Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with LotR, except for a few minor things… ;-;
Warnings: Ummm… nothing as of yet. Wow, there actually might not be one. O.O ..:gasps:..
Sorry 'bout all grammar and/or spelling mistakes.
Wow, I got this out a lot sooner than I thought I would be able to. Well, I have had it written for quite a while. I was just waiting to finish my other fics before I started this. I almost feel as if this is too soon, but I'm happy with this chapter so… yeah, I dunno. It's prob'ly cuz I finished my last fic a few days ago or so. n.n
I really hope you all will enjoy it, and let me know what you think, 'kay? n.n
Chapter One: Battered
He had no bindings as he lay on the ground, for he was too weak to move if he wished. Even the slightest twitch sent unbearable amounts of agony through his battered body.
He lay there shivering as his exhausted mind tried to block out the pain. He lay there in a puddle of water, freezing water that they had dumped on him to shock him into awareness when he had drifted, drenching him throughout. He lay there, unable to think as wave after wave of agony crashed over him, leaving him gasping for breath around his groans of misery.
His blonde hair hung in front of him in bloody clumps, clinging to his face. His clothes tattered and useless, sticking to him, dried blood acting as an adhesive.
He knew he had to get up. He had to leave; find help. He had to survive. He had to get back to Estel. This he knew, but he was so tired. So very tired…
No! He had to survive!
He wearily opened his dull blue eyes, glazed over in pain, only to quickly shut them. He had forgotten: he was in a cave. There was only endless darkness before him, surrounding him, suffocating him. Even with his blurred eyesight he knew nothing; no one was around. His ears – which were pounding with the sound of his rushing blood – told him that alone.
They had beat him and left him. He didn't know why they hadn't killed him, as was their nature, but he figured it was because they knew he would die regardless and they wanted him to suffer as much as possible.
In the dark, with no healing supplies, no food for his already starved body, unable to move even an inch, with no one around… he would die.
But… he had to survive.
It would be a miracle to live through this one. He would though, he had to.
The blonde elf kept his eyes closed, resting for a moment; trying to motivate his broken body to move, trying to ignore the pain, and the darkness enveloping him.
He tried to recall where the entrance to this cave was when he had been dragged in to it three long days ago… or possibly even longer. He no longer knew.
After minutes of trying to remember, he growled in frustration; even that hurt as it irritated his parched throat.
He shifted his body – very slightly – to change the view and, just as he was about to give up, his hand sunk into water. It wasn't the water they had thrown on him either, for that was closer to him.
His bloodied hand continued its fevered search, daring to hope.
Finally finding a trail of water, he vaguely remembered hearing the sound of rain pelting the ground, ridding the earth of his blood. The orcs must have trailed it in after them.
That one soothing sound: the rain, the one thing that cleansed all, was what had kept him sane during the most brutal torture he had ever endured. Even the faces of those closest to him did little to help during these short, but long, torturous moments. The sound had calmed him into an almost dream-like state, where nothing could touch him, and the faces were finally clear to him. The faces of the ones he lived for became a reality once more.
Shaking away these disturbing thoughts, the young elf realized he had nearly let himself succumb to the exhaustion that gripped him tightly in its deadly hold.
The drained elf now knew the direction in which he was supposed to go. It was just a matter of moving. Easier said than done. Just the prospect in itself was enough to make the elf wince in agony. Even without moving shoots of pain continued to tear at his already shredded flesh.
Slowly, he started to pull his beaten body in the direction he hoped really was the way out of the endless darkness that currently engulfed him, as he fought to keep his natural fear of it deep in his mind, forcing it back with the little will-power he had left in him.
The pain he felt was unlike anything he had ever dealt with in the past, and he nearly collapsed from it. The only thing that drove him onward was his friends and family.
He collapsed many times, but forced himself up each time and, running out of endurance, he found himself outside of the cave, the sun's bright rays shining down on his bloodied form. The light was an extreme relief after being kept in the darkness of the cave.
However, not even the light could get through to the injured elf. He noticed neither the sun nor the warmth it should have given his cold form, for loss of blood had him shivering.
Unable to go on any longer, he was only able to get a few feet on to the grassy, cool ground, before he collapsed, consciousness fleeting, stealing with it the hope of survival as his wounds continued to shed crimson.
He felt cool hands glide over him as they took care of him, trying to distill some of the agony that raced through him.
Another pair of hands gently held his hot body still as he tried to move to a more comfortable position, sweat dripping down his face, panting for breath.
A soothing voice reassuring him.
A caring face looking down at him.
Through his haze of agony and the fire that coursed through his body, he noticed only glimpses of his surroundings.
He constantly saw the world through the pain that clasped down on his mind, refusing to let go.
He had lost all sense of himself. He was unable to think, unable to know where or who he was, unable to hold on…
He slowly opened his eyes, and then closed them quickly as the headache he was greeted with throbbed painfully.
Before he had closed them he had noticed he was in a room of some sorts; not lying on the ground outside of the cave.
Wait, how was he even still alive?
Someone must have found him and brought him to their house. But where was that and why would they do this? Who were they? Were they friend or foe? Why had they bothered with him?
Taking a deep breath, the blonde elf tried to calm himself down.
And instantly regretted it.
The inhalation had sent a sharp, unexpected pain through his side.
Breathing quickly, he mentally assessed himself and found that, while his wounds were healing, they weren't even close to complete. He had far too many injuries to count; even the minor ones were still would have caused him pain if not for the major ones, since his elven healing ability had focused on his life-threatening ones. He could tell that it was being pushed hard, the wounds barely healing, and incredibly slowly, his body ached all over. However, he definitely felt better than when he had last been conscious, holding on by the thin string that had been fast unraveling.
How long had he been out for?
