50. The Three Brothers
Completely A.U. Legolas slave fic. This story was inspired by Bluegold's story "Bound", which can be found here: http://lotr.adultfanfiction.net/story.php?no=10373
Betareader: many thanks to the wonderful Nancy and the most generous and always encouraging Randy! Thank you!!! All still remaining errors are solely 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: Non-con and gang-rape. Please heed the warnings!
Disclaimer: Universe and characters are not mine, but Tolkien's. The idea of the spell, however, belongs to 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.
XLXVIII. The Three Brothers
Legolas stared out into the night. All around him, the Mellyrn of Lothlorien rose like pillars, blotting out the sky. The canopy was nearly as dense as he recalled from home; except in his own woods, the trees were bare at this time of the year.
The trees here still wore their leaves, and their huge, serene majesty seemed strangely unaffected by any of the troubles of the world.
And yet, even here, some sixty yards above the ground, Legolas could still hear the groaning of the earth under foul feet, the screaming of the grass under the harsh tread of the Orcs. It ran like a ripple through the wood beneath him. How strange that the Mellyrn around should not feel it, too. Or was he merely deaf to their voice in the Song?
Behind him, at the other end of the talan, he could still hear the heated, ongoing discussion between his master and Haldir. Aragorn had started arguing again as soon as the company had reached the platform, high above the ground. He spoke in Silvan, quiet but angry and intense. Legolas could hear Haldir's sparse and rather unimpressed replies, but he did not follow what was said. Nor did he follow the quiet exchange between Boromir and Frodo, to his left. All his senses were cast outward, at the approaching danger. They were closer, now.
Was he the only one who felt it?
"What are they talking about?"
Legolas jumped and turned around. It took him a moment to find his voice. "What do you mean, Master Dwarf?"
The sharp eyes of the Dwarf seemed to pierce right through him. Gimli nodded in the direction of his master. "That Elf and Aragorn," he said, "they are talking about you, are they not?"
Legolas schooled his face as best as he could. His voice sounded weak in his own ears. "I don't know what you mean."
The Dwarf glared at him. "Do not play coy with me, Master Elf. I know Aragorn struck a bargain with that Elf when we entered the wood. The way he acted towards you was no different from when he sold you off to Boromir, or when he confessed the nature of your relationship to us. He traded you for our entrance in this wood, did he not?" His voice was grim, but quiet.
Legolas bit his lips. It took him a moment to find a reply. "Please, don't ask!" he finally managed, "and do not tell the others! Haldir... would not have let us in. There was no other choice..."
"Smaug's entrails!" Gimli exploded, "That Ranger asked us to respect you as a fellow warrior! It is time, then, that he acts on his words. He has no right -"
Legolas bowed his head.
"Yes, he has," he said quietly. "I am his slave, remember? And in this wood, I am just that. Lothlorien is allied with Rivendell. They hold a number of my people."
Gimli made a face. He fingered his axe.
Legolas took a deep breath and looked down at the Dwarf with astonishment. "I thank you for your concern, Master Dwarf," he said, "but may I ask: since when is my fate of much import to you?"
Gimli looked away. "You saved my life, in Khazad-dûm," he said reluctantly. "I owe you. So does Boromir. Mahal, so do we all. None of us would have made it out of Khazad-dûm without your bow."
Legolas turned around to watch out at the trees again.
"I am glad that I could be of use," he managed to say, "but you are wrong. But for me we might not have..."
He broke off. Turning back to the Dwarf, he went on: "In any case, do not be so quick to judge my master. He did what he had to do. We needed entrance in these woods. The Orcs..."
"Bah! We have taken them before!" The Dwarf took a firmer hold of his axe. "We can do so again. Do not give me that nonsense, Master Elf. We can face them!"
"We made it out of the mines by mere luck," Legolas replied, "and this time, they are prepared for us, and come in greater numbers."
He closed his eyes. "In any case, we are here, now, and we have no choice. What is done, is done. Please, let it be, Master Dwarf. We cannot afford a breach in hospitality." He opened his eyes again to Gimli's disbelieving stare.
"We cannot? Breach in hospitality? That Elf will feel my axe!" the Dwarf growled.
