Cale au Aratar 25
It was night, the night of Midsummer and the nobility and most of the commoners of Gondor were assembled on the highest level of their city. For centuries the Gondorians had hoped to witness a coronation, the coronation of their king. Mere weeks ago their dream had come true, none of them had known that only weeks later they would be able to witness something even more magnificent, the coronation of the High King of Elves. All of them had grown up with the story of the Last Alliance, the story of Elendil and Isildur – but also of Gil-Galad, the last High King of the Elves. And while Gondor still had had a king for several centuries after Isildur had fallen because of the One Ring, the Elves had been without a High King for three Millennia.
Most of the humans felt insificant next to the ethereal beings of the Eldar but their awe was not accompanied by envy, just by wonder. Alongside them stood the first born, their glow lightening up the twilight of the night. The Elven Rulers stood tall and proud in front of their subjects together with Lady Althilwen, the two mortal kings Elessar and Eomer, the dwarf Gimli and the Istar Gandalf as well as the future queen of Gondor Arwen and the steward of Gondor Faramir and his bride Eowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan, stood next to Prince Imrahil, his son and daughter.
Under the light of the moon a group of fifty Eldar clad in hooded Dark silver cloaks entered the courtyard, their double bladed swords glittering in the light. Silently they formed a half circle, leaving an opening between the half of them to allow their prince to enter through it. The four hobbits from the shire followed the ilsa tirnoë closely, Pippin the youngest of the four carried a dark silver pillow on which a magnificent crown lay.
Finally as all others had found their place a last figure stepped out of the throne room wearing a light silver cloak, the hood drawn up over his face. All present Elves were singing softly and even the king of Gondor was heard joining in their otherworldly song. Like the fifty members of the ilsa tirnoë this new comer wore a double blade strapped on his back but instead of the dark wood the handles the of the other swords had, the handle of this sword was gleaming white inserted with jewels that glittered in the moonlight. With slow deliberate steps the figure walked to the half circle of the silver guards and stepped through the opening which closed as soon as he had stepped through. At the same moment the half circle closed behind the figure the singing of the elves stopped and silence hung over Gondors capitol like a light blanket.
Soft at first a single voice broke through the silence. Leaving mortals and immortals alike in awe the Lady of the Light raised her voice, so rarely heard, to sing of the days of old. She sang in her clear soprano of an oath that brought the greatest pain to her people and of the subsequent banishment from Valinor, the Blessed Realm. Her song told of kingdoms long fallen ... and of a Legend that brought hope to her whole race. Even those who did not understand the words she was singing where able to see in their minds eyes the pictures her song conjured. They saw the pain and the love and finally they saw a small elfling that grew up to become one of the greatest warriors of his kind.
A dawning suspicion settled in Aragorns mind as he listened to Galadriels words. He had of course known of the oath that had led to the kin-slaying and even though he had heard only rumours of the Cale au Aratar while he had been a child but it was the last part of her song that frightened him. She sang of a child born to a crown-prince and his wife, of a child who would be blessed by the Valar. What frightened him was that this child was accepted by Aule as one of his own and would breach the wall that had been build between the First Born and Aules children. He knew of only one Elf on whom this description fit, the one Elf he had nearly killed. Could that be? Could Legolas really be the prince of the Eldar? Could he have really killed the Cale au Aratar in a moment of self pity?
The voice that picked up the song as soon as Galadriel had finished confirmed Aragorns fears. He knew that voice all to well. How could he forget the voice of his best friend, his brother? There was no doubt left, Legolas was the Cale au Aratar, the next High King of the Eldar, the prince that would be crowned at the end of the night. In shock Aragorn listened as his best friend sang of the creation of his kind and how they split first into those who followed the Valar to Valinor and those who decided to remain behind and how those who started the journey split even further apart. He sang of the kings that came before him and ended with the tale of Erenion, Gil-Galad the last High King of the Noldor. He sang of the battles the kings had faced, of their love and their loss. Before the eyes of the listeners the life and death of each of this kings was resurrected and all thought themselves able to see the faces of those long dead. They saw the great hidden city of Gondolin as well as the battle of Dargorlad. They saw how each of this kings fell but how they hope remained.
Under the light of the stars the voice of the prince drifted off into the night and two of the silver garbed guards, one from each end of the half circle, stepped forward. Seemingly with one fluid motion one of them took the sword from the back of their liege while the other took the cloak from him. Golden hair caught the star light as soon as the cloak was removed and the whole figure seemed to glow.
