Disclaimer: Only borrowing Tolkienís characters for my fantasy.


Inside the Darkness

Part 13 - Pain

By Morgana

       

"Elrohir!" Legolas grew instantly worried, seeing Elrohir collapse while releasing a wail that nearly froze the blood in his veins. He cursed the fact that he was tied to the saddle, but managed to steer his mare close enough to Elrohir's stallion to put one arm around the twin's waist. "What ails you?" Elrohir leaned heavily against him and acting instinctively he pulled the dark haired Elf in front of him on to the mare. Now that Elrohir was close enough, he wrapped his arms around the other man. Elrohir's stallion whined pitifully, having lost his rider, but Legolas paid the animal no attention, too focused was he on Elrohir. "Tell me why you are suffering, Elrohir."

Elrohir's eyes briefly turned vacant, but then he released another yelp. Legolas tightened his hold on Elrohir, wondering what he should do. If only Elrohir hadn't tied him to the saddle, then he could have lowered the other man on to the grass to rest. "How can I help?"

Elrohir finally regained some of his senses. "It is Ada... He is in pain." Elrohir shook his head in disbelief. "I never knew this connection existed... Does it mean Elladan feels it as well?"

"What is wrong with Elrond?" Legolas signaled Elrohir's stallion to follow and he urged on his own mare.

"I feel a great pain in my heart..." Elrohir rested his head against Legolas' shoulder, grateful that the Prince was close. "We must find him... help him. I cannot bear this pain..."

Legolas felt inwardly torn. His heart urged him to find Lurtz and confront him, but he couldn't turn his back on Elrohir, who was in obvious pain. Sighing, he reached the only decision he could possibly make. "We will find Elrond."

Elrohir felt relieved. Vaguely he realized that Legolas was sacrificing his own love to save Elrond and a flash of guilt moved through him. "We could separate..." But he didn't like that idea either. Legolas was still vulnerable while he was healing.

"Nay," said Legolas. "We will stay together. Do you know which direction to head in?"

"My heart draws me west," said Elrohir burdened. /Elladan, do you feel Ada's pain as well? Why are we feeling his pain in the first place? Please join me if you can... Please hear me.../ At times he thought that his twin could read his mind when necessary and maybe their bond would come through once more; he hoped so.

       

Elladan cried out in pain, hugged his waist and his eyes widened in disbelief. What trickery was this? Pain coursed through him, and although it wasn't of a physical nature, it felt real enough. Why was he sensing someone else's pain and where was Elrohir when he needed his brother to explain this to him?

His escort came to a halt and inquired worriedly if he was feeling unwell. Elladan raised his hand and brushed off their concern. He managed to push himself in to an upright position again, and he straightened his shoulders, not wanting to appear weak.

/Ada, why does this pain make me think of you? My heart is heavy with your voice, telling me to hurry. What do you want me to do?/ Elrond's face clearly appeared in his mind and he realized he was being summoned to aid his father by a force unknown to him. "What do I do?" he whispered nervously.

/Elladan, do you feel Ada's pain as well? Why are we feeling his pain in the first place? Please join me if you can... Please hear me.../

"Elrohir..." He had never been more relieved to hear his twin's voice, even if it could only be heard in his mind. His twin felt Elrond's pain as well and now called out to him. "I will find you, Elrohir... We will face this together."

Once more his escort inquired if he was feeling well. Irritated Elladan nodded once. "We are heading west..." He ignored their surprised glances and urged his mare on, heading west to join his brother at full gallop. The five warriors followed quickly, while exchanging worried looks.

       

"Wake up, Elf!"

Elrond startled awake, his vacant eyes growing painfully aware of his surroundings. He was lying on damp earth, hands and feet bound tightly, face first in the mud. Behind him, growls grew closer and advancing footfalls announced his captor's arrival. Should he risk a look over his shoulder?

"Don't try any tricks, Elf, or you'll regret it..."

The harsh voice promised only pain and Elrond decided to play along for now; he had to know his kidnapper's identity first. A cold wind swept across his naked back. When had his clothes been removed? He was merely wearing his leggings... The hair clip and braids were gone as well and his raven locks hung loose down his back.

He hissed when his captor grabbed a handful of his hair, pulling him into a kneeling position. Elrond no longer had a choice as the hold on his hair tightened, forcing him to look at his enemy. /Uruk-Hai... just as I suspected. Do they know who I am? Was I taken prisoner for a reason? By the Valar, is Glorfindel still alive?/

Ugluk hovered above Elrond. He cocked his head, cruelly pulled at Elrond's hair and spit in to the Elf's face.

