Tothelea: Chapter 20

There was silence, and Trevor looked around as if coming out of a daze.  The
story was over.  Harmony sat, with her arms around her knees, rocking slowly
back and forth.  Tears poured down her face.  He went to her, and held her,
trying to give her comfort.  

"It's all right, Harmony.  It's all right."  But deep down, he wondered very
much if that were true.  Beleden left them alone while he held her.  What did
it all mean?  Trevor thought he knew, but hoped he was wrong.

Between sobs, she gasped out "Eman, Eman.  Beloved Eman.  Pesonetuel.  Eman,"
over and over.  Beleden busied himself making tea, taking his time so that the
tea was not ready until Harmony had calmed down.

"Oh, Trev," she said, finally.  "I remember him, Trev.  I remember Eman.  I
loved him."  She accepted a cup of tea from Beleden's kind hand.  "I love him.
Ge pesone, Eman!"

No, it was true.  He was not wrong.  An icy coldness pushed its way in at him.

"Am I to take it, Trevor," asked Beleden, "that hearing the legend in full has
made things clearer for you as well?"

Trevor nodded.  "Harmony is Aramonea.  Or was.  I don't know."  Beleden pushed
a cup into Trevor's hand as well.  They drank warm tea together, in silence.
Absorbing the news.  My sister is a goddess.  And she loved a man, who is
himself now one of the Aran.  And she loves him still.  In his most fanciful
dreams, Trevor had never imagined things like that were even possible.  Trevor
chuckled, as other things began to make sense to him.

"What?" Beleden asked.

"I was just thinking.  Harmony, no wonder you never took a fancy to any of the
boys in White Sands.  They never stood a chance against your love for this

"Aremesoa," Beleden corrected.  "Eman is Aremesoa, now."

Harmony sipped her tea, and wiped the tears from her face.  They were not
replaced.  With each sip, she sat a little straighter.  She seemed to grow,
somehow more present than before.

Beleden asked "Are you all right, my dear?"

Harmony nodded.  "Yes, thank you.  Things have been... unlocked for me.
Memories.  I have been hidden from myself, for a long, very long time.  But
now I am found again."

"What do you remember?"

"Many, many things.  I remember my time with the Aran.  My travels every
spring.  You cannot have any conception of the amount of work it takes to wake
all the world's flowers, every spring."

"Indeed not, I'm sure," Beleden chuckled.

"It is strange," she went on, "I am Harmony, daughter of Jedith and Dannel,
sister of Trevor.  If you ask me who I am, that is what I will tell you for
that is what I feel in my heart.  Yet also I have the memories of Aramonea,
and they are as real to me as my own.  I am not certain what to make of it."

"But," Trevor interrupted, "  I mean... how is this possible?"  He was
full of new questions Harmony and Beleden seemed to have the answers to, and
felt like he deserved to know those answers as well.

"Be at ease, lad," Beleden said.  "First, I think you will agree that it is
now clear why Aramathokoa bears your sister such ill will.  He blames
her--wrongly, if the legend is accurate in that regard--for his own fall from

"But," Trevor demanded, "that was all a long time ago, right?  And we adopted
her only, uh, nine years ago.  She was just a little kid then."

"That, I am afraid," said Beleden, "is perhaps the saddest part of this whole
tale."  He turned to Harmony, "Would you prefer to explain this yourself,

"Please, don't call me that.  It is too confusing right now.  Just Harmony.

"My apologies."

"And yes, please give us your thoughts.  My own recollections on this are not

"Very well.  But I warn you, if I am right in this, it is a truly tragic
thing.  I want you to understand that."  Trevor and Harmony nodded, so Beleden
continued.  "We do not know how long ago the events in the legend took place.
But, certainly, several centuries at the least.  The legend says that, after
the spring of Aramonea's fall, there was much hunger in the land.  We could,
perhaps, go to Olanton or perhaps Wesso in Tithora, find records of that
famine, and learn how long ago it was.  But, while interesting to an old
scholar like myself, is really not relevant right now.

"The legend tells us two other very interesting things.  First, the Aravolir
stripped Aramonea--I say, lass, it is very odd to speak of you that way, as
though you were not sitting right here with me.  I hope you don't
mind--stripped Aramonea of her powers and decreed that she live among we mortal
men.  Second, after Aramathokoa threw her from Ararsel, causing her death, he
summoned Aramanamoa to take her soul into his keeping.  But Aramanamoa
refused, on the grounds that her soul was of the Aran, and therefore, never
fated to die, never fated to enter his realms.

