Knowing the Limit by Elrayen Greenleaf|
Summary: What happens to a certain being when he pushes himself to far when still healing? This being finds out.
Disclaimer: If I was to own any thing, place or person from Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I would be the happiest person in the whole of Arda!! But unfortunately, I do not – it’s all the Professors. :)
I’ll be posting this on ff.net after this competition’s winners have been announced, so feel free to review when I do! :) Enjoy the story, mellyn-nin.
Twisting in his taut bonds cruelly tightened to minimise movement, the being let out a cry of helplessness, muffled by the cloth acting as a gag. He continued to try and free first his wrists tied behind his back as he forced himself up into a sitting position against the damp wall, eyes blazing with anger and frustration.
With every movement, the ropes rubbed harshly against his wrists, and with a stamp from his tied feet, the being gave up and ceased his trying. With a resigned sigh, he closed his eyes and allowed his head to lean back on one of the four prison walls that surrounded him, his tousled yet still braided hair clinging to his face, courtesy of the perspiration that had formed during his efforts of trying to free himself.
He had been awake for only half an hour. During that time, whilst he had struggled to try and free himself of his restraints, he had tried to work out where he was. And why. The last thing he remembered was being in his bedchamber, and yet the next second, he was waking up to find himself here…. That still does not answer my question as to why or how I got here.
He squeezed his closed eyes in concentration as he tried desperately to remember, but, to his absolute annoyance, he found that he could not. Growling softly, he allowed his common sense to intervene, to try and work out the first and only thing he could do. Make out where he was.
Opening his eyes, he glanced around the room trying to fathom where his prison was. To his annoyance again, there was little lighting, making it harder to work out where this dismal place was.
Sitting on the floor, chained to one of the four walls gave him an easy view of all that was in the room. The walls were of a cold grey stone, echoing any sound that bounced off its walls – enough to make any inhabitant within it go mad. The room was tall enough for a fully grown man to stand and stretch his arms above his head, but the liquid gathering to the centre and dripping every few seconds onto the floor where it echoed was enough to stop any fully grown man from stretching – the liquid was hardly clean, or easy to identify. What ever it was, it was not water.
As the dripping seemed to become louder and louder to the sharp ears of the prisoner, he licked his dry lips with his tongue, suddenly aware of how thirsty he was. He moistened his lips with the little saliva that formed in his mouth, but it was not enough. If anything, it made him thirstier.
Trying to ignore the continuous dripping sound, the prisoner rolled his eyes and looked to the heavy door, inches of wood from a tree he may have perhaps once known, barring his way to freedom.
Assuming I am able to break free of these Valar forsaken bonds, the thought spoke in a sarcastic tone.
How long the prisoner stayed there for was beyond him. Time seemed to have slowed right down, even for his standards. As each minute wore by, the liquid entering the prison through the ceiling was becoming thicker, and if possible louder.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.
The prisoner clenched his jaw and began to grind his teeth. His patience was usually long lasting, and his resolve firm, but this? This ceaseless dripping that got only louder was torturous. Every drip seemed to knock away some of his composure, and pretty soon, that calm façade he was somehow holding together was going to crumble.
Just as the being was contemplating moving himself so that he was beneath the liquid to cease the dripping sound, his blue eyes darted to the now in-motion shadows moving in the dense orange glow being emitted from beneath the thick door. Hoping that some questions may indeed be answered, the being felt his stomach do a flip in anticipation, as he finally managed to forget the dripping.
The shadows below the door stopped moving for a second, before a muffled clatter was heard along with a high screech, followed by the low sound of something, or someone, falling to the ground in a heap.
Silence followed, and for a few seconds, all the captive could here was hear was his breathing, and the dripping of the liquid. When nothing was heard for a few seconds more, the being relaxed his tense body slightly, thinking the thing, whatever it was, that was behind the door was gone. After hearing what he just had with his sharp ears, he was no longer to enthusiastic about seeing who his captors were. The next thing he heard made that comment all the more true.
“One of ya maggots get down ‘ere an’ clean this filth up! I’m taking this scum up ta see Him.”
The being felt his eyes widen and his breath hitch in his throat in resentment as the rough voice of the orc behind the door spoke out.
Orcs? In his home? How in the name of the Valar did they get in? And who was Him? That did not sound good. At all.
The captive wriggled again as he tried in vain to release himself of his restraints, but the ropes just continued to burn and rub against his wrists and ankles.
As he heard loud and heavy footsteps nearing the only object that was between he and the orc, the being ceased his trying and leant back against the damp trying, not wanting to give the orc the pleasure of knowing he had been struggling to escape.
