11. Standing Trial
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 Randy, who polished this chapter and made it so much better! All still remaining errors are my own.
Warnings: Slash. M/m, BDSM, d/s, torture, toys, non-con and debatable consent. Very graphic descriptions. Special warnings 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.
For all other disclaimers and authors notes see Story Intro.
IX. Standing Trial
The meeting was held in one of the upper rooms of the house, one of the rare ones that had windows of glass and therefore was safe from eavesdroppers. When the attending Elves, including Elrond's quickly summoned guards, filed up to climb the stairs. Elrond turned to Aragorn to stop him from following.
"Not you, son of Arathorn," he said sternly, "this is a matter of the Elves only. Go to Gandalf and the Ring Bearer and stay out of this!"
Aragorn looked squarely back at him and stood his ground. Rarely Legolas had seen him this determined and this fell and fierce. He looked positively kingly.
"Not so," Aragorn said. "Legolas is mine. He is my slave, and everything that concerns him concerns me, too! You will hold this meeting in my presence or you will not hold it at all. I will not let anyone decide over the fate of my very own property without me!"
Elrond started to object, but Glorfindel intervened. "He is right, My Lord," he said with his clear voice. "Since Legolas is his slave, Aragorn is well in his rights to participate in this."
Fiercely, Elrond turned on him, but was stopped by one of his sons. "Let Aragorn participate, Ada," Elladan said. "After all he is still our foster brother and it is his concern as well."
Aragorn did not even spare a moment to shoot him a grateful look. He still faced Elrond fiercely and unrelenting. Finally, Elrond gave in. "Very well," he said, "but remember that this is mainly about Mirkwood, not about your claims!"
Aragorn stared right back at him. "As long as it is about my slave," he said stonily, "it is my concern and is about my claims to him, too." And without another word, he started up the stairs right beside his slave. Elrond scowled at him but followed him without a further word.
______________ o ________________
In the meeting chamber, Elrond took his place in a comfortable seat that was a little higher and more richly adorned with fine carvings than the others, and motioned his fellow Elves to take their seats in the other chairs placed in a half circle around the room. Legolas remained in the middle of the room, shoulders squared. His father's warriors had not been allowed to join them, and he knew he would only see them again after facing his judgment.
Elrond's two guards had left him when he stepped into the room and took their place at the door, as if Legolas could try to escape. Aragorn, however, refused to follow Elrond's gesture to sit down, and remained standing two steps beside his slave, fierce and grim, a silent sentinel to the proceedings.
Elrond motioned the guards to close the doors and turned to Legolas.
"Legolas Thranduilion," he began, "do you recall your recent offer to stand in penance for your father and your people?"
Legolas gave him a respectful bow. "I do, My Lord."
Elrond looked satisfied. "And do you keep to it?"
Again, Legolas bowed. "I do, My Lord," he said.
Now, Elrond's face showed a dark, delighted smile. "Very well, slave. Kneel!" he commanded.
Legolas obeyed. He knelt, head bowed, in the middle of the assembled Elves. Aragorn remained standing.
"My friends and allies," Elrond began, "we are here to decide over the punishment for the repeated failure of Mirkwood. This realm has failed its duty in its fight against the Shadow that threatens all our realms again and again. This last failure was of greatest importance, and it may yet bring great harm to all of us. We cannot allow this to go unpunished. And since the deed discussed here was grave, it calls for a punishment that will be harsh, thorough and memorable, and will be direly felt by Mirkwood's king and by its people."
Legolas did not dare to look up, and he suppressed a tremble. He had known that it would come to this. All he could see from his position was Elrond's face and his delighted, predatory smile. And Erestor's face and expression of triumph beside him.
Elrond continued: "This slave here, who is the youngest son of Thranduil, has offered and was allowed to stand in representation for his father's realm and face trial for them. However, to make this penance worth its name, we cannot allow this punishment to be anything else than lasting, since the outcome of Mirkwood's failure this time may well prove a lasting one, as well."
In this moment Aragorn's voice cut through the silence that followed his words.
"I have to take objection to that,"he said. "My Lord Elrond, this slave is mine. And he made his offer without my authorization."
Elrond said fiercely and icily: "Estel, sit down and keep your mouth shut. If you interrupt again, I will have you removed from this chamber."
Aragorn squared his shoulders and stood straight. He broadened his stance and looked ready to fight.
