43. Scene XXXIV
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
TINUVIEL AT BAY: A CACCIA OF BELERIAND
Contending with her fair cousin's soft disdain,
Tinuviel strives to prove, as doth complain,
that Elf no less than Man in that domain
may smile and smile, and yet a villain remain --
[Luthien's apartments. Finduilas is sitting in one of the chairs of the solar, looking sympathetic-yet-sceptical as Luthien strides up and down in front of her, gesticulating as she speaks]
And then he says, not outright, but just as clearly as if he had, that they'll never let me go--!
Do you think you could sit down perhaps?
Luthien: [stops & stares]
? ? ?
Or at least stop walking back and forth? It's very distracting.
Finduilas! Celegorm would not let me go, told me I'd not only like it but wanted it, and his brother instead of apologizing for him, told me to be grateful for the attention. --Are you sure they're not possessed? Maybe they got caught after the Battle and nobody's realized they've been brainwashed. But -- no -- I'm sure Finrod would have seen it right off. I guess they're just evil without any assistance from Morgoth.
Oh, I'm sure you must have misunderstood. They're highborn as well as High-Elven -- they wouldn't do such things.
You're not listening to me again. You're just ignoring everything inconvenient and unpleasant -- as usual. Don't you hear what I'm saying? Or am I not real to you, either? Because I'm not one of you exalted Noldor? Do you see us native Middle-earth people as somewhere above trees, and perhaps above animals, but not necessarily, depending on whether they're your animals or not? Because that's what I'm getting from you.
How can you say such things! You really, really have no--
[breaks off at a loss for the right word]
--Shame? Respect? Manners? No. I have wisdom. Which is not a comforting or easy or light burden at all. Now, let's get this straight: your cousins have menaced me with the threat of being forced to become Celegorm's bride, willing or not -- with that my sole choice. If that happens, there will be bloodshed -- and lots of it. You cannot imagine how much will follow. If my father was upset enough to threaten any of us with death who would help me escape from Doriath to join Beren, he will not stop at disapproving words when he finds that the sons of Feanor are now his sons-in-law. You've never seen him go to war. I have. He hasn't needed to for a very long time but he hasn't forgotten how. Trust me.
Well, that would rather put an end to his superiority about kinslaying, wouldn't it? He would hardly be able to look down on the Feanor clan after that.
I rather suspect he would consider it poetic justice. Regardless -- the only thing Beren ever did to my father was have the misfortune of attracting my attention and affections. He never killed any of his family or friends, never annexed any of our property with the threat of further invasion and the hint that we should consider ourselves lucky to keep what we had, never disdained to address him directly -- and my father was still angry enough to have him killed for his presumption in wishing to marry me, if I hadn't intervened.
--Though no doubt a good deal of that was the fact that he wasn't willing to get angry at me and had to take it out on the next-best target. Now -- add to everything else the fact that Lords Curufin and Celegorm have taken over Nargothrond and dispossed your uncle, who's the only one of your lot who treats us with appropriate respect and despite everything has remained a close friend of my father's, which I fully admit is not always easy, and the rest of you don't seem to give a damn that he's almost certainly a prisoner of the Enemy and may be dead -- and ask yourself, why my father should balk at sending Captain Mablung in with everything he's got, to smash this place open like an anthill?
Do you really want to stake everything on that? I've not seen anyone here to match our best. I'd not set any of your guards against Beleg Cuthalion -- nor would I pit them against Mablung, either, Noldor or not. I'm not very impressed at all, except for Huan -- Oh, but I forgot! all of your best Elves did go with your King. And Beren. I would be very afraid, if I were you.
You don't understand.
I note you're not contradicting me -- not about any of it.
I can't talk to you when you're being like this. Please try to understand -- we're only concerned for you, for your well-being. We're not trying to make you miserable, we're trying to help you.
Finduilas, have you ever had an original thought in your life? [Finduilas sighs and shakes her head, going towards the door]
[the other Elf-princess stops and waits]
If it were Gwin -- would you sit here and pretend you didn't know?
[With a look of sisterly exasperation, Finduilas leaves. Luthien resumes pacing. After a few turns she stops, snaps her fingers, and goes to get the basket of embroidery supplies. With the small scissors she cuts out a hank of hair from one side and quickly begins knotting the short strands around the door handle, humming quietly as she does so:]
Had I the gold in yonder mountain
where gold and silver is there for countin'
I could not count for thought of thee --
mine eyes so full, I could not see
I love my father, I love my mother,
I love my sister I love my brother,
I love my friends and relatives too --
I'll forsake them all, and go with you
--Huan? Would you come here, please?
[She cuts some of the longer hairs from his coat and ties them into her Working.]
Come all ye fair and tender maidens
take a warning how you court young men:
They're like a star on a summer's evening
first they'll appear and then they're gone
If I'd of known before I courted
that love it was such a killing thing
I'd of locked my heart in a silver casket
and pinned it shut with a silver pin --
[At the last she sticks an embroidery needle into the knots, almost like the pin of a latch. She tries the door, and as she expects can open it but cannot pass through from her side.]
Crazy, is it? I'll give them crazy --
[loudly down the hallway:]
What ho guards! Make haste!
[They come warily up, remembering the last time she pulled something on them.]
Yes, your Highness?
Luthien: [thinks for a moment]
I don't like the firewood that's been given me. Take it away and bring me better. This is . . . much too noisy --
Guards: [dubious looks at each other]
Er, yes, of course, my lady --
[One of them approaches to come in, the other remaining to obstruct the doorway. The first guard finds that he cannot come within two paces of the threshold, as though a high wind (or a force field) were driving him back.]
[She closes the door, indicates that Huan should try it, and watches wistfully as he paws open the panel and goes through, and then comes back into the suite. Luthien nods in satisfaction at this test of her Work, and slams the door very loudly. Oblivious to -- or rather unconcerned with -- the growing disturbance in the hallways outside, she goes to the northern wall of her solar and springs up to stand on the bench in front of the stone "window" on that side, resting her right hand on the surface of the carved horizon:]
What hills, what hills are those, my love?
those hills so dark and low?
-- Those are the hills of hell, my love,
where you and I must go --
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