Pilfered Hearts and Plundered Dreams

Author: Bella (musedepandora@yahoo.com)

Short Summary: An untold tale of Legolas of Mirkwood and a thief of Men, overlooked between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

Main Pairing: Legolas / Original Female Character

Rating: PG to begin with, later shall range between the higher ratings.

Disclaimer (Applies to all chapters): Pilfered Hearts and Plundered Dreams is a work of fan fiction, written due to the authoress' respect and love for the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The setting, mythology, creatures, and history of Middle-earth are borrowed. The plot devices and characters created by the authoress are her creative property. No profit is being made by the writing of this piece of fan fiction.

Use of my Original Characters: With permission only. Just ask and you'll most likely receive.

Archiving: With my permission only. Just ask, and you'll most likely receive.

Special thanks to:

Lopaka Tanu: Goddess of Misfortune, Muse of Inspiration. She's always there for me and I don't know where I'd be (or this story) without her.

My mother: For her constant encouragement and support for all of my writings.

All text written between *these* is translated from Sindarin.

All text written between "these" is translated from Westron.

* * *

Chapter One: How It Began

* * *

It had been a long and tiring day. The Elven hunting party had strayed further from their home and deeper into the forest than they had meant and had turned around to return a little too late. They were finally on their way back to the security of the stone walls, but were paying the price of their lack of thought and were being forced to travel back in the blindness of night.

Most of the trip was spent in silence, not even their footfalls making a sound, in fear that it might taunt some unwelcome presence out of the bushes and onto the retreating party of Elves. When they were no more than two or so hours from finally reaching the security they desired, sounds of muffled laughter and foreign voices met their sensitive ears.

Without a sound, the head Elf gave orders to his party and changed their direction; intent upon finding those who had dared to trespass on Elven territory. Not long, they came upon a small clearing that's ground was littered with figures bent in upon themselves, relatively close together.

At least ten figures were huddled against the cold night air underneath different cloths; some not even with a blanket but wrapped in their own cloak. Avoiding brittle leaves that nearly covered all of the ground and sticks, the tall and nimble Elves encircled their prey.

* * *

A man, tired from the day's travels but too wary from tales of giant spiders and orcs, laid as quietly as possible underneath his coarse blanket. The night was quiet and by the sounds of the raspy breathing and light snoring, his companions had already found rest.

He contented himself with looking up into the sky above him. Trees obscured the view, their branches reaching into the heavens like some greedy claws grasping for the small promising gems in the ocean of darkness.

The man tried to slow his breathing that he had not noticed steadily rising to the point of exhaustion and abandon his former trail of thought. They had not come across trouble in their whole journey to this place. He was told horrible things about this forest and he had in turn had told his companions.

He had alerted them earlier that night once again as they all readied themselves for bed.

"Men have wandered onto these lands and were never heard from again." The man warned as he threw his pack on the ground. "If we walk on through the night, I think we shall clear these trees by morning. We'd be much safer to rest in the warmth of the sunlight on lush green hills -that I've been told are just a day's travel away. Not in this dismal darkness in the middle of these damned woods."

"Scared of the dark, Margon?" They had taunted. Even the woman had laughed at him.

Apparently they had been right and he had again been wrong. He should have gone to sleep or risk falling behind in the next day's hike, he knew that and tried to convince his body of the wisdom in it, but for all his might, he could not find rest.

Chirping of a songbird met his ears and he let out a breath that he had not known he had been holding. The idea that a creature so pure and lovely as a songbird resigned in these forests lightened his heart and he closed his eyes hoping to hear the sound once again.

His heart began to calm and his consciousness began to lull itself off to dreams of beautiful women and lively music when a thought came to him.

What songbird sounds at night?

He sat up like a bolt of lightening and was met face to face with an arrow that shined in the moonlight and heard as several bows around him were pulled taut. He whimpered to himself.

He had been right, again. He hated when he was right.

* * *

The head Elf watched as the rest of the intruders were awakened, some shoved, most kicked into reality. He was rather sure of who these noisy and troublesome folk were but to make sure he walked over to the only one who had been awake and grabbed him by the hair.

Ignoring the yelp of surprise, the Elf tilted the being's head to the side and looked at the rounded edge on the ear. He spoke to the others in their own tongue, the only word recognizable to their captives being the disgusted utterance of "Men."

