Gilraen: Giver of Hope - Chapter 52
Gilraen was working in the house of healing doing her usual work when word came that the army was returning. Elrond hurried into the room she was working and asked her to get bandages ready and set up some extra cots. He said they were one day's traveling distance and would be in by tomorrow afternoon. Gilraen was excited and sad all at the same time. She could not wait to have Raion back home. Everything has been all right but things are never the same when the love of your life is not at home.
The next afternoon Gilraen was at the gates waiting to greet her men. Aragorn was the first one that she saw, and right behind him was Elrond. She gave Aragorn a hug and kiss but something about the way he hugged her and the way Elrohir was looking at Sermë sent a cold shiver down her spine. "What is wrong, son?" she asked apprehensively
"Momma, you need to be ready for the worst."
This was the last thing Gilraen needed to hear. She felt her knees buckle under her and if Aragorn had not been holding on to her she would have fallen. "Is he dead?"
"No, but it is not good at all."
"Oh dear Eru! Help me now!"
Her mind was swimming. Nothing was making any sense until she saw Raion coming through the gates being borne on a stretcher. Suddenly everything became clear and she went into nurse mode. She took his hand and walked with him to his room. She then took his cloths off and cleaned him up. She almost fainted when she saw the wound because she knew somehow that this was an irreversible wound. The gash ran from the liver area and traveled to the other side of his stomach. Only a miracle would spare his life.
Elrond came to the room just as she had finished up getting him ready. He looked at the wound and then he looked at Gilraen with sad telling eyes. She knew it but getting that look from Elrond set the tears in motion. Suddenly she felt like her heart was being crushed under a heavy vice. How could she stand to loose another husband? Aragorn came into the room and took her in his arms and led her from the room. Elrond worked on Raion as best he could which is to say he bandaged up the wound. After it was wrapped, Raion lay on the bed just like he was sleeping. He had a few bruises on his hands and a small gash on his forehead, but otherwise he looked fine.
Gilraen came back and sat with him. She did not leave his side. Sermë came and sat with her father. She tried to get Gilraen to leave him just for some sleep or to eat but she would have none of that. "What he wakes up just for minute? I need to be here."
"What about me Gilraen? I need to be with him too." Sermë asked angrily
Gilraen looked at Sermë and realized that she was not the only one loosing someone dear to them here. She had been thinking about her loss and forgetting about Sermë or anyone else who cared about Raion. "Oh darling! I am so sorry. I was so worried about me that I forgot about you." She took Sermë in her arms. "How about if I set up cot for you here also? Then you can stay here also."
"Yes, I would like that very much."
Aragorn stayed in a room at Elrond's house when he was not sitting with Sermë or Gilraen. He never thought any extra time he would spend in Rivendell would be spent wondering when he would wake up to the news that Raion was dead. He had dreamed of stealing kisses from Arwen or meeting her in their favorite spot in the garden. Instead he sat with his mom or sister waiting for death's cruel hand to take the life of someone he loved. After 2 days of nothing from Raion and seeing his mom reduced to a sobbing form of jelly he had to get away. He went out into the garden at Elrond's house and sat on a bench and just wept. Arwen was in her room brushing her hair before bed and heard him weeping. She came to him and just wrapped her arms around him. She said nothing just gave him her strength and he took it. After that he was able to face whatever was sent his way.
On the third day Raion weakly opened his eyes. He looked right into Sermë's face. She cried, "Ada!"
He smiled as she took his hand. "Sermë, my daughter."
"Yes Ada I am here."
"I must go and someday I will see you again. Always know that I love you and I am proud of you."
With Tears streaming down her face, Sermë Responded, "Yes Ada I will remember always."
Gilraen had been on the veranda for breath of fresh air but had come running in when she heard Sermë yell. Her tears were flowing so much she could hardly see when he called her name out ever so quietly. She rushed over to his side right away.
"I am here my love."
Raion took her hand, "You are so beautiful." He whispered "I loved you from the day you bumped into me so long ago."
"You always were a charmer," Gilraen said as she smiled through her tears. Then she got serious, "I loved you from the moment I bumped into you also."
"I will be watching for you. I will love you until the ending of the world. Promise me you will never forget that."