"No, I will not," he said. "My Lord Elrond, I say again, this slave belongs to me. By law of Rivendell, I am well in my rights to be consulted if there is a decision to be made about his fate, and I will not suffer to be bereft of this right by you or anybody else assembled here."
Legolas swallowed. So this was what Estel planned. He merely feared that Elrond would not stand for it.
Elrond said: "Aragorn, son of Arathorn, this slave is a Mirkwood hostage. And he has offered to stand in penance in his function as representative of his father and of his people at the council. In that function, it was his right to do so, and he has to stand for it."
Aragorn did not relent. He stared squarely back at him. "This slave may be a Mirkwood hostage, My Lord Elrond," he said, "but he was given to me as a gift for my majority by you, yourself. By any law of Rivendell, he is now my property and therefore he belongs to me. You would dishonor yourself were you to claim him back."
Elrond scowled. Legolas carefully raised his head to cast a look at his master beside him. Aragorn looked fierce and grim, every ounce a chieftain and possible king.
"However," Aragorn continued, "while Legolas made his offer without my authorization, he may still stand for it. Yet there are some conditions on which I insist."
His gaze sharpened. "If Legolas is to be punished, it will be my honor and my duty as his master to carry out he punishment myself."
Legolas stared at him in amazement, then bowed his head again. He supposed it was all right. Since he belonged to Estel, it was only right that it would be Estel who would be the one to kill him. He did not doubt that dying at his master's hands would be more merciful as if he was killed by an appointed executioner of Elrond's choosing. He saw Elrond perk up with dark satisfaction. So did Erestor; the chief advisor knew that killing or mutilating his slave would cause Aragorn pain, and saw the chance to finally get back at him.
Their hopes were stopped by Aragorn next words.
"But," he fiercely said, "I will accept no punishment that will do lasting harm. None that will kill, nor mutilate, nor disfigure him for good. This slave belongs to me, and I will not suffer myself to be deprived of him. I will not accept any sentence to him that renders him worthless for my uses." After a moment, he added coldly: "And it will be me who will be the judge of that."
Legolas looked at him in awe. He had not expected Estel to fight for him like that. He bowed his head again and kept his face carefully blank. He did not dare to intervene or draw any undue attention. Pale and trembling he waited for the outcome.
Elrond scowled. "My Lord Aragorn," he said, "while you are in your rights to demand your property remaining useful to you, the fact remains that this slave is a Mirkwood hostage, a son of Thranduil, and he is to be punished as stand-in for his father and for his realm. We can't accept such limits. If you wish for another slave in compensation, we can arrange for that."
Aragorn held his gaze. "I do not wish another slave," he said. "I want this one. I repeat to you, Legolas was given to me by you, and he was given not as hostage of Mirkwood to take care of, but as a gift. He belongs to me in every way possible. I will not give him up. If he is to stand in penance, then the penance has to be one that, while harsh, will not do lasting harm. Nor shall it include any mutilation or disfigurement."
Elrond glared at him. He was about to object when Glorfindel spoke up.
"Besides," Glorfindel said, "Legolas is part of the Fellowship of the Ring, now. He offered his bow to protect the Ring Bearer on his quest, and he is bound to this. Surely the mission to destroy the One Ring and save Middle Earth from the threat of Sauron is more important than any punishment to the Mirkwood realm for the escape of a single prisoner."
Elrond turned and glared at his vassal and chief warrior. Then he shrugged.
"Legolas made that second offer without authorization of his master, too," he said. "And it could be argued that he was not free to make it in the first place since it contradicts his first offer."
Aragorn said: "He may have made this second offer without my explicit authorization, but this is one I condone and completely approve of. There has to be an Elf within the fellowship, and there is none that I would rather have beside me than this one." After a short pause he added: "Therefore I will not accept that anything be done to him that would render his participation impossible."
Legolas ducked his head. Elrond scowled. Testily he said:
"I can easily appoint another Elf to participate in the fellowship. In fact I should. This mission is too important to be left to a Mirkwood slave. Glorfindel could go with you, or my sons."
Elrohir and Elladan perked up. Glorfindel shook his head.
"With all due respect, my liege-lord," he said, "I am not a good choice to go on this mission. I am too well known to the enemy, and my power is too great. I would be like a beacon to any spies or servants of the enemy who might watch. So would your sons be. The main point of this mission is secrecy. Legolas is the natural choice, since he travels with Aragorn regularly anyway. The spies of the enemy will think nothing of it if he accompanies the Ranger now."
