The bed was soft and comfortable, but would have been more so if his hands had not been tied over his head at such an angle. The ropes made him sit half propped up and rest his proud head upon the headboard. Long blonde hair streamed down his shoulders, and shone in the afternoon sun like molten gold. Lean limbs, and clear, unblemished skin shone whitely, and his features were fair and refined, showing his noble bloodline. Truly, at first glance, one would have been hard pressed not to say, "There lies perfection".
But upon closer examination, one would see the eyes. They stared straight ahead, blue and haunted. They seemed fixed upon some far distant realm, perhaps remembering some past horror. And while the skin was unmarred and without blemish, one could almost sense the scars deep down, where the eye could not see, deep into the depths of the soul.
It was these scars that Elrond could sense as he watched his patient. Such wounds were far beyond his ability to heal. Such wounds were the kind that had driven his wife from him into the West many years ago. And Legolas' wounds were much deeper and more cruelly inflicted.
Elrond cleared his throat as he walked further into the sparsely furnished room. The room was hardly fit for an elf, much less a Prince, but during this time of siege in Minas Tirith, they were lucky to have a room to place anyone, much less such a prisoner at all.
"It is rather disconcerting for you not to even acknowledge my presence. And rude." said Elrond as he moved to the single narrow window and looked out at the city below. His gaze shifted over the besieged but still glowing white city, into the small whitewashed room he was in now. Where the city had glowed with beauty and hope, the room radiated coldness and despair. There were few furnishings to break the bleakness of the walls. What had been there had effectively been destroyed in one of Legolas' escape attempts.
Legolas' eyes moved to look at Elrond, but he did not turn his head or otherwise show any awareness of his visitor. Elrond met the eyes, but soon looked away. The misery and pain that he saw was too familiar to what he had seen many years before.
With a deep breath, Elrond tried again. "Things go well, down below. My sons fight well, as do your former companions." That last phrase brought a slight reaction, a miniscule tilt of the head.
Encouraged, Elrond continued, "Gimli, son of Gloin, has again asked to see you. I have again told him that you are not prepared to receive visitors, but he has asked me to advise you that his count now exceeds forty three." There. There was a twitch of the lip, nowhere near a smile, but something perhaps distantly related.
"How incongruous that of all your former companions, you would feel closest to a dwarf. Perhaps when we have beaten the Dark Lord, you will be able to further explore your friendship with him."
The blue eyes closed as if in pain, long lashes almost reaching to cheekbones. "You will never beat him", Legolas answered in a soft, low voice. "The ring remains undestroyed. He will find the Halflings and the ring. He searches even as we speak. He will destroy this city, and he will quench hope where it stirs in the hearts of fools such as you." The eyes opened again, to fix on the Elf Lord. The sadness was beyond description. "Go west now, Elrond. Take your sons. Take your daughter. Break your ties to this world now, or you and they will suffer more than you have ever imagined possible."
Elrond hid his reaction to these words by looking down upon the city again. Then he turned again to the figure tied to the bed. "Perhaps so, Legolas. Perhaps so. But as Middle Earth lives and dies, so do I. I have given my word to defend it, and I will not give up." A few steps brought Elrond to the side of the bed, where he sat gracefully, and folded his hands, one upon the other.
Legolas watched him quietly for a moment, and then looked up. The ceiling received a moment's scrutiny, followed by the open window. Then the gaze swung back to the Master of Imladris. "He searches for me. I can feel it. He calls me, and I am unable to resist." Unconsciously, the slender hands twisted in the bonds on the headboard. "Yet somehow, you hide me from his view." Legolas looked pointedly at the ring on Elrond's hand. "It would be much easier, and safer just to kill me. I would prefer that, as well." That statement was delivered as one would comment about the weather.
"Perhaps you would, Prince of Mirkwood. But I would be hard pressed to kill one of our kind. Our days here are fading, and there are so few of us left even now. The loss of even one would be a tragedy."
"I am already lost. I am not what I was. I will never be again what I was. Please, end it for me now, before he draws me back to him." With every word, Legolas had leaned forward, intensity and despair warring in his eyes.
It was into those eyes that Elrond looked back, this time knowing he could not look away first. "No." His eyes warred with the Prince's for dominance. "You are needed. I will find a way to heal these wounds on your soul and mind. I will find a way before the grief takes you from this world."
Legolas leaned back, his head hitting the headboard with a thump, laughing bitterly. "If only it could be so, My Lord Elrond. You know as well as I that I am restrained from that." His voice took on the strained quality of suppressed tears. "Nothing to harm HIM directly, and nothing to harm myself. No marks or blemishes or anything that could mar my perfection." With a deep breath, the Prince regained control. "You know that I am not allowed to die. Otherwise I would have taken care of the issue long ago, while I was still captive in Mordor."
Elrond was silent. The Dark Lord had done many things to the Prince of Mirkwood, but the cruelest of all was to deny him the escape of death. He had no words that could express his sadness and grief. Instead, he stood up, gently reached over and caressed Legolas' cheek with the familiarity of a close friend or family member, and left the room silently.
With a sigh, Legolas turned straight ahead and stared at the wall. His memories turned back upon themselves and he was once again trapped in his mind... Trapped in Mordor.
Legolas had expected to die swiftly at the hands of the orcs who had taken him at Amon Hen, for it was well known the hatred of their kind for his. Bound and beaten, he instead was driven onward with the young hobbits Merry and Pippin and then separated from them when he was taken by a group of orcs destined for Mordor. The Dark Lord had turned his eye upon the Prince of Mirkwood, and found a quality there that he wanted to possess.
His wrists were bloody from the viciously tight leather thongs. A lesser person might have cried out or wept from the pain, but he had simply remained stony faced and held his fear within. Death would surely come sooner rather than later, and he would meet it as a Prince of Elves, unafraid and proud.