As the two guards stepped back to their places in the half circle everyone was able to see who it was that stood before them. Clad in an ornate silver robe, not unlike the one he had worn at the coronation of king Elessar only much more magnificent stood the prince of Eryn Lasgalen, the very same Elf that had been in the Fellowship and had fought for both Gondor and Rohan. Many of Gondors nobility stared in shock at the elf. They had known that he was a prince, a crown prince even but to know that the King of all Elves had fought at their side, fought for their land and their freedom...
The days after the coronation of the king of Gondor they had learned that the prince of Eryn Lasgalen had been mortally wounded in the battle of Helms Deep and was not expected to survive. They had learned from Prince Imrahil, that even though so grievously wounded he had continued to fight and their respect and awe for him had grown, even more so when they had learned that he was a prince. Yet to know that he was not just one prince out of many but their king was frightening to know. Knowing that he had been so horrible wounded they were able to see that his slim face was even slimmer then before, almost gaunt and many came to the conclusion that the slow steps he had taken when he had come down the steps from the throne room had not been deliberation but exhaustion. Not a few faces showed next to awe also worry for the state of health of this elf they all admired.
The members of the Fellowship stared in various states of shock at the elf they had come to regard as a friend. They had known that he was a prince since Aragorn had let it "accidentally" slip one evening during their second week of journey but even to those who knew or had at least suspected during the last weeks that their friend Legolas was actually more than just the prince of Eryn Lasgalen could not reconcile the adventurous elf they had travelled with with this otherworldly being that stood before them. They knew him as a warrior and a friend, they had even seen him as a prince in Lothlorien and on Aragorns coronation but nothing had prepared them for what they were seeing then.
Though still pale and weak the elf before them radiated royalty and power. Like Lady Galadriel he portrayed immortality in its full extent. Unlike usually his hair was braided at the back of his head in a style they had previously only seen on Lord Elrond. In his shock at seeing their friend in the place of the soon to be crowned king Pippin had nearly dropped the pillow with the crown but at the last moment he remembered that such behaviour would be inexcusable for a knight of Gondor and he straightened himself though his eyes remained wide with wonder.
Freed from his, in his weakened state to heavy sword and cloak Legolas stepped forward and out of the half circle of his guards till he stood immediately before the four hobbits. Offering them a somewhat shaky smile he knelt gracefully down before them. He was barely able to listen to the words first Elrond and then Mithrandir spoke as he was still concentrating to remain upright. He knew that it still took a long time ere that night and day were finally over, ere he could rest again but he also knew that he had to remain strong though those following hours. Not just because his action would reflect on his whole race but also – and more importantly - because he had waited almost his entire life for this celebration. No-one, not a few misplaced words and feelings, no corrupted Istar and certainly not himself would destroy this coronation.
Only when the four hobbits stepped forwards, two on each side of him did he return to the present. For moments after they had stepped at his sides his eyes caught Aragorns and while it took him a moment to separate the image of Arathron from that of his son he felt the love he felt for both of them well up inside of him. Relief filled him as he felt that the man before him returned that love in its full extent.
He barely noticed as the crown was placed on his head or heard the cheers that rang through the crowed as he stood up as the High King of the Eldar. As soon as he had stood up the hobbits had walked back to the place they had stood before allowing Lady Galadriel, Lord Celeborn with their daughter Lady Althilwen between them as well as Lord Luimir and King Thranduil and Lord Elrond and Lady Arwen to step forward. From the middle of the half circle behind Legolas three figures separated. Two came to stand between Lady Arwen and Lord Elrond and one next to King Thranduil. Only when the three figures had reached the group did they kneel down as one, their heads slightly bowed to honour their king before they stood – once again – as one.
"As Lord and Lady of the Golden Woods of Lothlorien we stand with our youngest daughter before thee, High King Luin Nor. Our love, our honour, our strength, our wisdom, our children, our land, our people and ourselves we offer to thee and thy house."
Lord Celeborn spoke his head held high but his eyes were lowered in submission as were Lady Galadriels and Lady Althilwens.
"Thy love, thy honour, thy strength, thy wisdom, thy children, thy land, thy people and thyself I receive with gratitude. May thy faith not be placed falsely, Lord and Lady of the Golden Woods."
