Author: Paladin: nesrie@aol.com, or resia3@aol.com
Title: The Keepers and the Kept
Rating: NC-17
Planned Characters: Elrond, Glorfindel, Eomer, Haldir, Legolas, Faramir, Erestor, Saruman, Boromir and Aragorn
Pairing: Elrond/Glorfindel, Eomer/Haldir, Legolas/Erestor/Aragorn
Genre: Very much an A/U
Summary: Middle Earth is in chaos and darkness of the rising forces of Mordor and Isengard who were recently joined by the men of Gondor. With the remains of Rohan, those left loyal to light from Gondor, the elven nations and its allies begin its resistance movement.
Archive: Only with direct permission.
Website: http://members.aol.com/nesrie/index.html
Author note: Dedicated to those wonderful individuals who aided me during my time of need, reminded me that my passion for writing and the fantasy world never waned and encouraged me to continue writing, and to those who gave a painful reminder that trust is to be earned not gifted.

Links.  Part 1Part 2

Prologue

Although Mirkwood has not yet fallen to the forces of darkness, Thranduil sent his son, Legolas and those unable to fight, as well as others with important information to Rivendell. Upon hearing of this, Glorfindel set forth from Rivendell with a small troop to swiftly aid their journey. After the two elven parties joined, the group was ambushed by Saruman himself, and at the expense of his freedom, Glorfindel fought the wizard face to face and was captured, but his sacrifice allowed Legolas and most his charges to escape.

Elrond and the Elves of Rivendell discovered the fate of the elven lord when Saruman began sending explicit images of the elf himself via magic as a taunt or perhaps to gloat. Either way, the event and others caused Elrond and others to venture forth from the sanctuary to meet and face the evil rather than wait for it although Rivendell maintains a defensive front.

Meanwhile, Faramir took up residence in Orthanc with the wizard Saruman at the request of his father Denethor, to strengthen their allegiance with both Isengard and Mordor and because Saruman has special interests in the youth. Since then,  Boromir was imprisoned by his own father for refusal to execute all elves upon sight.

This story will follow the events of Elrond, Eomer and Haldir as they attempt to free Glorfindel from the clutches of Isengard; Aragorn, Legolas and Erestor as they try to free Boromir and the fates of Glorfindel and Faramir.

As for Gandalf and Hobbits, they vanished along with any information about the one Ring...

Introduction: Part One

Isengard: The Keeper and the Kept


Saruman looked stepped out onto the balcony situated high up in the tower of Orthanc. He smiled slowly, peering down at the orc encampments that littered the area with small fires and smoke from continuos forging. Victory was near, he could feel it. The forces of Mordor and Isengard sent the fools that opposed them, scattering like sheep across Middle Earth seeking shelter when there was none to be had... Well there was one left, one gem that still needed prying from the rock. Rivendell.

The wizard pulled at his white beard slowly, the strong, long fingers of his other hand grasping his powerful staff tightly as he moved across the hard floor into the room, glaring at the seeing stone though there was nothing to be seen just yet. Rivendell would not fall easily, not with so many fortified there, not when all those that escaped their inevitable fate fled to those parts. He laughed then, a soft yet cruel sound. Oh, but even that river had thinned to trickle. It was becoming far to dangerous for refugees to travel the known routes and Rivendell could scarcely afford loosing more warriors with the efforts in aiding those in flights.

He turned then as another entered the room, a light figure even now amongst those who were dark, who were ruling. This one had golden hair, scarcely dressed in whites and silver, his hair loose, the thick leather band about his neck sporting Saruman's initials as notable as the pointed ears he was birthed with. "Glorfindel, how nice of you to join me."

The elf warrior said nothing, his sea green eyes defiant when his mouth was not.

Saruman moved to his prisoner's side, allowing his cool fingers to grasp the warm shoulders as he brought the elf closer to the seeing stone. The strong, youthful body was tense, but with anger not fear. He believed it would take centuries to break an elf's spirit, if you did not want to destroy the light being itself in the process. No matter, they both had plenty of time, and when Rivendell succumbed to the forces against it, when the race of elves became a rarity and on the verge of eradication, the remaining race of light would have no choice but to submit. "Do you," he began in a soft whisper, "Desire to see your homeland again before it starts to burn?"

Glorfindel eyed the seeing stone, his eyes narrowed. "You will not defeat Rivendell, not while even one of my race walks Middle Earth"

Saruman yanked the golden strands hard, causing the elf to wince. "You are fortunate that there are also others ruling these lands than dark riders and orcs else your kind would burn alive to the very last child." He sneered then, throwing the elf warrior to the ground with surprising strength. "You are my trophy and, if you ever so much as voice an opposition against me in the presence of others, I will give you to my orcs, again, and I swear to you that this time there will be nothing about it for you to like."

