15 October 2013 @ 06:29 pm
The Valinor Trail, Chapter Eighteen; Interview with the Vampire  
Lord Námo finally meets Spike...

The Valinor Trail, Chapter Eighteen; Interview with the Vampire
Words; 2,890
Chapter Rated PG.

Disclaimer as Chapter One.


Previous chapters are here.



Chapter Eighteen; Interview With the Vampire





The creation of what Haldir recognised, from Tindómë’s earlier descriptions, as a ‘portal’ had taken Lord Námo very little time. It had required less blood than she had lost from the head injury she sustained just before they had found ‘New Imladris’. Haldir really was not at all sure what to make of the room that could now be seen through the portal, or its inhabitant.

The mortal, no… he was not a mortal, Haldir mentally corrected himself, nor was he, really, a man. The… person was asleep in what was clearly some sort of bed, although small and without a proper wooden frame, in a dark room with a window that seemed to be heavily shuttered in some way. There seemed to be little decoration other than a few books, a coloured likeness of a blonde female, and a picture, that looked to have been drawn by Rumil, of Tindómë and a male elfling who must, presumably, be Haldirin.

As the light from their side of the portal, and the green light that edged it, streamed into the room it woke the male. He sat up in the bed, looked in their direction, and exclaimed something that Haldir was fairly sure was impolite.

Tindómë spoke in a language Haldir had never heard before. It seemed to mean something to the other male, who sat up, and slung his legs out over the edge of the narrow bed. He was as pale skinned and pale haired as Haldir himself and his build also looked rather elf-like – slender but efficiently muscled – however, as this ‘Spike’ stood up, it was obvious that he was very short in stature.

Actually, as he stood it was clear that, elf-like again, he slept unclothed. Haldir just had time to notice that, strangely, the hair around his grond was mid-brown rather than the white-blond of his head hair, before the male grabbed a pillow and held it in front of his groin as if it was a shield.

Tindómë spoke and, as Haldir glanced at her, she was rolling her eyes.

…………………

“You really don’t need to cover yourself, Spike, bodies are natural and as we regularly bathe together we’ve seen it all before.”

The eye-roll that accompanied her comment suddenly made the whole situation seem more real.

“Yeah, well, you haven’t seen mine before, Niblet, and I’d feel happier if the three of you weren’t staring at it.” Still clutching the pillow Spike reached a hand out for his jeans.

“Hey! You can still buy jeans? Or are they, like, antiques?”

There was a portal to another world taking up the whole wall, two elves were looking into his bedroom impassively, and Dawnie wanted to discuss jeans. This had to be a dream. Except he knew it wasn’t. Not like the one a couple of month ago, in which she had spoken to him about Buffy’s death, and told him he wasn’t to do anything stupid, or go anywhere, until she could speak to him again. And he actually hadn’t done anything silly, or gone anywhere – but he still hadn’t expected her to turn up like this.

Somehow he managed to wriggle into his jeans, without too much disclosure of flesh, whilst the two male figures stood unemotionally and the third person continued rolling her eyes.

“You ready now?” she asked. Without waiting for an answer she continued, “Then I’d better introduce you.”

She waved towards the tall blond elf. “Haldir, my brother-in-law.”

Spike thought back to what Dawnie had told him all those years ago, and all that Andrew had written down later which he had reread since that previous ‘visit’. ‘What the… didn’t he die before she even met Rumil?’

“And this,” she nodded politely towards the even taller, black-haired, figure, “is Lord Námo, also known as Mandos.”

That was a familiar name… shit! He was the god of the underworld, the Hades of Middle Earth!

“You all right, Dawnie? You’re not dead, are you? If any bugger has hurt you I’ll come in through that portal and happily kill them for you…”

She looked slightly bemused for a second or two, but then she must have understood, as she smiled.

“No, no, I’m fine. It’s a long story, but I promise I’m not dead, not even been dead and come back, or whatever. No, I’m here because the Valar said Lord Námo needed to meet you before you could come and live with us.”

Spike just managed not to say “Come and live with you? Bloody Hell! Are you serious?” But he wasn’t sure he had kept the surprise off his face.

The idea had, genuinely, never occurred to him.

…………………

“I see, from your memories, that Aiwendel enabled those from both worlds to understand each other’s speech,” Lord Námo said to Tindómë. “An elegant solution.”

He looked directly at Spike and spoke again. “Spike. It is clear from your question to Tindómë that you have some knowledge of my role. The Doomsman, I am called by the Elves, and such I am. But I do not exist simply to condemn, or punish, but also to care for fëar.