Aragorn gave him a short, grateful look. Quickly he said:
"Besides, I do not wish another Elf for this mission, nor will I accept another one. Legolas has stood beside me in countless fights. I can discern what he will do without so much as but a glance, as he can do with me. We can act as one, without so much as a word needed between us. I can do that with no other Elf, My Lord Elrond, not even with your sons. And Legolas is well used to travel and interaction with folk other than Elves. He has accompanied me on my travels for sixty years. I do not doubt that he is the ideal choice to travel with four Hobbits, one wizard, another Adan and a Dwarf."
He bowed his head respectfully to the assembled Elves. "Therefore, my Lords, I do not wish to have another Elf beside me and I won't accept being accompanied by any but by him."
There was some disquiet running through the other Elves and Legolas ducked his head a bit more. This last one had been a daring move, since it had to rankle the assembled Lords, albeit the argument was true enough.
Elrond bristled. "That is not your choice alone, son of Arathorn," he said, glaring coldly at the Ranger.
Aragorn glared coldly back at him. "Yes it is," he said, "for I am Isildur's heir and the fate of the One Ring is mainly my concern, since it was the fault of my ancestor that we need to correct now. All of my bloodline are bound to its fate, and so it is my responsibility to see the Ring destroyed. It is me who has to carry out this mission beside the Ring Bearer. That is my duty and my right. And I wish for no other Elf to accompany me on it but my slave."
Glorfindel spoke again. "Besides, My Lord, if Mirkwood has to redeem its former failures in the fight against the Shadow, Legolas' participation on this quest will be a part of that. There is no greater service after all that one of Mirkwood's Elves could do to Middle Earth than helping to destroy this weapon of the enemy for good."
Aragorn gave him a grateful look. Legolas said nothing. He was still kneeling on the floor and dared not to move or to look up, so he would not draw undue attention to himself, and he kept his face carefully blank. Yet he was grateful, too.
Not so Lord Elrond, who glared at his chief warrior and old, trusted friend fiercely. He opened his mouth to contradict him, yet was forestalled by Lord Gildor.
Gildor looked sceptically at the kneeling slave. As much sympathy as he felt for the young Mirkwood Elf, there was an objection he had to make.
"Forgive me, My Lord Glorfindel," he said, "but is it not a risk to give such an important mission to one who is a slave? What if the slave should decide to betray us?"
Legolas' head came fiercely up at that, and dared to look at the Elf-lord indignantly. Gildor met his gaze somewhat apologetically. He did not doubt the Young One's loyalty to his master Aragorn – obviously in this case the commitment went both ways - but this whole Quest was too dangerous and too important to leave anything to chance.
"I do not say that he would do so," he hastened to add, "but surely a slave such as he has no great love for his masters or their allies, all those who keep him enslaved, nor would he have great reason for it."
Elrond looked delighted. Yet Aragorn straightened up again and gave Gildor a cold look.
"I take objection at your words, Lord Gildor," he said coolly, "Legolas has fought at my side for sixty years. Never once he has betrayed me, or Rivendell, or the free people, in any way. He has proven himself a trusted and loyal companion, willing to lay down his life for me if needed, and for any of my Rangers or my other companions who fought beside him as well. Besides, he is bound to me quite tightly by the spell, and neither he nor his people would have anything to gain by selling us out. Quite the contrary. Mirkwood has suffered greatly by the Shadow and has a lot to gain should the One Ring finally be destroyed. I have no doubt of Legolas' loyalty, nor need you have any."
Glorfindel spoke. Gently he stood up from his seat and knelt before the slave. He tipped his chin up so Legolas looked into his eyes. "Legolas Thranduilion," he said intently, "meet my gaze. Do you swear that you will give your blood and life, if necessary, to protect the Ring Bearer and to help this mission to succeed, if you are allowed to join it?"
Legolas held his gaze and nodded. Clearly and solemnly he said: "I swear, My Lord Glorfindel. I will never betray My Lord Aragorn, or Middle Earth and its people."
"Nor the Ring Bearer?" Glorfindel asked.
"Nor the Ring Bearer," Legolas said. "I offered the Hobbit Frodo my bow, and to this I hold. I swear to protect him with my life if I am allowed to accompany my master on this mission."
Glorfindel nodded, satisfied. "I believe you, Greenleaf," he said. "There is no falsehood in your eyes. I know you will stay true to your oath."
