A/N: I just feel the need to explain this fic before beginning it. One this fic does contain slash. It is not a romance but slash is a part of the story. There is also a rape towards the end of the story, I will place a warning at the start of that chapter. Dark Lord's Consort is a prologue to my next story which is Rebuilding a Life. This actually started off as background for my own reference but expanded itself into a story in and of itself. The second story can be read without reading this one. I have started Rebuilding a Life but it is not completed yet. This is my first story of this type so any and all comments would be greatly appreciated, but please no flames. Constructive criticism is welcomed though. Hope you enjoyed.

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Soundlessly Aragorn trailed the large party of orcs that was moving too close to Rivendell's borders for comfort. What was a party of close to 500 orcs doing this close to the elven stronghold? Not to mention the several other parties his rangers had reported and engaged in the last month.

"It makes no sense," Halbarad commented from beside him as they paused. "There is no conceivable motive for the randomness of their raids and appearance."

Closing his eyes a moment the chieftain of the Dunedain quickly reran all the recent activity in his head. "They have all been in areas of recent ranger activity. Maybe," here Aragorn hesitated a moment as a new thought came to him. "Maybe, they are seeking out someone in particular. These raids may just be shots in the dark, to see if they can flush their quarry, or possibly distract us from another goal while they act as a diversion."

Slowly Halbarad shook his head. "The second idea is not really plausible. At the moment I can not think of a target important enough to have this many orcs be expendable. We have killed at least three hundred in the last two weeks alone. That is a steep price to pay, for anyone."

Before Aragorn could answer a birdcall sounded to their left. Both rangers glanced at each other before Aragorn returned the call. Turning to face the opposite way he whistled another signal and waited for the answer before looking back at Halbarad. His cousin had already pulled out and notched an arrow in his bow. Aragorn followed suit as he whistled a loud, shrill call. Instantly arrows from hidden archers fell on the unsuspecting war party. The advantage did not last long. The rangers were outnumbered better than five to one and while they could move silently through the trees Aragorn knew it would not be long before they were forced to engage in close range. He just wanted to even the odds more. He hated losing men under his command, especially in what was such a one sided battle. But he could not allow the orcs to continue on their way. There were several defenseless farming villages along their path, the first one less than a two-hour orc march away. He just hoped the runner was able to reach Imladris and that his father could send help, or at least that Elladan and Elrohir were still home. As the orcs closed in on his position he slid to another vantagepoint. Already some rangers had been forced into melee range. With a shake of his dark head Aragorn continued firing and ducking, not enough orcs were down.

In the midst of his own battles Halbarad suddenly felt a lessening of the pressure on him. The back of his neck prickling in dread he glanced over to the other side of the small clearing. Aragorn was surrounded by orcs and more were closing in while others moved to prevent the rangers from breaking through to their chieftain. Aragorn's words of earlier came back to haunt his second-in-command. 'Maybe they seek someone in particular.' They did. Halbarad suddenly knew without a doubt that all the orc activity was a ruse to capture Aragorn, Isildur's heir. Quickly he signaled to the other rangers, but they were unable to break through the massed orcs. In horror Halbarad saw his friend fall, only to be picked up and carried off. Enough orcs remained to prevent the rangers from following too soon. When the clearing was empty Halbarad stood there panting, eyes looking south. Knowing it was fruitless he signaled to of the uninjured rangers to follow. He knew, with the foresight passed down through his line, that Aragorn would not be rescued. But he also knew he would see his chieftain again, but it would be many years. "Aragorn," he whispered in loss and sorrow.

****************

Throbbing pain in the back of his skull pulled Aragorn from blissful blackness to painful reality in an instant. Without opening his eyes and maintaining his steady breathing he tried to place where he was, but it was difficult to concentrate with the pain in his head. This was not Rivendell or the Angle or anyplace he was familiar with he realized after a moment. Most likely deep inside someplace: he could not smell any growing things or hear the wind or birds. Slowly memory seeped into his consciousness. The battle with the orcs, being surrounded and unable to reach the others. He was in Mordor. The knowledge settled uneasily in the pit of his stomach.

