Title: The Folly of Men

Authors: Celebdil-Galad and Tinlaure

Summary: Vengeful marauders snare Legolas to be an underworld prizefighter in their cryptic domain of darkness. Aragorn knows the only way to liberate the prince is to get captured himself but they both must combat an ancient prejudice that could mean their demise.

All he asked for was help..............

Legolas: (talking to a group of five men surrounded by horses/ his hand holds a wound at his side) "We are in need of your aid for the night. A storm is approaching."

What he received was anything but..........

Legolas: (stares wildly around and his eyes grow large in panic) " I still don't understand. What is going on? What are you doing to me?"

A crime was committed................

First man: (grabs Legolas by the front of his tunic and shakes him violently) "Don't play cute Elf! Then we won't have an excuse to give you the beating you deserve!"

Lives were lost........

Legolas: (asking in a delirious voice"Strider? Help me Strider!"

And in a town of men hateful of Elves............

Second man: (stares hatefully at the Elf and spits in the prince's face) "What human would honestly waste his time helping the likes of you scum! Did you not care about the men that were left to die in the valley without the horses and at the hands of merciless orcs?"

How can anything be fair?...........

Aragorn: (looks into the fearful blue eyes of the prince/ his voice quavers) "I am so sorry I was not here. But I won't let them hurt you or Roth again, Legolas, I won't. But you have to trust me."

Unless one of their own kind dares to stand between them............

Legolas: (diverts his eyes away to stare through the bars of his cell window/ his voice is soft) "I do trust you, but men are weak and in their folly they hate what they cannot understand or do not wish to. Even if I am ruled innocent I will be hunted until I get home by those who do not care for the ruling, and then what trouble will I bring with me? What trouble will Roth and I cause my father? This is the end mellon nin."

And the hated innocent.........

Aragorn: (reaches through the bars and turns Legolas' head to look at him) "The end of the horse thieves. I will clear you and Roth's name then we will hunt down those cowards and bring them back to meet the people they betrayed."

Men are frail...........

First man: (grips the prince by his hair and pulls him close) "You are a dead Elf, you just don't know it yet."

And they need a target..........

Aragorn: (stands before the magnate as he speaks in a loud voice) "They did no wrong! It was your own who betrayed you!"

They must begin to believe.............

Horse Thief 1: (glares at Legolas) "You won't be around to see me hang Elf. I can guarantee you that."

That not all they don't understand is an evil..............

Legolas: (glares defiantly at the man binding him) "Strider will come for me, I can guarantee you that."

'Cause you're everywhere to me

When I close my eyes its you I see

You're everything I know

That makes me believe

I'm not alone

I'm not alone.........

(Michelle Branch)

Horse thief 1: (laughs in the Elf's face and speaks scornfully) "You will be miles away wishing you were never born he even begins to realize where you have got off to."

The hunters become the prey............

Horse thief 2: (holds the prince's chin in his hand, forcing the bleeding Elf to look into his face and laughing cruelly "Where is your ranger now?"

In a unrelenting venture...............

Elladan: (looks at Elrohir with a nearly tearful glance) "He is out there on his own Ro and it makes me sad. He is growing up. He doesn't need us all the time anymore."

The peril only increases.........

Elrohir: (shakes head and leans against a tree) "He still needs us."

And the stakes are raised............

Elladan: (looks into his brother's eyes and then out towards the mountains) "Then why aren't we there?"

The word "danger".........

Aragorn: (holds Legolas as the Elf reels and gasps for breath) "I will get you home Legolas. That's a promise you can stake your life on mellon nin."

Takes on a whole new meaning.........

Legolas: (blue eyes look into Aragorn's gray ones with a look of trepidation) "I won't let you Strider! No!"

When Aragorn realizes the only way to free Legolas........

Aragorn: (looks at the Elf and shakes his head with despair) "It is the only way...the only way."

Is to become a slave himself....

King: (glares at the half starved Elf that returns his look with a fell chill one of his own) "You just keep right on hating me Elf. You could be better off if only you would stop fighting so much. "

But through it all they both must realize that.....

Legolas: (speaks coldly back with a fire in his jaded blue eyes that speaks of gathering ire) "No, to find a middle ground with the evil and mislead is to relinquish all you have."

To compromise yourself and your beliefs is to betray and abandon yourself......

Aragorn: (looks at the stumbling Elf prince and speaks with a tone of horror) "You have come this far, if you give up now you are lost."

And if you succumb yourself then your essence will accompany you........

Rothinzil: (looks at Legolas and then in horror at Aragorn) "He is fading. If he does not get free, death will not spare him for another day."

You will be a lingering shadow of what you could have been and were........

Aragorn: (looks at Legolas sadly and says slowly) "Death comes in many forms, not least of which are spiritual."

Then if you are fortunate you will remain a obscuration and phantom of what you once were.....

King: (grips a limp and weak Legolas by the throat and shakes him) "You lose one more sparring match and cost me money again I promise you this; your life will be a living Hell. Remember Elf, you live forever and that's a long time for me to prove to you how cruel I can be."

Or perhaps you will be slain......just like the worthless animal you are thought to be........

Aragorn: (looks at the prince who is sitting in his cell with wide eyes as he realizes what happened) "I don't care what they do to me my friend. I won't leave you here one more minute."

If you want to

I can save you

I can take you away from here

So lonely inside

So busy out there

And all you wanted was somebody who cares.

All you wanted was somebody who cares

If you need me you know I'll be there

(Michelle Branch)

This Halloween devotion and anguish will go hand in hand in a story of friendship and heartache...tribulation and deception...prejudice and a fight for tolerance and perception began years ago......

In this cryptic world there is one law........

Butcher or be butchered......

Kill or be killed........

Murder or be murdered......

Is there anyway to break away from the pain...the contempt and anyway to remain true to yourself and what you believe?

There is but as always you have to ask yourself....is it worth it?

That was the preview! Please review! So long!