Legolas leaned against a tree for support, breathing heavily. Pain tore across his chest with every breath and his legs shook beneath him. His right leg protested violently at having this weight put on it. Blood flowed down from the deep gash in his thigh, but he had nothing with which to stop the bleeding. He might have been able to bandage it with his shirt, but it would take too long to stop and do that.

After only a moment's pause, he was moving forward again. Blood splattered the ground in his wake as he stumbled towards the next tree, clutching at the branches to keep himself from falling. The ground seemed to be swaying beneath his feet, and he could feel a trickle of blood running down from the deep gash on his forehead.

He still gripped his bow, the quiver at his back, though he doubted he would be able to shoot with any accuracy right now. His vision swam alarmingly in front of him and pain was dimming his senses. His whole body seemed in agony. Aside from the deep wound in his leg and the cut on his forehead, the rest of his body was adorned in bruises and swallow cuts. He had a feeling one of his ribs might be broken, judging from the pain that accompanied each breath.

He staggered on a few more steps, heedless of direction. He just needed to get away from those men. If they found him in this condition, he wouldn't be able to fight for long. He couldn't let them capture him, the resolve hardened within him, giving him the strength to go on a little further, though the strength was rapidly fading. He was worried that in another few minutes he would be able to go no further, and he wasn't far enough away yet.

He now understood why his father had warned him to stay away from humans. An elf would never attack a lone traveller without reason. Though he guessed from the chained humans they already had captive that they thought they had reason enough. Slavers! How anyone could do that to another living being was beyond Legolas, and those humans were doing it to their own kind. It was barbaric!

He paused again, nearly unconscious from the pain. Suddenly a sound behind him made him turn, the sudden movement sending his head reeling. A human stood there, though Legolas' vision was too blurred now to tell him much more than that.

Legolas brought his bow up quickly, though he needed two attempts to fit an arrow on a string which seemed to have duplicated itself somehow.

"Get back!" Legolas ordered. There now seemed to be two identical humans in front of him, and he hoped he was aiming the arrow at the right one.

"Put down your weapons," the human said. He took a step towards the elf. Legolas thought he had a hand on a sword hilt, but he couldn't be sure. Either way, he hadn't drawn a weapon. Yet.

"Get back or I'll shoot." Legolas couldn't see the human's expression clearly, but he heard something that might have been a laugh.

The world seemed to be growing dark. It couldn't be night already, good it? Legolas swayed dangerously, though he didn't lower his bow. If he did it would be opening himself to an attack he couldn't defend against.

"I can help you, if you let me," the human said. Well, Legolas wasn't going to fall for that. His father had always said that humans couldn't be trusted, and the attack he had just come through was proof of that.

The human stepped towards him again, and Legolas took a step backwards. That was too much for his leg to cope with. It gave way beneath him and he fell. The human's face loomed above him briefly, then was swallowed in the darkness.


Author's note: Ugh! A horribly short chapter. At least I dumped you straight into the action, and cliffhangers. Review and I will love you forever.