Leithian Script: Act IV: 38. Scene IV.xv

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38. Scene IV.xv

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

BELOVED FOOL! BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA

SCENE IV.xv




[the Hall.]

[Huan lifts up his head, and gives a soft, low noise somewhere between a bark and a growl, interrupting the conversation, a moment before the other Elven-warriors look over at the door, where a solitary figure is hanging at the edge of it, looking warily around the door frame. Seeing them by the remodeled fountain, he gestures urgently for someone to come over to him -- the Third Guard winces and covers his face with his hand.]

Fourth Guard:
You should just vanish.

Third Guard: [getting reluctantly to his feet]
That would only make it worse. Then he'd complain about that, too.

[he goes towards the door resignedly; as the camera follows, leaving the Falls behind, Beren asks:]


Beren:
Who's that?

First Guard:
His nephew. It's . . . a long story. --And quite dull. You can ask him about if you really want.

[at the doorway, the Royal Guard stops and folds his arms a short distance off, looking at his kinsman with an expression of combined exasperation and pity. The other Noldor shade waves urgently for him to come the rest of the way]

Nephew: [whispering]
Come over here.

[he does so after a moment.]

Third Guard:
Why can't you come talk to me in a civilized manner?

[the younger Elf looks around the Hall, and at the Loom and the Thrones, with a disbelieving expression]

Nephew: [earnest]
We need you to help.

Guard: [sighing]
I'm not interested. You need to ask King Felagund.

Nephew: [getting exasperated himself]
Why won't you help? What's wrong, that you can't even do a favor for your relatives?

Guard:
Because it's going to drag on and on into endless helping. I told you, I haven't any interest in your hobby and I'm not about to get caught up in it on your behalf.

Nephew: [aggrieved]
That's most unkind of you.

Guard:
It's most unfair of you to try to coerce me into doing your work for you.

Nephew: [his voice rising]
I'm just asking--

Guard:
Just stop -- please.

[the newcomer gives his uncle a dark look]

Nephew:
One would think you'd be ashamed to push me off like this, after what happened to me.

Guard:
Don't do this again. The fact that you were taken prisoner a yen and a half ago has no bearing whatsoever on your confounded project.

[the other gives him an even more reproachful look, resulting in a still-more exasperated tone in response:]

Look, I'm sorry you were a slave. I've said so. I don't know why you think that means I should be your slave. It wasn't my fault you didn't listen to your commander and got cut off and captured, was it now?

Nephew:
It isn't just that.

Guard: [sternly]
And that you should not be bringing to me, either. Take it up with your King.

Nephew:
It isn't fair!

Guard:
You knew the risks. You knew the rules. And you knew the reasons for them. Now, go work on your own things -- I'm busy right now.

Nephew: [hurt]
So you don't care that I was a beaten thrall for ninety years, before I managed to break free, and find my way to safety -- only to be turned out to live in the woods like a Green-elf or a human, to live with those savages, until I couldn't take it any more?

Guard: [meaningfully]
You said you escaped.

Nephew:
I did! You know I'm telling the truth!

Guard:
I know you believe what you're saying. It could even be true. That doesn't mean you weren't let to escape.

Nephew:
You don't really think I would be a spy for the Enemy? Your own sister's-son?

Guard: [quiet]
Can you honestly say that you weren't bound?

[pause]

You know, don't you?

Nephew: [changing the subject]
You tell me not to blame my troubles on everyone else, but I've heard you say that it's the fault of the sons of Feanor you're here. And Sauron. And Morgoth.

Guard: [patient]
Yes, but I've got the order straight in my head. I refused to turn back at Araman. And I paid the price for it. If I hadn't done that I'd never have been in that situation, or fallen into the Terrible One's clutches.

[he looks at his younger kinsman expectantly, waiting for the obvious corollary to be made.]

Nephew: [pounding his fist softly against the doorjamb]
It isn't fair. At least you chose yours.

Guard: [unsympathetic]
Well, you weren't very fair to the Teleri, were you?

Nephew:
You don't understand -- you weren't there--

Guard:
Don't give me that. If you didn't know what was going on, the obvious thing was not to leap in and start killing people, is that not right?

Nephew: [sulkily]
It's easy for you to say.

