Disclaimer: Only borrowing Tolkienís characters for my fantasy.


Inside the Darkness

Part 3 - First Steps

By Morgana

       

Legolas' brow was covered in cold sweat. An hour ago the fever had gotten worse and he feared that the wound had grown infected. His attempt to check on the injury was stopped by Lurtz, who insisted he should rest instead. After a few more futile attempts Legolas gave in and allowed Lurtz to examine the injury.

Realizing he was utterly defenseless, he tried to keep an eye on the Uruk-Hai. Lurtz didn't appear very fond of conversation and remained quiet for most of the time, only speaking to inform him of the wound's condition or admonishing him to rest. He wondered about the Uruk-Hai; Lurtz' behavior mystified him and although he was curious to find out why the creature was acting this compassionately, he didn't dare ask that question, afraid of prompting a change in character and attitude. So he rested instead and let the Uruk-Hai take care of him.

Feeling sleepy again, he allowed himself to doze off. He felt strangely secure, being watched over by the Uruk-Hai.

       

"Nay, I won't give up that easily..."

The Elf's rambling caught his attention and he quickly returned to the fire. He had ventured outside to fill his flask, but the Elf's screams pulled him back toward the cave. He would hunt later, hoping to catch a few rabbits which he could prepare over the fire.

Blue eyes stared at him in panic. The fever had gradually grown worse and momentarily he felt at a loss as what to do. "Don't move about that much." But the Elf didn't hear him, or maybe the injured man heard something completely different, for his panic increased.

"I will die fighting you." A startled scream left the Elf's lips. "Nay, I won't betray my friends. I won't let you kill them!"

The Elf took aim at him, but the fist never made contact with his chin. "Calm yourself..." He waited for the injured Elf to grow calm and then moved closer, pulling the shivering form against him. "I don't intend to kill you or your friends. Why do you think you need to fight me?" Dazed blue eyes reluctantly met his. Then something occurred to him. "Or do you know who I am and did you fear me in the past?" He didn't like that particular thought.

"You don't fool me," whispered the Elf in an exhausted tone. "I know your dark heart."

"My dark heart?" The Elf's determined tone made him tremble. "Who am I?"

"I refuse to play your games..." panted the injured Elf softly.

"I'm not playing games!" The Elf tried to move away from him, but he didn't allow it. He kept a tight hold on the other man while addressing the Elf once more. "Tell me your name then if you do not want to tell me mine."

"You already know my name..."

He frowned. /This must mean we met before./ "Remind me once more."

"Legolas..."

"Legolas..." he softly repeated the name, instantly liking it. "Legolas, now tell me my name."

"Nay... I already said too much. No matter how much punishment you deal out, I won't speak again." The sweat on Legolas' brow dripped down his face.

"You should rest..." The Elf was exhausting himself. "I give you my word that you're safe."

Legolas laughed bitterly. "I won't ever trust an Uruk-Hai..." Then his eyes rolled back in their sockets and he lost consciousness.

For a brief moment he feared the Elf had succumbed to the fever, but then he realized that Legolas was merely sound asleep. "Uruk-Hai..." The word sounded familiar, but he didn't know why. So he was an Uruk-Hai? He looked down, studied the armor and paint and found that it repulsed him. Although he didn't want to leave the Elf again, he placed Legolas on the ground, covered him with the Elf's cloak and then ventured outside once more, where the rain was pouring down.

He stepped beneath the icy water and smelled the approaching snow. It wouldn't be long before a unspoiled white blanket covered this part of Middle Earth. He didn't wonder why he knew the weather was changing, he simply accepted it. Maybe it was part of being an Uruk-Hai.

The cold water washed away the last remnants of war paint on his face. Impulsively he stripped, flung the armor on to a rock and extended his arms, trying to embrace the rainy clouds. Now that the ice cold water dripped down his body he felt somewhat cleaned, almost purified, like the rain had washed away some stain he had carried most of his life. Uncertain what to think of this revelation, he reluctantly put his armor back on and returned to the cave.

He found Legolas curled up next to the fire. The cloak did little to keep the Elf warm and angry red spots showed on the bandage. The wound had opened again; a bad sign. Sighing, he dropped to his knees and removed the bandage. Angry, inflamed skin showed at the edges of the injury. /I must stop this infection from spreading further, but how do I do that?/

He opened his water flask and washed the wound. A shocked hiss echoed through the cave as Legolas returned to consciousness. "It's growing infected."

Legolas bit his lower lip and it kept him from screaming out in pain. When he had found Lurtz hovering above him, his first thought had been that the Uruk-Hai had changed his mind and was going to use his injury against him in order to learn where the Fellowship was headed. He had dreaded that moment for he couldn't reveal Aragorn's whereabouts. Aragorn and the rest of the party had moved on and he had no idea where they were currently headed.

"I need you to tell me what to do."

Legolas blinked once. Lurtz was asking him for advice? The absurdity of the moment finally pushed him over the edge. Laughing hysterically, he stared in to dark eyes. "Why do you not finish it instead? Why keep me alive? I won't betray my friends, never! What do you want from me?"

