DISCLAIMER ~ Same as last time. I don't own J. R. R. Tolkien's stuff.


~ Rabbit of Iron ~ Sorry for updating without you checking the chapter! I wasn't sure if you had forgotten about it and I really wanted to get it up!

~ IrishQT ~ Greetings, mad one. There is a bit more angst in this, and PLENTY in the one after. (I think the one after might be a bit gory, not sure yet).

~ Wilwarin ~ Yeah, I know about the 5 Istari. It's just that I didn't want to use Saruman for my evil magic maker, and the only explanation that I could think of was to invent and new wizard. I'm trying not to make it *too* AU.

~ Elven Kitten ~ Truly freaky indeed. It gets worse. ^_^

~ Lux-soap ~ Hiya! Always luvvin' you! And lay off the bloody gin!

~ orligurl88 ~ Thanks! And I think you should do your Christmas list! It's almost December!

~ all who wander ~ Thank you! Sorry it's taken so long to update!

~ szhismine ~ I'm glad you think the new wizard is a great twist! And thanks for saying that it was an excellent chapter! Aragorn is there only hope, but I think you need to read on. . .

~Tarostar ~ I changed it now. Thanks for the suggestion! I never really thought it as disturbing.

NOTE ~ Sorry for the delay!


Chapter Five ~ The Would-be Rescuer

The night was clear, the stars were bright and Aragorn lay on a patch of dry bracken. His arm gave him no rest; it throbbed relentlessly. Brego stood nearby in a dozy state, with his head drooping, his ears back and a resting hoof. Next to him was Brïona, who returned to the man and his horse, quaking with fright and sweating all over. Aragorn had comforted her, and gave her a bit of Lembas, for the horses of elves love the waybread as much as their masters do. Now all three were still and silent. They had tracked the men and their captives all the way to the Camp, and there it lay in the distance. The torches flickered in the night breeze and Aragorn could just make out the black flags as they flitted about on their posts.

His good friends Legolas and Haldir, along with his foster brothers Elladan and Elrohir were now in there, waiting for whatever Fate had in store for them. Aragorn did not know the enigmatic plans of Fate, but judging by the barbs and guards of the Camp he knew that the plan would not be good, and that the elves were most definitely supposed to stay within the walls.

A grave expression was carved upon Aragorn's handsome face, and as the slight wind blew his dark locks into his eyes he did not even bat and eyelid. Hordes of questions jammed his mind. Did the king of Rohan know of this? He doubted it. Aragorn had met the king once before with Legolas on their travels, and the noble Théoden seemed to hold a wary sort of respect for the elvish race. Though after the drought and the orc attack Aragorn wondered if that respect was still in tact. He frowned. Who were these men that captured elves? The answer to that he had to guess. Perhaps they were exiles, driven into acts of malice and greed by the terrible fortune of Rohan. Last of all, the question that had been gnawing at his mind the most, what was to become of the imprisoned elves? It was a question that he could never answer without further knowledge of the Camp, and it was in that moment that he decided to pay Legolas and the others a visit.

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Legolas lay quietly within his stall in a sombre mood. The Bridle still chafed his face. The straw was uncomfortable and his back forever gave him grief. He sighed. Haldir was in the stall to his left, Elladan and Elrohir were on the far right. Again he sighed and found his feet, sick of the scratching straw. The wooden wall of his stall came up to his chest, but from there to the roof strong metal bars had been placed, like a prison. The same design went for his door.

Earlier on there had been light conversation from the elf-slaves who were already at the Camp and had already become a full slave of Rulorion. Legolas glanced through the bars at Haldir, who was sitting in his straw, absentmindedly tugging at his bridle.

'My friend?'

Haldir looked up, slightly surprised and smiled, though it was obviously strained.

'What will become of us, Legolas?'

'I do not know. Yet hope remains. Aragorn is still free, he will raise the alarm.'

Haldir nodded, not wholly convinced that a human would save them. Legolas saw this and leant forward.

'He is an unidentified king of men, Haldir. He is already seen as a king amongst men. He is noble and loyal and he will not fail us.'

