Has nothing to do with my other LOTR fic. Please enjoy, and know that 5 reviews per chapter are what keep my posting.

rated M for later chapters.

Mellon nins, even if your reviews are flames they give me a good laugh and something to read. I do not get offended by personal opinions. you should always share them if you have them. it's called free speech...or press in this case.


Never had such a storm raged through a spring day. One moment it had been sunny and bright –a perfect day for travelers- and the next dark as night, rain so heavy it seemed to be pushing you into the ground. So heavy it was as if you were blind.

It had pushed men off the streets of the city and into homes and stores to await the end of the intense storm. Which was partially the reason the tavern was so full of bodies.

Nearing thirty men had taken to the bar or the tables to drink as they wait, drink aside the storm.

Surprisingly, only a handful of them were drunk. They clung to the bar to support themselves as more and more ale was brought. Their slurred song rose high and loud echoing around the room as they swung back and forth in rhythm.

It went something along the way of:

"I was but a lonely travel'r

And she was a quite a lovely maiden.

Don't tell my wife,

But this lovely maiden, I'm a' dating!

–Very much slurred-

The sober ones only laughed and waved them away.

Despite the darkness outside, the tavern inside was brighten by lanterns –bright enough to read- that hung from the rafters.

The smell of the tavern –cedar, sweat and ale- seemed to be seen by those lanterns, but truly it was only the dust that circled there.

Near the window sat a table currently occupied by six travelers, the rain outside stained it black. A candle flickered in the middle, casting eerie shadows over half drank mugs of mead. It was four hobbits, a wizard and a man –a king- who at the time was dressed as a commoner.

Frodo somewhat disturbed by the drunken song was gazing out the window as it was pounded relentlessly by the winds and rain. Aragorn whom sat nearest him had turned towards the bar and was laughing enthusiastically at the song, clapping his hands. At the end there was a cheer from the tavern and ale mugs toasted.

Aragorn rose his too towards the bar with a hearty bellow of approval. Even Merry, Pippin and Sam were laughing at the drunken antics. Frodo just shook his head.

"What plagues your mind, young Frodo?" the hobbit's eyes looked to the kind eyes of the wizard. Even though the elder had to shout for Frodo to hear over the clapping, bellowing of self-made songs and cheering –which in a part were made from the other hobbits and Aragorn- his voice was filled with gentleness.

"I'm worried for our absent friends, Master Gimli and Legolas" his eyes shone the concern his voice hid. Gandalf laughed and puffed momentarily on his pipe. Frodo turned back to the window looking almost longingly into its depths. Gandalf realized he was looking at his own reflection. "I do hope they were not caught in this storm!"

It was just then the door to the tavern swung open and the noise of the men were drown by the sound of roaring thunder and rain. A short bundle of cloaks struggled to close the storm behind him, finally –dripping wet- he made his way over to the table the friends sat at.

The songs and voices continued on, but now Aragorn and the hobbits had set aside their provoking to watch the figure draw nearer. Finally as the bundle grew near it flung aside the cloaks, beard dripping Gimli shuddered off the rain like a dog and wiped the water off his sleeves messily with an audible grunt.

"Blasted rain." Their eyes were full of smiles.

"Master Gimli!" came the chorus of hobbit cries, all four flung themselves to him not caring that his –sticky with rain- beard clung to their faces as they embraced him. "Hello, lads…tis good to lay eyes on your smiling faces after all this time!" When the hobbits finally let go, Aragorn stood to embrace his friend, after a moment they offered him a set, which he struggled into. He took a drink greedily.

"Tis good to see you, Master Dwarf" Gandalf said, silently toasting the return of his companion. Frodo's face was full of relief and pleasure.

"And you, Wizard."

"Say, Gimli. Where's Legolas?" it was Merry who spoke and the young hobbit found himself on the receiving end of many eyes, which he shifted uncomfortably under.

"Aye, lad. Tis a good question." The silence at the table lasted a few moments, it was Aragorn whom spoke first.

"What do you mean by that?" The dwarf was still attempting to ring out the remaining water in his long, rust colored hair.

"I passed through Mirkwood on my journey here, but when I asked where the elf was they said the young Prince had left the day prior" Another puff of smoke from Gandalf's pipe festered in front of the graying wizard's face.