Legolas reached out and quickly grabbed his arm. "No, he will not!" he hissed. "Remember your own oath? You swore to me that you would do nothing to endanger my people! There are other hostages, here. What we will do, what I will do, may well affect them, too. If you bring harm on any of our hosts, or if you make them think I turned you against them, my kin will suffer. You swore that you would not endanger them!"
He let go of the startled Dwarf and straightened up.
"Forgive my temper," he said after a moment. "But I beg of you, please keep your peace. Do not say anything. Not even to the others. We cannot afford -" He bit his lips and broke off again.
He met Gimli's uncomprehending stare.
"I do not understand you," the Dwarf finally said, "but if this is truly what you wish, Master Elf, I shall do as you ask. It is your honor at stake, here, after all."
And with that he turned around and went back to the others. Legolas watched him go. His heart felt ashen.
He was distracted by a movement at the entrance of the talan. A new Elf came up through the hole and quickly made his way over to Aragorn and Haldir.
The newcomer leaned over to Haldir and whispered a few words in his ear. Haldir nodded and straightened. He turned back to Aragorn. "As compelling as this discussion has been," he said aloud, "your pursuers have arrived, and we are going to make sure they will not leave these woods again. Stay here! Two of my men will ensure your security."
He nodded shortly to two of the guards, who merely nodded back. Then he turned around and reached for his weapons. "Our bargain stands."
Aragorn straightened as well. "Wait!" he said in Westron, "we will help you fight them off."
Haldir tuned back to him. "Really? I thought you would stay here and keep your company safe?"
Aragorn met his gaze squarely. "Gimli and Boromir will do this, together with your guards. I and Legolas will go with you. The Orcs followed us here; we will take part in finishing them off.
Behind him, both Gimli and Boromir straightened as if to protest, but Aragorn spared them no attention. He kept his eyes on Haldir.
Haldir looked back at him, then he shrugged. "Very well," he said in Silvan, "but do not think it changes anything." And with that he vanished through the entrance hole and was gone.
Aragorn's mouth was a thin line, but he did not say anything. He merely gave Legolas a sharp nod and followed.
Legolas bowed his head and followed his master. As he left the talan, he felt the sharp eyes of the Dwarf on his back.
________________ o _____________
Legolas drew his, bow, released and sent the arrow on its deadly path. Even before the first one hit, he had another arrow out and drew his bow again, then a third. Pull, release. Pull, release. As always, the mechanical movement calmed his nerves and filled him with the cold concentration of battle, narrowing his world down to the here and now. It took his mind off other things, things to come or to endure, things he could not control. He let another arrow fly. Some twenty steps before him, one of the Orcs cried out and fell, then a second and a third. The others ran about in rage and confusion. All around them, their comrades fell, cut down by a rain of deadly missiles coming from all sides out of the trees. Few of them found the time to return the fire. They were at a disadvantage, though; while their night-vision was said to be far better than those of the Elves, they were milling about in a starlit glade, while their attackers remained between the trees. They found few targets.
One of the Orcs nocked an arrow of his own and sent it Legolas' way. The shot missed Legolas' head by mere inches, but he paid it no heed. Already his own arrow left his bow and the Orc slumped and died. His comrades screeched in fear and rage and turned around to flee. Most made it only to the border of the glade.
There, they were met by a whirl of knives, as the Elves cut off their route of escape and met them blade to blade. The Orcs were already heavily decimated, and those few who stood to fight found them outmanned two to one. Their cries of rage filled the glade. And still, they continued to be cut down by the arrows from behind. Legolas chose his targets well, taking out only those Orcs who were about to land a blow on an unsuspecting fighter. Aragorn appeared among the fighting Elves, his sword cutting down enemies left and right. One of the Orc struck at him from behind; Legolas' arrow took him out in mid-swing. The beast cried and fell, his blow going awry. Aragorn whirled around and saw the fallen enemy. He recognized the arrow, looked across the glade and gave Legolas a short, grateful nod. Then he turned to the next enemy and cut him down. Legolas lost track of him, shooting Orcs who tried to run. Soon he ran out of arrows, but before he could draw his knives, it was all over. Dead Orcs lay scattered all over the forest floor. In the distance, Elves hurried off to follow those who had escaped. None of them would ever make it out of the Wood again.
