Disclaimer: All facts and characters related to Tolkien's works are his.

Muddled Minds

Summary: A Mad Man holds Legolas captive in his cave.

Chapter I – Adapting

The now familiar sound of the steady rush of water into the pool of the cave was what Legolas woke up to. His eyes flew to the narrow beam of sunlight which had snuck in through a small gap between two rocks. It was nearly midday.

It was how he took note of the passing of time in this dark place where the sun was hidden from view. The light would travel across the wall of the cave as the day passed, until it faded completely with the setting of the sun.

The elf's teeth chattered miserably and knocked against each other. The cold was new to him. Everyday, the icy cold water would rise to about waist level and then go down again. His breeches were permanently sodden. No sooner had they dried did they get wet again. It was an endless cycle. His legs felt half frozen and he did not think he could stand if the strong leather strips which held him to the wall of the cave were taken away.

Not that there was much hope of that happening. Much as he hated to admit it, the situation was quite hopeless. Faroth and Andùnë should have returned to the palace now, provided nothing had happened along the way.

He hoped his friend was alright, it had been a pretty bad break and the jostling of his horse would not have helped matters. However, Legolas was not too worried. He trusted Andùnë completely and knew she would do whatever was in her power to bring her rider safely back home.

Even if they were now safely back home, there was little chance of their finding him. They still expected him to be stuck in that awful hole, a trap set by … Legolas glanced around worriedly, half afraid that thinking about him would summon him back to the cave.

That brief moment of fear passed as the elf's common sense kicked in.

He had told – no ordered – Faroth to return to the Elven Realm, to get help and his arm seen to by a healer. Leaving himself in that deep dark hole, to await whoever who had dug it to return, praying fervently that help would arrive before whoever it was did.

Unfortunately, his prayers to the Valar were not answered. He shuddered at the memory.

So here he was now, in this cave which he had no memory of getting to, with little or no chance of getting found- a captive of a mad man. It was the latter which proved the most vexing.

Who knew what he might do next? He was completely unpredictable. He was harmless enough at the moment, ignoring Legolas for the most part but he was clearly insane.

A conclusion which the Prince of Mirkwood had made from observing him  tell stories to an invisible audience and mutter to himself incessantly. There was also that strange look in his eyes. The absence of something…

Legolas shifted slightly and wriggled his toes to get some feeling into them. They responded sluggishly to his commands. His legs too could barely move.

Not for the first time since his capture, the elf's gaze settled onto the other chained figure on the stone cropping perpendicular to his.

Initially, his heart filled with fear for his own fate whenever he stared at it. But now, all he felt was a strange kind of companionship with it, if companionship can be used to describe a casual acquaintance with a skeleton.

There were a thousand questions he wanted to ask it. Questions that would never be answered… like

How did you die? Why are you here… did you fall into his trap like I did? Did you know the man personally? How long did you suffer before you finally passed on? Hope fleeing from your being like boatmen abandoning a sinking ship…

Perhaps it was better not knowing the answers. The bliss of ignorance and all that.

The sound of feet being dragged approached the small entrance of the cave and then he appeared.  

His hair was tangled and bound by small bits of sting that formed weird tufts of hair all around his head. His face was grimed with dirt and his teeth were blackened and rotting. Around his neck hung the small bones of animals.

His tattered clothes by some miracle remained on him and on his back hung a wooden club and a crudely made spear. He stared at Legolas with surprise in his eyes, as though startled to see him there.

He opened his mouth as if to speak but then closed it firmly again and turned away from the bound elf. Carefully, he placed his weapons on the ground next to a familiar looking bow and white knifes.

Legolas scowled in disgust at the thought of his beloved weapons being in the same league as the man's own weapons.

The smoky smell of wood burning filled the cave. The man approached hesitatingly and bent down with a small pot in his hands. He hurriedly filled the pot with water sparing barely a glance at the elf before returning to the upper portion of the cave.

The cave consisted of two levels. Legolas was being held captive in the lower part of the cave which was made up largely by a pool of water. Water from some river filled that part of the cave with fresh water daily. The upper portion remained dry as a bone and it was there that Legolas' captor lived.

It was much warmer in the higher part of the cave and much more comfortable too. From where Legolas stood, he could keep an eye on the mad man and watch his every move. The man too could do the same to Legolas.

Legolas heard lips smacking and looked up to see the man ripping at the flesh of an animal. Sensing the elf's gaze, the human paused and looked up as though embarrassed to be eating so barbarically.

Such a strange creature…Legolas thought to himself. His stomach growled reminding him of how long he had gone without food. Of water, there was plenty. Every time the level of water rose he would dip his head as far down as his bonds would allow him and get a good drink of water, trying hard to ignore his pride which stung at the fact that he was drinking like an animal.

He did not know how long his captor would remain passive nor had he any idea of how he was going to escape. For now, he was concentrating on simply surviving.

TBC…

Please review! Opinions, comments, thoughts very much welcome…

Notes:

Faroth: Friend of Legolas; his name means "to hunt" or "pursue"

Andùnë: Legolas' horse; Her name means sunset.

(Meanings obtained from the Silmarillion)

About the title: Quite obvious actually… The Muddled Mind in question refers to the mad man.

Aragorn will not be making appearances in this story.