4. Scene III
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
TINUVIEL AT BAY: A CACCIA OF BELERIAND
Having crossed the gulf, the narrow bridge (though not sword but hair)
Tinuviel will brook no longer biding, as caged woodthrush seeks the air--
[An empty hallway in Nargothrond. It shouldn't be spooky-looking at all, only deserted and rather winding, so that you can't see very far along it, because it follows the natural contours of the cavern from which it's been carved. Luthien appears around a curve, walking very carefully, one hand on the wall as though it were pitch-dark not pleasantly lit.]
Luthien: [under her breath, to herself]
-- I never get lost. I don't understand it -- everything feels jumbled, disorganized, I can't find any center to it --I can't find East, I can't find West, all I can tell is up from down -- and I'm not even sure about that --
[she sags against the wall]
Oh, Beren, I'm no use to you at all! I've accomplished what? nothing -- I can't seem to make anyone understand the need for action -- you'd think they'd see the need for urgency right off, though -- There's something wrong here, some fog or darkness clouding everyone's mind, it seems, that they can't think straight, can't keep their priorities straight--
[even more worried]
I wonder -- no, surely not -- but -- I wonder if -- perhaps with the King being gone the wards are breaking down and Morgoth's managing to influence people somehow? I've heard of it, I know he tries it all the time with us and Mom stops him: is this what it would look like? Everybody muddled, acting like nothing's happened and everything is normal, no matter how crazy it is under the circumstances? Going about their daily business when they should be mobilizing like there's no tomorrow?
[frowns, shaking her head]
. . . but then I thought we had all the time in the world, too, even though I knew better, and now I grudge every hour I wasted this Spring -- so perhaps it's just that they can't help it, and I've changed so much that I can't understand us now . . .
[There's a noise behind her and she jumps up straight and whirls around in a single movement, facing that way -- never forget that she's been a dancer longer than most civilizations have lasted. Sharply:]
[There is no answer: she girds up her shawl and strides around the arc of the passage, camera following]
Who is -- Ah!
[Huan is standing there, looking a bit apprehensive]
Ohhh! --Hello. Come here--
[she holds out her hands and claps at him, making chirping noises]
Come on, don't be scared, good boy--
[Huan comes closer, shy-dog mode -- though if he were not a Hound one might think he was embarrassed instead]
[he sniffs her hand, then licks it, and she scratches his ears]
I'm sorry, I don't have any treats for you. I was wondering where you'd got to. --I wish you were my dog. That would surprise them at home, wouldn't it -- you wouldn't let them shut me up in a tree if you belonged to me, I'll bet. Where have you been? Oh, but you're a working Hound, I suppose you've been out doing your job, hunting Wargs.
[Huan wags tail; she pats him hard on the neck like a horse]
Beren would like you so much, he used to have dogs -- I wonder if you met him while he was here? I'm sure you'd love him too--
[Huan leans against her and whuffs in her hair: she wipes her eyes against his coat. From the same direction as Huan Celegorm comes around the passage and sees them]
[they are both startled by this]
--Don't be frightened, my lady, he won't hurt you.
Oh, I'm not. --I know.
You seemed a bit shaken up when you were last around him.
Well, I was. Literally.
[Celegorm gives her an awkward smile]
Yes, I know -- I'm -- I'm sorry about that, Your Highness.
I think twelve apologies is enough, milord, don't you? No harm was done. And the time could be better spent, I'm sure.
Ah. --Right. What are you doing wandering around all by yourself? Can I help you?
I don't know. I was trying to find the Regent's office, and someone gave me directions -- several someones in fact -- but I think I must have taken a wrong turning somewhere. Or several.
You know, you really shouldn't be just roaming about without a guide -- it could be dangerous, my lady.
Luthien: [narrows eyes]
There's all kinds of stuff goin' on here, you know. Workings you probably never even heard of, high-powered security features and maintainance and construction--
I imagine that I can avoid walking into a hot stove or tripping into a cistern on my own, Lord Celegorm.
Where are your ladies? Not slacking off on the job? Shouldn't you have an assistant?
I sent them away. I'm not used to having so many people around all the time. I haven't seen more than one or two people at once for weeks now -- until you caught me.
Celegorm: [ignoring the hints]
Oh. But -- who looks after your things?
I do. Why?
I wish you'd accept some new clothes. You -- you shouldn't be obliged to go around in those awful old rags.
I told you, I don't feel comfortable taking charity from Nargothrond without having presented myself properly as a guest seeking asylum to the King my cousin, given the unofficial and destabilizing circumstances of my arrival. There's been enough strife in our families as it is . . .
. . . and I'm harder to ignore this way . . .
He wouldn't mind, you know.
[Huan's tail stops wagging and his head droops under Luthien's hand]
I know. But I still just don't feel right about it. And besides -- this outfit has sentimental meaning for me: it's the first dress Beren saw me in. And I made it myself, it isn't something my mother made for me -- I didn't take anything they gave me -- so for a lot of reasons I'm rather attached to it.
But -- the edges, the what-d'ye-call-ems, hems, are all coming off. Getting to be less and less attached to it, so to speak.
It's not so bad. I can just rip the loose bits off.