"Surly he would have beat us here then, he should have arrived two days ago… if I do the math correctly." This time it was wizard who received the companies eyes, he met the gazes equally.

"What if… what if his horse stumbled and fell?! Or he got attacked by Orcs?! Or he's injured somewhere!? Or-!" Aragorn slapped his hand on the table with a loud thud that shook Pippin from his rant. –Surly it would have gone on and on.-

"Pippin! Forget not whom you're speaking of here! This is Legolas! He can take care of himself!"

"Sure, lads! I'm sure he's fine!" they fell quite none admitting to the seed of worry that grew in the pits of their stomachs. Gandalf saw the fear in the eyes of his friends even as they turned their heads downwards to stare deep into the brown of their ale's. He waved his hand, scattering the smoke, to wave the topic away.

"Come now, friends! We've all traveled to reunite! After all wasn't it this very week only a year ago that we succeed in destroying the ring?" their faces perked and Gimli slammed a fist on the table causing the mugs to tremor.

"Aye, indeed it was!"

"Now, now… if I remember correctly it was Master Frodo and me who destroyed it!" Sam piped up a gleeful, impish expression spreading across his face.

"Nay-!"

"Twas not, Sam!"

"Hush, hobbit! Without us it would have been entirely impossible!" they lost track of whom was speaking in the frenzy of humorous bantering. Aragorn –enveloped in a large grin- reached across the table to ruffle Sam's hair, a blast of laughter overtook the table. Finally it died away.

"So Aragorn? What of the Miss's?" Gimli said suddenly "how does the fate of marriage fare?"

"Yes, Aragorn! What of your kingdom?" Frodo asked, eyes twinkling in enthusiastic interest. Aragorn chuckled and opened his mouth to speak only to be interrupted by a loud shout that pierced the song and sound of the tavern like a knife, it grew so quiet –so sudden- that their ears pounded.

The door flung open, everyone strained to see.

A fat man entered, and closed the door flamboyantly behind him with a flourish of his thick fingered, ringed hand. So many glittering, gaudy rings straddled his fingers it seemed to cover his knuckles completely.

He was dressed in a dirty purple silk tunic, much of what a gypsy would wear. Greasy black hair hung low over his shoulders, peaking out of a wrinkled and tore hat. Despite rings on his fingers and the ring in his ear the man looked quite poor.

He gave a greedy, sneer of a smile. He was so repulsive that the tavern reminded silent, unable to remove their eyes from him. He bowed low, fingers sweeping the ground.

"Gentlemen" he purred. Blackened yellow teeth glittering in the lanterns. "I but a humble merchant, here to sell my goods this stormy day, would it hurt to give me but a moments worth of your valuable time?" the tavern reminded silent, finally a voice from the back:

"What are you selling?" after that the man came alive, like the staring of a fire. The kindles took and ignited, the man smiled wider and stomped to the back where the man had spoken, throwing his arm around the shoulders of the speaker.

"Thank you for inquiring, friend!" Aragorn snorted in humor at the man's exaggerated antics and shared an exasperated look with his companions. "In fact, tonight…I'm selling company!" it took a moment for the tavern to understand, the mummers and whispers engulfed the room, disbelief.

"Company?" Gimli thundered eyes wide "as in…"

"That's correct, Dwarf! As in Bed Chamber slaves!" the tavern fell silent once again as their disbeliefs were confirmed, Gandalf –appalled- had had enough.

"Hobbits, friends…we are leaving" he stood, the fat man threw his hands up in surrender, eyeing the elder suspiciously, the creases in his tunic shimmering. He stood in front of the wizard who was a good two heads above him.

"Hold fast, my friend. No harm was intended! At least see my slave! That is all I ask! Just see!" Gandalf shook his head, grey hair swinging. The wizard looked down, the hobbits hiding behind his cloak, Aragorn and Gimli stood near eyeing the seller as well.

"No…thank you, man. Move aside" a clap.

"Men!" the fat man ignored the request to move aside, he clapped his hands once again loudly –it matched the thunder-. The door swung open again and two more men entered, dragging another. The men of the tavern stared wide eyed as the two new men dragged a man to his feet, a burlap sack over the slaves head.

