5. Scene IV, Part 1
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
Houseguests from Hell, or, 'So, what exactly do you two do around here, anyway?'
THE SOJOURN IN NARGOTHROND FROM THE LAY OF LEITHIAN
retold in the vernacular as a dramatic script
(with apologies to Messrs. Tolkien & Shakespeare)
SCENE IV, Part 1
- In hope most high of endlessly-awaited strife,
long mused, longtime abetted, longer dreamed of yet,
King Felagund renews his ancient works, recalls to life
long-stilled ambitions, to o'erthrow and set
in one fell stroke great Morgoth's pivot-hold,
back from its strangling press in sortie bold.
Like a master-painter he works over his design,
now adding here a stroke, now there a line,
now at a sudden inspiration swift-casting off
and in one grand wide-sweeping unguessed move,
turns inside out or back to front what was,
building in space, in time, in Fate unshaped, to cause
the End long-purposed far beyond the Seas.
Meanwhile Beren the traveller, rested of travails, finding himself a stranger in uncharted realm, though fair, essays his own adventures, where for guide hath only tales; (but never was there journey yet he feared to dare, in the Dark Wood, nor yet the Mountains of Despair.)
[A solar (or what would be a solar were it not underground)-- that is to say, a large, pleasant, brightly lit dining chamber/living room/meeting space off the main assembly hall, where some are taking breakfast, some playing quiet music some chatting; but there is a nervous undercurrent that manifests in cheerfulness.]
[Finrod's Steward enters. Beren, accompanying him, halts before continuing and checks 'both ways' to be sure that all avenues of ambush are clear, then steps quickly through. This gets some Looks. He is washed and dressed in clothes clearly not his own, both for quality and fit, and appears less barbaric, though the results of getting pine pitch in one's hair are not disguisable. More at odds with the tailoring is the fact that he has limited his accouterments to some dozen sidearms, belted openly over his garments. The overall effect is rather unique.]
- I'm so sorry we could not fit you better -- anything short enough
was too narrow across the shoulders, and the alterations were rather hasty.
- Please -- you don't need to keep apologizing, sir.
- You gave us quite a turn, not being there.
- Sorry. I woke up and found I couldn't sleep where I was any more.
- On the floor?
- Under a roof. The arch was more -- familiar.
- Ah. I -- see.
- Beren: [smiling]
- You don't. --From above, it's like a tree. The ceiling is too high for a house,
but too low for the sky. My caves were never chosen for their spaciousness.
There is a variety of foodstuffs available which will satisfy your dietary requirements, but I fear they are not labeled nor in any way distinguished in their arrangement at the buffet --
- Again, I'd rather you didn't worry so much about my needs. I certainly don't.
- Are you sure? I can ask the chefs to make up a list --
- Beren: [innocently]
- Or -- I could come forage around in the kitchens, if that would be easier.
- Stars, no!
You're remarkably cheerful, milord.
- Beren: [smiling broadly]
- Well, I've been awake for one-twelfth of the day already, and nobody's tried
to kill me yet.
- That is, I concur, an excellent reason to be pleased with life.
[He shows the way to the 'groaning board' which holds is an array of foodstuffs so varied and plentiful that Beren cannot even be surprised at it, any more than one is surprised at the number of colored leaves in autumn. He fills a golden plate with fruit and pastries and cheeses -- and also fills his sleeves and sash with several kinds of flatbreads. The Steward is too polite to say anything, but he does notice.]
- Steward: [shaking his head]
- It seems that we have run out of glasses already -- I will have to speak to
the staff. I'll fetch yours: what would you prefer, Lord Beren? We have
spring water, well water, rainwater of different hours' vintage; there is
also juice, in the modern fashion, both corrantine and grape, and this
harvest's damson, which I personally recommend. There, is as well, watered wine,
in any combination of wines or waters, in the old Valinorean mode, if you'd
rather the traditional instead.
- Whatever you have is fine.
- All together--?
- No -- I meant -- whatever was most convenient. You decide.
- You really don't care at all, milord?
- Beren: [encouraging]
- That's right.
- I do understand, young sir -- but I wish that I did not. May it please you,
choose whichever seat you would: we do not stand on ceremony in the Hall of
Hours, and everyone is free to take what place the soul desires. I'll return
with your beverage shortly. I trust I may presume upon your forbearance
to delay long enough to chastise the kitcheners for their duties' neglect.
