34. Scene IV.xii
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
[Elsewhere: the counsel chamber]
[the dynamics have changed again -- this time it is the Lord of the Hunt who is going at it animatedly with the Elven members of the group, living and dead, while his colleagues look on.]
But it is not the same, my Lord. It may indeed be better, here -- but it is not what we are used to.
And? Reason considers the objective values of each circumstance and judges between them on that basis. Alone.
[scowling at the Middle-earthers]
--Not on the basis of sentimentality and a hidebound reluctance to embrace change.
Then you could have all just moved back, couldn't you?
You don't seriously think that people are going to be able to just leave everything they've built and pack up and go to the other side of the world again just like that?
Oh, come on!
Princess, regardless of the validity of your views, you do yourself and them no service by this incivility and uneducated language.
And you make us look bad, as well.
[she snorts and folds her arms angrily, giving him a sidelong Look]
Nay, but 'tis but truth: our parents needs must make shift unto the same, even as -- I deem -- Melian's daughter would declare. Her question -- if I do interpret aright -- is not without all reason, wherefore it should behoove us better to remove hither, than ye to remove hence.
I really don't see what the difficulty is. After all, that's what Mom did.
Your mother had nothing tying her to Valinor, dear.
Except for a job. But -- pfft -- what's that matter? You don't even need to tell people you're not coming back -- they'll figure it out eventually, after all!
After all, if that had been the case then there wouldn't be any Return, because we would all be here--
I mean, there -- anyhow, there wouldn't have been any Kinslaying or any reason for people to treat each other differently, because we'd all be the same.
I fear you're being overly optimistic, my Princess.
Aule: [with a disbelieving smile, ironic]
What about the Trees? It isn't as though my wife could have made Them over again, and They were a little -- just a trifle -- large to dig up and transplant like chrysanthemums.
We did fine without Them.
[to her compatriot, not waiting for agreement]
[very patronizingly to the Smith]
--They could have stayed here, and you could have remade the Lamps there, if you wanted.
There were -- serious design flaws -- in the Lamps. The risks--
[Luthien interrupts again; Aule's Assistant rolls his eyes]
--But there was only a risk because Morgoth was out-and-about, and since he was locked up then it would have been safe, right -- who else was going to try to get at them?
Well, as a matter of fact, there was Ungoliant. We didn't know about her at the time, of course. But dangers one is unaware of are not non-existent--
--Don't talk down to me!
Then don't ignore the obvious. You--
[shaking his head]
You're acting as though none of these sorts of problems ever came up in discussions, as though they never would have crossed our minds until you suggested them.
Well, make them sturdier, or -- put some sort of covers on, or barriers about them, or something. A solution could have been found.
[Aule covers a smile; the Weaver leans over and whispers to her husband]
Is this reminding you of anyone we know?
[he nods briefly, inspecting the contents of his cup as an alternative to the debate]
Luthien: [gesturing widely]
It's not critical anyway, we didn't need them -- we didn't need anything besides the stars.
Irmo: [raising his hand in turn]
There are all kinds of issues that -- we could spend decades considering them in-depth -- where to set up, the distance from the Sea, the transportation issues of bringing all of our work and re-establishing it in Middle-earth again -- the not-inconsiderable emotional effects of returning to a place of such mixed memories -- these Halls themselves -- just to begin with a few.
Luthien: [with a dismissive shrug]
Something could have been figured out. It would have saved so much trouble.
Nay, 'tis not so simple of a matter as wouldst make it. Manifold and deeply-meshed as the ore ere it is smelted be the elements of these our Kindreds' difficulties, and eke that is changed doth change a dozen other of diverse sort, and eke in own turn still more, so that in end what was should be so changed that none might guess how had it befallen from the first, that be but one change and that but slight -- and each various end bring both ill and good in company, and what serveth one should disservice render to another, or harm, else displeasure. --Thy mother and father should have been more glad, had thy true-love ne'er crossed thy path, and they have suffered even of the same cause that thou hast taken joy, and thou as well joy and sorrow at once hath found, and shalt thou -- or any -- sever the twain?
That's because they were stupid.
[the Ambassador winces]
If they hadn't been selfish idiots, nobody would have suffered. We could have been happy, and everything would have been all right for everyone, not just us. Instead, they started a chain of events that's killed I don't know how many people so far and made even more people miserable. It's their own fault, and it isn't complicated at all.
Nerdanel: [very quietly]
And yet -- thy lord is mortal.
