A/N: The idea of this story wouldn't leave my mind until I started writing it. My friend told me to post it, so I did. I have lots of ideas for this story, but I don't know how fast the chapters will come, hopefully once a week or every other. Rated pg-13 for mostly implied torture and some violent scenes. Nothing too bad. Enjoy and please review!
'How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core
Where I've become so numb.'
The sun beat down hard on my back, as I finally pulled my horse to a stop. He was weary from the ten-day travel, as was I. I dismounted and looked around at my surroundings. My companion, another ranger, dismounted beside me.
"I've never been this far south before." he announced.
"Neither have I," I reply as I lead my horse towards the large house. As I look around I see many fields for growing food. Young men, not much younger than myself, were out toiling in the fields. I felt sorry for them. Working in these hot conditions was not an easy job, much less as a servant or slave.
Yet, I did not concern myself with that. I had not come here to observe the working conditions. My assistance was needed on a hunt to track a pack of wild animals. Rumor had it there was a high price to be paid to the rangers who kill the beasts. Cormir and I had been called out here to help with the search.
In truth, I couldn't care less about the money. I had come out here to help solve a problem and for the adventure.
As Cormir and I neared the house, a stable boy took our horses. A young girl came out of the house and bid us to follow her.
"Right this way, my lords. My master is expecting you." She announced.
We followed her through the entrance, and through the halls. She led us into a big room, which looked like a study. Several other men stood inside, talking. One man looked up as we came in.
"Ah, finally. Everyone has arrived," he said as he approached. "I am Gerchen." He said as he extended his hand.
I shook it. "I am Strider and this is my companion Cormir." I introduce him to the man that had bid us here. "Sorry we are a bit late. It was long journey here."
"Oh, think nothing of it." He said politely. "Now that we are all here, let us go to the dining hall where we begin our discussion over a meal."
Everyone nods and follows him out the door. He leads us into another huge room. A large table stood in the center. Gerchen headed to the front of the table.
I naturally hung back, deciding to take the end seats. On a formal dinner like this, those in higher ranks or with more skill, sit nearer the front. Though I did not doubt my skill as a ranger, I had no desire to make myself look prideful. The back would suffice. Cormir looked at me, confused, but followed my lead. As everyone took a seat, I noticed Gerchen's eyes on me.
"Strider?" He called.
I looked up.
"Please come and sit here beside me. One with your skills as a ranger should be at the front." Gerchen said.
The man beside him looked at him with a questionable gaze. He stood reluctantly and headed to the back, taking my seat. As he passed, he gave me a deadly glare. I smiled politely, then moved to take my new seat.
"Thank you. I do not deserve your kindness, Lord Gerchen."
Gerchen laughed. "Nor do I deserve your politeness." With that he clapped his hands.
Three servants walked into the room. They began filling wine glasses and serving food. Two were young girls, not more than sixteen. It was the other servant; however, that caught my eye. Indeed, he stuck out, for he was an elf.
As he came into the room I looked at him. He had long blonde hair that was pulled back from his face, revealing his pointed ears. His eyes were the deepest blue and his face, though a bit bruised, held a glow and warmth.
I followed him around the room with my eyes. He must have felt my gaze for he looked around the room. He met my eyes for the briefest second, but then lowered his gaze.
"Salien." Gurchen called suddenly.
The elf looked up and obediently went to his master's side.
"What can I do for you, sir?" The elf questioned.
The man ignored him and turned his attention to those of us at the table. "This is my prized slave." He bragged. "He is an elf, as you can see, and not many men own elves as slaves."
"And they never should." I muttered darkly under my breath. My history of living with elves got the better of me. Elves of all people should not be made into slaves. No one should be forced to work as a slave, enduring long, hard hours of work. Elves least of all. Elves were a peaceful race, free spirited, and strong willed. Captivity was the worst place for an elf.
The elf seemed to hear my words, for he looked down at me. Our eyes met for a brief moment, before he turned his gaze back on the wall ahead of him.
"This slave was very strong willed, but he is learning his place." Gerchen said proudly. As if to stress his words, Gerchen slapped the elf hard against the back.
The elf winced slightly and pain flashed through his blue eyes. I locked my gaze on those eyes. For a moment, his mask that he wore so tight fell from his face, letting me see deep down into his soul.
It was only a moment, for then his face became stone cold as it once was. What I saw though, surprised me and horrified me. What I had seen for the brief moment would change my life. How I saw what I saw, I do not know. A vision from the Valar, perhaps.
I saw the elf walking through a forest, head held high, shoulders square. He was proud and free. Gracefully walking through the woods, he was at home.
Next, I saw him captured. He resisted, refusing to submit to the men that bound him. Soon; however, he was following obediently. His pride and defiance was slowly beaten from him.
He was forced to work as a slave in the fields, I saw. Harsh, cruel punishments were given, often for things he didn't even do. 'Lessons' were taught to him of how he should and should not behave as a slave.
There was so much pain and loneliness deep down inside his spirit. All of his emotions were suppressed, trying to hide them from his captors. His very soul and spirit seemed numb from pain and heartbreak. Hope had long since faded; yet there was still a spark of pride and dignity left. A very small spark, but spark none the less. The men had not been able to train him fully. The elf was determined to never fully submit to these men.
I sighed as the vision passed. It had only lasted a few seconds, but I had seen so much in that time. It had been horrific to see an elf go through that much and I prayed to the Valar that I would never see it again. It had tore at my heart, almost bringing me to tears.
Suddenly, however, my eyes were opened and I realized who this elf was. I recognized him from the tales of my Elven brothers. Here, standing before me was Prince Legolas of Mirkwood, only son of King Thranduil.
My gaze still locked on him, and I bit my lip. Legolas was royalty. He, more than others, deserved to be free; not captured like some wild animal.
Once again the prince looked down into my eyes. He seemed to wonder why I stared so intently at him. His blue eyes tried to pierce into my gray ones, but I naturally put up my own barriers. This time, however, I lowered my head in submission to him. I bowed to him with a nod of my head. No one else noticed, but he certainly saw.
Confusion etched across his face, that soon changed to pleading eyes, begging me not to utter the secret I seemed to know.
I directed my gaze back to Gerchen. I smiled, but it was not directed at the man. It was for the elf prince of Mirkwood.