Feeling the foul creature's spit slide down his face disgusted Elrond, but he refused to show any emotion, simply meeting Ugluk's glare.

"I know who you are, 'Lord', Ugluk said mockingly. "You will tell me everything I want to know about Rivendell and its defenses. Saruman wants it destroyed and you will help me."

"Never," spat Elrond angrily. If only his hands weren't tied! Then he could put up a fight. Ugluk's hand suddenly tightened around his neck, slowly squeezing off his air supply. His eyes bulged and his lips turned blue. /He won't let me die; he wants the information./ Elrond closed his eyes, trying to gather his strength and courage. He had to be strong now; his people depended on him, his family depended on him!

He dropped forward when Ugluk unexpectedly released him. He spat out the dirt that had found a way in to his mouth and tried to come up with some sort of plan. He had to find a way to convince Ugluk to untie him.

Ugluk turned to one of his men. "Tie his hands to a pole of the tent..."

The Uruk-Hai obeyed, and pulled Elrond in to the back of the tent. He roughly grabbed Elrond's hands and tied them to the pole above his head.  Ugluk's approving stare told Elrond that his tormentor didn't plan to leave yet. The interrogation had only started. A storm of blows, aimed at his stomach and head, swept over him. He endured the torment, spitting out the blood that had gathered in his throat. Suddenly the beating stopped and he sighed slowly, not wanting to put any unnecessary pressure on his abused ribs.

"That's just a small taste of what's to come," announced Ugluk with a pleased grin on his face. "You will tell us about Rivendell's defenses... You will betray your people..."

"Never," whispered Elrond once more, but softer this time due to the pain in his chest.

"Still disrespectful?" Ugluk grinned, and raised a fist, which he aimed at Elrond's right eye.

Elrond reeled from the blow, but his hands were still tied to the tent pole and he couldn't dodge the second blow that now approached. This time Ugluk aimed at his left temple and he stifled a cry of pain, not wanting the foul creature to know just how badly he was hurting. He was only a half-Elf. His father had been human and his healing abilities didn't compare to those of a full Elf. He would suffer from these injuries for a long time.

Ugluk raised a hand, ordering the beating stopped.

Elrond cringed privately, knowing only too well that Ugluk would resort to even more painful tactics to get the information he was after. Elrond closed his eyes, trying to lock out the Uruk-Hai's presence, and he was relieved to hear them leave the tent. He was given a moment to recuperate, but they would be back later to deliver more torment and pain.

He bowed his head, recalling Elladan and Elrohir's faces from memory and then his daughter's eyes looked at him adoringly. /Arwen, my beautiful star... My sons... I doubt I will ever see you again. Glorfindel... I wish I had told you how much I love you... I regret keeping my feelings a secret. We might have known some bliss, had I spoken freely./ Elrond opened his eyes again and tasted the metallic tang of blood on his lips. The taste was also present at the back of his throat. The Uruk-Hai had done some serious damage and now he was bleeding internally.

Droplets of blood dripped from his lips onto his bare chest. His scalp hurt from being dragged across the tent and he sighed deeply, wishing he had listened to Glorfindel's warning to stay safely inside Imladris' walls. /Nay, they captured me and now I must endure. I will not give up. I must believe that Glorfindel survived and that he will find me. I must hold on. I cannot betray my people... I will see Arwen again, listen to her voice, which is so much like Celebrian's. I will look upon my sons' faces again... hold them in my arms once more. I must believe.../

A river of pain meandered through his stomach and he groaned in pure agony. Ugluk had aimed his blows well. /I must endure, must believe... must hope.../ Elrond clung to his memories, trying to focus on Glorfindel's face. /I must endure, must believe... must hope.../

       

Lurtz wondered about Ugluk's secrecy and pleased look when his leader left one of the tents. When the pack had returned from their hunting trip, he had seen they carried something, a bundle of sorts. But Ugluk hadn't informed him and Lurtz wasn't tempted to find out as long as he was on 'probation.' He couldn't risk them to turn against him.

Ugluk growled at him, demanding his food. Lurtz handed his leader his share of the dead meat and then stared at his own portion. At Rivendell he had eaten Lembas and although it had taken him time to get used to its taste, he much preferred it to the rotting meat in his hands. Feeling Ugluk's eyes on him, he forced himself to rip some meat of the bone, but he almost threw up at the horrid taste. He managed to calm down his stomach, but Ugluk seemed to have noticed.

