A/N: Thanks for all of the great reviews!!

Chapter 17

Faramir was left alone with his thoughts when Boromir departed the room, abandoning him. He was seething with anger, but there was nothing that he could do about his situation without aid. So he laid again upon his side, being as careful as possible not to pull at the welts upon his back and assessed his current situation. He knew that when next he saw his father, Denethor might be apologetic, and at the very least, civil. So the ranger did not have to worry about further abuse most likely for a few days. Perhaps Lachdúliel might be willing to help him away from this place. Unable to do anything else, Faramir turned his thoughts toward the Elf maiden, reaching toward her with his mind, but he did not feel her awareness rise within himself as he had before. Pulling his throbbing hand closer to himself, he thought upon the memories that belonged to her, now held within his consciousness.

She was truly ancient. He could have sifted through the new information held within his brain for weeks, perhaps months, and still not touch upon even a quarter of her life experiences. But for some reason, he found that he was inexplicably drawn to her fearsome memories of Sauron and his possession of her and her father.

It seemed that father and daughter had dwelt together in a deep, dark, nearly-forgotten part of Fangorn Forest when one day her father had been caught alone and unaware by a band of orcs. He had been slain by them in a similar fashion to how Faramir had been, and the ranger knew that Lachdúliel had aided him because of what had happened to her father.

The Elf maiden had heard the commotion and stumbled upon the scene, unaware of the details of what had happened to her father. Instinctively, she had run to his ruined body and gave his life back to him with the group of orcs as witness to her power. And the orcs, being duly impressed by her display of magic, took both of them captive and dragged them to Dol Guldur at the heart of Mirkwood, an arduous journey considering the weight of the chains that they had been burdened with, and the poor conditions in which both Elves had been subject to during the journey. At every moment Lachdúliel had feared for her father, knowing within herself that she would not be able to save him a second time should he die again. But it had not been within the Necromancer's immediate plans that either of them should die.

Sauron had been fascinated with the orcs' tale, and had taken her aside to question her. Her heart had thudded heavily in her chest as he had asked her to explain her abilities to him. Afraid, she had remained silent. Using his power, the Necromancer had struck an orc dead before her and then had asked that she bring its life back to it. When she had refused, he had threatened Lachdúliel's father. But she had begged him not to kill her Ada, explaining that she could not raise an orc from the dead, for its soul was too twisted for her to grasp.

Sauron had nodded in seeming understanding and had an Elven slave fetched into the room. The male Elf had looked terrified to be brought before the Dark Lord as he had been shoved to his knees before the Necromancer. With a mirthless laugh, Sauron had slowly drawn a sharp dagger across the hapless creature's throat, enjoying the fear, and the Elf had shuddered and collapsed lifelessly into the growing pool of his own blood.

Lachdúliel, with a horrified gasp, had run to him and had drawn his body into her embrace before she had laid her hands upon his ruined neck, causing the arteries and veins, muscle and tendon to knit, leaving only a scar upon the Elf's throat to show that he had ever been harmed.

The Dark Lord had nodded his approval, leaning down and praising her. When the male Elf at last had opened his eyes, he had looked up at her with wonder and no little fear. But before Lachdúliel had been able to reassure him, Sauron had moved forward and cut the Elf's throat a second time, the blood spurting over her, staining her clothing, covering her skin.

"Again!" demanded the Necromancer.

"I cannot!" she had cried, doing all that she could to staunch the flow with her bare hands. The male Elf had caught one of her hands within his weakening grasp, and in the few seconds that it had taken him to die, she had seen his life flash before her eyes before he was gone.

Weeping, she had glared up at her captor defiantly. "Why did you do that? This Elf had a family awaiting his return! Now they shall never see him again!"

Sauron had raised a grizzled eyebrow at her. "Dare you to question me?" he asked before saying, "He was nothing to me. Another!" As the Maia called out, another victim, a young Man had been brought forth, struggling angrily within the orcs' grasp until he had seen the dead Elf upon the floor still resting in Lachdúliel's arms. The Man's eyes had filled with fear, and his curses had transformed to anguished prayers upon his lips.

Lachdúliel had sat motionless, waiting, fear threatening to overwhelm her as the Man had been shoved to his knees before her, even as the male Elf's body had been dragged away from her. She had wished that the Man would open his eyes and look at her so that she might have given him some comfort, but he had kept them tightly closed, praying quietly.

Sauron had nodded to a nearby orc, and the foul beast had drawn its sword, decapitating the Man with one stroke. Lachdúliel had sobbed in disbelieving horror as she had crawled forward to the limp body. The orc, with a dreadful grin upon his hideous face, had been holding the Man's head in one hand, blood from it spattering upon the floor with a sickening sound. It had thrown the head toward the body with a laugh, and she had grasped it gently with her shaking hands, placing it in its proper position before she had returned life to him.

"Can you heal as well, she-Elf?" asked the Necromancer.

She had nodded silently, her eyes remaining upon the Man. Eventually his eyes had opened, and she had smiled down at him in what she hoped was a reassuring manner, but his eyes had conveyed nothing but fear, and then anger, and after a moment, he had spoken.

"Why did you not let me die?"

The Elf had been taken aback by his words, never before having considered death to be a preferable choice to life.

"I am sorry," she had murmured, uncertain of what else she could say to him.

"Everyone here longs for death. Do not deny them their wish."

She nodded as the orc that had killed the Man moved in again, brandishing its sword. But this time instead of killing the Man, the orc had simply cut off his hand and then had waited to see what Lachdúliel would do next.

Faramir found himself filled with her fear. He shook his head a bit as if to clear his mind. Just to see Sauron's face through her memories was terrifying. And he understood now what she had meant when she had told him that they were now burdened by each other's pain.

"What do you wish?" she asked the Man.

"Let me bleed," he said thickly, so she sat next to him and did nothing until Sauron had her father brought before himself.

"Heal the Man, or I shall kill your father." And she found herself in an impossible situation.

Faramir took a breath to ease his fear, no, her fear to a manageable level. He thought how pathetic his life must seem to her when compared to all that she had endured thus far. His problems seemed petty now even to himself.