Summary : Legolas needs to talk to his brother about his second rape, the one where Keldarion was not there to save him.
NOTE : Takes place about a month after 'Triple Jeopardy'.
WARNING : This story is based on Legolas' second rape. It is not too graphic, but I suggest that those who don't agree with such issue, PLEASE DO NOT READ.
It was the darkest night one had ever seen.
Dark and cold and eerie.
Something akin to evil was in the air, something so terrifyingly malevolence that even the moon and the stars shied away, hiding themselves behind the thick, black clouds. The owls and night critters emitted no sound whatsoever. They were still in shock. And frightened. Only the wind moaned and sighed through the trees, warning the elves of the great danger beyond, telling them the story of a cruel massacre that had just occurred.
Legolas, Lord of Ithilien and Prince of Eryn Lasgalen, stared in acute silence at the brutalized corpses lying at his feet. His fair face was grim, and his eyes a pair of burning silver. His fist was gripping hard at the pommel of his sword as he tried to contain his mounting wrath.
His mouth tightening, the golden-haired prince forced himself to swallow the hot bile that was clawing up his throat as he surveyed the slain bodies of his fellow elves, all valiant warriors in his service. There were four bodies in all, and Legolas knew every one of them. He had recruited them personally eight years ago when he was building his new colony. They had given him their oath to protect and serve him. They had also sworn to guard and defend Ithilien and its surrounding territory. Now they had died doing exactly that. Faithful soldiers through and through.
Ignoring the watchful eye of his escorts, Legolas crouched down near a body. It was Beren, one of the youngest warriors in his army. Once a carefree and cheerful lad, Beren liked to tease and pull pranks on the older warriors the minute Legolas' back was turned. Always so full of life, the young elf had been afraid of nothing. Beren had this devil-may-care attitude that reminded Legolas of his own wild youth.
What an irony.
A big amount of blood was pooling underneath Beren's naked body, which lay spread-eagle on the ground, tied to four wooden stakes. His eyes were no longer twinkling with merriment as the brown orbs stayed wide opened, staring without seeing at the sky. His usually smiling face was now frozen in the expression of horrible fear and pain, never breaking into cheeky smiles ever again. His flawless skin was now marred with hundreds of bloody welts and scabs. His dark long hair had been shorn to his scalp. His delicately pointed ears had been cut off. A spear was impaled through his belly, while a long wooden stick had been rammed between his legs right through his…
At this, Legolas could no longer look. He quickly straightened up and headed straight for the nearby bushes where he disgracefully threw up everything he had eaten that day.
"Give me a minute," he managed to gasp with one hand upraised, putting off the other elf from coming near.
Keldarion Thranduilion—Legolas' older brother—nodded but did not move away. He watched with deep concern as his brother continued to stand stiffly and quietly by the bushes, his pale and sweaty face turned away from the rest of them.
Noticing that Legolas' hands were shaking and his lean form trembling, Keldarion wondered what had caused this great distress in his brother. A famous warrior and veteran hero of the War of The Ring, Legolas was familiar with such dreadful sight. He had seen a lot of terrible and ghastly things in his life. He had been there when his fellow warriors and comrades died in battles. He had witnessed firsthand the cruelties of orcs and goblins towards his kind. Yet, the sight of these four dead bodies of his ensign guards was upsetting him more deeply than ever before.
Legolas took longer than a minute to compose himself. He turned around after wiping his mouth, his face now impassive but still pale. He looked at his brother and forced a brittle smile on his lips. "Sorry. Weak stomach, I guess."
Keldarion was no fool. He knew that it was more than a weak stomach that had caused such sudden reaction from Legolas, but he let the matter drop. There will be time enough for him to get the real story from his brother. "So what do you propose we do now?"
Legolas squared his shoulders and started walking towards the corpses, blanking off his mind from past darkened memories as he did so. As the leader, he needed to keep a level-head to investigate these nasty killings. A distraught elven lord wouldn't do, not if it meant finding the murderers without getting themselves killed.
He struggled to look at the bodies without flinching, trying to be objective as he investigated the crime scene. He frowned at the torturing devices the killers had used on their victims. Take the spear that stabbed through Beren's belly for instance. He recognized the spear's workmanship, noticing the intricate details of running horses carved into its long handle. It was clearly a spear of Rohan.
Yet Legolas believed it was not the Rohirrims that had done this. Valar. Lady Éowyn would have his head on a silver platter if she knew he harbored such preposterous idea!
"Cut their bonds and cover the bodies," Legolas gave the order to Beregund, his deputy. "Take five guards with you and get the bodies back to Ithilien. Make preparations for their burial."
"As you command, my lord." Beregund bowed, and briefly hesitated. "But what about you, my lord?"
Legolas smiled, but the smile didn't reach his eyes. "Me? Why, I'm going to hunt some orcs."