Legolas looked at them with satisfaction. Battle rage boiled in his blood, and for a moment, he could nearly forget...
"What a skillful little slave," a voice said beside him, and a heavy hand settled on his shoulder. He jumped and whirled around. Haldir smirked at him. "Your master must be really proud of you!"
Legolas shuddered. He resisted the impulse to fight back, to cut the Lothlorien Elf down, and merely edged carefully out of the other's reach. Giving the Marchwarden a reluctant bow, he put his knife away and looked down. He could hear Aragorn approach them quickly.
"Leave him alone!" Aragorn demanded. "The bargain is off! We did our part to help fend off the Orcs. Now..."
Haldir snorted. "Second thoughts already, Ranger? It is too late for that." He gestured at the carnage all around him. "You agreed to the price. Everyone here witnessed your acceptance. And we have just secured the safety of your comrades. Are you planning to break your word?"
Aragorn bit his lips. "That was before we helped you fight them off. We took part in the protection of your woods. The agreement is void."
"And without our agreement, neither you nor these Orcs would be here," he said coldly. "Would you present this case before the Lady?"
Legolas, beside him, shuddered again. It was true. Without him, none of this had happened. Without him, Gandalf would be still alive, among them. Without him...
Haldir paid him no heed. He cornered Aragorn with a cold stare. "I do not know about your people, Dúnadan, but here in the Golden Wood, we keep the agreements we make."
Aragorn grid his teeth. "Haldir..."
The Marchwarden shook his head. "Enough! We had an agreement, and the bargain stands. You will return to your comrades. Your slave will come with me."
He turned around and nodded to his guards. Four of the Elves stepped up and positioned themselves around Aragorn. "Saeron, lead lord Aragorn back to his company and keep them safe on their talan this night," Haldir commanded. "You others, take care of this mess."
He nodded shortly at the fallen Orcs. The leader of the guards gave him a bow.
Aragorn balled his fist and looked at Legolas. "Little Leaf..."
Legolas briefly met his gaze, then he looked down. He felt Haldir's leering gaze like a touch. Bile rose in his throat.
'No matter', his mind screamed at him. 'It is no more than you deserve. You can take this. You have endured the like before. It is but a small price to pay. You can take this...'
The words sounded hollow in his mind, but he held close to them. He could hear his master's sharp intake of breath. "Haldir," Aragorn began again, but he was cut off.
The Marchwarden turned back to the leader of the guards surrounding Aragorn. "Saeron, accompany our guest Aragorn back to the camp. Now. Make sure he does not miss it."
Then he turned back to Legolas. "You will follow me."
He turned around, not even giving Legolas the time to retrieve his arrows.
Legolas gave him a nod. Turning back to his master, he gave Aragorn a deep, respectful bow; then he turned and followed Haldir from the glade, and away from all hope. Behind him, he could hear Aragorn's fading curses, as the Lothlorien guards stopped his master and lead him off in a different direction.
______________ o _______________
The talan was a big one, and built like a home. Not like the plain, but spacious guarding platform where the Fellowship was sheltered, which spread out between the main branches of a big Mallorn and had no further shelter except the canopy above; this talan was built around the trunk of the tree, and held a hut. The entrance hole opened to a small space in front of the hut, some rope and a few, handy tools laying ready in front of a wooden door. The walls were round and made of wood and wattle. An opening in the dense canopy above let in just enough light to see. Legolas stared. The whole shelter was not as big and exquisitely done as the ones he recalled from Caras Galadhon, but bigger than the average talan back home in Mirkwood. And it was also bigger than the shelter a single warrior would require on an outpost like this. What...
"Don't tarry there. Hurry up, slave. Get inside!"
Legolas jumped and turned. Haldir entered the platform behind him. When Legolas did not obey immediately, the Marchwarden stepped close and grabbed his hair, jerking his head back. Sharply.
"Defiant, are we? Just as well! That's the way I like it. Remember, Mirkwood spawn, you're mine, tonight. And the night after that, and after that, until we reach Caras Galadhon. It will be a delight to tame you and relish your body. I have waited a long time for this."
Legolas shivered. With all his strength, he fought the urge to dodge, to simply throw his attacker off the tree.
