Leithian Script: Act IV: 25. Scene IV.iv

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25. Scene IV.iv


A Boy, A Girl & A Dog
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project

BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA

SCENE IV.iv


[The Hall]

[Beside the fountain-basin: Beren and the Youngest Ranger are back to playing tafl; the rest of the Ten are scattered around apparently randomly, passing the flask and talking, or working on the waterfall -- but a trained eye would recognize how easily they could pull into a defensive formation should the need arise. At the moment the frieze behind is getting a high-relief sculpture of trees as a screen in front of the geometric Noldorin-style bas-relief surround, and the two artists working on the project are arguing hotly about it.]

Soldier: [defensive]
But hemlocks are bilateral. This is a completely accurate depiction of their schema.

Ranger:
But it doesn't look real!

[The Captain enters, Nienna's Apprentice in tow. The latter does a startled double-take on seeing what has happened to the fountain -- the Captain looks critically at the progress on it.]

Soldier:
I know! But why?

Third Guard: [breaking in]
Look -- you're not randomizing and that's why they look like a line of cirth instead of a forest. You've got to vary the groupings by factors of--

Captain: [to the chessplayers]
--What are those three going on about?

Beren: [shrugs]
I think they're arguing about aesthetics and symmetry in nature. It could be they're just talking about trees. "Algorithms" never used to be part of my everyday vocabulary.

Captain: [innocent]
And it is now?

[they both grin]

So, nothing I need to worry about or get involved in.

Youngest Ranger:
No, sir. --Not yet at least.

Captain: [to the arguing Elves, offhand]
Lady Vaire's going to have conniptions when she sees all that, you know.

Ranger:
We'll put it all back the way it was after, sir.

Apprentice: [still piqued]
--"Conniptions?" What is a conniption?

Ranger:
Conniptions -- it's always plural.

Apprentice:
What sort of a word is that?

Captain:
You'll have to ask Beren -- it's one of his.

Beren:
It's Taliska, sir. It means, um, getting really annoyed and losing your temper. With a lot of noise and so forth.

Apprentice:
Then why not just say so?

Beren:
Dunno. "Conniptions" is shorter?

Apprentice:
Not that much shorter.

Beren: [shrugs]
I guess we just liked the way it sounded. It's one of those old words that everybody kept using. And it's not just ordinary getting-angry. It's, you know, when you…say, find the little kids playing sword fights with your best skinning knives because sparks come off real metal and you don't whether to yell at them for doing something so incredibly dumb because it's dangerous or because there's three hours worth of sharpening to do now to get all the nicks out.

Apprentice: [frowning]
I…suppose I can see what you're getting at.

Beren:
Or like when you tell your brother and your younger cousin that the adults don't care if they jump on the smokehouse roof because you're angry at them for telling about the hole in the big kettle and all the hams fall down and all of you get screamed at because you should have known better than to believe him any more than he shouldn't have said it.

[pause]

Apprentice:
Ah.

Captain:
Or, for example, Morgoth, after discovering that someone's nicked a Silmaril off his crown.

Beren: [straight-faced]
No, none of my elders ever set the hearth-guard on us, not even when we accidentally ruined some of the laundry testing to see if wet fabric really was fireproof.

Captain:
Perhaps more like Feanor discovering that someone had invited his siblings to dinner and hadn't bothered this time to give him the opportunity to turn the invitation down? --Though I only heard about that at second-hand, so I can't vouchsafe that it would quite fit the definition.

Apprentice: [dry]
I do begin to get the picture.

[to Huan]

--What are you about?

[Huan only grins and wags his tail -- it's perfectly obvious that he's in dog Elysium, lying down having lots of different people to pet him]

Captain:
Well, run along -- go find out something useful and report back here when you have.

Apprentice:
You're enjoying this, aren't you?

Captain: [smiling]
Clever, aren't you?

[shaking his head, Nienna's Apprentice goes off. The Captain lounges on the rocks next to where they have set up their game, watching.]

Ranger:
What happened to Lord Edrahil, sir?

Captain:
We lost him to chess again.

[his subordinates shake their heads knowingly. Beren gives them all questioning looks]

Fingolfin's an absolute fiend for the game and not too many are good enough to give him a decent match. Those who are tend to be rather…wary of being conscripted, these days. Princess Aredhel saw an opening and bolted, and in the interest of winning the High King to our side he stepped into the gap. --Not that it would take much prompting in any case. Since he's also too proud to lose quickly and get it over with, it could be quite a while.

