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

Muddled Minds

Chapter VI – Mysteries

He was burning – caught in an inferno. The flames were eating him alive, but he could not move; could not get away from the cruel heat that was tormenting him.

Suddenly, everything changed. He wasn't being burnt anymore. There was someone else tied firmly to a stake and being consumed alive by the dancing orange tongues. He watched in horror as the white skin of the man turned black. He watched as the hair and face of the man's head became charred beyond recognition. He tried to turn away, but he could not. He could not turn away.

Tears filled his eyes as he watched his long time friend die, but he refused to let them fall. He denied them the satisfaction of seeing a once proud man break. Inside, his heart shattered and his soul writhed in agony at the utter helplessness of his situation.

Everything he had was gone. His name had been taken away from him, his wealth, his wife, his servants, his house, his land- one by one each piece of his life had been snatched from him and destroyed.

It's not fair, he thought, just as malicious laughter sounded from behind.

"I told you, you would pay one day. When you least expected it. Didn't I warn you… the day you left my sister lying in the dirt with tears streaming down her face? She will be able to rest now. Now that you have paid for your sin…"

The bound man closed his eyes wearily. Just kill me and be done with it- I have nothing to live for now.

--

Legolas tried to soothe the man's distress, but he just seemed to grow more and more troubled. Finally, he reached out and taking hold of one shoulder shook the man.

The man's hand reflexively leapt upwards to catch the wrist of the one who was holding him, and his eyes opened. Legolas noticed for the first time that one eye was green and the other blue. Gently, he pried away the fingers that clutched his wrist and set the hand gently back down at the man's side.

The different colored eyes stared at him. Legolas moved cautiously away from the prone body of the man and sat on the opposite side of the fire. He tried to ignore the man's gaze by tending to the dwindling fire.

Legolas was startled by the soft croak that came from the man but hid his surprise well.

He did not reply but handed the man a wooden cup that he had found in the cave, filled with water.

The man gulped down the water greedily. When he had satiated his thirst, he put the cup down. He did not speak again.

The elf thought over the question. He supposed it was because it was not in him to leave a man to die alone in a cave. Also, a part of him was curious about the man. He did not answer and the man did not press him.

--

Over the days, it was obvious that the man's body was ailing. His face was getting paler and paler and Legolas observed that the man's hands had begun to shake. His eyes were shadowed and at times he was stuck with breathlessness. The warg scratches were healing well so it could not have been that that was causing the health of the man to worsen so drastically.

Legolas attempted to help him by offering him various crushed herbs that he thought might help, but the man stoically refused. There was nothing the elf could do. He couldn't very well force the herbs down the man's throat after all. It was not his choice to make.

The elf wondered at the mortality of men… one moment they could be out killing animals and the next their strength was waning like the light of the stars as dawn approaches.

He was deeply confused by the man's condition. He was dying, that much was obvious… but why all of a sudden? He mind was filled with a jumble of thoughts- he was no longer a prisoner… and yet why did he linger here in this dirty hole in the ground, with this strange creature? There was just something… a feeling of some sort that bid him to stay but a while more. He felt inexplicably at peace here… in the middle of no where and he couldn't for the life of him think of a reason why.

A head framed with an unruly, tangled mess of hair popped into the cave and the body that belonged to it followed. The man held onto the wall for support as he staggered into the cave and threw himself into a corner, struggling to catch his breath.

Legolas thought he saw something glint in the man's hand but the man moved his hand, concealing it from view.

--

That night, the man fell asleep more quickly then usual. Legolas watched him as usual but soon found sleep calling temptingly to him. He hadn't slept well in days. He was half afraid to because who knew what that capricious creature in the other corner would do in the dead of the night?

This time however, he was just too tired and his eyes soon unfocussed as he walked the path of dreams of his people.

--

The man lifted one eyelid cautiously and than the other, revealing his different colored eyes to the world. He listened to the even breathing of the elf and knew he was asleep. The opportune moment had come. He had to do it fast before his alertness registered on the elf's keen senses.

He pulled out the dagger from under his body- he had been lying on it- and moved stealthily to the elf's side. In one sweeping motion he swung the dagger downwards, aiming straight for the spot where he knew the wound opened would serve its intended purpose.

TBC…

I am teriibly terribly sorry for the long long long delay! More soon! I promise! Did things just get a lot more confusing in this chapter? Hmmm… I think so… I'll straighten out the mysteries in time to come….

Once again I'm sorry…