"Is he awake yet?" A rough voice demanded.

"N-no, m-my lord," a young voice stuttered nervously. "He has not moved."

Suddenly he was shoved rudely in the shoulder, causing his head to snap as a voice demanded. "Wake up, the master wants you."

Unable to stifle a groan at the blinding pain his head jerking caused Aragorn forced his gritty eyes open to see a young boy sitting in a chair beside him and a well built man in the uniform of Mordor standing over him.

"I said get up!" The uniformed man roughly pulled him to his feet.

Aragorn had to reach out to steady himself against the nearest wall. Everything was spinning violently and he could not catch his balance. How hard had he been hit and how long had he been out for? Long enough to make the journey from Rivendell's northern borders to Mordor his groggy mind answered.

"Move."

He was shoved forward hard and had to catch himself on the doorframe. Outside the room two orcs took up position on either side of him, grabbing his arms when he almost fell. He could not focus on anything or even begin to gather his thoughts. Closing his eyes Aragorn tried to concentrate on centering himself for the upcoming interview. He could not see it being pleasant. An overwhelming feeling of dread filling him Aragorn opened his eyes to see rune carved doors in front of him. The menace was emanating from them. As the doors were opened the orcs released his arms and Aragorn found himself staggering for a moment before someone grabbed his arm to steady him with a gentler touch than he had felt since wakening. The hand maintained a grip on his arm and he sensed a body near his ready to catch him if he fell. Knowing he needed to be at his best Aragorn fought to recover himself and regain some kind of balance, but he could not even open his eyes without getting even more dizzy.

"What is the meaning of this?" A cold voice next to him demanded, it took a moment for Aragorn to realize that it was the person holding him up. Vainly he tried to open his eyes and focus, but it was taking all his concentration to stay on his feet and not empty his stomach.

"I brought him to you when he woke as you requested," the man who had led him here replied.

The hand on his arm tightened as he swayed and almost fell and an arm moved to rest on his waist, pulling him into the body beside him. Aragorn knew he should resist, but his body was simply to weak and his head pounding so bad he could barely concentrate on the conversation going on around him. "I told you," the man holding him all but hissed. "Lord Aragorn is my guest, he is to be treated with honor."

"He is nothing but a northern troublemaker. You know what blood he carries. We should get all the information from him we can and then dispose of him or let the orcs have him to play with."

Forcing himself to pay attention Aragorn felt the body he was leaning against tense. "That will be enough, Mouth of Sauron. You forget yourself. If you do not want to spend time in the dungeon yourself you will respect and obey my orders. Now, you will stand as door guard until turn of watch tomorrow morning, under the command of the door warden." Aragorn felt himself gently turned, but the slight movement was too much as his head sagged and pain exploded a moment before darkness again took him. As he sank into the welcome blackness the last thing he was aware of were hands carefully lifting him to lay against a shoulder as the arms held him close. Then he knew no more.

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As awareness slowly seeped back into his consciousness Aragorn was relieved to find that he had only a slight headache and was able to think straight. That was the only good news he could think of off-hand. He was still in the little room he had woken up in before, which unfortunately meant his capture was not a concussion-related hallucination. Laying still in an attempt to regain his bearings and process the disjointed images he had heard while fading in and out of consciousness. Vaguely he recalled someone being ordered to stay with him and whenever awareness had temporarily surfaced he had been aware he was not alone. Several times the man who had carried him here was in the room. His presence was almost overwhelming in an uncomfortable way. There had been little conversation. Knowing he would not learn anything else by lying their Aragorn forced his eyes to open. He would rather face whatever was going to be done to him than worry about it.

As soon as his eyes opened the young boy who had been sitting with him the last time he woke leaped to his feet. "You are awake! I will go get Lord Sauron."

