45. Scene XXXVI
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
TINUVIEL AT BAY: A CACCIA OF BELERIAND
The thing demanded, it may hap, may haply prove to be
Not all that deemed it, of good fortune -- yet too late too see . . .
[Orodreth's private chambers -- he is occupied with something that looks a bit like six abacuses fitted together three-dimensionally and several sets of writing tablets, and not looking at all happy about it: this is not the kind of task that is sufficiently enjoyable in itself to be worth anything as a distraction from care. An attendant enters the room, very apologetically]
Did you find them?
Er -- no, sir, not yet, unfortunately.
Doesn't anyone know where the original records were kept? It has to have been written down somewhere -- it can't all have been only in Edrahil's memory, can it? So where are the scrips and tallies?
[he is angry enough to break the unwritten rule against speaking of the Exiles, and not to notice his aide's discomfort, or to care.]
Highness, we're still looking -- but the Lords Celegorm and Curufin are here to see you. About -- about that business ...
What do they expect me to do about it? Grinding Ice, am I to be given no peace nor place of my own to do this work? How are we to keep them furnished with lights if I don't know how many we have, do they think?
I'm sorry -- but they do insist . . . they won't take "no" for an answer.
Have they ever? Let them come.
[He leans back in his chair, sighing, and flicks scornfully at one of the markers on the abacus, shaking his head. His assistant returns with the brothers and goes to the side of his master's chair, defensive]
Orodreth: [bleakly bland]
I understand that the Princess Luthien has locked herself in her suite of apartments from the inside, as you've locked her into them from without, and that the Hound Huan is the only individual she will permit free entry to, and that he permits no one entry with him. Is there in fact a state of siege obtaining in my sister's quarters, or am I misinformed?
Curufin: [huffy and a bit defensive]
Well, it's not a siege, exactly -- the suite has all the amenities, including water, and she still allows room service to bring her meals, and we're not starving her or anything, of course!
Celegorm: [muttering to himself]
No, she just eats almost nothing and won't talk --
Orodreth: [grim smile]
Ah. So it's a Leaguer.
[long, long silence]
I'm sure you'll continue to keep me as well appraised of the situation. Do feel free to go on wasting my time, though, since you always do. Or did you want something from me besides approval and moral support this time?
Cousin, stop right there. If you want my job, then as I've told you, show you know what it entails nd start doing some work. I don't think you have a jot of a clue as to what is involved in it, and how much needs to be done. The former Steward seems to have ound it easier to keep track of everything the old-fashioned way, evidently due to the fact that the people he assigned the task kept deciding to reorganize everything by some new-devised system of their own, which they then abandoned through boredom halfway through.
[flings his stylus down on the table]
You wonder why I'm not the same cheerful soul I used to be? Really? Why I'm not grateful for this honor, this sudden ascencion to power? Because I am aware of what power entails. You want one small, negligible example of what I'm contending with? Apart from the personality clashes, and the fact that my daughter's future father-in-law is one of the people I'm going to have to rail at over this mess? There are only half the year's lighting requirements in stock -- as far as we can tell. So I ought to o and set people quickly to making up the difference, which means taking them off other tasks and diverting a great deal of resources. But I can't believe that, because my predecessor was nothing if not thorough and I cannot accept that either Lord Edrahil or my brother would have allowed things to get to such a state, and that eans that they're somewhere, only due to the Sindarin-style record keeping no one here is certain where!
[full rant mode]
I know you think that I'm dull, the way you think that everyone who merely supports your lifestyle of leisure and doesn't participate in it is dull -- but you know, you know what's going to be really dull around here is if we don't have enough lighting this winter -- and that is just the beginning! I've got schedules missing for every storehouse in the City. Do you see these tables? Do you see these figures? This s what I'm having to reconstruct, while you play at being Orome or fiddle around making knick-knacks with my brother's tools -- or kidnap native royalty for your perverse amusment.
[gripping the edge of the desk to keep from throwing something]
I am trying to keep this City alive -- and I am so far out of my depth I can't see shore. I thought it could be little different from managing a garrison -- evidently, however, I was much mistaken. What are you here for, anyhow? You've told me to leave your House's personal affairs alone -- surely you're not coming to me now to ask me to interfere, are you?
Just what, in any case, could you possibly expect me to do?
You could tell her you'll have the surrounding walls taken down--
Orodreth: [standing up]
Starless Night of the Gloomweaver! You are not meddling with the structural supports of the City, and if I so much as hear a whisper of covert demolitions and walls being touched -- there will be a Kinslaying on this side of the family, I promise you. You really have no notion at all, do you, of what you're dealing with? This isn't Tirion, dammit, the rules of architecture you studied at home don't mean a thing when you're working with natural formations of integral stone, the stresses and counterweights and bracings--! You don't know which walls are supporting and which aren't, and you haven't spent Great Years studying them -- or studied with those who have instead. Touch the walls, and you touch Nargothrond, and then -- our understanding is at an end.
And what exactly do you think would happen then?
Orodreth: [smiling through his teeth]
Very expensive damages all round.
Curufin: [back to light tone]
You're beginning to sound like your great-uncle, you know.
I'm beginning to understand my great-uncle much better these days. Now please leave me to my lofty role as Regent, unless you'd like to be working in the dark come Sun-return. Solve your own self-created problems for once.
[Orodreth goes back to comparing tallies and tablets, scratching off duplicate entries, and ignoring the brothers. Disgruntled, the Sons of Feanor leave, saying as they pass through into the outer hallway, loudly:]
--Pathetic to think we're related to him.
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