Keldarion leveled a gaze at his brother. "You are sure this isn't the works of men?"
"I'm pretty sure." Legolas eyes were hard and piercing. "They just 'borrowed' the weapons from the Rohirrims—without doubt—after they killed them. I'll send missive to Éomer and find out if he had lost any men recently."
Keldarion nodded, suspecting as much. He watched as Legolas selected five warriors to accompany him, all perfectly armed with bows and arrows. His younger brother didn't say the exact words, but Keldarion knew he was expected to join the hunt. His remarkable skill with his sword would be a big help to the small troop.
It was only four days to his wedding day. And now his simple excursion into the woods with his younger brother had turned into a dangerous pursuit of the unknown. But Keldarion didn't mind it in the least.
Sure, his betroth and Legolas' wife—not to mention Thranduil, their father—would tear their hides when they found out what the brothers were about to do. Going orc-hunting when you were about to get married by the end of the week was not a smart decision for the groom to take if he wanted to appear hale and healthy at the important ceremony. But seeing the look on Legolas' stricken face earlier, Keldarion knew he could not leave his brother to his devices with just five guards as escorts.
Earlier in the day, the brothers and their entourage had left the Ithilien keep to escape the annoying hassle of the wedding preparations. (If Keldarion was asked what color he preferred for his ceremonial cloak once again, he would scream!) To them, the palace had become too crowded with guests and wedding assembles that one had to practically squeeze through just to walk in the hallway.
Legolas had planned to take his brother to Lake Auset, where they would make camp and spend what remained of Keldarion's bachelor nights together, talking and exchanging stories while staring at the stars. Never had they expected to stumble upon the dead and tortured bodies of the woodland patrol.
"Tell my lady wife that we will return tomorrow," Legolas told Beregund as the procession that carried the dead bodies started to make leave for Ithilien. "And if we're not back by noon, send the reinforcements."
"My lord." Beregund bowed in reply, and proceeded to lead the way home.
Legolas watched them go until they disappeared from sight. Then he turned to face his brother and the rest of his guards. "We start from here," he said, indicating the bloodied earth at his feet. "Try to determine how many they were and where they were headed."
With two warriors leading their mounts, the elves began to track the killers on foot. The prints were indeed belonged to a group of orcs, and it was quite a big number of them. The elves counted over twenty different pair of boot prints which were leading them towards South, towards Mordor, the destroyed fortress of Sauron which had now become his eternal grave.
Legolas was angry to know that the hateful creatures had the gall to freely roam Middle-earth, right in Gondor's territory. He had thought that they had all been destroyed with Sauron's defeat ten years ago, or at least driven out of Gondor. But now the orcs and goblins had returned to wreak havoc once more, to annihilate the elves—their biggest enemy—like they loved to do best.
Keldarion kept a watchful eye on his brother the entire time. There was such a resolute look on Legolas' face that he had never seen before, a face of someone that had been wronged and was determined to make someone pay. A face of someone who was confronting his inner fear but was denying that feeling. A face of someone who was reliving his nightmare and was valiantly trying to ignore it.
Keldarion suspected that Legolas was hiding something from him. Whatever it was, he would find out, sooner or later. But for now, he would fix his mind on this tracking business before he start pressing his younger brother to get the entire story out of him.
Two hours had passed when Legolas called a halt to the pursuit. They had reached a rocky terrain where the boot prints of the orcs were quickly vanishing. The tracks had become untraceable in the dark. Unwilling to lose his quarry though, Legolas sent out two scouts to reconnoiter.
"They must have made camp somewhere around here," he said. "Find them."
With answering nods, the warriors leaped into the trees and vanished into the darkness—two silent hunters stealthily on the move.
Ordering the remaining elves to stand guard, Legolas then began to clamber up a rocky knoll. Nimble yet graceful on his feet, it was an easy climb for him. He reached the top in no amount of time, and stood there in silence, his sharp silver eyes staring hard into the distance.
"What the blazes is bothering you?" Keldarion blurted the moment he set foot next to his younger brother.
Legolas had to release a rueful smile. He knew his brother would follow him here, as he knew that Keldarion could see through him and notice that he was deeply troubled. He had tried not to let any emotions show but the elder prince knew him too much, every inch of him. Keldarion's big-brother's sixth-sense was always on high drive where Legolas was concern.
"Well, are you just going to stand there and say nothing?" Keldarion frowned at his brother, his arms folded across his chest.
With a small sigh, Legolas avoided his brother's direct gaze. "It's nothing. Really."
"Don't tell me that. I can see that the death of your warriors is disturbing you greatly," Keldarion curtly said. "Now give."
"It's not just their deaths, Kel. It's more than that," Legolas finally relented but still refused to look at his brother. "A lot more than that."
