Title: Good in the World

Author: Estelrond

Rating: PG-13 (Maybe R, depending on how you look at it.)

Warnings: Threat of rape…not severe …just implied. Violence, and other such…pretty normal…

Disclaimer: The pretty blond elf isn't mine. Wish he was. Isn't.

Summary: An elf is captured and put forth as the prize in a contest. Things don't look good for the young one, especially when an evil man seems on the verge of gaining ownership of the immortal.

Feedback: Please…gets down on knees and begs

Other Notes: This plot bunny hit me in the middle of the night, so if it sucks…well…I guess it's mostly my fault, but we can always blame it on the coffee… Oh, and my little elf here is about the equivalent of a eleven or twelve year old, so if he acts somewhat childish, that's why.


It always starts so simply. A hunting trip. It had only been a hunting trip. Three members of the party would never see another day, lying sightless on the forest floor. The fourth, was believed dead, but only time would tell, wounded as he was. The fifth…well, he almost wished he had fallen with the rest.

The men were rough, coarse, and members of an especially savage band with an evil reputation. Brigands without morals. They laughed and made coarse jokes about their young captive. He was fair, with silken blonde hair and sad blue eyes. The men looked on him as simply a possession. But they knew the rules: He was a prize who would have to be one, as there was no way to divide him among them. There were very few standards of conduct amongst these brutal men, but the few they had were upheld strictly. And woe betide him who did not obey.

He didn't care anymore. He had nothing left. No family to go back to anymore. His father had been a part of the hunting party, and his mother had left long ago. The young elf simply wouldn't allow himself to feel, for if he did, he would shatter. So he felt nothing. Not the ropes cutting into his wrists, not the occasional slap of his captors, and most importantly, not the sorrow burning in his soul.

When they arrived at the outlaws camp, he was bound to a pole set into the ground, with a good view of the dirt area where his fate would be decided.

They called it a duel, but it was more an all-out brawl. The forty or so men that formed the rag-tag troupe would all fight each other in a grand free for all. And the winner would get the young elf.

He could not help but be frightened. The leering glances from some of the men left him with no doubt about what his fate would be should he be so unfortunate as to be won by one of them. Then he would die. He knew it. And he almost wished that death would come now, and spare him the agony and humiliation of what was to come.

The largest, and apparently the strongest of the outlaw band had been one of those who looked on the elf with such interest, and some, who had chosen not to engage in the fight, were taking bets. The big man was the favorite. The thought made the young immortal shudder in revulsion. He would find a way to kill himself sooner.

Tense as he was, he would cringe anytime someone came near him. Like a frightened wild thing he was, taken from freedom and put in a cage, and on display like a prize catch. Which he was of course. There was much boasting, and the little elf could feel the loss of his comrades ever the more keenly as the men jested about their deaths. For the first time in his young years he wanted to strangle the life out of another living being.

So absorbed was he in his sorrow, that he did not realize that the duel had started until it was well underway. It was vicious, violent and bloody. The elf wondered how any of the band remained alive. Some crawled, and some had to be carried, from the field. Since the combatants were so many, it went on for over an hour, till there were only two of the outlaws left. One, was a slender man in a cloak and hood, who wielded naught but a sword, the other was the big man whose eyes were evil, he wielded a huge sword. The betting grew to a furious pace.

The men were crowding around, and soon, the captive could no longer see the two opponents. But there was little doubt as too the outcome. And either way, there was little hope for him. Just then, there came a great cheer followed by an almost equal number of boos and hisses. The little elf pulled his knees up to his chest and sobbed, clenching his eyes shut as tears leaked out, wetting his torn and dirty tunic. Overwhelming fear pulsed through his entire being. And all he could do was wait.

He did not open his eyes as he was untied from the post, and gathered up in a pair of strong arms, for he did not want to see the triumphant eyes of the victor. He didn't want to see the leering eyes of his master.

The walk wasn't long. He heard the rustle of a tent flap being pulled open and he was placed gently down on something softer than the ground. He heard a blade being unsheathed, which sent a pang of terror rippling down his spine and he stiffened, but instead, his bonds were cut.

"Open your eyes, little one." The voice was soft, but somewhat rough, though to the elf, all men's voices seemed that way.

The captive refused to comply, curling up into a ball, "What are you going to do with me?" he asked softly, his voice laced with sadness.

He felt a hand placed carefully on his shoulder, "Nothing, little one. You are safe with me."

The young immortal's blue eyes opened, to look upon the face of the man who had won him, wanting to believe, daring to hope.

It was not the evil-eyed man, as he had thought, it seemed that the agility of the slender fighter had won against the brute strength of the other. But the hood made him appear rather sinister, as a pair of strange blue eyes met the deeper blue ones of the elfling. Scooting back against the wall of the tent, he wrapped his arms around his knees, hugging himself and rocking gently back and forth. His mind screamed a warning, that this man was one of the band, and those brigands had killed his friends and family.