[the older Elf half-turns, nodding towards the Waterfall]

Guard:
I'm not going to stand here halfway in the door all day. If you want to talk, come in and sit down with us and do it in a civilized fashion.

Nephew:
No!

Guard:
Why ever not?

Nephew:
You're going to get into trouble. --He'll be angry with you.

[from the lowered emphasis and awe in his tone it is clear he is referring to the Lord of the Halls -- his uncle shakes his head]

Guard:
No. He just looked a bit annoyed, that's all. They're busy too, and we're not hurting anything. Now run along, would you?

Nephew:
You're so selfish!

Guard: [with a frustrated exclamation]
When are you going to stop thinking the Sun and Moon and the Stars revolve around you? There are other people in the world.

Nephew:
Don't talk like that!

Guard:
Sorry. But it's the truth, and you know it. Go complain to the High King about the fact that he wouldn't change the banishment rule for you. I wasn't there, complaining to me now is as useless now as it would have been then. Why don't you gripe at your friends from Eithel, that would make more sense.

Nephew:
You're no help.

[he turns away abruptly from the door back into the corridor beyond; the Guard sighs and returns to his companions, sitting down with a groan of despair and puts his head down on his forearms. The Captain leans over and pokes him with the flask, which offer is accepted quickly.]

Beren: [sympathetically]
More crazy-making relatives, huh?

Warrior:
There's never any shortage of them.

Captain:
What's the lad want now?

Third Guard: [capping the canteen and passing it back]
Same as ever. Trying to get me to work on their Theoretical Chronometer again. And throwing his Doom in my face when I won't. --And our kinship.

Beren:
What's a -- Theoretical Chronometer?

Captain:
That's their imaginary clock. It's something that a bunch of Fingolfin's people have been working on, some of them for most of this Age, and it occupies them pretty thoroughly.

Third Guard: [snorting]
Obsessed, some might call it.

Warrior:
At least it keeps them quiet. Mostly. By comparison.

Beren:
How can a clock be imaginary? Is it real or not?

Captain:
It isn't real in any way that you'd think of real, Beren. Moreover it's not going to become real without His Majesty's help, and they haven't got it. They're designing a clock that would allow them to know how much time has passed Outside, but they haven't got anything to make it out of, so all they can do is talk about how they would do it, if they had.

Beren:
But that sounds like exactly his kind of project.

Captain:
The Leaguer wore out his patience with fools. He thinks they're being stupid in insisting on doing it as they are, and he thinks it's all a waste of time additionally. Sometimes he does help them in discussing ideas, on a purely hypothetical basis, but I can't tell if he's doing it because he feels sorry for them, or because of the intellectual challenge, or just to bedevil them. Because usually the result is to require them to tear apart everything they've done so far and start over again, afterwards.

Steward:
All. No question.

Teler Maid: [doubtful]
How can they take it apart if it is not real?

Beren: [nodding]
That's what I was gonna ask.

Soldier:
The equations and, er, mathematical processes.

Captain:
--Plans. They have to throw them all out and redraw them. So to speak.

Teler Maid:
Like to designing hulls and coming to see that the keel will not hold the height, before it is ever laid.

Second Guard:
Yes. I suppose so, at least.

Beren:
Why won't it work? I guess I mean, how could you tell if it would work or not, when it isn't something like a house, where you can say -- that's not going to fit any way like that?

Captain:
Erm . . .

Soldier:
That's part of the problem. Trying to figure out what would be a check on the processes is most of the designing of it so far.

Beren:
So what do you mean, they won't ask for help? If they're asking him about it?

Third Guard: [shaking his head in disgust]
They won't ask him to help.

Captain:
You see, there isn't any way to tell time without some connection to outside, because nothing changes here except us -- what we do. There's no regular pattern of light or anything to set it against, no day or night, no stars moving, no seasons -- so what are you going to measure? You understand the difficulty.

[Beren narrows his eyes]

Beren:
It's not just a clock you're talking about. It's a calendar. You have no idea when it is for the living.

Captain:
Exactly.

Steward:
Though some argue that they are but the same thing, on differing scale.


Beren: [decidedly]
Nah. A clock is a thing, like the one in the City. A calendar is just -- out there -- it's something that's real because it comes from the Sun. The Chronometer, you could have that play whenever you wanted, it just breaks up the day wherever you want to, not like a sundial . . .

