Legolas didn't remember his mother beyond vague memories of her voice. Her face was easy, there were paintings and statues. But his father, his Ada, was always there, from his earliest memories. He tried hard to think of a time that his mother had come to comfort him, to sing to him. And he found that he could not come up with a single instance.
He sighed and sat up, sleep it would seem was not coming tonight. He remembered the last time he and his father spoke. And those last words didn't make sense anymore. 'Your mother loved you.' How? How could she have when she didn't come when he cried. What mother would leave her child and go to war, running the risk of leaving him an orphan.
Legolas got out of the bed and wandered out to his balcony overlooking the peaceful valley of rivendell. It was nice here but his heart still longed for the woods that he was born in. And now questions bounced around his mind chasing away the last lingering bit of peace he felt. The answers to those questions could not be found here, though perhaps he could talk to Elrond, maybe he had some insight on his mother. He got changed quickly and headed out to search the various gardens, there wasn't much chance that Lord Elrond would be awake at this time of night, but it was worth looking. And if nothing else he could check the library.
Elrond, as it turned out, was having a hard time sleeping that night as well. Legolas found him staring intently into a crystal-like pool. "My lord." Legolas said bowing slightly.
"Ah, prince legolas." Elrond greeted him not looking up from the clear waters. "It seems that sleep is evading more than one of us tonight."
"It would seem that way. May I join you?" Legolas felt the pull of curiosity as he watched the pool, he didn't see anything within its waters, and yet clearly something held the lord of Rivendel's attention. He stepped up to his side with the wave of a hand. "... what are you seeing?"
"Things that were, often we need to take time to reflect on the past, to find answers we may have missed."
"...right.." Legolas stared hard into the water before a mischievous smile made its way onto his face. "... you aren't actually seeing anything, are you?. Now we both just look like fools." he quipped with a grin. He chuckled as lord Elrond looked up finally with a raised eyebrow and a fond smile.
"Well, perhaps I'd like to leave you guessing." The ancient elf replied his gaze softening as he looked at the prince. "What is keeping you up tonight?"
"...The past, same as you… I want to know about my mother, it was something Ada said.`` Legolas frowned suddenly turning his face back to the water. "Did you know her?"
"Not well I admit, I was there for the wedding.. She was an elf lords daughter herself. Very accomplished equestrian, better than some riders of Rohan." He looked thoughtful. "I remember hearing of your birth, No one expected to have a prince born so soon into their marriage, Thranduil was overjoyed."
"But not my mother?" Legolas bit his lip dreading the answer by the look on Elrond's face.
"It happens sometimes, among men, that a woman will not connect with the child she birthed." he began carefully. "It is by no fault of either, and a tragedy truly. If that was the case with your mother, I do not know."
"My father said she loved me… now I am not so sure." Legolas winced as his voice broke at the painful thought. Losing her so young had been bad enough, but the thought that she had not loved him was painful. "...I must go back to Greenwood and speak to Ada, he will know the truth."
"Tomorrow I will arrange an escort. For now, go and rest. And legolas? Do not trouble yourself too much with the past." he gave legolas another fond smile and departed leaving legolas alone by the pool. The prince sided and sat down on the pools edge giving the waters one more glance, he started as for a moment he could have sworn he saw an orange light in its reflection. But after several more minutes it did not reappear, Elrond was right, he should rest.
The next morning was mostly a blur, supplies were gathered for the trip, horses readied. And they were off. Legolasdidn't know the names of his escorts. They were not elves he was familiar with and vaguely he wished he had invited Lord Elrond's sons to join them on the trip. They were always good company, good for a laugh when you were feeling down. His Ada always referred to them as the twin terrors, though he was still bitter from their last prank that had left his hair stained pink for weeks. He laughed softly to himself remembering that event. It had notably been the last time Elrond's entire family had been invited to Greenwood.
He frowned trying to remember when that had been, before the desolation of smaug, Thror wasn't even upon the throne yet. Six hundred years perhaps.. Before Tauriel lived with them, so that sounded right. He mused to himself of happy memories, when the forest had been filled with light and laughter as Rivendell was. And he hoped that it was that way again. The letters he had received from home spoke of a receding darkness, spiders no longer hunted travelers, and of his Ada's improving mood. He had sent a letter ahead, to let his Ada know he was coming for a visit. Though he had left out why. Camp was made that night without incident and the next several days were the same. Until the tenth night of their journey. He noticed earlier that his guards seemed on edge, they weren't telling him something. "Captain?" He said approaching the man on the edge of the camp. "You are uneasy." it wasn't a question. The older elf looked at him clearly debating himself before answering.
"There are orcs trailing us." he finally said. "They have been for days now, possibly since we left Rivendell.
