Light from the West: 50. Hathol

Reader Toolbox   Log in for more tools

50. Hathol

Dear Sam,

Now I know why it took Lyrien such a long time to finish the Anemone-doll—she made it wearing a bridal-gown!  

Raven returned my three dolls when she received the two new ones, and set the little family on the table beside her bed.  But she did look at me questioningly and made a little sign, and Anemone said to me, "She wants to know why there is no Guilin-doll."  And Raven nodded with a little embarrassed smile, then lowered her eyelids.  I said Lyrien had not finished it yet, and I would bring it by when she did, hoping I sounded convincing.  I think I did.  Well, it will be a lot of work for my little poppet-maker, but still--there really should be a Guilin-doll! 

Gandalf and Dûndeloth came by later on to see Ríannor and the rest of us, and when Guilin was distracted by them, Lord Elrond took me aside and drew me into a room a good ways down the corridor.

"What is it?" I asked him.  The room, I saw, was his private study, which led into the library.  He closed the door behind us.

"Frodo," he said, "has Guilin ever told you of Hathol?"

"Hathol?  No, never.  What of him?"

"I would not be telling you," he said, "but I asked him if I might speak to you of Hathol, and he said I might."

"I may have heard the name, or read it," I said, "but not from him."

"It seems Guilin has another self," Elrond lowered his voice.  "He told me he has sometimes had periods in which he could remember nothing.  That more than once, he awoke at the home of his friend Nithron with no recollection of how he came to be there, and Nithron told him he had claimed to be someone named Hathol, and had acted a total stranger.  But Guilin could remember none of it.  He said he thought he might have been stupefied by drink, but Nithron said no, he had not drunk to excess, and he did not awaken hung-over.  This Hathol seemed an entirely different person from Guilin.  Not that he was violent or demented, merely different in a way that was very hard to describe.  Guilin thought at first that Nithron was playing some ridiculous joke on him, but his friend thought exactly the same of him, except that 'Hathol' was just a little too convincing, and after a while he was terrified, fearing that Guilin was mad.  He never spoke of this other personality to you?"

"Never," I said, shuddering.  "So he really is mad?"

"Well…perhaps we should not use that word," Lord Elrond smiled a little.  "I have heard of such things in Men, but never of Elves.  I think the burden of memory was so heavy that he unconsciously became someone else in an attempt to escape it.  He told me that was why he finally agreed to let you take his sister.  He feared what he might end up doing to her.  Nithron told him he had been at his house for three days, and the only reason he didn't throw Hathol out was because he was worried about Raven.  The poor girl was, of course, worried to death when he did not come home.  There is a kind lady who lives in the flat next to theirs, who goes to check on her sometimes, and Raven stayed with her for a while.  She sent a search party out to look for him, but no one could tell them where he was.  Guilin told me he came close to putting Raven into the orphan's home after that, but she was so upset and terrified, and he himself so hated the thought of being separated from her, he never could bring himself to follow through.  He said he has become Hathol about four times since then, at least twice when Raven was there.  She was frightened not because he did her harm, but merely because he was not himself.  But he is terribly afraid that there might be someone more dangerous inside of him waiting to come out also, and so he finally agreed to the adoption."

"Poor Guilin," I said shivering all over.  "At least he did the right thing by her then, and high time.  But I have told him he might visit her and take her into the City.  I suppose I cannot allow it now, not until he is fully recovered.  No, he cannot have harmed her, or she would be afraid of him now.  But you and he are right.  There may be something more evil inside of him, and I am afraid to allow him alone with her at all.  He should have told me this.  I wonder why he did not."

"No, she is not afraid of him," Elrond said thoughtfully, looking down at his fingers at the ruby ring he still wore on one of them.  "I hoped they would do each other good here.  Last week, she was often in tears, and when he was with her, I saw him lift her up in his arms and carry her about, nowhere in particular, just up and down the corridors, as though she were a babe with the colic, or out into the garden, sometimes talking softly or singing to her, sometimes saying nothing at all, just ambling along.  Sometimes he would sit down in a room with her and hold her on his lap and sing to her until she was quiet.   It was a sight that reduced Celebrían to tears, yet I thought they would do each other good."

