Tauriel turned to Legolas.
"Who are you," she breathed.
"Do I seem that strange to you, my lady?" Legolas asked, a little sadly.
"Not strange, no! You recall to my mind thoughts of my lady mother. She wove a girdle of enchantment about Doriath; her Power was great. My father also had Power among the trees. All growing things loved him, and he they," her voice trailed off as she looked deep into Legolas's eyes. "You have great love of Nature, but your Power is different from that of other Elves; even those of the First Age of Arda." She stepped away from him, backing up slowly until several feet of grass lay between them. "Who are you," she repeated. "Show yourself!" Tauriel's voice became commanding, no longer that of a gentle Elf-woman, but that of a royal princess and daughter of a powerful Maia.
Legolas sighed slightly, then stood straighter.
"As you wish," he said. (1) Then, he smiled. "But only on one condition!"
Tauriel raised an eyebrow.
"That you show yourself also!"
Tauriel's eyes widened briefly, then she smiled.
"How can I refuse," she murmured.
Legolas raised his arms and looked at her.
Tauriel nodded and raised her arms also.
The fire of an Elven spirit is a Powerful thing, rarely is it allowed to shine out. It cannot be completely hidden, but it can be veiled to mortal sight. In the Eldar days, (2) there was no need for Elves to veil themselves, to be shrouded always in shadow and mystery; but now, the world is darkened. The Shadow hunts down the sparks of light from an unguarded faer and destroys it.
Slowly, in the shadow of the encircling trees, Legolas Thranduilion and Tauriel Melianiel allowed their true selves to be unveiled.
Tauriel's soft brown hair darkened to black, her, already pale, skin was perfectly white. Her eyes too grew dark, but they flashed with black fire. She looked like a fey creature of the Wilds. Her long green dress was no longer green, it was the deep black of midnight, but shot through with silver; she seemed to be wrapped in the great mantle of the night sky, arrayed in the shining stars. She was both shadow and light, a living paradox of beauty.
The two Elves had stood with their backs to each other as they transformed, now they turned and faced each other.
While Tauriel seemed wrapped in the night sky, Legolas was himself a star.
His golden hair was now white, not the soft white of mortal old age, but the shining, silver-white of new fallen snow. His eyes were like chips of glacier ice, blue fire sprang from their immeasurable depths. His flowing silver robes were white also, the silver embroidery turned to black. The light of his faer was unbearably bright, even for Elven eyes. His face was very grave, but in the same instant it looked terribly wild too. Born in the Second Age though he was, he was of a time before time was. He was terrible to look upon, but his beauty was entrancing.
Tauriel sank to her knees, her eyes never leaving his face.
"Now I know who you are," she said. "You have been touched by the Valar! They have claimed you as their child and you are theirs!"
Legolas inclined his head gravely, but did not speak.
"Why," Tauriel asked suddenly.
Legolas raised an eyebrow.
"Why are you here? Why does your father send you as an ambassador? You are the Crown Prince, but you are so much more!"
Legolas turned away, his light slowly beginning to fade.
"He does not know," he finally murmured.
Tauriel leapt to her feet.
"WHAT?" she cried in astonishment.
Legolas spun around to face her, his blue eyes flashing under golden lashes.
"What would you have me tell them," he cried. "Would you have me say that the Valar, whom my people spurned long ages past, have chosen me as their student? To be guided and counseled by Them?" His voice fell and he sank slowly to the ground. "Do you think my father would greet such an announcement with joy?"
Tauriel knelt in the soft grass next to Legolas and laid her hand on his shoulder.
"Do you think he would not," she murmured gently.
Legolas closed his eyes and shook his head.
"I do not know. I do not know."
Tauriel silently wrapped her arms about his shoulders, Legolas leaned into her embrace, happily accepting the proffered comfort.
"Meleth, I will stand by you, no matter what," she said. "But they must be told!"
Legolas was silent for a moment, then he nodded.
"All right," he murmured. "I will tell my father when I tell him of us. Perhaps the double blow will weaken his strike!"
Tauriel smiled at this, Legolas grinned back wryly. Then, Tauriel pulled away from Legolas, looking him in the eye.
"Melleth, there is something you must know," she said. "My kinsman, Elrond Half-Elven, is the Lord of Eregion. We have grown close, he is almost all the kin I have left in this world. But, even though he is the descendant of my sister, Luthien, he has become Noldorin in almost all things! I fear he will object to our haste, haste is not the way of the Noldor."
"Noldorin he may pretend to be, but any descendant of your line will have a Sindarin heart. I have confidence that he will not naysay us," Legolas said firmly.
Tauriel laid her head on Legolas's shoulder.
"I wish I had your confidence, melleth!"
(1) This is just me paying a bit of homage to my favorite line from The Princess Bride. (If you haven't seen it, you really should!!)
(2) Tolkien says in RotK that, "In the 4th Age the earlier ages were often called the Eldar days; but this name was properly given only to the days before the casting out of Morgoth." This story takes place during the 2nd age, definitely not pre-casting out!