19. Trials And Nightmares
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.
Warnings: Slash. M/m, BDSM, d/s, torture, toys, non-con and debatable consent. Very graphic descriptions. Special warnings for this chapter: Rape (In flashback only).
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.
XVII. Trials And Nightmares
Legolas trudged on. He kept his mind carefully blank, just concentrating on each new step. He was so caught in his single minded occupation, that he was startled and jumped a little as suddenly a warm hand settled itself on his shoulder again. He looked up and found Aragorn beside him, staying his steps and calling him to rest. Astonished, he looked around and found that the others of the Fellowship discarded their packs already in the small clearing they had reached and the Hobbits in particular were busy gathering firewood and starting a fire.
"We take a short rest here," Aragorn explained gently. "The Hobbits feel it is time for a meal. Try to recover your strength!"
Legolas said nothing. He just nodded back at him and picked a spot to settle down. There he sank to his knees and took deep breaths, trying to fight the pain in his back and his exhaustion. He did not dare to sit or put weight on his thighs, because he knew it would hurt excruciatingly after the severe beating he had received last night.
Aragorn squatted down beside him and handed him his water skin. Legolas took it gratefully and drank deeply. Then his master took the water back and handed him the flask with Miruvor again.
"Drink," he prompted gently, "you shall need it. Would you like another piece of Lembas?"
Gratefully, Legolas took a sip, then he handed the little flask back and shook his head."Thank you... Estel," he answered politely, "but no! I am afraid I could not keep it down right now."
Aragorn looked at him, troubled and dismayed. Legolas took another couple of deep breaths and asked: "Could I have my pack back, please?"
Puzzled, Aragorn handed it to him. Carefully, the Elf placed the pack on the ground, then leaned himself on it with one side to put as little weight as possible to his hurting back and rear. Aragorn lowered his head briefly.
Finally, he settled himself beside his Elf and relieved himself of his pack and the two water skins. He began to rummage through their packs. Then he looked up, bemused, and asked in Silvain:
"Where is the bundle with the toys, Little Leaf? I cannot find it in your pack!"
Legolas' eyers flew open and he stared at his master with disbelief. Surely Aragorn could not mean to bring out those toys and use them here?!
Aragorn saw his expression and flinched. Then he growled slightly exasperated: "I do not want to use them now, I just want to know where you put them! Really, Legolas..."
He sincerely hoped his slave had not forgotten or refused to pack the toys. He did not care to punish Legolas again so soon after the last time, but he could hardly afford to ignore such a blatant disobedience of his orders, either.
His slave flinched at his tone. "They are in my quiver, master," he said carefully in the same language. "I thought..."
Aragorn looked back at him, startled. He was relieved that, after all, Legolas had packed the items he had commanded. Still... He paled a bit. "In your quiver? But the weight..."
Legolas shrugged, then made a face as the small movement aggravated his already hurting back. "I did not care to pack them in a place where they could fall into the hands of a curious Hobbit," he explained.
Aragorn jumped a little at the thought, then he shook his head. "Very well" he said. "Give them to me, Little Leaf."
He saw the renewed fear and panic in his slave's eyes and had to force himself to fight down his exasperation. For what did his slave take him? He should know him better after all...
Then he thought of what he had put his Elf through last night, and what he'd done this morning, and swallowed. "I just want to carry them myself," he explained. "You can not afford to aggravate your back with any more weight than is absolutely necessary for the next few days. I cannot relieve you from your weapons, Little Leaf, but I can certainly make sure they are not made heavier by an unnecessary burden!"
Legolas looked at him in startled disbelief.
"But... I thought--" he said.
Aragorn closed his eyes. His face showed pain.
"You thought wrong," he said quietly. "I did not wish to punish you further, and it wasn't deliberate. I have simply been an idiot. As Glorfindel took great care to remind me in no uncertain words and great detail this morning."
Legolas kept his face carefully blank as he looked back at him. Aragorn was relieved to see a bit more alertness and interest back in his eyes. "My Lord Glorfindel called you that?" he asked.
Aragorn rolled his eyes.
