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Hildegard Arkin
Hildengard
Hildegard as Elisha’s doppelgänger

Japanese Name

ヒルデガード・ァーキン

Romanized Name

Hirudegādo Ākin

Nickname(s)/Alias(es)

Witch (魔女 Majo)

Scarlet Robe (緋色の法衣 Hīro no Hōe)

Debut

Chapter 5 (light novel 4)

Voice actor

N/A

Status

Deceased

Hildegard Arkin was Ben’s younger sister and Elisha’s mother. She’s also known as the demon Scarlet Robe. Hildegard was possessed by her grandfather’s Phantom Books. She planned to use the Decorative Plywood of Merneith to make Elisha’s body a vessel for her resurrection. Hildegard is present in the Phantom Book Thief story.

Background[]

Elisha was born from an incestuous relationship between Hildegard and her older brother Ben. Hildegard was possessed by her grandfather’s Phantom Books. With knowledge about terrible magic, she would kill people to increase her power. She became known as a demon called “Scarlet Robe”. Ben, trying to stop her atrocities, locked the witch and the Phantom Books inside the basement of the Reizl Castle, thirteen years before the main events of Phantom Book Thief. Before dying, Hildegard used the Decorative Plywood of Merneith to become Elisha’s doppelgänger. The soul of Hildegard plans to resurrect using the body of her own daughter. Hildegard knows about the Biblioprincess and her key-keeper.[1]

Personality[]

According to Ben, Hildegard used to be gentle and innocent, incapable of hurting a fly. As Elisha’s doppelgänger, Hildegard sometimes acts like a child, but in fact she’s a cruel, violent witch with no regard for human life. She laughs cheerfully, even when she has just committed a massacre. She brutally dismembers her targets, making a pool of blood. She calmly glances and grins at her opponents, mocks them, as if they are insignificant. She enjoys the smell of death as if it’s the scent of flowers. She bathes herself in the grudge of her victims, as if she's relaxing in the sunlight. Hildegard is after power. She gets angry when she realizes that her Phantom Book requires more hate. The proud magician becomes furious when someone gets in the way of her plans. Although she’s Elisha’s mother, Hildegard plans to take the young girl’s life with no remorse.[1]

Powers[]

Hildegard was possessed by her grandfather’s Phantom Books. She gained terrible knowledge and became violent, killing people to become more powerful. Before dying, Hildegard used the Decorative Plywood of Merneith to become Elisha’s doppelgänger. Destroying the Phantom Book interrupts her resurrection and destroys her soul.

With Elisha’s physical appearance, Hildegard reveals to be a powerful witch, capable of withstand even the fire from Hal’s staff. She easily creates an invisible barrier with a wave of her hand. The wall can also block Hal’s attacks. Hildegard is invulnerable to bullets. The shots only make holes in her scarlet robe. The witch can disappear, as if dissolving in the air.

Her main method to kill is summoning bloodthirsty familiars. Hildegard’s robe leaves her body in small pieces. Each piece turns into terrible animals, a horde of monsters who follows her will and responds to her mood. The familiars also appear from the witch’s shadow. She uses panthers, ravens, pterosaurs, black goats, black cats, bats, snakes, millipedes, a large three-headed dog with blazing fur, a snake with wings of a bat and legs of a bird of prey, and other unknown creatures. They tore her opponents apart, emanating a nauseating murderous intent. The fire from Hal’s staff burns the beasts, leaving no ashes behind. The familiars are also vulnerable to mithril. A wound from the phantom metal makes the beasts howl in pain. The wound shines and the creatures disappear.[1]

Appearance[]

Hildegard’s original physical appearance was never described. If alive, she would be 35 years old. She appears as Elisha’s doppelgänger. In that form, Hildegard is identical to her daughter, except for a wicked expression instead of an innocent one. The witch wears a bloody robe, which turns into terrible beasts. When alive, she would wear a snow-white ceremonial dress, typical of a noble girl, embroidered with gold thread.[1]

Plot[]

Strong soldiers are killed in the dark basement. Some are cut in half, others are dismembered. Hildegard laughs cheerfully. She splashes the blood on the floor, acting like a child. Hildegard asks if they will play more. The only survivor of the massacre is seriously wounded. He shoots the witch, but only her bloody robe is affected. She doesn't even move. Hildegard is bored. She makes parts of her bloody robe turn into terrifying creatures. The man is torn to pieces by black cats, bats, snakes, millipedes and other beasts. The naked witch calmly watches his death. She inhales the smell of death and bathes in the hate of the dead. But that isn't enough. She needs to fill the Phantom Book with more hate. She disappears, her body dissolving in the air.

Hal and Flamberge are heading to the Reizl Castle. Flamberge listens to the voices in her head, to fragments of memory. She heard rumors about a demon haunting those lands. It was a mysterious figure in red that killed dozens of men and women. Later, the couple sees the Scarlet Robe running on the ramparts, carrying an unconscious young girl. The Scarlet Robe escapes and Elisha is rescued.

Elisha guides Hal and Flamberge to the castle’s library. The couple notices blood in the air. Hal kicks the door open, discovering the scene of a massacre. The police and servants were dismembered, decapitated, disemboweled. Hal sees the Scarlet Robe at the center of the library. The witch recognizes Hal and Flamberge as a key-keeper and a Biblioprincess, but she doesn’t know about Book Burning Officers. She laughs and uses her bloody robe to summon a three-headed fiery dog and a snake with bat wings and bird legs. Their fangs and claws are covered in blood and scraps of meat. The witch looks admired as Hal uses his staff to burn the creatures, making them disappear. She prepares to use her bloody robe again, but Hal shoots a fireball at her. Her robe is consumed by the flames, but she is unharmed. The Scarlet Robe is identical to Elisha, save for the facial expression. The witch affirms that she has no time to keep playing. She laughs, as if mocking her enemies. She warns that Elisha’s life wil be hers. The witch disappears.