His eyes drifted off involuntarily to the tent where someone was kept prisoner. /What if it is Legolas? But no, that can't be. Legolas is safe at Imladris and knows better than to venture outside while wounded... But what if they went in and managed to abduct him. What do I do?/ A plan formed in his mind. He was going to find out who was being imprisoned in that tent. He had to bide his time, but then he would make his move.

       

Elladan urged his mare on, seeing Elrohir and Legolas to his right. What was the Prince of Mirkwood doing here? Ada had ordered Legolas to stay in bed, not rid off... tied to his saddle? Elladan smiled; he would always recognize Elrohir's touch. "Elrohir, you called me here. Pray tell me what happened to Ada!" He quickly led his mare next to Elrohir's stallion and looked at his twin questioningly. "The pain is still there."

"It was stronger at first," murmured Elrohir, "but it has lessened during the last hour." He locked eyes with his twin, seeing his pain reflected in Elladan's brown orbs. "I never felt anything like it before. I did not even know this connection existed."

Elladan nodded. "I spoke Ada at sunset. Glorfindel and he were still inspecting the borders. He even gave me these five warriors for an escort. What happened in the mean time?" His escort remained at a distance, giving them some privacy, but Elladan gestured one of them to approach. "Return to Imladris and tell Erestor that something has happened to Lord Elrond. Gather reinforcements and follow our tracks after you return here. We must assume that the Orcs and Uruk-Hai got to them "

The other Elf nodded and sped away, eager to deliver his message.

"What do we do now?" Elladan turned to Elrohir for advice. He briefly glanced at Legolas, finding a determined expression in the Prince's eyes. No blood showed on the leggings, and that hopefully meant that the wound was finally healing and hadn't reopened.

Elrohir took control of the situation. "We need to find Ada. Where did you see him last?"

Elladan pointed to a hill in the distance. "I delivered your message and Ada said he would look for the Uruk-Hai. They were fine when I last spoke to them..."

"Then we will follow their tracks. We should hurry though." Elrohir's eyes met his twin's. "My heart feels torn."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Legolas urged his mare in to action and the twins followed at once. The four archers took the rear as they headed for the hill Elladan had pointed out to them. Legolas tried hard not to let his thoughts center around Lurtz. There was nothing he could do right now, but he vowed to continue the chase once they had found Elrond. Lurtz wasn't getting rid of him this easily!

       

"Don't play coy with me, Elf. I know you're awake. Start answering my questions. How many guards at the main gate?" Ugluk was losing his patience with his prisoner. Elrond's face was black and blue and bled from numerous scratches, but the lips remained sealed. "How many guards?"

Elrond weakly shook his head. "Nay..." Blood flowed from his lips, and his eye sight was blurred due to the fact that Ugluk had given him a black eye. Droplets of blood dripped from his brow, clouded his vision and then flowed down his chin. He would die before endangering his people! Another blow was delivered to his kidneys, making him hiss in pain.

"Untie his hands," ordered Ugluk and his second in command obeyed.

Elrond collapsed in to a heap, having lost all sensation in his arms during the last few hours. His dark hair, now stained with blood, clung to his face and he knew better than to look up at his nemesis.

"How many guards and what are their positions? How do we get in to Imladris without being noticed?" Ugluk grabbed another handful of hair and forced Elrond to look at him. Seeing the agony in the half-Elf's eyes filled him with perverse pleasure.

Elrond stifled a pain filled moan when Ugluk's fingertips clawed the back of his neck, almost crushing several muscles in the process. Briefly, he felt paralyzed and his head lolled to its right.

"I can inflict so much pain..." threatened Ugluk. "You'd better tell me what I want to know."

"Never..." Elrond knew he would pay for giving Ugluk this answer, and prepared for more pain. Ugluk's boot buried itself in his chest and he gasped in agony, hearing at least one of his ribs crack.

Ugluk studied his prisoner. The half-Elf needed some time to recuperate; a dead Elrond was of no use to him. He signaled the other Uruk-Hai to follow him. Elrond was going nowhere in his current state and he dismissed tying him down again. The next time he interrogated Elrond he had to find a way to make the half-Elf more cooperative.

       

Elladan noticed the slain bodies first. Several Orcs, three Uruk-Hai, and Elrond's escort lay dead at their feet. Elladan jumped off his horse, quickly followed by Elrohir. "Ada, be alive..." He shivered and tears build in his eyes. When he looked at Elrohir he saw tears in his twin's eyes as well. Both dreaded to think of what would happen if Elrond was among the dead.