[trails off, frowning]

So is a sundial a clock or a calendar? And what about the days of the week? How do you know where to make them start? 'Cause when there wasn't any more people around me I didn't know any more what was what. So did we just decide where they went? Or you guys, I guess, probably. --Huh.

Steward: [approvingly]
You begin to work out the problem on your own.

Captain:
We started over with Sunrise, by the by. Then you changed it around some on your own. --Or else you had your own and put it together with ours, I'm not quite sure.

[mischievously]

You'll have to ask Himself about that.

Beren:
But what would the problem be that he would have to help them and won't? Or I mean, how could he, I don't think you could make a clock out of stone, that wasn't a sundial, could you? How would that work?

Third Guard:
Water. It would be possible to turn one of the fountains into a measuring device, either simple or complex, since the water is constant--

Ranger: [cutting in]
--well, that's part of the whole argument, does anything progress here as it does outside--

Third Guard:
--assuming that the water's rate of flow is constant, it could be calibrated, and then this could be correlated with known temporal coordinates, and the accuracy -- or constancy -- could be checked thereby.

Beren:
So what's the problem?

Captain:
He won't do it, they can't.

Second Guard:
Or rather, they won't ask him to teach them, and they haven't been able to figure it out on their own yet.

Ranger:
And the calibration process would require asking some of the staff for information, and they won't.

Teler Maid:
Give it?

Ranger:
Ask.

Beren: [thoughtful]
You know, I thought I was proud and stubborn.

Soldier: [grinning]
Well, you are. Only we're worse.

[Beren glances up at the bas-relief behind the waterfall]

Beren:
Couldn't you do it? Or did he tell you not to?

Soldier:
Oh no. We just won't, because they didn't ask originally and were obnoxious about it.

Teler Maid: [frowning]
How can you be obnoxious about something you are not doing?

Soldier:
They didn't ask. They just demanded.

Youngest Ranger: [gloomy]
They said, "We need you to make this for us," and I said, "Why?" and they said, "You wouldn't understand," and I said, "No, I won't until you explain what it's in aid of," and they got more and more unpleasant about it, and I still wouldn't until they said what it was for.

Third Guard:
Tell them what it was they said to you, exactly.

Youngest Ranger:
I said I wouldn't do things without understanding why, except for someone I trusted, and I didn't trust them, because they were Kinslayers, some of them. Which was rather rude, I guess. But I didn't know if they were trying to do something to harass the Lord and Lady.

Steward: [aside]
As opposed to us who manage it without trying.

[the Sea-elf flashes a hurried look at him, looking away before he notices]

Youngest Ranger:
So then they said -- some of them -- that they'd tell the Powers that I wasn't Noldor and shouldn't be staying here. And I told them, Go ahead, and I'll tell them what you were doing as well, and that was the end of it.

Soldier:
Only not really, because then they did ask the rest of us -- most politely -- who know how, only it wasn't any good, because we'd already heard all about it and that cruel bluff of theirs.

Third Guard:
So now we get occasional bouts of complaining and guilting, like that just now.

Captain:
They won't talk to Himself because they'd have to apologize, then. And for some reason they won't ask anyone who works here, which would be the simplest thing -- I think they're partly too proud, because they don't want to look like they care, and then there's this weird conviction that the answer is going to be no, and so there's no point in asking, though none of them will explain why they're so certain to be refused.

Steward:
Guilt. --It is possible that the answer might be incomprehensible, you know. The Powers care not about time as we do, and I've always had the sense that they consider any of our efforts to measure it a little odd.

Warrior:
And of course, they might be told, no, that wouldn't be helpful to you.

Fourth Guard: [chuckling]
Yes, but they'll never find out, at this rate.

[two more visitors appear in the archway of the door, coming in a little uncertainly, and looking around. Huan starts wagging his tail vigorously, ears happily pricked in their direction]

Captain: [a touch grumpily]
What is this, the Crossings of Teiglin?

[Beren peers over at them, frowning uncertainly]

Beren:
I think one of them's a ghost, and the other has red hair. I don't think I know them. Do you?

[the Captain straightens up, surprised]

Captain:
As a matter of fact, yes. That's the King's aunt and one of the Greycloak's counsellors.

