Sermë did not wake up for a whole week and as it was getting on into the second week Elrond started to worry about her. An injury such as this should not have kept her out this long. This was not normal and he knew he needed to get her someplace with better facilities so he could find out what was causing her to stay asleep.
Raion could see the concern in Elrond’s eyes each time he checked on her even though Elrond tried to hide it. Raion could tell because he was feeling the same way. He barely left Sermë’s side even for sleep anymore. He felt extreme fear that if he left her side she would die. Raion’s lack of sleep was concerning Elrond, because he was sure that he would have two patients soon.
“Gilraen I am terribly concerned for Raion.”
“I know he has not slept for 2 days and that is only since I started noticing.”
“I am also concerned for Sermë. We need to get her to a better place than out here in a tent. I need to find out what is wrong with her. Raion needs to feel safe leaving her for some sleep.”
“Our rations are also getting low. We would normally be in Mirkwood by now.”
“I will talk to my sons about seeing to a stretcher for Sermë, and you see if you can convince Raion to get some sleep.”
Gilraen left Elrond with a heavy heart. She went to get some soup for Raion and went into the tent to find him prostrate over Sermë. She set the bowl on a side table and went to his side. When she placed her arms around his shoulders he turned to her and sobbed. She was frightened for a moment she thought maybe Sermë had died. She turned to look at her and breathed a small sigh of relief to her chest move ever so slightly. Gilraen then turned her attention to Raion. She breathed a prayer to Elbereth to help her know what to say and what not to say. His heart wrenching sobs brought tears to her eyes that fell silently as she held him.
He sat up and she realized he had not done anything even eaten for about two days. His normally braid was falling out around his face. His eyes were red from crying and they were dark from all the worry, and the entire spark was gone from them. His normally pristine clothes were wrinkled and disheveled. She looked on him and she thought her heart would break.
She gently touched his hand and said, “I brought you some soup why don’t you eat some so you can keep your strength. She needs you to be strong for her now.”
Raion was sure nothing would get past the lump in his throat, but he somehow registered that Gilraen was right. Sermë did need him to be strong. Gilraen brought him the soup and he took a few sips of the broth and ate some of the meat. He started to feel a slight bit better. It helped to have her with him.
“I am so sorry that I broke down earlier.”
“Sorry what do you mean sorry? I think it was a perfectly normal reaction to the situation. You never have to try to hide your feeling from me.”
“Thank you for being here. I am so distressed. Sermë is so much like Lirinen and as I see her lying here so pale and lifeless I can’t help but think of Lirinen on her deathbed. I find myself touching Sermë’s chest just to see if she is still breathing. I was listening to heart beat when you came.”
Tears welled up in Gilraen’s eyes at that statement. She composed herself before she said anything back to him. Her mind was racing to come up with the right words.
“I have no word of wonder that will make this better for you. I hurt too, but in a totally different way than you. I can only say that I am here for you. You have become my friend this past year as our kids played. We have talked and laughed together and now I want to share you pain. A true friend does this for each other. You are my true friend.”
Raion hugged her and tried to swallow the lump that was in his throat. For the first time in 9 days he felt relaxed sitting here with her knowing he did not have to be strong in front of her. He suddenly felt the need to sleep. He got to the cot set up for him in the tent and sleep claimed him almost as soon as his head hit the pillow. Gilraen breathed a sigh of relief as she covered him with the blanket. She stayed with Sermë the rest of the night, and Raion got some much-needed sleep.
Elrond announced a break of camp in the morning. He had decided it was best to get Sermë to Mirkwood since it was only two days away and their healing houses were as well equipped as the ones in Rivendell.