"That and several other things, most of them even less flattering," he said. "I am sorry, Little Leaf. I should have been there, or made sure Glorfindel was there to guard you. I did not think."
He sighed. "Please, forgive me!"
Legolas looked at him, dumbfounded.
"I... am alive, Estel," he said carefully. "Glorfindel came in time. And... it is not my place to forgive... you, My Lord! Nor are you bound to apologize to me. You know that!"
Aragorn looked back at him, sad and troubled.
"Maybe not," he said. "Still I am sorry, Little Leaf." Then he looked away and shook his head. He sighed.
"Now give me the bundle with the toys. Stop stalling!"
Startled, but obedient, Legolas began to fumble with the straps of his harness. He made a face as even the small movement of the quiver as the first strap was loosened sent bolts of renewed pain through his back. In the next instant, Aragorn was close, kneeling half behind him, taking the weight off his quiver and taking it carefully from his back as the straps came loose. Then he gently and carefully removed it and settled himself beside his slave again. He handed Legolas the quiver so he could unpack it.
Obediently, Legolas began to unpack the arrows and the bundle with his archer gear – spare strings, oil, feathers, glue and thread, whetstone and everything else needed to repair the bow and arrows or produce new fletchings – until he could fish out the small, but heavy bundle with the toys and hand it to his master. Aragorn nodded his thanks and shrugged out of his own quiver, beginning to unpack it in turn. Obviously, Legolas' idea of how to keep the bundle safe made sense to him.
Legolas watched him for a moment, then he carefully began to repack his own quiver. He was still a bit dizzy, and his back still hurt, not to mention his thighs and rear, but the Miruvor had restored a little of his strength again and both the familiar occupation and the reassuring and familiar sight of his master efficiently handling his own things did a lot to calm him. Still his mind was not at its usual speed. He supposed the walk had taken a greater toll on him that he had thought.
Aragorn looked up. "How is your back?" he asked.
Startled out of his thoughts Legolas replied carefully but honestly: "It hurts, Estel. But I can manage."
Aragorn looked down again and bit his lips. "I will apply more of the salve to you in the evening," he promised. "And you won't have to take a watch tonight. It should be better in the morning."
He looked for a moment as if he wanted to say more, but then he only shook his head and slipped his quiver back over his shoulders.
They both started a bit when one of the Hobbits approached them. It was the one who had first demanded to accompany Frodo at the council and who kept mainly company with the pony, caring for all their gear. Sam, Legolas' brain provided after a moment.
"Excuse me, Master Strider, Master Elf," the Perian said, "but the meal is ready. Would you like some sausages?"
Aragorn accepted the offered plate with a courteous nod and a smile, but Legolas shook his head. "Thank you, Master Perian, but I am not hungry," he excused himself politely in flawless Common. "I will gladly give up my portion for another member of the Fellowship this time."
Aragorn cast him a sharp look, and saw that his Elf was a bit green about the gills.
Sam looked dismayed. "There is no need to call me 'master', Master Elf," he said nonetheless, blushing a bit, "my name is Sam, at your service. Would you like to have something else? Perhaps an apple?"
Legolas looked back at him, astonished, and Aragorn smiled. "You will not get out of this that easily, mellon(1)," he said in Common, "refusing a meal is unthinkable for a Hobbit! It would be better if you just accepted, or he may think you are ill."
Legolas cast him a startled look. Was that an order? He saw Aragorn's concerned gaze and lowered his head. "I am not ill, Master Samwise," he offered, recalling the full name of the Hobbit as he heard it at the Council, "and I will gladly accept an apple, thank you!"
The Hobbit seemed a bit mollified. "What does 'Perian' mean?" he suddenly asked curiously.
Legolas looked back at him, a bit puzzled. "Excuse my oversight, Master Samwise. I forgot to keep to the Common tongue. Perian is an Elvish word for Hobbit," he explained. "It means Halfling in our tongue."
He hesitated a bit, unsure if the Hobbit would feel the meaning of the word to be offensive, but Sam only smiled, obviously delighted. "Thank you, Master Elf! I will fetch you your apple in a moment," he promised.