But the sight of Barad-dur had been enough to make his heart shrink within his chest with fear. And the discovery that the Dark Lord had once again taken physical form had been a terror beyond description.
The throne room of Sauron was lit by fire, and the obsidian black walls reflected nothing but fear and pain. The smell of sulfur filled the air. And there upon a throne sat the physical form of all evil in Middle Earth, painful in his beauty.
For he was both terrifying and beautiful. Tall and muscular, his dark skin gleamed, and a fall of thick silver hair fell to his feet, he was the negative image of an elf, but more robust. Dressed in robes of silver and black, he carried no weapon. His eyes, however, were the most unsettling of all, for they were as cat's eyes, and wreathed in flame.
The tall figure glided down from the dais, to where his prisoner was forced to kneel at his feet. With a smile that froze the elf Prince's soul, the Dark Lord inspected Legolas, holding his chin and turning his face this way and that, and then running a hand through the silk of the elf's hair. Sauron's touch was fire and ice mixed together, chilling and burning at the same time, and his eyes bored into one's soul.
"Perfection.", declared the Dark Lord in a surprisingly quiet voice. "Untie him." The dark form walked back to the first step of his dais and waited.
The orc soldiers that held Legolas on his knees obeyed instantly, and blood flowed to hands and arms that had been long restrained. It was a pain beyond pains, but he welcomed it for the clarity of mind that it brought. It also brought the one chance for an honorable death, and he embraced it fully.
The orc on his right did not think that their prisoner would try something so unexpected in the throne room of the Dark Lord. After all, most beings were reduced to gibbering fear by the very regard of Sauron. Only the eldest race could bear his touch without dying instantly, and even they were usually incapacitated by fear.
So when the elf prince shoved the guard to his right and swung his leg under to trip him, the orc went down, and lost his short sword to the bright warrior in the process. It was the last mistake he would make, for his throat was cut before he could blink.
The guard on the left fared no better, and the one behind, for once free to move and armed, Legolas was a formidable fighter. Sauron stood on his dais and watched all, not moving, but softly smiling. And again he whispered the word "Perfection".
Legolas turned at that word, and then advanced upon the dark figure. There was no way he could ever fight his way out of this room, much less this citadel, but perhaps he could still strike a blow for his people and give his death meaning.
At this the Dark Lord smiled widely, and then held out his hand at arms length, palm down, and Legolas stopped. It was as if someone had thrown a hot, wet blanket upon his mind. Thought stopped. Movement stopped. The elf fell to his knees unbidden; sword still clutched in his nerveless hand, he closed his eyes to wait for the final blow that never came.
Instead, the blue eyes fluttered open to look upon the painful beauty that was the physical manifestation of evil in Middle Earth. "I think", said the strangely quiet voice again, "that I shall set some boundaries for you." The eyes of fire burned into the eyes of blue and there was no denying the power that they held. Legolas could feel the unwelcome touch of the intruder in his mind.
"You will never again attempt to directly harm me. Never." The voice painfully reverberated inside the elf's skull, etching its words deeply into his brain, and Legolas knew he would never be able to fight that command.
It was with this realization that Legolas somehow found the strength to lift his sword arm and bring the point to his throat. He may not be able to die honorably, but he would be able to die, and that in itself was a blessing. He closed his eyes and pressed the blade home.
"No." said the voice in his head, "Not that either." The brave elf's arm went limp and the sword clanged to the floor. "You will not harm yourself. You will not will yourself to die. You will do nothing that will blemish or bruise your skin, or mar your perfection." The words wrote themselves in fire on the inside of his eyelids, and he read them and despaired.
As quickly as it came, the pressure in his head departed, leaving him to fall limply to the cold black floor. His eyes traveled back up to the Master of Barad-dur.
Sauron stepped off the first step and over to his prisoner. Smoothly squatting down, he stroked the fine hair again. "That will be all for now, I think. We will work on other things slowly, in more delicate ways."
Legolas could not suppress the shudder of terror at those words, or the next words the Dark Lord said, these to the orcs that still attended. "Take him to my chambers. Bathe him and give him clean clothing. You may want to bind him afterwards, for your own safety. But be aware. One bruise, one scrape or scratch, one blemish on his skin, and I will kill the lot of you." And then, as if an afterthought, "And don't rape him. That belongs to me."
Afternoon turned to evening, and evening to night in the white city. The city still glowed, now like a pearl in candlelight. The fires from the army beyond the outer walls twinkled like stars in a strange, hostile sky. It was, thought Elrond, entirely too close to the truth, for the numbers of the enemy were as great, if not greater than the stars above.
The small room was dark, but its occupant glowed coldly silver in the gloom. Turning to the open window, Elrond shuttered it against the spring chill. It would not affect Legolas, but it would his visitor. It was for the same reason that he lit a small lamp that resided on a small table in the corner furthest from the bed. Elvish eyes had no problem with the gloom, but human ones needed so much more light.
Elrond turned and looked again at Legolas, this time lit in the glow of the lamp. What was once cold and silver should have been warm and golden. But it was not. If anything, the Prince looked more frozen than before, a perfect statue carved of ice and gold.
A servant walked in with a chair, and placed it next to the bed. This seemed to draw Legolas' attention from the opposite wall. He looked a question at Elrond silently, eyebrow slightly cocked and head tilted.
"You have a visitor. He has asked to come see you and talk, while you eat dinner."
It had become clear almost immediately after his capture that one did not untie the Prince of Mirkwood unless one was very strong, heavily armored and had half of the Prince's limbs already tied into another bond. He was just as deadly to his former allies as he was to his former enemies. This meant that someone, usually Elrond, fed him and cared for his bodily needs.