As soon as the High King had finished the rulers of Lothlorien took half a step back and allowed Lord Elrond to speak who, as well as his children, stood in the same poise his wife's family had stood.
"As Lord and Prince of Imladirs I stand with my children before thee, High King Luin Nor. Our love, our honour, our strength, our wisdom, our children, our land, our people and ourselves we offer thee any thy house"
Like before to Lord Celeborn the High King answered:
"Thy love, thy honour, thy strength, thy wisdom, thy children, thy land, thy people and thyself I receive with gratitude. May thy faith not be placed falsely, Lord and Prince of Imladris."
The next who stepped forward was Lord Luimir.
"In thy place my king do I stand before thee as Lord of the Avari. Thou hast the love, the honour, the strength, the wisdom, the children and the land of thy people as well as ourselves."
As solemnly as before High King Luin Nor answered his uncle:
"With gratitude I receive the renewed oath of my people. Be thanked mother brother."
Lastly King Thranduil stepped forward but different than those before him did he not lower his eyes as he stood before his son.
"As King of Eryn Lasgalen and thy father I stand before thee, High King Luin Nor, my son Prince Legolas. The love, the honour, the strength, the wisdom, the children, the land and my people as well as my own I offer thee, my king, my son."
For the first time since the ceremony had started did the High King lower his eyes for a mere moment before he answered his father:
"Thy love, thy honour, thy strength, thy wisdom, thy children, thy land and thy people and even more so thyself I accept with gratitude, my father, my king. May thy faith be not placed falsely, King of Eryn Lasgalen, father."
For a fleeting moment shock was visible on the face of the king of Eryn Lasgalen as his son, his High King acknowledged him as his king. Yes, as the king of that realm he stood above his son the prince Legolas but than Legolas was also High King Luin Nor, superior to himself. By acknowledging him as his king Legolas had basically refused any right to rule over Eryn Lasgalen as long as his father was alive. Till the day king Thranduil either died or sailed to the Undying Lands Legolas would remain while in the kingdom of his father a prince and would not be the High King.
Bowing his head lightly to his son King Thranduil stepped back allowing king Elessar and surprisingly king Eomer to step forward. Different than the Elven Rulers both mortal Kings kneeled down before the newly crowned immortal king.
Drawing a knife Aragorn slit the palm of his right hand while he spoke:
"Greatly wronged thou hast been by my ancestors deeds. I offer thee and thy house the love, wisdom and alliance of my land, my people, myself and my house, not forced but in gratitude and friendship to thee and thy people."
As soon as Aragorn had ended his word Legolas also drew a knife from beneath his robe and slid his own right palm. The blood that ran from the wound was still mostly silver but the amount of red within it had greatly increased since the last time Aragorn had seen his friend blood.
"The love, wisdom and alliance of thy people, thyself and thy house I receive with gratitude, king Elessar Telcontar. I offer you the same as thou hast offered me, my friend, my brother. May our houses and people be forever connected not only in blood but also in friendship, love and alliance."
As Legolas reached with his own bleeding hand out to grasp Aragorns he added so quietly that only Aragorn was able to hear him:
"And may you always be my friend, my brother and even my son, Aragorn, son of Arathron."
A smile and a faint nod were the answer Aragorn gave his friend to those words before he withdrew his hand.
Like Aragorn before him Eomer drew a knife over the palm of his hand while addressing Legolas:
"My kingdom, my house and myself are greatly indebted to thee and thy people, king Luin Nor. In the hour of our greates need thou stood besides us. The blood of thy people and thyself has been spilled on our soil.
In gratitude I offer thee, thy people and thy house the love, the gratitude, the wisdom and the alliance of my people, myself and my house."
"The love, the wisdom and alliance of thy peolpe, thyself and thy house I receive with gratitude. Thy gratitude I do not deserve as we came to your aide as was our duty to our allies among which thy people, thyslf and thy house are counted, Eomer, king."
A their clasped hands withdrew Elladan, Elrohir and Luimir stepped forward, each holding a strip of silver fabric that they wrapped around the palm of each slid hand of the three kings.
With a smile playing around his lips Luin Nor stepped forward and raised his right hand to Mithrandir, Elrond and Galadriel came to him, each of them raising their own right hand. Glistening in the light of the fading stars and moon four rings caught the eyes of many but only a few were present who understood what they meant. Eyes wide open they joined their hands, uniting the four rings of power for the second time in history, for the second time within days. A light pulsed from their hands as first their hands and then their minds joined.