'I can't!' The thought was numbing, cold as ice. 'I can't! Others will have to pay for it if I resist. I can't...' But his skin crawled with disgust, and it took effort to remain compliant under Haldir's touches.
Haldir felt his shuddering and smirked. The Marchwarden's left hand sneaked out and stroke over Legolas' chest, down between his thighs, fondling and squeezing. He brought his mouth close to Legolas' ear.
"You have no idea how long I have waited for an opportunity like this, how long I have desired another chance to taste you. I am sure I will thoroughly enjoy it. So will my brothers. You will serve all three of us, tonight."
Legolas gasped. The hand between his thighs seemed to burn. The grasp around his hair forced his head back, keeping him bent backwards and vulnerable. He fought to keep himself still, to endure the touches.
Strange hands on him, not the ones of his master... Being used like a tool, by whoever came to call, again...
It is just for a few days!' his mind yelled at him. 'Just for a few days! You can do this!'
Besides, that was hardly the first time he had endured this. Nor would it be the last. It should not bother him so much.
What was wrong with him?!
Mustering all his strength, he managed to stand still, to keep silent.
Haldir's teeth briefly grazed his ear, then the Marchwarden abruptly let him go and stepped back. "Now go inside! There is a washstand in the other room. I expect you to undress and prepare yourself. We do not wish to enjoy you while you still reek from days of traveling and battle!"
He gave Legolas a quick shove towards the door, then turned to lighten a lantern – one of these strange, but elegant lanterns Legolas had seen already at the guarding platform where the Fellowship had found shelter.
Without a further word, Legolas obeyed.
The hut was formed like a great oval and held three rooms, all settled round the big trunk of the tree. The entrance room was small and held several barrels and chests set against the walls. Full water skins and one half of a dried and smoked venison hung from hooks on one side. The other side held tools like rope and axes, some clothes and a stack with wooden plates and cups. A few more lanterns, ready to use, as well as three stacks of arrows, completed the interior. The window in the outside wall was rather small. The other rooms were more spacious and had big windows which could be closed with leather drapes. Furs and fresh ferns formed a place to rest on the floor near the outside walls. Three more chests stood near the wall.
In the third room, farthest from the entrance, Legolas found the washstand, as well as a suspicious construction of two poles, supporting a bar between them. There were some hooks set in these poles, and more hooks on one of the walls held leather cuffs, some rope, and a slender whip.
Legolas shuddered. Bowing his head, he got rid of his harness with his bow, knives and his empty quiver and proceeded to obey Haldir's command.
____________________ o ________________
Legolas knelt on he floor, head bowed, shivering in the cool night air. The thin garment Haldir had given him – a wide robe that fell loosely around him and could be easily discarded at need – provided little warmth. It was not made to give protection, but to provide easy access to his body... he shuddered again. The robe was all too familiar to him, bringing to mind old memories he had tried to avoid. His mind shirked away from what was to happen this night. Coldness filled him, eating at his thoughts, leaving him numb. More than the temperature of the room, this inner coldness made him freeze, spreading through him, stealing away all warmth...
Images sprang out at him. The mad flight through the mines of Moria, his master on the breaking pillar, without hope... Gandalf, standing out like a white star against the overwhelming power of the balrog, falling, the Fellowship fleeing, arrows raining down at them from all sides... The images changed. His own impatience the night before, when he had asked Gandalf to break the curse, and his shock when suddenly, amidst the exploration of the wizard, he had felt the dark power of that outer darkness stirring, surging, searching for them – Gandalf's shock when he broke the connection, mirroring his own...
Shame surged through him like a blade. He slumped a little, bowing his head deeper. If with this night, he could pay for that... if he could buy the Fellowship safe passage...
And yet. Other images filled him, of times long past. A tent. A chain of steel. Guards at the tent flap. And an endless stream of strangers, leering at him, using his body, forcing him to please them, to obey...
A girl, shivering in fear, screaming, bleeding, mutilated – and Elrond's voice, telling him that it was his deeds that had brought this down on her, his act of rebellion, his disobeying...
His mind screamed and tried to shut out the images, but they were persistent. Hands... hands on his body...