The elegant eyebrow arched higher when the door opened again and Aragorn walked into the room.
The lamplight was kind to the tired King of Gondor. What would be lines and seams in his face in bright daylight were softened and blurred into shadows. He hesitantly sat in the chair that had been placed next to the bed for him, and looked intently at the one who had been his friend and comrade in arms. "Hello, Legolas. I'm glad to see you are well."
The elf looked at Aragorn for a moment, confusion crossing his features for a moment. Then the face went hard again. He turned to Elrond in the corner. "I am not hungry, and I do not wish to talk."
This was much as Elrond expected, and his answer had already been prepared. "I will then leave you. Aragorn is King in this city, and as such, I cannot compel him to leave anyplace in his city that he wishes to be. Good night, Legolas." Elrond then looked at Aragorn and indicated with his eyes that he would be waiting outside. He did not expect this interview to be pleasant or last long.
The door shut softly, leaving the two of them alone with each other. There were perhaps the two most isolated and alone beings in the entire city, one with his pain and the other with his fears.
Aragorn spoke quietly. "Are you sure you will not eat? It is such a small thing, but it would make me happy."
Legolas winced visibly. "What is it you want of me?" His voice was flat and emotionless.
"I wanted to talk to you. To see how you were doing. To see if there was anything I could do..."
"To help me?" Legolas finished for him. If it were possible, one would have said his face turned colder. "You cannot help me now. You are too late. I am beyond your help, or anyone's for that matter."
Aragorn closed his eyes, and shook his head sadly. "What would you have me say, Legolas?"
"I would have you say nothing, and leave this room. I will not be party to any effort on your part to assuage your guilt." Legolas' expression changed, from anger to sadness. "You never came. I knew you would come for me, that you would not let them have me. I knew that you were hot on our heels, tracking us, chasing us night and day." The face changed again, going expressionless again. "But you never came. And once again, the weakness in your blood betrayed elvenkind. The strength of men is gone."
At this last statement, Aragorn winced as though he had been hit. "I followed the main band, thinking that the prisoners would be taken with the stronger group. There was no trace of you, no track, no way to know which way they had taken you. I had to follow what I could find. I found the Halflings, but I never found you." The shadows on the King's face shifted as a draft found the flame in the lamp. It only made him look more haunted. "I thought you were dead."
It was a moment before Legolas could reply. "I wish I were dead." He then turned to Aragorn. "I do not desire to speak with you. Leave me."
"But I desire to have words with you. I shall not leave just yet." As he spoke, Aragorn sat straighter, and pulled his dignity around him visibly, almost as if it were a cloak.
"What would you have me say to you, Aragorn? Do you want to know the salacious details of what happened to me in Mordor? Do you want to know what the Dark Lord does to those he desires? Do you want me to tell you of being hung in chains over his bed for weeks, silent and alone, waiting for him to deign to notice me, waiting for his touch, yearning for it?" Legolas had leaned forward, his voice going louder, and his eyes burning.
"Should I tell you of how he trained me to pleasure him in his bed?" The voice went small and quiet. "His seed burns, Aragorn. In your belly or in your bowel, it burns with the hatred he feels for the world. The pain sears, and it does not fade until much later. That is what you abandoned me to."
The King simply shook his head, eyes proclaiming his hurt more than words could say.
"Should I proclaim you "Estel" then, and proclaim you "hope"?", Legolas continued in a soft but brittle voice. "I think not. I have little hope in you. Even the one you love most in this world will die because of you." He smiled grimly at Aragorn's expression of shock. "You know of what I speak. To join with you, Arwen must die. That makes you a murderer. Ah, the glory of the Evenstar, the image of Luthien Tunuviel, the fairest of the elves. Do you think she will be as lovely when the worms are eating her face in the cold grave that you have cursed her to?"
"Leave it!" growled Aragorn, springing to his feet and pulling Anduril half from its sheath.
Legolas raised his chin and half smiled. "Why, Aragorn? Do you think that your will might fail you now, as your many times grandsire failed his? Do you think that the weakness that I know is in your blood will stay your hand from doing what you know is right? Let the blow fall, lest you fail me again, Aragorn. Let... It... Fall." The venom in his voice almost covered the hope that the elf felt. Almost.
Emotions warred over the King's face for a moment, and something very close to pity won out. With a quiet snick, he allowed his sword to fall back into its sheath, and then he simply turned and left.
With a bereft sob, Legolas allowed his head to fall back against the headboard. If he had any more tears left in him, he would have shed them. Instead, he stared at the wall in front of him again. "So close... So close..." he sobbed beneath his breath.
"He hates me." Aragorn's shoulders were slumped, and sadness etched more lines into his brow.
"No." Elrond looked at the door sadly. "He hates himself and what he has become. He merely lashes out at you because of that loathing." He sighed and continued. "His master calls him, and Legolas will be compelled to go to him if he is at all able. We must keep him bound."
Aragorn nodded, and looked regretfully at the door.
"Are you sure you will not eat? It is such a small thing, but it would make me happy." The voice was like satin on Legolas' ears. He raised his eyes to the one who spoke, and shook his head. He knew that small things lead to slightly larger things and then to larger, and he did not wish to start down that path.
He lowered his eyes again to the table in front of him. The orcs that had bathed him and dressed him had carefully bound his hands behind him again, this time being sure to leave no marks on his skin. The white silk shirt was smooth against his skin, and the soft blue-green leggings seemed to be of a similar material. He held his bare feet off of the cold floor and looked everywhere but in front of him.
"Are you sure? You must keep up your strength so you can properly defy me." One did not expect the incarnation of all evil in the world to have an ironic sense of humor. One also did not expect the incarnation of all evil in the world to live in decadence, either. But he did. The furnishings of the room were rich, and strangely enough, mostly Elven. Spoils from battles, some thousands of years old, he was told.