There were two loud footsteps, which stopped right by the door. The being could see the boots in the small gap under the door, blocking out the light. Keys were jangled together and forced roughly into the lock, which opened with a click.
The being turned his head away from the now bright light filling the prison, as the orc stepped forwards with a villainous grin. The captive blinked a few times and met the dark eyes of the orc with intense blue ones, not wanting to give the orc satisfaction of looking away.
“Nice ta finally see ya awake, elfy,” the orc mocked in a harsh tone, making the elf cringe inwardly. Just how long have I been here? “The Master will see ya now. Stand up.”
The orc stomped to the middle of the room so that he was now directly beneath the dripping liquid, which ran down the face of the spawn of Mordor. A look of brief confusion flittered across the face of the elf, but he quickly concealed it as he found himself staring at the orcs face.
The liquid, which had only minutes ago been runny, was now thicker, and seemed to be more oozing out of the ceiling rather than dripping. For some strange reason, he found it more repulsive than the creature before him, who was bearing his teeth, allowing the liquid to run across and into its mouth.
The orc swallowed, making the elf feel sick. “Ge’ up.”
But the elf remained exactly where he was, his eyes shining with fury. “Where am I?” he asked, his voice nearly betraying the full extent of his anger.
The orc squinted its eyes and stomped up besides the elf, who looked up at the enemy towering above him. “Ge’ up,” it repeated, with a little less patience – assuming it had had any to begin with.
The elf did not lower his stare, but continued to stare at the orc, making it feel uncomfortable under the scrutiny of the elf’s gaze. It clenched its fists trying to intimidate its prisoner. When it found that it did not work, the orc lashed out with alarming speed for an orc.
“Ge’. Up!” it yelled. With every syllable, the elf felt a hard kick to his ribs, making him gasp in unexpected pain as the steel booted foot of the orc made contact with his side.
He immediately clenched his teeth together so not to let out another sound. He was not going to give any satisfaction to the creature above him. Trying to steady his breathing, the being momentarily closed his eyes to try and regain some of his composure. From the pain he felt in his chest when he breathed, he could tell he had just received some broken ribs. Breathing slowly, with his with his teeth grinding in pain and anger, the elf looked up and continued to stare out the orc, who once again narrowed its dark eyes in anger at his inability to frighten the elf before him. With a nasty grin, it went to retrieve something from behind it.
The elf saw the small glint of light as the orc pulled out a small dagger, stained with the blood of its last victim, mingled with years of dirt. The elf’s eyes widened slightly, and another small expression of fear flitted across his face, but he set his jaw and raised chin, his pride not allowing him to show open fear.
With fast movement, almost too fast even for an orc, the creature bent down and arched its arm, cutting through the tight rope bonds around the prisoner’s feet. The elf felt his heart miss a beat, as he waited for the pain from a deep wound to start stinging on his ankles, complete with the trickling feeling of blood. But, to his surprise, it did not come.
“Now,” the orc growled, as its eyes looked over the dagger pointing at the elf. “Are you going to stand up on you filthy legs, or am I going to have to drag you?”
The elf blinked. The orc sounded well spoken… at least, more so than it had earlier. Allowing the initial shock of the way the orc was speaking to pass over, the elf snapped out of it and glared hard at the orc, still holding the dagger.
He looked quickly at the dagger, and then back again at the orc. Should he risk kicking it or lashing out? In his anger and frustration of knowing why or where he was, it seemed like a good idea. And it would make him feel better.
The orc smiled, sensing its prisoner’s mental debate, and waited patiently. Try it, his eyes seemed to say.
The elf locked his intense eyes with the orc, his mouth poised in disgust as he thought through his options. The door was open, and his legs were now free. Though, the orc held still the knife. Or, he thought, I could just wait and allow myself to be taken to his Master… perhaps then will I get the answers I seek?
Deciding on what he should do, the elf bent his legs, and rose from the floor without the aid of his hands, allowing the feeling to come back to his ankles and feet where the blood circulation had been cut off due to the tight ropes.
The orc looked disappointed to say the least at the lack of fight his elven prisoner had put up. The elf glared hard at the orc, his hands still tied behind his back, waiting for the way to be led.
With a smirk, the orc placed its now empty hands under the oozing liquid that seemed thicker now. The elf frowned inwardly. Where did the dagger go? The orc rubbed the liquid over his hands before stepping behind the elf.
With a wince courtesy of surprise and pain, the elf felt something sharp dig into his back, as the orc sneered in his pointed ear.