“I know as much of your origins, and your fëa, your soul, as Tindómë knows. But there is much of any soul that is known to no-one else but that soul and, should they be soul-bound, to one other. If I am to consider Tindómë’s request that you be allowed to cross this portal, and enter our world, I must know all of you. “

Even though Tindómë wasn’t even sure what language His Lordship had used, a glance at both Haldir and Spike showed they had both understood. Haldir just looked vaguely interested – of course, he was Galadhrim – but Spike didn’t look all that enthusiastic either.

“And how would you know all of me?” he asked.

“Ósanwe,” said Lord Námo.

Spike looked blankly at him. Clearly that hadn’t translated. Tindómë decided to help.

“Uh – you know how me and Rumil can share our thoughts with each other? Well, the Valar can do that with anyone. They can, sort of, uh, be inside your head and read your thoughts, share your memories, and things. I guess His Lordship is the most skilled of them all at it…”

She tailed off as she appreciated the truth in that last few words – no wonder they thought it was important that this particular Vala be involved.

“Why would I want to let him?” Spike asked her.

Tindómë realised that she had never doubted that Spike would want to come and join her in Valinor. She had never considered he would be anything other than keen… until now.

“So that you wouldn’t be all alone any more?” she suggested. “So that you could be here with me ‘cos you are family? I mean you are as much my brother-in-law as Haldir is, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, well, he’ll get into my brain and then decide I’m not good enough anyway,” Spike said.

Before Tindómë could answer two voices spoke together.

“If that is so,” said Haldir, “then the little one will know that she has done her best, and there are good reasons for her request to be refused.”

“Do you not think,” came the deep voice of Námo, “you should leave that decision to me?”

Spike looked from one male to the other as if he wasn’t sure which one to defy first, but then he seemed to slump a little, his stance became less belligerent, and he said “Oh, what the fuck. How do we do this thing?”

Lord Námo said nothing out loud but Spike’s eyes firstly opened wide and then closed, his whole body seemed to relax, and it was as if time stood still.

Ever after Tindómë could not say whether she stood in Mandos Halls beside Haldir and the Doomsman himself, looking at Spike through the portal, for two minutes or a week. Actually, she was pretty sure it wasn’t a week as she couldn’t, after, remember being hungry or needing to empty her bladder but then, as she was where she was, presumably those things could just be optional extras too!

…………………

“Relax.”

The voice seemed to come from nowhere and yet to be inside Spike’s head.

At a point in the future Spike would think of Lord Námo as ‘Frankie’ but now he couldn’t really shape coherent thoughts at all. The voice was both strict and soothing; it was the voice of someone from whom you could hide nothing you had done, someone who would soothe you if you hurt, but punish you for any wrongdoing. In Spike’s mind he saw his nanny.

He wanted to impress the voice but didn’t know what would do that anyway. He wanted to show himself in a good light but could think of nothing he had ever done that was truly good – only things he had done that were wrong. He was bad. Evil. He had no right to have Dawn worry about him even for a minute. It would be better if she forgot all about him. He had tainted Buffy’s life by loving her. He couldn’t have loved Buffy; he was evil; he was bad.

He waited for the voice to shout at him, to tell him how worthless he was, that he deserved to burn in hell for all eternity. Nanny would have told him. She would have made his need for punishment abundantly clear.

For a brief moment he would remember Buffy smiling at him, Dawn hugging him just before the portal between Sunnydale and Eryn Ithil had closed, Willow’s daughter asleep on his knee clutching a teddy bear; then he knew again that none of that mattered compared with his own intrinsic worthlessness….

Eventually he heard the voice again. Gently it said, “You are wrong, you know. You are not essentially evil.” Then it changed. “But as for you,” it said, “that is very different.”

There was a flash of pain, then a feeling as if someone was stroking him; the pain departed and Spike felt, suddenly, alone.

He became aware of his closed eyes and, carefully, opened them.

…………………

Tindómë realised that Lord Námo must have finished rooting around in Spike’s head, or ‘getting to know all of him’ as His Lordship had put it, when Spike opened his eyes. She tried to make out from his expression how it had gone; she had a feeling that, were it possible, he would have looked paler than usual. He looked slightly bewildered she thought.

“Sit down,” Lord Námo said to Spike. He sounded firm, but not hostile, so that must be of the good… mustn’t it?

She wondered why he didn’t just suggest Spike come through the portal to make conversation and so on easier and, clearly, the Vala picked up the thought as she heard his inner voice telling her that that would not be possible… yet. Well, the ‘yet’ sounded hopeful!

Námo spoke out loud.

“I have made my decision, and I will explain not only what that doom is, but also why I have reached the decision I have done. This I will explain to you all as there are things about yourself, Spike, I do not think you fully understand. Tindómë needs to understand fully, not only because she is the one whose request I have considered, but she needs to understand so that she can share this with her husband and others.

“Haldir, you need to understand so that you can also explain my decision to others who may feel Tindómë is biased.”