".. Are you certain? Surely orcs would have attacked us by now." Legolas followed his gaze across the landscape and swallowed, sure enough quite a distance behind there was an orc camp. He did not know what to make of it. They could have been upon them and yet the orcs camped as they did. "...We can't fight that many."
"No not alone… I want you to leave tonight, continue to Greenwood alone, We can lead them away." The captain wasn't saying everything, he wasn't saying that they would all die when the orcs finally caught them.
"I… I can't leave you." Legolas felt like his stomach was a pit. "There has to be a better way."
"No, our job is to get you home safely. Prince Legolas, we were all prepared to do this duty." Legolas wanted to argue, he wanted to say no and stay with them. But instead he nodded, biting his tongue and calling himself a coward as he went to ready his horse. His mother had been captured by orcs, tortured and killed. It was a fate he was terrified of, falling to one in battle was one thing, but being their prisoner…
He had heard when visiting Tauriel, whispers of the fate of Thrain. Who had suffered the same as his mother. He took a deep breath mounting his horse and quietly trotting it out of the camp, bringing with him enough supplies to last him several more days, and gold to buy anything he would need once he reached a town. He rode until the dawn woke bringing with it a dreaded red sky. He froze daring to look back for only a moment before pushing his horse into a run.
The captain's plan had failed, and a small voice in his head seemed to whisper that his absence had doomed the men to their deaths.
He heard the howls of wargs before the sun had risen beyond the hills. His horse was exhausted and he had no choice but to slow their speed. He armed his bow swearing to take someone down with him, if that was, he could see through the tears that burned his eyes. He let an arrow lose as the first of the Wargs approached snarling and snapping intending to take down his already failing horse. The rest of the pack followed and he managed to take down more of their wargs and of their riders. But he found himself surrounded and a well placed arrow sent his horse toppling over down upon him. Legolas braced himself for the pain of broken bones trapped beneath his fallen steed. Yet after a moment he found none. He heard the orcs yelling around him still circling and caught his breath before he tried to pull himself out from under the horse; his bow still grasped in his hand. He choked on his own breath as he was grabbed and pulled out fully by two strong orcs. He struggled against them as he was dragged forward.
"Are you The prince of Mirkwood." an Orc bigger than the rest sneered at him. Legolas stayed quiet for a few seconds gathering his courage before raising his head to meet the orcs gaze.
"I will not give you the satisfaction of knowing." he was almost proud of himself for keeping a quiver out of his voice as he spoke.
"There are ways to find out." The orc barked an order and Legolas felt one of his arms harshly being extended. He let out a gasp of horror as a blade was brought down upon it. And yet, nothing. The blade hit his skin and left nothing but a faint bruise. Legolas stared at the spot. The pit in his stomach that had formed over the last few hours seemed to drop. And his mind raced. The horse had crushed him, he should lie broken, this blade had hit him, he should be bleeding out. And yet, here he was full and intact.
"IT IS HIM!" The orc shouted looking thrilled at his find. Legolas didn't have time to ask as his arms were bound and a cloth of stinking liquid was shoved in his face. His vision blurred as he struggled giving in to darkness.
When he next woke up he was near a fire, wrapped in the blanket he had brought with him on the horse. And laying on something warm and furry his heart almost stopped when he realized it was a warg. He was still tied up so not going anywhere and the warg did not seem like it was going to eat him. He should have been terrified but he was so confused. Why was he alive, how was he no worse for wear then bumps and bruises. He closed his eyes again thinking back, had he ever had a broken bone? Or a life threatening injury? The spider bites sure but even they were never as severe for him as others, and even then he could count more times than not that their fangs did not break his skin.
He startled as someone kicked his foot, his eyes flying open. "Awawk? Eat." A different orc in a broken tongue spoke to him putting a bowl to his lips. Legolas turned his head away he did not know what was in that bowl, and he did not want to drink it. "horse,grood met." the orc said moving the bowl again looking more insistent.
'So they had cooked his horse, wonderful.' Legolas thought dully parting his lips and allowing the broth and meat in. it was not bad, bland, but not rotten as he might expect. And it did admittedly taste like horse. Though the sudden wonder if they would be so cruel as to include the flesh of his fallen brothers almost made him reatch it up. With that thought he turned his head again. "No more." he choked out refusing as it was pushed back in his face several more times. Finally the orc gave up but instead pressed another foul cloth in his face. He did not fight it this time, he would much prefer to sleep through this, then be awake in the company of orcs.
Things continued much the same way for many days afterwards, he had stopped counting, on one occasion he woke while they were on the move. He was on a warg. Between its neck and its rider. He didn't dare to move as he lay against its fur. He wondered briefly how long it would take for his father and Lord Elrond to discover he was missing, if they would dare to try and save him. And where they were taking him. Mount Gundabad perhaps, to be tortured as his mother had been or moria. He sighed softly closing his eyes trying desperately to remember his mother just one time that she held and loved him. He did not notice the tears that rolled down his face until the orc rider spoke, the leader of the pack.
