Character: Aragorn and OCs
Discalimer: Tolkien thought up the Grand Design, Kortirion added a tiny detail.
He woke, paused to listen to the small sounds around him. The unfamiliar rhythms flowed through him, footsteps on wooden floors… soft leather shoes that made little noise spoke of indoor life; women’s voices – too far away to discern anything but a light tone and laughter. One harsh shout alerted him, but, he realised, it was sergeant to guard and nothing to do with alarums.
Aragorn sat up. The clothes over the chest at the foot of his bed looked very new, and as unfamiliar as the mattress he slept on. Polite scratching on the wooden door drew his attention.
He forced himself to stay abed and call ‘Come!’ – much as allowing an unidentified stranger into a room where he was vulnerable went against his ingrained training… such was his new life.
A chamberlain entered, followed by a pot-boy carrying lidded pails of steaming water in both hands. Instinct was to rise and help, but Aragorn made a conscious effort to stay still.
“Good Morning, my lord,” the chamberlain smiled, crossing the room to unfasten the shutters. “Shaving water is here, but should you prefer to bathe first I will have the copper filled.”
“Thank you,” said Aragorn, “a bath.”
“After that, I would speak about what I expect, and don’t expect, from you and the other servants.” said Aragorn.
“Of course, my lord,” The chamberlain held out a silk gown for Aragorn to slip his arms into.
Aragorn paused for a moment, aware he’d taken the opportunity of a ‘safe’ bed to sleep as he preferred – naked. He took a deep breath, threw back the blanket and quickly slipped the gown on. The chamberlain didn’t even blink.
The pot-boy had disappeared into the adjoining room – a bathing room… of his own! Not since Imladris had Aragorn had that privilege.
As he savoured the copper bath of hot water, Aragorn could hear whispers from his bed room. The words were indistinct, but shortly a stifled cry made him sit up, splashing water over the floorboards.
“What is going on?” he called.
The chamberlain appeared at the door, “Nothing my lord, the clumsy boy dropped your cloak and stood on it – I chastised him.”
“You hit him.”
“He might have ripped your robes, lord.”
“New clothes aren’t worth a cuff round the ear. Don’t do it again.”
The chamberlain set his lips in disapproval, but bowed slightly, saying, “Of course, lord.”
There was some muttering from the bedroom; the door opened and closed. Aragorn doused water over his head… he was about to pick up the waiting razor when the chamberlain scratched the woodwork politely.
“Would my lord like me to shave him?”
Usually he’d refuse, but today… maybe another hand steadier than his own… And it really would not do to be presented with blood on his chin…
The chamberlain worked deftly.
Aragorn looked in the mirror, gave a wry grin, “You handle a blade well,” he said.
The chamberlain blushed, inclined his head, “but not like you, Lord.”
Dressed in new clothes, unfamiliar boots, the crown weighing heavy on his brow, Aragorn looked out over his people, his kingdom…
He sang his promises to the now silent crowd, fervently, with reverence, even though part of him knew he left behind a life he loved, and faced a life still uncertain…
As he fell silent – the crowd erupted with shouts and hails. They welcomed their King with every morsel of energy they could muster, roaring his new name again and again.
He caught a newly familiar voice, saw the chamberlain crowding forward, smiling, fervently shouting “Elessar! My King!”