It had been a week since her father was healed. Gilraen was still helping out in the Houses because her father was still there and because it was a safe place for her to stay. She enjoyed going around and visiting the sick and wounded, especially after Estel had visited them.
Elen had asked her to bring breakfast to one of the patients in a room on the second floor. He had been there for a while, but no-one except the healers had been allowed in his room until Estel had healed him.
Gilraen sang as she walked up the hallways, towards the room, carefully balancing the tray of food. People smiled at her as she walked by, and the patients enjoyed hearing her young, cheerful voice through the doors. She slowed as she came to the door and knocked quietly. The door swung in silently. She tiptoed in, hushed. She glanced around the room, taking in the bright sunshine pouring through the windows and the big bed. Her gaze flittered to the figure in the bed and gasped in surprise. The boy seemed to be swallowed up in the bed, as if it was too big for him. His brow was bandaged like her father’s, and he had no shirt on. He was sleeping soundly. Gilraen couldn’t see his face, for he was on his far side, away from her. She silently went over to the table by the bed and tried her best to place the meal on it quietly. She froze as the dishes clunked, not loudly but did clunk just the same. She sighed in relief as he only rolled over onto his side. She looked curiously at him. His hair was brown and curly; his face was young, childlike. His bandage was getting soaked through with his blood.
“I wonder if I should…” Gilraen thought, glancing at the extra bandages, “I have before…on others. I should…” She picked up an extra one and unrolled it. She came close to him and gently began to undo the bandage from around his brow. He moaned a bit as it started to come off. His eyes fluttered open, and Gilrean froze, looking at him with wide eyes. He gazed at her for a few seconds, his eyes piercing but weary.
“Who are you, Little One?” he asked softly, his voice rasping a bit.
“Gil…Gilraen. Who are you?” she answered, not moving.
“Gilraen…could you finish changing my bandage?” he avoided her question.
“Yes…” Gilraen swiftly pulled the bandage off and grimaced as she saw the slash across his brow.
“A little girl like you shouldn’t be in the Houses.” he said quietly.
“I’m not little! I’m as big as you, I wager.” Gilraen retorted, washing the wound out and re-wrapping it, “Besides, I have nowhere else to go.”
“You are little compared to me, though.” a quick smile spread across his face.
“How? You look no older than me.” she shook her head, gathering up the empty tray and the bandages.
“I think I beat you there, for I am thirty-six.” he laughed.
“Thirty-six?” Gilraen looked at him skeptically, “Now I know you’re joking. You look no older than thirteen, if that.”
“Really? I don’t know if I should take that as a compliment or not. But the fact of the matter is that I am thirty-three. I am a Hobbit, if that means anything to you.” he sat up and took the tray of food onto his lap, “And I am very hungry. It’s about time for elevenses, you know.”
“A Hobbit…you’re a Halfling?!” Gilraen half-asked, half-gasped.
“Yes, a Halfling.” he answered between bites, “My name is Merry.”
“Merry,” she looked at him, “you’re the Rider of Rohan, aren’t you? The one who was with the Lady Eowyn?”
“Why, yes.” Merry chuckled, “I didn’t realize I was so famous.”
“Famous? Why the whole House is talking about you and the Lady, how you both fought the Witch King and won.” Gilraen chattered gaily while straightened the room, “And your friends have been trying to sneak in and see you. Is it true that you know elves?”
“Slow down, Little One.” Merry laughed, “Yes, I know elves. And what friends?”
“I don’t know, I wasn’t here. Elen (a healer) just told me that some of the Perian’s friends kept trying to get in and see him while he was sleeping.”
“I wonder who they are….” Merry said quietly, “No, it couldn’t be, could it?” he mused thoughtfully.
“Is there anything else, Master Merry?” Gilraen asked.
“Two things, call me Merry, and do you sing, Little One?” Merry turned to her.
“Yes, Mas…Merry, I can sing a little.” Gilraen answered, “My mother…she used to sing me lots of songs and taught me a lot of them also.”
“Well, it’s been awhile since I heard any songs. Would you sing one for me, Gilraen?” Merry leaned back into the pillows comfortably.
“I…I suppose it wouldn’t hurt. Elen did say for me to come here, so…” Gilraen thought a bit, then smiled, “Yes, I will. What do you want to hear?”
“Something cheerful.” Merry requested, his eyes looking tired.
“Alright. Do you mind a lullaby my mother used to sing?” Gilraen asked.
“No, that’s fine.” Merry mused, “It’s been quite a while since I’ve heard a lullaby.”
“Here it is then:
Ku-ruh, my little one,
Ku-ruh, my child.
Rest in my arms, my love;
Bide here awhile.
Shut now those weary eyes,
Put thoughts to rest.
Lay in my arms, my child;
Dream a dream blest.
Put down your daily play,
Still now your hands.
Dream of adventures, love,
In far-off lands.
By-low, my little one,
Hush, little woman.
Don’t grow too fast, my daughter,
Stay if you can.
Ku-ruh, my little one,
Ku-ruh, my child.
