had known that this conversation was coming. So why did he feel such disappointment, now?

"Or that your realm is a subjected realm and you haven't been there for a long time," Boromir added cruelly.

Legolas was silent for some time. He could have tried to explain this to the Adan, but why bother?

Finally, he said: "You heard my master. I am a hostage, Boromir. Do you not have the custom of giving and taking hostages from subjected realms in Gondor?"

There had been none, he knew, when he and Aragorn had been there, because at that time Gondor mainly fought wars with Mordor and with the Pirates of Umbar, and with both enemies there would be no giving in or any exchange of hostages. But he also knew that there had been such exchanges in Gondor's past, and maybe they had renewed that custom now, in recent times, in the many small skirmishes Gondor had with Harad(3)...

Boromir stared at him incredulously. "Of course we do," he began, "but..."

After a moment, his mouth became a thin line. "Not like this!" he said then. "You're not a hostage, you're a slave. And Aragorn said you belong to him as property."

Legolas sighed. "I was given to his foster-father as a hostage," he said tiredly. "And ...Elrond... later gave me to my master as a slave. My realm is subjected, Boromir. That doesn't mean my people do not fight the Darkness as well as yours do."

Boromir looked at him sceptically. "So, how long have you been in Aragorn's possession?" he asked.

"I've been in my master's possession for sixty-seven of your years," Legolas replied. He felt tired and drained. "Aragorn told you they gave me to him when he came of age."

Boromir stared. He had not known the other man – the Ranger - was that old. "Then Aragorn must be-" he began, quickly doing the math.

"He's Dunadan," Legolas replied. "They are graced with long life."

Boromir pursed his lips. So the Ranger probably was of Isildur's line. Only the pure Dunedain had such a long life span, and there were few of those left in the South. Even his own line was not that long-lived anymore.

But that was neither here nor there.

"And how long had you been a slave before that?" he demanded harshly, to confirm his suspicion that the Elf could hardly have been present for much of the fighting he had claimed his people to have done.

Legolas was taken aback by his harshness.

"I have been enslaved for seventy-six of your years," he nevertheless replied carefully.

Boromir stared at him. "And you haven't been to your home for all that time?" he asked.

So much for the Elf's claim to be a warrior of his people and to have fought the Nazgul!

Legolas looked away. "I... have been... there a few times, since," he replied quietly.

Four times. Four times he had he seen his father, his people, his family again. What an incredibly precious and at the same time painful gift that had been! And given to him by Estel just because his master had wanted to do him a favor...

Very quietly, sensing Boromir's incredulous silence, he added: "My master took me there."

Boromir stared at him. "He took you there? A hostage? Just like that? And your people let you go again? They didn't keep you?"

Legolas shrugged and looked back at him. "I'm bound to him by the spell," he reminded coolly, "I'm bound to my master with my very life. I can hardly simply run away. Nor am I the only hostage. Did you hear nothing of what Aragorn has said? If I rebel, or if my people had kept me at their home, it would spell death to the others. Do you think I would risk that?"


Less sharply he added: "And besides, I am bound by oath to serve my master. Do you not honor an oath in Gondor?"

Boromir still just stared at him. "Bound to serve him as a whore," he then said incredulously, "and under a spell that threatens your very life if you refuse. And you would call this 'honor'?!"

For a moment he looked as if he would recoil from the Elf's body with disgust.

Finally, he added in disbelief: "And your people agreed to give their own into slavery like this? Are you truly a son of a king?!"

He seemed horrified and disgusted.

Legolas looked away again. "They didn't give me away," he said bitterly. "I offered to go myself. There was no other choice."

Boromir stared at him, for a few moments stunned into silence. Then he asked: "You offered yourself?! For that?!"

This time he did recoil, let go of the Elf's body and sat a back a little to bring space between them.

"How could your father, could your people ever agree to terms like that?! I would have rather died to subject myself to that! And so would my city!"

Legolas had stared out into the snow. Now he whipped around to him again. "Even if it meant the death of all your people?! To the last warrior, woman and child?!" he asked bitterly. "Would you refuse even then?!"

Boromir answered without hesitation. "Even then we would rather make a stand. Gondor would never submit to such terms. Nor would my father!"

In truth, he was not completely sure if Denethor would not agree to send a few of his nobles into slavery to save his city – that he not even would send Faramir as hostage, if that was required – and then happily abandon all the hostages given as soon as Gondor could hope to fight back again. To be precise, he was not sure if not his little brother, under such conditions, would also offer himself up. But he was very sure that he, Boromir, would never let that happen, as long as he lived!(4)

Legolas retorted angrily: "Then obviously, we do not see eye to eye in this!"

And with that, he was gone, jumping up and stalking off into the night in the direction of the edge of the camp, probably to relieve the Ranger from his turn of watch.

Boromir remained seated, staring a little puzzled at his retreating back.

'He can't be much of a fighter,' he mused. 'His people must be weak if they agreed to such terms. And so is he! And he has precious little reason to be that grateful to this Ranger who lends him out to others at a whim and abuses him whenever he thinks his bed-toy did something wrong... Well, maybe all I must do is show him that I am stronger than the Dunadan, and that it is in his best interest to turn to me. If anything, he of all people should understand my wish to use the Ring....'

With new found resolve, he planned how he could turn the Elven slave away from his current master.

Neither him nor Legolas noticed the shrewd and unreadable eyes of the Dwarf watching their exchange. Looking first after the retreating Elf, then at Boromir, Gimli turned around and busied himself with preparing his pipe.


_____________ o ________________


-- TBC --

Notes:

(1) This and the following lines of dialogue are again directly lifted from the movie (The Fellowship of the Ring, directed by Peter Jackson, New Line Cinema, DVD extended edition). I changed the context, of course.

(2) This paragraph and the one before are again directly lifted from the book: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings, 1954-1955, Harper Collins Paperback Edition 1995, Page 283.

(3) I am aware that the Appendix B of LOTR with the count of years knows of no such skirmishes, but then, the 'Count of Years' obviously shows only the greatest threats. So, in my time line, I assume there were a few smaller skirmishes, rather raids really, between Gondor and Harad. Boromir referred to those actually in an earlier chapter of my tale. Please bear with me!

(4) I remind everyone that this is movie-Denethor we talk about here: mad as a batshit and hating Faramir with a passion. Bookverse Denethor would probably also have offered the nobles up, and then happily abandoned them – but hardly his own son, even the one influenced by Mithrandir!

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.

Story Information

Author: Crowdaughter

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Drama

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 05/11/11

Original Post: 12/23/06

Go to Mael-Gûl overview

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