Legolas stayed on his horse, cursing being tied to the saddle, and urged his mare to follow the twins. The archers left their horses as well to bury their fallen brethren.

Elladan suddenly released a tormented cry and Elrohir's heart faltered briefly before beating its normal rhythm once more. "Ada?" No, his father couldn't be dead!

"Nay, it is Glorfindel." Elladan knelt at the fallen Elf's side and rolled Glorfindel on to his back. Dried blood clung to the back of the seneschal's head and the normally alert eyes were vacant and half closed. "Elrohir, Ada taught you how to heal the injured. Tell me, how seriously hurt is he?" Elladan watched Glorfindel's face closely, searching for some sign that the blond was waking up. He quickly glanced around him. There was no dark haired Elf among the dead. /Ada is alive!/

Elrohir gently examined Glorfindel. "Why does he always get hit in the head?" He probed the closing wound and ripped some fabric from his cloak to bind the wound. "He should be fine. I suspect they thought him dead and left him here. He was extremely lucky."

"There is no sign of Elrond," said Legolas worried. "We should find his tracks and follow them. If he was taken prisoner he might be in grave danger."

"Should we move Glorfindel?" asked Elladan softly, recalling the faint blush on the seneschal's face earlier. He could have sworn there had been some sort of tension between his father and Glorfindel.

"As long as we move him slowly he should be fine," Elrohir said, as he finished bandaging the wound. "I will see to Glorfindel. Elladan, scout ahead and try to find Ada's trail."

Elladan nodded and left at once. Legolas watched Elrohir struggle with Glorfindel's limp form as he eased the seneschal on to his stallion. "I would like to help."

"Just stay in your saddle and out of trouble," whispered Elrohir. He slid on to the horse's back and pulled Glorfindel tight against his body. The blond's head came to rest on his shoulder and Elrohir released a concerned sigh. "Let us hope the head injury won't greatly affect him. Ada told me Glorfindel was regaining his eye sight in bits and pieces."

"He is alive," said Legolas. "It is more than we could hope for." He lowered his eyes and flinched, seeing the dead Uruk-Hai. At first he had been concerned that one of them was Lurtz, but the faces were unknown to him. /What if Lurtz joined them and took part in this slaughter? Could he hurt Glorfindel and Elrond? What will I do should he be involved in this? Can I end his life in the heat of battle? Or will I falter?/

"Legolas, Lurtz is not among the dead... Maybe he reconsidered and did not rejoin his pack. You must hold on to hope... like I do." Elrohir pressed Glorfindel closer to him, making sure the seneschal was as comfortable as possible. 

The dark of night crept upon them and Elladan returned with a startled expression in his eyes. "I found his trail. The foul creatures took him! Ada is their prisoner!"

Elrohir considered the new information. "We set up camp for the night. We are at a disadvantage during the night and we will follow them at dawn. Hopefully the reinforcements will have arrived by then." Elrohir looked at Glorfindel, who was still unconscious in his arms. "Glorfindel and Legolas both need rest and we need to think up a plan for when we find the Uruk-Hai."

Elladan wanted to object, eager to move on, but realized Elrohir was right. The night belonged to the Uruk-Hai, the day to the Elves. "Look after Glorfindel. I will tend to Legolas... Did you have to tie him to the saddle?"

Elrohir smiled saddened. "I could not risk any complications." He watched as Elladan walked over to Legolas, removed the rope and helped the Prince to slid down from his horse. Legolas limped toward the fire their escort had build and sat quietly near the fire. /He worries about Lurtz... I understand him so well./

Elladan realized his brother hadn't moved and offered to take Glorfindel from him. Elladan caught the seneschal when Elrohir lowered Glorfindel to the ground and carried him to the fire as well. "Elrohir will look after you," he whispered, brushing red locks behind Glorfindel's ear. The blood gave the blond locks an eerie red reflection and the fire only added to the illusion that Glorfindel's hair was drenched in blood.

"Here." Elrohir handed Elladan his blanket.

Elladan covered Glorfindel with the blanket. "Do you want me to collect some healing herbs?"

Elrohir nodded thoughtfully as his glance shifted to Legolas, who looked angry and depressed. Elrohir sighed as his brother left to gather the herbs and he sat down at Glorfindel's side, hoping the older Elf would wake up shortly. "Do not torment yourself, Legolas. You cannot take responsibility for Lurtz's actions. If he decided to go back to his old ways it is his decision, not yours. You are not to blame..."