[he taps the Steward, who is looking morosely and distractedly into the spill pool, on the shoulder.]

More old acquaintances of ours -- do you want us to cover your escape?


[the Steward looks over, startled, and then shakes his head, getting up with almost a relieved expression]

Steward:
Best get through it now, than go on dreading it.

[waving off offers of help before they are made]

I need no assistance in this -- the lady is reasonable, and kind, and such pain as comes cannot be borne by another.

[the others look after him with a bit of worry, but not so much, knowing he's right, except for Beren, who scrambles up a moment later to follow him. Huan does not, but looks as if he wants to, his tail still brushing the floor softly]

Captain: [to his former colleague]
You're awfully quiet, Ternlet. How come?

[she shrugs, not looking at him]

I see.

Teler Maid: [hesitantly]
Are you much angered with me, then?


[he shakes his head]

Captain:
Not much. He would never have spoken for himself if you'd not attacked us. --And are you still angry with me?

[she shakes her head in turn. Looking after Beren:]

Teler Maid:
They are not very biddable, are they?

Captain: [sighing]
No more than we, Sea-mew, no more than we.

[the focus shifts to where Nerdanel is receiving the Steward's greeting with a bemused, anxious smile, while the Ambassador stares past suspiciously at Beren, who in turn is watching his friend with a worried look from a few feet off.]

Nerdanel:
So, then -- what wouldst thou of me, Enedrion?

Steward: [bowing]
I would offer my apology to your House, my lady, if you in turn would be so gracious as to convey such in my stead.

Nerdanel:
What, dost deem a yen sooner matterest, that it should rather be half-and-three, than half-and-four, that might not proffer thine own words unto my father?

[he winces at the dry note in her words]

Steward:
Please you, my lady, I entreat you to withhold your righteous indignation at my misspent years, for mercy's sake, not mine own, as I have had my fortitude sorely tried of late.

[pause]

Nerdanel:
Never thought I to hear thee seek for pity, youngling -- no more than witness thy granting of it.

[giving up on being discreet, Beren comes forward to stand at the Steward's shoulder once more]

Beren:
Excuse me, but -- you really shouldn't give him a hard time, ma'am. He's had plenty already.

Steward: [stiffly]
My lord, I said I required not assistance.

Beren:
Yeah, but you were wrong.

Steward: [nodding acquiescence]
--True.

[Beren touches his arm reassuringly]

Beren:
It's okay, I'm not going to get hurt by words now.

Nerdanel: [slowly, fascinated]
So, thou -- art he -- Aftercomer that hath undone Immortal design, and confused the counsels of the great of Arda. I must perforce confess I had conceived of thee as . . . other -- nay, far more imposing of thy presence withal.

Ambassador: [aside]
As had we.

[Beren turns and gives him a cool Look]

Beren:
Do I know you?

Ambassador: [unperturbed]
We were not introduced, milord. I was present at your -- introduction, to the court of Elu King of Doriath, but no doubt you were far too . . . preoccupied to remark or regard my presence among their Majesties' counsellors.

Beren: [drily]
--Yeah. Just a bit.

[to Nerdanel, not mocking, but with a touch of humour:]

--Sorry to disappoint, my lady.

Nerdanel:
Less that, than a marvel, that thou shouldst find so light that which all mine own sons and spouse alike did strive forin vain attempt--!


Beren:
Er, light? -- no. Also, from what I know about the War, actually going and trying did make a huge difference.

Nerdanel: [frowning, confused]
All that, and 'twas not attempted? For what, then, yon wild pursuit, nor all this Age's doings?

Beren:
After Feanor got killed--

[she winces, and the Steward shakes his head in dismay]

Sorry -- I--

[Nerdanel gestures him to continue, though her expression is grim]

Just keeping him contained -- Morgoth, that is -- so that he couldn't get out of Angband. Until he did.

[glancing towards the Steward]

He can tell you better than me, 'cause I wasn't born for most of it, or even him--

[nods towards the Sindar lord]

--'cause Tinuviel's people weren't involved in most of it.

Steward: [serious]
The tale is long, and all is yet not known, and my lady's nephews I believe hold the greatest knowledge of its finer points -- but my friend has told the heart of it: after hard defeat, no endeavor to break within and seize the stones was made, before the Beoring and his well-named love did undertake the deed.