Elrond scowled again. Glorfindel ignored it. He stood up and said simply to the assembly: "We can trust him." Then he gave a small bow to Aragorn and sat down again.
Aragorn glanced shortly down at his slave and nodded. "I had never any doubt of it," he merely said.
Elrond looked furious. He scowled. Finally he turned directly to the kneeling slave.
"Legolas of Mirkwood, look at me!" he commanded. Hesitantly and fearfully, the slave looked up and met his gaze.
Elrond glared at him. "Your offer to stand in penance for your father's failure and for your people is denied," he said. "You may join the Quest to destroy the Ring, since this is the wish of your master. We leave it open to him to punish you for the unauthorized offer you made to take penance for Mirkwood's failures."
He raised his voice, still staring maliciously at the kneeling slave. "Instead, as punishment for this new failure Mirkwood will have to give not only twelve, but fourteen hostages henceforth, beginning at the next yen. And even sooner, Thranduil in addition will have to give his last free child, Legolas' sister Silivren, to us as hostage and slave. She shall be put under the spell and given to an Elf of my choosing to serve him faithfully in payment of her father's failure in his trust. This is my judgment."
The other assembled Elves, save Erestor, looked dismayed. Aragorn visibly paled. Legolas looked horrified. He was desperate. He knew he should keep his mouth shut not to make matters worse, but he could not help himself.
"But Silivren is bonded!" he cried in alarm. "She has children! That is the very reason you spared her so far! Please, My Lord, you cannot do that to her!"
He saw Aragorn flinch at his new unbidden intervention and display of disrespect, but at this moment, he was beyond caring.
Elrond weighted the full force of his freezing gaze back on the slave. "Aragorn," he said icily, "I suggest you teach your slave not to speak unbidded, and not to contradict the rulings of his betters."
Legolas trembled. He opened his mouth to protest again, to insist, but Aragorn turned around to him in one fast move and slapped him full in the face, hard. "Be silent," Aragorn hissed. "You had no leave to speak! And you have no call to criticize Lord Elrond! I will have to punish you for this!"
Legolas looked up at him, hurt and betrayed. He saw the renewed fear in his master's eyes and subsided.
Aragorn turned back to Elrond again. "I am sorry, My Lord," he said coldly. "I will teach him better. Starting tonight."
Elrond's gaze sharpened and became predatory again. "Maybe," he mused, "your confidence in your slave's trustworthiness is too great. I suggest you have him punished thoroughly. Maybe I should assist you. Obviously you are far too gentle with him. I would rather you had this slave learn some respect."
Aragorn looked straight and unrelentingly back at him.
"With all due respect, Lord Elrond," he said coldly, "Legolas is mine, and I alone will decide how I treat him. And my trust in him both with my life and with this Quest is implicit, notwithstanding the fact that now and then I need to remind him of his place. Yet it is my duty and my right alone to do so."
He gave his slave a short, cold glance, and shifted his attention back at Lord Elrond. "But be assured that he will be punished thoroughly. By me. And I alone will decide what I see fit to do to him."
Elrond looked at him angrily, but Aragorn did not relent. Finally Elrond gave in. Disgusted, he said: "Very well. I will leave him to you. But you better make sure that it is a thorough punishment. I will not have your slave insult me without due reproach, and I demand you have him pay for this!"
Aragorn merely bowed, refusing another answer. Elrond stared at him for another moment, then he rose.
"Good. I will hold you to it," he just growled, then he turned around to the other Elves. "This council is closed. My Lords Gildor, Galdor and Glorfindel, you are excused. I will see you at the meal. Yet I ask you, My Lord Erestor, to join me in my study. We have preparations to make."
With a last grim nod to Aragorn, he signaled his guards to open the doors again and left the room. Erestor followed him in a huff. The assembled Elven Lords followed him more hesitantly and with some regretful looks at the still kneeling slave. Elladan hesitated shortly but was caught at the arm and guided outside by his twin, whose eyes were communicating a silent 'Not now!' at him. Glorfindel hesitated briefly, too. He gave Legolas a concerned look, then he straightened and left the room purposefully and with a determined expression. He was the last of the Elves except the slave to leave the room, and he closed the door from the outside.
Aragorn looked around to make sure they were truly alone, then he turned back to Legolas. He looked relieved, yet angry. Legolas looked back at him, wide eyed, hurt and hopeless, and felt bleak despair closing around him.
__________________ 0 _____________
-- 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.