Haldir gazed at the determined face of the young prince of Mirkwood, marvelling at the hopeful glimmer in his eyes.

'You are right, my friend. I was wrong to think that a man such as Aragorn would fail us.'

Legolas smiled and turned away. He went to the other side of his stall, though he could not see Elladan and Elrohir. He looked down at the stall that separated him from the twins. An elf-slave lay sleeping in his straw. Legolas stared warily, leaning right up against the bars. His scales were black and his skin was pale. His tail was coiled like a great, long snake. The elf-slave slept, and Legolas saw that he had lost the elvish way, for his eyes were shut and a gentle snore came from his parted lips.

Legolas was then startled as the other suddenly awoke, as if his gaze had pierced him like a dart, and his head turned sharply towards the prince. Their gazes locked. The eyes of the elf slave unnerved Legolas as they glowed a honey colour in the dark. He backed away from the bars as the elf- slave walked up to him on all fours, as was the habit of those who had fully become a slave.

'Why do you recoil?' he said. 'We are the same within.'

Legolas cautiously went back to the bars.

'Pray tell young one, what do they call you?'

'Legolas of Mirkwood.'

The elf-slave drew a sharp breath.

'The son of his majesty?'

'Yes, I am Thranduil's son.'

He shook his head as he looked upon Legolas with pity.

'A prince in slavery. I hope there is someone looking for you?'

Legolas was just about to say yes, and then he faltered. There had been no sight of Aragorn during the march to the Camp.

'I was with another when I was caught. He did try to rescue the others and me but he received an arrow in the arm. He has retreated far until he is healed. Either that or he has gone to raise the alarm. He is noble, he will do all he can while he still lives.'

There was a silence.

'What do they call you?'

'Finglas of Mirkwood.'

Legolas looked up. He felt a detached pleasure that an elf of his realm was near.

'What were doing outside of Mirkwood?'

Finglas bowed his head.

'My wife was pregnant, but there was a problem. The baby had managed to turn itself around the wrong way. An incident such as that - for a child to be born feet first - had not occurred for a long while amongst the midwives of Mirkwood and they were not eager to take the risk of delivering it themselves. So she was escorted to the Lord Elrond, who is incredibly well versed in lore of healing and so on. I am sure you already know of his skill.'

Legolas nodded, eager to hear more.

'I remained in Mirkwood for a while as she was not due to give birth for a week or two. Though I only remained for a few days, as I was eager to be there at the birth of my child, so I departed with great haste and rode on to Rivendell.'

Finglas sighed.

'Alas, I was ambushed by roaming orcs. They took me far from my trail, for what reason I do not know, but I managed to escape from their evil clutches and I ended up in fair Lothlórien.'

Then he smiled, as one does when a fond memory arises.

'And the Lady! She was beautiful! O how she radiates light and splendour! She was gracious and offered her kind help. I gladly accepted. There was a man there. It was Banes, but back in Lórien I did not know of his malice. I asked how he came to the Wood and he claimed that he had been chased there by wild orcs. "Hath the cauldron of evil no lid to contain what lies within?" That is what I said. Though I was suspicious. It seemed odd that all these orcs were roaming out of their rancid dens.'

Legolas stared at Finglas with wide eyes. Banes had been in Lothlórien?

'I spoke to Banes on the night that I stayed in Lórien. "I am going to the Shire," he said. "Where peace is always present and where the halflings are kind and merry. Orcs do not roam that unblemished land and beyond, so I will, for I am sick and tired of those filthy beasts. I wish to escape from them."'

Finglas snorted.

'A likely tale. But perhaps it was true, I thought to myself as he told me. It is a terrible pity that the story was not true. So when it was time we left the Golden Wood together, for our paths were entwined - they would have been if Banes was really going to the Shire - and he said he would "drop me off" at Rivendell. Though as you already know he is treacherous. He delivered a heavy blow to my head and when I awoke I was here. He must have given me a sleeping draught along the way. Elves do not remain unconscious for that long.'