Steps intruded in his thoughts, and he dared to raise his head. He heard the door to the hut open, and someone entered the anteroom, rummaging shortly, then entering the second. A moment later, the door opened again, and a second intruder stepped in, but this one seemed to keep back, as if hesitant of further progress.
Haldir's voice drifted over to him from the other room.
"Ah, there you are. You are late; I expected you back, sooner."
"The fleeing Orcs were cunning. They separated and spread out, to make it harder to track them down. But we have found and slain them all, I think."
The voice of the other Elf sounded vaguely familiar to Legolas, but he could not place it. One of Haldir's brothers? Probably, but it had been so very long since he had met them. What had been their names again? Oromir? Ru-
"Haldir, Rumil is very bad, again. I think-"
"I know. I will take care of him, tonight." Haldir said sharply. "But first, I have a gift for him and you."
There was a pause, then the other Elf took a step closer to the room where Legolas knelt. Legolas did not dare to look up at him. "A Mirkwood slave? Isn't that Aragorn's slave? Thranduil's youngest?"
The footsteps retreated. "You did it then? I thought that bargain was a joke! Haldir-"
"Daro!" Haldir's voice was like a whip. "You know how long I wanted a share of him again," he added then, more calmly. "And it has been too long since we had fun together. This is a chance to have a bit of pleasure. For all of us." The last was spoken to the door.
Legolas risked a peek into the other room. From the place where he knelt, he could see both Haldir and the stranger. He looked vaguely familiar, and bore great similarity to Haldir. One of his brothers?
The other Elf hesitated. "Haldir-" but he did not continue. A movement at the door caught his attention. He trailed off.
A third Elf entered the other room, and came in Legolas' line of view. He bore great similarity to Haldir and the other one, but he moved slowly, hesitant, and his shoulders were slumped. His eyes flickered from place to place. Legolas was reminded of a small animal entering a glade.
Haldir's face softened. "Rumil! Come here! Look what gift I brought us home, tonight!"
Rumil shivered. He looked at Legolas, fear and disgust warring in his face. Still, he came steadily closer, as if drawn by a beacon.
He crossed the distance, until he was only a step away, then he stopped. His gaze wandered over Legolas' body, then it moved to the handcuffs and the whip. His tongue flicked out over his lips. He swallowed.
Legolas shuddered again. Rumil's gaze seemed to burn his skin. And the toys... He cast his eyes down and tried to steel himself.
Rumil turned around again, his voice raw with need. "Haldir..."
Legolas could not help himself; he looked up again. Haldir stood waiting by the door. His face was clouded.
"Later, Rumil. First, I want you to enjoy my gift. This slave is ours, for tonight, and the nights afterwards. We will enjoy him until we reach Caras Galadhon. And he will serve all of us, together. How long has it been since you last had one of these?"
Rumil swallowed and turned back to Legolas. Legolas shuddered under his gaze.
The third Elf shook his head. "Haldir-"
Haldir whirled around. "Enough, Orophin! You may partake, or choose to stay away; but I will not suffer your interfering!" he said. "I have waited for a chance like this."
Rumil cringed. Orophin gave them both a skeptical look. Haldir took a breath.
"Look, why don't you prepare the meal, so Rumil can ready himself? There is no need for us to squabble. We -"
He trailed off. While he spoke, Rumil had turned around again and taken another step forward, closing the distance.
His hand reached out and tentatively stroked through Legolas' hair. Legolas shivered. The touch felt clumsy, hesitant; the hand touching him trembled. Then the grip tightened, grew possessive. The other hand joined the first, stroked over his head, his face. Rumil's breath quickened, grew labored.
Legolas shut his eyes. He tried to tune the touches out, to concentrate on something else, but he couldn't. Bile rose in his throat. With all his willpower he fought against the urge to jump up, to fight, to run away...
Suddenly, the hands were gone. Rumil made a half-quelled sound of protest, like a whimper. Legolas dared to open his eyes again. Haldir stood beside him, grasping Rumil's wrists.
"Go and wash yourself, first, brother," Haldir said. "We won't take our pleasure still reeking of battle. Meanwhile Orophin will prepare the meal. We will get back to this after we have eaten."
