32. Scene XXV.i
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
TINUVIEL AT BAY: A CACCIA OF BELERIAND
--'Gainst Time's all-consuming power, pleads
Beauty in vain; likewise fair Justice, where the seeds
of rivalry in rank Discontent hath flowered, and needs
must go begging -- finding Law and Rule but broken reeds.
[The Regent's office. Orodreth is seated behind his desk, looking rather at bay himself, but not saying anything. Luthien is standing in front of him, arms akimbo, frowning; Huan is standing with her, looking a bit at a loss; he circles halfway around and lies down in front of the fireplace, muzzle on paws]
You've been avoiding me, cousin.
[He raises his eyebrows but doesn't bother denying it.]
--All that wierd formality and distant behavior, when I arrived, as if you'd never gone on hikes with us or spent the night dancing at Menegroth, and I thought you were just worried, and not knowing how to act in your new role, and trying to be proper about it -- But then I recognized it. I might have sooner, if you'd not hid from me so well, but eventually I remembered where I'd seen it before.
In everyone who was ordered to look after my wants and needs whilst I was under house-arrest. It's guilt. Not quite as bad as Daeron's, but -- very near to it.
[he doesn't answer -- she leans over the desk, fiercely:]
--Level with me, Orodreth.
[He gives a sudden nervous laugh, and she glares at him]
I'm sorry. It's just so -- so very unexpected, to hear mortal expressions like that, coming out of your mouth. Please forgive my levity.
There is nothing remotely amusing about our situation.
Orodreth: [completely somber]
[she looks at him expectantly, but he keeps looking at her without saying anything]
Luthien: [sighing, runs her hand through her hair]
--Shall I spin this tale for you, then, and warp it too, I dare say, and leave the gaps and doublings for you to fix instead? It might be faster, at this rate. --Not that time matters to you, of course.
The only question is, where do I start? How long ago shall I begin? Don't worry, I'm not going to start at the Song -- but I do wonder how far back your part in this strain goes, and was it a trio, or merely a resting measure? If it was the former, they seem to have written your part out rather definitely as well--
[He understands what she's getting at and looks shocked, shaking his head in denial]
So you weren't part of it in advance. Not knowingly, at least. --That's something.
[Finally she takes the chair placed for her, not as a supplicant but as if she were conducting the interview by rights. With her head on one side, slowly (not hesitantly though):]
I think -- this discord begins in the Sudden Flame, then -- but only as the resumption of a theme long played. I remember a dinner-table story -- as should you, since you told it -- about swords being drawn on family members way before Morgoth resumed his old tune. --How long in any case, would it have been, would you like to bet, before one or another began to rehearse the burden of "We are the eldest, it should all be ours"--?
And once again many voices joined in the chorus -- but how many, or how few, were raised against them this time?
[Orodreth looks away -- but has to meet her eyes again. Huan, on the floor, keeps looking anxiously from one to the other of them, not taking his head off of his paws.]
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