See first chapter for all notes, disclaimers, and warnings.
Thanks, Kalisona, for betaing!
Edraith Gwador, To Save a Brother
Chapter 3: Battles Inside and Out
When you have been betrayed,
Scorned by the one that was dear to you,
Can you still love?
Are you able to forgive?
Are you strong enough in both will and mind,
To forgo the suffering that you will bear?
Will your spirit hold amidst the pain and anguish,
Will you defeat the dark and return to the light?
Let not the despair eat away your heart,
Let not the world scar your heart.
Keep yourself open.
Do not fall to the Shadow,
But cling to hope.
Garo estel…an ha broniatha i veth.
The elf stalked through the narrow passageway. The others noticed his approach, and seeing his dark face, took detours to avoid crossing with him.
Legolas ignored them all—in fact, he was hardly paying to anything save for his thoughts. As he rounded the corner, he nearly crashed into another elf. Roughly shouldering him aside, he continued on his way. The other elf blinked for one moment before he quickly went about his own business. At times like these, they knew Legolas' mood rivaled that of their lord's. "Or his own father's," some dared to whisper. It was best not to cross him.
Finally, he reached his private room. Striding in, he slammed the door behind him and bolted it. He quickly walked over to the window and flung it wide open, letting the rays of the setting sun stream in. Closing his eyes, the elf leaned out the window and breathed deeply, as if savoring the warmth. His tall, lithe frame was bathed in the orange-yellow glow, giving him an ethereal appearance.
If only it were so. For his thoughts were dark and troubled, as turbulent as a storm. The eyes were now half-open, revealing blue slits of ice. His shoulders moved as he breathed in a rapid pace. The slim fingers of the archer tightened on the wooden frame. The elf easily hoisted himself up the window ledge and let his legs dangle down carelessly.
It was the accursed gaze of Isildur's heir that bothered him—those keen eyes that had looked upon him with so much compassion, feeling, and pain. From the pain, it appeared that this man truly did know him, but it was not that which bothered him. It was the compassion he sensed in the man. To the Silvan elf, compassion was no better than pity.
Legolas Greenleaf was never to be pitied, ever. He thought it as vulnerability, a sign of revealing your emotions to others.
And yet…those eyes also made him uncomfortable. Something in him wrenched. His conscience? Or something else? He could not place the emotion, and it irritated him to no end.
"Who does this man think he is," he thought aloud, "that he would care to pity me?" He let out a un-Elven snort. "I need none of that from a mortal."
A wind stirred his hair, gently lifting wayward strands and sending them flying. He paid no attention to them as he continued to speak to himself. "Perhaps I was wrong about Daefuin." His eyes narrowed. "I have had enough of this mortal."
Turning so that he faced the interior of his room, his frame blocked out the light of the setting sun. Had someone opened the door in that instant, they would have been unnerved to see the dark, glittering eyes of elf.
Legolas would erase from Daefuin's captive any sign of compassion. Aye; the man would learn to hate him and fear him. And perhaps, he might even be given the chance to end the life of Isildur's heir. He softly laughed to himself, the sound menacing and dangerous.
He would rid himself of those eyes that pierced him; they would be closed in pain and would no longer look at him like that.
The elf who had once considered Aragorn as a friend and brother was now no more; he had been replaced by one who enjoyed seeing the pain of others.
Aragorn tested the chains, pulling them this way and that. They held fast, much to his frustration. He sighed and let his head drop down to his chest. Gingerly, he wiped his bleeding lip on the shoulder of his tunic, leaving a crimson streak behind. His face ached with the blows that had been inflicted upon him, but he hardly cared about them at the moment.
No, it was the pain that his friend had caused inside his heart. The way Legolas' demeanor had been stoic and detached alarmed him. There was some resemblance to the Legolas he knew, but by the Valar, what had Daefuin done with him? Was it some head wound? Or perhaps something like—
—like sorcery? The man could not bring himself to think about that.
He had no more time to reflect, for at that moment the door was unlocked, and in stepped Daefuin. He was accompanied by two elves unknown, and the Dúnadan was relieved, for he did not want Legolas to see his tears.
"You do not seem happy to see me, Firion," The Noldo quietly commented as he walked toward his prisoner.
'And why would I be?' Aragorn sarcastically thought.
"Would you be happier to see my lackey?" The elf continued. "But he does not think that he wishes to see you."