Legolas pitied Finglas, feeling miserable as the other sighed heavily.

'And that is the tale of Finglas.'

He looked up at Legolas with his sad amber eyes. There was a long pause, and then Legolas whispered a question to Finglas.

'Did it hurt, Finglas?'

'Did what hurt?'

'When they changed you?'

There was no answer for a long time.

'I do not wish to scare you but - yes, it hurt. It was agony.'

Legolas gasped. He looked back at Finglas, who had a faraway look on his face.

'We all have black scales. . .' he said faintly. 'All of the elves. From Rivendell. . . Lothlórien and Mirkwood. . . But the eyes. The eyes are different. Amber of Mirkwood. . . Blue of Lórien. . . Green of Rivendell. 'Tis a thing I have noticed. . .'

A sudden scraping of the roof made them both jump. Legolas hurried to his door and peered up through the bars. He gasped in shock as a grinning face popped over the edge.


'Hush! The guard on the wall up there is asleep but the others are awake!'

Legolas beamed as Aragorn leapt to the ground with all the skill and grace of an elf. His eyes shone with ecstasy as the man began to pick the lock of his door with his dagger, a trick that Elladan and Elrohir had taught him when he was young. There was a clank and Legolas stepped out, grinning as though his very life depended upon it. He turned to Aragorn and gave him a warm embrace.

'Aragorn, you must let the others out now!'

'Of course,' came the reply. 'You do know how to unpick a lock do you not?'

Legolas smiled and nodded as Aragorn handed him his other dagger. His smile faltered.

'How will we get out of the Camp?'

Aragorn looked up as he headed towards the stall of Finglas.

'I bound and gagged the sleeping guard. We will climb up onto the roof here, then over the wall. But we must be as silent as death itself, we cannot risk getting caught.'

Legolas nodded, glancing over his shoulder at the living quarters where most of the men were. He could hear their drunken singing and he could see them dancing about through the windows. He then looked to the walls. There were not many guards, it seemed as though they were very confident that the elf-slaves would not and could not escape. Aragorn gasped.

'What? What is wrong, Aragorn?'

Aragorn looked over at Legolas, having just unpicked the lock of another stall.

'What's wrong? That is what's wrong! What happened to him?'

Legolas watched as Finglas came striding out of his stall in his beast-like way, in a manner much akin to that of a prowling warg.

'I will explain later, my friend. There is no time to talk now.'

He turned back to the lock on Haldir's stall.

'There you go, Haldir,' he said as the door opened. 'I told you he would not fail us.'

Haldir smiled and went to hide in the shadows while the rest were freed. Legolas was unpicking another lock when he felt warm breath on his neck. He jumped and spun around, expecting to see Rulorion or his brother, Rularian.

'Finglas! What are you doing?'

'I am watching. I could never unpick locks, I wish I had taught myself to do so.'

Legolas shook his head and proceeded with his task. He let out a slight yelp as the door banged open and the elf-slave within came bounding out, blind in his delight at being free. And blind he was indeed, for he ploughed headlong into Finglas, and they tumbled across the dirt in a tangle of arms, legs and tails. Finglas picked himself up and glared at the young one before him, who happened to be from Rivendell.

'Are you blind? Watch your step!'

The other growled, and Legolas watched aghast, as the beasts within the elves were unleashed. It seemed that along with the appearance of the animals that they were half turned into; they also acquired half of the temper and the instincts. Finglas growled and prepared to pounce; while the young one from Rivendell did the same.

'Finglas! No!'

Finglas looked up at Legolas, as if he had only just noticed he was there, and blinked like one returning from a trance or waking from a faint.

'Legolas, I am sorry. I do not know why I was doing that. I suppose it comes from this curse that has changed me. . .'



The elf-slave of Rivendell had pounced and bought Finglas to the ground. He snarled ferociously, lashing out with his tail and scratching with his blunt claws. Legolas panicked; worried that Rulorion and his men might hear the clamour. Aragorn carried on unpicking locks, but was repeatedly turning to see what was happening.

'Legolas! Do not stop! We must release them!'