[pause]

Nerdanel:
So. That which was begun in fiery and utmost haste, did shortly end in slow and moveless state, as the flux will run cold to congeal that hath flown swift in blaze, that is not banked and channeled that the coals do catch.

[shaking her head, with a bitter half-smile]

A dreary tale, yet, but curiously apt unto the madness of it all. --How it must gall them, that Secondborn hath mastered Morgoth's might!

Beren:
"Mastered" is way too strong a word for it.

[she gives him an appraising glance and he shrugs. Reluctant:]

Ah. I have to tell you, ma'am, I -- I tried to pull your son's head off.

Nerdanel:
Indeed -- and which?

Beren:
C--Curufin, my lady.

Nerdanel:
Nay, forasmuch as he hath ever been the image of his sire, that doth little 'maze, then. --For what offense? or any, or all?

Beren:
Huh? Um, yes -- that is,he was trying to kidnap Tinuviel then -- or he had been, before I grabbed ahold of the bastard and got him by the neck -- sorry.

Nerdanel:
For why? Surely such deed should merit answer, if any might -- yet, I gather, didst not gain thy way.

Beren:
Oh. --No, she made me stop and let him go.

Nerdanel: [shaking her head]
This tale groweth more confused ever the more I do learn of it. Could any set it out in such wise that sense shall come of it? --But I confess I have not apprehended all thy thought: what is yon word "bastard" thou didst name my son?

Beren: [chagrined]
Um. It -- it's an -- it's a mortal insult. I mean, it's in our language. It's not necessarily mortal . . .

[trails off]

Nerdanel: [dry]
Nay, and I had deemed it a laud, no less. For certes an insult, as thou dost aver -- yet of what its construing? For surely hath something of sense to signal scorn withal.

Beren:
. . .

Nerdanel: [interested]
Worse, belike, than even "thrall," else "deceiver"--?

Beren: [giving up -- very rushed]
Please understand, ma'am, I didn't mean it literally and I wasn't even thinking about it when I said it and what it means is someone whose parents weren't married or not to each other only what we use it to mean most of the time is someone who goes out of the way to be a mean-hearted, envious, arrogant, troublemaker who deserves to be beaten into a bloody pulp. --Sorry.

[she raises an eyebrow but says nothing]

Like I said it's just an expression we use and I didn't mean when I said it that you . . .

[he breaks off in embarrassment]

Nerdanel: [frowning]
Thou meanst to say, that thy folk might 'get and give forth children into Arda, without ever to bind soul to soul in unity as parents? Even as the kelvar? That one might have a dozen mates, or choose anew with the tide of spring each year?

[completely humiliated, Beren nods]

Beren:
We don't think it's a good thing, but--

Nerdanel: [interrupting]
Then thou needst not to have remained by Luthien, for all she was thy true-love, nay, neither before nor after thee and she were wed, but might even have gone from her to another's love, without thy mind and soul reft by madness, nor she to needs must die first--?

Beren: [adamant]
No. I mean -- yes, I did. Have to.

Nerdanel:
But I think that such was th'implicit burden of thy former words, or am I greatly uncomprehending of thee?

Beren:
I couldn't. Me. Maybe some other Man could've walked away from Tinuviel, but--

[he shakes his head]

Nerdanel:
Thou, at least, had other choice open to thee, to find other match, than set thy life for hazard and thy house with House alike in forfeit for thine only love.

Beren:
No. But yes. --I know it sounds crazy.

Nerdanel:
Dost speak to me, of madness? Madness I have seen, a-plenty: thine is small, and thy lady's less, by mine own accounting.

Beren: [uncertain]
You -- you don't think I'm crazy, then -- my lady?

Nerdanel: [raising one eyebrow]
That, I said not.

[Beren frowns]

Beren:
Wait, shouldn't it be "Your Highness?" If Feanor's your husband, and he's the son of the first King, then wouldn't that make you a Princess as well?

Nerdanel: [acerbic]
Dost deem me mad, then, to care of this contention and striving after title, after aught of glory than work well-fashioned? My folk doth require none; stone requireth none; how shall I require it, as though else might not ken mine own self's self?