Hal’s theory is that Elisha has a doppelgänger. That’s why Elisha’s health worsened in the last six months. The Scarlet Robe, Elisha’s doppelgänger, may be using a Phantom Book. The witch may be the soul of someone who lives in the castle, who’s now consuming Elisha. The castle is surrounded by a magical barrier, so the culprit can't be an outsider. Once a bloody, old dress is found in the guest room, Ben finally reveals that the Scarlet Robe is Hildegard, his late younger sister. She was a kind girl, but when she was possessed by her grandfather’s Phantom Books, she became a violent witch. She would kill in order to increase her power. Thirteen years ago, Ben locked Hildegard and the Phantom Books inside a basement to stop her atrocities.

At the basement, where the floor is covered with skeletons, the remains of Hildegard are found. Ben affirms that he had no choice but to take Hildegard’s life. At that moment, Ben sees Elisha behind him. Ben backs away against a wall, realizing that the person is Elisha’s doppelgänger. Hildegard picks up the Decorative Plywood of Merneith on the floor. With that Phantom Book, she will be able to use Elisha’s body as a vessel for her resurrection. Hildegard reveals that Elisha is her own daughter, born from her relationship with Ben. Hildegard takes off the dress from her own corpse, the same dress found in the guest room. The scarlet fabric turns into panthers, pterosaurs, ravens, black goats and other grotesque creatures. Hildegard laughs when Hal tries to intervene. Hal uses his staff to shoot a fireball at the familiars, but the attack is stopped by an invisible wall created by Hildegard. More beasts are born from her shadow, surrounding everyone in the basement. The enemies are too many for Hal. He rolls over the bone-strewn floor to avoid the creatures’ attacks. Hildegard laughs while watching his dance. She tells Hal that she will absorb his flesh and blood. Later, she will open Flamberge’s stomach to steal all her Phantom Books.

Her laughter suddenly stops. She floats in the air, surrounded by her familiars. Mithril, the Phantom Book Thief, had explored the chaotic situation to steal her Phantom Book. The beasts respond to Hildegard’s anger, rushing towards the thief. The latter defeats the panther with a wave of her silver knife. Hildegard knows that mithril is able to cast out evil. Once again, the familiars respond to the witch’s terrible mood. However, Mithril throws the Phantom Book to Hal. The latter uses his staff to burn the Phantom Book and Hildegard out of existence. Enveloped by flames, the witch quietly closes her eyes and remembers how Ben used to love her. She had believed her brother.

Inspector Grosseteste registered the skeletons in the basement as victims of Hildegard, a serial killer. Ben was accused of killing her and hiding the evidence. The existence of her Phantom Book and vicious soul never went public. As deduced by Hal, Mithril is responsible for kidnapping Elisha, not Hildegard. The Phantom Book Thief was only looking for a way to use Hal to destroy the witch. That way, Mithril would have access to the basement, where one can find the Phantom Books collected by Hildegard’s grandfather.[1]

Trivia[]

  • Hildegarde is a full witch featured in Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic book.[2]
  • In European folklore and folk-belief of the Medieval and Early Modern periods familiars were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic.[3]
  • Hildegard wants to use Elisha's body as a vessel for her resurrection. Hal compares Hildegard to parasitoid wasps[1], who lay their eggs on or in the bodies of other arthropods, sooner or later causing the death of these hosts.[4]
  • Hildegard summons a three-headed fiery dog.[1] It's a common description for Cerberus from Greek mythology, the multi-headed dog of Hades that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving.[5]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 The Mystic Archives of Dantalian light novel, Chapter 5, volume 4.
  2. Hilda Spellman. (2020, April 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:12, April 25, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hilda_Spellman&oldid=951867141
  3. Familiar. (2020, April 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:47, April 25, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Familiar&oldid=952302629
  4. Parasitoid wasp. (2020, April 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:29, April 25, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Parasitoid_wasp&oldid=950496746
  5. Cerberus. (2020, April 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:07, April 26, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cerberus&oldid=952351828
Characters

Biblioprincesses

Dalian - Flamberge - Rasiel

Key-keepers

Hugh Anthony Disward - Hal Kamhout - Professor

Recurring characters

The Girl in the Bookshelf - Wesley Disward - Kamilla Sauer Keynes - Jessica Elphinstone - Shura Irmania - Armand Jeremiah - The Perennial Wisdom's Owner - Oliver Grosseteste - Mithril - Hugh's mother - Hugh's father - Natalia - Hal's beloved - Miss Roedean

Creatures and machines

Atlantic Rim - Automaton - Beast of Ashwell - Book of Royal Power - Branches of Relationship - Broken Wings - Dantalian - Dead Book - Ghost train - Golem - Guignols - Guillemot - Heath - House-elf - Kasuruhau - Logbook - Loge's giant - Musical automaton - Pioneer Plant - The Harlequinade's creatures - Ras Alhague monster - Scarlet Robe - Sea devils - Steam Giant - The Queen of the Night - W Machine - Winged women - Wooden dolls - Zombies

Dalian Days

Priscilla Riley - Cecil Patreina - Margaret Manschwell

Others

Male Characters - Female Characters
Phantom Book Users - Deceased Characters
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