The tall Elf, whose hair shown in the moonlight, spoke with two others, apparently discussing what to do with these Men; whether to shoot them and be over with it or drag them along with them as their captives.

Margon was sure that the former was in their favor when the Elves silenced suddenly and dared not move. Without thought, the group of Men found themselves doing the same. Margon startled when he heard the voice of the head Elf again but from across the clearing from where he had been. It was damn unsettling that a creature could move with such stealth, and damn unfair at that.

He had spoken apparently to a tree on that end, in the tongue foreign to Men. The Elf waited a moment and Margon heard as a bow was pulled to the point of breaking.

"I said to come down from your hiding." The Elf spoke again, this time in common, with a voice that was not deep but not weak at that: a voice that gave the harshness of common a touch of something finer.

Again there was silence as they awaited a reply. His patience apparently gone, the Elf spoke again, harsher and with obvious annoyance.

"If you do not climb down, we shall shoot you down."

"No need, fair Elf." A voice harked from the tree. Margon smiled slightly to himself; he was glad that the woman would at least share their fate, as unkind as that was.

"For I am but a tree." Silence ensued once again. That was a reply obviously not expected.

"A tree?" The Elf called back.

"Yes." She replied. "And, as a wise Elf, would you hurt an innocent tree?"

"A tree that can speak in common and in the voice of a woman no less? I have never heard of such a thing." There was a slight humor in his voice. Perhaps he wouldn't kill them after all, Margon thought hopefully to himself.

"Yes, I am a gifted tree. One that would be much obliged if you hurried on your way and left me to rest and enjoy the night's air and soft soil."

"I can not do that." The Elf said. "I tire of this game. Come from the branches. I have humored you long enough, woman."

There was a murmuring about trees in the branches and a slight rustle of leaves.

"I thought Elves were nicer to their trees then this." There was no reply from the Elf. "Wise Elf, will you humor me once more? As a favor to this kind tree?"

"Very well." The Elf replied after a moment of hesitation.

"How many fingers am I holding up?"

"I can not see. The night is too dark."

"Ah." The tree replied. "Then how will you shoot me if you can not see me?" The voice ended on a rather satisfied note.

There was no reply, only the sound of an arrow flying through the air. It stuck into the wood that the Elf knew to be immediately to the woman's left.

"Right." The woman mumbled. "Coming."

It took several minutes for the woman to climb through the maze of branches in the darkness. Feeling her way around, she had to guess as to which limb could support her weight, something that did not please her in the least. Having come along just fine, the woman thought herself lucky.

Unfortunately the last limb before she would have safely reached the ground was still young and had yet to build its strength.

In the darkness, a loud crack was followed by a painful thump. There was a moment where nothing moved as they waited for some sign of life. Right as Margon thought that the woman had broke her neck, there was a groan from the forest floor.

"Ouch." Whimpered from the darkness.

"Get up." The Elf ordered without sympathy.

She whimpered again in response. "A moment, let me make sure my legs are still attached."

"Let go of me!" She yelled indignantly.

"You have exhausted our patience." The head Elf retorted from yet a different spot in the clearing.

"Haven't you ever fallen out of a tree?" She asked, obviously groping for some sort of sympathy. Silence. "Stupid question."

* * *

The captives were led through the forest and into an underground palace. None spoke as they were pulled and pushed along, under the constant threat of impalement. Not even the woman who had before presented herself as being rather talkative.

The hunting party wound its way through corridors and roads into great halls where Elves would step to the side and watch as the strange sight passed by them, whispering amongst themselves afterwards.

Finally they came to a pair of great wooden doors, that were not solid yet more like a screen of roots formed solidly together. Shadows could be seen walking in the next room but the roots obstructed any clear views. The head Elf reached out a hand and stopped the group's progress. He went forward and spoke to the four guards by the doors.

Apparently with the guards satisfied, the doors were pushed open and the tall Elf led them into the palatial room.

Many Elves in fine garments were speaking to each other in small groups spread about the room. The hall was filled with their chatter, not an unpleasant sound to the Men's ears, quite opposite. The very walls seemed to be whispering pleasantly in the Elven language.

