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Title: A Secret Revealed (07/20)
Arc: The Secrets Trilogy
Author: K
Rating: R (for later chapters)
Fandom: LOTR
Genre: Angst
Pairing: Aragorn/Legolas
Distribution: Just tell me where you put it
Notes: Aragorn's POV
Disclaimer: Not mine! Characters, universe & so on belong to the Tolkien Estate. The only thing I own is my mind.


Legolas had gone to meet with his father, leaving me to wander around the palace and the kingdom of Mirkwood. I walked around for a time, looking at the landscape. I could see why Legolas loved his home, for it was truly unique and beautiful, although I did not think it could match the beauty of other places, such as Rivendell and Lorien.
Returning to the palace, I wandered the hallways, finding a great many cavernous rooms filled with the beautiful objects that King Thranduil was known to have an eye for. Eventually I slipped into Legolas's room, and took down one of the old tomes that had caught my eye the day before, knowing that he would not mind if I studied them. This was filled with poems and stories in Quenya, the exquisite writing adorning the page of the book as if it were decorating the page, the beautiful sounding words echoing through the room as I read them aloud to myself. I did not read for long, feeling unusually restless, so after a while I carefully replaced the book upon its shelf and went to explore the palace a little more. After some walking I found myself outside a room filled with books, which I guessed was the palace library. There were books here that looked even older than those on the shelves in Legolas's room, and ancient looking parchments, stacked upon shelves and high upon the tables within the room. I wandered around, looking at the books: children's books, adults books, maps and old writings, tales of travels through lands now unknown, the knowledge held within the pages of these books and parchments outstretched the knowledge of man and elf put together; yet the dust upon the shelves and books suggested nobody had been here for years.
A rustle, and a small sneeze made me wheel around to face a table stacked incredibly high with parchments and books. I rounded the pile to meet the source of the sneeze. A young elf maiden sat at the table, piles of parchments in front of her; her auburn hair untidy and dusty looking.
"Hello," she said, looking up from the parchments.
"Good morrow, fair maiden," I replied, careful in my manners towards the woman.
"Did you need help with something?" she enquired.
"No thank you, I was merely looking around in here," I looked up, and cast a gaze over the shelves of books. "The knowledge held within these tomes is fascinating...forgive me for intruding on your time, I heard a sneeze, and came to discover who was here." I ensured to apologise to the girl, for she appeared to be rather busy.
"Yes, yet nobody but myself and a few others come here, and that is not often" she said, then looked at me hard. "You're human. I trust you are a visitor here in Mirkwood?"
"Indeed I am, for one of my greatest friends resides here in the palace," I replied, not yet wanting to reveal that I was a 'friend' of Legolas lest it make the girl behave like all the servants here did towards me - too eager to help, and constantly fussing. The old butler Golandir was the only one not to treat me this way, and he frowned upon me, probably because I was not of the Elven race.
"I hope you are having a good time here," replied the girl.
"Please allow me to introduce myself," I said, realising we had not yet done so. "My name is Aragorn, but I am also known to many as Strider. By what name do the people of Mirkwood know you, fair maiden?"
She beamed at my words, and her reply surprised me. "I am known to my people as Valrodiel Aerandir, and I have heard many things about you, Strider."

***
I had been talking to Valrodiel for some time. So this was the elf maiden whom Legolas had lusted after some time ago. She was charming, I had to admit. Not overly pretty, but there was a certain sparkle in her green eyes that was full of life, and somewhat more knowing than her years. Her Father, it turned out, was one of King Thranduil's advisors, and held with great respect in the palace in which he and his family had their own rooms. Valrodiel herself was destined to marry, yet wished to study these books and parchments held within the library. She was learning as much as possible now, she told me, before her father found her a husband and she was tied to the chores of a wife and mother.
Marriage was not something she was thinking of at the time, she told me that she had a close connection with Legolas, yet she didn't think it was anything special, but enjoyed the attention. After all, she said, she and Legolas had known each other since childhood, becoming betrothed to one such as him would be strange. No doubt she would get used to it though, if that were ever to happen.
I felt guilty as she spoke of Legolas, thinking of how he wanted to tell her things he could not find the words for. Yet it worried me that she seemed unsure about exactly how she felt for the prince.
"Are you a married man, Strider?" she asked.
"I am not married, yet I am unsure where the path I am on leads; whether it leads to a betrothal, or to something else," I replied, picking my words in order to give her an answer that would satisfy her questions, yet not reveal anything about where my love lies.
"Life is so uncertain," she pondered to nobody but herself, "whichever path you take, your destination is always unknown. Even if you think you know where you are going, you may be surprised where you end up..." she trailed off, realising I was still there. "Oh, pardon my musings!" she exclaimed, a little embarrassed, then changed the subject quickly.
"So how long are you staying here?"
"That I do not know, I journeyed here with Legolas from Rivendell, for the roads are becoming too dangerous for a lone rider, even one as skilled in battle and defence as Legolas. It was just as well we travelled together, for we were set upon by a group of Orcs on the forest path, between us we felled them all."
Her eyes widened with excitement when I mentioned Orcs.
"I have never seen any of these Orcs," she explained. "Not that I desire to meet them, of course, for they are disgusting creatures. Yet I often wonder how my life would be different had I been born a boy."
"We all wonder how life may have been different," I commented. "The matter of gender is one I think many wonder about."
"Have you ever wondered?" she inquired.
"I did, long ago," I admitted, "I still do wonder about my true destiny."
"It is written somewhere in these parchments, that a destiny is not truly known until it has unfolded and been fulfilled..." she motioned to a pile of parchments and papers to her left. "Not even the fabled Mirror of Galadriel could tell someone's true destiny, though I do not doubt the knowledge which the Lady of the Wood herself has of things that have not yet come to pass."
This elf maiden spoke so wisely of things, yet she was younger than Legolas, as she had informed me. Her knowledge came from this room, she had said. I wished I could meet the Lady Galadriel, for she sounded powerful and wonderful, so full of knowledge of Middle-Earth and its inhabitants.
As Valrodiel and I talked more, we were interrupted by the voice we both knew and loved, speaking our names.
"Valrodiel? Are you in here? Oh, hello Aragorn...I see you have met Valrodiel," Legolas's smile seemed a little too forced.
"Is something troubling you, Legolas?" I asked, seeing the troubled expression in his eyes.
"I need to talk to Valrodiel," he replied, then looking at her said "I have been looking for you for ages Val."
"I shall leave you to have some privacy," I excused myself, turning to go.
"Wait, Aragorn, as a great friend you will probably wish to hear this too."
Legolas's words caused me to turn back, and take a seat.
"What is it, Legolas?" asked Valrodiel.
"My Father wishes me to marry," Legolas said, a saddened look crossing his face.
I felt sickened. Legolas could not marry! Well, he could, but does he want to? I mused.
"Has he found you a suitor?" the elf-maiden asked, her eyes concerned.
"Yes," replied Legolas. "You."
An uncomfortable silence fell in the room.

TBC




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