67. Scene XLV
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
TINUVIEL AT BAY: A CACCIA OF BELERIAND
Shattered now, at the tolling of the hours,
fadeth the sweet tranquility of Lorien
cast upon the City's folk, the scent of flowers,
the dreamlike peace and dreaming then--
[Luthien's apartments. The door stands open, the guards stand about in defensive clusters trying not to look at all responsible for anything. A few poke through the back rooms of the suite as though she might possibly be hiding somewhere, they just missed her somehow. Celebrimbor is sitting on the bench beneath the North-facing window that Luthien used to haunt. Disheveled and rather bloody in his combat togs, he looks at the hilt of his sword musingly, tracing out alternate designs for it with his fingers as he waits for the inevitable entrance of his family -- now happening.]
Curufin: [white-hot rage]
--What do you mean, "The door was open and she was gone"? That just can't be --
[sees his son]
What are you doing here? Is -- this your doing? If it is, so help me --
--Who? I'd be interested in hearing who the patron of Kinslayers is, Father -- though I think I know already.
Celegorm: [breaking in]
What happened? Where is she?
[His nephew laughs wildly and hilariously]
--Dammit, answer me, you little punk!
It seems -- that your nightingale has flown. The rooms were thus when I awoke downstairs at the pels.
She can't have gotten far -- get the horses saddled and we'll track her --
Do you really think you'll catch up now, Uncle? It's been more than a bell now.
What, is she going to fly? She's got no horse, you idiot.
--Do you think she needs one?
[they look at him like he's insane]
Oh come now -- you don't see Huan about, either, do you?
He's a Hound, not a horse, 'Brim.
--Who happens to be as big as one, and faster than any courser we've owned. A horse would just slow them down, I expect.
He wouldn't stoop to being ridden . . . she wouldn't dare, surely.
He's her friend and she loves him and trusts him with some justification. It's plainly inconceivable.
--Leave the room.
No, thanks, I think I'll stay here for the time being.
Be careful of defying me, boy.
Unfortunately, I am . . .
[enter Orodreth with entourage, foremost his daughter and her fiance, the latter standing protectively next to her, still carrying his sword as well.]
My lords. This is -- a surprise, I gather?
[wary Looks all round the Feanorians]
So -- your Leaguer has been breached, I take it. --Once again, putting trust in the strength of pales without to hold within a determined and unmeasured force has proven to be -- ah, inadvisable. It seems The Beoring was right, after all, as to the repetitive nature of strategy and offense.
[inarticulate growling noise]
Orodreth: [glancing around the room, as though sniffing the air]
Very impressive. Entirely constructive in its nature, too. What an amazing use of Healing principles to unblock barriers as well as to foil observation. And strangely self-maintaining, too, to linger so long afterwards -- What, didn't you know what her Working could do, my lords? You had it to study long enough.
What extraordinary forbearance, as well. I really -- well, unfortunately I can imagine only too well what my sister might inflict on those who had served her the same way. It would be . . . memorable. --Quite unforgettable, I should say.
[The Sons of Feanor stand shoulder to shoulder, scowling at the Regent's party, the rest of the people in the room standing between them in uncertain alignment except for Celebrimbor smiling mockingly at his folks from the sidelines, one hand on his updrawn knee, one on the hilt of his sword, where he leans back on the bench.]
Did you know she could do this?
No more than you.
Curufin: [turning on the rhetoric]
You're remarkably blasé about all this, cousin. Has it not occurred to you that the Lady Luthien is presently hastening to destruction, alone and helpless, while we stand here deliberating technicalities of Art?
Hardly helpless, by the look of it, nor -- where is Huan, by the by? -- I should guess alone. She can hardly do any worse than has been done so far.
You may think this but touches our Household -- but I would remind you, Lord Steward of Nargothrond, that she -- they -- must go with certain knowledge of this City's location and the ways back to it, which now must all be trebly obscured and guarded, and still the jeopardy will not be entirely removed!
[The Prince Regent only stares at him, arms folded, with a slight, one-sided smile]
It is, as the mortal saying has it, far late in the day to be thinking of that.
What will come, will come. What has already happened, has happened. Nothing of your will, nor of mine, can change either in the slightest. All we can do is wait, and be ready. --My lords.
[In the middle of another angry glare Celegorm's eyes suddenly widen -- he has remembered something else.]
Celegorm: [aside to Curufin]
. . .
[Shocked realization followed by mutual dismay]
Curufin: [recovering, sneering]
Well, my lord Steward, such passivity is only to be expected of you. My brother and I, however, are not content with that, and we at least will set ourselves to such countermeasures, defenses, and contingency plans as our combined wits and the resources of our House can concoct. I trust you'll not object, seeing as our end is the good of the City?
[The Regent shakes his head, smiling faintly]
Are you coming with us, son?
[Celebrimbor shakes his head.]
--Stay with these losers, then -- but don't expect me to take you back without a full apology. I promise you, you'll soon think better of your stupidity!
[turns to go, barely under control. Aside:]
--I'm going to kill her, I swear--
[Stalks out, followed by Celegorm. Some of the guards follow them, some start to, then stop guiltily, others look at each other, the Regent and his assistants, the floor. As Finduilas takes hold of his hand, Orodreth looks anxious, afraid to hope, yet unable to help it.]
--Now for the nonce, for little while
Nargothrond yet remains in habits false-secure,
choosing to refuse the fearful intimations that rile
the surface of the current, Time's stream a lure
illusory, that seemeth ever same and changeless,
and yet is ever other, ever changes, ever bears
burdens small and great within its mirrored dress;
But the Doom, their Doom, is already loosed
and sweepeth down within the sky-reflecting flood
like to a baulk of timber to shatter the unwary used
to calms, driven 'gainst water-gates on tide of blood,
it comes, and all effort to stave off shall turn
but to a hastening--
Of this unknowing, too, but too well aware
of fate general and dark, for her heart doth spurn
its confines like rush of wings, the Nightingale no more
on Narog's selfish shores doth bide -- freed
of her soft confines by love unmarred of greed,
Northward she hurtles like a driving storm to fare,
horseless and needless, fleet Huan her faithful steed,
swift as swans' flight or the forces of the air
launched from steam-catapult in the van of war.
For herself no thought of harm, no terror,
no more than long-doomed Huan ever of the fate
anciently set upon him, that "wolf more great
than ever walked the world" shall be the bearer
of his destruction, nor the King her kin,
whose words self-spoken centuries past
work to their full completing now at last--
Tinuviel upon the trail doth fly: behind the din,
the hue-and-cry, mattering naught beside the path
she follows to its dread sentinel of stone, more dark
in cruelty and power than twisted shade of Delduath.
--Like unto fire-arrow loosed against its mark,
--like the fast falcon falling in fell dive,
--like to a star that shoots across the vale,
her soul and self she sets complete to strive
'gainst Morgoth's haughty servant, though mail
nor bow nor sword nor helm hath she,
nor aught of gear of war, or the grim travail
in years of Leaguer to learn their ways -- only free
the given heart to raise in challenge high,
her sword her song, her shield of main-wrought dreams.
Pitiful to wield, and her only choice to go, it seems
from prison to prison, and there as thrall to live, or die
even as her love, far from the fair woodlands where they met.
--Forward her face like adamant is set
and backwards looks she never--
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