- Beren: [graciously]
- You may.
[The Steward bows and leaves him with a somewhat ironic-rueful expression. Beren tries to sit at the table, but cannot get comfortable in the chair: after several attempts to reposition it to where he is able to relax, he shakes his head. Laughing at himself, he picks up his plate, circling the room until he finds a convenient alcove and perches there. He does not seem to be aware of the stares which follow him.]
[Someone has forgotten a goblet on the ledge, which is made of crystal and has for decoration a fully-sculpted version of the emblem on his ring, the two gold serpents winding up the stem and the gold wreath encircling the lip of the glass, but all the texture is completely covered in the clear shell blown around the ornamentation. Beren picks it up and examines it, astonished by the fineness of detail and its fragility. The Captain approaches and leans over with a most conspiratorial manner.]
- Captain: [manic whisper]
- --It's called 'glass'. One drinks from it. We make it out of sand.
[Beren gives him an alarmed look; he maintains the earnest expression for a long moment, then dissolves into snickers, cuffing Beren on the arm.]
Did he really say that? About furniture?
[Beren nods, the laughter becoming contagious]
They've been going around repeating it as though they think it makes them sound clever. --What a pair of gits!
- Beren: [looks around, then whispers confidentially:]
- Don't tell anyone, but I've forgotten how to use the stuff. I couldn't find
a way to make the table-chair thing work.
- What, those things? They're designed that way, so you won't sit there
and clutter up the area all day. -- No, I don't know. That's just my theory.
One of Celebrimbor's early projects -- gorgeous as water, but as comfortable
as a pile of rocks.
- Less, I thought.
- You didn't think people were sitting on hassocks and rugs and column footings
over there to be artistic and create an elegant tableau, did you? --Though around
here one never knows . . .
- There you are, milord. I thought you'd vanished again.
- Beren: [soberly]
- No openwork vaulting in here.
- Steward: [deadpan]
- I am certain some could be arranged, but probably not before lunchtime,
I'm afraid. --Is that an empty glass beside you? Let me take that back
and show them. Here is yours, milord. I brought the damson juice; I trust
that it meets with your approval.
- Beren: [tasting]
- It does. It's excellent. Thank you.
[sets the goblet aside and takes out his eating-knife.]
If you will forgive me, sirs -- I'll eat in your presence, for as Da always said, if people will drop by at mealtime they'd best not expect me to stop for them -- but I would no less than my folks that you stay, and join me if you'd like, for my mother's table never lacked another place.
[He offers choice of what's on his plate: they are visibly moved.]
- No, I've ended my fast hours ago. But I thank you, Lord Beren.
[The Steward only shakes his head. Beren begins to cut the little Lady-apples into halves but halts when an imposingly-regal individual approaches them, and his two companions at once come to attention.]
- Captain: [salutes]
- Your Highness.
- My lord Barahirion, may I make known to you our good King's brother and
coordinator of the realm's defenses --
- Beren: [putting aside his meal
- -- Prince Orodreth --
- Please -- do not rise. I've no wish to impose upon you after the rigors of
your journey! I only wished to say, at outset -- how much -- without delay,
that is -- that I admire your many valiant efforts in the field and have
always hoped and prayed for your continued success -- that is, when of course
report more than insubstantial rumor has arrived, since the course of reliable
news from out of the North has naturally dwindled in past years -- Not that
I am blaming you in the least, my lord Beren, far to the contrary -- Rather
I wanted to express my sorrow for your grievous losses -- and to express
my gratitude for your own good works, on behalf of all our peoples. -- I also
-- as a father -- would like to thank you for your kind indulgence to my
daughter's fancies -- though, in truth, were it not for the exigencies of
my job I'd have likely been asking for your autograph the other day as well!
Her fiancee hasn't stopped talking about you these last two days either --
prepare yourself for much curiosity, my lord. Nargothrond wishes to thank
our hereditary champion -- not least impressive for the fact of your mortality --
- Beren: [as Orodreth appears to be waiting for something, uncertainly:]
- -- You're welcome?
- Orodreth: [a touch relieved]
- You do me honor, Lord of Dorthonion. I trust I'll see you presently in council?
- You know more than I do, I'm afraid, Your Highness.
