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Summary: When Elrond is short a courtesan for the fifteen year exchange, what will he do? Pimp out his daughter -- that's what! In this chapter, Prince Legolas shows his true quality. Parody, D/s, SI, slash, anal, bdsm, f/f, m/f, m/f/m, solo and general bad taste. NC-17
Introduction: Please Read First

Nine and a Half Weeks in Mirkwood
By Acharn Lend

Disclaimer: Not my garden. It never was.

Chapter 26: The Ceremony of Innocence

Arwen was too drained to react as Legolas wrapped her in the blanket and scooped her into his arms. A chorus of protests broke out as he carried her to the door. "Do you expect me to disport myself in front of you lot?" he said haughtily. "I will return her when I am through."

She could only turn her face into his neck, as the archer who had been next in line grumbled angrily that it was just his luck to have been at the front on the one and only occasion the prince had ever pulled rank. She was carried through the night, into a tent, and set down on a bed.

She lay passively with her eyes shut as he left her for a time. She heard sounds, most likely of the prince undressing himself. The blanket was unwrapped, exposing her nakedness, and she braced herself for further pain. Instead, she felt a cool cloth between her legs.

"Forgive me, Arwen," said Legolas. "Galion only just told me what had occurred. I came for you as soon as I could."

"You know my name," she whispered, and began to cry, for somehow, his knowing her true identity made it all much worse.

"Hush now," he said, pulling her into his arms and rocking her as she sobbed against his chest. "Once she came to trust me, Eliene told me who you were. I am so sorry, Arwen. When I made my choice, Eliene seemed the more fragile of you two. I would have chosen differently had I known you were not inured to this life. I can protect only one, and this time I chose wrongly. But truly, my father has never done anything like this before. "

"What do you mean, protect?" she asked, her sobs subsiding into hiccups.

"The courtesans; I do not . . . use them," he explained. "Do you not know how very wrong this is? I keep them by me and treat them as free elves ought to be treated -- as respected equals, even if they are in the position of servant -- not as property or as toys. At the end of fifteen years, most have remembered how it used to be for them. How it should be for all of us. This is an evil dream, Arwen. It did not used to be this way."

He continued, "When I was much younger, my father had nothing but contempt for the news from outside that the Elven realms of Lothlorien and Imladris had revived the ancient custom of the Courtesanship. He called it an evil Noldorin practice and said he would have none of it. Then one day, a stranger came, who said he was an ambassador from the south. He had a look about him I did not like, but my father showed him courtesy as he always did our guests. This man presented him with a ring -- a simple steel ring, which I knew was not to his tastes, yet he put it heedlessly on the small finger of his left hand, merely for safe-keeping until he could set it aside. The moment it was on, things changed. It was as if my father fell into a strange waking dream and all the other elves of the realm along with him. Why I alone was unaffected I have no idea, but soon my father was asking if there were any who would volunteer to take the collar, and he was treating with Imladris and Lorien to be included in the exchange. And I could only watch in sadness as it happened."

"But what was that all about the first evening at dinner, when you leashed Eliene? And that morning in your father's chamber, with the cherries?"

"It is called putting on a good act, Arwen. If my father suspected how it was between me and my courtesans, I would not be allowed to have them. And then I would be unable to do even what little I can now."

"You seemed to hate me so," Arwen said. "It was as if you could not stand the sight of me."

Legolas sighed. "Not you. But the very sight of an elf serving as a plaything for others makes me physically ill. It tears at my heart to have to watch the ones I cannot help; you especially once Eliene had told me who you were and how you came to be a courtesan. It hit too close to home."

Arwen sighed. "Morie. Firdal told me some of it."

Legolas shook his head. "She was so pretty and so light-hearted, it seemed. She sought me out, and flirted, and I thought she truly had a fondness for me. And then . . ."

"I know the feeling," Arwen said.

Legolas laughed bitterly. "My mother was Avarin, did you know that? I am more Wood-elf than I am Sinda, and we can smell a trap a league off. I did not fall for it, but the damage was done. I knew my first betrayal by those I thought loved me, and my first guilt over those I loved but did not protect. I shut myself in my bedchamber and sang sad songs on my harp. I think I was well on my way to a fade by the time my father tore his attention away from the new male courtesan -- Veridian was his name and there was a troublemaker if ever there was one -- and promised me a courtesan of my own if I would cheer up."

Legolas gave an evil laugh. "I chose Veridian, who had been well on his way to influencing Adar into dismantling our forest guard, and made him clean my boots for the remainder of his fifteen years."

"Did you rehabilitate him?" Arwen asked.

