Gilraen and Raion returned to find things very busy around Rivendell. The army seemed to be assembling and the rangers from the North were milling around waiting for them to join their group.
Raion stopped Glorfindel who seemed to be leading the proceedings. “What is going on?”
“We are joining the rangers to help them get rid of an army of orcs heading this way. We must stop them before they come to our gates.”
“I will be ready by the time you are ready to march.” Raion said.
Gilraen looked at him and nodded. They headed off to their home. Gilraen knew Estel was already busy getting ready. He had become a soldier right after his 19th birthday. He had been ready and Elrond had encouraged it of him. She also knew Sermë would need her. This is the first Time she would be sending off someone she loved to an actual battle. Gilraen knew though no matter how old you get and no matter how many times you send off your love it never gets easier. She had seen Raion off many times not to mention the fact that every time she relived the day that Elladan and Elrohir came to her home after Arathorn had been killed. Sometimes though you have to do things you never want to do. She knew she was going to have to be strong for herself and for Sermë.
Estel was dressed and ready by the time they got home. He was getting his survival pack ready making sure it had all the things he would need. He was getting his pack and Raion’s ready so Raion went to get dressed. Gilraen helped get the some food ready for them. It was very quiet in the house. Gilraen thought “It’s so very interesting how deadly quiet things get when you are getting ready to go to your possible death. This time I send off a husband and a son.” The thought of never seeing her husband or her son ever again sent tears coursing down her cheeks. She felt strong arms circle her shoulders, “Momma don’t cry.”
For a second the tears flowed faster but she got herself together squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. “I am fine. I will not think on sad things anymore. Only happy things like you and Raion coming home again.” She turned to hug him and realized (not for the first time) how much he was like his father, so tall and handsome. He was no longer her baby. He was a grown man and he was very good with the sword and bow. He was going well prepared and ready to face this challenge. “How proud your father would be of you right now.” she thought. She smiled and Estel smiled back. The smile gave her strength. She was ready to let her men go to war. She would always carry their love in her heart.
Raion stood at the gate of the city with Gilraen by his side. A thousand men were going. Some had left with their leaders, now it was Raion, Estel, Elladan And Elrohir’s turn to leave. Gilraen felt very happy that all her family was in one squadron. She knew they all would look after each other very well. Linwë was in her father’s arms enraptured by helmet that sat on his head. The sun bounced off it and she liked the way it gleamed so brightly. Off a little way from the group Gilraen spotted Sermë and Elrohir. He was whispering to her as he was wiping the tears from her cheeks. They kissed and Gilraen had to turn away or she would let tears flow also. Estel caught her in his arms and hugged her. She held him for a while, but then she turned to the arms that she knew best. She hugged him with a fierceness whisper, “I love you and I will be waiting right here when you come back.”
“Always remember I love you. I will come back to you.”
She stayed in his arms her head on his chest listening to his heartbeat, memorizing the sound, until the call to move out was given. She picked up her daughter and stood beside a tearful Sermë. She smiled and waved until she could no longer see them. Then she allowed the tears to flow again.
A week went by and nothing was right in the house. Linwë would cry every morning for her Ada and Gilraen could hardly console her. Sermë walked around doing her work in a daze and sometimes Gilraen would catch her crying. Night was the worst for Gilraen. Lying in the bed by herself next to emptiness. Just when they thought they could not take any more they got messages. Each one was read over and over.
So the week turned into two and then became a month. At the end of the month Arwen came from Lothlorien to be back with her father. So a banquet was thrown in her honor and this helped to break up some of the monotony. She fascinated Gilraen. She had such beauty and grace. She seemed to float into the room like she was not of this world, but when Gilraen got to speak to her she was kind, caring and very down to earth. Arwen just doted on Linwë while Linwë reveled in her attention. It made Gilraen wonder why she had never married. Gilraen and Sermë visited with Arwen a lot during the next week.
Finally on the fifth week a runner came through the city shouting the victorious army was returning. Women and children all ran toward the gates. Happy reunions were taking place everywhere. Some were not so happy, some women found their men among the wounded or dead. Sermë screamed in excitement as she saw Elrohir coming through the gate. She ran and jumped into his arms not letting go. He laughed and twirled her around thoroughly happy to be home.
At that moment Gilraen was caught up in strong arms of her own; only they were not the arms she was expecting. Estel was the one who had grabbed her. Linwë who was in her mother’s arms yelled, “Stel!” as she was thrown into the hug as well. Gilraen immediately started to panic, Why is Estel here first? Oh not that I care but does this mean Raion is Dead!! Just then Estel whispered in her ear laughingly, “Don’t panic momma he is right behind me. I just got to you first.”
Gilraen relaxed in her son’s arms and returned the hug with a lot more vigor. “It is nice to know I was missed momma!” Estel retorted sarcastically.
“Oh Estel, of course you were missed more than you will know. I was just not expecting you first,” she said playfully slapping his arm. He laughed and she saw the teasing smile on his face and knew both Estel and Raion had planned to scare her. “Why you mean and nasty son along with you mean and nasty husband!” At that moment Linwë who had almost been forgotten started to protest at being smashed between Estel and Gilraen. Estel took her and hugged and kissed her while Raion scooped her gilraen into his arms. Suddenly she felt that the entire world was right. They kissed and it seemed like their lips clashed and for a moment nothing and no one was close to them. Suddenly from behind came a, “You know there are people around here who only get to kiss their baby sister and their mom when they come home from war.” Raion and Gilraen parted parted just enough so Raion could say, “Then I suggest that you go find your own woman to kiss.”
“Huh easier said than done!” he shot back. “Well Linwë shall we go home and leave these 4 to themselves.” She laughed and hugged Estel’s neck “Stel. Go.”
“Oh no you don’t!” Raion called, “I get to hug my little girl before you go and take her away. Linwë don’t you want to say hi to Ada?”
“Stel, go” she said and she seemed perfectly happy to stay right where she was.
“Guess I found my girl!” Estel laughed as he started to walk away. Raion came up and grabbed her right out of Estel’s arms and started pretend to eat her. Of course she peeled off in a fit of laughter. When they are done she put her little hands on her father’s cheeks and said, “Ada!” and planted a big sloppy kiss on him.
Gilraen came up and hugged her husband and daughter again until Linwë protested loudly again. “Well are we ready to go home?” she asked them all. Sermë decided to go with Elrohir to his home for the evening. So it just was the four of them heading for home. Gilraen could not be happier. Everything had turned out all right.