Lorelei, for some insane reason, decided to follow in Cesperanza's footsteps, and called for an Inappropriate Crossover Challenge.
I laughed. Then swore. Then wrote this. I think it works better to discover the other fandom as you go, but for those who'd rather know up front, go here.

written April 11, 2003


CSI Goes Deep

by Arduinna


"Are we there yet?" Nick asked for the dozenth time.

"I think... yes. Finally." Grissom shone his flashlight at the remains of what had been very solid wood doors, the dead bodies in the entryway lending a good deal of credence to his announcement. Unlike the other dead bodies they'd seen so far, these were relatively fresh.

"Hope everyone brought extra batteries," Sara said, her flashlight playing slowly over what was visible of the scene. "We're gonna be here a while."

"You'd think someone with a place this big would have put electricity in," Warrick muttered.

"But they didn't, so it's lucky we always come prepared, isn't it?" Grissom flicked his light around the corridor, then back to the opening, raising his eyebrows slightly. "Once more, dear friends -- into the breach."


Grissom frowned as he got closer and noticed the extent of the carnage. "Make sure you photograph everything as we go. With this many bodies, and all those weapons all over the place, we're going to wind up moving evidence by accident. I want a solid, clear photographic record of the scene. Clear?"

Murmurs of assent and steady flashing answered him, and Grissom turned his attention to the matter at hand, trusting his people to handle themselves properly.

A short while later, the bodies that had been in the doorway had been photographed in position and then lined up neatly in the corridor out of the way, with the arrows that had been in most of them bagged and tagged for further analysis.

Warrick shook his head as he looked down at them. "Who are these guys, anyway? Gang-bangers, into ritual scarification, or something?"

"It doesn't matter who they were, or what they did. What matters is they're dead, and we're here to find out how and why."

"Sorry, Gris," Warrick said.

Sara took her cue, as always, and got down to business. "Right. Okay, well, according to these entry wounds, they were all shot in the front, presumably as they tried to get through the door."

"So let's see where they were trying to go." Grissom walked through first, aiming his flashlight around the edges of the room as the others filed in behind him.

"Oh, my God."

"What is that?"

Sara's eyes were huge, and Nick, standing at her shoulder, was frankly gaping. Grissom frowned at them before turning to look at whatever had so flustered them. "Caverna belua," he announced. His frown deepened as they gaped at him instead, and he glanced over at Catherine and Warrick, who looked equally confused. Grissom sighed.

"Cave troll. "


"Look at this thing -- stab wounds, arrow wounds. This one looks like cause of death, arrow straight up through the chin into the brain." Catherine gingerly poked the troll's skin. "This is an incredibly dense epidermis. I can't believe such simple weapons managed to kill it."

"I can't believe Grissom knew what it was. I've never even heard of cave trolls before." Nick shook his head and took another picture of the stab wound to the base of the neck, making sure he had it from every angle.

"They're rare, I admit," Grissom said, sealing a swab into its container and moving closer. "I've never seen one outside a textbook before now. They stick to the deepest mountain caves for the most part, eating whatever they can find. They're very hard to kill. This looks like a young one, not fully mature yet; must be why they managed to take him down."

"Uh-huh," Nick said.

"Why am I not surprised that he knows that?" Catherine said to Warrick, who shook his head, grinning.

"What? It's a cave troll!"

"We believe you, Gris," Warrick said.

Grissom sighed. "Okay, enough of this, we have work to do. Everyone take a section, and start marking and photographing. Let's figure out what happened here."

"There was a massacre, is what happened," Sara murmured as she headed past him. She waved a hand in apology before he could say anything. "I know, I know, I'm on it."

"Hey, Gris?"

"Yes, Nick."

"You said they managed to take him down -- how do you know it's a male?"

Grissom stared at him. "I don't, actually, and you're right, secondary sexual characteristics don't count as proof in an unfamiliar species. You want to check the primary?" Muffled snickers from everyone else rewarded him, and he tilted his head at Nick, who just grinned back at him, undaunted.

"No, thanks, I was just wondering if you'd done an in-depth study of their physiology, or something."

Grissom relented -- a little. "No. In fact, no one has -- there's no literature at all about the mating or reproductive habits of cave trolls."

"Went looking, did you, Grissom?" Catherine asked. The snickers were a lot less muffled.

Grissom quirked his eyebrows at Nick. "A good CSI always goes looking."


An hour or so later, Grissom dusted off his knees and looked around at his team. "Okay, so what do we have?"

"Well, the ones nearest the door got taken out by arrows, same as the ones we put in the corridor," Sara said, pointing.

"Right, but then you get a little bit further in, and you've got stab wounds." Nick walked over to one of the bodies to illustrate, shining his flashlight along a gaping, dark-crusted slash.

"We've got some that look like they've been crushed," Catherine added, her own light picking out some slightly flattened forms.

"Those were probably the cave troll's victims," Grissom said.

"Right, with that huge club he was holding. That's consistent with the trauma."

