Gilraen barely made it through the banquet that evening. Her mind was always on Raion. His closeness was like lightning to her heart torturing her with its constant jabs. Why was his presence so tormenting to her after all these years? Her brain told her she had made the right decision, but her heart always said something else. She felt tortured day and night with thoughts of him. Now he was close enough to touch and smell. She felt as if she was shooting darts at her.
Raion was doing no better than Gilraen. Why did his daughter have to torture him by sitting next to them? He touched Gilraen’s fingers one time to pass her the fruit and he was sure an electric shock was sent from her to him. He jerked back so suddenly that he was surprised she did not drop the bowl. He was not enjoying himself this evening. He was positive that if he were caught by orcs this very night and tortured to death by them it would not hurt as much as this evening. Why was Illuvatar torturing him with these feelings? They should be gone after all this time, but instead they seem stronger.
Raion sat quietly until Elrond stood up and dismissed everyone to the Great Hall. He politely nodded to Gilraen and left. This was all that Gilraen could take; she fled the Banquet Hall leaving Bilbo to mull over the situation. He felt compelled to follow her, and so he did.
He found her at a quiet pond sitting on a rock sobbing so that her heart would break. He felt the sadness exude from her and he could do nothing but touch her hand. At his touch, Gilraen jumped. “Oh Master Bilbo, I did not know you followed me. I must look a mess.”
“Forgive me Lady Gilraen, but I could not stop myself from following. I could see the distress on your face as soon as he walked up to you. Your whole demeanor changed from that moment. Anything you feel like talking to an old hobbit about?”
“I don’t know,” she gave a heavy sigh. After a few minutes of silence she spoke. “I love him. I live here in Rivendell the only human who has even passed inside these borders for the past 8 years. I had to leave my family and friends. Raion was the first true friend I had here. All the elves are wonderful but with Raion I found someone who would listen to my heart Elrond has become a father to Estel, but Raion was someone who cared about me. One year after we met he told me he loved me, but I am human and he is an elf. It would not work.”
Bilbo had never been in love like this, which is why he has never married. He did know and observe his parents. His father had loved his mother as much as he loved his evening pipe, and that is saying a lot for a hobbit. So he ventured an opinion.
“Lady Gilraen how long have you loved him like this?”
“Well, its been 3 years since that night.”
“So for 3 years you have denied your feelings and yet his presence throws you into such turmoil that a complete stranger can see how you are affected by him. Do you really think that if this was a passing thing that it would not have passed by now? When I was in my tweens I had many girls whom I cared deeply for, but none of those lasted. Illuvatar works in many ways, and sometimes you have to just listen to your heart and not your head.”
Gilraen listened and thought on his words. It had never occurred to her that Illuvatar had given her these feelings. She was just so sure that they were wrong. What if this were true? What if Illuvatar had planned for her to love Raion?
“Three years is a long time and I know I have hurt him. What if I go to him and he denies me?”
“I am not one who can tell the future. I do not know why things happen in our life. I myself am on a quest that I never planned. Gandalf picked me and I was angry with him at first, but on that morning I left I felt a sudden need to go. I followed my heart and I am here taking part in an adventure that has been beyond my wildest dreams. Sometimes you have to listen to your heart and not your head.”
Gilraen sat and thought about what Bilbo was saying. She had never really just followed her heart before. Oh yes, she had deeply loved Arathorn, but it had also been an obvious head decision. It had made sense. This did not make sense. Suddenly she thought of Beren and Luthien, his love for her had always made sense to her because who could not fall in love with an elf. Luthien had loved him beyond all sense even begging Mandos for Beren’s life. Suddenly she felt the need to leave and find Raion.
She kissed Bilbo on the top of his head, and said “Thank you for your wisdom.” She picked up her dress and ran as if the wind was under her feet.