Legolas tore his eyes away from the fighting elf-slaves. There was a sudden braying and a few shouts from the patrolling guards up on the wall.

'That noisy donkey!" hissed Legolas. 'He is sure to alert everyone!'

He looked up to see guards running along the walls to the ladders, scrambling to get down towards the source of trouble.

'Aragorn!' cried Legolas. 'What to do?'

The man glanced frantically about, his flushed face blanching as his eyes landed upon the Living Quarters. Legolas turned also. The drunken clamour from within had ceased, and the shadows in the windows had stopped dancing and making conversation. The main door swung open, nearly flying off its hinges and almost banging back to close on itself. There stood a silhouette in the yellow glow of the fires and candles from inside. It was Rulorion. The harsh din of Jim and the shouts of the guards running towards them were the only sounds that Legolas, Aragorn and the elf-slaves could hear. Finlay and his opponent had stopped fighting.

'RUN!' bellowed Aragorn to the scanty numbers that had been released.

'Aragorn! What of the others? We cannot leave them -'

'We cannot free them now! We must raise the alarm and return with help!'

Legolas nodded. They had enough evidence to prove what was going on. He sprinted after his friends and kin but everyway they turned there was a dozen of men armed with swords, daggers and bows and arrows. The elf-slaves tried to help, pouncing on the foes but their muzzles and blunt claws were useless, and when Finglas received an arrow in his shoulder it was decided that they would have to face what was coming for them. At last a circle of armed men surrounded them. The ranks were deep and many men had to shuffle out of the way as Rulorion marched over. He seemed the very epitome of fury.

He strode up to Aragorn and wrapped his long, strong fingers around the others neck, seething and hissing, coming nose to nose with him. Aragorn did not even blink. His striking face was passive and he held his clever head high. Te king within him shone through, and even though Rulorion did not know that this man before him had rights to the Gondorion throne he quavered beneath the fierce and fiery glare of those sharp, grey eyes. He turned to address his men.

'Morning does not hasten or hinder for any force on this Middle Earth! It will not come now for this man! His fate shall fall now! Fetch the Black Wizard!'

The circle broke momentarily as Daltreth came forth. His black robes billowed and his black eyes glittered with evil. Rularian used the temporary path that Daltreth had cut through the men and he hurried through to join his brother, who made a signal with his arm, to which four men stepped up and restrained and now livid Aragorn.

'Restrain the elf-slaves!' shouted Rularian as his big brother went to talk with the wizard. 'And bring the other elves!'

More men hurried forward to hold back Legolas, Haldir, Elladan and Elrohir, who all struggled but eventually submitted to the brawny men. Through gaps in the thick crowd Legolas saw Aragorn thrashing about as a metal collar was clamped to his neck. It was chained to a bulky, iron ring in the centre of the arena. The elf felt distressed and hurt to see his noble and beloved friend fighting against a force that was beating him, and finally he gave up, panting through a bloody mouth, staring out with two almost blind black eyes and groping about with his battered arms. A sad and fathomless admiration swelled up inside Legolas when he saw the seemingly eternal look of determination on Aragorn's beaten face.

Rularian had been gazing at Legolas with a sneer, which fell to an expression of deep thought at the look of devoted respect descend upon the fair features. He glanced over at the man that this elf respected, but he could not see anything about the bruised face that was worthy of respect. He sneered again and spoke to Legolas.

'Now, my elven prince, you will see how it is to become a slave.' He sniggered. 'But I'm afraid your darling would-be rescuer must go first. He needs to be punished for his foolishness. . .'

The smirk broadened and the snigger grew as he turned to watch Daltreth weave his evil magic.


AN ~ Wow! That was a bit long! Sorry it has taken such a long time for me to get this up! My beta's computer buggered up, and I think she forgot about the chapter, so sorry for any mistakes! I dunno if her computers are fixed or not. Well, please tell me what you think. Good or bad stuff (preferably good stuff! ^_^ ), suggestions, pointing out of obvious mistakes and so on. Chapter 6 up ASAP!