As the hunting party and its captives passed, each group of Elves fell silent and watched. This caused the Men to become more nervous, even if they had not thought it possible. Eyes following them, watching their every move, caused many of their feet to pause, but they were swiftly pushed forward.

At the front of the great room stood a group of Elves, dressed even finer than the others, speaking amongst themselves upon a platform raised slightly higher than the rest of the room. They fell silent as well when they saw the group approach.

A tall Elf, who emanated importance, spoke elegantly to their head captor, who responded in turn with a slightly annoyed grin. An elder, who wore a fine circlet upon his golden head, spoke to the elf as well. The company that the two had, strayed to the side, all but one Elf woman who also wore a crown of the same making. The three stood in front of the room, carrying on a conversation that the Men present could not hope to understand.

Feeling utterly uncomfortable, the Men sneaked glances at one another, though for what purpose they didn't know. They felt as if they would dare not speak to one another and perhaps offend their captors nor could they hope to escape. So they contented themselves with what little control they had, that of their eyes.

"Who are you and why are you here?" The Elf that the Men took as royalty spoke, startling them out of their sole interludes. There were a few moments where the Men waited to see which of them would have the courage to speak first.

"We are mere travelers, Your Highness." A man spoke. The group had never identified themselves a leader but this man was the closest they had, self- proclaimed as he was. "We made to cut through these woods in an effort to shorten our journey . . . to a human settlement close by."

"Whither do you call your home?"

"We are all from various areas, but we share one thing in common, Your Highness, we have no home."

"You are well armed for 'mere travelers'." The less defined, though no less handsome, of the two male Elves noted, looking at the weapons that the hunting party had placed on the ground for their inspection.

"The woods, as you surely know, can be perilous." The man paused a moment. "And most of the weapons are not ours."

The king, as the Men had now deduced him as being, seemed intrigued and waited a few moments for an explanation. None came.

"Explain." He ordered.

"Most belong to the lady, Your Highness." The Elven King looked to the woman. She stood in the middle of the Men and seemed to be trying to hide in the midst of them. With a signal of the hand, she was pulled and brought to the front for the king's closer inspection.

She wore a dress that went to just above the ankle, it appeared to have been a dark color in the past, blue or maybe a black, but now was faded. She wore boots, of good quality, as well. They were of soft leather and sewn up the whole way with dark pieces of what could perhaps be twine, though it had to have been stronger than it looked to not break from long wear. The top of the boots disappeared into the folds of her skirt.

The woman was not beautiful, particularly by Elven standards, but she was not an orc either. Her hair was a generic brunette; nothing to cause any notice, it had natural highlights that were a dirty blonde. She'd obviously been out in the sun for some time. Her face was not thin but betrayed her age; she was still rather young, perhaps in her early twenties. It could not be determined in the lighting that glowed throughout the large room, whether her eyes were a brown or a more unique dark blue. Either way, she was nothing special.

"The woman does not belong to your company?" The king asked, finishing his survey of the girl.

"No, she wandered into our company a few days past, asking if she could join us until our paths diverged." The same Man explained, apparently happy to have the king's mind off him and his men. "We took pity on what we thought to be a defenseless woman traveling alone."

"Thought to be?" He questioned further.

"Well, she can't be too defenseless with all that weaponry, Your Highness."

The king nodded his ascent and turned his attention to the woman once again.

"Why do you carry so much weaponry?" The girl downcast her eyes under the pressure of the roomful of Elven ones.

"I deal in anything I come across. Weapons are easy enough to find and hard to break, and if I come across danger, I should have my pick of defenses." She explained away, not raising her eyes from the floor.

"It would seem to be a heavy commodity to travel with, especially for a woman, is it not?" The other Elf asked from the king's side.

"Yes, that is a problem. I usually restrict myself to smaller weapons, such as daggers."

"It is not safe for a woman to travel alone. Why do you choose to?"

The woman finally looked up and met the inquisitive Elf in the eyes.

"I deal alone, so I travel alone." She stated firmly.

"What should we do with you?" The king seemed to muse to himself, while the Elf to his side still held the woman locked in the eyes. He finally looked away from her and to the king. "Legolas, what would you have us do?"