Pictures flashed through their minds, knowledge was shared and peace was given. Yet none of this was visible to those who were watching, all they were able to see were four of the most powerful beings in Arda, their hands joined and surrounded by a light that sprang fourth from their joined hands. A soft voice spoke, recognised by a few as the voice of the wise Istari, joined soon by the voice of the Lady of the Light Galadriel and the Elf Lord Elrond. Lastly and with a faint tremble in his voice the newly crowned High King joined his voice with his elders. Not long after all four had started their voices grew louder only to stop abruptly as the light pulsed once, bathing everything in a calming white light. Bowing their heads to each other the four stepped away from each other, three of them stepping back to the places they had stood before but Luin Nor walked slowly forward to the needle-like cliff in which the courtyard ended. The ilsa tirnoë followed him, twenty five pair walking silently behind him. As their king had reached the end of the cliff they turned and stood at attention.
For a faint moment Aragorn feared for his friend as the Elf walked directly to the edge. He knew that normally balance was no problem for an elf, that they were able to walk on almost anything no matter how narrow the path was. He did not doubt that an elf would even be able to walk on the sharp side of a sword if he really wanted to – but that applied only to healthy elves and Legolas, Luin Nor was certainly not healthy. One moment of weakness, one moment in which he lost the tight control he had over his body and he would fall to his death, even the speed of his guards would not be able to catch him in time to prevent such a fall.
The voice of his friend brought him out of his dark thought as he called out loudly to ask for a blessing for Arda and all those who had fought to prevent its destruction. As if to answer his request the sun rose from behind the Mountains of Shadow, bathing the High King into an otherworldly golden-red light. It seemed in that moment as if the elf had been set on fire, his whole being radiated with light and power.
A second call followed the first, this time it was a call of welcome and was directed at something none of them could yet see. Yet a faint sound from far away answered the call, telling them that someone was arriving.
Still bathed in the light of the rising sun Luin Nor turned around and walked slowly over to where the members of the fellowship were waiting. His eyes connected with each member of the Fellowship before they rested on Aragorns.
"Those who set forth to destroy the Ring of the Dark Lord will always find rest where my people dwell, may they be hobbit, dwarf, Istar or man!"
It was late afternoon when Aragorn found, for the first time since he had learned of Legolas wound and his breaking heart, a chance to talk alone to his friend. Tables had been set up all around the courtyard, laden with a feast that satisfied even the four hobbits. All through the city celebrations were held much like it had happened at his own coronation yet the flair of these celebrations were different.
He had found his friend sitting in a chair under the White tree, the chair next to him having just been vacated by Cirdan who had arrived a mere hour after the sun had risen. The ship in which he had sailed to Minas Thirith had been silver, decked in sails of Light green, the elvish colours of celebration and joy.
"May I join thee, High King?" Aragorn asked half jesting his friend as he walked up to him.
Amusement glittered in the depths of the blue eyes that were once again alight with life:
"When was the last time that you questioned someone in this way, King Elessar Telcontar?"
cocking his head to his side he continued to regard the human that was still standing before him before he continued:
"Isn't it my place to ask you, King of Gondor and Arnor if I may join you in your lands? But by all means sit down before your people regard me as their new king."
Silence reigned between them as both watched the celebrations around them till Aragorn turned away from the crowds and looked directly at his friend. He could see the tiredness, the exhaustion of the proud being, the unusual dark smudges under his eyes.
"I am fine, Aragorn."
While Aragorn had observed his friend the elf had turned to face the human, knowing, feeling what the other was thinking.
"Are you really?"
Aragorns question was filled with fear, with uncertainty that was not at all common for the Ranger, the King.
"Yes, I may still be tired, even slightly weak but I am fine. My body is healing, Luimir told me that my blood had already turned completely silver but as you have seen earlier it no longer has that colour. In a few weeks nothing but two scars will remain of my wounds."
A frown settled on Aragorns face as he heard those words,
"You say your body is healing – but it was not only your body that nearly took your life, it was not only Saruman that nearly killed you!"
Belying his weakened state Legolas hand shot out to grasp Aragorns as his friend almost whispered those words.
"Aragorn, do not blame yourself for what has happened. My heard has already healed more than my body! While I can not deny that it nearly took my life it did not."
