Hidden Wounds: 1. Captive

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1. Captive



Author's Note: I have read several Legolas stories where he is raped by anyone and everyone, then comforted by Aragorn. I wanted to explore a reverse of that scenario. I hope you enjoy it, but I'd love to know either way. I also welcome any critique, nitpick, etc.

Thanks to my betareaders; MR, Joey, and Iocane. Much thanks also to AfterEver and Amanaishalez who did more than beta, they gave me wonderful encouragement and suggestions; and best of all, made me laugh.




Aragorn woke uncertain. He was used to waking easily, knowing the risks of his surroundings, instantly alert. Now his senses were dull, as if he had drunk too much wine. Twigs and rocks pressed into his cheek, and his hands were caught under him, bound together by strong cord. He opened his eyes slowly and took in the details around him as Elrond's sons had taught him, years ago. His sword was gone and his knife sheath no longer hung at his belt. He could not tell if his spare knife still rested in his right boot, but the boots were still on his feet, so there was yet hope.

He lay on the ground in the forest, and orcs, perhaps a score of them, moved among the trees and brush. He saw no other captives. His spare knife would be little use as things stood, and he would not be able to retrieve it unnoticed as long as his hands were tied and the orcs were alert.

Why was he alive? They had taken Merry and Pippin first, carrying them off and leaving the rearguard to delay what remained of the company. He would have expected them to kill him as they had killed Boromir. They had made no special effort to take him alive, he had barely evaded several sword thrusts before the head blow from behind. It must be vengeance that the orc captain desired.

What evil did the orcs plan for him? Perhaps they would wait until they reached their destination before exacting retribution, giving him time to find a way to win free. If not, he had no doubt that it would go very ill for him.

He continued to watch the camp; absorbing the placement of sentries, supplies, weapons. Two orcs sat nearby, probably guards. Of the others, the largest had a white hand badge and yellow eyes. He gave orders to many, and took them from none; he would be the captain, then. Two others appeared be in some lower position of authority, one with a fanged grin, the other with a foul, bloody cloth wrapped around his forearm. These three would be the most dangerous of the orc-band.

A guard loomed over him and prodded. "Ai, the filthy tark is awake!" The large orc and his followers joined the two guards around him.

One of the orcs kicked him contemptuously. "Why are we wasting time with this one, Urgat? Our orders were to kill all but the halflings."

"We will, Gorbaz; we will," said the one he had marked as the leader.

"This one gave us much trouble and cost us many good fighters. He will repay that. He ought to be good sport for the journey."

Sport.

He had seen results of orc 'sport' and knew more of their delight in cruelty than most men in Middle-earth; more than any sane being would wish to know. He shivered, and called on his memories of escapes from other evil places. The scars on his body attested to previous trials of his skills of survival; he feared the ordeal ahead would test him as never before. For his own sake, for the sake of the young hobbits and his promise to Boromir, he must find a way to survive.

When it was full dark, Urgat shouted orders. Others cursed but moved to obey.

"On your feet," the orc nearest him snapped, "if you delay us you will regret it!" Aragorn managed to roll to his side despite the pain of his bruised ribs, and after several tries, to stand. When the orcs had picked up their packs and gathered into a mob, Gorbaz moved behind him and shoved. "Run!" He ran, sneaking glances at the stars occasionally to check direction.

Gorbaz used a whip frequently when he slowed or stumbled, and sometimes for no reason. The orc's eyes glittered as the lash curled around the man's legs or cut sharply across his bound arms or back. Aragorn ignored the thong as best he could, concentrating on staying upright. His thoughts strayed to Merry and Pippin; the image of their cheerful faces marked with pain and tears haunted him as he ran.

When the group stopped at dawn he was pushed to the ground and the sudden motion caused his head to spin. He clamped his mouth shut so as not to retch, and lay still as he waited for the pain and nausea to pass. After the orcs had fed, Gorbaz brought water and dry bread and dropped it beside him. "Waste of food," he sneered, "but you won't need it long." It was many minutes before Aragorn could force his bound hands down to pick it up and eat.

He fell into an uneasy sleep, waking as he heard harsh voices around him.

"Not as pretty as an Elf, but he may last longer," said one.

"If he does, I'd find a use for him," said Gorbaz, lust in his voice.

"You'll have your chance to play. We shan't hurry the game. Today he's mine!" the orc captain growled. He turned and stalked toward his bound captive, with an evil laugh. "Ai! Now for the fun."