Rumil cringed and ducked, as if expecting a blow, and for a moment, a shadow flickered over Haldir's face, but as quickly, it was gone again.
"Go, wash and change," he said. "This slave will not go anywhere. He will be there for us, all night. There will be plenty of time to take care of your needs, later."
And with that, he let go of Rumil's wrists and gave him a small shove in the direction of the wash stand.
Rumil obeyed. Haldir's gaze followed him. For a moment, Legolas saw his face darken again, before Haldir schooled it into his usual, haughty expression.
Legolas quickly lowered his eyes, again. He did not know what to make of the behavior of his captors, and he did not dare to ask. Besides, it hardly mattered for his situation...
Haldir's hand grasped his hair, forcing his head back. For a moment, he met the Marchwarden's hard, glittering eyes.
"Do not worry, Mirkwood spawn," the Lothlorien Elf said. "We will get back to you, soon enough. We will enjoy your services all night. Never doubt that."
And with that, he let him go. Legolas lowered his head again and closed his eyes. He tried to shut out his hearing, shut out his other senses, shut out everything, but it did not work. Biting his lips, he waited for his masters to choose when to take their pleasure.
___________ o ____________
The meal was short and quiet. The three brothers took it in the other room, and Legolas, left in his place, did not follow their conversation. He knelt, head bowed, trying to shut everything out. Tried not to think, not to feel... not to hear...
Suddenly, a plate and a cup appeared in front of him, and he looked up.
"Eat and drink," Orophin said quietly, "you need your strength."
Legolas stared at him, uncomprehending. He had not heard his steps, had barely registered somebody was moving.
Orophin rose again. For a moment, a warm hand brushed over Legolas' shoulder, then the other Elf was gone again and returned to the others.
Legolas stared after him, then down at the plate. Dried venison, bread, a few berries, a cup of water... He fought down the bile. He did not feel like eating. In fact, his stomach rebelled at the mere thought. He had not eaten all day; even the short rest before they entered the woods, he had spent on guard, refusing any food. And yet, he barely registered his empty stomach. But he did not know when he would get something to eat or drink again. So he reached for the cup and drank thirstily. Then he tried a bite of venison.
He had not realized how hungry he had been. Quickly, the meat and bread were gone. He swallowed. He had not meant to eat so much. How could he kneel here and eat, when --
The plate was taken away. He looked up into the smirking face of Haldir.
"Now it is time for our dessert," the Marchwarden said. "You will serve us well, will you not?" He turned around.
"Rumil, come here. Orophin, take care of the plates, please. You may join us later."
Legolas saw Rumil clumsily rising and slowly coming over. He shivered.
________________ o ________________
The following hours were like a blur. Legolas had no clear account of what happened to him, and by whom; he did not pay attention. All the knew were hands, hands on his body, touching, stroking, gripping – Rumil's clumsiness, then his increasing need, Haldir's hard grip and demanding voice, accompanied by a surprising expertise at the ways to set Legolas' body aflame and elicit responses even against his will; teeth, lips and tongue grating over his skin, fingers, entering his body, widening him, preparing...
Then came the pain, flesh invading his flesh, impaling him, first rough, then surprisingly gentle; another pair of arms, capturing him, holding him tight, while he was taken... He heard whimpering and harsh voices, at some point, but did not really know if the whimper had come from himself. He felt his head pushed down on someone's lifeless flesh, and for a moment, he was confused. This was not his master. What -
"Go on, please him! Give him what he need!" a harsh voice hissed in his ear, and he started to follow the command, but the other man's flesh would not respond, and he heard crying. He was beaten, then shoved aside, and heard soft, encouraging words from the one who still held him. Then he was entered again, rough and punishing, and he whimpered in pain.
He heard an encouraging voice, but it was not his master's. He tried to retreat, to flee back into himself. To shut out what happened with his body. Images sprang up at him, from long ago. Hands on his body, flesh entering his flesh, his mouth, forcing him to lick, to suck, making him gag... hands fondling his maleness, forcing his traitorous body to respond... toys, leering gazes... an endless row of strangers, taking, forcing, using...
It was too much. He tried to get away, tried to escape, to retreat, further, further... there had to be a place where nobody could touch him, no one could reach him anymore...