Youngest Ranger: [gesturing to the tafl setup]
Speaking of chess -- do you want to play, sir?

Captain:
And see how fast he can break his record for trouncing me? No, I'll just enjoy the calm until the next crisis hits. Who's winning?

Youngest Ranger:
We are. Beren's won four, and I've won four.

Beren: [frowning]
See, I would have said "nobody." But you're right, we're both winning. It's funny -- same situation, two totally different ways of looking at it.

Captain: [bland]
You know, that's practically profound.

Beren:
I thought you liked kingstone, sir.

Captain:
Oh, as a diversion it's all right. But it isn't my preferred diversion, if others are to be had. Like watching ice form, for one.

[pause]

Beren:
Oh. --That boring, huh?

Captain:
Ice crystals are quite fascinating, the way they sheet over a pond.

Beren:
Yeah, but you usually watch stuff like that when you're waiting for something to actually happen.

[without looking up from the board]

Run into House Feanor on your mission, sir?

[pause]

Captain:
Ah -- no.

Beren:
You didn't ask me why I asked that.

[silence]

You're favoring your arm, too. What happened?

Captain:
. . .

Beren:
All right, that means that the reason for it was something about me.

[everyone now watching with interest -- the Captain looks away, with an expression of self-directed exasperation]

But it wasn't the Feanorians.
Huh. --Was it that guy who came in with you?

Captain:
Beren--

Beren:
'Cause Huan likes him. He was the one who brought Amarie in here. And I think he's the same one who brought us over here from wherever I was at the beginning, only I'm not sure because everything was really hazy then. If it was him, there was something besides, or else I don't think Huan would still be happy to see him, if he was trying to hurt you.

[pause]

I don't think he's really an Elf, either.

[those around him share looks]

Captain:
Why would you think that, now?

Beren: [shrugging]
Doesn't look the same as Amarie. Something about the -- not color, but something like that -- of the light. Like the difference between a real piece of rock-crystal and a piece of glass, kind of. I remember once there was a case my uncle had to try, where there was a foreign merchant who sold a brooch to somebody in Drun that turned out not to be real -- it was real, but not what it was supposed to be, see -- So anyway the barbarian guy claimed he'd been cheated in turn and gave back the money, but my uncle kept the brooch to keep him honest after and paid him for the price of the tin and the glass, which wasn't much. He showed it to us after they got back, and the funny thing was, it looked the same -- I mean, it looked right, you'd say, oh, that's gold and gems, all right -- until my aunt put hers, that came from here--

[he stops for a second, and closes his eyes]

--came from Nargothrond and was actually made of gold and crystal, not just a thin -- wash? right? -- over the cheap metal. And then when you had the one that was solid and the fake one side by side, you'd never think that they were the same thing at all. Only this is more like the difference between a little bit of light coming from a coal, and a little bit of light coming from a candle in a lamp that's mostly closed. One of them still has more light -- only you can't see it.

[long silence -- the Ten look meaningfully at each other.]

Captain:
Very interesting. --As it so happens, you're right. --But he'd be much obliged if you didn't mention it.

Beren:
Okay.

[he moves a piece on the board and takes two pawns]

Your move.

[looking up]

Is that good enough?

[the Captain nods]

Captain:
No more oaths. I trust you.

Beren:
Thank you.

[pause]

I don't know what you guys think you're doing, let alone whether it will work , but -- thank you.

Second Guard:
I wonder how it is that you can tell? None of us could be quite sure.

[Beren shrugs again -- the Captain laughs not unkindly]

Captain:
Perhaps any Man's ghost might, or perhaps…only one who's touched a Silmaril, or is married to an Elf, or has passed through Melian's labyrinth, or been healed by a deity's child, or…so many possibilities, and no way at all to put them to the proof. Normal rules don't seem to apply to Beren any more than to Huan here.

[Huan, hearing his name, looks over and thumps his tail]

That reminds me--

[frowning]

You kept saying something odd, but I didn't want to interrupt you any more -- you kept on saying, or seeming to say, that Huan said things. Now I presumed I was misunderstanding -- surely you meant that Luthien was with Huan when she berated you -- not that the two of them took you to task for running away.

Beren:
That's right.

Captain:
Beren.

Beren:
Uh, that's right, Huan was yelling at me too.