When the boy raced out of the room Aragorn slowly pushed himself to a sitting position, closing his eyes a moment until the wave of dizziness had passed. How long had he been unconscious for? Steadying himself he waited for his interview with the Dark Lord. This would not be pleasant. Eyes on the door he took a few deep breaths to center himself. Footsteps echoing outside the door caused him to unconsciously straighten as he quickly suppressed a flash of fear. The door opened and the boy scuttled in followed by a tall, well built man with black hair neatly brushed back and piercing black eyes. Aragorn knew instantly this was Sauron. So he did have a physical form, Elrond had thought he might.

"Yes, My Lord Aragorn, I have a physical form. It is good to see you awake. You feel well?"

With a start of surprise Aragorn realized this was the man who had supported him and carried him back to his room on his first journey to the great hall.

"Yes." The black eyes grew colder. "The Mouth of Sauron has been punished for his mistreatment."

Wondering if he was still hallucinating Aragorn was not sure he had heard correctly. Punished? For taking him to Sauron?

"Not for his bringing you to me, but bringing you in the condition you were in." Aragorn felt those intense eyes roving over his body with a possessive light that made him want to wrap the covers around himself. "He must learn to obey and show respect for Mordor's ruling consort."

Still Aragorn refused to say anything. This conversation was not at all what he had expected.

With a shake of his head Sauron walked over and sat down beside him. It took all Aragorn's self-control not to move away. "You are Mordor's ruling consort." Placing a hand on his chin Sauron turned Aragorn to face him. "I have chosen you to rule by my side."

Unable to believe what he had just heard Aragorn raised an eyebrow. "Me?" He continued to meet the gaze, refusing to back down or show weakness.

Sauron laughed and released him, turning away. "You. I have watched you for years and have decided you are the only one worthy of the title." Standing up he walked to the door, but turned around just before leaving. "Think about it. You really have no choice in the matter."

When he was gone Aragorn remained staring at the door in shock. Consort? The word kept repeating in his head. He had been raised and trained to destroy Sauron and Mordor and now the Dark Lord expected him to be his consort? Closing his eyes he forced his thoughts to stop racing and to think this unexpected development out. First, was he serious or was this some kind of trick. After reviewing all the words and gestures since he had been brought here Aragorn reluctantly accepted that Sauron was being honest. His almost automatic senses that kicked in when he was being lied to had been silent the whole time Sauron had been present. But what was he to do? Being the ruling consort of Mordor was unacceptable. He glanced about the small room. It was bare except for a bed, night table, and small wooden chair with no windows. There would be no escape from this room. Laying back down he rubbed his still aching head. Maybe after some more sleep he would be able to think clearer and find a way out of this trap he was in.

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Stopping outside his reluctant consort's temporary quarters Sauron reached inside with his mind. Aragorn was sitting back on the bed, but his thoughts were inaccessible. With a quick shake of his head Sauron withdrew his mental ears. Unless he chose to read deep, something he was sure Aragorn would sense, he could not read more than the ranger's surface thoughts. And for the last week he had been keeping those blank. Yes, he decided, opening the door, he had chosen his consort well. Despite being confined to one room for two weeks with no contact other than Sauron he had not conceded a thing and was still as strong mentally as before. When he entered Aragorn looked up but showed no other reaction. Choosing to ignore his consort for the moment Sauron signaled the servant to place the lunch tray on the table and leave. Once he was gone Sauron sat down beside Aragorn on the bed and reached out a hand to stop him when he started to shift away. Raising his other hand to his cheek he turned Aragorn's head so their eyes could meet. "You are my consort and as such I may touch you whenever I please and of course the reverse is true."

Aragorn met his gaze but said nothing.

After a moment Sauron took his plate of food and handed Aragorn his. The stubborn ranger had said no more than twenty-five words, if that, since being brought here. Sauron conceded to himself that he was going to have to use drastic measures to get what he wanted. After eating he took his leave, dropping a kiss on Aragorn's forehead as he left. As expected his consort neither moved or reacted but Sauron could feel the consternation in his mind. He was finding it difficult to accept the person Sauron was with the preconceived notions he had been raised with. While this would not be enough alone to bring him around it would make the necessary choice easier. At the door he turned. "If you would just accept your position here this would be much easier on the both of us."