The frown had not left Aragorns face as he contemplated those words and after a while he dared to ask the question that had bothered him form many days.
"I know that I was the cause for your breaking heart, I know that I almost killed you, what I do not know, what I do not fully understand..."
Frustrated at not being able to formulate his thoughts as he wished to Aragorn stopped only to hear his thought spoken from his friends mouth:
"You do not know what it was that broke my heart even though you know what words hurt me."
Aragorn could only nod as he heard his own question voiced to him. It seemed as if Legolas would not answer the question when he once again began to speak:
"Have you ever asked yourself why Elrond and myself and to an extend Elladan try to avoid large crowds?" at the nod of the edain he continued, "Elrond is flooded with visions in large crowds of mortals if he does not take precautions and Elladan has been developing the same gift, the same curse as his father but to a lesser degree. Elrohirs presence protects him from being at mercy of those vision as Elros once protected Elrond.
While I do not receive visions I have the gift, the curse of being able to feel the emotions of others. The more I know, the more I love someone the more I can feel what they are feeling."
The most apparent emotion that settled onto Aragorns face at this revelation was guilt and faintly he asked:
"So it were not only my words but also my feelings that broke your heart. You knew what I was feeling, what I was wishing for in that moment..."
Overcome with guilt the mortal king trailed off, all the while trying to suppress his current emotions.
"Yes and no. Yes, I knew while you spoke those words that you wished to fall that night – but even more then that feeling that wish from you did my own thoughts hurt me. I had failed you, I had failed Arathron's only child, I had failed my best friend, the man I thought of as my own son. I had allowed for the hopelessness to settle into your heart that you felt your only chance for peace was death. For that I can not forgive myself and even though I know that I am not the only one at fault I was the only one who would have been able to diffuse that feeling of loneliness."
"You did diffuse it: one of the reasons I wanted to die while I spoke to you was because I feared that we would not be enough, that we would all fall that night. I was the one who led you to Helms Deep, I was the one who had led you to your potential death. I was afraid that I might be the only one of us to survive, to be responsible of both your and Gimlis death. How could I have lived with myself if I had all but killed both of you myself?
Death seemed so much easier, so much more inviting than the prospect to have to life without you. You had been there for as long as you can remember, one of my first memories is of soft golden hair that tickled my hair while we were riding. It took me years to realise that it must have been a memory of the journey to Imladris after my father had been killed.
These last few weeks have been the most terrible in my life, not only was I loosing you but I also knew that I was the reason you were dying – and now I know that I will inflict the same pain you felt on Arwen."
A tear trickled down Aragorns face as he spoke and Legolas longed for nothing more that to take his friends into his arms but he could not do that surrounded by all those people.
"Did you not hear what I said to you and the rest of the Fellowship? Have you forgotten what blessing the Valar gave me? Even though Galadriel sang of it?"
A smile flickered over his face and an amused mischievous glint settled in his eyes as he saw the questioning gaze of his friend:
"I have the power to grant passage to the Undying Lands, my friend. While Arwen will loose the blessing of our people the moment she accepts your hand in marriage and your bond is sealed and she already has made her choice to live a mortal life, my blessing remains.
Every member of the Fellowship as well as their spouses are granted a safe passage and a place in the Undying Lands. As long as you remain on Arda both you and Arwen are mortal but the rest of your days you may spend in Valinor if you chose to do so."
As understanding dawned him Aragorns face lit up with joy and hope and his relieved laughter rang through the air.
"Thank you my friend, I can not tell you how grateful I am for your blessing! Does Arwen know that she will not be separated from her family because she chose me? Does she know that she will be able to see them again even when they have sailed West?"
In confirmation Legolas bowed his head before the smile on his face lessened and he gazed solemnly to his friend:
"Can you forgive me that I did not tell you of my heritage? That I did not tell you who, what I am and who I was to become?"
Contemplating Aragorn watched his friends regretful faces and knew that, even though he had been hurt by the knowledge that his friend had not been able to confine in him, he had no right to be angry with him.
"There is nothing to forgive. I may have been hurt by the knowledge that you did not tell me who you are or of your betrothed by I know that you did not keep silent to hurt me.
But please tell me why you kept silent."
For moments Legolas closed his eyes as he saw pictures of the past replay itself in his mind. As he reopened them his eyes were glazed with grief and pain.
"I have known what I was to become since a week after my tenth Begettingday. As a child I though of my future as an adventure, a fascinating future filled with glory and long journeys through Middle Earth.
