The melody she spun floated through the air, twisting and turning so that those nearby heard her words. There weren't many close, only her son in her lap, and beyond them two identical warriors critiquing one another over various matters. A smile tinged with sadness adorned her graceful face. She looked down.
The boy in her lap, no more than three, had grown restless of her care and struggled to be set down. She obliged, letting the brown haired boy scoot to the sandy ground of the garden they occupied. He ran off chasing a butterfly straight towards the warriors.
"Estel, do not bother them please," she called after him. But he did not heed her words and she felt too tired to do anything more about it. She knew that Elladan and Elrohir would not mind the boy either, so she let it be.
Instead Gilraen remained where she sat upon a slate bench in the gardens, flowers to either side and warm sunlight cascading down around her. The light bounced off her golden brown hair, causing it nearly to glow amber. Her small smile grew as she watched Estel run straight up to the twins.
Elrohir ruffled the boy's hair. Gilraen breathed out slowly, allowing herself a moment to look away from her precious boy and instead at the beauty around her. For so long, pain and anguish and heartache had been her constant companion. Such was the fate of any of the Dunedain. Moving her son to Rivendell had been best for all. He could be safe.
For now, she reminded herself. And yet as she hummed her tune lightly and watched the green leaves dance in the wind, it was hard not to think it would last forever. Laughter sounded from the garden area where the twins sparred with wooden sword - they knew Gilraen would not allow Estel anywhere near metal ones - and she smiled their way. Standing, she walked towards them, allowing her pale white and green dress to trail on the ground.
"Ah, Gilraen!" Elrohir grinned her way from where he stood next to Estel. "You have nothing to worry about here. We know well how to take care of this foolish child."
"I'm not foolish!" Estel pouted quickly, folding his arms across his chest. "I want to help!"
Gilraen smirked and shook her head with a quick laugh. "Estel, you are too small to wield a sword - for now."
"Someday I won't," he grinned back, pointing at Elladan's wooden sword. "I will be the best swordman ever."
"Swordsman," Elladan joked. "You can hardly hold a stick!"
But the boy scowled back and punched Elladan in the leg. "I'm strong!"
Gilraen frowned at her son. "We do not hit, Estel."
"Yes mother," he whined with a pout. "I am sorry, Elladan."
"It is quite alright," Elrohir chipped in. "I firmly believe he deserved that."
All three adults laughed to varying degrees. Gilraen very much appreciated the sons of Elrond and their patience. Their long friendship with the Dunedain seemed to only strengthen with each passing generation, and Gilraen knew this to be fortunate. They watched as Estel grew board and ran off to chase another butterfly.
"You and your son have brought such joy to us here," Elladan told her quietly as they all watched him. "I wish he could have come to us at Imladris under better circumstances."
"I fear for his future, pleasant though it is for now," Gilraen admitted, running a hand through her honey colored hair in agitation. "All my hope rests on the safety of this valley. My hope, and the hope of the Dunedain."
Elrohir nodded to her. "You speak truly, and someday perhaps, young Estel will fulfill all the hopes of the free peoples."
But Gilraen merely shook her head, her eyes fixed on Estel down the path. "For me, hope is not a future. Hope is a child who must be protected. And I fear I do not believe I can give him protection."
They remained quiet, falling into a contemplative silence. Chirping birds accompanied the noises of rustling trees. Soon a quiet lullaby joined it from Gilraen's heart. She left the twins there, following her precious child, her Hope, through the garden.
She gave hope to the Dunedain, but kept no hope for herself.