Disclaimer: Only borrowing Tolkienís characters for my fantasy.


Inside the Darkness

Part 12 - Capture

By Morgana

       

Lurtz maintained an icy glare when he was led in front of Ugluk. The leader of the Uruk-Hai wore his leather body armor and the white hand of Saruman was painted on his face, clearly stating his alliance. Lurtz already regretted coming here, but he couldn't go back to Rivendell now. Ugluk's glare spoke of distrust and Lurtz emitted a loud, angry growl. "Finally I managed to return. I was kept prisoner against my will."

Ugluk growled in return. "Prisoner? How did you escape?"

Lurtz met Ugluk's stare head on. "I killed several of their guards, snapped their necks and cleaved their heads." Until now he hadn't thought about explaining his return. Now he had to improvise, hoping Ugluk wouldn't smell the lies on him.

Ugluk circled him and Lurtz tensed, never breaking eye contact. Ugluk would put his loyalty to the test, not just once, but several times. If he failed, Ugluk would order him killed.

"You smell... clean, not of blood... Your hair, it's clean as well. Did you betray our ways?" asked Ugluk.

Lurtz's gaze briefly shifted to the rest of the pack. In their eyes he read suspicion as well. Had Legolas been right? Wouldn't they accept him back? "I never willingly betrayed our ways... I briefly lost my memory and I forgot who I am..."

Ugluk growled dangerously. "Tell me, who do you serve?"

Lurtz privately flinched. "Saruman." He knew what answer Ugluk wanted to hear and gave it to his leader, but his heart provided him with a different answer. /I no longer serve evil, not Saruman... It belongs to Legolas./

"I don't trust you," said Ugluk directly. "My men told me you turned against them and defended that accursed Elf."

Lurtz outwardly remained calm, but privately he burned with self hate. /I should have listened to Legolas... He was right. My heart is no longer one of the fighting Uruk-Hai. I changed./ Ugluk's sharp growl reminded him that he was supposed to explain his behavior. "As I said before, I lost my memory and I was under his spell. Once I realized what had happened I returned here."

"You will need to earn our trust again," said Ugluk, taking a step away from Lurtz. "You will stay close and obey my every order. One wrong move, one sign of betrayal, and you're dead..."

"I understand." Ugluk had let him off easy, which surprised him.

"Your knowledge of the accursed Elves might come in handy later..." Ugluk hinted, but then grew quiet again.

Two Uruk-Hai suddenly marched toward Ugluk and one of them whispered softly in to Ugluk's ear.

"Finally, our time has come..." Ugluk bared his teeth and looked at his men. "Prepare for attack. Lurtz, you will stay here until we return. Guard our camp..." Their camp consisted of a fire, a dead horse that served as a source of meat, and two tents.

"I will not fail you," vowed Lurtz, relieved that he wasn't included in the hunting party. /Legolas was right. I can no longer kill without regret or end an innocent's life. I would have betrayed myself had Ugluk ordered me to hunt with them./

Ugluk raised his arms, and called out to his men. "No mercy!"

"No mercy!" repeated the pack as they broke out in a run following Ugluk who led the way.

Lurtz watched them leave and felt worried. Where were they headed? Who were their intended victims? Thankfully Legolas was safe in his bed, watched over by Elrond.

       

Glorfindel cursed his impaired sight when Elrond's hand suddenly steadied him, preventing him from taking a fall. Asfaloth had come to a sudden stop and he had hadn't seen the low branch, too white in his grayish landscape.

"Careful, meldir." Elrond actually felt more worried than he wanted his seneschal to know. /I should have insisted you stayed at Imladris. In case of an attack you present an easy target./

Glorfindel murmured his gratitude and curled his fingers in Asfaloth's manes. "I regret being a burden on his mission."

"Never a burden," reminded Elrond Glorfindel. He guided his horse closer to Glorfindel's and couldn't bring himself to remove his hand from the small of Glorfindel's back. His men might wonder about his concern for Glorfindel, but Elrond decided it wasn't worth tormenting himself over. Maybe it was time to probe Glorfindel's emotions and a possible interest in him. /I will reveal my feelings to him when we return to Imladris. Now that his eyes cannot see clearly, maybe his mind will and realize my interest is true./

Glorfindel wondered why Elrond's hand still lingered at the small of his back. Asfaloth was treading carefully now, making sure he wouldn't be hit by any branches. Elrond's touch burned through the fabric of his tunic and he lowered his eyes, trying to figure out why Elrond was acting like this. Was it merely because of his injury?

