At Peace

by Queen of Gondor


An Aragorn and Gilraen inkle

Aragorn knelt beside the bed. The last of the suns rays were fading as the canopy of night loomed over head. Gilraen lay in her bed, asleep. Her breathing was heavy and she had a high fever.

Gilraen had dwelled alone near her people, in Eriador for some time now. Aragorn had come to visit her, when he had got word of her illness. Her usual joyful face was now pale and dying. Her sparkling eyes no longer sparkled, and took more energy than she could handle to open them.

“Mother.” Aragorn whispered softly in her ear.

“My son. You should not watch your mother pass.”

“There is nothing I would rather do than speak to my mother and hear her speak her last words. I will be beside you until you take your path.”

Gilraen struggled to inhale. Aragorn brushed back her dark hair and placed a kiss on her cheek. “Do you need anything?”

“I would appreciate some water.” She coughed.

“I will be right back, alright.” Aragorn whispered as he stood up. He walked to the bedroom door and quietly opened it. Aragorn sighed deeply.

“How is she doing, Aragorn?” A light haired man asked as he entered the kitchen.

“She will not live out the week, Hirathon. Not even my skills as Dunedain can help her now. Though I do think it will be better if she goes. I would rather have her see my father again, than live all alone.”

Aragorn brought a glass out of a cupboard and filled it with water from a nearby pitcher. On the table in the centre of the small kitchen, a dark blue pouch sat. He opened it, and pulled out some green leaves, then crushed them n a bowl, and stirred them into the water.

“Would you like me to do anything?” Hirathon asked.

“No, there is nothing to do. Actually, come with me for a minute.” They headed back to the bedroom.

Aragorn gently placed one of his hands on Gilraen’s shoulder, and one on her back, then, with a lot of care, he pulled her forward.

“Hirathon, place her pillows up.”

Aragorn leaned Gilraen back against the pillows. “Here, drink some.”

She took a small sip. “Son, why did you put...athelas in here?” She struggled a small smile.

“Only to help soothe your coughing and your breathing. It will refresh you. Though it won’t do much in the end. I hate to say it, but your state is...”

“I know. Do not worry, you must not. I love you more than my own life, do not be hurt. Let me tell you about when you were born: The moon had just risen. The healers had rushed into the room to help me. The light of the moon streamed in through the open windows. Your father was outside the room, frantically pacing, impatiently waiting to hear a word from the healers that everything was alright. When the healers placed you in my arms...ah...I stroked your cheek, and held you close, you were shivering. Your father then walked into the room, he thought you were the most precious child, as did I. We knew you would grow to be something incredibly special. You changed our lives, for the best, mind you.” Gilraen began to shed some tears. “Your choices will claim you, my son, though, are you ready to claim your choices?”

“I will never be ready. Making choices is certainly something that I despise. Choices, I always thought, were the hardest things to do. Though I was wrong, this is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do.”

“Then don’t.”

“But I need to. I have to be here when you take your last breath, when you depart.”

“You won’t have to wait too long then.”

“What?”

“I cannot hold on, my son, I am sorry.”

“Go now.”

“You would tell your mother to leave you, knowing that you will not see me again?”

“Yes, but no. I will see you again, be it in one hundred years or sooner. I want you to go, I do not want you to be in pain.”

* * * *

Aragorn awoke suddenly, Hirathon nudged his shoulder. “Aragorn?”

“What is it?”

“Gilraen.” Hirathon sighed and left the room.

Aragorn lifted his head and looked at his mother. A small smile was on her lips, and it seemed that her golden glow had returned, but she had left. He sighed and kissed her cheek. A tear dripped down his face and landed in Gilraen’s hair.

“At peace.” he whispered.