37. Scene IV.xiv
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
[Elsewhere: a long hallway, perhaps the same one where the duellists were earlier, perhaps another one much like it. There are massive columns lining it, as large as those along the portico of the Pantheon, but more prismatic, squared or octagonal, and the vaulting is subtly more geometric than rounded, where visible -- just enough to convey a distinctly not-human origin; in other words, as everywhere, the Halls should not look like they're modeled on any historic architectural style or styles, but the reverse.]
[Aegnor appears (literally) at one end of the corridor, still a bit bedraggled, and stands hesitating, looking towards Finarfin, who is pacing slowly down the hall with his back towards him. He makes an uncertain movement as if to draw near to him; seeing Amarie approaching from the opposite direction beyond, however, he ducks around behind a nearby column before either living Elf can become aware of him.]
Amarie: [curtseying deeply]
Finarfin: [with equal politeness]
Is't not passing strange, this exchange of high formality that so late did customarily use other greeting?
Amarie: [brittle] Thou dost know well, this
present state -- 'tis none of mine own doing.
[she doesn't answer. The camera turns to reveal that behind the column, Aegnor is battling surprise at finding it already in use as cover by not one, but two of his siblings -- Angrod on the further side wearing an expression of stoic dismay, while Finrod, now in the middle, is endeavoring to restrain laughter. His amusement at the absurdity of their situation is not appreciated by either brother, Aegnor giving him a glare as he pushes him to move over and give him more room.]
Finrod: [manic whisper]
That's Father. Not me.
Aegnor: [whispering also, very caustic]
Really. --Any other relatives here?
Aunt 'Danel, too.
Not -- Mother?
[out in the hallway, Amarie is still looking obstinate, but not quite as haughty; Finarfin's expression is wistful]
There's naught to be said else upon the matter.
[she tosses her head, folding her arms]
Thou hast spoken, my lady Earwen hath spoken, he hath spoken -- all the world and mine own kin have had their say thrice over. Should words mend the world -- there'd be no Marring.
Thy certainty doth put me in mind of another Elf, upon another time, long gone past.
My lord, let thou not compare me unto Feanor!
Finarfin: [raising his eyebrows]
Named I my brother?
I am no rebel -- nay, nor should ever be!
[she gives the King a Look sharp but troubled]
Hast not even yet received petition from the holy Powers, to lay aside thy wrath, and dost thou not cling fast with both thine hands in their despite--?
[long pause -- behind the column Finrod's brothers stare at him, while he looks straight ahead, ignoring them. Aegnor gives an angry snort. Finrod does turn at that, and then frowns, feeling the other's sleeve, and then touching his hair before Aegnor shoves his hand away. Angrod shushes them again.]
It hath not been commanded me.
Nor should e'er it be.
[she turns away, her mouth set. He holds out his hand to her]
Come, walk with me, an thou will't, --daughter.
[Amarie turns back, startled, and her lips tremble -- there is, it seems, a chink in her armour]
Amarie: [not letting it affect her voice]
My lord, there is naught that may be seen, the way that I did come. Nor have I met any other within, saving only thine own self, though betimes I have methought that I did glimpse, still were there none either of shade or spirit when I did go thence.
Then it shall matter not, the which direction we choose to take ourselves, is that not the truth? --Or wouldst rather have thy solitude, my lady?
[she sighs, pulling her scarf about her as if cold again]
--Nor yet would I be adviséd.
Finarfin: [in the same gentle way he has addressed her throughout]
How then, if thou shalt hear my heart's disclose, and thou advise, rather than to hear counsel given?
[Again he gestures for her to accompany him, and this time, after a moment's hesitation, she begins to retrace her steps by his side, her posture very tense, until they can no longer be seen in the darkness.]
[Finrod looks at Aegnor, who is trying to look nonchalant instead of guilty, without terribly much success]
You're damp. How come?
I don't know. By rights it should have been as evanescent as any decapitation, but the condition remains regardless.
Finrod: [reasonable tone]
Being wet is a much more
common experience than being killed, hence the memory of it should naturally persist far more strongly. And you evaded my question. What happened to you?
Your people are maniacs.
Finrod: [still mild]
You were hassling Beren again.
[Angrod makes an exasperated noise]
Would you stop using that mortal slang?
No. Nor will I let you change the subject.
[to Aegnor, the same calm manner, only now it seems rather chilling]
Your behaviour is not only a disgrace to the family, it's utterly unreasonable. --Why do you blame him for making the same mistake that his kinswoman made long before he was born, rather than rebuking our cousin for presuming to be wiser than the rest of us, and showing us our folly as in a mirror?
Brother, you go too far--
Finrod: [ignoring him, fixing Aegnor with a Look]
Unless it's simple cowardice -- sorry, prudence -- that so wisely durst not challenge Luthien. You got off lightly indeed.
[they tense, and Aegnor glares at him, but he matches stares with the other calmly, until finally Aegnor breaks down and demands furiously:]
--Why did you tell him we were guilt-ridden over the fact that our friendship with Cur and Cel led to your death?
I did no such thing!
[narrowing his eyes]
Is it true?
[he looks at Angrod as well; they don't answer]
I see. --Interesting. That -- hadn't occurred to me.