"Tears of crystal down the little masters cheeks." it spoke softly, had he not known better he would have said it was gentle. He did not open his eyes to look at the thing. He did not want its fake pity, the torture it seemed had already begun.
Legolas had fallen asleep on his own this time, and this time he woke in a bed. He frowned at the canopy overhead, with its sheer green curtains that screened the rest of the room around him. He sat up; he was in a large bedroom of dark stone, the furnishings oddly light against the walls. After some hesitation he pulled back the curtains to study it closer. There was a chest of drawers, a wardrobe, chair and bookshelf. His own clothes were more like what he'd worn at home than at Elronds, except he'd never owned black in his life: he felt like ice in the colour, and Ada always looked grieved when he saw him in such dark cloth.
Taking a deep breath Legolas got out of the bed. The stone beneath his feet was warm and almost comforting if not for the situation, there was no fireplace in the room and he wondered how it was heated. He took another look spotting a desk covered in intricate carvings, men, elves, horses, dwarves, a Mumakil, and even a dragon. Despite himself Legolas made his way over eager to inspect them. They were truly beautiful as though they were grown rather than carved. He smiled being reminded of the ones he had in Greenwood, made by his Ada's hands, back when they spent hours together walking the forest together. He lifted up the dragon deciding to carry it with him as he explored the rest of the room.
The next thing he looked over was the book shelf, he found that many of the books were familiar to him, his favorites honestly. The ones that weren't familiar seemed to be history books, though at least one was on medicine. He mused about that and shifted on his feet. The figures were one thing but… books that were picked for him? It made him uncomfortable. He set the dragon down on the bookshelf unable to resist making a small whooshing sound as he did. There was no one here to judge him for it after all.
He smiled weakly to himself and turned around there were two doors here, one across from the window he had not worked up the courage to look out, and the other off to the side. He decided to check the side door first and was relieved to find a washroom with a large pool to bathe in. no surprises there really. Though everything was made of the same black stone, it made his stomach sink as he wondered where he was. He stepped back out and eyed the main door and approached. To his absolute surprise it opened, and not to a stone hall. But to a sitting room. It was terrifyingly normal, three chairs, a table, more books, and in the far corner a small kitchen. Legolas ventured out and sank into one of the chairs. He felt exhausted, he was certain that it was shock setting in.
Legolas stayed in the chair for a while snacking on the nuts that were on the table in front of him, it wasn't much, but they would give him the strength he needed to continue his exploration. As he lifted his eyes to take in more of the room he froze choking on an almond for a moment. His face burned with embarrassment as he took in a painting on the wall. It was his Ada, he was nude, younger, laying in what appeared to be a thicket. He was curled around a nest of leaves and flowers that contained a statue of an infant elf, one made of precious metals. He was confused and taken aback dropping his gaze.
"There are some things… one never needs to see." he groaned out loud.
Where on earth had the Orcs taken him? He stood up quickly taken by a sudden wave of determination and headed back into the room towards the window, there was a black curtain over it and he didn't hesitate before pulling it back. he instantly regretted his choice. He froze looking out past the glass and bars as the barren wasteland of Mordor stretched out in front of him, all the way to the distant black gates. He moved again only when a wail of anguish hit his ears, he realized it came from his own mouth. He dropped to his knees and prayed, prayed to whatever Valar could hear him, begging for a rescue. He stayed there with his hands on the warm stone for what felt like hours though he was certain it was less. Despite his fear he had to do something.
They had hunted him, waited, presumably for him to leave the safety of Rivendel. Which made his heart pain with guilt, the escort died, there was nothing he could have done about it. He was certain of that now. He got back to his feet and looked at the door to the room. It did not lock but he could block it. Nothing was nailed down which was a pleasant surprise, a tender mercy to be sure. He tested to see if he could move the wardrobe and was disappointed to find it was too heavy to move. But he was able to move the desk, drawers, and chair to block the door from opening without effort at least.
He sighed leaning against the wall, he was not used to this kind of constant heat and even in this robe he was sweating. He turned his attention back to the wardrobe, he could not hear anyone trying to open the main door so he had at least a little time. He opened it and felt disappointed, everything was just as dark as what he had on already. And most seemed to be heavier and more ornate. He closed the doors again and went back to the bed to wait. He had not needed to wait long when the sound of a door unlocking in the other room caused him to jump. His heart sank as it was accompanied by someone, not an Orc he noticed, saying something in black speech and then not a moment later an orc replied in kind. He closed his eyes bracing himself for what was to come.