Chapter Two

# Legolas was a curious little thing. The young princeling was very inquisitive and was always asking questions. Why was the sky blue? Why birds could fly but he couldn't? Why did the stars twinkle? Why didn't he have a nana like everyone else? Thranduil was very patient with the little elf and would answer him all of his questions except for one -- the one that concerned his mother. The elven king could never bring himself to talk about his wife, for it tore at his heart just thinking about her. Legolas, however, was unaware of his father's pain. When he did not get the answer he wanted from his father, he turned to the servants and pestered them to tell him about his mother.

After months of consistent questioning, one of the younger maids accidentally revealed the fate of the queen. Legolas was devastated knowing that he would never see his mother. He didn't even know how she looked like! Determined to find out more about the deceased queen, the elfing escaped his nanny and slipped into the dungeon. Standing on his toes, it took some time for the short fingers to remove the torch from the cradle. Legolas lit the torch clumsily, a skill that he had acquired only a few weeks ago, and set out in search of his nana.

It was with some difficulty that Legolas found the cave. Once there, the elfling was awed by the amount of crates and chests, some of which were stacked high almost into the ceiling. Not being tall enough to place the torch into its holder, the little blond elf leaned the burning torch against one of the crates, making sure that it won't ignite anything before clambering up to the highest chest. In his mind, all good things were kept out of his reach... just like his favorite cookie.

The elfling balanced precariously on the edge of one of the larger crates and heaved open the lid of the chest before him. A gentle breeze weaved through the tunnel and into the cave, blowing his long blond hair into his face. The elf giggled and lifted one hand to brush it out of his face. Another gust swept through the cave, but this time the wind was strong enough to topple the torch, sending it crashing to the ground. The flame flickered dangerously, and just when it was about to stabilize, another wave of wind assaulted the torch. In an instant, the cave was plunged into complete darkness.

Legolas gasped when the torch went out suddenly, his free hand groping blindly for the chest before him. The sudden blackness caused the elfling to panic and he lost his footing in his vain attempt to gain his grip. The small elf felt himself slip off the crate that he was standing on and falling towards the ground at an alarming rate. Before he hit the bottom, his small body crashed into the side of a crate and a flash of pain exploded in his right leg. And then he knew no more. #

"By the time I regained consciousness, I was lying sprawled out on the cave floor with a badly broken leg. I knew it was an open fracture, because I could feel the wetness on my legging." Legolas snorted lightly at his own tale, trying to cover the slight tremor in his voice.

Aragorn gave the elf prince a sympathetic smile, but did not make any comment. He knew that Legolas would continue when he was ready. After a short pause on Legolas' side, the elf shifted his position slightly and went on with the rest of the story.

# It was dark all around except for the soft glow emanating from the small elf. Slowly and painfully, he crawled towards the torch hoping to light it again, but as he reached into his pocket, he realized that he had forgotten to take the flints after he had used them at the dungeon entrance. A cold fear crept into his heart. He was alone... with a broken leg that was really starting to hurt... and with no one knowing where he was. Tears coursed down his face and the elfling cried out for his father. But in the dungeon, no one could hear him scream.

After a long while, the little elf grew tired and he stopped to regain his strength. That was when he heard it. The scratching noise... tiny little clawed feet skittering across wooden surfaces. The noise was soon accompanied by soft squeaks that got louder and more excited by the second. The rats had smelled blood and come to feast! #

"I tried to fend them off with the torch, but they kept coming. I felt them tearing at my bloody leggings and vaguely saw some of them lapping at the blood on the ground. Then they got more bold and started attacking me. I was overwhelmed within minutes. They were all over me... biting at my fingers...clawing at my face... tearing at my hair..."

Legolas shuddered at the horrid memory and drew his knees to his chest once again. Unable to hold back the locked up emotions any longer, the elf let a small sob escape his lips, and he quickly buried his face in his hands.

Noting his friend's distress, Aragorn moved to sit beside the elf on the bed and placed a comforting hand on Legolas' back, a gesture of silent support.

Legolas lifted his head and gave the human an appreciative smile. Taking several shaky breaths, he moved on with the story.

"I screamed and screamed until my throat was raw and could not scream anymore. Then everything went blank, and when I woke up, it was already a week after the accident. I suppose my mind shut down to prevent me from going mad. My father told me that I was a mess when they had found me... and for the first few days, the healers thought I might not survive. Father said I was so traumatized that I did not speak for almost a year and would wake up screaming every night. After that incident, he had all the crates moved to ground level and put a lock in the gate to the dungeon."

"I'm so sorry. I didn't know... If I had known, I would never have taunted you into going with me," Aragorn apologized fervently and, if Legolas had not interrupted, would have gone on blaming himself.

"It's not your fault; I thought I had gotten over it," the blond elf said with a nervous laugh, as he tried to make light of the situation.

"Apparently not," added the human, with a solemn look. Inwardly, he was still kicking himself for unintentionally dragging his friend through his worst nightmare.

The two friends stared at each other for a while, before Legolas let out a small chuckle. "Don't look so dour, Estel. It's nothing but a bad memory." The elf relaxed and stretched his tense muscles before glancing out the window. "It's almost dawn. I suggest we head downstairs for an early breakfast."

Aragorn nodded. The man was relieved to see his friend smiling again and part of the guilt lifted from him. "I hope your father won't be too upset when he finds out that I dragged you into the dungeon," he said while being ushered towards the door by Legolas.

"You did not drag me. I went voluntarily."

"Let's pray that your father understands, or perhaps he will be so happy after we've given him the diary that he will overlook our little break-in..."

Legolas raised an eyebrow. "Then I would suggest that we start praying really hard right now."

Laughter rang out in the corridor as the two friends made their way to the dinning hall.

- The End -


Responses to Reviewers:

Legolas's Girl 9 – Thank you! Here's the concluding chapter for you :)

Evenstar606 – Sorry that this is so short but it's written for a challenge and can't exceed 5000 words. LOL! Hope you like it anyway :D

theo darkstar – Pet rats are different from the wild ones. They are scary especially when they go crazy and attack you. Poor Legolas.

Kelsey Estel – You are correct! He did go looking for his mother's belongings and got attack by rats. Did you break into my computer! Huh? LOL!

OfElvesAnd Men – Ahh… now you know what happened to him :)

Elwing-Evenstar – Hehehe. I hope you're satisfied with the outcome :)

astalder27 – Poor Legolas got attacked by nasty rats. Evil little critters. :P

Ithil-valon – Fortunately he got over the panic attack :D Or else Aragorn would be very upset.

CapriceAnn Hedican-Kocur – Do you like the ending:)

HarryEstel – Don't die of curiosity! That's what almost killed little Legolas! Curious little thing, he was. LOL!

CKlovesme2040 – Yes, afraid. Very afraid! -:g:-

Iawen Londea – OMG! You read it! Woohoo! I can't believe it:D I guess you chose the right story to read. It's only 2 chapters. LOL!

Elven hope – Not a very bad cliffhanger. :D I've done worse. Muahaha!

Lost-Elf – New but short fic! LOL! Hopefully you liked it nevertheless. :D

SmilingDragonGirl – And I liked your reviews:D Yes, Legolas won't be dying in this fic. LOL! Sorry to disappoint you -:eg:-