The elf did not even realise he was walking forward until he had excited the small prison. A gust of wind from behind him made him turn his head back to the prison. He gasped in surprise.
It was now a ruin. The cloudless night shining with stars hung as a backdrop to the blackened ruin that looked as though it had been abandoned hundreds of years ago. He heard the cackle of a crow somewhere amidst the gnarled trees that did not speak to him, and felt a chill run down his spine. Then he felt a sharp prick against his back as the orc pushed him forwards.
Blinking and shaking his head, the elf turned to face forwards again, only for his eyes to meet the other creature the orc behind him had murdered moments ago.
The rotting carcass of the murdered orc looked weeks old, perhaps even months, judging by the putrid stench it let off and the decayed skin, now host to hundreds of insects and bugs.
“What is going on?” he found himself asking out loud, his sudden fear coming out as uncertainty and anger. “What devilry is this?”
“Shut your trap and get moving,” the orc responded, its voice sounding even less harsh than earlier.
The elf blinked in bewilderment. When he opened his eyes again, his breath caught in his throat, and he stopped dead in his tracks at the scene before him.
No longer was he in a corridor lit by torches leading away from the ruin and rotting orc, for he stood now in a large stone room, blackened and tainted with evil, the shadows its walls presented due to the few torches of fire hiding many creatures that he could not make out. Although he could not see them, he could most certainly hear their jeers and calls. Orcs. And lots of them.
A loud screech reached the elf’s sensitive ears that pierced his heart and chilled him to the bone as the shriek passed through him. Turning pale, the elf raised his eyes to view the creature of darkness before him, robed in black as it hovered eerily off the ground, surrounded by a mist. It took all of the elf’s self control to remain standing where he was, as he felt his knees go weak with absolute fear.
Feeling the sweat begin to form on his brow, he took a deep breath and looked at the floor, unwilling to meet the nazgul’s gaze. The sight of the floor made him gasp again; as he watched its grey stones become slowly flooded with the same oozing liquid from the prison cell he had been in. Though this time, he could see the reflective deep red colour of it in the torch light, tainted here and there with a dark green mingled with black. What was it?
“Look at me, Thranduillion,” said the high pitched voice from the being before the elf.
Briefly closing his eyes to compose himself, Legolas forced himself to look up at the evil before him. Feeling his mouth grow dry, he licked his lips and tried to get himself to speak with a firm voice, void of all fear.
“Where am I? Why am I here?” he enquired, sounding braver than he felt. He put forward his regal manner, and his pride for his kind did not allow him to falter in his words.
The nazgul let out a sound that seemed to resemble a laugh.
“Why?” Legolas demanded again, stepping forward. The thick liquid splashed around his ankles.
The nazgul ceased its near laughter and hovered forwards. Legolas could feel its presence and the coldness that surrounded it, making the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. The sudden movement of the nazgul caused him to step back again, and was surprised when he did not feel the sharp pointed end of the orcs dagger. Quickly whipping his head round, Legolas found that he could no longer see the orc.
Instead, a man was in his place, dark kohl surrounding his black eyes.
Stepping to the side, Legolas was nearly swept off of his feet by the liquid now up to his ankles.
“Why am I here?” he shouted out, his voice mixed with fear, anger and uncertainty.
“To receive your punishment, prince.”
“Punishment!” the orcs in the shadows repeated.
“Punishment?!” Legolas repeated wildly, stepping back further into the shadows. “For what?”
The nazgul and all other creatures ceased their jeering, and for a few moments, all Legolas could hear was the sound of his hitched breathing and the rapid thumping of his heart.
In the silence, the nazgul hovered closer to the elf so that it was close enough for Legolas to hear its quiet hiss.
“For being an elf.”
The large room erupted into loud cackles of laughter and the jeering voices retuned as the frightened elf felt his knees give in, causing him to sink to the ground.
Kneeling, the liquid reached his solar-plexus. The thickness of it made breathing harder, causing him to see dark blurs in his vision.
His eyes widened and his dark eyebrows frowned in confusion as Legolas turned his gaze to the oozing liquid and let out a cry at the image it reflected.
The image of Thranduil in the liquid stared at his son as he continuously uttered the same name in a soft voice.
“Legolas… wake up, ion-nin.”
As he continuously watched the image of his father, Legolas was unaware of the liquid that was evaporating into the mist surrounding the feet of the nazgul.
The nazgul hovered over to him and came close enough for Legolas to reach out and touch its billowing robes in the non-existent wind…
The first thing he felt was a dull throbbing in his head, as his senses slowly became aware of his surroundings.
“Legolas,” he heard a voice call.