"Would you join me in my study when we return at Imladris? There is something I wish to discuss with you." Elrond carefully observed Glorfindel's reaction to his request and for some reason his seneschal paled.

"Is it because I am no longer fit to lead your forces?" Glorfindel cringed. His life purpose was to serve Elrond.

"Nay," said Elrond reassuringly. "It is a personal matter." He frowned when that admission seemed to make Glorfindel even more nervous. Thinking back he realized his friend's unease had started when he had led Glorfindel out of his room and to his private chambers. Glorfindel had tensed each time when being touched. And then there was that one morning where he had woken with Glorfindel in his arms. /Did I read him wrong? What if he does have an interest in me and thinks I cannot be possibly interested in him? By the Valar, what if my feelings are returned, but I was too blind to see?/

Studying Glorfindel's reaction, Elrond gently rubbed his seneschal's back through the soft fabric of his tunic. Glorfindel groaned softly, blushed and tried to move away from him. Elrond smiled. /I was right. He is this tense because he takes pleasure in my touch. I must tell him I feel the same way./

"Glorfindel?" Elrond moved his horse even closer to Glorfindel.

"Aye, my Lord?"

Elrond ignored the presence of his men and briefly leaned in closer, allowing his lips to brush Glorfindel's. The other Elf gasped startled, but didn't pull back. /Aye, I was right. He has feelings for me as well./ Elrond felt ecstatic, realizing his feelings were returned.

Glorfindel panted softly. "My Lord?"

Elrond pulled back, but his hand stayed at his seneschal's back. "This is what we need to talk about."

Glorfindel allowed his long flaxen hair to fall in front of his face to hide his features. "I do not know what you are referring to."

Elrond smiled warmly and leaned in closer once more. This time he teasingly licked the tip of Glorfindel's pointed ear before whispering soft words to his seneschal. Glorfindel's blush turned crimson and Elrond wondered about the other Elf. Glorfindel had seen battle, had lived for thousands of years and these caresses made him blush? Elrond was tempted to nibble on Glorfindel's ear, but his men alerted him that a rider was approaching. "I will go back to behaving myself," he whispered in to Glorfindel's ear. He had been cooped up in Imladris much too long and only now that he was riding with his men again did he feel vigorous and daring. If his suspicions were correct and Glorfindel felt the same way, then he would pursue the blond until they had revealed their feelings.

"My Lord, it is Elladan," announced one of Elrond's archers.

"Elladan?" Elrond frowned and waited for his son to arrive. Cocking his head, he quickly glanced at Glorfindel, finding a soft blush still lingered on his friend's face.

"Ada!" Elladan locked eyes with his father. "Elrohir sent me to inform you that the Uruk-Hai has left. Legolas wanted to go after him, but we managed to convince him to stay in bed. The Prince is hoping that you will look out for the Uruk-Hai." Elladan's eyes suddenly sparkled. "Can you imagine they are in love? An Elf and an Uruk-Hai?" He had never thought that possible.

Elladan suddenly noticed the faint blush on Glorfindel's face and was tempted to ask if something was amiss, but his father's gaze warned him not to get involved. "I will also inform Erestor... Maybe we can retrieve the Uruk-Hai?"

"My Lord? If I may?" Glorfindel's voice sounded oddly weak and it earned him a surprised look from father and son. "Lurtz has been inside Imladris and has seen some of our defenses. Letting him run loose presents a risk to Imladris."

Elrond nodded his head. "You have spoken wisely, Glorfindel. We should find him..."

"I will look for him as well after I informed Erestor..." Elladan gave his father and Glorfindel a probing look, wondering what was going on between them. "I will be off then..." Secretly he hoped his father would tell him the reason for Glorfindel's blush and unease, but the expression in Elrond's eyes told him nothing.

