Estel was starting to get worried about Sermë. It was not like her to be gone so long into the night. He was pacing the living area. Another hour passed and he could not wait any longer. He ran to the last lonely house. He was out of breath when he burst through the door. “Father! Father, where are you?” he yelled breathlessly.
Elrond came running. “Estel what is the matter? Here sit down and catch you breath.”
“NO can’t…. Sermë lost…. Raion gone… Momma ….” he could not get anymore out before he collapsed into Elrond’s arms crying hysterically. Elrond could do nothing but hold him until his tears were spent.
“It’s alright let it out. I know things have been hard lately.”
When Estel calmed down enough he spoke jerkily still trying to gulp in air. “It’s not just that, Sermë is missing. She was not home when I came back from archery practice and she has not come home yet. Raion is out on duty. I don’t know what to do. I just left momma and came to you. She could not help right now anyway.”
Elrond spoke calmly trying to sooth Estel’s fragile nerves right now. “Ok before we send out a search party did you check her favorite spots?”
“No, I did not think about that. I can’t seem to think clearly anymore.”
“It’s ok I know how you feel. It has been a hard and trying month for you. No one can expect you to have it all together. You are still young.”
“If momma was better I would not worry so much. I can’t handle it anymore.”
“Alright we can talk about it when we find Sermë. Now I want you to go to Sermë’s special spots and see if she is in any of those places. I am going to go back to your house and see if she is there. Can you do this for me?”
“Yes father, I will be ok now.” Estel threw his arms around Elrond one more time before running off to find Sermë.
Elrond went to find Gilraen, and see what happened. The house was dark except for the nursery’s one lone lamp putting out a very weak stream of light. Gilraen sat in the semi darkness rocking and crying. Elrond walked into the room and she did not even notice him there. She jumped when he touched her hand.
“Oh Elrond, You startled me.”
“No wonder there is no light anywhere in the house and you are a million miles away. Do you know where Sermë is at this moment?”
“Sermë? No why?”
“She is missing that’s why. Gilraen I know this has been hard on you but you really got to pull yourself together. Things are going from bad to worse.”
Gilraen looked at him and a fire came into her eyes. She stood up and stalked over to Elrond. “Don’t you talk to me about what I should do. You did not do what you were to do for me or else my Enelya would be alive. You have no right. Now get away from me,” she screamed at him as she turned away.
Elrond was shocked but not totally surprised. He had other elves take their anger out on him before. He got a sad look on his face as he turned but he left her with some final words. “You may be mad at me, but you will loose your family and by my hand if you don’t pull it together soon.”
She started to shake with silent sobs as he left her alone.
Estel came running back to the house as Elrond was walking out. He had been at the waterfall and the lake but he had not seen her at either places. Elrond called together a search team and they started out in different directions from the house. Estel begged to go along with one of the teams and so Elrond decided to take him along. It was just the two of them. They followed the road until Elrond saw a place where the grass was trampled down pretty hard. The tracks were pretty fresh because the grass was still green where it was bent. Elrond pointed out how the tracks were pretty far apart which meant she was running. Estel watched the whole time for the tracks to change he soon caught on and each time she would make a turn he would spot it.
Elrond was pleased at how quickly he caught on to things. He was not sure if the quick learned lesson was because of Estel’s need to find Sermë or if he was just a quick study. It mattered not though because he realized they were on the track that was she had taken. They stopped at a spring to fill up the water bottles and Elrond picked some apples from a nearby tree. He tossed one to Estel but he could not eat it. Estel was worried, and he paced when he was supposed to be resting.
“We may as well keep traveling. No use sitting here wasting this good moonlight.”
Estel smiled thankful that his father knew how he was feeling. He grabbed the lamped and started out ahead of Elrond. He followed the path as well as he could but they had to spend some time searching for clues and this frustrated him. He found a scrap of material from Sermë’s leggings and ran with joy because he was on the right track.
Suddenly he heard soft crying in the distance. “Sermë!” he cried, “Where are you?”
Sermë sat up at the sound of her name being called. She was unsure if she heard correctly, but then she realized her ears had not deceived her and that it was Estel calling her name. She Jumped up and called back. “I’m here Estel! Over here in the clearing.”
“I am coming Sermë.” Estel yelled back and charged off in the direction of her voice. Sermë was running toward the sound of his voice also and they almost ran into each other if Sermë had not stopped just a second after she saw Estel.
Sermë fell into his arms and started to cry all over again. Estel started crying too as they clung to each other for dear life. Elrond came upon them and could not help but shed a few tears of his own for their burden he could not take from them.
Finally their tears subsided and Elrond coaxed them to eat something before they started home. Sermë sat on a rock beside Estel and laid her head on his shoulder.
“I was so afraid no one would find me until morning or maybe no one would even notice that I was gone until morning.”
“I noticed,” Estel said tenderly, “And I am sorry if I have not been there to help you. Momma has me so worried.”
“I know, and I am ready to go back and Help her in any way I can. I think we need to talk to Ada, but mostly we need to do talk to Eru about the whole situation. I have been ignoring him because I am angry at him, but I had some help tonight to see that I need to stop thinking on myself and to trust Eru again because he cares for me.”
Estel sighed and thought on those words for a while. He was not sure of his own feeling and he did not want to sort them out right now. He wanted to get home and go to bed. He suddenly realized how tired he felt.
Elrond looked at both of them and suggested they head back home. He hoped they would make it because he could not carry both of them.