The Games We Play
Elves have been disappearing from the forest of Mirkwood, and when Legolas goes missing Aragorn is summoned to pick up his trail. Who has been capturing the elves, and for what purpose? Aragorn/Legolas Friendship/Angst NO SLASH.
A/N: It's boring but we all have to do it: The characters from LotR belong to the Tolkein Estate, I am just borrowing them for the purposes of entertainment, I make absolutely no money from this. Any OC's belong to me if you want to use them, just ask first.
Elvish will be shown in Sindarin followed by the translation ie: "Mae Govennen" /Well Met/.
The morning was unusually clear for so close to winter but the air still had a crisp, chill feeling. The first of the frosts were still clinging to the grass under the shadows of the trees, as if desperately trying to escape what little warmth the sun provided.
Two elves crouched on branches, high above the twisting path that ran through the forest. They were silent hunters, clad in colors and hues of the forest, making them nearly invisible, save for those who knew where to look. Even their weapons were made to reflect nature, both carried deep mahogany bows with gentle curves that blended perfectly with the branches around them.
The forests of Mirkwood were a dangerous place, occupied by giant spiders, wargs and orcs so injuries and fatalities, sadly, were not uncommon. This time however, entire elven parties were just vanishing without a trace, never to be seen again. There had been whispers in nearby Lake Town, that a village to the north beyond the mountain were sending men into Mirkwood, returning in greater numbers than they entered with. When a group of six men were spotted by the sentries, the Elven King of the realm acted immediately, sending out several small parties to scout the area.
A piece of bark crunched as one of the elves, crept along a tree limb. Cursing himself inwardly for his inattention he froze on the spot, the only movement was a gentle sway of his dark hair in the breeze.
"Sedho" /Quiet/ a whisper came from the leaves beside him, barely audible save for elven ears. A curt nod and an apologetic look was the only reply before he made sure the men had not heard him and started creeping along the branch again. Elves were well known for their stealth, especially the wood elves who were at home among the trees, but as winter was fast approaching the trees were starting to prepare themselves for the cold months ahead, the bark was hardening and the leaves thinning.
They had to be careful.
After learning the position of the men the two elves had watched them silently from the trees for several hours, hoping to overhear what their business was in the forest without having to confront them. No such opportunity had been given to them, the men had been almost as silent as the elves above them, as if they were constantly trying to sneak up on some sort of prey.
"This is hopeless" whispered the dark haired elf, once again crouching on a branch, "We are not going to learn anything from them up here".
"Be patient Calanon, there is no sense rushing in if we can learn from afar" replied his companion, his dark hood pulled high over his head to hide his golden hair. "They are still two days away from the Halls, we have time".
"Aye, you are right" whispered Calanon "Goheno nin" /forgive me/. He trusted his companions judgment, they had been friends for several centuries now, ever since Calanons father had been slain by orcs and his mother succumbed to grief. The king had taken Calanon under his wing and he had become an adopted part of the Royal family. The golden haired elf looked over at his companion and gave him a reassuring smile, Calanon was a brave warrior, there was no doubt there but his mind was easily overcome with emotion, and in turn he often made decisions without thinking. "Let us give them a few more miles before we take action then". With that he stood up once more and went to leap to a branch on an adjacent tree. Before his feet even left the branch there was a sharp TWANG! that pierced the air and Calanon fell with a heavy thud to the ground.
Legolas barely even had time to register what had happened, one minute his friend had been standing on a branch in front of him, the next he had vanished. He immediately crouched down on the limb concealing himself.
"Throw your weapons to the ground" A voice suddenly commanded from below. "Now, or we kill your little friend here". Legolas peered through the thinning leaves to see his companion Calanon sitting on the ground, a knife to his throat and an arrow embedded in his thigh. The men had spotted them, 'there goes our chance of secrecy' he thought dryly.
"Drego Legolas! Hain u-'rogon" /Flee Legolas! I do not fear them/ yelled Calanon to the trees, his reward was a swift punch across the side of his face, the movement causing the knife at his throat to nick his skin. Legolas winced in sympathy for his friend but Calanon did not make a sound, he simply stretched his jaw slightly before turning back and sending a chilling stare at his captors.