"It seems they have," I said.  "He seemed in better spirits today, and he said Raven had been crying far less this week."

I wondered if I should speak of Daeleth.  It would be betraying his confidence, but perhaps I should betray it a little for her sake.   Yet could I break his trust in me now, when I had so newly gained it?  Would it not undo the good that had been wrought in him?  I suppose I should speak to him of it himself…

"Yes, I have seen him showing interest in one of the maid-servants," Elrond said, and I started.  Well.  I suppose I hadn't made my thoughts private enough.  "And you may lay any anxiety to rest—I will warn her off, and I will never tell him you spoke of it to me.  Which, of course, you did not.  I can see he is starting to regard you as a friend.  And I think he is expecting his healing to happen overnight, but that will not be."

"He has said nothing of erasure to me since he has been here," I said, realizing that my hands were clenched so tightly together, my fingers were turning purple. 

"Neither has he spoken of it to me.  I hope that he has put it out of his mind.  I think he realizes now that he and his sister need each other.  But Frodo, he has seen people tortured, hacked to pieces, and women…and you know what happened to him.  He loves his sister more than anything in the world, and I think now he will do anything for her, whatever it may cost him."

Later in the evening, Anemone went to Guilin, holding out her Evenstar to him.

"I would have you wear this during your stay," she told him.  "Please wear it beneath your shirt where Lord Elrond cannot see it.  It once belonged to his daughter, whom he will never see again.  You need not keep it a secret from him, simply refrain from dangling it in plain sight.  She gave it to Iorhael before he left, saying it would bring him aid in a time of darkness, and it has done so.  And it saved my life once, have I told anyone?"

"It what?" That was a new one, even to me.

She lowered her voice almost to a whisper.  "One of Darkfin's minions threw a spear at me, and it struck me here…"  She touched a hand to her bosom.  "It hit the pendant, and the spear fell away useless.  My attackers fled in consternation at such an unexpected turn.  I did not speak of it before because I feared Northlight would be incensed, and go out and do something foolish.  He can be quite impetuous.  So please do never speak of it to him." 

I think Guilin and I were both gawking at this point.  She took his hand and laid the jewel in it, then closed his fingers around it.

"I think it may help you too, if you will allow it," she said raising the violet eyes to him in all seriousness.

"Thank you, my lady," he said, taking it and looking at it in wonder, then to his sister, who was standing with Northlight outside in the garden, looking at the stars that were just starting to appear in the brilliant early-spring sky.  "But…"

"She has the glass, and the little dolls, which have athelas leaves inside of them," I said.  "The pendant has some of the same properties as the glass, being of the same light.  I used to hold it in my hands, when I was receptive to it, I would sometimes hear a soft singing.  It was the voice of Arwen Evenstar herself.

....Drink the nectar of all beauty
let it stain your clothes
until you are all aglow
staggering, intoxicated
with the magic of your being.
Fill your throat with singing
whirl upon the sky
soar above the ether
in spirals ever growing
until you reach the summit
where all things do embrace.
Fear not to lift your eyes
to the bright unseeable;
mortal love, however great
sometimes is not enough
comes a time when some of us
must look to the Divine.....*

This is not merely a beautiful stone; it is infused with divinity.  Listen to it, and it will lead you where you need to go.  Just as it did me."

~*~*

We stayed at the Palace overnight, as usual, and later after I was in bed, I slipped out to visit the privy, then on an impulse I took my light and padded over to Guilin's room, and saw that he was asleep, lying on his side, clutching the pendant.  His face looked calm--not peaceful exactly, but quiet, and I looked at him with tenderness for a long moment before I turned back for my room.  That was when I noticed my phial was full again!  How could that be?