Aragorn braced himself for what would follow, hoping for the strength to endure. He knew not what Urgat intended, and the uncertainty gnawed at him. He could goad the creatures into killing him, and so escape; but he had not the right to abandon the others. He tried to hold fast to that thought as the leader came toward him.

He watched as a clawlike hand reached down to him, holding a dark, evil-looking dagger. Inwardly Aragorn shuddered, but kept himself still. The misshapen face bent to his and he smelled the orc's foul breath as Urgat's jagged blade sliced through the ties of his tunic and jerkin, scoring the skin beneath to leave lines beaded with blood. The yellow eyes above him feasted on the body thus exposed. The others gathered around and jeered as the cloth and leather parted. He fought to take deep breaths and master his fear. The knife moved on to the tie that held his breeches.

He saw lust in the captain's eyes, and understood it was lust for the pain of his body, more than for his body itself. Aragorn had known pain before, but here were cruelties worse than simple bodily pain, torments that threatened other paths to despair. Following in the ways of their dark master, the orcs would revel in breaking spirit as well as body.

'You are the heir of Kings and of the strength of Westernesse. You must not fail those who depend on you.' He told himself that repeatedly through the pain and humiliation. Hate had had no place in his mind before, but now it colored his every thought. He caught himself imagining many painful ways to kill the creatures as he gritted his teeth. He would hold onto such dignity as he could. The sweat that poured from him and low grunts were the only signs of his ordeal, until the end. When the orc captain took his final pleasure, Aragorn's screams rang out in the clearing to the laughter of the watchers.

Afterwards they turned away and so allowed him to clumsily tie up his garments as best he could. He counted it an unexpected mercy.

He lay amid the dirt, rocks and brush; nauseated and sweating with the aftermath of his torment. Every muscle screamed with rage, and the desire to kill churned in his belly. He found himself reflexively testing his bonds, as if knots could unravel by his will alone.

He knew too well the tale of Celebrian, so poisoned in spirit from her brief captivity among the orcs that even the Lord Elrond had been unable to heal his beloved wife. She had left Middle-earth, sailing West and leaving the sorrow to Elrond, and the rage to Elladan and Elrohir. Aragorn had learned to kill orcs at the side of his foster brothers, but their path and purpose was not his. He reached within himself, damping down the torrent of anger that threatened to engulf him, and turned to thoughts of escape, weighing plans and chances.

The camp settled again, but no sleep came to Aragorn. He felt the eyes of the sentry, lingering greedily on him between glances at the forest. With nightfall he was once again prodded to his feet, the guards clapping and jeering at his struggle to stand. The running was harder this night, the agony of his earlier torment added to the sting of the whip.

Despair loomed ever before him; this enemy, the most difficult to defeat. He looked up at the stars and desperately sought the comfort Legolas had always taken from them. Legolas and Gimli; did they still live? They had been high on Amon Hen, and had stayed to cover his back while he answered the summons of Boromir's horn. If they survived, had they followed Frodo and Sam to Mordor or did they follow the captives? It would have been a sore choice to make, and Aragorn was unsure which path he would have taken in their place.

He could not even bear to think of Arwen now, ever a source of hope and comfort in the past.

They ran through the stony hills and scrub, over rock and ravine. His arms and shoulders ached from the unchanging position of his tied hands. His back and buttocks burned with wounds and bruises. He was desperately weary, yet he feared the moment when the night would end, and the orcs would think again of their cruel games. He turned his thoughts away from his own fear and considered the hobbits. They faced the same and worse, he knew. And however brave and sturdy of spirit, their bodies were small and frail compared to his. How could they bear what might be happening even now? There was nothing to be done for them but endure, awaiting a chance for escape. And at his back there was only the laughter of Gorbaz as he muttered evil promises to his captive, and wielded the cruel whip like a blade.

When he was flung to the ground at daybreak, he fought to steel himself to face the day ahead. As the grey morning mist thinned, Aragorn heard a sudden crackle in the brush on the far end of the encampment and his eyes swept the forest around him.

The orc captain turned towards the noise. "Shagrat, you and your lads go check that."

Shagrat snarled, but started for the area that had been disturbed; and four others followed, grumbling. When the brush stirred again, it was with the whistle of an arrow in flight.

