Chapter One - Awake

So this is what hell felt like.

Alone in a dark, windowless room, there was no way, even for his elvish eyes, to see anything in this cell. He didn't even know where the door was.

Sitting alone in the darkness, Legolas relived those fateful moments where he was taken.

It had all started at Helm's Deep. He had been quite content to follow Gandalf there, but then he saw the host with his own eyes. He knew there and then that Theoden's host could not break the lines of Isengard. And, while he had tried to keep up his usual distant exterior, the small part of his heart that was possibly the most cynical part of him (and that was saying something) had broken out of its confines that the elf tried so hard to maintain. And that, of course, meant that the rest of him decided that the distant exterior could, to put it simply, sod off.

Somebody who was more like his father than himself had unleashed itself that night onto Aragorn and Gimli, and Legolas had fought hard to regain the more "him" side of his personality. Legolas loved his father, but for all Thranduil's greatnesses, rationality was not one of them. And unfortunately, that weakness had shown itself in him that night. Legolas' last words to Aragorn had been despair-fuelled wrath, and to be perfectly honest, the elf knew that Aragorn's response was not entirely undeserved.

Still, however, sad though his last words to his best friend had been, they had very little to do with how he managed to end up in this situation. Somehow, under Aragorn's leadership, Theoden's soldiers were doing very well at holding back the storm of the traitorous wizard. However, Legolas' keen eyes had noticed something silhouetted against the clouds, and with dawning comprehension and horror, the elf realised the danger for what it was – Sauron, distrustful of his little white puppet, had decided to send his own most faithful servants to oversee and "aid" the Uruk-hai in their attempts to overthrow the people of Rohan. Or more accurately: the Nine had come to check that Saruman was behaving himself and being a good boy. And not hiding any special rings of power.

Legolas, being the only person in Rohan to have noticed this, including the Uruk-hai, decided that they had hidden in the clouds long enough. He wasn't exactly on speaking terms with Aragorn, never having "had the chance" to apologise to Aragorn for his earlier behaviour, shot one of them down without question. It was the ear-splitting shriek that the creature gave as it tumbled to the ground that had brought the whole battlefield to silence. Legolas looked up, and for a second his eyes met with one of them – their leader froze but for a moment, and Legolas saw, instead of eyes, two black pits of... nothing...

It was this that scared him the most that night.

As their eyes locked onto each other, Legolas realised that this leader knew that he had been travelling with the Ring-bearer, and that he held vital information about the Ring's whereabouts. If he had had any sense he would have run for the hills.

If he could have swallowed his pride.

Yet, for whatever reason, he didn't. He chose to stay and fight. Or, as the case proved to be, shoot down the Witch-King's steed, fail to notice a second one descending from behind him, get knocked forward off the battlements into a puddle surrounded by Uruk-hai, and feel a hand, so impossibly cold that it made Cahadras and the Redhorn Gate feel like a sauna by comparison, and then... nothing.

Whatever they had given him had made him feel groggy. He couldn't immediately tell that he was awake, as the room they had placed him in was so dark and impenetrable that no light could get in, no sound could get in, no smell could get in, and so the only thing that allowed him to tell reality from the horrific nightmares of endless crushing darkness was the feel of the cold hard stone on his face as he lay on his side, trying so hard to keep himself from succumbing to the terror that gripped his heart.

And his biggest regret was that the last words he had spoken to his best friend... would ever speak to his best friend... were ones of despair and anger. And he never apologised for them.

Suddenly the door opened, just a few feet from his face. There was a seemingly blinding light that streamed from the rough archway, as two orcs stood there with torches. The elf's eyes reaccustomed to the sight of light, as though it was something he had totally forgotten.

"Come," one of them said, as the other freed him and hauled him to his feet. "The Dark Lord wishes to speak with you."