- Ah. I did not mean to put you on the spot. milord. Now if you'll forgive me,
I've got to run--
[Apparently by accident, the Steward half turns to bow in reply and simultaneously tread on the Ranger Captain's boot as Orodreth takes off.]
- Beren: [staring after Orodreth]
- Was that supposed to make sense? Or am I still asleep? Which I gather from
his words lasted rather more than one night, and I'm not surprised at all.
That's gotta have been good for another three years . . .
- Captain: [lowered voice]
- He lost his nerve. Left our final position of defense to Morgoth's top commander
after a battle significant in its utter absence, and fled back to Nargothrond with
the gates wide open. The only thing he didn't do was wait to give Sauron the grand
tour of the place.
- You haven't talked to the people who came back from there. It was something
beyond reason, something which sent everyone there into the same funk as
the Night of Darkness. I doubt that anyone could have held out longer than
the Prince did.
- Do you think the King would have neglected to at least tear the place down
before he left? Not left it standing there for our Enemy to use, and give him
for free the best terrain in the region! -- All right, I'll stop.
But that's what's behind his apology, lad. After Tol Sirion fell, the Enemy's troops were pretty much able to plough through us wherever they wanted, having a fine base of operations to work out from, and we were no longer able to control them in Beleriand at all.
- Oh. --Ohhh . . .
[frowning as he begins to understand, and put many things together. Perhaps he would ask more, or say something, but Celebrimbor son of Curufin approaches, wearing a somewhat distracted expression. (The actual source of his apparent rudeness is as much inventorly preoccupation as awareness of his own exalted heritage, but this would not be obvious at once to a bystander.)]
- Has any of you lot seen my glass? I think I forgot it over here . . .
[The Steward hands it to him with a Look.]
I know, I know, I'm sorry -- I was writing in my tablets and I've only got two hands --
I say, is that the famous Ring?
[He seizes Beren's wrist and yanks his hand up for a better look, apple and all, leaving Beren staring in astonishment at the eating-knife in his right.]
- Ah -- excuse me?
[The grandson of Feanor looks at him with mild surprise as though not anticipating him capable of speech. As the expectant pause extends and the other Elves look at him with disapproval, Celebrimbor blushes in realization of his error and clears his throat, releasing Beren's arm and bowing formally.]
- I was wondering -- might I examine it more closely, please?
I've a technical interest in the metal arts.
[Wordlessly Beren removes the Ring and passes it to him.]
- Amazing, how such a trinket can summon kings to do one's bidding...
[When done he returns it and is about to leave, but notices the Looks he is getting from the Steward and the Captain.]
Thank you, er, Barahirion.
[moves away to the far side of the solar and his friends.]
- Beren: [amazed]
- It's like I didn't even exist.
- Don't let it trouble you, milord.
- They're all like that -- Shiplords. Unless you can do something for them.
- Actually, Lord Celebrimbor is not the worst.
- It would be very difficult to be worse than his father.
- His uncle is always civil, at least to me.
- That's because you're the one in charge of organizing hunts. Don't flatter
yourself: Celegorm is not a nice fellow. My men served as beaters for him
once. Do not ever get between him and the game. It's always accidental, he
always apologizes for nearly running you over -- and then he does it again.
- That was Curufin's son? I wouldn't have guessed.
- You had something he wanted.
- There aren't any more of them around here, are there? I've promised to be
civil to them, and I'd like to be prepared . . .
- No, that's the lot of them. But they have a sizable retinue here.
- In other words, don't assume that anyone you meet is not a partisan of theirs.
Heh. I wonder if the Master-Smith realizes how close he came to having his arm stabbed just now?
- Oh no, I wouldn't have struck: there weren't any threat indications from him.
But it was kind of a dumb thing for him to do. --Are they all that biased
- Well, there's Caranthir, but . . .
- --So I've heard.
- Maedhros isn't nearly as bad as the rest, and Maglor is fairly decent too.
- They've still got attitude problems taller than Taniquetil.
- There's no call for blasphemy. And we'd have no cavalry without them.
- True. I am very grateful for the cavalry. I don't think they care much one
way or the other about mortals, though.
Oh, and don't forget Amrod-and-Amras. . .
- Steward: [drily]
- That, certainly, would be impossible.
- I'm afraid I don't remember my kin speaking anything of them--?