Questions continued to plague his exhausted mind, questions that went unanswered.
He tried to force his leaden eyelids open to get a better look at his surroundings. He was met with only darkness, unable to open them.
His worn mind pulled him back down to oblivion, where no questions could be answered; where he felt no more pain.
They hurt him, the hands that reached out of the sea of blackness to torture his already abused body, the merciless hands that he could do nothing about.
He couldn't say anything or even scream. His voice was caught in his throat like something was closed around his windpipe.
He panicked when he realized that was exactly what was happening. The hands now gripped his throat tightly, forcing him to gasp for air, only to find he could receive none.
He couldn't move; hands pinned him down forcefully.
The pain only increased.
The blonde awoke with a start, eyes wide, breathing in quick gasps, trying to sit up to escape the frightening hands.
He was horrified to see that the taunting hands had followed him out of his nightmare into reality.
He saw the pale, calloused hands force his shivering, sweat-soaked body back down.
He was too blinded by his fear to notice the gentle way the hands dealt with him, almost as if he were a child within a mother's care.
"Shh, calm down. You are safe," a soothing, unfamiliar voice in the common tongue broke through his terrified thoughts.
No longer able to put up with his struggles, his injured body forced him to go limp.
Panting heavily, he opened his eyes to see who this mystery person was.
Blue orbs met with brown ones that were filled with worry. A stranger was worried about him…
He let go of that thought as he continued to inspect this new woman. She had dark red hair, which was tied back tightly with a leather strap, showing her rounded ears. She looked to be in about her mid-to-late thirties, with a warm look on her face, a relieved smile completing her caring demeanor. She looked like she was used to hard work, her clothes being dirty and frayed at the edges; she didn't seem weak either.
"It's good to see you awake. How do you feel?" she asked him, genuinely worried.
He felt horrible, but that was the least of his concerns at the moment.
"Who…?" It was all he could manage to croak out before he started coughing harshly, his parched throat not used to talking.
Turning to her left, the woman picked up a cup of water off of the stand next to the bed and helped the injured elf drink once his coughs had subsided.
The blonde elf swallowed thickly and, after catching his breath, he tried again, "Who are you?" Even in his own ears his voice sounded almost unfamiliar with its scratchiness, unlike its usual melodious sound.
The red-headed woman looked at him in confusion. "I'm sorry, I do not speak your tongue," she explained.
He blinked at her for a moment before it registered that he had been speaking Elvish to the human.
Feeling foolish for his mistake, he repeated the question in the common tongue. He was glad that his status required him to learn the language.
"Of course, forgive me for not introducing myself. I'm Aelin," she said warmly. "I found you while I was gathering firewood. I went farther than usual when I took a break from my usual chores. You were in horrible shape and my husband agreed to let you recuperate here."
A moment of silence passed as the elf fought against losing consciousness with every ounce of his waning strength.
"May I ask you what your name is?" the woman asked politely.
If the blonde had been strong enough he would have smacked his forehead for his rudeness.
"Legolas," he managed to make his tongue work. He figured he owed the human that much… and a lot more. Being indebted to a stranger was not something he wanted. However, it seemed he did not have a choice. She had saved his life, after all.
He soon found his eyes closing by themselves and quickly reopened them, having to do so a few times, not wanting to fall back asleep yet. He had just awakened!
"Sleep, no one shall harm you, Legolas," Aelin promised in a reassuring tone. She knew how exhausted the elf was. She had also been in the middle of treating his numerous injuries when he had first awoken and she needed to continue; probably even check on the ones she had already looked at, for his earlier struggles could have reopened one – if not more.
"Hannon le," he said before falling into a healing sleep, eyes closing to prove the seriousness of his condition. He wasn't quite sure if he trusted this human yet, but, at the moment, he was too exhausted to even keep his eyes open. His tired mind hadn't even acknowledged the fact that he had once again spoke in Elvish.
The caring woman knew what he had said, though, the appreciative tone told her alone.
Minutes later a man with light brown hair and matching eyes entered the room, heavy boots thudding against the wooden floor.
"How is he?" he asked in a gruff voice, standing next to his wife.
"He finally woke up, but he was only able to stay awake for barely ten minutes," the auburn haired woman said, a tinge of fear heard in her worried voice.
"It has already been a long time, I wonder how much longer we can keep him hidden…" the man trailed off thoughtfully, looking down at the sleeping elf.
"We cannot let him be found! He will take him, Ellun," Aelin hissed, almost hysterically.
"I know, I know. Do not worry, we shall keep him safe," he reassured his wife, putting a strong arm around her waist, pulling her close.
She relaxed in her husband's hold and turned to kiss him softly.
"Still, what could have happened to him? I heard elves were really strong and fast, so how could he become this injured?" the man mused quietly.
Aelin said nothing, having no answers and the same thoughts running through her own head.
Ellun sighed heavily, sounding as though there was a heavy weight on his shoulders, which, in a way, there was.
"Well, we can ask when he wakes again. It could be danger for our village… as if enough things aren't already going on…" he added wearily.
"I know. We have already gone over this. We shall be fine," the red-head said, her turn to reassure the tough man.
The light-brown man just nodded and held his wife closer. What could they do now after all?
They both watched the blonde elf before them, wondering what they could do with him.
Hm, what could the two be so worried about…? And who exactly is going to take Legolas? We shall just have to wait and see, huh? n.n
But I'm really interested in hearing all your thoughts on this. Please do not be harsh if you do not like it or something is wrong. Just kindly let me know, and how I can fix it, 'kay? n.n Thanks. I really hope I do not screw this fic up somehow… Well, I'll try my best. n.n
I'll update as soon as I can. With volleyball and school, I don't get much time since I can't stay up late to type so… yeah.
Don't forget to leave a review and tell me what you think. n.n