Legolas looked up and stared in to Elrohir's compassionate eyes. "I warned him this would happen if he left. He did not listen, why?"

"Lurtz makes his own destiny, like you make yours. You must respect his wishes." Elrohir sucked in his breath, seeing Glorfindel's eyelids flutter. "He is waking up... I hope."

The wail that left Glorfindel's lips upon awakening made Legolas close his eyes and Elrohir quickly soothed the troubled seneschal. "Glorfindel, calm yourself. The attack is over and your attackers have left."

Glorfindel swallowed convulsively, then rolled on to his right side and threw up bile and sputum that threatened to choke him.

Elrohir soothingly rubbed his back, pulled back the golden locks and waited for Glorfindel's stomach to settle down. Chills ran down his spine, hearing Glorfindel's desperate moan.

"El... rond?" Glorfindel managed to make eye contact with Elrohir. "Did... he es...cape?" Only one good thing had come from this attack; his vision had returned.

"We found his tracks," said Elladan, joining them. "Can you tell me what happened?"

Glorfindel was surprised to see Legolas as well, but the stubborn expression in the Prince's eyes told him not to comment on his presence. "They were upon us before we knew we were under attack. There were Orcs and Uruk-Hai. I told Elrond to make for Imladris..." Glorfindel briefly grinned. Seeing their curious expression, he explained, "He would have preferred to fight, but I had to think about his safety first."

"They got to him after all," whispered Elrohir. "They took Ada."

"Then we must find him!" exclaimed Glorfindel. The seneschal threw off the blanket and tried to rise to his feet. Emitting a strangled moan, his eyes widened and he dropped back on to the blanket, trembling fiercely.

"You must give yourself time to heal," said Elrohir. "Rest tonight and hopefully you will have recovered enough to join us tomorrow when we search for Ada."

Glorfindel trembled. "It is my fault we walked in to that trap. I was distracted..." It had been Elrond, who had unexpectedly kissed him, throwing him off balance.

Elladan nodded once. "I remember you were distressed when I talked to Ada. What was it about?"

Glorfindel averted his eyes. He could not tell them he loved their father! When Celebrian had left, he had seen the pain of abandonment in their eyes. Learning that Elrond might be interested in a new lover would not fare well with the twins.

Legolas, who had been silent up until then, suddenly spoke. "It is love, is it not, Glorfindel? You love him..."

The twins sucked in their breath and stared at Glorfindel in obvious surprise. "You love Ada?" they said simultaneously.

Glorfindel bit his bottom lip and glared at Legolas, but he wasn't really angry with the young Prince, knowing he had probably given himself away looking at Elrond in that certain way. "Aye, but do not dwell on this matter. I respect your father and... Celebrian. I will never..." Elladan fiercely shook his head, surprising him. Glorfindel wondered what he had done wrong! He had wanted to state that he wouldn't act on his feelings even though Elrond might. The boys still loved their mother dearly and wouldn't want him to take her place at their father's side.

"Glorfindel," exclaimed Elladan, "For how long has this been going on?"

"I only admired him from a distance," mumbled Glorfindel nervously.

"How long?" questioned Elrohir, exchanging an amused look with his twin. This was joyous news indeed! During long nights in which they had talked about their father's loneliness they had hoped love would return to Elrond's heart. That Glorfindel would bring back that love surprised them, but looking back, the twins realized that Elrond and his seneschal had been best friends for a very long time.

Glorfindel averted his eyes. "A few centuries."

"And you never told Ada?" Elladan frowned. "You know Glorfindel, for someone as old and 'wise' as you are, you should know better!"

Glorfindel hesitantly met Elladan's eyes. "I do not understand."

"You thought we would fight this," said Elrohir. "That we would not allow this."

Glorfindel nodded slowly, cursing his headache. "I would never have spoken of my love for him."

"We will sort this out when we find Ada," said Elladan firmly. "For I have a feeling Ada might be pleased to learn of your feelings for him." A warm grin appeared on his face. "We always suspected there was something going on between the two of you..."

Glorfindel couldn't believe what he was hearing. The twins approved of his love for their father?

"Rest now, Glorfindel," said Elrohir, easing Glorfindel down on to his back. After covering him with the blanket once more, he accepted the healing tea that Legolas had prepared while listening to their conversation. He smiled thankfully at Elladan, who had gathered the herbs and at Legolas for brewing the tea. "Drink this." He helped Glorfindel empty the mug and then watched the older Elf fall asleep. "May your sleep give you new strength for you will need it."