"But we've also got blunt force that wasn't so extreme." Warrick looked down at a couple of bodies. "At least a few of these have bruises that look like they had something thrown at them."

"Rocks?" Catherine suggested.

"Yeah, maybe."

"Maybe not thrown," Sara said. "Look at these ledges and pillars -- those cuts in the stone are fresh."

"Think the cave troll was knocking bits of stone loose with his cudgel?" Nick asked.

"Yeah, and rock fragments flying everywhere."

"Makes sense," Warrick said, "but it doesn't account for all the blunt force trauma I found. Some of them look like they just got slammed with something flat, with a circular shape. Here, look at this mark on this one's face." He crouched down next to a body, aiming his light so everyone could see.

The team gathered to look at it. "It's too regular to be a rock," Grissom said, frowning.

"Definitely." Warrick stood up with a grimace. "There are a few like this scattered around, and damned if I can figure out what it is."

"Then we'll figure it out in the lab," Grissom said calmly, squeezing Warrick's shoulder lightly.

Sara dropped to a crouch, tracing the shape of the injury in the air above it. "You know what it looks like -- a frying pan."

Grissom blinked. "What?"

"No way." Warrick leaned back in, his light playing over the mark. "Man. Sara, I think you're right. Why was someone using a frying pan in the middle of all this??"

"This whole thing just keeps getting stranger and stranger." Catherine shook her head.

"Okay, so." Grissom raised a hand to start ticking things off. "We've got bows and arrows, knives -- "



"Those wounds, they're too big to have been made by knives, most of them. I'm thinking there were swords. These guys were carrying swords, right? No reason why the other guys weren't."

Grissom nodded. "Yes, I think you're right. So, arrows, then swords and maybe knives, then the cave troll, rocks, and possibly a frying pan. Anything else?"

"Man, I can't get over that frying pan thing," Nick muttered to Warrick, who nodded.

"Anything else?" Grissom repeated.

"Yeah," Sara said. "I think some of those slash marks were made by an axe. At least one. I've seen wounds like that before."

"You could be right, but let's be careful about getting too specific -- that goes for me, too." Grissom smiled wryly. "Let's just stick to 'edged weapons' for the preliminary assessment. Anyone spot any other possible weapons or injury types? No? Okay, so what else do we have, besides injuries?"

"Two kinds of blood," Catherine said. "Mostly, it's blood from these guys -- I have no idea how, but it's darker than regular blood. And it's on every corpse I've looked at, as well as spattered around. But we've got more normal blood in spots, too, at least by the look of it."

"So there were definitely people here who walked away." Nick turned in a slow circle, playing his light across the walls. "Hey, maybe these guys were some kind of religious cult -- scarification, blood dyes, all to make them different from everyone else."

"Maybe, but that's not what we're here to find out," Grissom said. "What do the two blood types tell us?"

"That the people these guys were attacking were different from them." Warrick looked down at the bodies by their feet again, then glanced around the room. "But it still doesn't make sense. The cave troll had a chain on, right? But there's no evidence it was chained up in here, so they must have brought it with them. But it killed a bunch of them, and it looks like it didn't kill whoever it was supposed to."

"They must have been desperate," Grissom said. "Cave trolls aren't very bright, and they're very dangerous, completely incapable of understanding the concepts of 'friend' or 'ally'. They're natural killers. To bring an armed one into a room -- it's inviting damage to anyone there. They had to know they were risking themselves."

Sara blinked. "Hey, here's a thought -- maybe the people who were here had it with them, and set it on these guys."

Grissom shook his head. "I don't think so. See the arrows in the troll? They match the arrows in the other bodies, and we haven't found any bows among the weapons these guys were using. I think that the people who were here had bows and were using them, against these guys and their not-so-tame pet cave troll."

"Which brings us back to who else was here," Warrick sighed.

"And why," Sara added.

"And how they got away. There are an awful lot of these guys lying here dead. Plus a cave troll. Who were the ones who got away?" Catherine shook her head. "They don't seem to have stayed to rob anything -- not that there's much to steal, but they could have taken weapons, or something. Instead, it looks like they were just sorta here, and then they were attacked, beat off their attackers, and left."

"Or maybe, these guys here thought they were being attacked -- intruders in their territory," Sara said. "Then when these guys came to defend it, the intruders turned out to be stronger than they expected."

"Or maybe their pet cave troll was hungry, and these guys came in to fetch it some breakfast."

Warrick grinned at Nick. "Yeah -- and hey, maybe that's what the frying pan was originally for!"

""No, cave trolls generally prefer to eat their meat raw," Grissom said absently. His flashlight picked up something shaped like a thick book, near the sepulchur in the middle of the room, and he moved toward it. The evidence was always there to be read, if you were patient enough. "'Maybes' aren't going to give us what we need. Back to the evidence, people. The story is here -- we just need to find it."

~ fin ~

Feedback of any sort, from one line to detailed crit, is always welcome, at arduinna at trickster dot org.


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Crossover fandom: Lord of the Rings, specifically Fellowship of the Rings. Back to top