He turned to go. Aragorn stopped him and shook his head. "There is no need for that, Sam," he offered. "Legolas can have his apple from me; I keep a small store of my own. I think you should offer this plate to somebody else before it grows cold, instead."
Samwise looked a bit dismayed, but just nodded and took off. Legolas was a bit ashamed that he had forgotten to offer his name to the Hobbit himself.
He looked up and met his master's gaze. "He is right, you know," Aragorn said. "You should eat something more. I will give you that apple, and for now you'll have another piece of Lembas. Do not argue!" he warned, "You don't need to eat it all at once. But you need more nourishment right now, and you cannot afford to skip your meals. Just indulge me and obey!"
Reluctantly, but obediently, Legolas took the offered apple and the other Lembas. He unwrapped the wafer and took a bite, rewrapping the rest and packing it into the pouch he kept at his belt. Then he used his hunting knife to slice the apple into several parts and stored most of them away for later likewise. Afterwards he obediently began to munch.
Aragorn watched him for a moment, then he occupied himself with his own plate. Silently, he cursed himself again. Legolas seemed far too exhausted for his liking. But he knew he could not show more of his concern without alerting Gandalf and the others. The wizard had cast them troubled glances already. And they had still a long way to travel today. He would need to wait for the evening before he could see to Legolas' injuries again. Right now he could do nothing more for his slave but leave him alone.
Finished with his plate, Aragorn looked up again and saw that Legolas was finished with his quiver. Quietly, he offered: "Let me help you put that on again."
Legolas looked up at him, a bit startled. He had hoped he could stall putting the thing back on and give his back relief a few more moments; but if his master ordered it differently, he had to obey. Then he looked around and saw that the rest of the Fellowship had finished with their meals and were about to make ready for departure, too.
He bit his lips and had to suppress a hiss when he shrugged back into his harness and Aragorn helped him to get the quiver back in place again; his back sent bolts of protest through his body, and the pain was hard to bear. Yet he managed. Aragorn laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder and helped him ride it out for a moment, whispering quiet endearments and encouragements in Silvain. Then the quiver was back in place, and the Elf gave his master a grateful nod.
Aragorn knelt before him and held him for a moment. "Be brave, Little Leaf," he offered. "It will be yet a few hours of travel until nightfall, but I am sure you can manage. Then you may rest. It will be better tomorrow. Be brave for me."
He could not kiss his Elf openly in front of the others, so he just settled for squeezing his shoulders carefully, then he got up and helped his slave up, too.
Legolas stood and bowed his head nearly imperceptibly to his master. Sam gathered the plates and stored them. Boromir killed the fire. The Fellowship moved on.
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The Fellowship walked on for what seemed an endless time. Legolas had long given up paying attention to his back or even his surroundings. He was careful to stay aware just enough so he would not stumble or walk into something and stay close enough to the others, and he took care to keep the pain and exhaustion off his face. Otherwise, he was completely numb, caught in his own little world of suffering. He had trouble even staying awake. Images intruded in his waking mind, and he had trouble convincing himself that they were memories: of himself in his bonds, the pain when the whip hit his back again, his tormentor's cruel voice, ordering him to count, to beg for his punishment, for every new kind of cruel torture... He shook his head again, trying to shove the images away, but they kept coming.
He remembered Elrond again, poised to strike, and his own desperate rage, the helpless feeling of betrayal, screaming inwardly for Estel, for his master to come and rescue him as he had promised. He heard Estel's voice again, just this morning: 'He will not touch you!' -- but Estel had not been there. He had not been there.
Other images crept up, from a time far further back. Cruel hands grabbing him, forcing him to his knees. His own people, held back by drawn weapons, swords at his father's throat, the assembled warriors trembling with suppressed rage. Elrond smiling maliciously, looking down at him, coming closer...
He swallowed and fought to keep the images away.
Legolas started as he was stopped again and found Aragorn back at his side. "Today's travel is over," his master said. "We will rest here."
Too numb to react, Legolas for a moment just stared back at him. Then he managed to rise a bit from his stupor and nodded. He looked around. They had arrived at a little plateau, protected by a few bushes. There were no trees, but with his hurting rear he would not be able to sleep within one tonight anyway.