"So, what then?  She was dead, but her soul had nowhere to go.  She was, I can
only conclude, reborn into a mortal body.  Perhaps she lived an ordinary human
life, died, and was reborn again and again, until now.  But I think, rather,
that something more sinister happened besides.

"Aramathokoa, being also condemned to live among mortals, and filled with rage
at Aramonea, I believe that he must have hunted her down, and killed her, out
of revenge.  I suspect that over time, his former duties became confused in
his mind, so that he felt that death itself was his purview, rather than
simply the collection of souls whose time had passed.

"We can only speculate, but that Harmony has only been in her present life for
some fifteen years, and that Aramathokoa has found her already, suggests that
he has tracked her down, found her, and murdered her many many times.  He must
have become quite good at it, for to find a person newly born, who might be
anywhere at all in the whole world, cannot be easy."

As he listened, a cold anger rose in Trevor.  Aramathokoa!  Weilin!  Whatever
he wanted to call himself, damn him.  Damn him and his twisted sense of
revenge!  How many times has he murdered my poor, sweet sister?  He has no
right to do this to her.  No right at all.  It isn't fair.

"What about him, then?" Trevor asked.  "Has he lived many lives, too?"

"I don't know," Beleden answered.  "It is possible, of course.  Perhaps he
lives a normal man's span, dies of old age, and is reborn again also.  But it
is also possible that the Aramathokoa who's leg you broke is the very same one
as was originally cast from Ararsel.  Perhaps the spirit of an Ara can--barring
accident or malice--keep a body alive indefinitely.  Harmony, what do you

"I think he is the same.  He looks the same as in my memory, anyway.  Also, I
have no memories of other lives besides this one,  and my memories of Aramonea
were hidden from me until you unlocked them.  If he had died and been reborn,
the same should happen to him, and who would there be to unlock his memories
for him?"

It boggled Trevor's mind.  The thought of anyone being so old.  Being, surely,
the oldest thing alive in the whole world.  Having dedicated--wasted--so much
time in pursuit of pointless, cruel, revenge.

"Then I should have killed him!" Trevor blurted out.  "Only, I didn't want to
be a murderer like him.  And you said he would be back anyway, even if I did.
But if I had, he would have been reborn with no memories, and you would be
safe now!  I should have killed him when I had the chance."

Harmony looked at him, a bittersweet smile on her face.  "Perhaps that is
true.  Perhaps I would be safe.  And truly, I am grateful for your devotion.
But you would be a murderer, Trevor, and I know you couldn't live with that.
No.  I'm glad you didn't do it."

There was silence for a moment while Beleden refreshed their tea.  Then he
asked "Harmony, what were your powers?  Before they were taken from you?
Aramathokoa seems to have retained some unusual abilities.  I wonder if the
same is true for you."

"I had those powers common to the Aran.  The ability to move at great speed.
The ability to remain un-noticed by mortals.  Protection from harm by any
mortal.  For my duties, I had knowledge of every kind of growing and flowering
thing in the world.  And of course, I had the power to wake the flowers up, as
the legend described."

"It would seem you still have two of those, at least," Trevor said.  "No
wonder you always won at hide-and-seek.  And we'd have starved for sure,
traveling up here, if you hadn't known which plants we could eat.  And which
ones would help heal my elbow."

Harmony considered for a moment.  "Yes.  That may be all, although my ability
to remain un-noticed is diminished from what it once was.  I do not know if I
retain the ability to wake the flowers.  I have never tried."

"But what about the speech of the Fair folk?" Trevor asked.  "How do you come
to understand it so well?"

"Ah, lad!  You know the legends, surely." Beleden answered.  "The Fair folk
were first in this world, before mankind, and the Aran taught them to speak.
It is not that Harmony speaks their language, so much as they speak hers."

"That speech," said Harmony, "was also hidden from me.  It is good to have it

"There is also a question of your memories," Beleden added.  "How much do you
remember of your time in Ararsel?"

Harmony closed her eyes, giving herself to memory.  She was silent for some
time.  At last, she said "Those memories stop when my powers were stripped
from me.  From that moment, until my earliest recollections of this life,
there is nothing."