~*~*~

Guess what Lyrien brought to me this morning?  And I had not even spoken of the Guilin-doll to her yet!

~*~*~

Well, Hathol has complicated things somewhat.  Raven will not be staying with Tamsin now, at least not for a good while yet.  She wants to stay at the Palace and help take care of her brother, for as long as it takes.  Do you wonder we've lost our hearts to the girl?

Elrond dismissed Perion from Guilin's service.  He does not really think Guilin would ever harm the boy, but he is taking no chances--he told me he could just see Perion's mother storming in here claiming that her only son was being "put in mortal peril."  Perion was none too pleased, at first, but I think deep down he is relieved, having confided to me once that Guilin was "of a gloomy-doomy sort for his liking," and had a way of lowering his eyebrows and striking a dramatic attitude that could be rather unnerving, and also there was "something about fiddlers that gave him the willies."  But he said he was willing to stay with him because...note this..."it was what Sam would have done." 

But Elrond said he must appoint an adult to attend him, and finding one who was willing would be the tricky part.  And Northlight has volunteered his service!  I could hardly have been more surprised--he had once told me Guilin reminded him of his brother Darkfin, both in appearance and character.

"I am far stronger than I look," he said, and by way of demonstration he walked over to a very large stone statue of a dog meant to represent Huan, and before anyone could speak, he had wrapped his arms around it and lifted it as easily as though it were a live puppy from its basket.  I had to suppress a laugh at the way Lord Elrond's eyes popped.  Anemone grinned impishly at me and then to him.  Northlight carefully set down the statue and then patted its head, and I did laugh then.  So did Elrond.

"Very well then," he said, "consider yourself appointed.  But why do you wish to do this?"

"Perhaps I can make myself worthy of Raven that way," Northlight said, reaching for her hand. 

"You are already plenty worthy, I should say," I told him, and Raven nodded in emphatic agreement, then shyly fingered a lock of his hair.

"But does HE think so?" Northlight said.  "I will come home twice a week and keep up my work on the grounds.  I—"

"Never mind that, Northlight," I said.  "We will see to the grounds.  You shall stay here as long as you will.  And may Anemone stay with Raven at night, until after the wedding, Lord Elrond?  Only at night—she will not interfere with the treatment, but I do not like to think of Raven being alone in her bed."

Raven made a sign to indicate that she would be all right, but I could see that she really wished to have Anemone there.

"She may," Lord Elrond said.  "But only at night, mind you.  I shall move Guilin to another part of the Palace, so that--"

He stopped as Raven gasped and motioned frantically.

"She does not wish to be apart from him," Northlight said.  "She is not afraid of him."

She made more signs.

"She says he must be where he can see the Beacon," Anemone said.  Raven nodded.  "She wants him near the garden, and near her."

"I think he will be all right where he is," I said.  "Northlight can protect her if need be." 

"I will sleep in the adjoining room," Northlight said.  "There is a couch there which is very comfortable, and I need no blanket.  Is there a stone dog like that anywhere else in the Palace, sir?  I should very much like to have it in the room."

"You may take it with you," Elrond said with a smile.  "I would offer to assist you with moving it, but I dare say you need none."

Lyrien had made the Guilin-doll wearing his old motley costume, saying she liked it better.  In the clothes he wore now, he looked like any other elf, she said.  I told him this when we went to deliver the doll.  He chuckled a little, but his eyes still looked despondent.  Raven insisted on Guilin keeping the doll in his room.  It would help him, she was sure, although he confided to me it made him a little nervous.

"What if it's Hathol looking at me?" he said, picking up the poppet and eyeing it balefully.  "I hate the sneaky bastard.  Why he insists upon occupying my person, I still haven't a clue."

"Lord Elrond thinks perhaps it is your way of trying to escape your memories," I said.