"It serves us no purpose to have them executed; they appear almost innocent." Legolas mused. "I would have the lot escorted out of Mirkwood as soon as possible. If it were my decision, father."

"Please, not with them." The girl murmured to herself. She had forgotten about the Elves' keen sense of hearing and immediately regretted it.

"Why do you not wish to continue in their company?" The Elf, obviously a prince of some sort, asked. He seemed amused, which relieved the woman somewhat. At least she wasn't going to loose her head, yet.

"The blundering fools are the reason I was caught." She answered. Mistake, she knew it. She should not have said that.

"So you regret not trespassing in our woods but being caught?" She bit her lip in thought. The whole room was quiet, waiting, waiting to see how big of a hole she had dug herself into.

"Matters on which one will get me executed." She answered truthfully.

"Well, Lady . . . I don't believe you have told us your name."

"Probably not going to get it. I haven't the habit of introducing myself to strangers." Her jaw dropped and she slapped a hand over it. She couldn't believe what she just said, when it was easy enough to give them a faux name. Damn her foolish tongue. She squeezed her eyes shut and waited. The woman had always morbidly wondered what it felt like to have an arrow rip through her flesh. She waited, yet felt nothing. Opening her eyes slowly, she saw the Elf's lovely face graced with a highly amused smile.

"I am King Thranduil." The elder Elf introduced. "This is my queen, Sabriel." He motioned to the so-far-quiet Elf beside him. The dark beauty smiled in greeting, causing the woman before them to fidget underneath the queen's gaze.

"And this is our son, Prince Legolas."

The Elf slightly inclined his head in recognition. Somehow, the woman felt as if she were being played with, and it angered her.

"Now that we are no longer strangers, your name, fair lady?" The prince asked. Yes, she was sure that she was being played with. She scowled at the situation. Suddenly, she felt trapped, she had known that she was captured before but now she felt suffocated. She couldn't leave if she wanted to, and she definitely wanted to.

"I am not a lady and surely am not fair. You may call me whatever you wish for my name is of no value." She retorted back in a tone that she realized was probably not in her best interests.

"You would think that we have insulted you, nameless woman that you wish yourself to be." King Thranduil seemed to have lost his patience, one of the many things that the woman was gifted at pilfering. "We have not set out to do so and I do believe that we have treated you kindly. All that we have asked of you is your name."

"Her name is Yonna, Your Majesty." A man spoke up from amongst his peers. The woman rolled her eyes; she just was not able to help herself. Margon had been a constant annoyance to her since she came across him. She even had had fantasies of feeding him to an orc. A self-satisfied smile seeped on to her lips at the thought.

"Or so I've told you." She muttered.

"A name is a simple thing, why are you so secretive about it?" Legolas asked. He slightly turned his head to the side, like some sort of animal- a bird perhaps-, when he was curious. Interesting, the woman noted.

"If it is such a simple thing then why not call me Dog or Flower. My name is my own, the first and only gift given to me. It is to share with whom I please."

"I believe we have swayed far enough off what is prudent." The king brought to everyone's attention. "I will think over what to do with you, and will inform you at my leisure."

"Until then, you shall have accommodations."

* * *

Accommodations: perhaps not the best of words to describe where they were thrown, or more like pushed, into after their interrogation.

The woman, who had yet to disclose her name, was put into one of the two cells with half of her male companions. They spent days there, which passed extremely slowly and were rather humiliating for the woman.

She went about her day and business, under the constant eye of Men and Elven guards. At times, she would have slit her wrist for some privacy. But to top it all off, she shared the cell with none other than the nitwit Margon.

"Yonna."

She looked up, knowing that the man was referring to her.

"What?" She snapped.

"I was sitting here, thinking -since it's really the only thing we have enough room to do in here. And do you know, I think King Thranduil was about to let us, even escort us, on our way until you opened your mouth?"

"It took you this long to figure that out?" Another man asked sarcastically from the other cell.

The woman tried to ignore him. She knew that he was trying to start a fight and she was not in the mood. In fact, she was already highly annoyed from the closed quarters. Instead of responding, she dug her back further into the corner where she was sat, focusing her mind on the feel of the stone digging into her sensitive skin. But he would not be dissuaded.

"Did your mother never teach you how to speak?" He continued. She looked up, her self-control gone.