"Hm," Beleden muttered.  "That is unfortunate.  Still, let us retire for the
evening.  I am weary, and this has been a very eventful day for both of you.
Let us sleep now, and take up in the morning the question of what to do with
this new information."

They bade Beleden goodnight, and left his hut to return to theirs.  Trevor
walked beside his sister, still very confused.  Can I still call her that?
Who's in charge now?  Me?  Her?  Beleden?  What if she gets all her old powers
back, too?

They reached their hut.  The rest of the village was quiet and dark, save for
slivers of light leaking from around the occasional hut door.  What would the
Fair folk think--what would they do--when they learned?  Would they worship
Harmony?  Would they pray to her?  Would they ask her to grant favors and
wishes?  What if they asked things she could not grant?  What if...

"Trevor," Harmony said, "you seem uneasy."

"I'm sorry," he said.  A lump grew in his throat.  "I... I don't know what to
say to you.  You're different.  You talk differently.  I feel like I don't
know you anymore."

"Oh Trevor.  Dear brother.  I am still Harmony.  Only, I know more about
myself now.  Important things.  Be as you have always been.  But be glad for
me, and be at ease."  She hugged him.  She felt the same, anyway.  They rolled
out their blankets, and went to bed.

"Trevor," she asked, as they waited in the darkness for sleep to come, "my
brother.  My protector.  My only kin.  You have helped me so much already.
Will you grant me your help once more?"

 "Of course I will," he answered, his heart breaking.  I knew she would ask,
 he told himself.  I will do what I have to do.  For her.  "How?"

"Will you help me to be reunited with Eman?"

"Yes." He answered immediately, although he had no idea what it would involve.

In the morning, Emathane brought food for them, and told them that Beleden
would be waiting for them in his hut, whenever they were ready.  Her manner
seemed normal to Trevor.  I guess Beleden hasn't told anybody.  They would all
have to know eventually, of course, but for now Trevor was glad they didn't.

"I want to be re-united with Eman," Harmony said when they arrived.

"I thought you might," said Beleden.  "I assume Trevor here will go to the
world's ends to help you.  I would assist you as well, Harmony, if you will
accept my aid."

"I will accept your aid, and gladly, although in truth you have assisted me
much already."

Trevor listened to Harmony's confident new voice, sadness and determination
fighting for supremacy inside him.  He knew two things, then.  He would,
indeed, do anything to help her.  But succeed or fail, he was going to lose
her.  "What should we do?" he asked Beleden.

"Remember the legend, lad.  The Aravolir set forth the conditions.  When she
can again fill the duties of her office, shall she be restored."

"You mean she has to bring springtime?  But, that's impossible!  Besides,
isn't that Eman's duty, now?"

"I did not say that, lad.  The Aravolir are, if anything, careful in their
words.  They did not say that she had to fulfill the duties themselves, only
that she had to be able to.  To demonstrate, at most, that she could.

"This is why, to the question of what powers remain to you, Harmony, that I do
not think, at present, that you retain the ability to wake the flowers."

 "I think you are right," said Harmony, "I need Monolshoeat."


"What's that?" Trevor asked.

Harmony answered.  "It was my--I don't know.  There's not a good word in
Hardalan.  The name means, near enough, 'flower maker,' but to me it was the
tool by which I performed my duties.  Like Yun's hammer and anvil are to him.
He has the skill, but without them, he is powerless."

"Where do we find it?" Trevor asked.  It was still so strange to him, hearing
so many words come out of her mouth all at once.

"That, I am afraid," said Harmony sadly, "I do not know."

"Then we have a problem," Beleden concluded.  "But not, I hope, an
insurmountable one.  Let me think a moment."

He paced back and forth in his hut, before saying "Trevor, weren't you to
learn some staff work with Faralien this morning?"

"Oh!" Trevor exclaimed.  "I was!  I completely forgot."

"You should go, lad.  Galethane prizes punctuality.  And this is a problem
that I do not believe you can help us to solve."

Trevor looked to Harmony, to confirm that this was all right with her.  "Go,"
she said.  "Beleden will take good care of me.  And it appears we will be
traveling again, as soon as we may.  You may be called upon to use that staff
again.  The best help you can give right now is to learn all that you can
while we rest here."