"Nay, some of them have become too twisted and fond of making their mischief," Legolas said. "The collar has an effect on the spirit that is not good. After Veridian, it was the ones who were looking sad that I always tried to pick. I seemed to choose rightly -- until now. Forgive me, Arwen."

"What will become of me now?" Arwen asked sadly. The idea of returning to the men filled her with dread.

The prince sighed. "I have had enough, Arwen. As soon as I can get away, I will take you with me and ride west. We will stop in Mirkwood for Firdal and Eliene, and then we shall make for Mithlond. We will find sanctuary in the Undying Lands, I am sure."

"You would do that for me? Leave your home behind?"

"How can I stand by and watch your spirit die? I would do anything to make it right, but I cannot."

"I believe you would do anything," she said. "You are a very brave young elf. I think you would go to the very Gates of Mordor if you had to."

"Where Grandsire Oropher bit the dust? Nay, I hope not!" She watched the very tips of his ears turn red. "Next thing, you'll have me facing a Balrog!"

"Ah, Legolas, if only I weren't so sore . . ." She watched as his eyes widened and his lips parted, and she was aware she was lying before him as naked as the day she was born. 'And now we'll see if he's a fan of the ladies or not,' she told herself.

A loud flatulent noise split the early morning air.

"Dammit!" Legolas shut his eyes and ground his teeth. "That is a Dwarven horn. They think such clarion calls are funny. Dain's army has arrived from the Iron Hills."

Sure enough, Elven horns began to sound the call to arms in the camp. "I must go," said Legolas. "I am Captain of the King's Bodyguard."

"What shall I do, Legolas?"

"Stay, here. You should be safe in my tent until the battle is over. They are only dwarves. Our armies are equally matched."

She watched as he took up his bow and made for the tent opening. "Your helm, Legolas . . ."

He laughed. "Adar and I do not wear helms in battle. He says his golden hair is better than any battle standard for identifying where the king is fighting. And my pale hair too, I suppose."

'Insane!' Arwen thought. The entire House of Oropher must have been dropped on their heads as elflings. "You fight for him, even after everything?"

He looked at her with a sad smile. "He is my father, Arwen. His was the face I saw above my cradle. His were the hands that comforted me in the night. No matter what fell enchantment has him in its thrall, I love him, and I cannot let him die alone." With that, he was gone.

Arwen lay, looking after him for a time. Then she rose and began searching around the tent, rummaging through the prince's effects. She found a shirt and breeches , which fit her well enough once she had rolled the legs up and tucked them into a spare pair of boots. She braided her hair and tucked it under the prince's discarded helm. With her face disguised, she left the tent and managed to find a cloak and a sword that someone had left lying about. It wasn't very sharp, but it would do.

She was no pampered courtesan. She was no slave. She was Arwen Undomiel, daughter of the lord of Imladris, descendent of Luthien Tinuviel and if the Lady Idril of Gondolin, both formidable warrior princesses. And she wasn't about to leave her life in the hands of a sodding bunch of insane Wood-elves, no matter how handsome their prince was.

* * *


Almost there, folks, almost there.

Well, I hope that answered a few questions. We all knew a certain princeling couldn't be an evil jerk, so he can put down that Big Gulp sized tankard of dwarven ale before he ruins his liver. What's that? Ah, I have not answered whether he is a 'fan of the ladies!' Maybe I will, and maybe I won't . . . *evil laughter*

Faithful Servant: Don't mind if I do have another glass of the Dorwinion. All this literary brilliance is making me work up a prodigious thirst. And have one for yourself.
Aglarond13: Is he or isn't he? Well, I suppose you would be in a position to know. Ai! Put down that axe! After all these years have you not yet learned when I am jesting?
Artanis: You may stop waving your raised hand. Of course YOU would know the answer to that!
Double Trouble: Yes, there will be a little more sex, so stay tuned.
Half Elf: Are you beginning to get my point in all of this? And my friendly advice about the boatload of gold for mental healers still goes. It goes double, in point of fact.

* * *

L.T.: All right, now even I am confused. Am I gay or am I not?

T.O.: . . . ?!

L.T.: I mean for the purposes of this story, curse it! That question was settled in my own mind long ago.

T.O.: Would that you had shared that information with me, then. A parent worries about these things. And let us not even get into your exotic choice of friends.

L.T.: Alas, I know. I always felt you were most broad-minded, Adar, to accept a Dwarf among my circle of intimates.

T.O.: It was the Ranger, actually. And the Noldo -- now that your definition of 'intimates' seems to have widened.

L.T.: Ah . . . perhaps we should be getting on with the story? There is still much that is unclear.

T.O.: You are becoming almost as good as I am at changing the subject. Patience; all will be revealed . . .

TBC in Chapter Twenty-seven: The Blood-dimmed Tide