"He is not your lackey!" The man suddenly burst out. "Legolas Thranduilion would never give in willingly to you! What have you done with him?"
Daefuin let out a forbearing sigh. "Did you not already ask that question? You Númenoreans have such short memories; long may your lives be," He grinned oddly. "And I am not surprised."
Aragorn ignored the comment. "How did you come by knowledge of my heritage?" he demanded.
"Would it surprise you if I told you that I have kept watch over you and your ancestors for many years now?" the elf casually asked. "Or rather, spied upon you?" He began circling the room. "The elves call you Estel, yes? And the name of your father is Arathorn, is it not?"
The man kept his mouth shut as the elf continued to speak. "I find it strange the elves of Rivendell would welcome the heirs of Isildur. But then again, Imladris is owned by a peredhel. Yet, he has a fair daughter. Yes, Arwen, the Evenstar of her people, whom I know you hold dear."
"If you have known for this long, why now? Why not earlier?" Aragorn finally asked, not wishing to hear more. All of this disturbed him; he thought that no one had known about his existence. The secret had been close-guarded, even from him until he was twenty. For a moment he thought Daefuin would ignore him.
"It is odd that an elf, even a half-elf, would take in the child of a foolish adan." Without a warning he suddenly grasped Aragorn by his hair, painfully jerking him up. "Tell me, what does Elrond see in you that he would willingly call you one of his own?" Daefuin answered his own question. "Because of love." He spat out the last word. "Aye, love for a brat whose father could not even protect himself from an orc. Indeed, I used to have the same sort of love, until you Númenoreans—" He gave his captive a glare. "—decided to take my son's life."
"But surely this happened long ago. Are you so daft as to hate an entire—" Aragorn's sentence was cut when Daefuin sharply slapped him, swearing as he did so.
"Revenge is best served in a cold dish, I have learned."
"But where does Legolas come into all this? He has done nothing against you." The man tried to wrench away from the elf holding him. "Tell me what you have done to him!"
"Hold still!" Daefuin rough cuffed him upside the head. "And keep silent."
Aragorn decide to obey; he was getting nowhere. Dropping his head down, he bit his lip.
"Much better," the elf softly said, looking him up and down. "Now, you do realize you will be a guest for a very long time here?"
"Nay, I do not. Nor do I wish to be a guest here." His temper got the best of him, and he spat out the word guest. "I have done no grievance against you."
"No, you have not," Daefuin sighed condescendingly. "Have I not already told you why you are here, adan? You are here, paying for the sins of your forefather, and the rest of your kin."
Cold grey eyes gleamed. "And when I—and Legolas—are quite through with you," his lips curved into a smile. "There won't be any of you left. Your people, with no leader, will scatter. And not a single Heir of Isildur will ever get a chance to sit on that white pedestal in Minas Tirith!"
The mocking laugh came again. Aragorn shuddered and closed his eyes at his revelation. Never before in his life had he ever met someone who filled with, with—
Anger. Bitterness. Yes, bitterness. Despite the harsh bite of the words and the cold declarations he heard, they were tinged with bitterness so old and deep it made him pity the elf.
"Daefuin," he softly said, opening his eyes. "I don't know what makes you think that my people are littler better than orcs, but I do know that you are making a mistake. I cannot speak for or against the actions of those that came before me, but—" he carefully chose his next words. "You cannot live your life this way. It will kill you."
"Trying to be all noble and wise, are we?" The elf was not moved in any way. "A good try, but futile." His hand clamped down on the man's throat. "Your pretty words will get you nowhere. Nor will they get you anywhere with Legolas. He is under my power, understand? Nothing you say will move him to help you."
The ranger's spark of hope dimmed a little at this, but he shoved those thoughts away, unwilling to believe his friend was forever lost to that which was good. "How long will you be keeping me here?" he demanded, not really wanting an answer. His voice was strained, for the other had not released his hold on his throat.
A chuckle answered him. "Long enough for me to know everything about you." Daefuin's eyes glittered. "To know what you hate, and what you fear."
Aragorn idly wondered if all those who were deranged loved making these sorts of threats. It was not the first time he had encountered such people, but never before had he heard it from an elf, who sounded like he actually meant it.
Perhaps it was stating the obvious, but…he was in deep trouble. Very deep. Neither his brothers nor his father would be here to help him. Perhaps it was bad of him to think so, but he hoped he would die before the worst could happen to him. And Legolas…
Fear, despair, and heartache rose up in his throat and threatened to choke him. What of his friend? Was he in a pit so deep that even Aragorn could not reach him?