That intro really didn’t help, Tindómë thought; it gave absolutely no clues as to whether his decision would be to let Spike come and live with her and her family, or make him stay in the other dimension. And, by the sound of it, there was going to be a fair bit of explaining before he got to the answer. Better listen very carefully.

Námo went on. “I now understand fully the relationship between the fëa that was, originally, William, the hröa we see in front of us, the ‘soul’, and the evil entity you call the demon.”

He turned slightly towards Haldir; presumably because Tindómë and Spike knew the next bit...

“The young man called William was attacked by another ‘vampire’ who drained his hröa of blood so that it could no longer sustain life. However, in some way, this allowed one of the evil entities to enter the hröa at the point where death occurred, and this prevented the fëa leaving the body and answering whatever call it should have answered.”

Spike looked as if he was going to argue but, Tindómë realised, thought better of it. She understood why; because she’d always been taught that the soul left the body when a person was ‘turned’, and she usually thought of ‘soul’ and ‘fëa’ as more or less interchangeable. But then Lord Námo had included them both in his ‘build-up’, which was weird.

The Vala continued. “The hröa appeared dead, and the usual death rituals were observed but, once this demon was strong enough, the hröa began to move and function in many ways as if it were alive. In fact the demon gave added strength so that what had been William’s hröa was stronger, and less vulnerable, than it had been. But it was, and is, in almost every way as dead as the hröa you, Haldir, left at Helm’s Deep.”

Haldir looked a little surprised; even though Tindómë was pretty sure she’d explained it to him. Although, she acknowledged to herself, she had probably glossed over the ‘dead for over a yén’ bit.

“The demon did not cause the fëa to leave. In fact it needed the fëa to remain so that it could function within society. It simply subdued much of the fëa. I found within your memories, Spike, the concept of ‘id, ego and superego’. It is an imperfect concept but will do to explain what happened to your fëa. The demonic entity needs the ‘id’, the basic instincts, to function fully. It overcomes the ‘superego’ completely and uses what it needs of the ‘ego’.”

Tindómë thought she vaguely understood but, she reckoned, it must have been about as clear as mud to Haldir. Clearly His Lordship thought the same.

“In other words,” he went on, “all the knowledge of who William was, who his friends were, who his mother was, remained. Language, and knowledge of the world in general, remained. These were needed for the evil entity to be able to use the hröa as it wished. The drive to obtain pleasure remained. But there was no restraint, and what gave pleasure was turned to that which the demon found pleasurable – such as causing pain, killing and maiming.”

Spike winced.

“However,” Námo continued, “eventually, through a series of events I now fully understand but need not repeat, the fëa began to re-assert itself over the demon. Spike, as he now was, recognised that he could not fully control the demon; but his damaged fëa was strong enough to recognise that it was, indeed, damaged. It is clear that this is almost unheard of. The vampire demon is always stronger than the fëa of the body it occupies. That this was not so in your case, Spike, is a sign of a very strong fëa.

“When you think of ‘regaining your soul’, I would say that you were given help to mend some of the damage to your fëa – so that you can now control your body yourself most of the time, and the demon is reduced to a position of less importance. The demon continues to maintain the body at the point just after death, as it needs it to continue to exist within your world. However it is not happy, of course, in this situation and constantly tries to convince you that you are intrinsically evil, that it and the fëa that was William are one and the same – when they are not.

“The demon tried very hard to force itself back into complete control when it realised that I was able to clearly differentiate between the two different forces trying to live within one body. This is what caused you pain.”

Spike nodded.

“The fact remains, however, that the body we see should have decayed and returned to the earth more than a yén ago. It would, were the demon not an integral part of the whole, turn to dust. Yet I cannot let the evil entity cross the portal into our world.”

‘Huitho!’ thought Tindómë.

Rather too loudly, probably, as Lord Námo looked at her with a slight raise of the eyebrow before he began to speak again.

“I accept Tindómë’s argument that you are part of her family, you are alone in your world, as other vampires will shun you, or regard you as an enemy, whereas the truly living mortals will see you as a vampire if they get too close to you. I am inclined to allow you to cross the portal – but not the demon within you.

“Therefore my doom for you is that, should you wish to cross the portal it can be as nothing but fëa. You must allow the undead body to return to dust. You must, in effect, die.”

……………………………….
 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Syderiasyderia on October 15th, 2013 06:17 pm (UTC)
Interesting development...
curiouswombat: Hmmcuriouswombat on October 15th, 2013 08:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Nathmrowe on October 15th, 2013 06:37 pm (UTC)
"Frankie"? *snerk*

And definitely, interesting development...
curiouswombat: Hmmcuriouswombat on October 15th, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you liked that small aside!