[he is abashed]

Beren:
Sorry -- I didn't mean to insult you, ma'am. I was just trying not to.

Nerdanel:
Nay, then, neither shalt offense be taken, that was not offered up.

[pause]

Elwe's daughter is far more blessed than ever she doth discern.

[she turns her face away, but recovers her composure quickly.]

I have heard rumour, that mine eldest hath suffered e'en such loss as thou, and would ask of ye, if thou'lt forgive the discourteousness of't, and blame me not for my presuming, if that be so or no?

Beren: [answering first]
Er -- yes. I'm afraid that is true.

Nerdanel:
I did not doubt it overmuch.

[she sighs]

Passing strange it is, that the first to wield blade amongst us should die first in battle, and firstborn should forfeit hand that did wield such blade, to blade's bite -- as though the earth itself were but a great balance and either land each pan, tilting across the Sea -- I speak mad fancies; I cry ye pardon, gentles. --Of thy pity, lord of Men, canst thou say to me how farest thou, then, that I might ken yet so small a part of my son's life, for--

[lifting her own hands and looking at them]

--I cannot guess how 'twould be, to have naught save memory of limb, nor how I might easily compass all that should be needful, scanted thus, though I do confess I have oft thought upon it.

[pause]

Beren: [awkward but sympathetic]
It's different for him. I mean, he's an Elf, and I'm not, and that was obvious and stupid for me to say. Ah. I mean, he's had a lot longer to get over it and your people heal better than we do anyway, and he's still a great warrior as well as leader of House Feanor in the east, kind of a legend. Well, not kind of a legend, a legend, and . . .

[looking disgusted with himself]

. . . both of those are things that you probably aren't too happy hearing about either. Sorry.

[she looks at him with an odd expression, as if struggling to maintain a precarious balance between tears and laughter]

Nerdanel:
I do endeavor to comprehend how it must be for thee, that art so changed and forcibly set amid all that's strange to thee, and how it, and we, should all appear, that hast heard belike, yet not in same wise as we shall have heard of another here, and yet dost seek to comprehend in turn and maintain ever. --I confess I cannot.

Beren:
Not everything's strange, ma'am. I remembered what I was told about the King's aunt being wise and always willing to stand up for what she believed in.

Nerdanel: [shaking her head]
'Tis given me to understand, that untruth's far from possible within these walls, so then alike must flattery e'en be: therefore thy sincerity, at the least, might not gainsay. --I thank thee for thy courtesy, sir.

[to the Doriathrin lord]

Thy pardon, my lord, as well -- I fear I do leave thee daunted, thus forgrasping all this our discourse. Pray, do not hesitate thee from speech, but make free as thou wilt.

Ambassador:
Less overawed, my lady, than uncertain, at this juncture. I've had no choice but to see this Man through her vision, and I begin to think, -- little as I most certainly like it -- that -- perhaps we were in error.

Beren:
There's a lot of things I could say to that, but I won't.

Ambassador: [holding his own, with an ironic half-bow]
Thank you, milord.

Nerdanel:
Yet a third way that differest from mine husband, that didst give aside Silmaril as second to the price of love, and strove not to lead astray, nor didst not care that any might follow in thy despite regardless, and that for love, not vengeance nor of hate; that now dost willingly hold peace--!

Beren: [whispering to the Steward]
What did she just say?

Steward: [quietly]
That unlike Feanor, you know when to be quiet, sometimes.

Beren:
Oh.

Steward:
Also that you were neither indifferent to nor desirous of the fate of all who chose to accompany you. And gave up the Silmaril for your lady.

[while Beren is still frowning]

All of which are compliments, given the circumstances and their source, since you're yet doubtful, Lord of Beor.

Beren:
Okay.

[to Nerdanel]

Thanks.

Nerdanel: [to the Steward]
How hast changed, and yet hast not, and yet art all other than thou wert, in the Wild world beyond!

Beren:
Please don't insult him, ma'am.

Nerdanel:
Nay, nor did I, or is't insult in thy speech to say but that one has changed, from harshness and vainglory to gentleness of heart?

Beren:
No . . .

[the Steward bows slightly]

Steward:
I believe that it is so, and do so hope, even as you speak, my lady.