Silence ensued for several moments as Keldarion digested his brother's words. He was staring at the back of Legolas' head, resisting the wild urge to shake his brother until he started explaining.
Legolas did turn then. Keldarion flinched when he saw his brother's eyes. The usually bright silver orbs now looked bleak and pained, as if the owner was in a physical agony or emotional torment.
"What's wrong, little brother?" Keldarion asked, his voice softening.
Legolas had to bit his lower lip to keep himself steady. "Did you see how they tortured my guards?"
"Yes." Keldarion slowly nodded, having not the faintest idea what Legolas was getting at. "What about it?"
Shrugging, Legolas walked several steps away. "Nothing. It's just that…it reminds me of what I have gone through…a long, long time ago."
Keldarion instantly stiffened at that. His mind reeled.
"Obviously, those guards had been badly abused," Legolas continued. "They had been whipped and beaten…right before they were raped."
Keldarion briefly closed his eyes and bit back an oath. Of course. The rape. This is what pains Legolas so much. He has been through such atrocity before, as have I.
Stepping closer to Legolas, Keldarion squeezed his shoulders. "I understand what you mean, brother."
"No, Kel, I don't think you really understand this at all." Legolas faced his brother. "Those guards were not only raped. Their bodies were completely brutalized, outside as well as inside. And I knew how it feels."
And if he concentrated hard enough, he could still feel it—the humiliation, pain, terror and frustration that came along with it. It happened more than ten years ago and rarely bothered him nowadays, but Legolas could never forget that horrific episode of his life. At a time like this, after what he had just seen happened to his guards, the old memories instantly resurfaced, as clearly as reflections upon water.
He won't forget how they stripped him to his skin, leaving him totally vulnerable to their eyes. He remembered being bound hand and foot before they started to beat and whip him mercilessly, expecting to hear him scream for mercy. But he never screamed. He had refused to. Instead, he cursed and snarled at the lot, fighting back at them like a wildcat caught in a snare. They gagged him then, shutting him up. Laughing and cheering, they held him down, spread open his legs, and…
He frantically shook his head, trying to dismiss the horrible scene off his mind. But he couldn't escape remembering what they did to him afterwards, after they had violated him by turn. One of them had this bright idea to make him bleed—as if he had not been bleeding badly enough. A long wooden pole was brought in…
And that was how Legolas knew how a chicken stuck on a roasting spit felt like.
"Legolas!" Keldarion called again, much louder this time.
Legolas flinched and returned his gaze to his brother once more. "Yes?"
"You lost me. Or rather, I'm lost. What exactly were you trying to say?" Then Keldarion shook his head, his eyes narrowing to a slit. "No. Scratch that. I know exactly what you were trying to say. You were remembering what those men had done to you all those years ago. Then let me tell you this, Legolas, if Jongos and his men were still alive I would gladly kill them again, right after I geld them…"
"I wasn't talking about the men," Legolas said quietly. "I was talking about the orcs."
Keldarion was puzzled. "The orcs?" He wondered out loud, frowning as he tried to make out what his brother had just told him. "What about the orcs?"
"They raped me," Legolas hotly declared. "They captured me and beat me and then they raped me."
Horrified, Keldarion's mouth dropped open as he staggered from the shock.
"W…what?" Keldarion's voice only came out in a whisper, so shaken he was by Legolas' admission. "But…how? When?"
"About a year after you've been gone, Estel and I were captured by a group of orcs due to our own stupidity," Legolas said, looking anywhere but at his brother. "They tortured us all day. You know how orc's are. They did to me what they like to do best to their elven captives, forcing themselves into me—one after the other—in their rough jerky ways. Then one thing led to another, and…well, they wanted to see me bleed."
Keldarion knew he was not going to like this, knew that there was more horror to come in the story, but he asked anyway, "What else did they do to you?"
Legolas shrugged. "You saw what the orcs did to those guards, and you saw the long bloody stick."
He shuddered before continuing, "They rammed the same kind of stick into me, cheering and hollering like crazy when I screamed from the sheer agony. They tore me apart, bodily and emotionally. I nearly bled to death if not for Lord Elrond's stubbornness and skill of healing. I was close to dying that day. So close."
Silence reigned, long and painful.
A gust of wind blew across the top of the knoll, pulling at their cloaks and hair. Legolas stood silent and still, biting at his lips and fidgeting slightly with the string of his bow. He didn't dare look at his brother for fear of seeing the disgust or pity in Keldarion's eyes. Never had he felt so ashamed like he was right then, never had he felt so vulnerable. He highly valued his brother's opinion of him, and he couldn't bear it if Keldarion look at him with disappointment and…
Break down and cry?
Legolas whirled around when the sound of someone's weeping hit his ears. He saw his brother kneeling in the dirt, head bowed and fists clenching. Tears of regret were streaming down Keldarion's cheeks as his entire frame shook slightly from his silent sobs.
