Chapter 18

Aria sighed as she walked through the halls of her new home. Mirkwood was far different than Imladris was. Imladris had wide-open spaces where the air flowed freely in and out.

Yet, Mirkwood was confining. She knew it was for good reason. Mirkwood had once been known as Eryn Lasgalen or Greenwood, but over time darkness had taken over the wood and all sorts of evil creatures had found refuge in its confines – Goblins, Orcs and Huge Spiders.

There was only one thing that bound her to Mirkwood - her husband. For him, she'd go to the ends of Middle Earth and back. She would even sail to the undying lands whenever he deemed it time to. Whatever it took just to be with him. So she could live in the confines of Mirkwood for a few months each year before leaving for Imladris. That is why Legolas and Elrond had pushed so hard for that concession from Thranduil before the wedding – they both had known how much Aria needed open spaces.

Then there was something else that she noticed since her ada and brothers had departed several weeks ago from Mirkwood – the Mirkwood elves had begun to treat her differently over the last few weeks. While they had been cheerful and welcoming during the wedding celebrations, as of late they had begun to treat her as an outsider who was beneath them – had they honestly thought that she would be a passing fancy that their prince would tire of and move on from?

Yet these encounters only took place when she was alone. No Mirkwood elf wouldn't dare do this in the presence of any of the other members of the Royal Family – especially their youngest prince or more so their King. All of this only isolated Aria more. Perhaps it had been the fact that she had grown up in Imladris and was the adopted daughter of Lord Elrond, but here she felt so much different. Sometimes she felt that Legolas didn't even understand her. But that feeling was fleeting and would often dissipate as soon as he held her in his arms.

Yet the fact still remained that she felt like an outsider.

Deep in her heart, she longed for Legolas to take her away from this place – to take her back to Imladris.

Legolas walked the halls of Mirkwood looking for his wife. He knew that she was feeling down in the recent weeks and he had something that could possibly cheer her up. Finally he found her in an isolated corner, curled up with a book, silently reading.

"There you are!" he happily said. "I've been looking all over for you."

She glanced up at him for a moment then right back down at her book. "You can stop putting on a façade. You are just trying to make me feel better."

"Isn't that what a good husband is supposed to do?" he asked sitting down next to her. He took the book from her hands and set it to the side. She glared at him.

"I was reading that."

"And now you're not."

She continued to glare.

"Come on," he said standing back up and holding his hand out to her. "I have something I want to show you."

Aria sighed as she took ahold of his hand and stood up. Legolas smiled and gently kissed her lips before handing her the book she had been reading back. "Come on," he said. "You will like this."

He led her towards the part of Mirkwood Hall where the Royal Family resided, yet walked past their quarters. "I know that living here has been an adjustment for you, but hopefully this will help," he said as they continued down the hall.

"What do you mean?"

He just kept on walking a little bit further down the hallway before stopping. "Close your eyes," he said as he moved to covered them as well.

She eyed her husband with a questioning look, but did as he asked. Legolas led her on towards a door that he pushed open with one hand. He pulled her inside and shut the door behind them. "Ok open them," he whispered, as he held onto his wife's hand

Aria opened her eyes and looked around her. Legolas had led her to larger room that was still in the Royal Family residence, yet she had never been in this room before. It was at least twice the size of Legolas' quarters. And there was much more sunlight. She turned towards the sunlight and saw that there was an opened balcony attached to the room. Her feet immediately carried her towards her the tiny balcony, pulling Legolas with her. She walked out into the cool, fall air and sighed happily as Legolas wrapped his arms around her. He nuzzled his chin against her neck before placing a kiss there.

"These are our new quarters. Adar granted me two to choose from. I know that you miss the openness of Imladris so I choose this one for us. I knew you would love the balcony as well," he said still holding Aria close to him.

She turned her head and kissed him deeply on the lips. Perhaps her husband did understand her after all. Even if her new home wasn't like Imladris, at least he was trying his best to make her as comfortable as he could. She couldn't ask for anything more.

The move from Legolas' old quarters to their new quarters was quick and easy. It amazed Aria at how much weight an elf could carry. In a matter of days the move had been completed and Aria had even managed to find some sitting chairs, a table and a couch that were not being used to put in their quarters as well to make a sitting area for reading.

As she sat putting the books back up on the shelf one of the books fell to the floor. As she picked it up, a flat withered flower fell from inside the book and landed gently onto the floor. She bent over and picked up the tiny flower and looked at it with a puzzled look on her face.

This was no flower from the forest of Mirkwood.

Why did her husband have a flower from Imladris inside of a book?

"You do not remember do you?"

Aria turned her head towards her husband's voice as he stood in the doorway polishing one of his bows. She still held the flower in her hand. "Remember what?"

He smiled at her as he set his bow to the side and walked toward her. He gently took the flower from her hand. "I met you once before you came to Mirkwood with your father and brothers. I met you in Imladris when you were very young - probably too young to remember. It was shortly after the Battle of the Five Armies. Your Ada had been gone for so long and when he and myself rode into the Imladris with the other elves, there was this little girl who came running to greet her Ada with an arm full of flowers. I remember watching as all the elves parted for her as Lord Elrond picked her up and hugged her tightly as soon as he had dismounted his horse. I was amazed at how well behaved she was because then the girl acknowledged my presence, before presenting me with a flower from her bunch before running off to rejoin whomever had been watching her. And for some reason I felt bound to keep the flower I had been presented with."