Nerdanel:
I confess I must hold it a good thing, that thy heart's allegiance was at the last given unto my nephew, and not my son, else I deem this conversation should ne'er take place, nor thou stand guiltless of murder, nor find peace from battle hither.

Steward: [very dry tone]
Something of a most relative peace, my lady, I fear -- but indeed, your words, though sad, are in keeping with mine own thoughts as well.

Beren: [breaking in]
Hey, how come you're here?

[as they all turn to stare at him]

I mean, what about the meeting? How come you're not there, and what's going on?

Ambassador:
Talk -- much talk, and little else.

Beren: [ironic]
Well, yeah, it's a council -- that's what's supposed to happen at them. Anything else, you got a problem.

[the Sindarin lord visibly bites back a return]

Nerdanel:
Nay, 'tis much talk of sundry things, and not so much as might be thought, of thee and thine own concerns, forasmuch as the gods' concern of all that is doth make the direction of the discourse to shift more indeed than e'en we Eldar at our conversing, and with less heed of time its passing.

Steward:
That is but half his question, my lady.

[Nerdanel and the Ambassador share a wry Look]

Nerdanel:
Thy lady is most obdurate, and requireth no further assurance of the rightness of her course, the which is all that I might well provide.

Ambassador:
Our contributions were not considered relevant, milords.

Beren: [dawning realization & growing amusement]
You got thrown out.

Ambassador:
That is, I must say, rather an overstatement--

[Beren shakes his head, grinning]

Beren:
You -- got thrown out.

[brief pause]


That's great. That's just great--

[he laughs out loud, then struggles to control his expression]

Sorry, ma'am, I wasn't being insolent to you, it's just that it finally happened to someone else -- especially from Doriath--

[with a sidelong Look at the Steward]

--About time, eh?

[unable to help himself, he starts laughing again, ducking behind the Steward's back until he can regain his composure]

Steward: [without irony or embarrassment]
Gentles, I entreat you excuse my friend, in consideration of the trials of his present and recent situation.

Ambassador: [mildly]
I endeavor to remind myself of his extreme youth, which renders it more comprehensible.

Nerdanel: [very curious]
In truth, he hath so few of days?

Steward:
Alas, yes.

[over beside the pool, Huan is wriggling and whining quietly, with his tail going nonstop, while the Captain looks at him indulgently]

Captain:
You don't have to stay here any more. We needed you to be cover for Beren last time, but that doesn't matter now. Go say hello if you want.

Huan:
[sharp yip]

Captain: [pushing his shoulder]
Go on, don't be an idiot, you can go and greet her--

[the Hound gets up, but stands hesitantly, looking back at the Captain for reassurance]

Go on--

[as if fired from a bow, the Lord of Dogs goes tearing across the Hall to where the others are standing]

Teler Maid: [looking after Huan]
You do like him greatly, even.

[her former colleague nods apologetically]

But you shouted at him much. To make him answer me fairly.

[he nods again, and she puts her forehead down on her knees again -- it is clear she is crying, hidden behind her hair. He pats her on the head]

Captain: [gently]
You're not up to being shouted at, Curlew.

[Huan comes skidding to a bouncing halt and looking adoringly at Nerdanel -- the Ambassador flinches back, though this is not noticed by his companions.]

Nerdanel: [sadly but fondly]
Oh, thou Hound -- little had I thought to see thee so soon!

Beren:
You know each other?

[realizing]

Of course you do.

Nerdanel: [to Huan, seriously]
Alas, I have brought nothing -- I did not even ken thou shouldst abide here, ere I heard the story of thee and these thy rife adventures, hence have I neither dainty nor trifle for thy pleasing -- moreover I much misdoubt I might give unto thee, as thou presently art, withal.

Beren: [trying to be helpful]
You could pretend to throw something, he likes that -- then he pretends to bring it back, or he just brings back all kinds of stuff, like rocks or pine cones until you give up and tell him he's won . . .

[he trails off at the increasing grief visible in her expression despite her struggle to control it]

Huan: [panting, grinning]
[attention-seeking whines]

[Nerdanel unthinkingly reaches out to pat him, and her hand goes through his muzzle, making them both recoil violently, the Hound flinging up his head in Very Startled Dog alarm]


Nerdanel:
Oh--!

Huan: [wild-eyed]
[loud, repeated barking]

Steward: [firm]
Quiet, boy!

