3. Scene I.ii
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL! BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
[Elsewhere: outside the Halls of Mandos, in the perpetual twilight at the roots of the mountains. A series of low, shallow, wide stone steps leads up to the most imposing doors that have ever been built, or will be. No one is present, until Luthien enters (quite literally from the shadows) at the foot of the staircase. Like all the shades in the underworld, where everything is in shades of grey, she does not look "ghostly", i.e. translucent and out-of-place -- this place is made for them, after all; it's the living who would appear not to belong properly. She looks neatly but simply dressed, rather as she would have at the beginning of the play, but without any jewelry and her face is haggard.]
Well. Here we are.
[she looks up at the Doors and gives a huge sigh]
The end of the journey. Nothing could be easy, could it?
[she gives an odd laugh, shaking her head]
The doors are closed -- I could still turn back now, perhaps even go home, or not: this isn't horrible, or particularly frightening. I've given up everything, for him, or so they'd say -- and it doesn't feel that way at all. It seems as if I could reach out my hand and take hold of the very elements of the universe like a skein of yarn this way, or see through to the Fire at the heart of everything, if I only looked hard enough, as if I could become anything I chose -- a tree, or an Eagle, or a Hound like Huan, or even one of the stars . . .
[she wraps her arms around herself and shivers, beginning to walk back and forth as she talks to herself, moving up and down the lower terraces of the stairs]
I don't have to go through with this -- no one is going to take this decision away from me -- and that's why I have to.
[Her appearance shimmers and flickers while she paces, eventually mostly settling to the bobbed haircut and shadowcloak of her journeying, the former somewhat longer (and wilder) than when last we saw her.]
Everything seems so distant, small and delicate and quite irrelevant, like the city I saw from the air. Not compared with the whole cosmos lying open to explore. --But that tiny little flower of a city is full of people, each with a life that's important to someone else, too, and things they've done and learned and new songs they've made, even if I couldn't see that. And I know that Middle-earth is important, even if it seems such a small part of the Music I can almost hear now.
That's it, isn't it, the Song itself that's calling me to join in it, to be like a god myself, to make, and change the world, and once again do one better than my mother, even if no one ever knows it. Couldn't I do better than the rest of them, since I know how it is out there, since I've lived through it -- and died -- all of it, the good -- the gloriously good -- as well as the unspeakably horrible -- couldn't I move through it and speak through it and change it like the Lord of the Sea? And wouldn't that be a better memorial to Beren than staying here as a ghost, giving up my endless life and the whole wide world outside, to be with him, if only they'll let me?
[shaking her head]
I know what he'd say. And then we'd fight.
[gesturing with her hands]
If only I'd come straight to the Halls -- it can't be this hard for everyone, can it? -- and then I could have just answered when they asked me, and I wouldn't have to think about it. But this -- there's no getting away from this, that once I cross that threshold, there's no going back -- even if Lord Mandos would let me. I can't just keep going on momentum alone, not stopping to think about it.
And I'm afraid. I don't know what will happen, I don't know what I'll say, I don't know what they'll say. I might make things worse for him this way, though I can't think how. And if they refuse, what happens then? How can I stay there forever, knowing that I couldn't save him, and with no place left to go -- no action I can take, nothing to do but wait for the world to end to put an end to my pain? I thought nothing could be worse than the prospect of going home to my parents in failure --
[checks, looking dismayed]
--but what if they send me back? I can't stay there with what they did to us, dealing with that guilt and sentimentality and trying to make it up to me by being kind -- I really would go mad within a year of that. If they'd shown Beren some pity at the outset -- or thought at all about me instead of themselves -- this wouldn't have happened. But I won't be the victim to their consciences.
[she snorts, starting to get angry]
I'll go live as a hermit in the Seven Rivers district before that, or maybe go to the Havens and see the Ocean for real finally, or try to cross the mountains and find Celeborn and Galadriel and their following. I can do that now, or at least I have as good a chance as anyone does. I don't need anyone else in the world, if I can't have Beren, and if they "need" me that's just too bad!
[she wipes her eyes roughly, and gives an ironic smile.]
Silly, silly, silly -- getting all upset over possibilities that haven't even happened yet, and that I've no way to judge the most likely. I'm so tired of it all . . . only I'm not, or maybe I am. --But I can't stop, and I'm afraid to go forward, and no one can help me now.
[she stands still for a moment, looking up the steps, and squares her shoulders.]
Well. I didn't get this far waiting for people to open doors for me.
[starts to approach the Doors, hesitates again.]
Oh, I wish you were with me, Huan. But this isn't like last time: I'm afraid it won't end happily. -- Then again, I can't think of a single story that does. Not the true ones, at least.
No more disguises. No more tricks. All I can do is tell the truth now, and hope that that's enough.
[She casts her cloak down on the steps: it melts and vanishes into the shadows]
Beren -- I'm here.
[She strides towards the Doors, and they melt away in front of her as she enters the Halls of Mandos.]