"I want you to heal..." he said calmly. "And I want you to tell me why you think I'm after your friends. I don't even know whom you're talking about."

Legolas' laughter seized abruptly. "You don't know whom I'm talking about? What game is this?"

He drew in a deep breath. "I do not know who I am. The only thing I remember is waking up near the shore."

Legolas' eyes widened. "You're playing with me... This can't be true."

"You told me I was Uruk-Hai, but I do not know what that means. In my dreams I see Orcs and Men fighting, but I never see myself. I do not know who I am."

Legolas stared at him in disbelief. "You don't know who you are? I guess it would explain why you're looking after me..."

Something inside him stirred. "You don't think I would take care of your injuries should I know my identity?"

Legolas shook his head. "You really don't know who you are?"

"Do you now also think me a liar?"

Legolas relaxed slightly. "Your name's Lurtz and aye, you're Uruk-Hai."

The name sounded hollow and not like his at all. "My name is Lurtz?"

"Aye..." Legolas suddenly felt lightheaded. Maybe it was safe for the moment to let go and rest. Lurtz seemed to have lost his memory and maybe the Uruk-Hai could be trusted... for now.

Lurtz gave Legolas a long and thoughtful glance. "Why do you fear me?"

Legolas averted his eyes. It wouldn't be wise to discuss Lurtz's deeds right now. "I'm tired."

Lurtz realized what Legolas was up to, but allowed it. "You never answered my question."

Legolas sighed deeply. "What question?"

"What do I do when the infection grows worse? I do not possess the necessary skills or means to deal with complications."

Fatigue sneaked up on Legolas, but he still managed an answer. "Rivendell, the house of Elrond..."

"Rivendell?" Somehow the word sounded familiar. "Elrond?" The name sparkled knowledge hidden deep within his mind. An image of a dark haired Elf appeared in his mind's eye and although he knew he had never been there, he knew how to get there! Where did all this knowledge come from? "Journeying there will take days."

Legolas raised an eyebrow; he hadn't expected Lurtz to know about Rivendell. What if this was an elaborate scheme and the Uruk-Hai was merely pretending to be amnesic? What could Lurtz gain from this? And would Elrond even allow the Uruk-Hai to enter Imladris? "Elrond is a healer..." Elrond might be able to fight the infection.

Lurtz considered his options. /I must do something. By staying here in his cold cave I am not helping him heal and I do not possess the means to heal him. I don't have a choice./ "We will leave at the crack of dawn."

Legolas' face contorted. "But I can hardly walk." The trip to Imladris would sap his last strength and the pain would be unbearable, trying to walk. Maybe he could use some branches as crutches?

Lurtz threw some more wood on to the fire. "Then I will help you." So far Legolas had given him several clues to his identity. He now knew his name, race and that the Elf had feared to be tortured. He didn't really like the image Legolas was painting. He had been so sure he was an honorable warrior!

Legolas shivered again, feeling cold and tired. The added wood made the fire blaze more fiercely and he tried to get closer to it, but his leg hurt too badly, stopping him.

"You should drink some water..." Lurtz handed the Elf his flask.

Legolas stared at the flask, hesitated, but then accepted it. He slowly placed it at his lips, and wavered again.

/What is he thinking? That the water is poisoned? He really doesn't trust me.../ Lurtz nodded once. "It's fresh spring water."

Legolas made his decision and drank his fill, then handed back the flask. "Thank you."

"I will provide food later." Lurtz watched the Elf who was shivering again. "Let me help." As he rose to his feet, he saw Legolas flinch back, trying to put more distance between them. He froze, contemplating his next move. "I merely want to help you get closer to the fire."

Legolas privately berated himself. As long as Lurtz didn't remember who he was there wasn't any danger. He nodded slowly, indicating he accepted the help.

Lurtz slipped his arms beneath Legolas' shoulder and back and half carried, half pulled him as closely as possible toward the fire. He caught the soft content moan that left the Elf's lips and allowed himself to smile. "Comfortable?"

"Aye..." Legolas reached for his belt and uncovered a small piece of Lembas. "Here, it will give you new strength."

Lurtz eyed the food curiously. "It's Elven food."

"Aye, here, take it. You will need it if you want to escort me back to Rivendell." Legolas had quickly decided on a plan. As long as Lurtz was willing to help he would take advantage of it. He dropped the food in Lurtz's large hands.

"You should eat your share..." Lurtz divided the Lembas equally and handed it back to Legolas. "I will provide for the next meal," he promised. He took a bite out of the Lembas and frowned. It tasted oddly sweet, but he liked the taste.

Legolas ate slowly and felt himself slip in to sleep again. The Lembas took away his hunger, but the cold remained and the fever was making him shiver.

"You should sleep now..." Legolas' eyes turned blank and Lurtz wondered about the Elf. "I don't know why you won't tell me who I am, but I will find out." Seeing Legolas shake from the cold, he sat down next to the Elf and pulled Legolas in to his arms. He carefully watched the injured leg when he buried Legolas in a warm embrace. "You must stay alive... You must tell me who I am. I will take you to Imladris and Elrond will heal you... And you will reward me by telling me everything you know about me..."


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