Again, Legolas shook his head. "No", he said softly.
"Very well." Sauron shrugged and drank deeply from his goblet. The color of the wine was a lurid shade of red, redder than blood, and stained his lips. A strangely long, pointed tongue emerged from the stained lips and licked them clean. Legolas stared at this in horrified fascination.
"Why am I here?" the Prince finally blurted. "Why am I not down in the dungeons or on the rack, being twisted and warped into some base creature? What do you want from me?"
"I have plenty of orcs. They breed like cockroaches. I have no need to make more." Another deep draught of wine passed the black lips, while the eyes of fire never left the Prince's face. "I have need of other servants instead. Ones that require much more subtlety and skill to make than orcs."
"Anyone can break a body, and most can break a mind. The end result is rarely usable or stable after, and not what I require. Think of me as an artist, and you as my medium. You will be perfection, rest assured."
The lamp had burned out long before, shrouding the room in darkness. The closed shutters blocked out what little light there would have been from outside, and the figure on the bed watched the shadows with growing terror.
His hand twisted and pulled at his bonds, but they were too firm for him to break, too tight for him to slip off. He knew that no one would come again till morning, and even if he called out, he doubted that anyone besides Elrond had a key for the door.
The dark seemed to have a life of its own, and if one looked at it hard enough, it seemed to move and spread, creeping slowly up the wall and across the floor, coming close enough to threaten the helpless elf on the bed.
Legolas blinked hard and then looked again. The shadows had returned to their normal places. They were not alive. They would disappear with the morning. He breathed in panicked little breaths, trying to calm himself. The fear remained. And grew.
The room was small, and pitch black. The only things that could be discerned were a slight draft of musty air that came from beneath the door and the constant sound of water dripping.
Legolas had searched with his hands for what felt like days for the source of the sound, but it was not in the cell. Not even his eyes could pierce darkness this complete, and he had no way to measure the passing of time. It felt as though Sauron had locked him in this room years ago, but it might have been days. He was unsure.
He was unable to sleep, even as his kind did, for the sound of the water would change just when he was used to one pattern. It was constantly changing but persistant. Food was pushed in under the door in infrequent intervals, but only small amounts, and never the same thing.
Routine or pattern could not be found in his cell, so he made his own. He paced. First to one wall, then back to the other. Then to the door, to press against it to see if it would open. Then across to the adjacent wall. Then back to the start. Then to the other wall again. The first few days... weeks... years... he tried to sing as he paced, but the darkness swallowed his words, so now he was silent as he did the only thing that he could cling to that kept him sane.
Time passed and he paced. He paced until he was too tired to pace any longer. He felt his way to the corner and sat, drawing his knees up to his chin and rocking back and forth slowly, and remembered songs to himself in his head. When he had recalled every song he knew, he got up and tried the door again. Nothing. Then he crawled back into the corner and started remembering the old songs again from the beginning.
Time passed. He sat and rocked and thought and rocked. And he tried the door. And sat and rocked. He no longer thought now. He simply was. There was no other purpose in the world except to sit and rock and to stand up and push against the door. The door would never open, he knew. It simply was, just as he simply was. Until the time that he pushed it and it opened.
The torchlight from the dank hall almost blinded him. He turned his head away from the door, and allowed his eyes to adjust to what now seemed to be the brightness of the sun.
After a few moments he was able to look back into the hall, and step hesitantly out of the cell. The hall was empty and bare except for the torch on the wall and a small table next to it. On the table, as if simply forgotten, was a long knife.
Legolas looked around the hall, and back into his cell as his hand hovered over the knife. Surely something must be watching him, waiting for him to touch this. This surely must be a trap or a prank of some sort. He would take up the knife, and a troop of orcs would burst in and take it from him, and then laughing, hurl him into the horrible dark again.
"If that is so, then I shall have to fight them to the death, for I am not going back there again." He heard himself speak, dry words from a dry throat. The sound of his own voice seemed to startle him and break his indecision. He snatched up the knife and ran.
The hall branched and he followed the higher passage, smelling air that was less fetid that way. This was followed by a flight of stairs, into a longer hall, and then another flight of stairs.
It was there that the orcs found him. He killed the first with a slash to the eyes followed with a return slash to the throat. The second he pierced in the heart. The third and fourth were more wary and parried his blows with their own blades, but he was much too fast for them. His movements were swift and sure, his thoughts flowed like quicksilver, and his blade flashed and hewed with a mind of its own.
He leapt up the stairs into the next chamber, and found himself before a set of large doors. Weak daylight leaked in around the threshold, and he raised his hand to push them open.
"No." The voice in his head made him drop his hand and look away from the doors as if the very sight of them burned him. "Come back to me." Sauron ordered.
Legolas looked around the empty room, and then back to the doors. "No. Come back to me, fair one." The command was softly spoken, but irresistible. Eyes shining with longing, Legolas looked at the doors one last time, then dropped his head in defeat and crossed the chamber to another flight of stairs.
He knew without being told how to reach the throne room, and found the Dark Lord waiting for him there. The dark figure spoke from his throne. "You fight well, Prince of Mirkwood. Perhaps one day you'll win your way free of my home. But not today."
Now that the adrenaline of the escape attempt was gone, Legolas felt the effects of exhaustion. He blinked slowly and swayed slightly on his feet. Sauron's voice was the first voice he had heard in what seemed to be an age, and it gave him a strange pleasure to hear it.
Sauron slightly smiled as he came to stand next to the Prince, and gently fingered a small braid. "Not today", he repeated slowly, rolling the words off of his tongue like a fine wine. "Today, I have other things to teach you, now that you're more receptive." His hand strayed from the braid and onto the smooth white cheek. Shuddering delicately, Legolas closed his eyes and leaned into the caress. Any contact at all was preferable to the isolation of the cell.