But, well, I mean -- they're going to get awfully grubby, aren't they?
I wash them in the sink and put them on chairs in front of the fire at night. That's what I did while I was on the road. Only streams, of course, not a basin. That would have been a little much to carry along.
Celegorm: [distressed look]
But -- surely -- you weren't just hanging about the woods in the altogether, waiting for your garments to dry?!
Oh, no, I just wore my cape until I finished wringing them. Damp clothes are just an annoyance, anyway. They dry out fast enough if you keep walking quickly.
[Celegorm looks at a loss -- the expression of someone in the difficult situation of wanting to say that's barbaric and revolting but recognizing that it would be impolitic to say so, and also wanting to find some way to excuse it just because of who the person responsible is...]
Anyway, where is my cape? Surely the Sages can't still be trying to figure out how it works? They ought to ask me, if they can't figure it out, though I probably won't be able to help them duplicate the results, since I made it all up as I went along.
Ah. --Yes. You'd have to check with my brother about that, I really couldn't say myself. He'll know how they're coming along -- ask him when you next see him, all right?
Which'll be quite a while if he can help it.
Maybe you can help me find him after we talk to Orodreth, then?
My lady, I'll be happy and delighted to spend the day with you.
The day?! Surely it won't take that long to get to Orodreth's office!
What? Oh -- I mean, it might take a while to get in to see him. He's awfully busy, you know.
Then can we go find Lord Curufin first, and ask him about my cape?
Oh, he isn't around right now -- he's out with the Border Guard right now.
So can we go find him?
Well -- they've ridden a good ways out--
It's dangerous out there, your Highness . . . besides, what do you need it right now for? You're not planning on leaving us so soon, I hope!
So? It's mine. And I'm not comfortable having it out of my hands. It is part of me, after all.
Was, you mean.
Luthien: [narrow look]
My hair is still mine. I didn't give it away.
So, if you gave me a lock, then --
[pulls a curl and lets it spring back]
--would that mean you had a, hah, split personality?
Please don't touch my hair. --Can we go and find the Regent's office, now, milord?
[As Celegorm bows and starts walking leisurely back along the way he and Huan came, she steps up the pace so that he has to hurry to stay level with her. Something falls from the edge of her blue wrap and hits the floor with a sharp clink.]
What is it?
You lost a star. --Part of a star, at least. A ray, looks like--
[He bends and picks up the gem for her.]
[keeps walking, disregards it]
Don't you want it? I can have someone sew it back on for you--
I can do that. It -- just -- isn't very important, really.
May I have it?
You've a shortage of quartz, my lord?
I was going to make it into something else for you, since your mantle's such a wreck; I thought it might make the heart of a nice pendant. Though actually I'd get my brother to do it -- he's the artist of the family.
[pause -- Luthien just looks at him]
What? Don't you wear jewelry in Doriath? Or just things made from natural stuff, like, oh, flowers and leaves and all?
Aren't there really more important things to be devoting your energy to? --Such as getting the rescue mission underway?
Celegorm: [utmost sincerity]
--We Noldor are good at multitasking, your Highness.
[Huan's head and tail go lower]
You don't sound as though you believe me. I'm crushed, Lady Luthien, absolutely crushed--
Well, I'm not entirely reassured by what I've seen -- or haven't seen. And you still haven't explained why you pretended you didn't know what I was talking about when you met me, or why you pretended to be "Lords Atarin and Turcofin of Nargothrond" --?
We weren't pretending. Never said we didn't know what you were talking about, did we?
But -- you know what I mean -- you certainly implied it --?! And you did lie about your names and all, didn't you?
I wasn't lying. Nargothrond is our home now, ever since the War drove us out of the North Country, just like your friend Barahirion.
And your names?
We use names from both sides of the family in Aman. The custom's catching on ere too, I've noticed. One from your mother, one from your father -- plus the extras everyone picks up along the yeni. So those really are our names, you see. Just not all of 'em.
Well, I suppose it saves a couple the trouble of actually having to agree on something, doing it that way.
[Celegorm laughs -- Luthien gives him a frowning look: it wasn't meant to be a joke. They start walking again]
But why did you let me go on like that, like a complete idiot, and not tell me you knew all about it or who you were until we reached the City?
Well, if we'd said, "Oh, hullo, we're some of Feanor's boys, just happening through in your direction with an armed party," wouldn't you have taken off again like a pheasant breaking? After all the harsh words your father's had for us?
Luthien: [very dry]
Given the way things have been going between me and my family, lately, I'd be far more likely to assume gross exaggeration and given you the benefit of the doubt -- but I suppose you couldn't've known that. . .
And how were we to know that you weren't some phantom or figment of the Enemy's making, sent to lure us into an ambush or whatnot? I mean, it isn't every day that my Hound brings me a gorgeous girl instead of a disgusting dead wolf, you know. Not until you were inside the City's defenses and didn't disappear or turn into a wraith or something fell like that.
--I've heard of those . . .
[the Carillion is heard in the halls]
Oh! There's that bell-thing again -- it's been another what, four hours? Six? Can we hurry, please?
[She darts on ahead, forcing Celegorm to catch up to her, Huan trailing him with tail dragging the tiles until they are out of sight around another curve.]
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.