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A/N: This one is really angsty, folks! It also contains some adult and very disturbing content. Don't say I didn't warn you.


The guardsman had seen much in the recent years of his service to Gondor, but the sight that assaulted his eyes horrified him and made him want to retch. Like a broken doll, the torn and battered body of a female elf lay on the cobblestones of the dank, reeking alley. A look of utter horror was fixed on her still beautiful face. The position in which she lay and the state of her clothing left no doubt in the guardsman's mind as to what had been done to her. Swallowing bile, he moved closer hoping futilely that she still breathed. A touch to her neck confirmed that she was beyond their aid.

He moved back down the alley to his companions. The youngest of them had just finished losing his breakfast against the wall. The guardsman spared the youngster a brief glance. He had only begun his service a few months ago and had not seen the horrors the rest of them had in the war. Grimacing, the guardsman made his way to his second in command. The man he sought was speaking in hushed tones to the resident of one of the buildings that bracketed the alley. Catching the man's eye, the guardsman motioned for his second over. The man approached, saluted, and made his report.

"Says 'e saw nothin an 'eard nothin. 'E were out 'til near dawn, tho," the second stated grimly. His superior nodded.

"Lookin at 'er it 'appened afore then. Get names o' th' ones 'e was with an let 'im go. King'll need to 'ear o' this, an Prince Legolas, too. Like as not, she were one o' 'is folk." The guardsman grimaced, dreading that audience. "Secure th' area an wait for King's orders." His second saluted and moved to obey.


King Elessar bade the messenger on his way to Ithilien with a heavy heart. He had not given Legolas much information in his letter, just that a situation had arisen concerning one of Legolas' people and that Elessar needed Legolas to help resolve it. In truth, he had no idea how he was going to tell his long time friend and brother in arms what had occurred. His men still had no leads into the identity of the ones responsible for the ghastly act. He fervently hoped that by the time his friend did arrive, he would have at least some of the answers. He slumped behind the desk of his study, wearing a fierce scowl and lost in thought.

He had not so much as moved when his wife entered the room quite a bit later. Upon hearing the sickening tale, Arwen Undomiel had made her way directly to her husband's study, instinctively knowing that he would be there and likely in need of her presence. Crossing the room swiftly, she made her way to his side. One soft, cool hand gripped his forearm while the other stroked his forehead. He raised his eyes to her and gave her a fleeting smile, grateful for the comfort she offered. Arwen was not merely a source of comfort, however, but one of her husband's most valued advisors and that was made evident by her words.

"This is possibly the worst time for this to occur. You have sent for Legolas?" At his nod, she continued, "Then let us hope that he manages to keep Thranduil out of it." His quizzical gaze prompted more explanation. " Her name was Loreleni. She was from Eryn Lasgalen." Elessar winced.

"You understated the situation then. I truly wish that this had never happened in the first place, but why did it have to happen while Thranduil was in Ithilien? Did you know her, then?" He met his wife's eyes again.

"Not well, I am afraid. She was the daughter of one of the palace staff. We met on a few occasions when I would visit there. I believe she was one of ellyth who cared for Legolas after his mother died. She came out to Ithilien with her husband in the first group from Eryn Lasgalen." Elessar sighed and Arwen nodded. "Exactly. We not only have her death for which to seek justice, but likely her husband's as well. Thranduil will insist on the perpetrators being turned over to him once he hears of this." She was not surprised to see her husband's jaw tighten at that.

"No. This happened in Minas Tirith and justice will be sought and carried out here. I have no problem with Legolas or Thranduil taking part in the decision of what is to be done once we find the guilty parties, but I will see that justice is served and that it does not happen again."