Aragorn surprisingly answered. "No, it would not. I was raised to destroy the evil that lives here. I will not change my allegiance."

Sauron bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement of his words. "You will accept your position here. Of that you may be sure." Striding to his private audience chamber the great hall he uncovered the palantir and sent to Saruman.

It was only a moment before the fallen white wizard answered. "Yes, my lord?"

"Have the three elves been captured?"

"Yes, My Lord. They are on there way now."

Nodding slowly Sauron pierced the wizard with a deadly gaze. "You impressed upon them that they are in no way to be harmed or touched. I have need of those three elves. If any harm is done to them you can expect to face 100 times whatever they have gone through, at the least."

"Your will be done."

"It had better be." Turning away he threw the cover back over the palantir. Soon, he thought. Soon, my reluctant consort you will embrace your position willingly. The Dark Lord smiled contentedly as he sat on his throne. Soon.

****************

Aragorn lay back on the bed, staring at the ceiling. He was bored. Used to being constantly on the move this enforced idleness was slowly driving him crazy. The solitude, since other than Sauron, no one bothered him, was easier to deal with. He was used to being alone in the wild. Here he was left with too much time to think. About Sauron, about Arwen, about his possible future. Wanting to stop these thoughts before the endless circle could begin again he began to pace about the small room. Despite the seeming hopelessness of the situation he refused to give up hope or himself. A knock on the door stopped him mid-step. No one ever came to his room except Sauron, and the Dark Lord did not bother to knock. "Enter."

The Mouth of Sauron entered with his usual sneer. "The Master wishes to see you."

Not bothering to answer Aragorn walked past him out the door and led by his two-orc escorts went to the great hall. As usual the blanket of evil that lay so strong over the doors caused him to shudder. Stepping inside he saw the Dark Lord and several orcs.

"Lord Aragorn," Sauron greeted. "I have a surprise for you. Perhaps you can assist me in deciding their fate." With a wicked grin he stepped aside.

Aragorn was unable to stifle his gasp of dismay and bowed his head for a moment. His brothers and Legolas stood in the center of a ring of orcs, hands bound tightly in front of them. Their eyes widened in surprise when they saw him but he did not acknowledge them, his gaze locking with Sauron's. He knew what he had to do. "Release them."

"Let them go?" Sauron repeated, lifting a mocking brow. He also ignored the others in the room.

Aragorn lifted his head fractionally, not releasing the intense gaze. "Let them go and I accept your offer with conditions."

He could see Sauron's head cock slightly in thought. "Come with me." Turning he walked to his private audience chamber. Once there he turned around and walked up to the ranger. "You accept. And what of when they are gone?"

Not breaking eye contact Aragorn shrugged with a lightness he did not feel. "It does not matter. I have agreed and that does not change. But, I will not betray my family and friends and I will not aid in the war against them."

Sauron did not react to the codicil. "And what do I get?"

"My word that I will seek no knowledge of your plans and if I do find some out I will make no effort to pass them or attempt to incite anything. I will rule beside you by day and lay with you at night, but I will not participate in any way in the coming war. Unless, at some point, I am released."

Sauron took another step forward and reached for his chin, tilting his head up, thumb lightly tracing his chin. "Agreed. They will see you crowned before they are released. I want all to know you are mine. You may even escort them."

Doing his best not to think about what he had just agreed to Aragorn only nodded. He turned when the door behind him opened to see a nazgul enter, carrying a formal overtunic. Knowing what was expected of him Aragorn lifted his arms to allow the nazgul to dress him. Looking down as he fastened the tunic he froze for a moment before forcing himself to continue. The red eye of Mordor was emblazoned upon both edges of the collar. A part of him cried out in denial of what was happening, unable to believe that this was really happening. But it was, he knew it as sure as he knew his name. Closing his eyes he bowed his head, seeking his inner balance.

A moment passed before a cool hand tilted his chin up. His eyes opened to meet Sauron's. "It will not be as bad as you fear."