Aragorn regarded him with some concern, then directed him gently to a place a little off to the side and in the cover of the bushes. He shrugged out of their packs, unrolled his blanket, placed one of the packs on it and invited: "Settle down, mellon. Rest a bit. I will see to everything."
Wordlessly, too exhausted to object, Legolas obeyed.
It took some time until Aragorn was back and by then Legolas had already managed to fumble out of his harness and place his bow and quiver beside him. The bow was still unstrung; he did not feel up to the task of stringing it just yet. While the Fellowship settled all around them, Aragorn squatted down beside his Elf.
"I've taken the second watch tonight," he offered, "and will take care of firewood tomorrow. For now, I am free to see to you. Now, Little Leaf, get out of that tunic. Let me tend your back," he ordered in Silvain, rummaging through his pack and bringing out his medicines.
Legolas nodded and obeyed. It took some effort to get out of his garb, and again he soon found his master at his side, carefully helping him. Getting the tunic off was bad enough, but getting out of the shirt proved to be extremely painful, and he had to swallow hard as the cloth came loose. Aragorn uttered a hiss and a quiet curse as he helped his Elf to get the shirt over his head. He cursed again as he saw the bloodstains on the cloth.
He had been careful not to tear the skin last night, but obviously the constant chafing of the quiver on his slave's sore skin had done its own part to aggravate the welts, and there was one particularly angry welt that seemed quite deep and was seeping blood as he watched. Tersely he ordered: "Lie down. On your stomach!"
The Elf obeyed, yet dared to utter a faint protest: "But, My Lord, the others--"
Aragorn sighed and rolled his eyes. "Gimli is off to gather firewood. So is Boromir. The Hobbits are busy with preparing food and seeing to their gear. So I suggest you hurry up before they all are back and assemble around us!" he said dryly. "Now let me see to this!"
He bit his lips again while he found a clean cloth and wetted it with water, then began carefully to cleanse the wounds and welts on the Elf's back. "You have been very brave today, Little Leaf," he murmured, while he worked. "I'm very proud of you!"
Suddenly, a shadow fell over them and Aragorn looked up, caught and startled. It was Gandalf. His old eyes regarded the Elf's bruised back with horror and concern, and he gave a low hiss. "I asked myself already what was up with you today, young Thranduilion," he said, "You seemed in pain, but unwilling to let anybody close to you."
He turned to Aragorn. "What happened to him?" he asked angrily.
Aragorn considered his options. He knew he could not risk a fight with Mithrandir, especially not right now. So he settled for part of the truth. Grimly, he offered: "Elrond..."
Gandalf hissed again. "He promised!" he growled. "He promised me he would postpone Mirkwood's punishment and lift his ban, and let Legolas partake in the Quest instead! Never had I thought him so corrupted already that he would break his word!"
Aragorn said nothing. He could feel Legolas shudder under his hand, and pressed warningly down on the body of his slave. Continuing to clean the welts and wounds on the sore back he finally offered: "Well, he did postpone the punishment, and he allowed Legolas to partake in the Quest. But he insisted on having him punished for gainsaying him during the trial."
It was the truth, in a way; he just left out that he himself had been the one to mete out the cruel punishment. Mithrandir did not catch on to the deception.
He sighed deeply. "This is grave news and an ill deed indeed," he said. "The Fellowship can ill afford it! Yet now I understand why you insisted on keeping Legolas free of all chores. What did you tell the others?"
"I claimed a bet," Aragorn said. "We do not wish to let them know the truth. Please, Mithrandir, I must see to Legolas' injuries, and I have to do it undisturbed. Can you help us? It will just be a few days; usually, he heals fast."
The wizard nodded. "I will keep them off your back, if I can," he said, "but Legolas, you need to be careful. The Hobbits are concerned about you already, and Gimli is muttering about you being relieved of your chores. Try to get well again, soon!"
He knelt and placed a warm hand on the back of the Elf, giving him strength, and Legolas sighed with relief.
"Thank you, Mithrandir," he said, "I will do what I can."
"You do that," the old Istar said, and Legolas could hear the smile in his voice. Then the wizard got up again. "See to his needs, Aragorn," he advised. "And hurry! Gimli and Boromir will be back soon!"
