Gilraen: Giver of Hope - Chapter 23

Chapter 23
Raion was busy getting ready for a banquet to be held in honor of the guests that had arrived earlier that day. Elrond held banquets for many reasons, but always when there were guests. Everyone enjoyed the hospitality of the elves, even Dwarves. Today 13 dwarves,one hobbit and Mithrandir had entered their land. This was the first time Raion had anything to do with dwarves, and he thought the hobbit to be a curious creature. He also wondered what made Mithrandir travel with this unusual group.

All these things were not what brought a frown to his face though as he surveyed himself in the mirror. He knew that Gilraen would be there, and it never failed to hurt him when he saw her. Her rejection of him had caused him so much pain he was barely seen at any social events. In fact, if Elrond had not personally requested his presence he would probably not be going now. He was also allowing Sermë to go with him. She had been so excited she fairly screamed as she hugged him. He had gotten her a dress made just for the occasion. It was a pale blue with silver beads in the shape of a leaf sewn in the bodice. The sleeves were a sheer blue also.

"Don't look so sad father" she said as she fairly sailed into his room and saw his frown. She twirled for him and looked so lovely. He realized that she was fast becoming a woman. She was only 11 but he could see that she would not be a child much longer.

"You are so beautiful. When did you start growing up on me?" He said as he hugged her.

She laughed and playfully slapped him. "I grow everyday silly. You told me that from the time I was little. Do you think Estel will like the dress?"

"I am sure he will think you look nice dear."

"I hope so."

"Don't get you hopes up about him, sweetheart, he will just break your heart." Raion said bitterly.

"Oh ada, just because Gilraen broke your heart doesn't mean all humans are like that. Estel and I have been friends for 4 years. Plus I don't love him. I just think he is cute for a human."

"I hope it is not love because you are awfully young yet, my dear."

"Oh yeah, one minute I am growing up and the next you say I am too young. Parents are so confusing," she said as she left the room. "Come on ada we will be late if we don't hurry."

So they left. Estel was the official greeter at the banquet tonight. He stood at the door welcoming everyone. He was very polite, and he had impeccable manners. He took Sermë's hand and kissed it. He bowed to Raion and said, " Welcome to Elrond's banquet. We are most pleased by your presence."

Raion laughed internally because he thought it the sentence very rehearsed. Maybe it was just because he had said it many times. After Estel said the greeting he asked Raion if they would sit with him.

"I don't think so."

"Oh ada, please. I would like it so much better than sitting with other people."

Raion looked at her and she gave him such a sweet convincing smile that he gave in. "Oh who can no to this face."

They went in to find their seats. Gilraen was already sitting and talking to the hobbit. Raion remembered his name was Bilbo. He looked a little funny sitting on 4 pillows just so he could eat properly at the table. She turned her head and seeing him coming drew in her breath sharply.

Bilbo wondered at her suddenly distressed face and saw the elf coming toward them. He looked back and her and could see a myriad of emotions cross her face at one time. He watched as the Elf said hello to her in a rather strained manner and then asked her permission to sit with them because Estel had asked. She gestured with her hand that he may sit and he took seat 3 chairs away. Bilbo could see for the rest of the evening that she was not the lady he had met earlier. He pondered it, but decided to let it go.

The children soon joined them and the feast became a talkative and happy time. Though underneath it all there was a current of tension that ran too deep to cut.

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