The golden chains suited him. They were beautiful and delicate, yet strong as hardened steel. They chimed with every movement. Perfect chains for an elf, Legolas thought as he tugged at the collar again. It seemed the chains mocked him with the cold beauty of their song. The collar was the most humiliating part of all. He had tried to fight them locking it around his neck, but it seemed that he was powerless against even that most shameful of actions.
He shifted back in the bed and pulled against the chains again, this time trying to pull them from the bracket in the headboard. He already had tried this many times, but it was not in him to give up. The chains jingled, their musical voice echoing across the room and Legolas froze. The last thing he wanted to do was to come to Sauron's attention again. Or was it? Especially after... He shuddered and shook his head.
His cheeks flushed with shame and guilt as he remembered being helpless beneath the Dark Lord. How can it be, he wondered to himself, that something that had been so painful and unwanted could be so pleasurable at the same time. And make him burn for more.
"Tell me that you want me." The voice had been cool and smooth, unlike the touch that accompanied it. Again the burning hands roamed over his bare skin, leaving tracks of fire and ice. The touch was maddening in its skill.
"No." Legolas tried to squirm away from the beautiful, terrible figure next to him but was trapped by the chains on his wrists and the collar. While some movement was allowed, there was certainly not enough to affect an escape. Nor was he sure his body would follow the urging of his mind to run and leave this place.
Sauron chuckled in amusement as he watched his captive struggle, both physically and mentally, and then reached over and roughly grabbed a handful of blonde hair by the roots. He dragged Legolas painfully back over next to him, and then caressed the elf again, leaning forward and thrusting his dark hardness against a pale thigh. Silver hair fell across Legolas' face and blended with golden strands, making a beautiful contrast as sharp as the pain he caused.
Held as he was by his hair, it was difficult for Legolas to move, much less resist, but he tried. He turned his head against the hand holding him, and looked Sauron in the face. "No. I do not want you." His eyes closed in a wince as his head was yanked backwards against Sauron's chest. The dark skin was hot, and seared him to the bone.
"You lie." Sauron mocked. "Now, my perfect one, tell me that you want me or I shall have to put you back into your dark cell again until you are more receptive to my charms."
Legolas froze, eyes wide and fearful. "Please, no. Anything but that. Not the dark." The words escaped his lips before he could stop them. But Sauron already knew that the elf would have said anything, done anything to never go back to the dark.
"My request was simple enough. Do as I say, and you won't go back there again." Sauron's voice was blunt. He paused a moment and then put his lips to the milky throat, breathing slightly on the sensitive skin there. Goosebumps raised on his victim's body. After a pause he continued. "Don't you have something to tell me, Legolas?" He tightened his hand into the silky hair again.
With a sob of despair combined with desire, Legolas found himself whispering from suddenly dry lips, "I want you."
"I can't hear you. Tell me so I can hear you, Legolas."
"I want you." This was a little louder, said in a voice that was strained with confusion and tears.
"You want me?" Sauron practically purred the question, and then looked to the elf in his arms for an answer.
"Yes. I want you." That time, Legolas made it sound as if he was telling the truth. Which he was.
"Good." The hand released the hair and then found and caressed a pointed ear. "Now tell me that you love me."
Legolas shook his head again to chase away the shadows in his mind. The chains mocked him with their cheery jingle as he turned his head to see the tall shadow falling across the bed. Guilt and desire warred in his eyes as he drank in the sight of Sauron. Tall and muscled, the dark body was a model of perfection. Beautiful yet terrible, his darkness was heartbreaking, and Legolas craved to be devoured by that darkness again.
Despising himself all the while, he moaned eagerly at the touch of his master.
When he woke, the collar remained to remind him of his humiliation, but the chains were gone. Clothing had been placed next to him on the bed, and underneath the white silk shirt and dark leggings was the long knife again.
The elf slowly dressed, regarding the weapon as he might a poisonous insect. He realized he would never be able to escape Barad-Dur; he also knew he would never be able to stop trying.
It was with a heavy heart that he took up the blade and moved down the corridor. Where speed had been his first strategy of escape, stealth was now foremost on his mind. If he could pass undetected through the gloom of the fortress, he might be able to pass unnoticed through the gates. Perhaps he would then be able to find the others of the Fellowship, where they would still be searching for him.
He evaded detection until he reached the main hall, but there encountered a troop of heavily armed orcs. It was almost as if they had been placed there to wait for him, he thought.
Legolas' first opponent rushed in and met his own death in the form of a blade thrust into an eye socket. The second was hamstringed and then choked to death on blood from a slit throat. The third held back, and tested the elf's defenses with a few well-timed swings of his sword, but such caution would not protect him from the fury of an elf lord.
Legolas lost count of his opponents. The floor grew slick with black blood, and the cries of his enemies were as music to his ears. The blade sang a hypnotic song of death and release that was in harmony with the sounds of the dying.
Finally, the last orc was defeated and he stood in front of the double doorway. With a look to the stairs that lead to Sauron's throne room, he threw his shoulder against the doors. They did not budge. He pushed with all his considerable strength, but the doors would not open.
"Come to me. Now." The summons rang in his head, precisely as he expected and he turned slowly and walked up the stairs. He did not look behind him, and he did not notice the red bloodstain that remained on the door from the wound on his left shoulder.
The Dark Lord met the elf at the door, eyes burning with fury. "What, pray tell," he seethed as he grabbed Legolas by a thick handful of hair and threw him to his knees, "is THIS?" He fingered the sword cut that the elf had hitherto not felt, but now stung and bled freely from Sauron's touch.
Wide eyed, the elf looked down at his shoulder, and then back up to the burning eyes. "I didn't feel it. I don't know what happened", he stuttered.
Sauron twisted the wound cruelly, making it bleed even more. "THIS", he spat "is NOT perfection. THIS is FAILURE." Each word was accompanied by another hard twist on the now throbbing injury. Blood ran down the elf's arm, off of his fingers and pooled on the floor around his knees. "I have tested you and found you wanting. You have FAILED me."
Legolas swayed, suddenly feeling faint from blood loss. "I'm sorry. I didn't feel it. I'm sorry. It won't happen again." The words tumbled forth from some part of him that felt guilt in disappointing Sauron.
"No. It won't." Sauron's sudden calm was much more frightening than his fury of a moment before. He grabbed the elf by the hair again and half led, half dragged him into his chambers.
The chains were waiting, but this time they hung from the ceiling, just long enough for Legolas to stand on the balls of his feet with his arms fully stretched overhead. Sauron expertly locked the elf into his bonds. Pain shot through the elf prince's injured shoulder as blood ran, plastering his shirt to his body.
"No, it won't." Sauron repeated quietly. "You are perfection. You do not falter. You do not fail." He grabbed the pale face and made Legolas meet his eyes. "Do you understand me?"
Lightheaded, the elf nodded. But this was not enough for Sauron.
Legolas screamed as Sauron pulled down on his shoulder, causing the wound to open wider and muscle to tear. "SPEAK IT TO ME!" the Dark One commanded, grabbing the thick hair yet again and forcing the elf to meet his enraged gaze.
"I am perfection. I do not falter. I do not fail." Legolas gasped the words through his agony.
"Again." The pressure on the shoulder did not slacken.
"I am perfection. I do not falter. I do not fail." Slightly louder, but still not to Sauron's satisfaction.
"I am perfection. I do not falter. I do not fail" Legolas moaned as the pressure on his shoulder was suddenly released.
Sauron stepped back and looked closely at his possession, and then shook his head. "No, you are not perfection. You do not fully belong to me. Not yet. There is something in you that still resists. And I know what that is." He leaned forward and whispered into a pointed ear. "You still have hope. You still believe that your friends are out there, searching for you. You still believe that they will come for you."
The elf had gone completely still, and met the Dark Lord's gaze with an unwavering conviction.
"You are a fool, My Prince of Mirkwood." Sauron placed a hand on the elf's cheek. "You place faith on weak things. Your friends think you dead. They have long stopped looking for you, and have gone to Minas Tirith. They spare no thought to you." He smiled coldly. "I am the only one who thinks of you now."
Legolas flinched as though he had been struck. "No. I refuse to believe you." His voice was flat and weak.
"Of course you don't believe me. You have loyalty and honor, my dear elf. You would NEVER abandon a friend or fellow to the clutches of such as me, and would expect the same from your comrades." Sauron walked to a pedestal that stood in the corner and uncovered a dark orb. "Unfortunately, your swordmates were not made of the same stuff. Look into the Palantir and you will see for yourself."
Elven eyes were drawn to darkness that swirled with a life of its own. In the orb danced swirls that coalesced into distant figures. A white city shone in the sun, and on its battlements, Aragorn, King of Gondor strode. His hair was bound back and a crown rested on his brow. By his side, Gimli the dwarf stood, clutching his axe and muttering through his beard. Both looked sadly at a newly planted sapling, and before the sapling was a small plaque that bore Legolas' name. A more perfect memorial to a wood elf there could never be.
A dark hand passed in front of the orb, and it went dark and inert again. "You placed your hope in a flawed vessel, my prince." Legolas' eyes were still fixed on the now black orb, eyes that were filled with disbelief and shock. They slowly moved up to Sauron. A single tear slid down a porcelain cheek. "No." The single word was both a rejection and acceptance of what he had seen.
"Yes." Sauron walked back over to his captive and took the elf's chin in his hand. He gently wiped the tear away with his thumb. "Isildur's heir is weak. He carries the taint in his blood. He cannot help it. His ancestor betrayed elvenkind, and now it appears, so has he." Sauron shook his head sadly.
"No." It came out as a strangled protest, the sound of a last hope shattering.
"Yes." Sauron smiled gently. He sensed that his work was almost done. "And now you are ready to give yourself over to the perfect love of Sauron. Exist for me, and only for me. Lose yourself in me." He turned the face so that the blue eyes met his own. "Embrace the perfection of my love and the perfection of yourself through my love. Give yourself up to the loss of your self. Say it."
"I am perfection. I do not falter. I do not fail." The words fell from colorless lips, from a pale face with dead eyes.
"Yes. Yes, now you are perfection. And you belong to me." Satisfied in himself, Sauron undid the chains and carried his servant to bed.
"Layers upon layers." Elrond mused half to himself as he looked deeply into Legolas' eyes. "Layers. I see layers of scars in your mind. I wonder what is hidden behind there."
Legolas tried to look away, but he was compelled by the force of the Elven healer's will to maintain eye contact. His breathing was rapid and shallow and his face reflected pain. He found his voice after a struggle. "You are no better than Sauron, to force your touch upon me in this manner."
Elrond blinked, and broke the contact. Legolas sagged, face drawn and pale. "You may think that. Perhaps you are right, but there is much that must be answered before the truth will be known." Elrond shifted, and rubbed his forehead. "Tell me again how you escaped Sauron."
"I've already told you many times. How many times do you want to hear the same story?" Legolas found and put all his attention on a small spot on his left knee. Finding a focus helped him keep what was left of his tenuous sanity.
"I will hear it as many times as I need to. Tell me how you came to escape Barad-Dur." Elrond raised an eyebrow and waited.
The object of his questioning found the opposite wall with his eyes. "I got loose from my chains, found a knife and fought my way out. I got out and hid in the shadows, and I hid my mind from his by allowing the madness he had caused to take me. I wandered west, and crossed the mountains, and I was captured by a patrol from Gondor." He sighed heavily. "I've told you all this before."
"Yes," acknowledged Elrond "you have. And each time, exactly the same story. But now tell me, Legolas. How did you get loose from your chains?"
The wood elf's face went blank for a moment, and then the brow creased in an attempt to remember. "I... I ... I don't remember." His voice was soft, hesitant.
"I see." Elrond nodded. "And where did you get the knife?"
Legolas looked at him with eyes that were sad and frightened at the same time. "I don't know. All I know is that it was in my hand."
The healer met the blue eyes again. "And how did you get past the gates?"
The Prince blinked slowly, and then looked away. "I fought; I killed orcs. I remember that. I killed five in the main hall, and the doors opened at my touch." His voice went softer. "They had never opened before, no matter how I tried." His eyes found the wall again, and then looked down at his knee before looking back up at Elrond, this time lit with confusion. "All those times I fought my way to the gates, they never opened."
The healer simply listened intently and nodded for Legolas to continue.
"I never stopped trying to get out, Elrond. Never. Even when he thought and even I thought that he had broken me completely, I always kept trying. He never cared how many of his orcs I killed. He told me once that it weeded out the stupid ones." Shaking his head as if to clear cobwebs, Legolas continued. "But I never could make it past the gates. He would call me back. Sometimes he let me touch them, feel them, taste the freedom, smell the air, and then he would call me back to him. It made it so much more ... painful. And that pleasured him."
Elrond arched an eyebrow. "Again I ask, how did you escape from Barad- Dur?"
The blonde elf silently stared at Elrond for long moments. The answer finally fell from parted lips in a broken voice. "I don't know."
"Layers upon layers" Elrond muttered to himself again. He then fixed Legolas with a steely gaze, again reaching deep into the other's mind. The turmoil and pain he found there made him feel physically ill. "Why Gondor? Why did your master send you here?"
Legolas winced as his mind was invaded again, and held back a whimper. "I don't know." His wrists twisted against his bonds, his body trying to escape the pain his mind could not. He was always very, very careful not to chafe or bruise himself on the ropes, however. That compulsion was always in the forefront of his mind, no matter the situation.
"What does he want, Legolas? Why has he sent you here?" Layers of pain and inflicted cruelty filled Elrond's minds eye, and intertwined into an impassible jungle of madness. Whatever Legolas was holding in was hidden somewhere beyond this curtain in his mind.
Legolas tried to retreat behind the borders of madness, but was restrained by the will of the healer. "I don't know. I don't remember," he finally gasped. "I can't tell you what I don't know."
Elrond lowered his eyes, releasing his hold. "There is something there, Legolas. I can not reach it, but I sense it hidden far beneath the surface." Elrond leaned back tiredly and regarded the prince. Perhaps what he sensed was the last remnant of a torn personality, the last bit of the Mirkwood elf clinging to tenuous existence in the only place that Sauron could not obliterate it. But perhaps it was something more dangerous. He was unsure. And until he was sure, he would never be able in good conscience release the elf.
Legolas leaned his head back against the headboard, and regarded the other with eyes that were the most clear and sane since he had come to Minas Tirith. "Kill me now. It's the only way you can be sure. You can never trust me, not after what he's done to me." The voice was a calm whisper, pure logic spoken in a voice like silk.
Elrond raised an eyebrow and said nothing. His thoughts however, were reluctantly in agreement with his patient.
"There is something there, Legolas. I can not reach it but I sense it hidden far beneath the surface." Sauron frowned. He did not like having any part of his servant's mind not completely open to him. "It perturbs me."
Legolas remained on his knees, and met the gaze of the Dark Lord without fear. Fear only aroused Sauron's anger, and Sauron's anger always resulted in pain for Legolas.
"Yet, you are so completely mine..." A dark hand laid itself gently across a pale cheek, and then traveled down to the slender neck, caressing a path across delicate features. The elf leaned into the caress, eyes half lidded in pleasure, lips parted sensually. Every muscle sang of Legolas' desire for the feel of his master's hands.
"You crave my touch, do you not?" Sauron withdrew his hand and leaned back on his throne, a cruel smile on his face.
"More than anything, My Lord." The answer was completely truthful.
"You would do anything for me, would you not, just so that I might lay my hands on you again?" The eyes of fire never left the eyes of blue.
"Yes, My Lord." The elf was drawn as tight as a bow string, every muscle wanting to be nearer to Sauron, but held back by the need to be obedient to his will, the fear of angering him.
"Good." Sauron leaned forward and gazed deeply into the blue eyes, "I have work for you, my perfect one."
"I have brought a message for you from the master." The voice sliced through the elf's waking dream, pulling him from happier times and places. Legolas blinked and looked up at the messenger who stood next to him in the midnight gloom.
He was young. Tall and thin, his hair hung loosely around his shoulders. He wore a tabard embroidered with the white tree of Gondor that was loosely belted over his tunic and leggings. Eyes of grey marked him as a native of Gondor.
In his hand, he bore a long knife.
Legolas looked at the knife, and then back to the messenger. He swallowed hard, and found his voice. "What message do you bring me?"
"I am told to tell you this: Before you can feel my touch again, you must prove your perfection. You have work to do. Do not falter. Do not fail."
Legolas closed his eyes for a long moment, and when he opened them again, the gleam of madness was gone, replaced by cold knowledge and clarity of thought. "Cut my bonds. I know now what to do."
The snick of rope being cut filled his senses, followed by the burn of circulation being returned to muscles long restrained. He swung his feet over the side of the bed and stretched his arms and hands over his head.