Crying out in dismay, Legolas knelt beside his brother and gripped his slightly heaving shoulders. "Kel? Please…I didn't mean to make you upset. I was just…Kel, talk to me."
"I've failed you." Keldarion finally looked up and his torment-filled gaze stabbed into Legolas' eyes.
Legolas frantically shook his head. "No! No you didn't…"
"I've failed you," Keldarion repeated. "I've made an oath to you. I swore to never let you go through such indignity again, yet I wasn't able to stop it the second time it happened. I'm so sorry, Legolas."
"Oh, Kel." Legolas sighed forlornly and pulled his brother into his arms. "It was not your fault. You weren't there to stop it."
"That's just it! I wasn't there!" Keldarion's hand was shaking as he wiped away his tears. "I shouldn't have left! If I had never been so set on sailing for Valinor, I might have been there for you. Believe me, Legolas, I would have done everything I can to stop that horror from happening."
"I believe you, Kel. I know you will do anything for me." In tears himself, Legolas gently nudged his brother's chin until their eyes met. "But the fact still stands that the horrible thing did happen. We can't change that, like I can't change the fact that I wasn't there to rescue you when the Corsairs took you captive and made them their slave. Kel, trust me when I said I know exactly how you feel right now. I also can't stop blaming myself for not being there to prevent those Corsairs from violating you. I'm so sorry, brother. So sorry…"
"Ai, Legolas. Don't," Keldarion whispered. "Let it go. It's all over now. Just let it go."
Their arms tightening around each other, the two brothers stayed that way for a long time, until Legolas suddenly burst into chuckles.
"Look at the both of us," he said with a watery grin. "Aren't we pathetic?"
Smiling, Keldarion pulled away. "We sure are. Poor father. Think about all the gray hairs that start to appear on his head, worrying about us and our silly scrapes."
"I won't be surprise to see his entire head turn white when we get back," Legolas added as they got to their feet. "He is not going to be happy when he finds out what we are up to, not when you are only days away from your wedding."
They exchanged sheepish grins at that.
Both brothers turned when one of the guards appeared several feet below them.
"The scouts have returned," the guard continued. "The orcs have been sighted. Their camp is not more than a league from here."
Smiling in anticipation, Legolas turned to his brother. "Well, what are we waiting for?"
"Yes, brother. It's payback time." Keldarion nodded, clutching proudly at his favorite sword. "Let's kill some orcs!"
There goes another episode of Legolas and Keldarion Adventure. Thank you for reading everyone. I hope it fulfill your expectation.
Before I leave, I would like to share with you a review that I received for 'Triple Jeopardy'. The person just calls him/herself 'Anonymous Fan' (some fan), and the review goes like this; "I usually love your stories, but frankly this one was a bit boring and a waste of my time. You say you will give Kel his own angst and story and I assumed that would mean the same style as your Legolas angst stories and instead you write some pathetic soap opera complete with weepy women and see-through anger. I hope your next story is better. This story almost made me dislike your interpretation of Legolas."
The review has—for lack of better word—de-motivated me. It may be incredibly hard to believe, but I suddenly lost interest to write anymore.
Here I was, pouring out all my heart into a story and someone just came to me and said that it was 'pathetic' and 'a waste of time'. I felt like I was being attacked personally. I know I shouldn't be bothered about it (all fanfic writers have their own share of flames) but, hey, you can't blame me for being a little hurt. I wrote stories deep from the heart, expressing and exposing myself to all the readers. I didn't write stories for anyone in particular, but I tried to fulfill the readers' wishes as best as I could. I myself know that it is impossible to satisfy everyone's need.
I read fanfics like I watch the television—If a program suits me, I stay on. But if the program bugs me or bores me out of my mind, I just change the channel. It's as simple as that. No use in going bitchy over it. When I stumble upon a story in ff-net that I do not agree with, I just leave it and read others. No harm done. What's the point in complaining anyway?
To Anonymous Fan, I'm sorry you feel disappointed with 'Triple Jeopardy', but there is no way I can always satisfy your demands every time your hormones go out of sort. If you want more angst, go read other torture fics. Adult fanfictionnet has tons of those. But one thing I can compliment you is that you are very, very honest. But, like they said, the truth hurts. And I bet you are glad to know that you won't be seeing much of my pathetic and boring stories ever again.
To other readers out there, who has been wonderfully supportive, giving me tips and ideas, pointing out my mistakes and factual errors, and even correcting my grammars and tenses, all I can say is I can't THANK YOU enough. You fill out my lonely life, and for that I'm eternally grateful. (To Deana and Kel, thanks for the supportive e-mails you just gave me. Love you, guys.)
So. Is this goodbye?
I don't know.
You tell me.
Adromir signing out.