5. Scene IV
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
TINUVIEL AT BAY: A CACCIA OF BELERIAND
Those who venture, forsaking paths, in forests dark and dolesome,
may well find it harder far, returning to ways wholesome--
[The royal apartments. Most everything that was Orodreth's is out now. Through one of the inner chamber doorways Curufin can be seen -- he goes as if to open a small box lying on one of the tables, but hesitates, drawing his hand back before touching it. Instead he opens a large flat case next to it and starts to reach in, but stops as Finduilas comes stalking quickly into the suite. Hastily he shuts it and turns around, coming out into the antechamber.]
So are you just moving in and taking over openly, now?
Ask your father, Sparkly.
I did. I want to hear your version.
What does it matter, since you've already made up your mind?
--So you are.
Curufin: [raises hands]
I didn't say that. You did.
But you implied it.
Curufin: [surprisingly unsarcastic throughout]
No, you did. --Did you want something other than to snarl at me, little cousin?
I'm here for my music things. And the Nauglamir.
Yes, I was surprised to see he'd forgotten it . . .
You know he won't touch it. If it weren't so valuable he'd leave it on the throne with the Crown, but he says there's no sense in tempting people.
Well, you know where it is.
[Finduilas sweeps past him and comes back out with the large case under her arm.]
Is that her cape in that casket beside it? The one that feels like there's water or wind coming off of it?
Why do you ask, when you already know?
What are you keeping it for, anyway? Shouldn't it be in the Research Department for study? Or else give it back to her?
Little cousin, are you being naive or just affected?
Oh! I hate you. Don't talk to me!
I know we've had our differences --
Differences? You take over our home, and you call that -- "differences"? You threatened us with civil war, and those are "differences" --?
Curufin: [holding up his hand, overriding her interruptions]
--Did I ever do that? No. That was the construction your uncle and his partisans put on my words, forcing a confrontation for reasons of their own. Ask yourself honestly why, after so long a time without difficulty -- whith everything at last back to normal, or as close to normal as we will likely see in Nargothrond -- he should put us in such a position, fabricating an incident whereby such a clash was made inevitable? If that is not at all suspicious, I don't know what is--
But that's neither here nor there. I won't argue with you when you've made up your mind -- especially when you know you agree with me . . .
Stop making it sound like I'm the one being unreasonable -- what do you mean, "agree with" you?
--You don't want to hear what I have to say, so what does it matter?
Stop that! You're treating me like a child -- again.
I beg your pardon. It's difficult being the one to see what those who haven't,
alas, the same tragic experience can only imagine, and build opinions based on lofty ideals and half-heard facts not fully understood. I'm afraid I tend to get a bit impatient, which comes out in sarcasm.
Don't try to win me over to your side. I'm not stupid.
I would never suggest it. Merely -- young, and easily led.
May I remind you, cousin, that I crossed the Grinding Ice, too.
Indeed. --And why did you have to undergo that ordeal? Who led your group into that disastrous adventure? --We didn't tell you to follow us; it isn't my family you should be blaming for that expedition, now, --is it?
Oh, be quiet! You twist everything around --
Yes -- that's what your sweetheart tells you, and I'm sure it's far more pleasant, as well as easier, to listen to him than to me.
--Gwin doesn't tell me how to think!
Curufin: [clearly disbelieving]
No? Well, you should know best . . .
[she does not answer]
I don't expect you to change your mind about me. But I would request that you ask yourself -- you don't have to answer me, either -- just ask yourself, honestly, without worrying about what you should think, about permission-- do you truly think that it's a good thing? --This business of one of us, getting romantically involved with a mortal?
I don't see that it's anyone's business but theirs.
Oh, you haven't thought about it at all, then.
Finduilas: [tossing her head]
You're impossible. I don't want to hear your rationalizations.
Of course not. You might have to actually think, then. --No, don't stamp your foot at me and stomp off, these shoot-from-ambush-and-run tactics aren't worthy of a Noldor princess. If you really believe I'm wrong, you'll be able to prove why.
[Finduilas just gives him a Look, but doesn't say anything to contradict him, or leave.]
Curufin: [mock surprise]
What, you're going to give me a chance to explain myself? I'm staggered by your generosity, your Highness! How can I repay you?
--Don't press your luck, cousin.
[but she is starting to smile though she fights it]
Certainly not, I wouldn't dare -- all right, then, how is this? The ex-Lord of Dorthonion is undoubtedly a warrior of great prowess in the fight against our common adversary. I would never deny that. But is that enough? Does that actually mean anything, when you come right down to it?
[Finduilas starts to interrupt, but he holds up his hand, and she waits]
Consider the facts -- the inescapable facts of the world -- which you surely know far better than she, on a practical level, not an intellectual one, having spent so much of the time since the Return actually in day-to-day contact with Men, not simply having heard about them secondhand from the extremes of hostility and favoritism, as she. You are aware of the brevity of mortal lifespan. You have heard more than mere legends and romantic tales -- you also have heard the true and dreary stories of petty squabbles and small concerns that involved the Beorings and their allied nations over the centuries. But all that--
[He frowns, looking troubled and reluctant to go on -- she gives him an impatient look]
All that -- might not matter, were the Lady Luthien not who she is, but a simple woodland maiden with no other role in society. Her right to ruin her own life, her foolish self-deception as to the inevitable tragedy of such a union, would be hers alone. But that is not, unfortunately, the case. --She is, after all, like you the heir to a great responsibility, the throne of one of the few Elven dominions capable of withstanding the Enemy's assaults in these sorry days--
--I'm not the heir to the throne!
--If not you, then who is? Why else does your father enlist you to do his work with him? He, at least, understands the need for prudence, howsoever his romantic ideallism wars with his sense of duty.
My father can't stand you.
Curufin: [raises his hands helplessly]
We do not always know our friends -- nor, I venture to say, even like them, contradictory as that may seem.
Fiunduilas: [sarcastic expression]
Say, at least, that we have common cause -- that we -- all of us -- value Nargothrond and this realm's people above any abstractions of "duty" and "honour" and that as a consequence, we are bound to be misinterpreted and misjudged by those who let heart rule head. --Have you not experienced that yourself? Are not you, and your future father-in-law, made scapegrace for the unwilling recognition of that duty by your fiance?
[she does not answer]
I see that you do.
[Finduilas goes as though they had not had this conversation to get her lute and folders of sheet music. Her hands are shaking, her knuckles showing on the Nauglamir's case and she drops the portfolios -- while kneeling down to gather them up one handed, the lute strap slips off her shoulder. Curufin scoops it all together, puts the lute back up for her and hands her the music folios. She glares at him, her expression very still now, not scornful, just hostile.]
Thank you for at least hearing me out, Highness. Just -- think about it, that's all.
[She says nothing, and walks out with head held high. After she is out of sight, Curufin smiles.]
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