[realizing that this is getting him some very strange looks]

What? He can talk.

Warrior:
Well, to animals, of course. We've seen him speak with other kelvar, not just the pack, but -- speak? Like us?

Beren:
Yeah.

[at their expressions]

I'm not joking. Or crazy. He doesn't do it very often. But you can ask Tinuviel, she was there too.

[everyone looks at Huan, who grins happily and whines for more attention, waving a forepaw where he's lying down]

Warrior: [smiling uncertainly, not sure if it's a joke, still]
So…what does he say?

Beren: [shrugging]
Different things. He told her what to do in Nargothrond, and he told me to stop being an unthinking idiot and what we had to do to get into Angband that might work. And…

[he gets quieter, looking into Huan's eyes]

…he…told me good-bye, that this was the fate he'd Foreseen us meeting maybe, and he was sorry he hadn't been able to save me, and that we'd meet again, and not to be afraid…and he called me brother.

[very subdued, they look at the Hound, and at Beren, and at each other.]

Captain: [very softly]
You said he sent the Eagles to you.

[Beren nods]

I think…perhaps friend Huan is lord of far more than dogs.

[into the awed, no longer doubting silence, Huan makes a short, sharp, "don't stare at me!" bark and elbows closer until he can jam his head under the Captain's arm for a hug before stretching up into a half-crouch -- then grabbing at the nearest Guard's trailing scabbard and worrying it playfully like a stick]

Fourth Guard: [dragged half-sideways]
Hey!

[Beren slaps at Huan's forepaw, making him settle down]

Beren:
Definitely more -- but still Lord of Dogs.

[the Captain laughs, and then suddenly freezes, shaking his head]

Captain: [carefully not looking over at Finarfin on the hill]
And now I win the distraction prize. I do hope you lot are aware that his Majesty's father is in the vicinity?

Youngest Ranger:
It's all right, sir -- they already had it out, and Beren told him off. We didn't even have to intervene.

Beren: [sighing]
For the last time -- I didn't tell him off.

Captain:
Oh, I doubt it.

Beren:
Doubt what?

Captain:
That that was the last time. So what is it? --Damn. I really don't need this right now.

Beren:
I don't think he's going to hassle you again, Sir. I guess they only got the really short version in Tirion. He assumed it was different from the way it really happened and then Tinuviel told about it in more detail and he realized it was different from what he had imagined had happened to us and he's really upset.

[pause]

He might come apologize, given how much he and Finrod have in common, unless maybe he'd think it would be too rude to bring it up to you.

[several people glance over at Finarfin in the distance]

Captain: [not sounding at all enthusiastic]
Perhaps I should go over and talk to him, then…

Beren: [shrugs]
He doesn't really want to talk to anybody right now, except maybe Finrod, but he doesn't really want to talk to him either…okay, I guess I did kind of tell him off. --But I wasn't as tough on him as he was on himself.

Captain: [running his hands over his face]
No, I don't imagine that you were. Oh Lady -- more complications for Himself to deal with. What'll be next, I wonder?

First Guard: [looking over at the empty doorway]
Ware!

Beren:
Sir, you know you're never supposed to ask that.

[enter two Noldor shades, elegantly outfitted and armed -- James Purefoy (Mansfield Park, A Knight's Tale) and Ben Browder (as "Captain Larraq," Farscape) might portray them -- wearing expressions both sardonic and disdainful. Next to them, Finrod's people suddenly look a lot scruffier and more motley; Huan straightens up a bit and whines, but does not get up or make any other sound.]

Captain: [snorting]
It would be him. And he's learned to bring a second. Damn, damn, damn. Beren--

Beren:
--I know, stay out of the way.

Captain:
Actually, I was going to say, use your discretion. That's the former Lord Seneschal of Formenos, who learned the hard way that ambushing an ambush of Balrogs is a bad idea, and making fun of King Finrod an even worse one -- and his counterpart from Aglon, who didn't make it to Nargothrond during the Bragollach. They're likely to say absolutely anything and do whatever they think they can get away with. I'm planning on letting someone else deal with any necessary violence myself right now.

Beren:
Sounds like a good plan to me.

[the Feanorian lords stop a short ways off (ie, a safe distance) and address each other:]

Lord Seneschal of Formenos: [loudly]
What an impossible place this is -- if it weren't enough that the facilities should be dismal and the amenities nonexistent, the service too must be a bad joke on top of it all! Things were much better managed under my control at Formenos.

Lord Warden of Aglon:
Even in the barbarous circumstances of the Old Country we did better than this. --Of course, the company at Aglon was far preferable as well.

Formenos:
That…would not be difficult to accomplish, I think. Saving yourself, of course.

Aglon: [graciously]
Likewise. --Stars above, what have we here…?

[their attempts to suddenly "notice" the others lose some of the effect as the affectation of surprise is overtaken by the real thing at the realization of the scope of the project which has taken over most of the back wall by now. The Lord Warden of Aglon rallies valiantly, though:]

I'm afraid that I can't approve of the results of such economizing efforts. Charity projects given to students never equal work created by fully-trained and reimbursed professionals.

Formenos: [sniffing disdainfully]
Do you think that's it?

Aglon:
Well, I can't see anyone paying for that, can you? --At least, I would most certainly hope that they're not.

Formenos:
Oh, I don't know -- I've had grave doubts about the aesthetic sensibilities of our lords and masters ever since I asked the Earthqueen about those bizarre little animals with the horns and she replied, and I quote, "But they're so adorable, in a homely little way." It's one thing to say that they serve a useful purpose in irrigating impacted root systems in grasslands, but to claim to find them "perfectly charming" argues a blindness born of partiality.

Aglon:
Which kelvar were those? The ruel?

Formenos:
No -- though I agree, they also seem badly-constructed and unnecessary to me. If you want a goat, why not make a goat? and if a deer, well, we already have various sorts of deer. How many of these betwixt-and-between herbivores does Arda need? I was speaking of those middling grey animals, something like a cross between hounds and swine, with spiked snouts -- I've no idea what they are, since she only asked me -- with what, in my opinion, was most unseemly levity -- what I wanted to call them. I understand, however, that they are remarkably docile and requiring of attention, which may explain the attraction somewhat.

[various of their targets swallow grins]

Still, I find it difficult that that even the Powers would want this mess -- though equally, I can't believe they'd let anyone make such a chaotic construct in their offices were it not by design.

[Huan makes a plaintive grumble -- the Lord Warden of Aglon scowls at him, and he puts his head down on his forepaws for the moment, unhappy at the conflict, but not ashamed of his decisions.]

Captain: [genial]
This is "let" as in "not worth one's time or trouble to make us desist or undo, for the present," not "let" in the sense of "certainly, do whatever you please." Rather like Lady Yavanna letting Feanor make the Silmarils, as a matter of fact. We didn't ask permission to be back here, or the rest of it, any more than you've done.

Aglon: [coldly]
They seem to let you get away with an awful lot.

Captain:
You haven't figured it out yet, have you?

[as they haven't gotten this cryptic remark either, the Feanorians ignore him -- the Lord Seneschal of Formenos scrutinizes the mural with a critical eye, while his junior associate strolls over to frown upon Beren.]

Aglon:
So you really have got an illegal mortal back here as well.

Beren:
Is it my move or yours?

Youngest Ranger:
Er -- yours.

Aglon:
Mortal!

Beren: [looking up]
What? The name is Beren, by the way, since you didn't ask. Seems kind of silly bothering about titles now, but there used to be a "Lord" in front and "of Dorthonion" after, too.

Aglon:
Do you presume to ignore me, Usurper?

Beren: [sighing]
--This again? What is it with you people? Were you even talking to me before? 'Cause it didn't sound like it.

Aglon:
Stand up when your superiors address you.

Beren: [calling over]
Were they ever in our chain of command?

[the Captain shakes his head]

Sorry. We're busy.

[the Lord Warden of Aglon steps forward and disarranges the pieces with his foot; the players exchange disgusted looks]

Aglon: [pleasantly]
Again, I repeat my request. --Stand up when I speak to you.

Fourth Guard: [undertone]
Not what I call a request. And they complain about the language changing over there!

Beren: [tolerantly]
You know, I'd learned not to do stuff like that by the time I was eight. Of course, getting walloped, or extra chores, and having to apologize is a good incentive to mind your manners and actually think before acting on impulse.

[the Youngest Ranger starts putting the game back together, not saying a word]

Aglon: [looking down with folded arms]
You've an insolent mouth for one here but on sufferance, human lawbreaker.