And yes - I was hoping it was as unexpected to the reader as it is to the characters...
myrhiann: pic#57579695myrhiann on October 15th, 2013 07:26 pm (UTC)
A nice start to the day, and I love the way you keep adding new developments all the time, so that the reader will never know until the very last chapter how the story will end. You are a master teller of tales.
curiouswombat: Hmmcuriouswombat on October 15th, 2013 08:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the lovely compliment - I'm really glad that you are enjoying it.
hhimringhhimring on October 15th, 2013 08:05 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Perhaps Namo can re-embody him after the crossing--and here might be another reason why it might be useful to have Haldir along, to demonstrate that possibility?--but that is clearly going to take an awful lot of trust or a lot of desperation.
curiouswombat: Haldircuriouswombat on October 15th, 2013 08:59 pm (UTC)
and here might be another reason why it might be useful to have Haldir along, to demonstrate that possibility?

Well spotted. Something of that ilk has been in my mind right from the beginning! And you are right about the requirement for trust... or desperation, too.
Sûliensulien on October 15th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
Interesting development indeed. I wonder how all of this is going to work, considering the strictures Eru placed on the fate of mortals, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how you handle it all. Thank you for the update, I enjoyed it!
curiouswombat: Hmmcuriouswombat on October 15th, 2013 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you - I'm really glad that you enjoyed it - and yes, there are issues to resolve, for sure.
Winterwitch: Ardathe_winterwitch on October 15th, 2013 10:17 pm (UTC)
Great chapter title! :o) And what an interesting turn of events. You know Buffy is not my fandom at all, so I had some difficulties understanding the details, but I think I succeeded. This is a fascinating explanation of the phenomenon, and quite a fitting solution, though it must be very hard for Tindómë to accept it, and live with it. I know nearly nothing about Spike, but from what I gather even dying in this way might be preferable to what otherwise lies in store for him. So, it sounds like Spike, if he indeed is accepting, will go straight to Mandos' Halls where he will have to spend an indefinite time, right? ;o) Oooor - what do you have in store for us? ;o)

BTW - Frankie? *snort*
curiouswombat: Hmmcuriouswombat on October 15th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
The Buffyverse vampires are meant to be soulless - and so totally evil. But they clearly maintain all the skills and memories of the person who has been turned - so I thought it can't be what the elves would think of as the fëa.

In the series Spike actually chooses to go on a quest to regain his soul. But if it had actually gone tot he afterlife, regaining it would mean forcing it back into the original body, which has been doing all sorts of evil things, even were it in heaven - which didn't seem right.

Also, Spike believed, totally, that when he was dusted, he wouldn't go to heaven because of all the evil he had done - but if the soul he had not had for so long was everything that made him 'him' then surely it couldn't be punished for what the body did without it...

This has struck me as a paradox since the middle of the original series - this is, in effect, my attempt to make it make sense!

So I'm glad it made enough sense to you.

Oddly, 'Interview With the Vampire' only came to me as I went to post it, and realised I didn't have a chapter title!

As for whether Spike will take up the offer, and exactly what it entails - hopefully this will become clearer in the next chapter.

Oh - and I'm glad you like the passing 'Frankie' reference!
ninglorethningloreth on October 15th, 2013 10:34 pm (UTC)
Bum!

(I'm hoping for a twist).

This was a good, meaty chapter, and well worth the wait!
curiouswombat: Hmmcuriouswombat on October 15th, 2013 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you - and there are certainly going to be a lot of questions to ask, and hopefully have answered, yet!
(Anonymous) on October 15th, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
First thought. Oh, shit!

Second thought. Does this mean Namo will be giving Spike a new body?

Third thought. Interesting explanation of how a person is 'turned'.

More please.

Huggs,
Lynda
curiouswombat: Hmmcuriouswombat on October 16th, 2013 07:34 am (UTC)
Those thoughts, in that order, are not unlike Spike's own ones to come...

(Anonymous) on October 15th, 2013 11:53 pm (UTC)
p.s. Frankie? Snerk!

Lynda
curiouswombat: Hmmcuriouswombat on October 16th, 2013 07:36 am (UTC)
Of course, as S2C has just mentioned to me as I ate my breakfast, Spike is probably the only person left in the world who would be able to make that allusion - the sort of things that adds to his isolation.
In awe of sensible companions....: tardis by iconic_mirthwildecate on October 16th, 2013 11:30 am (UTC)
Really enjoying this. Very neatly explained and tied up and looking forward to seeing how they all react.
curiouswombat: Hmmcuriouswombat on October 16th, 2013 12:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And yes - you can imagine their faces half a second after that last line... and then a clamour of questions.
In awe of sensible companions....wildecate on October 17th, 2013 08:04 am (UTC)
My response was "oh that's alright then" .... what does that say about me?! Presumably if Spike dies he'll have a similar journey to Haldir? Halls of Mandos for healing and then on to wherever Tindome is...
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )