You have sucked out the very marrow of my bones with this chapter, Ziggy. Left me sagging weakly on my sofa, wrung out with the depth of emotion drawn from me by the images conjured with your words.
From Aragorn's recounting of his first meeting with Legolas to the last "I am Legolas Thanduillion..." I was riveted - and this the third reading of this chapter.
The change up to Pippin's POV was perfectly tuned after the last chapter. I loved his staunch support of Aragorn's lonely watch, the wringing sorrow so movingly portrayed as he gradually comes to understand Legolas' condition, his longing for the familiarity of home, his mundane normality in such equisite counterpoint to the madness Legolas has been plunged into. Just awesome.
But it was reading the scene that Pippin describes as he hears Legolas scream and scream and scream while everyone argues around them from inside Legolas mind that shredded me. I said with the last chapter you do horror well, but this was horror on steroids. You put me right in there, trapped with Legolas in that repetitvely endless cycle of burning pain, both physical and psychological. You are extremely gifted with the ability to paint these word pictures so vividly that your reader experiences it right along with the character. I'm probably repeating myself, but I think it every time I read one of these chapters - heck, I feel it every time read one of these chapters.
And then Elrohir's plea to Aragorn not to drug the elf again ... such brokeness, such humility, I can feel the sorrow seeping off him like sweat. And while I personally think he deserves to sweat sorrow, the portrayal of abject misery, of purpose to right the wrong he has done, of the love he has finally come to terms with is like all the chords of the Grand Symphony of the Song coming together at last.
Mmmmmmmmmmmm .... supremely satisfying. Now hurry up and write some more!