"Your meaning?"

"Women are not supposed to speak insolently. It's every mother's duty to teach her daughter how to act like a woman. Obviously your mother forgot." He was trying to goad her into an outburst. She knew it and smiled. It'd take more than that.

"Oh, believe me, she tried." The woman smiled to herself and leaned her head back against the wall.

"Well, if I had a daughter like you, I wouldn't try hard either." He laughed throatily to no one in particular. "Of course, if I had a daughter like you, I'd drown her."

"I'm sure if you had a daughter, she'd drown herself." She murmured without thought. The woman heard a laugh that was obviously trying to be suppressed. It was one of the guards. Good, she thought, at least some one is enjoying themselves.

"Didn't a Man ever teach you what a woman's mouth was for?"

The choked laughter from the guard stopped. Slowly, the woman lowered her head until she was glaring into the man's eyes.

"Why don't you show me?"

"That's it for you, woman!" He bellowed as he crossed the small room and grabbed a hold of her by the shoulder of her dress and hoisted her up against the wall until her toes barely touched the cold stone floor.

The men in the room were immediately on their feet and the woman remembered hearing their voices yelling; whether in encouragement or otherwise, she didn't know. Her mind was too fixed on the matter at hand or rather the man whose hand at that moment mattered.

She pushed against him as hard as she could but was not able to escape his grip. He pressed her shoulder so hard against the wall that she distinctly remembered hearing something pop.

The woman kicked and pushed with all her might but Margon was the stronger in body of the two. He kept hitting her against the wall, like a strong ocean current that wouldn't stop its beating of the girl. She closed her eyes, trying not to think of the shooting pain in the back of her neck, and suddenly he stopped.

She opened her eyes and saw the wide green orbs of Margon staring at the wall behind her. There was a dagger held to his throat.

The cell was completely quiet. Men's voices were no longer hollering. Fearing she had been knocked deaf, she drew in a deep breath and was relieved to hear it as well as feel it.

"Let go." A voice she had heard before ordered firmly from behind Margon. The man obeyed and let go of his grip on the woman. He was pulled away from her and slammed hard against the wall, revealing the man behind the dagger, or Elf, as that may be.

To be honest, she was still recovering from having the wind literally beaten out of her chest to be too surprised at who had pulled the man away from her.

The prince looked deep into the man's eyes a long moment, daring him to move, before reaching a hand out in the woman's direction. Two other elves, armed as well, had the rest of the Men with their backs against the opposing walls.

"Come." He told and she complied. The Elf removed the dagger from the Man's neck and took a hold of the woman's elbow. She pulled it out of his grasp and put a tentative hand to the back of her neck. As she feared, she felt something warm and wet meet her touch. She cursed under her breath.

She was pushed out of the cell, the prince following close behind.

"I could've handled it. I should've handled it!" She announced with illogical anger, looking at her hand and the blood on it and then back at the still open cell. "In fact . . ."

The woman stormed back into the room. The two Elves holding the men at bay with long swords, looking to their prince for guidance. But he slightly inclined his head, watching what was to come.

She stopped and stood in front of Margon for a moment. She tentatively placed her hands on the Man's shoulders and dropped her head as if she were about to break out into sobs. Instead, she placed a well-guided knee into the man's lap. A satisfying crunch and high-pitched yelp echoed between the stone walls. Margon's eyes watered as he fell to his knees.

The woman bent down and took his head between her hands, placing a gentle kiss on the top of his mangled hair, before throwing him against the wall and letting him fall unconscious to the floor.

After leaving the cell, satisfied with herself, she let the prince guide her down the hall and into another room.

* * *

The room was much larger than that of the cell she had spent all of the past few days in, and for that she was thankful. A fire in a stone hearth warmed the room and sent red and orange hues upon the walls.

"No guards?" The woman asked skeptically.

"I believe I can handle one woman. Please, sit." He moved a hand towards an armchair by the fire, before he pulled up another and sat himself so that their knees were nearly touching.

She watched as Legolas leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees. It was now that the woman realized that he still held onto the dagger that he used to stop Margon. He examined it in his hands and held it up so that she could see it in the light of the fire.