Glorfindel waited for the wizard to depart, the soft swishing of Saruman's robes fading as he descended the nearby stairs. Only then did the elf lord stand and move out to the balcony, looking over the bleak land with a heavy heart and glistening eyes. Orthanc was a  dark tower, a terrible place of evil  that was perilous to anyone trying to escape or anyone coming unless they too were an ally of darkness, even creatures more foul than Saruman himself.

Part Two

Isengard's Kept


Glorfindel moved about the tower quietly, his footsteps silent, his gestures graceful as he gently petted the little robin's head before bidding it to leave these dark lands forever. The thick smoke of burning trees and the hammering of steel continued day and night. Goblin-kind was ever vigil, working in the cover of shadows underground when the sun proved unpleasant enough and running across the lands like small ants to unseen masters during the night. Their master was unseen, at least to them but he saw the wizard daily, even hourly.

Saruman gave the elf lord plenty to occupy his time with, gardens and trees within the tower itself, canvas and paints, delicate inks and impressive papyrus, even musical instruments. A gilded cage, absent of only the one, true thing his heart really desired, company... specifically, his beloved's arms.

Elrond.

So much rested in that name, love, want, need, hope... and fear. The wizard liked to parade him in front of his lord, having him stand in nothing else but silver chains and golden trinkets, sending this image to Elrond's presence. It had to tear the twilight-haired one's heart in two to see such a thing, but lately, Glorfindel wished he could at least receive some image of the Lord of Rivendell himself, some inkling, no matter how shameful, of his lover's well being. His heart knew Elrond remained in this world, they were linked to that extent at least, but the side of his soul that was weakening to the strain of this life wanted more... wanted to see and touch. Mortal longings really. He was fortunate he had as much as he did.

It was hopeless, some would claim. The forces of evil were stronger, the temptation of power to man overwhelming whatever sense of duty and justice they had left. Hopeless? he thought, snorting. They had said the same thing after the fall of Gondolin and yet the elven race endured, rebuilt and ruled beautiful realms. Realms that were now under attack by forces in great numbers but still stood.

His sea green eyes flickered a moment, and he heard not the footsteps of the one following him but he did hear the light tick of rings brushing against the staff.

Where would he allow himself to be accosted this time? In the open, maybe a side room, perhaps a display of defiance in the main chamber?

Glorfindel shivered a little at the thought of what would likely ensue, and sighed knowing his body had already come accustomed to it, responding to the delight of the wizard's touch. It was a high price to pay for his hope, for his belief that he would one day rejoin the forces of light and aid in bringing the evil being down. A high price, but one he was willing to pay.

The elf lord spun around on his heels and turned to face the wizard who regarded him with a smug, ready smile.

"You heard me?"

Glorfindel nodded, holding back an annoyed reply.

"It is good your senses remain even as your spirit dwindles. After all, when I have broken you, I still want you to be an elf."

A brief smile formed, "You are so confident you can do what others have not been able to do before?"

"The others did not work as closely with your race as I did in the past. The others were not wizards and the others are not me." Saruman lifted a hand to Glorfindel's cheek.

His fingertips were cool from the day's wind, hard from too many nights searching through old tomes seeking answers, seeking power. Glorfindel pull from the touch with distaste. "Well said. Your mind has not dimmed even if it has descended into madness, succumbed to darkness," he replied with a sarcastic smile.

Saruman slapped him, but not hard. It was meant to shock and hurt not damage. It did neither. "I have warned you about your tongue Glorfindel. I'll not have it."

Glorfindel lifted his chin stubbornly. "Then remove it as you have threatened in the past. We both know you..."

He was unable to finish his sentence and challenge for one of the stinking orcs clambered their way to them, the grime of travel still upon its clumsy body. "Master."

Saruman narrowed his eyes at the elf but addressed the orc. "Report."

"We did not find the things you wanted but we got an elf."

Dark beady eyes lit up, and for a moment, Glorfindel feared the worst. Elrond, Galadriel... Thranduil... the list was too large and the damage would be so great.

"Dark haired?"

"No."

Saruman sneered. "Good, but I don't need any of the light haired elves. I want the twilight haired one alive... all dark-haired elves if you can't manage that simple assignment. Why bring me the body of one of the others? Dispose of it."

The orc seemed hesitant, its bright orange eyes wide with fear and confusion. "You want us to kill it. Eat it?"

Saruman was surprised at this. "You mean it is alive?"

Its throat convulsed with thick swallowing. "Yes master."