Beren: [nods]
Horse thief, dog thief, jewel thief, breaking and entering, infiltration, sabotage, assassination attempts, you name it. I've got kings, warlords, demigods, princes, armies and now gods upset at me, so you're going to have to wait your turn. --Though some of those do overlap. --Your former bosses must be pretty steamed over the fact that I succeeded where they didn't even have the nerve to try -- I imagine that must take some of the satisfaction out of his curse coming true for Celegorm. And if even half the story's gotten around by now, people have to be looking pretty strangely at Curufin for trying to kill the one person who actually succeeded in defeating Morgoth in a duel.

Aglon:
You! What claim is this, braggart? You, defeat the Lord of Fetters?

Beren: [shaking his head]
Not me -- my wife. The King's daughter of Doriath. I just chipped off the Silmaril after she was done. --Which is still more than any of you guys ever accomplished.

[the Warden of Aglon goes to kick Beren over where he is sitting -- which proves inadvisable, as the Sindarin Ranger quietly slams a fist -- with chessman -- into his supporting knee, knocking him painfully flat and following by leaping on him before he can recover, yanking his arm up behind his back and setting the point of a realistically-remembered dagger to the back of his neck. As his senior associate moves to assist him the Captain extends his uninjured leg, tripping him, upon which the nearest of the Ten efficiently subdue and disarm him as well, more-or-less assisted by Huan, who has bounded exuberantly in over the gameboard.]

Formenos: [almost speechless with fury]
You -- dishonorable ruffians--

Captain:
I beg your pardon? Beren wasn't doing anything to you -- to say nothing of the rest of us.

Formenos:
Setting upon us with guile and greater numbers--!

Captain:
I don't understand.

Aglon: [snarling in pain]
You outnumber us, idiot!

Captain: [puzzled frown]
Er -- yes, surely you'd noticed that already? That's usually the way it is.

Formenos:
But -- you --

Captain:
Changed the rules. It happens, in war. I should think he'd be aware of it, even if you didn't live long enough to learn that lesson.

[getting up, looking casual but in fact being careful, points to the door]

Bring them along, this is getting boring.

[his subordinates do so, with a little more enthusiasm than necessary.]

Aglon: [shouting as they drag him along]
The Weaver will hear of this!

Youngest Ranger: [patiently, still holding him up at knifepoint]
Yes, milord. I'm sure she will, if she hasn't heard you already.

[over on the hill, Finarfin is jarred out of his introspection by the ruckus, and stares over through the shadows at the fray]

Formenos: [ice]
I will bring my complaints to the Lord of the Halls himself, and your lord will be answerable for your behaviour.

Captain:
Can you be sure to do it while we're around? I want to hear what his Lordship has to say after hearing you complain.

Warrior:
I'll wager the buckle with lions on it that I used to have that he'll ask, "Why are you wasting my time with this?"

Captain:
Hm, no, I think it'll be, "You should be grateful you got off as lightly as you did, since you won't the next time you try kicking one of their friends in the face." --Pitch 'em out.

[the Nargothronders expel their rivals out into the corridor, where the two other Noldor shades pick themselves up and after a moment's temptation, consider the advisability and limp off, their expressions boding no good. As the victorious party returns to their companions, Finarfin catches the eye of the Captain and beckons him over to the hill; after a moment's hesitation the latter obeys the summons. As Beren's opponent kneels down and finishes restoring their match:]

Beren: [undertone]
Is he going to be okay?

Youngest Ranger: [whispering]
He's too swarn to give in for anything that would in life heal of its own. He'd rather just put up with it until he can forget about it. Mind over mind, I guess you'd call it.

Beren:
Does it hurt, to…disappear?

Youngest Ranger:
No. A little bit disorienting, that's all. It's just a matter of honour not to give anything he isn't prepared to take.

Beren:
I see.

[still worried, nodding towards where the Captain is coming to stand before the living King]

What about…?

Youngest Ranger: [shrugging]
You didn't have any trouble managing him.

Beren:
No, but -- he wasn't my boss, ever, either. If I was his liege it would have been different.

[he sighs and frowns at the board, trying to remember what he was going to do, since nothing else is in his control. The camera's focus shifts to the hill, where the Captain bows, his expression a bit wary, to Finarfin:]

Finarfin:
Dreamt I, or did in truth behold, deed of mayhem at yonder egress?

Captain:
I wouldn't call it mayhem, sir -- a spot of rowdiness, perhaps. But nothing so much as mayhem.