An orc to the rear of the scouting group screeched and went down with a shaft in his back, and all the orcs turned, searching for the arrow's source. A knife landed on the ground near Aragorn's side. With arrows now falling amid the orcs he could roll enough to grasp the knife and push the rope against the blade, heedless of injury in his haste to free his hands. The captain turned back toward him and took a step as Aragorn rolled back and threw, piercing the orc through the neck with the blade. An echo of dark rage flared through him, and he tasted the sweet, poisonous satisfaction as Urgat died. He sprang to his feet, with his knife from his boot in his left hand, and scooped up the fallen captain's sword in his right. It was a heavy and clumsy weapon, but served to keep the few orcs near him from closing in.

Then Gimli was there, swinging his axe against those orcs left on the near side of the camp, the deadly rain of arrows forcing the scouting group further into the forest for cover. Aragorn backed up in step with Gimli, the crude orc blade slashing through the guards around them, turning to run only when the last orc fell to Gimli's axe. Together they ran past Legolas as the Elf nocked and loosed arrows too quickly for the eye to follow. The archer retreated behind his two companions, ready to discourage any attempts at pursuit.

Gimli looked at him with concern as Aragorn gasped and stumbled over the uneven ground.

"We must move further away from their camp. Can you continue on, Aragorn?"

"I will go on."

"I will ease you as I can when we reach a sheltered place. It is but a little way further," said Legolas.

He could no longer keep track of where their path led, but he kept moving. His steps had become slow and clumsy indeed, when Gimli and Legolas finally halted. He cast himself to the ground and closed his eyes in weariness as the others made camp around him.

He felt a touch on his shoulder and began struggling, his hand lashing out. A strong hand caught his wrist, but simply held it, and the touch on his shoulder stayed gentle. When he opened his eyes he saw golden hair. "Be easy, Estel; it's Legolas." Aragorn sagged back to the ground in relief as the grip on his wrist was released. "You are safe now, drink and then rest." A slender, pale hand brought a cup to his lips. He drank thirstily of the cool clean water, then sank back into sleep.

When he woke again it was dark, and a small fire crackled in a hollow next to him. Sleep was gone, but exhaustion still claimed him; he lay still, unthinking. Gimli stood, scanning the hills around them, and Legolas lay unmoving close by. After some minutes the dwarf shook Legolas awake, whispered a few words and stretched out on the other side of the fire. The elf came to his feet in a single, swift motion; his eyes swept the forest as he paced about the small camp. He paused where Aragorn lay.

The man had become friends with the Elf in Rivendell while waiting for Frodo to heal enough to attend council. He had found Legolas habitually reserved, though lighthearted and even impulsive at times. He was an enjoyable companion and a formidable warrior. How could he speak to him of this? He could not even speak of it to himself. Urgat was dead, and it solved nothing. The orc's death would not change what had happened; would neither heal wounds of his body, nor the bitter wounds within. He closed his eyes and lay as if still asleep.

"I know you do not sleep."

Aragorn pushed himself up wearily to sit leaning against a tree.

"Aragorn." The musical voice was soft. "You cannot turn away from this. It will follow you if you do not turn back and face it."

"I am alive. There is nothing to face." He turned his head to look blankly at the fire.

His face was gently caught and brought back toward the elf. Legolas held his gaze. "Is there not? I tended to your wounds as you slept, and they tell a tale of much ill use. Foul indeed was their treatment of you." Legolas caught the wince on Aragorn's face, and then another expression followed, replaced too quickly to read. "One of the Firstborn would have been dead and their spirit in the Halls of Mandos ere this. You have great courage and strength of spirit."

The man looked at the fair, luminous face and saw compassion, and still more precious to him, respect. "You know what was done." It was not a question.

"I have seen such once before, to my sorrow. He was a friend of my youth, taken by orcs. He did not survive. Although he had no killing wound, when we drove off the orcs his spirit had already fled." There was pain in Legolas' eyes. "I would not lose another friend to this evil."

"I will not die of this, though I may now wish I had," Aragorn said.

"That you will not die I am glad of. I, and the rest of the company, could ill afford to lose you, my friend."

Legolas crouched by the fire and fished a small bundle out the coals with a stick. He scraped the charred leaf wrappings off the skinned rabbit and handed it to the man, along with a flask of water. Then, resuming his watchful position, he left Aragorn to the rabbit and his thoughts.




'Tark' is an epithet used by the orcs for a Man of Numenorean descent, much as 'whiteskins' is used by the Uruk-hai for the Rohirrim.
See RoTK 'The Tower of Cirith Ungol' chapter.


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: Lyllyn

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Drama

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 12/14/02

Original Post: 12/01/02

Go to Hidden Wounds overview

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