Blue, icy light sprang up in front of him, and he felt himself yanked back into his flesh. He cried out in pain and in frustration, but all he could hear was a whimper. White light appeared before his eyes, mingling with the blue, both icy cold.
'Not yet, Mirkwood prince,' a cold voice said, 'you do not escape from your fate that easily!'
And with that, he was thrown back, and lost all conscious awareness of himself.
He barely registered when it was over, and gentle hands helped him up and guided him to the next room. He noticed he was set down on a fur, covered with a blanket; noticed at some point he was washed and encouraged by a soothing voice. Confused he asked: "My Lord? Glorfindel?"
The voice answering him was gentle. "No. I'm Orophin. You did well. Sleep now."
He did not find the strength to think about the answer, or ask questions. Completely exhausted, he drifted off to sleep.
___________________ o _________________
Legolas woke from the sound of a whip.
He curled, his body reacting on its own, but the pain did not come. He heard the sharp impact of leather on flesh, and a muffled cry. Cold sweat breaking from his skin, he shot up to his knees, wildly looking around. Who was it who had to pay for his sins this time? Who--?
The talan around him was dark and silent. The room in which he crouched was empty. The furs beside his own were cold. Orophin and the others were nowhere to be seen. There was a thin trickle of light coming through a leather curtain at the door to the third room, a curtain he had not noticed the evening before. He could hear muffled crying from the other room, and a harsh voice he identified with Haldir, hissing: "Be quiet! You brought this on yourself!"
Again, the sharp hiss of a whip, the impact on the flesh, and a muffled cry. Then muffled sobs, quieter now, but not entirely stifled
Panic made Legolas skin crawl. He could not fathom what he had done wrong, what would have caused Haldir to punish one of the hostages in his stead. And yet... Then, rational thought set in.
If this was meant to be a punishment to him, it would be done in his presence, would it not? So, what...?
Carefully creeping closer, he closed the distance to the leather curtain, taking care to make no noise. There was a part where the leather not completely fitted the opening of the door, and where the light got through. Careful to stay as much in the shadow as he could, he pressed himself against the floor, and dared a peek.
On the floor in the other room knelt an Elf. His back was bare, and sported several angry welts. His arms were tied to the wooden frame, and his face was hidden from Legolas' view. He shivered and cringed under the pain, and his muffled sobs came from under a curtain of his hair.
It was Rumil.
Behind him stood Haldir, who just in this moment raised the whip and brought it down again. Rumil cried out, then he sobbed some more. Haldir hissed at him.
"Quiet! I told you to be quiet! Master yourself, or I will stop this now!" He made a sharp move with his head towards the closed curtain. "We do not wish to wake our guest, do we?! Or do you wish him to see this?"
Rumil gasped. There was another sob, and then a whispered: "No! No, please. No..."
The whip parted the air again. A cry, then Haldir delivered another blow, and then another.
Legolas drew back into the dark.
For moments, he could not move, too stunned by the scene he had just watched. He heard the whip descend again, and again, until he lost count. Heard Haldir's angry voice, now too quiet to identify his words clearly, heard Rumil's sobs of pain, and his pitiful pleas – if he was begging for more punishment, or less, Legolas could not say. The one thing he knew for sure was that he could not afford for Haldir to find out that he had witnessed the strange scene.
Taking care to move as noiselessly as he could, he made it back to his fur again. There, he curled in on himself and stared into the dark, trying in vain to still his racing mind.
He tried to think, tried to understand what he'd seen, but it was just too much. He could not make any sense of it. And the noise of the descending whip intruded in his mind, and made him shiver.
Finally, after a long time, the noise stopped. Legolas burrowed deeper under his fur and tried to breathe slowly and deeply, as in sleep.
The light went out. The curtain moved, then steps came closer and someone lay down on one of the free furs. Legolas did not dare to look, but he recognized the smell. It was Haldir.
Legolas cringed. He did not dare to move, did not dare to give any hint he was awake. But he could not close his ears, could not miss the faint noise coming from Haldir's furs.
Haldir was crying.
Legolas did not move. He did his best to stay unnoticed. He stared out into the night until finally, exhaustion won over his racing mind, and he drifted off to sleep again.
_______________ o ________________
-- TBC --
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.