Nerdanel: [covering her ears]
Ai, yet else that hath not changed--!

[Beren grabs the Hound's head like a horse's and pulls him down to shoulder height, making him stop for the moment]

Beren:
Why don't you go run up and down the Halls instead and work off some of that energy?

[checking]

I sound like a parent. --You go do that, and I'll whistle for you if we need you. Okay?

[he lets go and whacks Huan on the flank, again as though shooing a horse out into the paddock, and the Hound bolts out the doorway, running low to the ground, ears trailing like a mad thing.]

--Bet we're all thinking the same thing.

Steward:
I trust were any immediately without -- we should have heard the cries of dismay by now.

Nerdanel: [shaking her head]
I mind me not that he was even so vast, in th'old Day--

Ambassador:
--That -- is Huan? That -- creature -- captured our Luthien?

[he looks very shaken]

Steward:
I assure you he is Good and would not harm any of like mind.

Nerdanel:
Aye, for all my son did most lamentably indulge him in his whims, yon Hound hath ever most mannerly and gently midst folk displayed his temper.

[she is still rather sniffly & blinking hard]

Beren: [half to himself]
I -- don't expect you will, but, hey, might as well offer -- um, you want to come sit down with us, and talk more sociably instead?

[he gestures towards their encampment]

Ambassador:
I -- I think not, sir; the Hound has greatly unsettled my spirit.

Beren:
We won't let him jump on you when he comes back. Promise.

Ambassador:
. . .


Steward: [shrewdly]
Indeed, he is disquietingly like unto one, in seeming, at a glimpse.


[Thingol's emissary draws himself up in useless pride, but does not deny the implication]

Beren:
Oh. --I didn't think about that. Sorry. We're all just so used to Huan, but you don't know him, and you just got killed -- not long ago, at least -- by the Wolf. You did good not to run when he came charging up like that.

[silence]

Ambassador:

Your accent grates heavily; less so your intent of courtesy.



Beren:
Er -- you're welcome.

[doubtfully]

So . . . what are you going to do? --Gentles.

[Nerdanel is not missing any of the way her son's former friend reacts (and doesn't) to Beren's presence, and speaking, including taking control of the conversation, watching them both keenly. Now she replies, having managed to swallow her tears, and turns to include the Sindarin lord in her address:]

Nerdanel:
I, also, am even yet whelmed with the renewal of so many heart-deep griefs, and with such confounding news of the old land as ye have given to mine uncertain consideration -- if thou'ld be so kind, my lord, belike shalt companion me, and say unto me more, and fill the gaps of my comprehension with some measure of thine own informing; meanwhiles we shall but walk, and gaze upon the most strange and rare sights herein.

[with a dash of her ordinary dry wit, nodding at the Ten]

--Nor mean I ye, nor else of yonder company.

Beren: [dubious]
Well, okay, but -- there's not much here to see. Except the Loom, I guess.

[she shrugs]

Nerdanel:

Then I trust we shall see it, shall not, upon our meanderings?

[she holds out her hand to the Ambassador, in a gracious, careful, gesture, not quite taking his arm, but very definitely walking with him, not evincing any fear or repugnance at his ghostly state, though clearly under so much stress right now that a little more or less would hardly make much difference. The Steward lays his hand on Beren's shoulder to turn him back towards their own group, then pauses and calls to the daughter of his family's hereditary liege lord:]



Steward:

I must inform you, gentles, that the Lady of this Hall has most stringently requested that none should interfere with her Loom.

[pause]

Nerdanel:
I confess myself much curious, whence such injunct be deemed necessary. --My nephew must be sorely galled by the command.

[it is the Doriathrin Ambassador's turn to laugh out loud briefly, if much more temperately than Beren]

Doubt not, we'll meddle not.

[as they begin their walk, she looks back over her shoulder at the Steward, and says meaningfully]

--Verily, youngling.

Steward: [sighing heavily]
That could have been far worse.

Beren:
Don't worry, I won't tell anyone you said that.

[sighing in turn himself]

Poor lady.

[as the Steward frowns curiously at him]

Saying Tinuviel was lucky, being married to me.

Steward:
I assure you, she was not referring to the brief duration of your match.

Beren: [shrugging]
Yeah -- and?

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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