"You will not speak that tongue here!" boomed the man who had administered the blow, before stepping back motioning for two other men holding ropes to step forward. Legolas thought for a moment, he was not sure of these strangers intentions, obviously they were hostile, but perhaps they could be reasoned with.
"Lau Mellon-nin" /No my friend/ Legolas said before quickly unstrapping his quiver and throwing it along with his bow and knives down to the ground. It may not have been the best decision, but he would not risk his friends life. It was looking like they were going to have to confront these men eventually anyway, Calanon was right, it was seeming as though they really would learn nothing just by observing them. With that he dropped silently and gracefully from the tree in front of them, pulling his hood back on the chance they would recognize his face.
"What is your business here?" demanded Legolas as one of the men stepped forward, mentally noting not to speak in Elvish to the men lest he receive the same treatment as Calanon.
"YOU are not in a position to ask questions elf" the man spat, motioning towards Calanon who was doing his best not to wince as two men pulled him to his feet and bound his hands behind his back. "I would ask why you have been following us?" Legolas was slightly taken aback, how did these men know they were being tracked? How long had they known they were being followed?. He cursed himself for not paying closer attention, normally men would have oblivious to their presence in the trees, but somehow these men had detected them. They seemed to have knowledge about the ways of the wood elves, yet it was quite obvious they did not recognize the prince of the realm. Curious.
"We have not been following you, we were simply hunting game when you crossed our path " A blatant lie, but it did hold some truth in case these men truly did know about his kin. The bows both elves carried were used for hunting from the trees, they were not like the great war bows of the Galadhrim, and these part of the woods were teeming with deer.
"Do you take me for a fool!" The man roared, his face turning a brighter shade of red in anger. He took a deep breath, calming himself "It is no matter, you will come with us" he stated matter of factly. Legolas eyes widened slightly, he had hoped to talk his way out of this, he had often been praised for his diplomatic skills, but that option was quickly becoming moot, they were barely allowed to speak without being threatened. Something was becoming clear though, these men did not know as much about elven ways as Legolas first assumed, it seemed they simply knew how they moved through the trees, like they had been taught how to track them down.
With diplomacy now out of the question, his next instinct was to fight, however with Calanon bound and injured and with his own weapons out of reach they would have little chance against six fully armed men. The man, who Legolas assumed to be the leader of the party, almost seemed to read his mind and he snatched up his quiver from the ground.
"Don't even think about trying anything elf" he warned. "Gathor, Hadrin, bind him" he ordered as 2 men stepped forward. Legolas stole a glace at his companion, he had no choice but to submit.
"What are you doing?" Calanon cried as he watched Legolas stand there making no protest to being bound. Legolas heart went out to him, he knew Calanon would be thinking it foolish to just surrender. When he had become a part of Legolas family he had made an unspoken vow to protect him by life or death, but what Calanon failed to realize was that Legolas had made the same vow towards him. Although the situation was not favourable at the moment, he hoped in the long run his risk would pay off.
"It is the only way my friend" he sighed.
"Quiet both of you!" sneered the leader of the men before walking over to Calanon. "I will not warn you again", he gave a smile that sent a shiver down Calanons spine before reaching down and yanking the arrow from his thigh. Calanon let out a cry from the unexpected action.
"Do not touch him!" spat Legolas, barely containing his anger as he struggled against his bonds and the men holding him at either side.
"You are a slow learner aren't you?" said the leader in a mocking tone as he spun around to face him, and in one quick motion his fist connected with Legolas stomach, "I do believe I told you to be quiet!". Legolas would have doubled over in pain had it not been for the two men firmly holding his arms at either side. Calanon watched on in horror, trying not cry out himself as blood now flowed freely down his leg. The leader glanced at the blood soaking Calanons leggings before ripping a strip of cloth from the elfs own cloak and tying it around his thigh.
"We need you to arrive at our destination alive and well elf, you won't be good sport if you don't".
All six men erupted into laughter.