"Be careful, Elladan..." Elrond's gaze shifted from his son to a handful of his men and he ordered five warriors to escort Elladan.

"But that only leaves you ten men!" Elladan protested, fearing for his father's safety.

Elrond shook his head. Had everyone forgotten he was a warrior as well as a healer? "Do not defy me, Elladan..."

Elladan sighed and allowed the five warriors to accompany him.

"You do not approve of me giving him an escort," said Elrond after Elladan had left.

Glorfindel shrugged. "My primary concern is your safety and that of your family, my Lord."

Elrond's gaze was warm and soft when he searched his seneschal's eyes. "How many warriors would you have accompany him?"

Glorfindel nervously licked his lips. "I would not have allowed him to leave at all; not with the Uruk-Hai running loose."

Elrond shook his head. "Tell me, who are you more protective of, me or my children?"

Glorfindel sighed. "You and your children are precious to me. I would die for each of you."

Elrond grew serious. "Do not die on me, Glorfindel. You already scared me when you returned home blind."

Glorfindel smiled nervously. "Does that mean..." He was unable to finish his sentence, afraid he had reached the wrong conclusion.

"It means you are also very precious to me, meldir, very precious." Elrond wished they were alone, but the remaining members of his escort were growing restless and wanted to move on. Glorfindel's expression showed how surprised the blond was and Elrond grinned wickedly, contemplating teasing Glorfindel some more.

"Ta naa neuma! En!" One of the archers alarmed the rest, seeing a pack of Orcs and Uruk-Hai leave the cover of the trees and attack.

Glorfindel immediately tried to organize the ten men he had left, but feared their only hope might lie in retreat. They had to cover Elrond's back, making sure the Lord of Imladris escaped. "Elrond, make your way back to Imladris and alert our troops. We will fight them off long enough for you to escape!"

"Nay, I will fight!" Elrond, furious that the foul creatures dared to come this close to his Imladris, drew his sword. Loud growls ripped the air apart as the Orcs and Uruk-Hai approached. The archers did their best to take out as many enemies as possible, but the Orcs pulled them from their horses while the Uruk-Hai advanced on Elrond and Glorfindel.

Elrond met Glorfindel's stare, recalling that his seneschal's vision was still far from perfect. "Stay behind me. We will not part."

"My Lord, please," whispered Glorfindel, drawing his sword to fight the first Uruk-Hai that had reached them. "Please let me die knowing you are safe."

"You will not die! I will not allow it!" Elrond buried the tip of his sword in an Uruk-Hai's chest and twisted it, ending the creature's life. /By the Valar, what if Lurtz is with them? Can I end his life now that he may have joined his kind again?/

Glorfindel leaned in closer, whispered something in to the ear of Elrond's horse and then slapped its rear hard. The horse whined, reared and broke out in to a run.

Elrond furiously looked over his shoulder at Glorfindel. /I am going to make you pay for that!/ He tried to stop the horse, but it seemed determined to carry out Glorfindel's whispered orders. "Damn you, Glorfindel! I can fight!" The horse carried him away from his escort, but as he looked at Glorfindel, he saw relief in the blond's eyes. /Ai, Glorfindel, I was blind. Only now I recognize the emotion in your eyes. Why did you hide it from me? I feel the same way about you!/

Elrond stopped trying to make his horse turn about, knowing Glorfindel had found a way to make the Elven horse carry out his orders. "Keep heart, Glorfindel, for I will return with reinforcements..." But what if they killed Glorfindel? /And what about your men? You should be equally worried about them!/ But to his eternal shame he had to admit that he only worried about Glorfindel. Did that make him a bad leader?

With his sword still in his hand, he looked over his shoulder once more, wishing his horse would let him return to the battle ground. Four of the five archers lay slain on the ground. Glorfindel and the one remaining archer were fighting off an overwhelming force of twenty Uruk-Hai. /I must believe he will survive.../ He wasn't sure he could lose another loved one. Surviving after Celebrian had left had been hard on him, but Glorfindel had pulled him through. "Please stay alive..."