- They probably wouldn't. Hardly anyone ever sees . . . them. -- That is rather
the point, isn't it?
[the Steward grimaces. Beren looks from one to the other of them.]
Oh, go on, tell him. We don't need to worry about impressing The Beoring, of all mortals!
- Steward: [sighing]
- The story -- and recollect at all times that this is no more than a story --
is that Amrod was forgotten aboard the stolen ships when Feanor decided to burn
them. You know of all that miserable affair from your history, I presume? Or
whilst certainly not not all, at least the general outline?
Moreover, your cousins were born at a birth, as I recollect --
[Beren nods again]
-- and I never had the slightest trouble telling them apart, milord. Now the first we knew of that ship business happened when King Finrod began scouting out the reaches of Angband to aid in the strategies of the siege, and sent to ask permission of the lords of the North to traverse their lands with surveyors. I was received civilly enough, and gave my speech before Lord Amrod, who listened and asked questions and then said he'd have to consult with his brother, who was out hunting, and would undoubtedly want to speak with me himself on the morrow when he got back. So they put me up at the lodge and the next morning I asked if I could see Lord Amrod again, because there were a few points I had perhaps not laid out as well as I might and wished to clarify.
"No," their steward replies, "he's Amras today." I was sure I must have misunderstood and spent breakfast wondering what I had misheard him say, when I was summoned again to the lords' hall, and there was -- so far as I could tell -- the same individual with whom I'd spoken previously. Yet his manner, his dress, his bearing, his voice even, were all different. They introduced me to him as Lord Amras, and he insisted that I tell him all my message as I had told his brother. I trust I do not flatter myself when I say that I maintained my composure throughout, but I must confess that I was not prepared for the explanation which I received after from my counterpart in the lords' household, under some considerable pressure.
- And which you said you weren't sure you believed, either.
- Do you want to tell the story? --All right, then. Apparently, and this is only
hearsay, but it fits the evidence, and subsequent reports -- when Amras died on
board the ship, his soul was unwilling to return to the punishment that awaits
us who rebelled, and his brother was unwilling to let him drift alone and
houseless on this Shore. So, being twin and so much the same in flesh and
spirit, Amrod gave way to his slain sibling and yielded his body to the other's
will. But Amras, no less without precedent, and grateful for the gift, cedes back
control in fair measure and with perfect accord, and so they both walk -- or ride
to hunt, more like -- in Middle-earth.
[Beren is speechless]
Now, either this is simply a bizarre joke, which the youngest sons of Feanor and their household enjoy perpetrating on their more distant relations, and they both live but choose not to appear together before outsiders; or it is the case that the youngest son was killed, and his surviving twin went mad and now plays his part, which would explain why I could not tell any difference in 'their' presences; or -- it is true as I was told.
- Captain: [snickers]
- Or -- it's true -- and they're both mad. Equally plausible, eh?
- Don't laugh: it isn't funny, it's horrible and tragic.
- It's horrible and funny, Edrahil. It adds that last little missing touch of
the surreal to the whole grisly mess.
[starts laughing again]
"He's Amras today" --sweet Cuivinen!
- Beren: [appalled]
- Can that happen?
[The Steward raises his eyebrows and shrugs.]
- Dark and powerful spirits have been known to seize the careless and unwary
Seeker, or exchange recently slain dwellings with a living. But that's uncommon,
at least among our people, and involuntary. I've never heard of such a willful
sharing of one home between two Eldar souls -- yet I can't think why it should
- I think -- I think that's the scariest thing I've ever heard.
- I keep telling myself, every time it comes up, that it's really rather moving
to think of such devotion and unselfishness and brotherly love. So far it hasn't
worked very well.
- Beren: [still rather shaken]
- That beats every ghost story I know. If my cousins had heard about that when we
were kids, I would never have slept a night for the nightmares. . . . But you know,
what would be worse, is if you thought it was normal.
- Captain: [blandly]
- Well, actually --
[The Steward rolls his eyes resignedly; they are broken in upon by the arrival of several of 'the lot from the Plains']
- Oh, sound the retreat, here comes the horde!
[He gestures them down]
Serried rank, there. Don't crowd our guest.
[Suddenly tongue-tied, they look at Beren in embarrassment. Seated in the arched alcove, flanked by an Elven-lord and an Elven-warrior, with petitioners kneeling before him, he looks rather like a primitive image of Orome, though he would never guess it himself.]
