And I must choose to live for all that I can give
The spark that makes the power grow
He was no longer Aragorn, Isildur's heir exiled to live as a Ranger, at that moment, but King Elessar of Gondor.
So spoke the clear ringing of trumpets that were blown, the joyous cheers of all present as he had passed by the flower-laden streets of the city, and the banner of the Tree and the Stars that had been unfurled before him as he entered the citadel. So spoke the fair grandeur of the city restored once more, bringing to reality the trees, the fountains, and the marbled streets that only the elders had sung of ere this day.
So spoke the end of the Third Age, and the beginning of
the reign of the king of Men.
And I will stand for my dream if I can
Symbol of my faith in who I am
The truest of words came from the glittering white crown upon his head, bestowed on him by Elendil's words and Gandalf's hand. And now, as the coronation ceremony was finally concluded and the crowds had dispersed, it sat ever so silently, both as a symbol of nobility, power, strength, and a fair warning of the burdens surely to come his way.
Burdens of his realm, of granting justice where it was heeded... and of parting ways. He had already found it torturous to lose a comrade or two - Boromir and Gandalf - and at this hour he was faced with parting with more.
The citadel was almost completely deserted after the people had resigned to attend to their own business, and so Aragorn left the sanctity of his throne, unbidden, to walk by himself through the many passages - its soaring ceilings had almost to touch the skies, held up by towering pillars of marble.
This was the Hall of the Kings, where Aragorn knew, as he passed under its roof, he was following the footsteps of many others who had come before him, who were only left as statues carved by the men they ruled over, and now standing frozen across the very halls Aragorn was passing through. Numbers beyond reckoning had entered its doors, seeking the wisdom of the one that sat upon its throne; however, it was presently empty, silent as a tomb.
So immersed was Aragorn in these thoughts that he didn't notice the lone figure standing near the end of the hall, gazing silently out a window overlooking the near entirety of Aragorn's new realm. The warm glow of the setting sun was glancing softly over his face and the golden color of his fair head.
I make my journey through eternity
I keep the memory of you and me inside
The elf was standing perfectly still, motionless like a statue of ice, but it warmed Aragorn's heart to see a familiar face... one that he knew, with much reluctance, he would not be seeing, for a long, long time. With noiseless footfalls inherent in his elven upbringing, Aragorn approached behind him.
"Magnificent view, isn't it?"
At the abrupt sound of his voice, Legolas instinctively tore his gaze away from the window and turned to see the who had spoken. His guarded composure softened at the sight of Aragorn, and he made to greet him as they had always done before, when something unnamed seemed to strike him before he could say a word.
And instead, as though an impenetrable wall had materialized unknown to their eyes, Legolas bowed low before him. "Your Majesty."
Aragorn was utterly shocked, choking back a gasp of surprise. The title was not new to Aragorn's ears, for countless times since the coronation had he been addressed as such, but it sounded unfamiliar, coming from Legolas's lips; to Aragorn it seemed not a gesture of respect but a blade, gleaming white yet frigid and cold, cruelly slicing the bonds that had strengthened them over time.
No longer was he, Aragorn, nor he, Legolas, brothers and friends to help in the Ringbearer's quest. Now it was King Elessar, and Legolas, one of his many subjects. It brought over him a strange sadness, so sudden that it took him by surprise.
"Must you address me by such a title, Legolas?" Aragorn spoke softly.
Eyes dark and blue as the velvet night sky met those of an ashen gray. "You are of nobility now, my friend - the king of Men, and ruler of Gondor," he said quietly, his voice both submissive yet sorrowful in its own way. "Your title has bound you as destiny has to far greater things, and I shall support and respect whatever fate holds for you - starting with your name."
His words struck a deep chord within Aragorn, and this time he could barely conceal the unspoken despair and frustration that he knew was shimmering on the surface.
"How can you speak of such things?" he asked; there was a tone of beseeching, almost desperate hopefulness in his voice despite of the commanding presence of the crown on his head. "Countless days we spent as part of the Fellowship - you, an elf-prince of the forests of Mirkwood, while I, a mere Ranger yet to discover his path, and never did I let the frontiers of rank or blood come between us. Should you allow it, Legolas?"
The elf said nothing; his only reply was to look back at Aragorn's searching gaze for a moment, then tearing his eyes away, as though the contact was too painful to behold a heartbeat longer.
And that gaze, although it had not lasted long, spoke more to Aragorn than the crown on his head or the robes on his shoulders ever could - an irrefutable truth of finality, immense gratitude for what had passed, and a forced acceptance of what was present.
From then on he knew everything there was to - what to allow, what to accept. For he knew that though he had this path to tread alone, someone would always be watching over him.
And it was a comforting thought.
Fufill your destiny is there within the child
My storm will never end, my fate is on the wind
The king of hearts, the joker's wild
But we don't say goodbye
The next thing he knew, his arms were wrapped around Legolas in a tight embrace, breaching everything that could have been in that single moment. For in that time naught but them would exist - not rank, not race, not blood - only the silent yet firm reassurance in the pounding of their hearts that nothing would change.
"Call me not by that name," Aragorn urged him, his face still buried in the silky strands of Legolas' hair. "Call me as I am - Aragorn, the one you have known ever since the Fellowship was born, and I shall call you as you are. For not even the lines of crown or none can destroy that."
For that time - like a moment suspended in a painting - they held each other close, more urgently at each passing minute.
Finally, Aragorn pulled back and found himself and in Legolas a smile, bright and clear as the unwavering lights of the stars. A true, genuine smile, sealing an unspoken promise of many more times to come, be they separated by the vastness of the Sea or not.
"I must now retire," Aragorn said, releasing Legolas' hand. "I have other duties that demand attention. Rest well, Legolas." With one final smile, he turned to leave; he had not gone more than a few steps when he heard the elf's voice call after him. And when he spoke, it was simply the most beautiful sound ever heard within the walls of the city, a song melodious enough to sing not only to the man's ears, but to his very soul:
"Until then... Aragorn."
There is a vision and a fire in me
I keep the memory of you and me inside
We don't say goodbye
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