King's Commission, The
64. Aftermath from Perversion
Note: This chapter deals with the subject of sexual perversion and its aftermath. If the subject distresses you and you do not wish to hear how it has been known to affect its victims, please skip it.
It is not only the good we do which can have long-ranging effects, making things better for all--the evil we do can also have serious effects on many we may not meet personally.
Aftermath from Perversion
Near midnight there was a knock at the door, and Ruvemir rose to answer, having an idea as to who it would be. Yes, it was Celebgil, and a stricken Celebgil at that.
"Did you find him?"
"No, but we found others. His wife is quite mad, did you know?"
The youth nodded helplessly. "They took her to the Houses of Healing. The Lord Prince Steward was sent for again. The ones--the ones that destroyed themselves he took there, buried them in the garden. She told us he was planting them for her, to grow a child for her since she'd lost her own. She was watering the garden over each one each day. They found four. A sick youth was inside, terrified. I don't recognize him. Orin and other Dwarves are going through the house still." He looked up. "What did he do with Meredin?"
Ruvemir held him as he wept. Finally as he calmed he asked, "Do your parents know yet you are returned?"
Celebgil shook his head. "Not yet."
"Do you know of any other boys or youths who were placed with Varondil who left the establishment?"
He shrugged. "Gabon, who came from southern Harad. But he is mute--does not speak at all."
"Your father's apprentice came from Varondil?" He felt alarmed.
"Yes." The youth looked more upset. "Do you think he is mute because of what was done to him?"
Ruvemir shook his head. "I don't know. It is possible."
He led the boy upstairs, chose a room and settled him there, remained by him till he fell asleep and a while longer, at last went back down and crawled back into bed by his wife. She awoke and looked to him. "Celebgil. They did not find his friend, and what they did find is a further horror." She held out her arms and simply held him through the rest of the night.
The Lord Prince went to the prison the next day to question Varondil. Varondil looked exhausted. He answered questions slowly, but finally they pried details out of him. A couple of soldiers were sent into Lossarnach to a small hamlet near the mountain's roots where the marble quarries were. They returned the following day with seven more, three of them now grown Men. Meredin was among them. Two more who had died were buried there. Varondil's own son was buried there as well. He'd been eight when his father had begun to abuse him, had destroyed himself when he was twelve. Varondil had spirited his body out of the city, gave out the boy had run away. The mother had gone mad with grief. She'd cared for those who became ill as best she could, but kept looking for her own son to come back--or to grow in the garden. Varondil had refused the assistance of the Elves in caring for his garden, and now it was plain why.
Celebgil returned home shortly after he awoke, thanking Ruvemir profusely for the comfort of the night before. His parents saw how stricken he was, but he would not speak of it. "It is not the journey--it is what was found on our return. Let me be with it for a time."
At mid-afternoon Ruvemir came to speak to them, told them about the journey and how courageous Celebgil had been, and then broached what had been learned about Varondil the preceding day. "He did not speak out of fear for what might be done to his friend, but trusted his silence would buy his friend's safety."
Hirdon was stricken, and his wife white with shock. "And we entrusted our son to--to that?" she said, shaking.
"It is likely what he did to them was done to him when he himself was young," Ruvemir said. "Such was found in Passaurin when I was a youth myself."
"That does not make it easier to bear," she said in fury.
He sighed. "No, it does not. He is in prison now, and awaits the King's judgment. And I am told the Queen has promised harsh justice on him."
"I would not see him die--merely see what he has done to these for the rest of his life."
"Knowing what I do of the King, I suspect he may order precisely that. I was going to come to you on our return anyway, to ask to have Celebgil's indenture changed to me, to try to erase the anger he feels. Now I am uncertain if he will attempt to stay in our profession, although he is very gifted."
Hirdon examined him closely. "You mean this?"
Ruvemir nodded. "Yes, there is no question."
The mother was thinking. "Gabon--he came from--from that one. Does he not speak due to what he suffered?"
"Celebgil has asked the same. Possibly. We should bring his case before the Lord Prince, although it is plain he is safe here with you. I doubt he will seek to remove him."
He went to the work site afterwards by himself, feeling bereft. He found himself thinking on those he was to memorialize--what they had each been through. He suspected what he and Celebgil were now experiencing was yet but a pale copy of the terrors and evils they had faced. But now he felt he was beginning to understand what they had experienced, the courage it had taken to set their experiences behind them as well as they did, to live in the present instead. And then for Frodo--he'd found the whole journey had left him too scarred. Like the boys found in the garden, he'd thought to escape by destroying himself, but had been saved by the refusal of an Elven rope to partake in such an act, and in the end by his own courage and the promise of healing from the Powers Themselves. It had taken a great level of courage--courage and faith--to take that step toward healing. But it was a healing that could not undo--only fulfill what was. Nothing could remove that horror--only give it a positive context in which to accept its necessity--and its blessedness.
Ruvemir uncovered Pippin's stone and looked into the face, then realized his vision was blurred--he was weeping. At last he uncovered Sam's stone, simply stood embracing it for a time. Finally he felt a touch on his shoulder, and looked up to find the Lord Glorfindel standing by him.
"I'd wondered why I felt impelled to remain here in this city of Men after the babe was born and when there was no further need," the Elf said gently. "Perhaps it was for this."
Ruvemir felt the gentle touch of the Elf Lord as he was led to the table, made to sit down, saw the Elf kneel before him, looked into the depths of his eyes. And he felt the comfort of knowledge of both Realms wash through him as he felt a relief to his spirit.
They remained together for quite some time, neither speaking more. At last the Elf Lord helped him drape the stones, and giving him a good night, Glorfindel went back to the Citadel.
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