[Luthien ignores this, though her chin goes up a little more]
Highness, Highness, you know it is more complex than mere folly. You know that your father's Sight long forewarned him that disaster and trouble should attend the coming of humans into our lands, that your mother has contended with encroaching Doom for Ages, and you know your parents' wisdom is to credit for our realm's ancient safety and prosperity. Why should he -- or we -- misdoubt any of his forebodings, nor make light of the risks that Men should pose? Were not the doubts he held of our foreign kin most sadly proven well-founded?
[she doesn't answer; everyone in the room looks a little grimmer at that]
Then why should they not deem it so that -- he -- should be the fulfilment of that dark vision, and his beguiling of you, my lady, the catastrophe your father so long ago Foresaw?
That's a good argument right there against having that information just out there. People make bad decisions based on incomplete data and set in motion events that are far beyond their ability to control. If Elwe had just stuck with the plan, and brought everyone here, we wouldn't be dealing with this mess.
But if we had all just stayed in Middle-earth then it wouldn't have mattered, because then mortals would simply have come along when it was their time just like the Naugrim and there wouldn't have been any reason to be suspicious and none of the troubles that followed would have happened.
Once more I must declare I think that a far-from-warranted assumption, my lady.
There are two distinct problems that you're conflating and that's creating chaos. One is whether or not we should have brought, or tried to bring, your people here to a defensible place and a place of safety. Which it is, by every possible standard of comparison. There have been three instances of murder, in Aman, all connected, in all of recorded history. The number of deaths at Alqualonde--
[raising his hand, giving his brother a meaningful Look]
--I'm not minimizing them, I'm just being accurate -- do not begin to approach the tallies of those killed in Beleriand before Morgoth ever returned. --Unnecessary deaths, which would not have happened had not your father carried out his obligations instead of tarrying to seduce your mother and leave your people to fend for themselves--
--That isn't what happened!
Irmo: [keeping going]
The other problem is whether or not we should have informed you of the fact that you were not intended to be alone in the world and that other sentient life-forms would eventually appear on the central land-mass, which is an entirely different topic, despite the efforts of--
[giving Nerdanel a troubled glance]
--various parties to connect them in discussion.
Thou knowest I do hold and ever have, that yon long-made choice to withhold counsel from our kindreds concerning the coming of the Secondborn was grievous error, nor without some part in the cause of my husband's festering madnesses. Ye should ne'er have left unto the Dark Lord that knowledge to convey, and impart withal the taint of his own jealousy.
Aule: [creasing his brows]
No, 'Danel, I'm afraid I can't remember you saying that . . . more than, oh, six or seven thousand times this Age.
That sort of sarcasm is very inappropriate, you do realize?
Nay, but we of his Following are well used unto his ways, my Lord--
Luthien: [cutting her off, to the Lord of Dreams]
--Who was being sarcastic about my mother just a few minutes ago?
Luthien. Would you please stop interrupting like that?
[Luthien subsides with a very bad grace]
It wouldn't have become an issue anyway, if he had stayed locked up.
Irmo: [leaning forward, very definite and stern]
We don't know that.
How could it have been an issue? How? You tell me.
Aule: [steepling his fingers]
Developments in better scrying technology.
The fact that no one had Seen the Secondborn yet proves nothing about whether or not anyone would have Seen them eventually, either.
Or that the curious might have made eastward expeditions in time without, or with, Feanor's involvement, my Lord.
We would have known, as soon as humans turned up. Once you meet someone it's sort of difficult to keep on not knowing they exist.
Highness, -- do you not think it might be fitting to show oh, at least as much respect to a Power here as you do at home?
[the Lord of the Hunt fights back a grin]
Oh, trust me, she is.
Ambassador: [hoping against hope]
You were not really this rude to your lady mother--?
. . .
So much of empty breeze is this talk. I stand in great amaze, noble ones, that any yet should yet aver, that darkness of intellect should be preferred, e'en but in fancy and conjecture, as conducible to light and peace -- when manifestly hath it been far otherwise!
'Danel, we're just talking hypotheticals. Discussing possibilities is casting light on them, don't you agree--
What are chrysanthemums? Are they something new?
Namo: [aside to his wife as the debate spirals on]
There are many reasons why I'm hoping they track down that rogue soon.
Vaire: [mock reproach]
That's hardly fair, darling.
Oh, I'll need you to coordinate operations. A perfectly legitimate reason to adjourn for a while.
Vaire: [smiling briefly]
It won't make the problem go away, you know--
[she flinches as the Hunter pounds on the arm of his chair to reinforce a point]
Orome: [not hearing her]
All right. --All right. If that's what you want we can go through every single reason for and against--
[the Doomsman, sighing, reaches up to snap his fingers again, filling the room with a blinding burst of light . . .]
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