The sound of Daefuin's laughter grated in his ears. Aragorn squeezed his eyes tightly shut, wanting to block out this dark place, the sounds, and the horror of it all.
Who knew what awaited him?
Legolas still sat on the windowsill, occupied with the task of fletching his arrows. His fingers were agile and used to this sort of work. The knife in his right hand flashed and gleamed in the fading sunlight.
Darkness had always disturbed him. He would always prefer the sunlight to the moonlight, the golden rays to the silvery shadows. Perhaps he should have been born Vanyar.
Then why do you persist in living in this place? A little voice taunted him.
Because I have nowhere else to go, he replied to himself. It was true; he dared not show his face in Rivendell, and he did not want to face his father either. In his heart he knew that Thranduil would not be pleased to discover what his son had been up to. He blew his breath out, making the feathers on his arrow quiver lightly.
Stop thinking such thoughts! He scolded himself. You work with Daefuin now. You cannot show such weakness.
It must have been that man. For weeks Legolas had done what his leader told him, without blinking an eye or showed concern. And now some upstart whelp that Daefuin had a vendetta against showed up with those queer eyes and turned his world upside down.
In his agitated state he nicked his finger and swore loudly. Resisting the urge to throw the arrow out the window, Legolas swiveled around and slammed the projectile against the desk, letting his knife clatter to the ground. He pressed down on the cut with his other hand, knowing that in a few hours, it would be gone without a trace.
Blood welled up between his fingers, dripping down. He pressed harder, not even flinching at the pain. He had taken far worse than this in his lifetime. The cut was deep and stung, but it would heal. He let his thoughts overtake him.
Daefuin would wait a few weeks before killing the man. Then, he would summon Legolas to do it. He would be quick, and death would actually be a mercy to that man.
And then he would forget that he ever existed.
Legolas shakily breathed in. He was no longer the elf he had once been; things had changed, and now he was who he was.
But one small part of him, that part that stubbornly rebelled, cried out against all that he had done, was doing, and would do.
The accusations rose one by one until they crowded his mind. Quite forgetting his cut, Legolas pressed his hands over his face and gritted his teeth.
He hated these condemning thoughts! Hated, hated, and hated them! The more he bent to Daefuin's will, the more they would not be silenced. They only clamored louder. Shut up! He screamed at himself. You have no hold over me! I won't listen. I will not!
Somehow, he managed to viciously shove them away, and he felt a bit better. Slowly, the elf released hands and looked down at them. Blood stained them both, and he could also feel the sticky residue on his face. Calmly, he walked over to the basin the sat in a corner of the room. He dipped his hands into the water, washing the stains off. He splashed the water onto his flushed face, ridding himself the blood.
If only guilt was so easily washed away. The inside sins still clung to him.
Legolas looked up, water dripping down his face, neck, and the front of his tunic. The silver-blue eyes were distant and clouded, and his breathing sounded loud in the small confines.
Don't think about what you are doing, Legolas, he told himself. The quicker you are through with this, the better. Just—don't-think.
But though consciences can be ignored, they cannot be forever silenced. How Daefuin did it, he would never know. But he was not Daefuin.
And that was what Legolas hated the most.
Garo estel – Have hope
An ha broniatha i veth – And you will endure to the end.
Firion – mortal man
Peredhel – half elf
Adan – man
A/N: Poor ranger. :) But he will make it out alive. Just promise me none of you will tell his family…
A/N #2: You may have noticed that Legolas is rather movie-versed in his personality. It's because this was my first impression of him when I watched FOTR—Moria, to be exact—and for the first few weeks, I was rather (or, extremely) obsessed with him. Very bad of me, I know. But it was this elf (the Legolas I'm writing in this story) that introduced to me the wonders of the Lord of the Rings. Therefore, in all my longer stories about Legolas, his personality will reflect that of the movies more. Meaning not so light-hearted…
A/N #3: I know—this chapter was looooong overdue! I'm quite sorry about that. So, for those of you who've waited very, very, long, my give you my sincerest apologies. It was bad of me, but RL was also to blame.
A/N #4: For those of you who were waiting for the angst, torture, h/c, etc, you're going to have to wait longer. This was more a transitional chapter. It's been titled such because Legolas is fighting himself, and Aragorn is fighting Legolas and Daefuin.