Rest in my arms, my love;
Bide here awhile.” Gilraen sang softly, tears starting to well up as she remembered her mother rocking her to sleep to this song. She smiled as she saw Merry sleeping. Quietly, she picked the trays up and tiptoed out of his room.
“LOOK OUT!!!!!!!” a voice yelled in warning. Gilraen turned just in time to feel a boy collide with her. The trays fell to the ground with a crash, along with all of the dishes. “I’m sorry.” the boy helped her up, “Are you hurt?”
“No, I’m fine.” Gilraen took a good look at the boy. He had light brown hair, almost blond but not quite, and sparkling green eyes. He was her height and looked about her age. Then she noticed the uniform he was wearing. “Who are you?” she asked, stooping to pick up the dishes.
“My name is Pippin.” Pippin replied, helping her pick up the trays.
“Why are you wearing the uniform of a guard of the Citadel? Aren’t you a bit young?” Gilraen stood up with the trays once more.
“Well, no. I am thirty-three.” Pippin answered, flashing a smile.
“Thirty-three? You can’t…you must be a Perian.” she realized suddenly.
“Yes, I am.” he laughed.
“Well, I didn’t know there were two of you here.” Gilraen laughed, “Are you hurt too?”
“No. I am just waiting to get in to see my friend. You came out of his room, do you think he could see me now?” Pippin asked hopefully.
“I don’t know. He was sleeping, though the crash may have woken him up.” Gilraen answered, “You could try, I guess.”
“Alright, I will. Thank you…what is your name?” Pippin paused at the door.
“Gilraen.” she said, a little shyly.
“Thank you, Gilraen.” Pippin opened the door quietly and went inside.
Gilraen smiled and went down the hallway, singing softly.
Later in the afternoon, Gilraen walked down the hallway. She did not have anything to do, so she was thinking about visiting some of the people she had made friends with. She had visited with her father for a few hours, reading to him and singing to him. But now he was asleep, so she decided to wander the halls. She found herself near the entrance of the Houses. She glanced around, not having been there since she was brought in. She saw all the different people there. Then her eyes caught sight of a man, taller than the rest. He had on a dark green cloak with the hood up and stood off to one side. “Estel.” she thought excitedly. She came up behind him and hugged him, “Thank you, Estel.”
The man turned, and Gilraen gasped in surprise. He had blond hair, and his eyes were a soft blue, like a jewel her mother used to wear. He looked down at her. She turned and fled, cheeks burning with embarrassment. “Wait.” the man called, racing after her. He easily caught her in the open hall, “Hold on, I will not hurt you.” He held her arm, preventing her from leaving.
“Oh, just let me go, Sir. Please.” Gilraen pleaded, “I thought you were someone else.”
“You thought I was Aragorn.” he stated quietly.
“Yes, how did you know?” she asked surprised.
“I heard you.” he answered quietly, his eyes kind.
“Oh…” she stopped as a voice addressed the man.
“There you are, Legolas! Make me go all over this place looking for you! Trust an elf!” Gimli stalked up, looking quite out of breath, “I never knew that a house-above ground, no less!-could have so many blasted halls!” He then noticed Gilraen. Leaning over to Legolas, he whispered, “Isn’t she a bit young for you, Lad?”
“Gimli.” Legolas shook his head, muttering something in elvish about the sense of humor of dwarves, and seeing no one else around, took off his hood. His elven features were clearly visible to anyone with eyes.
“You’re an elf!” Gilraen exclaimed, looking at his pointy ears.
“Really? Is that what I am? Thank you for telling me.” Legolas teased her.
“Lad, come on. I think I know where Merry is, but with all these halls…” Gimli muttered, glancing around.
“Merry? Are you looking for the hobbits?” Gilraen asked.
“Yes, we are.” Legolas answered, seeing the eagerness in her dark eyes.
“I know where they are. Come, I will take you.” Gilraen started down the hall. Gimli shrugged, and they followed her. She led them through the halls easily. Legolas noticed that they led upwards, subtly but still up. They finally came to the hall with Merry’s room.
“Here. Third door on the right.” Gilraen turned to leave.
“Wait, do you want to come with us?” Legolas stopped her.
“No thank you, m’lord. I have others to visit.” Gilraen shook her head, “Besides, I think you will have many things to visit about.”
“Alright, Little One.” Legolas looked at her with kind eyes, “Do you have a name?”
“Gilraen, m’lord.” Gilraen called back, going swiftly down the hall.
“Gilraen….” Legolas’s eyes shone with a keen light, like he had remembered something he had long forgotten. He turned into the room and greeted both the hobbits.
Hey everyone, I continued it! And I have some more ideas for her, but these chapters won’t be posted as quickly as my other story. I will try to keep writing on it, though. Anyway, I just wanted to thank the person who wrote the lullaby. The title is “A Lullaby for Frodo”–Sung by his mother. I didn’t copy the name of who wrote it, but if you are reading this, thank you. I just had to change a bit of the wording (son to daughter, ect.) but that’s all. I hope you all enjoyed the next part of my “short” story