- Ranger: [awkwardly]
- My lord Barahirion --
-- Do you have 'Dark Battle' there?
- Beren: [setting his hand on the hilt of his sword, surprised]
- Yes -- How do you know ...?
- Legend, lad, legend -- get used to it.
- Might we see the blade?
- Beren: [uncertain, looking to the Captain]
- I've peace-bonded it -- Sir?
- I'll stand warrant.
[grins at the younger Ranger]
You're less likely to do accidental damage than some people I could mention here.
[Beren unlashes the hilt from the scabbard and offers it correctly, hiltwise, to the Elven-warrior first, who hefts it, nods, and passes it on to his subordinate.]
- Ranger: [awed]
- 'Dark Battle' --!
- Beren: [plaintively]
- It's just a sword. The balance is good and the span suits my height. There's
no aura to it that I can tell, no runes woven into it.
- It is Dwarf-work, though. It came from here, like your armor. Beor's eldest son
chose that blade; the hauberk was a gift to your great-grandfather Boromir when
the grant of Ladros was made. Prince Aegnor said at the time that he'd gladly
give even more to anyone willing to take that damp, drizzling wasteland off his
hands, and that anyone who was going to defend it needed mail that wouldn't rust.
[Beren shakes his head, amused at his own surprise]
- Excuse me, my lord, but -- why is your scabbard covered in wolf-skin?
- Hides the smell of the metal. Until it's too late. I had a cape to match for
winter, but that didn't survive the journey, used it for bug-bait . . .
[shakes his head, trying to forget about that part]
- My favorite story's the time when you challenged that Orc-captain to
[Beren looks blank]
The one they called 'The Butcher'? Gorgol, it was?
- Um, no -- I shot him from behind. A lot.
- But there's a song --
- I didn't make it.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if everything that any of us did was also ascribed to me. That happened to Da when he was alive. And everything that the hidden resistance efforts did as well, they said was me. --Which was their right. I was responsible, after all, being their Lord, for what was done in my will, even if not with my explicit orders, and the blame mine to take for it.
- But you did burn down that supply depot, did you not? That command center at Drun?
- Beren: [shrugs]
- Fire arrows work great for that.
- Shot from where? There's no cover around Drun, unless the landscape's changed
considerably in the last twelve-score years.
[Beren gives him a reproachful look. Innocently:]
I'm just saying--
- --Did you really wound the Lord of Wolves?
- Oh. That. --Maybe.
[makes a face. To their expectant looks:]
When they sent in the wolfpacks initially there was a command group riding in the middle and this one guy in black armour who was taller than anyone I've ever seen, yourselves included. Black with spikes, of course. But I don't know if it was him or one of his minions -- if I was him I'd use a minion, and shift into a warg like they say he does. I just don't know: scary-looking-black-iron versus recurved, reinforced, yew/horn laminate and a straight-down shot not usually much of a contest, but I barely winged him. I swear the air rippled when I loosed and it was like shooting into water. So maybe it was Sauron after all.
- The air moved?
- Beren: [shrugs]
- I wouldn't believe me either. But I don't usually miss, not when I've got a wide
angle and an elevated blind to work from.
- No, he could do that. I'm just amazed you weren't obliterated after.
- I was in a stand of oaks.
- Guard: [to the Ranger, whispering]
- --Did that make sense?
[the Ranger shrugs. Aloud:]
My lords, I do not wish to signal any disrespect to the Edain, but I fail to see how that could protect one against the Lord of Abominations?
- I -- think the land protected me. The trees --
[they are more confused]
- --The land?
- It never betrayed me the way it betrayed others.
- How could the land betray one?
- It ate people. Farms. Beasts. Cattle strangled in vines in the open field.
Hillsides disintegrated under a man's heel and pitched him down in the midst
of his foes where the track had been solid an hour earlier, and no rain.
- But would you not say that was the work of the Enemy?
- Beren: [thoughtfully, shaking his head]
- I think the land went mad. I think we drove it crazy, fighting over it, holding
it so hard and with such hate and fury on both sides, till it savaged all of us
like a wounded hound unable to tell the difference between friend and foe.
- And why not you?