Aragorn occupied himself with applying the healing salve, first to his slave's back, then, in the cover of his cloak, to his rear and thighs, and finally his insides. The cool salve soothed the inflamed flesh and did a lot to calm the pain. So did Estel's caring and his gentle touches. Still, Aragorn worked quickly, and to Legolas' relief he was finished when the Dwarf and the Adan came back.
Legolas managed to keep a calm face during the evening, and even to partake in the meal, though he did not feel hungry. But he nibbled a bit at the porridge the Hobbit provided them with, and then gave the bigger portion over to another Hobbit when he thought his master wouldn't notice. Yet he was caught; when he turned back he found his master's eyes on him. At Aragorn's frown, he took out the remaining slices of the apple and munched them, and Aragorn nodded approvingly. Legolas sighed in relief. He noticed the Dwarf throwing him angry and baleful looks, but he was too exhausted to react to it. He was relieved as the Fellowship finally settled down.
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// / Legolas stood trembling but determined before the hostile Lord who had threatened his home, his family and his father. He knew what was to come would hurt immensely, and be sheer torture, and he was giving himself up to slavery; but it was the only way. The hostile Elves were too many, and too well armed, and their Lord had made it clear that they would kill all of Mirkwood down to the last child if his will was refused.
And their own warriors could not hold out against Rivendell and its ally Lothlorien, and against the Shadow all at once.
So he had begged his father to be allowed this sacrifice. And bereft of any alternative save certain death not only to himself and his last free son, but to all his people, Thranduil had finally accepted.
He felt the guards closing in on him. Cruel hands grabbed him, forced him to his knees. His own people, too few to fight the greater host of Rivendell due to the arranged trap, stood apart, held back by drawn weapons and strung bows. The assembled Mirkwood warriors, bereft of their weapons already, were trembling with suppressed rage. His father was there, held by six Noldor guards, swords at his throat, frozen in mute horror. He tried to cast him a reassuring look, but could not meet his gaze. The hostile Lord of Rivendell, Elrond, smiled maliciously at him and came slowly closer... Fear claimed him, sweeping away his grim determination not to give his tormentors satisfaction by showing them his pain. He was barely aware that he had started to struggle and it took all the strength of the four guards to hold him down, but he felt the bruises forming on his skin, and the pain as they started to beat him.
Then Elrond stood close before him and touched his hand to his forehead. A cold, fiery sensation burned itself into his brain, and cold, blue light was searing through his soul. Elrond began to chant, a cruel, cold sing-song of strange words he recognized vaguely as Quenya, and to his uttermost horror he found that he could not move anymore, was frozen in immobility. The searing light within his mind came closer, closer, and he tried to shy back, to recede, yet he couldn't. He was caught like a moth in the flame. The chanting continued, seemed to enclose him, filled his mind, his soul... Then he could feel again as his clothes were sliced and ripped from his body. Anew he tried to struggle, but he could not move. His legs were forced apart, and with utter horror he felt that he was breached, that something touched him, entered him, where he had never been touched and entered by anyone before.
He screamed then, but the piercing thing impaling him did not recede, pressing further, and he thought that he would surely die from the pain, or from the burning shame... that the thing within him would go on and on and burst through his stomach... Still he could not move. He tried to flee his body then, to give it up and flee to Mandos, where his Mother had gone a long time ago, but he couldn't. He willed himself to fade, to lose consciousness, but he was caught by the blue light, and hauled back into his body. Suddenly he was all aware again, could feel the thing impaling him recede, then be replaced by fingers that were stretching, tormenting, rubbing something fiery and burning into his vulnerable flesh; and finally the fingers were replaced by a hard column of hot flesh, and with utter despair he realized that he could not even flee into death anymore....
In utter horror and utter despair, Legolas screamed./ //
-- He felt himself shaken by strong, but gentle hands, heard gently soothing words and suddenly he felt that he could move again. Tossing and turning, he struggled for a moment against the one who held him, desperate to get away, then finally reality set in and he realized that the voice addressing him with soothing words, the hands that held him fast, belonged to his master. "Shhh, Little Leaf," Aragorn soothed, "Shhh, all is well, you are safe... you are here... I am with you... calm down, Little Leaf, you will wake the others..."
