AUTHOR'S NOTE:  I do not, in any way, shape, or form, own any of the LOTR characters, although I do wish that Legolas was mine (dreamy grin).  This fan fiction is for enjoyment purposes only.  I receive absolutely nothing for it (shrugs) with the exception of reviews from readers like you.  So please, do the right thing and read and review.

EXTRA CREDITS: Go to my good buddy Mel for all her help and for her wonderful contributions when I was figuring out who my surprise evil character would be.  Thanks Mel!!! *big smile*

RATED:  PG-13 for violence.

WARNING: Story will contain violence, elf-torture, and a surprise evil character.  So if seeing Legolas in pain isn't your thing…well…don't say I didn't warn you.  Also contains spoilers for those of you that have not read the last of the Lord of The Rings books, "The Return Of The King".

SUMMARY: After the War of The Ring, Legolas is captured and his father receives a ransom note.  Now it's up to Aragorn and Gimli to save Legolas, but will it be too late?

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Legolas Greenleaf slowly floated back to consciousness and immediately cursed the fact that he had.  Everything hurt on him; the pain blocked out everything else.  He had no idea where he was, or how he'd gotten there.  He tried to move, but as soon as he tried, his body exploded in fresh waves of pain.  He decided to lay still.

After maybe a quarter of hour had passed, Legolas was finally able to recall pieces of what had happened.  He'd be out with Gimli and a few of Aragorn's men.  They'd been hunting a rouge band of orcs, left over from the great war.  Their group had been no more than a three days journey from Gondor, where Aragorn had only recently been crowned as King, and Arwen as his Queen.  Legolas had fallen to the back of the line of men on the third night of their hunt.  Earlier that day, they had closed much of the distance between themselves and the orcs, but when the men had needed a rest to take in a little food and drink – the first since the previous night – they'd lost track of the orcs.  Not even the keen eyes of the elf could discern where they had gone to.  That night, there had been no moon, and Legolas had taken the rear so as to ensure that no orcs crept up on them from the back.  After that, he couldn't remember what had happened next.

But it was obvious to the elf prince that more had had to have taken place, judging from the pain that washed in endless waves over his body.  He closed his eyes and tried to force his memory back, to see if he could learn anything else of his capture.  Slowly, the images began to form in his mind.  He'd been trailing the group silently, peering as far into the distance as he could, tense and on the alert for orcs.  A few of the men were whispering quietly together, remarking on how much Gondor would flourish now that their king had returned.  As he'd listened and smiled to himself, he'd suddenly been taken off guard.  Something had grabbed him from behind and gagged him so that he couldn't call out for help.  Strong arms had held his own behind his back, binding them tightly, so that his binds soon bite into his fair flesh.  In all, he could remember thinking that there were maybe half a dozen figures there, all cloaked with hoods drawn well over their faces.  One in particular had been taller than the rest, and was obviously the leader.  Though the figure had spoken not a word, he or she had made a few quick hand gestures, and the others had followed the orders, just as silently as the commands had been given.

Legolas remembered little detail after that.  He'd been led in endless, overlapping trails, until he was actually confused as to where he was headed.  And they had traveled by night; the moonless night and a few heavily overcast ones had deprived him of all sense of direction.  He'd tried to escape once, but had been caught and blindfolded, and then a ceaseless round of punches and kicks had been dealt to him as his punishment.  He remembered nothing else.

Legolas opened his eyes again.  He supposed that he'd slipped into unconsciousness then, for his next memory was of waking up in the place he was now.  He looked around, giving his eyes time to focus and adjust to the dimness.  As far as he could tell, he was in a small rectangular room.  Three of the walls were made of smooth, sheer stone – one solid piece without a single joint or flaw that he could see.  The last remaining wall was partially made of stone, only interrupted towards the middle by a heavy steel barred door with a sturdy lock.  As for himself, he was chained to the wall on the right.  They were short, heavy chains, and were shackled to his ankles, wrists, and one about his neck.  He attempted to sit up, and the effort made every fiber of his body burn.  But still he tried, hating the fact that he was lying on a cold stone floor.  Finally, with a great effort, he was able to sit, leaning his back against the hard, smooth wall. 

He stayed, unmoving for a long time.  He wondered how long.  The cell he was locked in was windowless.  The only light in it came from a few high, narrow slits that had been hewn in the stone.  But even that was not enough for the elf to judge the time by.  He only knew that it was day, and he could smell moist earth; it was raining lightly.  For a while, Legolas allowed himself to fall into a state of meditation. 

But his peace of mind was short lived; all too soon he heard the light patter of footsteps coming from behind him.  He realized that there was a stone staircase that came behind the cell, but as the door to his prison stood to his left and front, he could not tell who was approaching.

He strained his ears, but whoever had come down did not speak.  The footsteps were lighter now.  Glancing towards the door, he was surprised to see the same cloaked figure from his capture – the leader of his assailants.   

"Who goes there?  Speak now," Legolas called out, and immediately regretted doing so.

The figure motioned to the guard.  The door swung open with a heavy sigh, and the figure walked into the cell.  Closer it came towards Legolas, and a powerful, slender hand came forth from under the folds of the fabric.  The door warden came from behind it's master, and handed him a heavy battle glove, slipping it onto the taller one's hand. 

Before he could protest, it slapped Legolas hard across the mouth, stunning him for the moment.  Blood began to trickle down from the corners of his mouth, ripped by the force of the blow.  The door warden produced a heavy cloth, and tied it tightly around the young elf's face, stuffing the material into his mouth, making a cruel gag.  The leader gave Legolas a swift punch in the gut.  Legolas bent forward some, and a muffled gasp came from his lips, but the gag caught the sound, making it almost inaudible. 

"That'll ensure that he doesn't try anything else," the leader said.  "Keep a close guard on him."

These were the last words that Legolas heard, now with the knowledge that the leader was male.  And in the back of his mind, the voice sounded familiar, but somehow warped and distorted, making it impossible for him to pinpoint where he'd heard the voice before.  With those thoughts in his head, he let himself slip back into unconsciousness.