I was reckless as a child, reckless and proud – even more so than I am at this day. What I wanted to do I did, my father, my uncle and even my cousin can tell you numerous tales of those years, centuries even. It was only after Celebrimbors death that I calmed down."
His eyes were no longer directed to Aragorn but had found Lady Galadriel in the shadow of one of the other trees.
"He was like a father to me and I was the son he had always wanted to have. Each of my weapons, my jewellery were made by him. I know that you have often wondered why I do not carry a sword, the answer is quite simple: Celebrimbor knew who I was to become and he knew that the Avari preferred fighting knives to swords. He never forged me a normal sword only my double blade – and I do not carry a weapon that was not forged by him.
We were bound, he and I, in a way never before or since then encountered on Arda. Both of us had made an oath to Aule, both of us were bound by the father of the dwarves – and therefor to each other.
I saw him die, I felt his pain, his blood as it left his body, I thought his last thoughts.
For more then a year after his death I did not speak to anyone, I was grieving for a father who had not sired me but loved me as if he had. Althilwen and Gil-Galad were the once that brought me back from my grief. Years I waited for the right time to propose to the elleth I loved – our wedding was set to take place shortly before the first war against Sauron but all, Althilwen and myself included decided that it would be better to postpone the ceremony till after the battle that we felt all fast approaching.
Gil-Galad and my grandfather were slain in that battle as were so many others. Sauron could have been destroyed that day as you know, the evil could have ended – but Isildur kept the Ring. Even though we were grieving I would have been crowned and we would have married if it had not been for the Ring.
Sauron knew of the Legend, Sauron knew me and had I taken Althilwens hand in marriage as long as the Ring, as long as Sauron was still alive I would have condemned my race, the whole of Arda even to his darkness. To protect those I loved I decided to keep my identity silent from all those who did not already know of it. It was for that reason Isildur was forced to give his oath that his house would be bound to my own, to protect my family for I knew that I would not be able to witness all of them fall one after the other like I had seen Celebrimbor fall.
Not even two years after the battle of Dargorlad my mother and sister were slaughtered and my father nearly faded from grief. Myself was all that kept my father on these shores, within two years he had lost his parents, his wife and his daughter. He had been forced to pick up a crown he had not wanted and become a king he had never wanted to be.
For a few years we had peace in Eryn Galen till first Sauron and then later one of the Nine claimed Dol Goldur. Did you knew that I grew up close to Dol Goldur, that once my home was one of the greenest and friendliest places in Arda?
My father never spoke of my postponed wedding, of his wish for grandchildren till the day I brought your father, your grandparents and some of their people to his halls. I saw in his eyes how much he longed to have once again a child running through his halls, a child for which he was not the king but simply a grandfather.
Over the next years I watched your father grow, watched as he fell in love and married, watched as you were born. As I held you in my arms I knew that you were more that an other heir of Isildur, I knew that you were just, if not more special than your father. Both of you, both your father and yourself have Isildur's eyes, the eyes of Tar Minyatur. Your sons will also carry those eyes as will all children of Elladan and Elrohir. Glorfindel once told me that they are the eyes of Tuor and all his sons will carry them as a sign of their heritage.
When your father died in my arms I swore him that I would protect you but I swore myself that I would not get close to you. For four years after I had brought you and your mother to Imladris I stayed away from the valley, fearing to see you again. I was right in my fear, I could not help but love you when I saw you again, a curious child, filled with awe, mischief and a love for adventure."
Regretful eyes settled once again on Aragorn who was listening with rapt attention. In these last few weeks he had learned more about the past of his friend then ever before.
"You asked me why I have not told you who before who, what I was, what I am, I ask you when I should have told you? When you were still a child, carefree and full of hope? Should I have told you when we met again when your were grief-filled because of your banishment from the only home you had known, when you feared to have lost the love of your foster father because you loved his daughter? Should I have spoken of my own destiny when you were fighting against yours?
Perhaps I should have, perhaps it would have been easier for you to know that you were not the only one who was responsible for the fate of his race. I do not know, I choose to stay silent, hoping, fearing that it would not be in your lifetime that I would take up my crown.