Thick rusting chains wrapped around the man's wrists and ankles rendering the man's movement nil. His top ware bare, leggings hanging loose and dangerously low on his hips, shoes well gone. The cuts and bruises that littered the torso of the bare man's pale chest resembled finger marks and whip slashes. And what was worse…bite marks.

More gasps. Merry whimpered and Pippin grabbed his arm reassuringly.

"A man? You try and sell us no woman, but a MAN?" the tavern tried to protest as one, not a single woman resided in the drinking room.

"That poor fool" Aragon whispered, eyes horrified.

"This makes me sick…Gandalf I wish to leave please" the wizard tore his eyes from the slave –whom was too weak to stand on his own- and eyed the hobbits with pity.

"Aye, lads. As do I" they made their way towards the door, as they turned their backs to the men there was a gasp so loud it froze them in their steps. The gasp was one of pleasure, not horror as it had been before. They turned back out of curiosity.

The burlap sack had been pulled away, as it was drawn over and away from the head thick, blonde hair spilled out over pointed ears. A soiled, bruised, dried bloodied face lolled sideways softly, lips thin, pale and parted. The man fastened a gag around the lips hiding them.

Throughout all the brutality inflicted on the poor elf, he still shimmered in beauty. The fat man placed a hand under the unconscious slave's chin and directed his face towards the bar.

Frodo, the only –of the fellowship-whom could see recognized him immediately. He muttered horrified

"Legolas!" Gimli blinked as he too recognized his friend. He opened his mouth to bellow but Aragorn slapped a hand over the dwarf's mouth

"No, Gimli! Say not his name! They must not know who he is…especially that he is a Prince!" the King withdrew his hand, the dwarf's angry pants wet on his hand. "Stay calm, friends" he warned his companions.

"How dare they!?" Gandalf said voice husky with rage "Legolas is no slave!" his staff slammed on the floor heatedly. The seller ignored him, he caressed Legolas' cheek.

"Yes, he IS a man…" a mummer from the crowd "but have you ever seen one so fair?" Both Gimli and Aragorn tensed equally as the man's hand traveled down to the elf's pale chest. "Trust me, friends. My men and I tested the goods before we brought him here" the seller's eyes squinted seductively "you should hear his pitiful screams…they're most…intoxicating" he moved his hand to the elf's hair "you could own this pet. Forever at your mercy and your bed side!"

Aragorn's chest heaved, he too saw Gimli shaking from rage. He turned to Gandalf and the Hobbits, the young four looked on the verge of tears. Sam blinked away the mist in his eyes, they momentarily blocked out the crowd's desperate whispers.

"W-what does h-he mean by tested t-the goods?" Aragorn placed a heavy hand on the hobbit's head, with a sad eye cast upon him.

"Why don't we just break him free?" Merry cried, slightly too loud, Gimli hushed him with his hand

"I'm afraid tis not easy as all that, lad. These are slave traders, they have diplomatic immunity. They are but in my mind to the common kidnapper."

"And yet in the name of Law, Legolas is now his." Aragorn completed defeated "it is difficult to understand, but soon I will inform you more…Gandalf, take the innocent ones to the Inn. We will free Legolas." Gandalf nodded, eyeing the chained, disgraced elf once more, and then pulled Aragorn into a close embrace.

"Do so, Aragorn." he said, he lead the shivering hobbits outside into the storm, the crowd nor sellers cared in the least. All eyes were on the captive. Gimli could wait no longer.

"Nay, Man! Have you no shame?!" His hands felt empty without his ax, he felt Aragorn place a hand on his shoulder. The tavern hushed and stared at the rage trembling dwarf. Aragorn's hand grew tighter as he feared the dwarf would lurch into a brawl prematurely.

"How much do you ask?" a man called "for I would like the company of someone of such beauty" there were a chorus of 'Aye!' A hot tear steamed down Aragorn's face as his friend moaned in pain. The pitiful noise seemed to excite the crowd further.

The thin layer of sweat on the elf shimmered into a soft glow.

"Do not be scared off by the price, men! Although it is high, you can see the value before you! I am asking eighty silver pennies!" a gasp.

"I could by a herd of horses for that such amount!"

"That's far too high!"