Turning to the messenger again, he said quietly, "How did you get in?"
The man smiled grimly. "I have skills."
The elf nodded slightly at this, and then extended his hand. "You have something of mine."
The man passed over the knife. Metal melded with flesh in his fist. The knife gleamed and became one with the arm. Thought and will coalesced into the shape of a flashing blade. The moonlight reflected across the metal of the blade and onto his face. His eyes shone in the flash of light, cold and blue. Those same eyes then slid from the blade to the man still standing silently in the room.
"You are a man of Gondor. I can tell from your eyes, and your clothes. But you serve Sauron." He stood slowly, and walked to the window and looked across the dark city. "Are you compelled to serve, or are you just a traitor?" He looked back at the man in the room and raised an eyebrow, waiting.
"I'm not a gambler, m'lord elf. I'm a simple man. But even a simple man can see which way the tide turns in this battle." The man at least had the sense to look ashamed. "When the offer was made, I took it."
Legolas nodded and slowly walked across the room, and placed his hand on the man's shoulder. "I understand." The man began to relax as the elf started to push him gently towards the bed. "And that makes you a traitor. The basest of all creatures." The push turned into a shove as the man was driven up against the wall. "At least you will serve one more purpose for the Dark Lord."
Legolas covered the man's mouth with his hand and buried the knife to the hilt into the traitor's heart. Shock filled the grey eyes, followed by pain, and then by oblivion. "And you will no longer be a threat to those I used to hold dear. That is the least I can do for them now."
It was an easy matter to drop the body onto the bed, and tie the hands up onto the headboard. Daylight would reveal that the prince was gone, but for the cursory inspection that might come in the night, this would pass.
For a moment Legolas looked at the dead man, and felt a twinge of sadness. If only they had listened. If only they had heard. If only they had understood. Then it might be him there, taking eternal slumber, instead of the poor, stupid fool of a man. "I tried to warn them," he whispered quietly to the stiffening corpse, an unreadable expression on his face. The silence mocked him.
Lips compressed against the bitterness in his soul, he turned to the open window and climbed up, and out.
Death walked the streets of Minas Tirith, in the form of perfection.
Legolas walked through the silent streets and turned his eyes towards the stars. And then back to his objective. He would not falter. He would not fail.
Wood elves do not like cities, as a rule, and this wood elf was no different. However, it was easy enough to stay hidden in the shadows and pass unnoticed to most. His steps led him higher and higher into upper reaches of the city, where the nobles lived. Their homes were surrounded by gardens and the elf could hear the speech of the growing plants. But he did not stop to listen.
He glided on, moving from shadow to shadow, intent on his goal. He now knew why he was in Minas Tirith. He now knew he did not escape Barad-dur. The traitor and his message had unlocked the memories hidden deep inside, so deeply hidden that Legolas had not know there were there. So deeply hidden not even Elrond could touch them. And while the memories were bitter, there was the knowledge that soon he would return to the embrace of his master, and feel the touch that he desired to feel above all other sensations. He would not fail. The thought of spending another day, much less eternity without Sauron's touch was too painful to consider.
He finally came to a tall white garden wall, and easily climbed over it, making no sound. Walls could keep men out, but not an elf.
The garden within was a study in shades of whites and silvers, blacks and grays. The moon lit a path that he followed slowly. His feet bent not a glade of grass, nor made a mark in the dark loam of the earth. He turned slowly to look at small white flowers near his feet, and then bent to touch them, just for a moment.
But the flowers knew. They withered and died under his touch, killed by the corruption of his soul.
Sadness filled his eyes for a moment, and the small part of him that was left, deep inside, wept for the loss of his innocence and beauty. "I do not wish to do this," he quietly whispered to the plants. But the only answer he received was the silence of the night. He bowed his head and let the dead blossoms fall from his fingers to lie limp and broken upon the earth.
When he raised his eyes again, they were cold and empty. He walked on through the garden, and the plants moved from his path, refusing to be touched by his corruption. He did not care, for soon he would be folded into the arms of his Dark Lord, and lost in his perfect love. He had no hope of any other outcome.
He slowly moved towards the large house that gleamed like a white pearl in the moonlight. The night was cool and pleasant and the oversized windows were opened, allowing the breeze to flow into the house. A guard nodded quietly in the night, and died silently from a slit throat for his carelessness.
The elf heard the soft breathing of his quarry, and silently climbed into the window in front of him.
The room was large, and well appointed. It was what one would expect for a man this important. Legolas smiled grimly. It was not what he would expect for this man, though. The bed was raised on a dais and the bed curtains were open to allow the wind to blow through.
And there lay the King of Gondor, sleeping. The moon limned the gray in his hair, giving it a luminescent, almost otherworldly quality. The lines on his face had smoothed in sleep and he no longer looked so pained or weary.
Long hair blew gently in the breeze, and was silvered by the light of the moon. Flawless skin and eyes the color of a stormy sea glowed with an ethereal light as the elf moved gracefully across the room. The loose white shirt he wore whipped around him in the wind, and would wrap itself around his body, cling tight and then release him, like a fickle lover. Legs clad in dark pants led to soft boots that moved across the floor making no sound. White bed curtains blew behind him, billowing around him, almost giving him the appearance of wings. Truly, one would be hard pressed not to say, "There walks perfection."
And then one would see the eyes. The eyes that shed tears that traced silver trails down porcelain cheeks. The eyes that remembered friendship and loyalty given freely. The eyes that still held a small piece of a wood elf's soul.
It was to this vision that the King of Gondor awoke.
The vision raised the knife above his head, and stared in wonder at the man who had once been his friend. "I am perfection. I do not falter. I do not fail."
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.