"I promise love. I promise."
"You were a wonderful wife." He said and she laid her head on his chest. He barely had enough strength but he placed one arm around her giving her one last hug. She lay there listening as his heart beat slower and slower until it finally quit beating. "Raion!" she screamed but he never woke back up.
She wanted to stay right there and die along with him but sooner than she was ready for she felt strong hands gently lifting her off of Raion's body. She was led from the house of healing to the room Aragorn was using in Elrond's house. She just lay there just staring at the ceiling.
The next day they buried Raion's body. Gilraen was there but she was numb and remembered nothing from the service. She went back to Elrond's house because she could not face her home without Raion there. Aragorn stayed with her a month. She seemed to be doing ok considering what she had been through. Sermë promised him to look out for her, and Elrond was ever near. He left with Confidence that she was well cared for.
Gilraen stayed as part of the family in Elrond's house for a whole year. Then one day she called Sermë into her room.
"My dear I am planning to leave Rivendell." She said simply.
"What do you mean Momma?"
"I mean I no longer wish to live here. I am not an elf. I came here to seek protection for my Aragorn. He is no longer here. He no longer needs such protection. I miss your Father and sister so much I fear I have grown weary of living here with all the reminders. When your sister died I felt like half my heart was missing and now without Raion I walk around and feel nothing. I have no heart anymore. I am nothing more than a shell and I do not want to live here anymore. Can you understand?"
"I think I can momma. If I were to loose Elrohir I am sure I would fade from the grief of it. But I will miss you more than you will know."
"I too will miss you. You have been the best daughter I could ever ask for. I never thought of you as not my own. You will always have place close to me." With that she hugged Sermë as if to emphasize the fact.
"Now", She said as they parted, "As for the reason I called you. I want to give you our house. Some day you will marry Elrohir, and I want you fill the home with happy contented children. I don't want it to become a tomb of regret but a house full of love and family."
"Oh momma!" Sermë cried. "I will take the house and do just as you ask."
"Good, and thank you for not protesting. I will be leaving by the end of the week. So please stay with me and help me pack."
"Yes, momma. There is one thing I want to insist on though. I want to come with you to your new home and get you settled."
Gilraen smiled and said, "I would like that very much."
Elrond was a little harder to convince but he finally relented. He sent his best men to escort Gilraen home. They spent one week in Gilraen's new home. Long enough for Sermë to help her unpack and get settled.
Once they were gone the silence surrounded Gilraen. It seemed to grow louder every day, and everyday her world seemed to grow smaller and smaller. She soon found very little reason for waking up in the morning; very little reason except for one. She needed to see her son one more time.
Finally 2 years later Aragorn came. It was late winter snow covered the ground but he showed up at her doorstep just as she knew he would one day. She welcomed him home. He was shocked at how pale her face was and her eyes had no spark in them whatsoever.
One night as he stoked the fire she said to him. *"This is our last parting Estel." He suddenly turned at the use of his old name. "I am aged by care, even as one of lesser men; and now that it draws near I can not face the darkness of our time that gathers upon Middle Earth. I shall leave it soon."
"Yet there may be some light beyond the darkness; and if so, I would have you see it and be glad."*
"I can not my son. I have seen more than my share of darkness. My heart can no longer bear it. No my son, *I gave hope to the Dunedain, I have kept no hope for myself."*
Aragorn turned back to the fire for he knew what his mother was saying but he could not stop her anymore than he could stop the sun from rising tomorrow. He was able to stay 2 more days then he had to report back to his company. He did not like leaving for he knew it was the last time he would see his mother ever again. He hugged her and she whispered that she loved him from the moment she knew he was to be born in this world. He held her longer just to show her his love for her. She knew and accepted it. Then he was gone.
That night she went to sleep and she never woke up again. The villagers buried her and her gravestone read
Here lies Gilraen Wife of Arathorn
And mother of Aragorn
The one who gave hope to us all.
* This is taken directly from The Appendix in Return of the King page 376 in the section called "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen."
Authors note: I truely hope you enjoyed reading this story I truely enjoyed writing it. I am very sorry for all the mistakes I have made. This is what happens when I don't know who to get to beta my story. Thank you for reading it; even through the long pauses between chapters.