31. Scene IV.ix
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
[Elsewhere: the council chamber]
[the feeling of a long diplomatic standoff or cross-examination pervades -- all that's missing is a long polished table. Luthien is sitting with her elbow on her knee, her chin in her hand, looking rather bitter as well as tired; Nerdanel is sketching quickly away on some sort of small folding tablet with a crystal stylus, apparently not paying attention at all, occasionally showing her work to Aule's Assistant for comment. The Doriathrin Ambassador is watching the Powers carefully, particularly the two quiet ones, Aule and Orome, and the Lord and Lady of the Halls are stoic about it all.]
Irmo: [with a lifted eyebrow towards his brother]
I dare say most of us will express loud and vocal dismay if the word "inflexible" is used once more, Luthien.
[she rolls her eyes at this sally]
Luthien: [forced patience]
What am I saying that is so complicated, so hard for you all to understand? --You're just like my parents, really.
[the Lord of Dreams looks put out; Namo starts to say something, and checks himself, earning a sympathetic look from his wife -- and Nerdanel looks up from her notebook with a keen expression:]
Aught is there that confoundeth me, Tinuviel, I must perforce confess: couldst not with all thy manifest and obscure powers, whilst yet in the Old Country, thou to have prevented, ere ever he came to maiming else to death, thy true-love from his madness and his mad designing?
I already explained: I tried. I did everything I could to convince him to give it up and forget about it, that we in fact were free and no one could stop us from living our lives as we pleased from now on, and that he wasn't under any sort of obligation to my father since the task had been given in bad faith, and that no one, least of all Finrod, would have expected that he had some sort of other duty to finish getting killed since he hadn't managed it before. I tried reason, I tried simple begging, I tried tears -- nothing I could do made any difference.
Thou hast said -- but, methinks, not so. --Or wouldst say, in truth, that mortal Men be stronger of will and thought and deep-held resolve than ever the gods, than the Dark Enemy of us all and all his bonden Servants be?
[as Luthien frowns at her, Nerdanel not giving ground:]
Might thine own might not have served where 'suasion of plainer means did fail, and bend thy rebel lord to thine own temper, and held him rather by thy side perforce?
Of course I could have. I could have taken Nargothrond, too, if Beren would have gone along with it -- it wouldn't have been nearly as hard as the Gaurhoth or Angband, I already knew most of the leaders and I knew them better, in any case, being Eldar like me, from a spiritual standpoint. There might not even have had to have been a civil war at all, no matter what he said. With my power back I could have scryed Celegorm's thoughts like Carcharoth's, and shown him himself as if in a mirror, and made him admit that he knew, really, that what he'd done was wrong--
[Nerdanel flinches, though controlledly, and shifts, her expression pained]
You've thought about it, then.
[Luthien starts to say something outraged and haughty, and doesn't]
[she tries to speak again, and stops herself, looking both horrified and furious]
You cannot deny it? That you have considered both the possibility and the logistics of the deed, using your power to remove that obduracy and intemperate resolve from your lord's heart, and fill the wound with forgetfulness and pleasure at your approval, instead?
Of course I thought about it! How couldn't I? Beren wasn't being reasonable at all. It -- it would have been -- it would almost have been -- I could have told myself it was really only healing, if I'd tried it. That it was wrong of me not to do it, not to save him from himself.
But he wouldn't have been Beren then. If -- I'd done -- anything like that -- he'd--
[she clenches her fists, unable to go on]
--He would still be alive.
No! It -- it wouldn't be him.
And I wouldn't be me, any more, either.
So it is more important that his spirit be whole and undiminished, unshackled, than that you possess his outward seeming and presence, notwithstanding either the fact that already he was injured and bound by the effects of Melkor's deeds, or that the consequence of it be risk, and eventually the actual event, of your losing him? --In your own estimation?
[silence -- Luthien gives her a very angry Look]
That's not fair.
On the contrary.
You do see it, then, don't you, dear?
Luthien: [shaking her head violently]
No, no, no, NO! You're missing something that's so important that I don't know how to explain it besides showing you who we were, and why you can't measure Beren, measure us, by any ordinary standard. It's like my parents' choosing each other -- maybe it doesn't make sense from a practical point of view, but there are other things that are more important, that are what the point of all the practical things really are--
You'll find that's not a comparison that's going to make your case more popular around here.
Don't change the subject!
[long pause, in which everyone looks expectantly at her, and she extremely defensive]
--Stop scorning me because I was tempted, all right? You don't know what it's like to watch someone you love destroy himself.
Aule: [with a faint, bittersweet smile]
No? You don't think so, hm?
[Nerdanel glances up quickly at his words and they share a long, meaningful Look]
[she gives him an angry glare]
…no longer. We were not so wise, we your elders in earth's growing -- but not in the Unseen realm, I fear.
[her expression changes to sadness, both regret and pity: both of them know there is no going back to what was.]
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