Aragorn said nothing as the hand was removed. It did not matter. The choice was made. As he followed Sauron back to the great hall he felt his head lift and his gait take on a royal bearing. He may not have wanted to be king but he was raised as Lord Elrond of Rivendell's son and his foster father had trained him to a leader's poise. He pointedly did not think about what was about to happen as he stepped onto the balcony, amazed by the size of the crowd that had gathered, outside as well as inside, the great hall. He could not make himself look at his brothers or Legolas.

*********

Elrohir watched in horror as his little brother followed Sauron out of the back room. He immediately noticed that Estel walked with an air that refused to concede defeat even as he was forced into something he did not agree with and feared he knew just what Estel had agreed to in order to save their lives. A long ago conversation with his father came back to him. Elrond had commented worriedly that he felt that Sauron had taken an interest in Estel that had nothing to do with the fact that he was Isildur's heir. The proprietary hand Sauron placed on the small of Estel's back as they stepped onto the balcony together told the elven twin that has father had been right. Bitterly he regretted their determination to set out after Estel despite their father's misgivings. Sauron had laid his trap well and now Estel was well and truly caught.

"People of Mordor," Sauron's voice boomed out and Elrohir had the insane idea that all of Mordor and those allied to her could hear him. "I have chosen my consort to rule at my side. Bow to Lord Telcontar and obey him as you would me." Estel did not move as the silver coronet was placed on his head and all the room knelt to him. Beside him Elrohir heard his brother stifle a sob and Legolas gasp in outrage. The Dark Lord turned to his newly crowned consort. "Escort our reluctant guests to the gates. I will have your proper room prepared."

With a single, sharp nod of his head Estel turned and walked over to the captive elves. His eyes and voice were carefully hooded when he spoke. "Come with me." He turned to the nearest orc. "Bring their weapons and catch up with us." He turned and walked out of the hall, the three elves hurrying to catch up with him.

The four were silent as they made their way through the streets. As they walked Elrohir noticed that Estel took no notice of the people of various races who knelt or bowed their heads as he passed. They had just reached the gates when two winded orcs caught up with them. They hurriedly gave the elves their weapons before fleeing back up the street. Elrohir swallowed hard, "Estel."

"Just go." This time when their eyes met Elrohir could see the pain and helplessness his little brother was carefully masking.

"Come with us," Legolas half commanded/ half pleaded.

For a moment Estel glanced back at the forbidding fortress of Barad-dur. "I can not. I gave my word."

"You know you can never go back," Elladan told him.

Those lost eyes looked back at the elves as Estel squared his shoulders. "I know." Suddenly his eyes burned intensely. "Believe this, even if you never believe anything from me again, I will not betray you or the people of the Light. I will not aid either side in the coming war."

"Unless you are released from your word," Elrohir added.

Shocked eyes met his. "How did you know?"

Elrohir managed a smile. "I know."

Estel did not manage to return the smile. "Even then I will never be trusted."

"How can you expect to be?" Legolas snapped angrily.

"I know I will not be," the words were spoken soft but clear. His eyes met each of the elf's in turn. "Your lives are worth it."

"No, they're not," Legolas shot back. "How could you do this?"

Estel turned to go without another word.

Shooting Legolas a silencing glare Elrohir laid a hand on his little brother's shoulder. He feared this would be the last time. "Thank you."

Slowly Estel turned around, refusing to let the tears in his eyes fall. "Tell Ada and Arwen-" he stopped, unable to go on.

Elrohir pulled him into an embrace. "I will." Stepping back he pulled a sheathed dagger from the small of his back and handed it to Estel. "Ada gave this to me and I to you. Use it when you must." He caught and looked into Estel's eyes. "I believe you and in you."

For the first time Estel did manage a small smile. "Thank you." He looked at all three. "Try not to attack any orcs until you are clear of Mordor. I do not think I will be able to save you again."

Elrohir simply nodded and turned away.

Elladan squeezed his little brother's shoulder. "Be well."

Legolas just turned and walked away.

Once outside the gate all three elves turned to watch as Estel turned to walk back to Barad-dur. The weak sun glinted off the silver coronet he wore as two nazgul paced him as an honor guard. Silently they turned away from Mordor.