Gildor used the winter months to teach Rúmil all he could about the cultures and languages beyond the woods. They spent every day save two a week in Celeborn's library, pouring over history scrolls, practicing Westron, and writing dwarvish runes.
Gildor was an excellent, albeit demanding teacher. He expected only the best from Rúmil. For his part, Rúmil threw his all efforts into learning. He wanted to prove to the older elf that he deserved this opportunity. Rúmil was still uncertain of who Gildor was or how Galadriel had convinced him to take the young guardian along, but he would not disappoint either of them.
As the weeks progressed, teacher and student grew closer. While both kept their behavior appropriate, there was a tension building between them. Rúmil left his lessons needy and self-pleasuring was getting old. Gildor was doing no better. Still they danced around the situation, each thinking that it was only one sided.
"You are a quick learner, Rúmil. Never have I met one as quick to learn Westron, or as willing. I think you will enjoy our journey to Rohan. I have some business with the horse-lords," Gildor said one day.
Rúmil mumbled "thank you" and flushed at the complement.
Gildor found Rúmil's blush endearing. "Come, the night is beautiful. Let us take a walk and we will work on your Westron."
Rúmil grabbed his cloak and followed Gildor out of the library and down to the forest floor.
The older elf was dressed as always in leggings and a silk tunic. Gildor donned his cloak, but left it opened and the hood down. He took a deep calming breath, raising his face to the moonlight.
Rúmil felt a flash of heat as he took in the sight. The more time he spent with the mysterious elf-lord, the more Rúmil wanted him. The pale-haired elf thought Gildor was beautiful and perhaps the wisest and most intelligent elf on all Arda. He dreamt of those ageless eyes gazing at him in the throws of passion, of strong arms holding him. He dreamed of opening wide the silk tunics that always showed just enough to tease. He wanted to follow that ever alluring gold chain to its end and lower. Feeling his face flush, Rúmil quickly looked away and began to walk briskly down the path.
Gildor hurried to catch up. "Penneth, is something the matter? I had not intended for this to be a sprint," he joked.
Rúmil slowed. "I am sorry," he said, hoping the darkness might hid his blush. "I, umm, I did not realize I was walking so fast. I am used to keeping up with Haldir." He slowed his pace. He and Gildor walked in comfortable silence for a time.
"So, tell me about yourself, Rúmil," the elf-lord said in Westron.
Rúmil began and was quickly interrupted by his teacher.
"In Westron, please," Gildor instructed with a smile.
Rúmil chucked and began again…in Westorn. When he had finished what felt like his life's story, Rúmil went out on a limb and asked Gildor about his family. The elf lord chuckled and evaded the question by saying that it was too late for so long a life's story. It appeared that Rúmil would have to wait a bit longer to solve the mystery of Gildor Inglorian.
And so it was on one evening that Rúmil left his studies in the library to return to his talan. Having gone less than half way home, the young elf realized that he had forgotten his pack under the table. He turned back, and making his way back up to the library, stopped at the entrance. He heard hushed voices within. Rúmil knew that he should announce his presence or leave, but he found himself intrigued by what he heard.
"Your parents would be so proud of you," Galadriel said softly.
"Why? What have I done that would bring such pride? I wander Arda with no aim in mind."
Galadriel's voice was soft and gentle. "You stood with the host of the Valar for a start. You lead your people justly. Penneth, you are kind and beautiful, a true picture of what a prince should be. You would have made a fine king."
Rúmil peered into the room and saw his Lady and Gildor silhouetted in the moonlight. The look on Gildor's face moved Rúmil's heart. The older elf look like a forlorn elfling and Rúmil found himself wanting to hold Gildor and make it all better. However, he barely concealed his gasp as the conversation continued.
Accepting Galadriel's embrace, Gildor spoke. "I am lonely, Theladar [aunt]. In all my travels I have yet to find the one who stirs my soul. In my younger days I welcomed many to my bed…" Gildor sighed. "But that has grown old."
"Peace, gentle one." Galadriel stroked the flaxen locks as her nephew's head rested on her shoulder. "There is one for you. You just have to trust what your heart tells you. There is one who will make Arda new for you again. I believe he is already in your mind and heart."
Rúmil was puzzled by what he heard and left as quietly as he had arrived. The older elves were related, aunt and nephew…or was that just an endearment, like Rúmil though of his Lady as a mother? And what was that about a prince? With so many questions and so few answers, Rúmil headed home, lost in thought.
The two in the library ended their embrace. Galadriel kissed Gildor's forehead and smiled at him lovingly. She then glided from the room leaving behind a melancholy elf with a small seed of hope.