Finarfin: [disapproving]
Thou dost seem somewhat worse for wear, and yet hast not learnt lesson to avoid affray, than enter it. For I am certain thou dost go somewhat halt, nor that my fancy, for all thou wouldst conceal.

Captain:
Oh, that's nothing. That lot can't touch me. --Couple of scratches from a friendly set-to with security.

Finarfin:
Art not content to be rebel, and thy offense forgiven, but still must thou challenge the gods? Or dost thou jest? --I cannot longer tell, with thee.

Captain: [mischievous]
Don't worry about it, sir -- sometimes I can't either.

Finarfin: [grim smile]
And were those known to me, that thy confederates did thus discharge from here in such high-spirited glee?

Captain:
I'm not sure, my lord. I can't recall if they ever visited the House in the old Days, and you might have met them around the City, but I don't really know. They're followers of your eldest brother. They felt like starting some trouble, beginning with Lord Beren, so we obliged.

[pause]

Finarfin:
I ken not whether I should commend, else condemn -- yet neither, I deem, will make any difference to thy deeds.

Captain:
I'm afraid not, my lord.

Finarfin: [dryly]
Nay, and why should it, at this late pass, that did not formerly?

[the Captain winces a little. Pause]

Captain: [hopeful]
Was that all, sir?

Finarfin:
Nay, thou shalt not 'scape so easily, lad.

[checks briefly, and continues with a faint grimace:]

When I did ban you from my doors, I spake in anger, not in considered judgment.

Captain:
But not without justice.

Finarfin:
Still 'twas of wrath, that word of mine, and so I would temper it with mercy: thou mayest of a certain come to see thy kin, when ever thou dost will it, when thou departest hence.

Captain:
Thank you, sir.

[he sighs]

--Assuming they want anything to do with me, of course.

Finarfin: [dryly]
Make no doubt of that.

[aside]

And that indeed hath weight upon my clemency -- for I would not gladly face thy sister with such a decision of my making!

Captain:
At least I've given up slamming doors when I lose my temper.

[Finarfin gives him a sidelong look]

It doesn't do for a senior officer -- far less for a spy.

Finarfin:
The singular -- openness -- of these Halls is far from convenient, and eke most disquieting to we that are little used.

Captain: [sympathetic]
That it can be.

Finarfin: [sternly]
Yet still thou shalt not have place nor post again, among my people, that hast deserted aught thou didst have.

[the Captain nods --silence. Relenting:]

--Unless thou canst not find other station, and work betimes. There shall be place always at hearthside for thee.

Captain: [gently]
I thank you, my lord. But that will not be necessary, I think. I wouldn't want to take anyone's job, not just hers, and I don't know that I'd be comfortable peeling potatoes and plucking fowl -- not that I've objection to such work as such, but I doubt that, quite frankly, anyone else would be quite easy around me -- or that I could keep from trying to reorganize any situation you put me into, for efficiency as I saw it.

Finarfin:
I would not have thee forwandered and wanting for want of friends.

Captain:
You needn't fear for that, Sir. Aman's a big place, and I know how to live off the land: so long as I don't kill any white deer by mistake, I should be quite all right.

Finarfin:
Thou wouldst live as our ancestors in the wilds, ere thou'd dwell 'neath my roof?

Captain: [still more gently]
Would you make me a lord, set among your highest counsellors, and give me authority to do as I saw fit throughout the land?

[they look at each other without speaking]

I didn't expect so.

Finarfin: [cool]
So it is power thou dost hunger for, more than all else.

Captain: [untroubled by the accusation]
My lord, I know as well as any that you never coveted power over others, nor pride of place, nor anything saving the first love of your father. And yet -- now that you have had this task of rule, that never was wanted, and surely cannot be quite so light a burden, despite the peace of Valinor without us to trouble it, could you ever set it aside, and gladly return to the quiet of study and song and your arts, leaving it to another while you stood by powerless to correct?

[Finarfin starts to say something, and cannot.]

Interesting -- it is not only we unhoused who cannot speak counter to what is held at heart, in this place.

[the King gives him a Look of mingled exasperation and admiration]

Finarfin:
Was't ever so, that thou wert so wise, and only kept thy counsel to thine own self, in former Day?