I had sworn that I would only be crowned after a certain time had passed after the One Ring was destroyed and even though I saw the signs I hoped that you would not have to face that war, I hoped that you would not have to be forced to become king. When you told me that Elrond had promised you Arwens hand when you became king I knew that it would be during your lifetime that the Ring would be destroyed. Yet at that time I no longer dared to tell you. Not because I did not trust you but because we knew that a traitor was among us. We did not know who or where but we knew that nowhere it was save to speak of something as the Legend of my people.
Few outside my race knew who I was, all had sworn on their life and the life of their loved-ones to protect my identity as you have undoubtedly learned from your brothers. My guards I had chosen from my closest friends and family, knowing that every single one would die before harm would come to my family.
Not once did we suspect that Saruman was the traitor and not once did we fathom that his treachery would go as far as recreating Morgoths Tears. No greater crime could be committed against my race than creating and using that poison – and in using it against the Elven Legend has brought him the hate of my whole race. I know that my father has send out some of his best guards to hunt him down, even if I wanted I can not protect Saruman from his certain death. And his death will be so painful that he will wish that he had never followed the Valars call to aid arda. No-one can protect him any longer, had he used the poison against anyone else the victim could have, if he or she had survived, overruled any, even my own order to kill the traitor – but in trying to turn me he has turned against the Valar and no-one except the Valar or Eru himself could now safe him.
You have not seen us furious, you have not seen my kind consumed by hate. When Celebrian had been tortured Elladan and Elrohir lost control over their hate, for years they hunted down bands of Orcs, slaughtering them – till you came into their life. You were not only the hope of men, you were also the hope of your twin brothers, Arwen and Elrond. All of Imladris thanked the Valar for you for you brought the twins back from the pain that had consumed them at their mothers fate."
Aragorn was not sure how he should respond to this revelation, yes, Legolas was right, there never had been a time when he could have been told of his friends heritage. First he had been to young and later on he had been to occupied with his own destiny and Arwen to want to hear something like that. He may have wished to have learned of it earlier but it was not as if Legolas had lied to him about his position he had just chosen not to tell him about it.
"There is nothing for me to forgive you," seeing that the elf was about to protest he held up his hand in order to stop him, "no, let me speak. I don't say that I am happy to not have known but I know in my heart that I would have also kept silent. In fact I remember quite clearly that it took me more then a year to tell you of my own heritage - and even though you already knew it it took me that long to confine in you."
Once again both fell silent, following their own thoughts and listening and watching the celebration around them. After a while Aragorn could no longer stop himself and asked the question that had followed him since he had learned that his friend was the High King.
"Why Luin Nor?"
For a moment Legolas looked at his friend in shock before his eyes began to sparkle and he laughed out loud drawing the glances of their friends and family to them.
"Gil-Galad gave me that name after we had first met. At that time he did not know who I was, he even thought that I was an eleth – something that insulted me greatly. I was twelve when we first met, he and his company had come to Eryn Galen to meet me, Gil-Galads heir. When they had entered the forest they had they had rested for a few hours and as the curious elfling that I was I had followed the trees when they had told me that strangers were in the forest.
For a long time they did not notice me, only when I got closer to the camp did they see the small child that was wandering around. Leaning at one of the trees I had seen one of the most beautiful bows, the only weapon I was already able to wield as I had... acquired one more than a year earlier from my Grandfathers armoury when I had been bored. It was when I had picked up the bow that Gil-Galad called out to me, telling me that the bow was much to heavy and tall for such a delicate eleth as myself. I am sure that he had mend it as a compliment, he even told me so years later, but at that time I was furious at being called an eleth as I was quite self-conscious about looking so feminine, more so than others my age. So I notched an arrow to show him that I was strong enough – only to find that I was indeed not. All I could do was redirect the course of the arrow when I had to let it loose, piercing Gil-Galads shoulder instead of his heart. Proud as I was I refused to acknowledge that it had been a mistake I told him that it was his own fault because he was so arrogant and that next time I would pierce his heart. After that I all but threw the bow down and took off into the trees who prevented the others from following me.
When Gil-Galad came two days later to the palace he acquired who the small girl with the fiery blue eyes had been – and found out that no-one knew me or off me. Only when they came to the archery grounds to meet the grandson of the king they realised their mistake. It was then that Gil-Galad called me the little Luin Nor. The name stuck but it took more then a century for Gil-Galad and me to become friends, he had wounded my pride and I both his body and his pride. The bow in my study at my fathers palace is the same bow I used that day to wound Gil-Galad."