"No one could afford that!"

A chorus of disbelief arose in the room, maddened at the slave just out of their reach.

"Surly" the seller ran his fingers lightly over the band of Legolas' leggings slowly, the elf stiffened and writhed away in disgust. His muscles creasing his skin and his lithe body straining against the chains. His hair shimmered. A soft moan of displeasure muffled in the gag. "Surly, men…that price is not too much to pay for this" there was a moment of strained silence, they could hear Legolas panting against the cloth in his mouth, his injuries shortening his breath.

"A preview?" a man shouted, he stood and pushed his way to the front, ale in hand. "Touch him." Aragorn's hand yanked Gimli back harshly as the dwarf lurched. He shook his head

"Not yet my friend, trust me…he is still too close to Legolas. And a knife in his belt…I shall not risk it"

"Nay, Aragorn, I cannot stand it any longer-" Aragorn interrupted him with an angry whisper, hatred dripped in his voice like venom.

"Gimli, you must!" the dwarf tensed at the tone, Aragorn bowed his head "forgive, master dwarf. Tis not you I am angry at." A shout of pleasure arose from the crowd they turned, the fat man had lifted Legolas' face to his own, and was licking a solitary tear of shame off the pale face.

Gimli and Aragorn's stomach's churned as one.

With rough fingers, the man ripped the gag from the elf's mouth and kissed him fully, the crowd cheered loudly eyes glittering in lust. The kiss was hard -full of desperation- violent. Legolas chest heaved in fear. The fat fingers found the back of Legolas' hair and roughly held him in place.

When the seller pulled away, he delivered backhand slap that sprawled the elf onto his side, the cry from Gimli was drown in the enthusiasm of shouts and laughs from the crowd of men.

The seller's two men reached down and hauled Legolas to his feet, his knees trembling slightly.

A small trail of blood trailed down his chin. The crowd cheered again but was cut short suddenly as the elf spit in the man's face.

"Amin feuya ten' lle, Nadorhuan!" the elf shouted, eyes dangerous, the fat man's face crinkled as he laughed he paused to wipe Legolas' spit off his cheek. Gimli swelled with pride a triumphant smirk tugging at his beard, he turned to Aragorn.

"What did the elf say?"

"Something along the lines of you disgust me, cowardly dog" Gimli's smile grew further but vanished as a loud smack filled the room, they spun back to the commotion. The elf was sprawled on the ground once more, skin trembling. The seller stood over him then –like a cat- pounced on him, pinning the small elf to the ground.

Legolas squirmed, letting loose an angry scream. The crowd moved closer to see.

The man had straddled the elvenprince, his hand lingering on his thin thigh. He sneered and with his other hand buried his fingers deep into the elf's hair roughly tearing his head back and slamming it into the wooden floor.

Black dots swam across Legolas' vision, he moaned. Aragorn and Gimli stood terrified, almost unable to move.

"Don't touch me! Amin uuma merna ta!" -I don't want this- he thrashed against the heavy man atop him, eyes terrified yet proud. The man licked his lips and leaned on his pray, trailing his tongue along the deep caverns of Legolas' collarbone. Somewhere deep in the crowd,

"Come now, Merchant! Show all of him to us!" and Legolas eye's found his friends. They widened in recognition –as he had not seen them before- then narrowed in shame, he turned his head away, a tear spilling down his face.

And Aragorn could take no more.

Before Gimli could blink, the king hand ripped off the fat man and tossed him aside, off his friend. He was pummeling the man with his fists before his mind could register his actions.

The two men whom had dragged in the slave had their knifes drawn in an instinct,

"Blasted rapists" Gimli raged under his breath, this was why Aragon had told him to wait. He managed to tackle one knife wielder, but the other he could not.

He slashed out at the dwarf as he thundered past, the blade slicing deep into the thick arm, hot as blood spilled. Then with a loud bang he had opened the tavern door and fled into the storm. Aragorn pulled away from the unconscious merchant, whom was bloodied and limp, amazed he had found the self-control to stop the beating before the man lay dead at his feet.

The man Gimli had tackled lay limp as well. The dwarf had his arm grasped in his hand, blood spilling from his fingers. He drew the strewn knife off the floor and positioned it over the man's neck, intent on ending his life.