"A beautiful blade." The prince's eyes never left her face, sure to not miss a flick of an eye or twitching muscle. "Of Elf design and Dwarf forging. Metal is of respectable quality. But of course it is."

"Lord Elrond would not entrust his guards with anything less." He watched as her eyes momentarily downcast to the floor before returning to his own. Dark blue; in the fire, her eyes were dark blue.

She tried to act as nonchalant as possible. The woman reached a hand behind her neck and came back with yet more blood. She hadn't thought she was hurt that badly. Apparently, neither did the prince. He stood from the chair and disappeared into a dark corner, returning with a tattered cloth.

Legolas pushed her braid aside and looked at the wound. She moved a way at first but relented when he cast his eyes down at her in a reprimanding manner. He pressed the cloth to the wound. She jerked away, ignoring the slight pain of the act, and pressed her hand on the back of her neck, resuming the pressure on the cloth herself.

The prince pulled the dagger back out of his belt and sat down.

"How did you come into possession of this dagger, Yonna?" He twirled the handle back and forth within his hand and watched as the light reflected off it and onto the walls.

"My name's not Yonna. I told you."

The Elf sighed and placed his arms to his sides, the dagger firmly held in his right hand. For some reason, the woman found herself scared that she might be in harm's way. But he looked at her across the short expanse with eyes that seemed dark yet bright in the fire of the room, and she didn't think that he would hurt her. At least, he didn't desire to.

"You truly wish me to call you Dog or Flower?" Legolas questioned, arching a dark eyebrow.

She did not answer but looked to the fire. It looked so warm and at first inviting; of course, she had spent the last few days in a cold cell. But as she stared deeper into it, she became deeply unsettled and found herself pleased to be interrupted by the prince.

"Give me your hand." He ordered, reaching forward, keeping the hand with the dagger at his side.

"What?" She looked at him suspiciously. "Why?"

"Do you always attempt a long winded argument over the smallest of requests?"

But she knew that this was not a small request. She knew why he wanted to see her hand and what he expected to find, and would find. But in the end, what would come of her refusal? Nothing. If he truly desired to, he could do what he wanted.

Slowly she leaned forward and placed her right hand in his. He seemed surprised at this but did not question her further. Instead he turned her hand over and saw what he knew he would.

Vivid in the light of the fire, was an Elven rune upon her wrist. It was a pinker shade and thicker than the rest of her skin. Burned into her otherwise flawless skin was a mark of her kind.

"You are a thief." He stated matter-of-factly, letting go of her arm and leaning back in his chair. "You must be gifted at your art to pilfer from an Elf."

"You compliment your kind." She replied, a playful smirk on her lips. "It was as easy as to steal from a Man . . .All that is needed is a diversion."

"You forget that you bear a mark on your wrist, given to you by an Elf that was not so easily diverted." He responded in an equally playful voice. Though she found it to be too unkind to be fun.

Her face fell and she looked at her wrist. She still remembered the pain and embarrassment.

"I was young." She whispered. The Elf's eyes searched her face, as if he could read her thoughts.

"Perhaps, it was too harsh for one so young."

"No." She corrected. "I learned from my mistake."

The woman smiled deviously and leaned back in her chair, taking the cloth away from the back of her neck. The bleeding had stopped and there was no more need to fuss over it in her opinion.

"I haven't been caught since."

To her surprise, he smiled back.

"Until now."

Her smile faded.

"What are you going to do?" She paused and stretched out her left arm. "Going to put it on this one, too?"

"No." Legolas' eyes fell back to the blade he held in his hand. "It just complicates matters further."

The prince stood and walked a short distance across the room, towards the door that they had entered. For a moment, the woman's heart had jumped into her throat at the idea of returning to her cold quarters.

He turned around, and looked her over a moment, his eyes lingering on the bloodied rag.

"I don't believe I can return you to your cell." He placed the dagger underneath his fine brown cloak.

As he came forward, the woman stood impulsively. Legolas reached out and took a hold of her elbow, guiding her towards another door on the opposite side of the room.

"I will find you some accommodations."

"Hopefully not like your father's."

He smiled kindly at her. She took this as meaning that he didn't understand that she was serious.

"No, you have my word, Yonna."

"Amoran." She whispered. He looked at her inquisitively. "It's my name . . .I promise."

* * *