Aragorn held Legolas fast, trying to calm him before the whole Fellowship was alarmed. He was all too aware that it was probably too late to avoid that anyway, and they were lucky if any of the others had not yet been roused by Legolas' scream. But there was hardly any help for that. To his relief, finally, Legolas ceased to struggle and calmed down.
He continued to soothe him in quiet, calming Sindarin, until he could hear Boromir's voice behind him. "What is it? What happened?!"
The Gondorian had the first watch; but he had expected any danger to attack the Fellowship from outside the camp, not from within.
Aragorn did not turn around. He concentrated on holding his Elf. He just shook his head. "It is nothing, Boromir," he said, "just a bad dream."
Boromir let out a shuddering breath. "Must have been some dream," he said, "for him to scream like that. I thought we were attacked by one of the Nazgûl!"
Aragorn snorted. "Those cries are nastier," he offered, and Boromir squatted down beside them.
"I heard you have encountered them, too," the Gondorian offered. "I suppose, your Elf also had a run in with them?"
Aragorn could feel Legolas in his arms slowly calming. "I have encountered them before, Master Boromir," the melodic voice of the Elf answered. "Luckily, though, this dream was not about them."
He tried to disentangle himself from his master, but Aragorn refused to let him go. Legolas gave in and submitted to being held.
"I am sorry, Estel, Master Boromir," he offered. "It was a dream about the past. I will guard from now on against this kind of dream. It will not happen again."
Behind them, another and more hostile voice snorted. "You better see to that, princeling," the Dwarf said scornfully, "if you can't take up any chores and need your human to protect you, you should at the very least see to it that you don't alert the enemy to our presence because you cannot even stand the dark!"
Aragorn let go of Legolas and turned around, but before he could say anything, Gandalf interfered.
"Hope that you never have cause to rouse your companions with the horrors of your dreams, Gimli, son of Gloin," he said gravely and harshly. "A fool is he who thinks himself proof against the horrors of the Enemy and the threats of his night terrors and darkness. You should respect your fellow warrior's plight, not make fun of him!"
Legolas finally managed to shove the last traces of the dream away. He took a deep sigh.
"Thank you for your kind words, Mithrandir," he said. "I'm sorry, Master Dwarf. I will try not to trouble you with my night terrors anymore, though I would not wish them on you even to see if you could stand them better. Rest assured that I will guard my dreams from now on."
After another sigh he added to the assembled Fellowship in general: "I am sorry I have woken you."
Aragorn turned back to him. "Shh, it is all right mellon. It can happen to anyone," he soothed. Legolas just closed his eyes and leaned against him.
"Well, if this is all I suggest we go back to sleep for now," Gandalf interfered again. "We have a long day before us."
Without further protest – save some muttered jibes from the Dwarf – the Fellowship settled back into their bedding. Aragorn settled himself beside his Elf again. "What was it, Little Leaf?" he asked quietly. "What did you dream of?"
Legolas shook his head. He trembled still; he refused to recall the memory. "It was nothing," he lied. "Just a memory. Would you... would you ...hold me, please, Estel?" Somewhere within him, a nasty, harsh voice reminded him sneeringly that this was the very man who had hurt him yesterday and the hands that held him were the very hands that tortured him and caused the pain of his still hurting body, but the greater part of his soul insisted that this was, after all, still Estel, and there was nobody else whom he could turn to. And he knew he could not stand the aftermath of the dream and the remainder of the night without him.
His voice was pleading and hesitant, and Aragorn could do nothing else but give in.
At least, if his slave asked him to hold him, he had probably not dreamed of last night!
Allowing his Elf to snuggle close, he gathered him in his arms and held him tight. For a while, he continued to murmur soothingly, then, finally, he drifted off into an uneasy sleep. He only woke again when Boromir's watch was over and he shook the Ranger awake. Legolas turned to his side as Aragorn let go of him and pretended to be deep in Elven dreams.
He did not dare to sleep again that night.
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-- TBC --
(1) mellon -- Sindarin: friend
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.