Elladan sat down in between Glorfindel and Elrohir. "I was right all along. I knew something was going on between them!"

Elrohir smiled pleased. "Aye, it seems you were right, Elladan. I always wondered about their closeness, which now makes sense. I do think Ada returns his feelings." The twins locked eyes. "We must find Ada..."

"And tell him about Glorfindel's feelings for him," finished Elladan.

Legolas looked at the full moon and wondered if they would be in time to save Elrond from the Uruk-Hai. /Lurtz, where are you? If you indeed joined your pack again, watch over Elrond and keep him safe./

       

Lurtz caught some movement near the tent where Ugluk had taken his prisoner. Ugluk still hadn't told him the prisoner's identity and he was curious to find out. Sneaking closer, he noticed the prisoner's slow movements, who was doing his best to sneak out of the camp unnoticed. /They hurt him.../ Dried blood clung to long dark hair. Something about the prisoner struck him as familiar. Lurtz frowned. The prisoner bore some resemblance to... Elrond, but why would the Lord of Imladris leave Imladris?

A pain filled moan left the prisoner's lips and Lurtz's pace quickened, eager to find out if he was right about the other's identity. /What do I do when it is Elrond? He allowed me in to Imladris and treated me kindly. I owe him.../

The prisoner slowly walked toward the trees, but Ugluk suddenly appeared, blocking his path and knocking him off his feet.

Lurtz hurried closer and knelt beside the prisoner.

"Take him back to the tent. I will make sure he won't escape again!" Ugluk signaled one of his men to hand him a heavy axe.

Lurtz rolled the prisoner onto his back and brushed the black locks aside. Startled, he recognized the noble features. His eyes narrowed, seeing the bruises and scratches on Elrond's face. A growl involuntarily left his throat. What had Ugluk done to the half-Elf?

"Lurtz, take him inside!" Ugluk repeated his order impatiently.

Lurtz stopped himself in time from slipping his arms beneath Elrond's back and knees. By treating Elrond kindly he would give himself away. Suddenly Elrond's eyes regained their alertness and he saw recognition in the brown eyes. /Don't give me away! I might be your only hope of escape!/

It seemed like Elrond understood, for the half-Elf remained quiet. Lurtz was torn, he didn't want to inflict more pain on Elrond, but Ugluk was watching him closely. In the end he threw Elrond over his shoulder, and carried him back to the tent, where he dropped him on to the ground.

Elrond almost cried out in pain, but didn't want Ugluk to gloat at his torment, so he bit his lip and remained quiet. Seeing Lurtz among them had taken him aback. At first he had been tempted to give Lurtz away, but then he had reconsidered, seeing the look in the Uruk-Hai's eyes. Lurtz didn't agree to any of this and might be persuaded to help him.

"Put him on his feet," ordered Ugluk, carrying the axe with him.

Elrond tried to control his unease at seeing the axe. What were Ugluk's plans? His hands were tied above his head to one of the tent poles and he glared at Ugluk as the Uruk-Hai raised his axe. Suddenly Ugluk turned the axe around and aimed the handle hard at... Ai, his left ankle! His eyes almost bulged from their sockets as pain coursed through his ankle. Tears of agony shone from his eyes as Ugluk repeated the procedure, crushing his left ankle as well. Finally Elrond understood.

"Try to run away with broken ankles, Elf," Ugluk spat venomously.

Before passing out from the pain, Elrond managed to catch Lurtz's gaze. Lurtz looked startled. /Will you help me escape? Will you?/ Unable to hang on to consciousness any longer, he gave in to the pain and raced toward the soothing darkness, where he no longer felt any pain.

       

Lurtz tried to hide the horror he felt at Elrond's treatment. He carefully shielded his gaze from Ugluk, who left the tent, laughing loudly. Now that they were alone Lurtz hesitantly placed a hand on Elrond's chest, rubbing dried blood between his fingertips. /You treated me kindly when I least expected it. I will repay your for your kindness... I will help you escape.../

       

Elrohir and Elladan slept restlessly, emitting a yelp simultaneously. Instantly awake, they sat upright and stared at each other. "Ada... He is pain..." They spoke as one.

Glorfindel swallowed hard. "I failed him..."

Legolas stared in to the darkness, hoping the sun would rise shortly. /Lurtz, if you hurt Elrond, you will pay.../


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