"Y-you killed my Ada…." He sobbed softly, his golden hair spilling forward to obscure the fair features that were beginning to mature into adulthood. Lost in his own sorrow, he did not notice as the man drew closer, and wrapped an arm about his slim shoulders.

"Shhh…young one…It was not I. I know of and respect your kindred. I would not harm them." He soothed. But the young elf was obviously distraught and beyond reasoning with, at least for now. Picking the small being up again, he lay him out on the cot and covered him gently with a blanket. He strode out of the tent, leaving the little one to cry into the pillow.

He went out and mounted his horse, and, asking one of the men a terse question, rode into the night.

He was more than a little angry at the stupidity of the outlaws. He had not been with the band a very long time, driven to them more out of necessity than any want to do so. And they were certainly making sure his stay wasn't long. He had not been intending to fight in the brawl, as such things seemed below him. That was when he heard some of the men talking about the young captive. And what they would do should they be so lucky as to win him. Angered beyond rationality, he had taken up his dagger and thoroughly trounced all his opponents. The big man who had so frightened the elfling was dead of a slashed throat.

But when he learned that they had not only taken the little fellow, but slain his companions and apparently his father as well, he had been outraged. That was what moved him now too ride to the place of the slaughter. What he found sorrowed him, but also gave him hope. There had been five elves. Three lay dead in the glade before him. One lay weeping in his tent. Where was the fifth?

He dismounted and headed towards where he knew a creek flowed. For where better a place for a wounded elf to head than to water? He knelt next to the flowing water and found blood on the bank. Had the elf swum across? He was about to return and get his horse so as to ride across when something hit him from the side and he was sent sprawling. He felt cold steel at his neck, and looked into the wild green eyes of his quarry. Situations had been reversed, he thought ironically.

He felt the hand tense at his throat and knew he was about to die. "Please…" he said softly, "I know where the little one is. And should anything happen to me I fear great ill shall befall him." He said it so that the elf atop him would know it for what it was, a warning, not a threat.

"Where is my son?" it was almost a growl.

The man breathed a sigh of relief, so the lad's father had survived. "He is in the outlaw's camp." He raised a placating had quickly as he felt the blade pushed against his throat once more, this time breaking the skin and letting small droplets of blood stain his neck. "He is under my protection, none shall harm him unless I do not return. And then 'twould be without my consent. I only came back on the hope that one of his company had survived." His cerulean eyes were honest and pleading, "I wanted him to be able to go home."

The elf finally drew his blade away, and moving slowly to his feet, grabbed the man's hand, helping him up. The outlaw noted that father and son were very much alike. Even the shades of gold in the hair were identical. All but the eyes.

"Can you take me to him?" the tall elf radiated strength, but his voice held a note of urgency. He had been worried sick about his son, apparently, and with good reason, thought the man darkly.

It was when the elf mounted the horse that the man noticed the crimson stain on the elf's tunic, he had indeed been wounded, but glimpsing the cloth through the tear in the fabric, he could see that it had not been left unattended. Leaping astride the horse, in front of the elf, the brigand galloped back to camp. Moving quickly so as not to be questioned, he reigned in sharply in front of his tent.

The elf sprang from the horse and into the tent with more agility than one so wounded ought to have. The man followed quickly behind.

The elfling was sleeping soundly on the cot where he had been left. Tear-tracks still staining his cheeks, and the pillow clutched tightly too him. It was plain to see he had cried himself to exhaustion.

But suddenly he blinked, coming awake with a start as he sense the presence of the others. His eyes widened suddenly as he saw the tall figure at the bedside. "Ada!" he breathed, launching himself off the bed and into his father's arms. The elf winced as he caught his son, his injury not taking well to the sudden jar. But he embraced the boy, and the elfling cried on his shoulder as he was gently rocked back and forth, his father stroked his hair, murmuring softly into the child's ear. "Oh, ion-nin I thought I'd lost you…"

Both seemed oblivious to the man, who watched quietly, moved by the scene unfolding before him. He smiled, and wished all tales ended this way.

Taking his son up in his arms, the warrior stood and looked at his son's rescuer, unshed tears glimmering in his forest green eyes. "Thank you."

The outlaw laughed, a soft almost sad sound, "The pleasure was mine. Now, take my horse and return the boy home. You are not safe here."

He followed the two immortals out, and watched as they mounted the chestnut stallion, "I do not feel I should take your steed."

The brigand shrugged, "I can always steal another." He replied nonchalantly.

The elf nodded his head as a token of respect, "I thank you again, and should you ever need aid, come to the wood elves and you shall have it."

The horse trotted forward a few paces before the golden haired being stopped it again. Turning his head to glance back at the man, "And when you do ask for Thranduil, for you saved his son." He called back over his shoulder. He then galloped into the night.

The brigand's eyes widened in astonishment; throwing his hood back, he reached up to finger the point of his ear. "So there is some good left in the world after all…"