- I can't explain. Perhaps -- no, I don't know. I tried not to take without making
thanks, not to damage as I went. I never resented it. That's -- that's why I'm
alive, though. I was the only one who could skirt through the Nightshade without
being affected by it. It was depressing, but it only made me sad, not insane.
There were trees that I knew I didn't dare touch, and others that would tolerate
me, but I didn't abuse their hospitality, so to speak. And then there were some
in Dorthonion that welcomed me, that I knew I could sink pegs into to aid my
climbs and that I'd sleep in without fear of any harm -- times when I swear the
leaves turned to screen me from Orc-sight, when the roots folded fast about me
against the wolfpacks and I never feared being trapped in the earth or thought
to move to hide myself better. Oaks were particularly good to me. And beechgroves
were always safe.
- But -- you're a mortal, milord.
- So I've been told. But the woods and hills have never threatened me.
- Is that how you were able to carry off so many legendary exploits?
- Beren: [clearly still very uncomfortable with that 'legend' bit]
- Part. After my father died I only cared to do as much harm as I might to our
ancient Enemy. I did things that've been called impossible because no one thought
they'd be attempted, and didn't guard against me. Then they guarded against what
I had done, --not what I did next. And since they'd manage to make sure that I had
nothing else to do, no other responsibilities to look after, no one else to worry
about, I could put a lot of work into the planning, give the execution free rein.
It wasn't like there was anything they could do to me, except catch me. And against
that it's a good idea to have as many psychotic mutants and demon wolves as angry
with you as possible, because then they're not going to stop and say 'we should
really take this guy back home for questioning, we'll get double the reward then'--
There was a legend running wildfire given the name 'Beren,' but there was no one left to call me by that name . . .
. . . or to answer.
[Silently the Royal Guard who is present holder of Dagmor slides forward and lays the sword down in front of him on the ledge; Beren gently traces his fingers down the flat of the blade.]
- But were you not assisted in your revenge?
- Beren: [confused]
- By who?
- By the men of his shield-band, your companions in all fortunes? --Dairuin?
[With each name Beren slowly takes a knife from his bandoleers and places it on the stone ledge in front of him next to the sword.]
- Guard: [unable to stop asking, but knowing what's coming]
[click -- a knife]
[click -- a fifth]
[click -- the sixth]
- Beren: [voice eerily calm]
- I have nothing of his. He -- died elsewhere, and I -- never found his body.
No -- I'm wrong. I take that back.
[takes up the little eating-knife]
He told me this was Elvish work, and lucky, when he gave it me at Sun-Return the first year I was old enough to hold blade. Since the cut I immediately gave myself didn't get infected, the luck seems good. I think there's a rule that you have to cut yourself with your first knife, and hide it from your parents...
- Captain: [softly]
- It has the rune for keenness in it -- a clean cut rarely festers.
- Your cousin Baragund?
- Beren: [sets down two daggers side by side at once]
- With his brother my cousin Belegund, dead one beside the other, halfway back
to the camp. If the Orc-arrows hadn't been poisoned they might have lived at
least enough to warn the others, but the patrol kn-- thought to take out the
[sets down another blade]
Dagnir, almost of an age with me;
[and one more]
Hathaldir, who should have gone with the children and the wives, but wouldn't.
[He then unbuckles the leather straps that held the sheaths about his forearms.]
[lays down another band]
[followed by a third]
and Star. My father's hounds, and mine.
[A long silence]
- You are the last? Of all Dorthonion's warriors? All your father's household
at once, save you? All who were at the Dagor Bragollach with us, and their
sons, but for you alone?
- Beren: [incredulous]
- Did you not understand? I thought it was made clear --
- Steward: [equally distressed]
- No. And yes. --And no. It is still difficult for us to comprehend the brevity
of human life, but we accept it -- but ten years is small even in mortal
reckoning, and the shield-guard of Dorthonion of younger years for the most
part, and is is beyond my ability to believe that Belegund your kinsman, who
carried me out of Serech on his shoulders, and shared the last of his water
with me in that furnace -- is gone from Arda as last year's leaves.
- Beren: [hoarsely]
- But in wartime a day is long, and 'sunset may be a dirge where the morning
was a dance.'
- Soldier: [low voice]
- My lord -- we have not known full war these several years, and save the
Dagor Bragollach and the times immediately following, not since long before then.
[End Act II, Scene IV, Part 1 – Please continue for remainder of Scene]
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