"In that case, why is it I can never remember him being there?" he said testily.  "And he seems to do me no good, anyway.  I'm still stuck with the memories after he takes his leave—why doesn't he take them with him?  All he does is get those around him rattled at the sight of some stranger taking over my body.  I guess Lord Elrond told you Daeleth has left the Palace?  You didn't speak to her of my house-guest, did you?"

"No," I assured him.  "Lord Elrond noticed you looking her way, and warned her off.  I was going to ask you to tell her yourself."

"Well, I would have done so eventually," he said, "although, as you now know, promptness is not one of my virtues.  I suppose she's going about the City now, spreading the word that Lord Elrond is keeping a dangerous lunatic in the Palace, without even chaining him in the dungeon.  If there IS a bloody dungeon here."

"There is, but I do not think it has been used for centuries," I said.  "And I doubt Daeleth will spread anything of the sort.  She isn't like that.  And even if it isn't to be Daeleth, there will be someone…when you are ready for her."

"Did I tell you," he said with a wry grin, "that Seldirima has got it about that her father withdrew his consent for our marriage, on the grounds that I am 'of a dubious character'?  Nithron told me, just the other day, when I ran into him in the City.  Her way of saving her own face, I suppose.  She's putting on quite a show, complete with hand-wringing and wiping away tears, but Nithron says that acting is definitely not in her blood.  Well.  At least she is unaware of just how dubious my character really is.  Both of my characters, for that matter."

"Perhaps you should try making friends with Hathol," I suggested.  Where that idea came from, I've no idea. 

"I beg your pardon?" Guilin raised thick black eyebrows.

"Well," I said, "perhaps if you ceased to regard him as a menace, and came to view him as a sort of respite…maybe he would go away, or cease to be.  If you would reconcile yourself with him, offer him a sort of truce, he might, well…stop holding himself apart from you.  Who do you suppose he is?  Did you ever know anyone by the name of Hathol when you were younger, perhaps?"

"Not that I can remember," he said frowning.  "Do you mean to tell me you think I can kill the blighter by making up to him?"

I laughed a little.  "Well, I wouldn't put it that way.  I think he may be a part of your own being with whom you somehow became estranged early in life, and he wants back in, and perhaps if you learned not to fear him, but to welcome him…then that lost part of you might become found again, and would help you in some way.  It's just an idea.  I suppose it sounds daft, but…well, he does not sound dangerous, after all.  It's not been reported that he actually harmed anyone, merely unnerved them because he was in the wrong body."

"Well, I don't know of any better explanation," he said, shaking his head, then picking up the doll once more.  "But I would be content if he would just piss off and leave me in peace, myself.  It's hard enough being one person, I bloody well didn't ask to be two."

I went to him and laid an arm about his waist, and leaned my head against his shoulder for a moment.  The afternoon sunlight was harsh on the doll's scarlet cloak.

"I wish I could heal you myself," I said, "but I must leave it to Lord Elrond."

He brushed his hand across the top of my head, then let it rest there.

"You've done your part," he said softly.  "You got me here.  Now it's up to others to do the rest.  And they've damned well got their work cut out for them."  Then he  looked at the doll with a little more affection, fingering the red cloak, then he took it into Raven's room and set it on her bed-table with the other four. 

"He belongs there," he said looking back at me with warm eyes, "along with his family."

I smiled.

Three more days!!!

****

Poem excerpted from "White Gem"


This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Armariel

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 4th Age

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 04/16/11

Original Post: 08/10/07

Go to Light from the West overview

Comments

No one has commented on this story yet. Be the first to comment!

Comments are hidden to prevent spoilers.
Click header to view comments

Talk to Armariel

If you are a HASA member, you must login to submit a comment.

We're sorry. Only HASA members may post comments. If you would like to speak with the author, please use the "Email Author" button in the Reader Toolbox. If you would like to join HASA, click here. Membership is free.

Reader Toolbox   Log in for more tools