The wind was suddenly knocked out of him when an Uruk-Hai launched himself from the branches of an old oak tree and slammed in to him. The Uruk-Hai dragged him down on to the ground and a large fist connected with his chin, temple, stomach and... Elrond desperately clawed at the creature's face, trying to gain the upper hand, but several other Uruk-Hai appeared, keeping him down and pummeling him.

Elrond's eyes widened when darkness descended on to him. /Glorfindel, I failed you,/ was his last thought, while losing consciousness.

       

"I am leaving. Do not try to stop me!" Legolas managed to get to his feet and started for the doorway while Elrohir tried to block his path. "I mean it, Elrohir. I know I am being impolite, being your guest, but I cannot rely on Elladan reaching Elrond. What if something urgent comes up and he cannot tell Elrond what happened? Nay, I must search for Lurtz myself." Legolas winced as his leg protested, but once he rode a horse the leg injury no longer mattered.

"Legolas, you cannot leave like this!" Elrohir shook his head in disbelief. Every attempt to stop Legolas failed. "Legolas, stay here. Let Elladan and Ada take care of this."

"Nay," said Legolas firmly. He draped his cloak over his shoulders, took hold of his weapons, and slowly made his way down the corridor, hoping he remembered correctly where the stables were. Surely Elrond wouldn't begrudge him a horse in his current state.

Elrohir gave up. "In that case I am coming with you."

Legolas glared at the younger twin, but realized he wouldn't be able to change Elrohir's mind. "Do not get in my way, Elrohir."

Elrohir smiled, shaking his head once more. "You are very eager to retrieve your Uruk-Hai."

"I told  him not to run away from this, but he did not listen. Now he has to learn the hard way!" Legolas limped into the stables, waiting impatiently for Elrohir to join them. "You pick the horses..."

Elrohir quickly led his black stallion outside. "You can ride with me." He didn't like Legolas riding alone. What if Legolas wasn't able to stay on the horse's back?

"Nay, I do not wish to slow us down."

Elrohir sighed and led a white mare outside. "She is always careful about the one who rides her... Wait here..."

"Hurry!" Elrohir briefly left and Legolas grew even more impatient. He cringed, seeing Elrohir return with a saddle. "I do not need one."

"Stop making objections," said Elrohir firmly. He placed the saddle on the mare's back, and she reluctantly allowed it. He then helped Legolas in to the saddle, uncovered a piece of rope and tied Legolas to the saddle.

Legolas indignantly glared at Elrohir. "I have been riding for thousands of years. I won't fall off!"

"I am not taking any risks," said Elrohir calmly. "Your leg is still healing and a fall would complicate the healing process."

Legolas' glare hardened. "I can take care of myself, son of Elrond!"

Elrohir smiled teasingly. "I do not doubt you can take care of yourself, Greenleaf, but Ada put me in charge and I am not giving in on this matter. If you want to search for your Uruk-Hai we will ride like this or we will not ride at all. What do you say?"

Legolas nodded his reluctant consent. He might have misjudged Elrohir. The twin was stubborn...

Elrohir slipped on to his stallion's back. "Let us ride then..."

Legolas inspected his weapons; he wouldn't leave without them. Looking at Elrohir, he noticed that the dark haired Elf also carried his sword. /Lurtz, I will find you... and I will stop you from running away for once and for all!/

       

Glorfindel staggered on his feet. Their escort had been slain and he was the only one left standing. Hopefully he had bought Elrond enough time to escape. One particularly foul looking Uruk-Hai was fighting him and Glorfindel felt himself weakening as his headache and vertigo returned. /I will die buying you more time, my Lord./

Suddenly a second Uruk-Hai came up behind him, raised his sword and let it descend on the unsuspecting blond.

Glorfindel's eyes grow big, his features contorted in pain and a strangled wail left his lips as the sword connected with the back of his head. Falling to his knees, he looked up dazedly at the Uruk-Hai, whose form gained color. /Is it not ironic? Now that I am to die my eye sight returns to me.../ Glorfindel's eyes closed and he collapsed in to a heap at the Uruk-Hai's feet. Sounds and colors disappeared, plunging him in to a deep darkness.

{{"Ta naa neuma! En!" It's a trap! Look!}}


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