He forced his way through the nothingness in his mind as he tried to fight off unconsciousness that threatened to engulf him.
He turned his head away for a moment, and felt the fabric of his pillows against his head beneath his golden hair. “Ada,” he mumbled.
“Legolas… wake up, ion-nin,” the voice called softly.
The young elf frowned in recognition and slowly forced his eyes open.
He could not see clearly at first, only block colours before him. The person issuing the voice sat beside him, his pale face surrounded by a halo of golden hair. Legolas blinked as the elf before him became clearer.
“Ada?” Legolas asked as he tried to sit up. He regretted his actions almost immediately as the throbbing in his head intensified.
“Easy, Legolas. You hit your head,” Thranduil said softly, as he held a hand on Legolas’ shoulder to prevent him from moving. “How are you feeling?”
Legolas closed his eyes briefly and opened them again. “Sluggish,” came the best, and most truthful, answer he could think off. He frowned and cocked his head slightly to the side, regretting the movement soon after. “I hit my head? I thought it was only poison?” His eyes widened as he suddenly remembered his dream. The liquid thickening up must have been the poison leaving his body…
Thranduil gave a disbelieving laugh. “Only poison? Ion-nin, only you could make the issue of being poisoned seem irrelevant.” He smiled and shook his head, but then paused at the distant pained look on his son’s face. “Legolas?”
Legolas snapped out of his thoughts and waved a hand as though to brush the comment aside. “It is nothing, ada. Just a…” He frowned in thought. “Strange dream.”
Thranduil nodded his head slowly. If Legolas wished not to speak of it, then he would not force him until he was ready.
“When did I get back into bed?” the young archer asked suddenly, doing what only elves seemed able to do – change conversation topic like that. As he looked up at Thranduil, his eyes reflected confusion.
“Think back to when you last woke up.”
Legolas’ eyebrows burrowed at his father’s cryptic words, and thought back to past events. He had been leading a patrol, ambushing spiders, and had been bitten, resulting in him being poisoned. But three days later he thought he had been fine…
Thranduil smiled at his son as Legolas thought back to how he had ended up residing back in his bed.
“Ada, I am honestly fine.”
“Legolas, it has been but three days,” Thranduil countered. “Just one more days rest is all I and the healers ask.”
The king gave a sigh as the young elf swung pulled off his covers and swung his legs over his bed, planting them firmly on the ground before rising. Legolas reached over for his undershirt, and pulled it over his head, trying to hide his wince as he pulled it over the clean bandage around his left shoulder.
“See?” Legolas asked, showing his palms in a see-what-I-mean gesture.
Thranduil shook his head knowing full well how stubborn his son could be when it came to injuries. I pity the healers, he thought.
Legolas smiled and began to walk over to the table to pour himself a glass of water. No sooner had he stepped one step, however, the room began to tilt. Ignoring this and trying to walk through it, Legolas made to progress towards the table that was but two steps away…
Before he finished his second step, the table began hurtling towards him at a fast speed…
Legolas’ eyes widened in embarrassment as a feint blush crept up his cheeks. Thranduil laughed openly.
“Remember now?” he asked, now smiling. When Legolas did not answer because he was mentally scolding himself from the damage to his pride, Thranduil put a hand to his son’s shoulder, away from the bite wound. “Perhaps next time you will heed my advice, tithen pen? I may be no healer, but trust me; I know how long some things take to heal. Which is why,” he said, surveying his son with his blue eyes. “You are remaining in bed for another two days.”
Legolas opened his mouth to argue back at this most unfair sentence, but Thranduil raised his eyebrows in an expression not to dissimilar from one that his son had learnt. “The twins and Estel are arriving next week,” he said, trying a new tactic. “And I am sure you do not wish to remain bed-ridden during their stay.”
Legolas ceased his frowning and closed his mouth.
Smiling an understanding smile, Thranduil squeezed his son’s shoulder and rose from his seat. “I will go and get you some food and some herbal tea for your head.”
Legolas smiled, but decided against the idea of nodding.
As Thranduil reached out to open his bed chamber door, Legolas suddenly thought of something.
“Ada, you won’t tell the twins and Estel what happened will you? With the whole, hitting head on table thing? Please?”
Thranduil smiled at the look of his son’s apprehension as he placed his hand on the side of the door. “Of course not, ion-nin. Consider the banging of your head a…” He paused to think of a suitable word. “A punishment for the crime of you not heeding advice.”
With that, Thranduil left the room, leaving Legolas lying in bed propped up against pillows, a bandage around the front of his head.
Ada – father
Ion-nin – my son
Tithen pen – little one