Glorfindel breathed in lightly. Alive. Why would they bring one alive? What could these turn of events mean.

"Bring it to me," Saruman's deep voice did not betray his intentions.

Glorfindel felt his heart thrum loudly in his chest. He was praying, in silence, praying that this elf would find his or her end long before Saruman had a chance to do anything foul to them, that they might go to the Halls of Mandos without suffering.

The orcs emerged a few minutes later, dragging in the light-haired elf and depositing their victim before the master of the tower.

This elf was indeed light-haired, but so much dirt and grime was entwined with the long strands it was difficult to tell at first glance. He was kneeling but saying nothing, looking straight ahead with unseeing pastel blue eyes and  numb in all other sense of the word. The elf-warden's garb was torn, ripped from travel and abuse, the gentle features of this Lothlorien elf like stone.

Saruman looked at the elf and dismissed the orcs, his fingers touching the face and light strands. "He doesn't respond?"

Glorfindel said nothing.

The dark gaze turned on him. "This is not a natural response Glorfindel. Tell me, do you know who this is and why doesn't he respond?"

A sad smile graced his lips, understanding entering his eyes. "Yes, I know his name but I do not know him. And I will not tell you. He enters a sleep of sorts, a trance to feel no pain, no sorrow, and in time, his body will die and his spirit lift beyond to a realm where you cannot touch him."

Saruman cursed. "Give me his name and wake him."

"I will not," Glorfindel whispered. "I will not bring him from his acceptance of a peaceful death for you to torture and abuse him."

Something flickered in Saruman's eyes, and it was odd yet not wholly new. The humans, in all their conceit, would call it humanity, Glorfindel knew it as morality, compassion, the feeling of one being to another.

The wizard calmed a bit, the anger fading. "One elf's death or life has no consequence to me. Like you, his place in this conflict is ending. Bring him back to this realm the of living, to awareness and I swear to you I will not bring about these horrid things you imagine."

Glorfindel was no fool, and he knew that the wizard would wind up hurting them both regardless. However, he was also a bit selfish, longing for the companionship of someone other than his enforced master, his dreaded minions and the very distant young man with whom he shared this tower. And despite all that was befalling Middle Earth, hope remained and if he could save this elf's life, despite the unfortunate events that would come beforehand, he had to try. Saruman was many things, evil and cruel amongst the list of poorer qualities, but he was also possessive. The wizard would not lightly throw away something he wanted.

Taking heart, the golden-haired elf kneeled by his fellow elf, a palm gracing his dirty cheek. "I will need your permission to use the words of my people."

Saruman scowled but nodded. After all, not speaking the elvish language seemed to be a tactic he hoped would subdue elves.

Glorfindel pressed his lips gently against the other's pointed ear. "Orophin, lasta an nin. Ennas estel. Estel" *[roughly] Orophin listen to me. There is hope. Hope.

At first, nothing happened and Glorfindel wondered if it was too late. If Orophin had accepted his fate to the point where there was no turning back. But steadily, the eyes began to focus again, the faint breathing becoming stronger. Glorfindel took his hand and Orophin's fingers moved a little.

Then, he gasped tightly for air. "Glor... Glorfindel?"

"Yes, yes," he replied softly, using his garments to wipe the warden's face.

Orophin winced a bit, the ache of his body coming with his renewed senses. "Isengard?" The pastel blue eye widened in panic.

"Shh," Glorfindel whispered softly, soothing him with further, gentle touches. "Yes, you are captive as I am but there is hope."

Orophin shook his head, pulling away. "Innas al Estel. Al Estel."

Saruman narrowed his eyes.

Gently, Glorfindel covered the elf's mouth. "Orophin," he murmured. "Use the common tongue. It is forbidden for us to use our language."

"Ai, Innas..."

"Orophin," Glorfindel voice more firmly.

Orophin looked at Glorfindel, uncertainty and fear glistening in the pastel blue eyes. "Why did you wake me... make me face this. Why would you do this to me?"

Glorfindel felt his heart tear a little and he moved closer, his voice barely a whisper. "Because if there is a way for me to return home with a warden of Lothlorien, with Haldir and Rumil's brother intact, I must try."

Saruman slammed his staff against the floor. "Glorfindel! You know better than to behave in such a manner. You had best start speaking at a level I too can hear else you will pay for it, dearly, and I'll make your newfound friend watch. His name?"

"Orophin," Glorfindel replied tensely.

"Very well, Orophin it is. Water and robes will be brought to you. Clean him up and prepare him for questioning."

The wizard departed, pausing in the hallway with a dark grin. Glorfindel had just become vulnerable. He would use that power against him readily.

[tbc]

 

-Please let me Know what you think-  Paladin

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