It doesn't change a bloody thing! You're still behaving with a besotted obsessiveness that begins to rival our eldest uncle for self-destructive insanity!
Finrod: [smiling faintly]
Is that the way you both see it?
Yes! Can't you see that you're setting yourself on a headlong path towards disaster again, that you're bent on a course that will inevitably lead you into another conflict with the gods?
Well, at least it will be all my own doing, this time.
No, it's the same damnéd thing. Haven't you learned? You're going to let your softheartedness lead you into making the exact same mistake as before, throwing yourself away to defend those who have fallen prey to their own rashness and impulsive folly!
Finrod: [slowly, cold iron]
They were your people too. You claimed lordship to Beren only now -- and yet you will not defend him in his need.
Aegnor: [sounding an awful lot like his eldest brother]
We know perfectly well that we are among those for whom you threw your own freedom and safety aside,by our wanting to carry forward with our cousins, after Morgoth, over theIce -- we condemn ourselves equally and without reservation. If anything,we are more qualified than any other, to warn you against this mistake. Isn't twice enough, that you must make it a third time?
Finrod: [still more slowly]
Mistake or not, I will make it.
Aegnor: [grabbing his shoulder]
No. We are going to make you see reason, brother.
Finrod: [mild curiosity]
And how exactly do you plan to do that?
[he takes hold of their wrists, ducks under and turns all at once, pinning their crossed arms against the pillar, and stands facing them with a look of extreme exasperation]
I should bang your heads together, but I doubt it would make any difference at this point.
[they try to pull free, but he does not budge, and when Aegnor raises his free hand to pry away his grip he speaks with the same tone of power that he used on Beren in Act II, with equal effect]
Be. Still. --Look at me.
[he stares into their eyes in turn, and this time his voice is extremely gentle:]
Do you think, my brothers, that I have not place enough in my heart for all my kin? Must your jealousy bring you, too, to violence against the youngest? Or do you hold that I have loved you the less, that I have loved Beor's children also?
[Angrod doesn't speak and will not meet his eyes; Aegnor stifles a sob, flinging his head back hard against the pillar]
I did not forget you -- nor do I forget you now. But I must take care of my own. --Do you need such help as those two now? If there is anything you'd have of me, you know you've but to ask. --But you've not.
[pause -- when he goes on it is in a slightly harder tone:]
Or is it that you need me to stay thus docile, that you may act as though you were my elders, and slight me with your words as though I were a fool, and half-mad, and yours the turn to shepherd me, in private as in the multitude, as not even they that have earned the right to it do presume -- and strange it is to me, for all that you as much as I must surely know that I but do indulge you in it. That -- I cannot give you.
[he pauses again, briefly, but they do not speak]
I have indulged you, because it did not trouble my peace, as to rebuke you should, as a father permits his children to make game about him, and set chains of blossoms upon him, and give him fond names of folly, while he muses in the garden's quiet. But that time is ended, as I knew it must, -- though I did not See it coming so soon, nor in such wise, I do admit -- and I must rise to be King once again, as I had not thought to do, neither for hope nor dread, though my realm be nowhere and my following but a dozen as mad as I, and my only ally one half-goddess and the other half madness as well, and all of us naught but air and dream and that divine spark that kindles all that is.
And yes, I will stand as I must, against whomever I must, and you may continue your play, as you will, for none can make you cease, but you shall not impede me in my duty. --Nor cross me, as you are wise.
[Angrod is crying silently, tears sliding down his averted face; Finrod lets go of their forearms and lays his hand along Angrod's cheek, turning him to meet his eyes. He flinches, expecting judgment, and finds something else entirely. In a gesture of acceptance he leans against Finrod's shoulder and lets his brother hold him while he regains his composure]
Finrod: [smiling, if rather sadly]
--No lasting harm done.
[he pats Angrod on the elbow as the latter straightens, wiping his eyes, and turns to Aegnor, who is standing with his arms tightly folded, a far greater look of misery on his face. Taking hold of his shoulder:]
Aegnor, it isn't hopeless--
If you dare speak one more time to me again of your visions and your foolish hopes and your mad heresies, I will break your jaw, brother, elder, King, or not--!
[Finrod lets go of his arm and steps back, with a very slight bow]
As you please. But I commend you not to do so before the Lord of Beor. I warn you, I'll not intervene on your behalf in this case either.
[the other snorts, shaking his head]
What do you think he could do -- even if he tried to defend you . . . this time?
Come now, you've heard the echoes of the tale by now -- the air, the very stones are humming with it, born on the tide of whispers. Have you a wish to share Curufin's fate? I think our royal cousin will not intervene, even were she at hand -- she's much displeased with you at present, as I have warned you.
Aegnor: [sullen mockery]
He had both hands, then.
And Curufin was armed and ahorse. Take your chances, if you will. --But do not count too much on my restraint, either. There are limits to my patience as well.
You're coming with me, at least--?
[neither of the other two stirs]
He will not be pleased to see me again.
It would be better if you'd let him decide that -- and forgive you your words himself.
Why do you think he'll be willing?
Because he is Beoring. --Because he is mine. Do you think he will not?
[they don't answer this, either, but the defiance goes out of their expressions, leaving them standing there stubborn but forlorn as he turns on his heel and leaves them behind in the shadows.]
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