A smile lingered on Legolas face as he wondered if it was right to still feel proud that the first time he had shot at something living – and even more hit it - was when he had shot the last High King.
Aragorn had to laugh at the proud bemused smile on his friends face:
"You shot Gil-Galad? I remember that Elladan and Elrohir told me when I was a child that I, if I were to ever shoot a King, would become a girl. Somehow I suspect that they used your tale to frighten me."
"Yes, that does sound like your brothers! And I am not surprised that they told you something like that – after all Elrond was present that day and still teases me with it as do my father and uncle."
At this the king of Gondor allowed his eyes to roam the body of his friend, his lips curled into a teasing smile, suggesting that he too would tease his friend in the future.
"Where will your court be? All the capitols of old are destroyed and I know that you would not use one of the three realms."
He hoped that his friend would stay close to him but he doubted it.
"The Grey Heaves; as we are speaking they are rebuilt and in a year a fourth Elven realm will be known. I long to much for the sea to be able to live far from it.
You will always be welcome there and I am sure that the hobbits will be happy to house a king – and wouldn't it be nice to disrupt the dealings in Bree for a short while? Is there any way that I can convince you to accompany me to my home when the time comes, presenting to the world the King of Gondor and Anor, Chieftain of the Dunadain Eleassar Telcontar and High King of the Elves Luin Nor?"
Laughter filled once again the air as the king Eleassar and Luin Nor imagined the faces of the mistrustful people of Bree when the dark Ranger was revealed to be king and was accompanied by not only his own company but also by the High King of Elves and his people.
Years after the memorable coronation of the High King of the Elves a small troop arrived from Gondor, leading its King and queen on their last journey. For a few weeks the halted in the rebuilt city of the Grey Heavens before the were born by a ship to the Undying Lands, secure in the knowledge that they would see their friends again in the eternity they had before them.
Before I close this story I find myself in the need to explain a few things.
First of all I doubt that I will write an alternative end – even though I had planned one – as I feel that it would destroy the one you have just read. I know that some of you hope for Legolas to die, as I have to admit I myself planned when I started this story. Yet as you can see, the more I wrote the less I found myself able to just kill Legolas. I had planned for him to simply sleep, already to far gone to hear Aragorns apology and pleading. A ceremony would have still taken place but instead of a coronation it would have been a memorial for the High Prince. Cirdan's ship would have been decked with black sails instead of green and at the end of the day the ship would have sailed out of Minas Tiriths port, bearing the corps of Legolas.
Now for Aragorn. I was astounded how much dislike he was subjected too during my story. That had not been my intention. He had not planned to nearly kill his best friend, he just didn't know better! He was misinformed and proud, he did not know how easy it was exactly to break the heart of an elf (no-one spoke about it, not even to him) and he had no idea that Legolas was not only able to hear his words but also feel his feelings. The words alone would have only hurt, only the combination of words and feelings was what broke the elf's heart.
The reason why Aragorn did not apologise immediately was for one that, even though he knew that his words were the cause he did not know what about those words and second because he was simply to proud to apologise in the presence of others. At no time was it because he was just to self-centred!
Some of you found that I described to many different views, to my defence I have to say that this was not an action story but one of the slow, contemplative ones. This story was about the different reactions to the same occasion at different times. For example Thranduil wishes at one point for Legolas to live but decides at an other that it would be more merciful for him to die. Between these two different views lie only a few days. Also this story has a lot of background information – both from Tolkien and from my own little LotR universe.
What else is to say? One of you remarked that I often described Legolas as frail – I did so when I described him as a child and when he was near death. If you have ever seen someone close to death you will see that the person will loo frail – no matter their normal stature. My description of him as a child was mostly to make Gil-Galads mistake more plausible as well as the wonder that such a child would become one of the most important elves. I couldn't make a stable boy out of Legolas as he is Thranduils son but I could make a frail seemingly weak child out of him.
Lastly I want to recomment one of the best stories I have ever read: "Last Stand" by Mirrordance ( you can find it in my favourite list). It was this story that inspired me to write Cale au Aratar but to my shame I have to admit that it does not even come close to "Last Stand", so if you have time read it.
As for my next story I have gotten one vote each for a crossover and for a Sauron's son so I have to decide on my own. Eventually I will write both but you have to waite till I finish one of my other stories.
So thank you for reading this story – this chapter is the longest I have ever written - , review and read my other stories