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Diverging Roads by Yuggster


Choices

Title: Diverging Roads

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: Lord of the Rings belongs to Tolkien, "The Road Not Taken" (pretty much everything in italics) belongs to Robert Frost. Donít sue me, all I have is a cat who likes to play in the fireplace.

Summary: Aragorn must choose. Will he become the king he was born to be, or slip into obscurity like so many before him?





"Set aside the ranger. Become who you were born to be."

Two roads diverged...

Does he understand what he is asking of me?

Long years have I shunned my heritage, too afraid of being discovered and endangering those around me. Long have I hidden, heeding the warnings of my mother, the warnings that I would be hunted my entire life.

I sought obscurity by his advice. I buried my true name, always taking hidden paths.

Now he asks me to take up that name again. To become the very person I have always feared to be.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

 

And sorry I could not travel both, and be one traveler...

I can only be one man. I cannot be both the ranger and the king. I must put aside one...yet how can I choose? On one hand is the supposed redemption of the kingdom of men, on the other is the safety of the life I have always known.

Long I stood, and looked down one as far as I could

I have trod the path of the ranger. I know this path, I have walked it many times. The path of Strider, the path well-worn in protection of the Shire and the people in their little villages, unaware of the dangers around them. Would that I could always walk this path, that I could ever merely be a protector of those who disregard me...those who never know that I and my kin are all that stands between them and the approaching horror. The sheer simplicity of the rangerís life calls to me. I could disappear into the wild, as though I had never heard the call of my blood.

I could simply be Strider until my dying day.

Then took the other, just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim

But what of my people? What of my promises, made to so many? My mother, Arwen...Boromir? I swore I would not let Minas Tirith fall...am I to make myself a liar because of my cowardice, my unwillingness to become what I was born to be?

Am I a coward for seeking the familiarity of my old path? For wishing to remain in the safety of the mantle of ranger rather than dare the glory of a king?

But what glory is there for me? What glory for the misbegotten King of Gondor? All will fall if Frodo does not succeed...dare I have enough faith in a hobbit to risk grasping the throne?

Yet knowing how way leads on to way...

 

Have I been preparing for this my entire life? Every step, from infancy to exile, made in preparation of this day?

I doubted if I should ever come back

If I choose...

If I choose to become King of Gondor I will never return. I will never be a simple ranger again, never feel the Northern wilds calling to me. I would be a man tethered to his kingdom, a figurehead of the world of men, chained even in death to my post.

And yet...

If I choose to remain the ranger, I can never return. How could I face those I love, having made the choice to forsake the world of men? How could I leave this tent and face Legolas and Gimli with word that all of our travels have now come to naught, now that the so-called heir of Isildur is too cowardly to take up the mantel of his forebears?

Two roads diverged...

I have put this off for far too long. For too many years I hid in shadows, ever deferring the day of decision. No longer will I remain on the line, afraid of both facing my heritage and running from the man I was born to be.

I must choose...

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

And I...

Will I be king?

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference.

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