"Gimli, no! Halt!" Aragorn's shout paused Gimli "You cannot, he is beaten" the dwarf knew it was true and threw aside the knife in disgust, holding his injured arm close.

"Are you all right?" Aragon asked breathless, eyeing his friends wound. Gimli's eyes softened

"Aye, I will be. But I am not your concern at present." Aragorn turned and dropped to his knees besides Legolas who was panting –close to the verge of tears- and trying to sit up.

"Legolas! How do you fare?" he gently brushed back his friends hair, when the elf's chained hands refused to let him do it himself. Gimli and Aragon stiffened as Legolas shied away from the touch.

"Cormamin lindua ele lle, Oio naa elealla alasse'…but please do not touch me" –my heart to see thy, ever is thy sight a joy- Aragorn recoiled softly, pity on his face

"Mellon nin, how did this happen?" –my friend- the king struggled to take off the chains, Gimli dug in the fat man's pocket until he found the key. With a snap and a crash the chains fell free from the raw, bloodied flesh. Gimli flinched at the angry, oozing skin beneath.

"Nay, I wish not to speak of it now" Aragorn helped his friend stand, who swayed violently. Embarrassed a blush erupted across his cheeks as he saw the crowd still lingering in the tavern.

"Have you no shame, lads?!" Gimli shouted threaten in his voice, he shook a fist at the crowd "How dare you buy another being for your pleasures?!" the crowd backed up and busied themselves with their mugs. The silence was awkward, Legolas' eye's burned with tears.

His many wounds were irritating his flesh. He suddenly felt a rush of warmth and looked upwards at Aragorn whom had stripped off his outer tunic and draped it over Legolas' shoulders to hide his bare, abused skin.

"I need to get out of here, Aragorn…now" Aragorn went to place a hand on the elf's back to lead him out but Legolas flinched away, eyes flashing with fear, sorrow and anger. The man recoiled again, sympathy deep in his features. Aragorn turned to Gimli worry was there too in the dwarf's rough face.

They followed the elvenprince outside into the pouring rain, only then -when Legolas could blame the rain- did he let himself cry. His shoulders shook and he nearly collapsed, Gimli lurched forward to steady his friend but Aragorn held him back. A small shake of his head. When their eyes went back to where their friend had stood, only empty rain met them.

Legolas had vanished into the storm.

"Nay! Fool! Come back!" Gimli shouted over the rain running a few feet into the darkness "Legolas!" he spun in a small circle squinting into the pour.

"Gimli! Hold!" Aragorn caught up to his friend "he needs the trees now, friend…he is far beyond our help!" Gimli threw up his hands causing a spray of water, both were drenched to the bone. Clothes hanging and soaked.

"Nay, Aragorn! He needs us! He's been through hell and back! He could barely stand! He was hurt!" Aragon looked deep into the storm.

"LEGOLAS! LEGOLAS, COME BACK!" he shouted, the rain washed away his voice. "Gimli, there is nothing we can do here! Not in this storm!"

"If it was one of us hurt, he'd search the ends of time for us, no matter what the weather! You call yourself a true friend!"

"Gimli, I forgive your harsh words, since it is fear for a friend that plagues them! But think rationally, Legolas does not wish to be found! We will not find him until he comes to us!" The wound on Gimli's arm stung in the rain, he found himself sobbing. Embarrassed he tried to hide his face, but as he could only see his dearest of friends –even brother- subjected to such pain and humiliation, he could only weep harder.

Deep cries left his throat and he shook in the wet, Aragorn steadied him. Emotion raw in his eyes but hidden in his face.

"Steady friend, everything will be all right." Dripping with the storm Aragorn held his friend as he wept, his eyes still searching the veil of rain and darkness. "We will search the moment the storm subsides. I swear of it. I will let no friend of mine suffer alone."

Nearby in the forest, the trees –from grief- were dying.


5 reviews or more to continue.

thank you for reading even if you do not review, I appreciate you taking the time to -hopefully- enjoy this.

let me know what you think may happen, or any suggestions.

and sorry but have any of you noticed in the FOTR movie when Legolas helps Gimli into the boat? aww it's so cute! :)

Yours Truly,

EACT

Stay fans, my friends 3