Captain:
I…don't recall, truly, any more. I don't remember that it mattered much to me, one way or the other, what was said by you and your brothers, and your father, save that it distressed you, and Lady Earwen, and the children, and so us for your sakes, that were your people -- except to make remark upon someone else's words to amuse those near me. The arguments and rivalries didn't change the fact that I had to make sure there was meat on the table, and didn't prevent me from riding out in the wind and the light of the Trees, or wandering through the salt-marshes when it looked like the water was the sky for stars.

Finarfin: [shaking his head]
How dost thou support this, that wert ever restive within doors? Is't not passing heavy on thy soul?

Captain: [honest]
Yes. --But I have friends, and we are not wanting in amusement, and it is only for a time. I can wait.

Finarfin:
If mine eldest son's true-love reconcileth not with him, I think he will not go from here.

[pause]

And thou wilt bide here as well. --Why? Why hast thou not reproach, nor for this, nor for the manner of thy -- death?

Captain: [after a brief pause]
I would not, I think ever have cared for greater matters, had not the world we knew ended, and I caught by the lure of lands still more strange and distant. And then -- there was need, and I understood it, and my skills as slayer of birds and deer made an obligation to protect as well as feed in time of famine, and it turned out that I could see better than most the best ways to do that. And my attentiveness, in noting this Elf's scowl or that one's smile, that had been no more than a private aside to friend on envy, or alliance, or hope -- proved matter much more serious, when we were at war. And your son led us through all of it, the Ice, and the Dark, and the bitter days when we nearly slew each other in the Old World, before the Deed of Fingon, and trusted me with the defense of his kingdom, for many a Great Year -- nor blamed me, when I failed in the end.

[silence]

Finarfin:
I have wept for thee, as for all my rungate House, in anger and in soreness of heart and in bitter shame that might not save ye from that madness. And now -- but only now -- have I wept for thee. But though it be but little of while, think it no less true than those most selfish tears. I shall yet fear for thee, though thou dost urge other.

Captain:
My lord, please don't. I'm sure you have troubles enough with your family and Tirion and all. There are possibilities, prospects, that may come to pass. And if not -- there are worse things than to be known as "the lunatic who set out to map the entire continent on foot," after all.

Finarfin:
And if it cometh to worse pass than that?

[silence]

Thou dost not speak thy thought, then.

Captain:
I do not need to -- and I would rather not distress you further. --But it's true.

[Finarfin discreetly rubs at the corner of his eye. Glancing over towards the waterfall:]

Sir, will you kindly excuse me? My friends are growing concerned, and the Beoring most of all.

[the Noldor King nods without speaking -- as he turns to go:]

Er -- should I pack a lunch, my lord?

Finarfin:
Thy pardon?

Captain:
When I come to see my family. You said you didn't want me scrounging off the House, and so I thought maybe I should arrange to bring my own meals along.

[he looks perfectly serious -- Finarfin is not fooled by this apparent innocence]

Finarfin:
Nay, I had forgotten how much we shall have missed thy freakish jests as well. An thou didst come and partake of none but thine own provender, and such insult to the House revealed as mine own insult unto thee, I had ne'er heard end of it from thy mother nor my son's mother. --But--

[forestalling with a raised hand]

--an thou wouldst bring, as guest-gift, such kill as thou wouldst, brace of partridge or other thou hast taken, nor should we take amiss, nor seek to find insult where none be meant. My son hath given thee discretion in great matters -- I will not doubt you in such lesser ones. Go, join thy friends, I'll not trouble thee, nor they need send rescue -- not that I deem thou truly needest such, that hath held command over many, and come back from the War far changed from the youth that left us, though no more, verily, than Enedrion, that hath learned to serve without argument nor haughty look, though stranger yet that he should cast himself willingly against me for thy sake, that formerly had never a care for any whose art was not noble nor enduring.

[at the Captain's surprised glance -- faint smile]

--Nay, didst thou think I perceivéd not? Peace -- go to thy companions.

Captain:
Will you stay here, alone, my lord?

[he looks meaningfully over to the falls]

Finarfin:
I should not be so welcome as thou dost deem, I misdoubt.

Captain:
If I say so, you will be, sir.

Finarfin:
Belike -- belike after. For the nonce -- I would have peace.

Captain: [bowing]
We'll try to be quieter, then. Afraid I can't promise anything, though. Especially if Huan gets going again.

[Finarfin waves him off, struggling to restrain an inappropriate smile]


This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: Philosopher At Large

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 08/11/03

Original Post: 12/24/02

Go to Leithian Script: Act IV overview

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