Arias held open the book that the flower had fallen out of as Legolas gently lay it back inside. "Did you think at that time you would end up marrying me?" she asked as she placed the book on the bookshelf.

"I did not see myself marrying anyone at that time," he said. "Yet over time, I kept seeing you in my dreams after meeting you once again. And now I see myself with no one else but you."

She sighed as she looked down at the floor.

"I know that something has been troubling you meleth nin and you have been blocking it from me. Is it a vision?" he asked tilting her head up towards him.


"Then what ails you?"

"None of the elves like me. I mean your family does, but no one else. They all treat me as an outsider who is beneath them. No one will talk to me unless either you or one of the family members is with me. That is why I have been reading so much. Yes I was depressed about being confined so much, but these new quarters do help. But I also miss the companionship of my friends. I have yet to make any here outside of Talia and Tauriel. And with you having to go back out on patrol soon and be gone for days, I do not know how I will survive."

Legolas pulled his wife down onto his lap as he moved to sit down on the couch. "I know that when Mara and the other girls were here that you did have others to relate to and now they are gone. Honestly I never thought that the other elves would be this cold towards you."

"Perhaps its because they wanted their prince to marry his own kind."

"If that is the case, then they will just have to be disappointed. For I am not their Crown Prince. I am second in line to the throne – third once Laurian and Talia have an elfling. You are my choice. I received Adar's blessing. That is all that matters to me."

Aria smiled as she leaned against her husband's shoulder and interlocked her fingers with his. "I love you," she whispered.

"As do I," he said kissing her forehead. "Now when it comes to the patrol situation. I will be gone for no more than a day at a time. I used to be gone for weeks at a time, but Adar would rather I not be gone from you for long periods of time in case you relapse into nightmares."


He nodded. "But I do have something that I want you to practice more often doing."


"How to correctly shoot a bow and arrow. I know that your brothers attempted to teach you, but now I want to be certain that you are able to."

"Let me change clothes then. No point in ruining a dress."

Legolas waited patiently as Aria slipped into the bathroom changed into a pair of leggings and a tunic – both of which were too big on her thanks to the weight she still had yet to put back on from her kidnapping. She had also pulled her hair back into a braid. These were her traveling clothes for when they would travel from Mirkwood to Imladris.

"I find this look on you appealing," he said pulling her close, still with the bows and sheath of arrows in hand.

"You find everything appealing on me," she said kissing him quickly before spinning out of his arms.

"And is that such a bad thing."

"No my prince it is not," she said with a sly smile. "And perhaps after my archery lesson you can show me just how appealing I am."

Legolas silenced her with a deep kiss before grabbing his bow, along with a bow that he had made for Aria and quiver of arrows from the corner as he led Aria out of their quarters.

Legolas led Aria to a clearing where they often would come to practice archery skills. Her brothers had told Legolas that they had taught Aria how to shoot when she was younger and that made Legolas determined to make sure his wife was proficient when it came to archery skills. He did not want to worry her about an attack on his adar's halls, so that was why he was determined to make sure that she could proficiently shoot a bow and arrow. He had spent the better part of a month carving her a bow and had just finished it a few days ago. They had tried it out and he had to admit that Aria wasn't that bad of a shooter, but she was going to need some more practice.

He watched as she lined up her shot and released the arrow, which went a little to the side. He adjusted her stance a bit before she tried to shoot again. This time she hit the target dead on. "Now keep practicing a few more centuries and I'm sure then you will be prefect!" he jokingly said.

Aria glared at him as she notched another arrow and hit the target again in the same spot, destroying her other arrow in the process.

"Good aim," came a new voice into the clearing. Legolas and Aria turned to look behind as Tauriel approached them.

"Ah Tauriel," Legolas said. "I thought you were going to be waiting for us."

"I was. I just wanted to see how much better Aria's shooting had become," she said with a smile. "Besides I know that she has not been practicing much in the last few weeks.

"I've had my reasons as to why we have not been practicing," Legolas said defending himself as he wrapped an arm around his wife's waist. Aria blushed slightly.

"But that is in the past," Tauriel said. "How about you let me teach you to defend yourself while Legolas continues to teach you how to shoot better?"

Aria looked from her husband to Tauriel then back to her husband. She was a bit shocked. In fact she didn't know what to say. Her brothers had begun her training but she had never allowed them to finish it because her visions of the future had gotten to vivid and horrific for her. She actually had tried to hide from her visions by doing everything in her power not to let them come to pass. But that just was not going to happen. So what better way to face the future head on then being prepared for it and fighting for what she loved.

"Sure," Aria said with a smile.

AN: I KNOW! I KNOW! I've been a bad writer the last month or so….but its been really busy and sadly work begins again on Monday…I'll probably just update more often because I need a break from teaching!

Oh! Speaking of writing…for those who read both mine and SleepyHollow5's stories, I've been on her case about not updating. And she assured me that at the beginning of August there would be something…its been what? Like almost 8 months since an update! Anyways, I just thought that I would pass on that information to ya'll!