Leithian Script: Act IV: 40. Scene IV.xvii

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40. Scene IV.xvii

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

BELOVED FOOL! BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA

SCENE IV.xvii



[the Hall: beside the falls, where the story has apparently concluded for the moment]

Teler Maid:
I still cannot fathom it that none of your families stood by you, but only by.

[pause]

My lady will be most put out with Lord Orodreth.

[the Captain chuckles at that, and she is affronted]

I know her well, and I am most certainly right!

Captain: [dismissive motion]
Yes, yes, that's not why I'm laughing. I -- couldn't help but imagine the Prince's mother scolding him, and what they might say.

Steward:
It isn't at all funny.

Captain:
Oh, come on, can't you just hear Lady Earwen going--

Teler Maid: [louder and more emphatic]
--But still less do I fathom it out that Lord Olwe's brother and his wife locked their child away -- has any one of ye ever heard of such a thing?! What right had they to do thusly?

[on the other side of the Hall, where Nerdanel and the Ambassador are surveying the Loom, the Ambassador turns and looks over at her, then quickly pretends he didn't hear]

If they did not approve of her chosen, then indeed had they right to say so, even as Lady Amarie's kinfolk, and make it clear wherefore they thought the choice not wise, or--

[looking directly at her ex]

--as my own family -- and perhaps yours, for all your denials to them of intent towards me -- did make it clear, but to set a wall and a ward against their own, as were an enemy -- or as if they were of the Enemy, keeping her thrall! What have Elves come to, in the time between!

Steward:
In fairness, it was not until she threatened to follow Beren into Angband that the King and his counsel made such restraints upon the Princess, for her own safety.

Teler Maid: [heated]
So, they set themselves above the gods, then! For it is little different, I think, between his lady seeking to redeem him from the Enemy in a far-off land, and your lord Feanor seeking to rescue his treasures from the Enemy in distant journey--

[several of the Ten protest her use of the pronoun "your", but quietly]

--and they did not stop you, nor seek to do so by other means than persuading words, and yet it was the same manner of dangers, that you did risk and she did risk, that they did lock her up!

[somber silence]

Beren:
I hadn't thought of it that way. Her parents wouldn't like to hear it -- but Tinuviel would agree with you, absolutely.

Teler Maid: [sharply]
And you do not?

Beren: [dismayed]
I didn't say that.

Teler Maid:
But did you not imply it?

Beren:
Um -- no.

[aside]

Wow, someone who's even more paranoid than I am--

[at his unintentional remark she snorts indignantly]

Captain:
Maiwe, calm down. Not everyone is out to get you. In fact, no one, here, is out to get you.

[she looks away, scowling, just as the Youngest Ranger starts to attention and directs his companions' attention towards the door, through which now enter the Lord Seneschal of Formenos and the Lord Warden of Aglon -- but accompanied by some dozen or so extras, "gentles-at-arms," clearly looking for trouble. The Sea-elf freezes, looking ready to leap up and flee.]

--Not even them. Actually, they're after me, most likely.

[as the hostile shades approach]

Soldier:
What should we do, sir?

Captain:
Maintain a defensive perimeter -- that's what we're best at, after all, isn't it?

[there are dark grins and laughter from several of the other Elves]

Ranger:
What about you, sir?

Captain: [flexing his bad wrist carefully]
I'll manage, if I must. But we'll try to keep it from getting that far.

[he looks at Beren very seriously while the rest of the Ten get up and arrange themselves in a serried, if informal, rank against the intruders]

You're going to stay here, and you're going to stay out of it. No arguments. I don't know what will happen if you get hurt, and the more I've thought about it the less I like the notion. You're taking no chances. Understood?

Beren: [unhappy]
Yes, sir.

Captain:
In fact, call Huan back -- he can do his job and look after you now.

Beren:
But--

Captain: [setting his hand on Beren's head as if talking to a much younger sibling]
--You call him, or I will. The only options, lad.

Beren: [nodding]
Okay.

[he whistles, several short, high notes, as if calling any ordinary dog, and remains kneeling by the waterside as the Captain rises, followed by the Elven girl.]

Captain: [to his former colleague, just as seriously]
Curlew, this could get -- rowdy. You probably don't want to be around for it, and I certainly don't want you hurt, even if you'll not leave this Circle for it.

Teler Maid:
Do not tell me what to do!

Captain: [sad half-smile]
I didn't.

[turning away he goes to the center of the group, shouldering through to stand on the Steward's right, facing the Lord Seneschal. The Sea-elf tags along, hanging back a little, with a worried expression, but not willing to stay out of it]

Quick learners. --Now why don't you learn even faster and stop this before you come out the worst again, eh?

Formenos:
Shall we hazard upon it, in your foreign custom, then?

Aglon:
My quarrel's not with you, anyway.

[he is staring menacingly at the Youngest Ranger]

Captain:
As a matter of fact, it is. He acted but under my orders. [none of them appear to notice that the Doriathrin shade and the Noldor lady have left their sightseeing and come to stand at the side of the dispute, attending closely]

Aglon:
Nevertheless I'll not fight you, my lord.

Captain: [approving]
A prudent policy.

Formenos: [cynical smile]
And a prudent bluff, huntsman. The White Lady mentioned your clumsiness, and its consequences, and thus incidentally explained your carefulness to avoid outright combat at our last encounter. Thus -- we will not quarrel with you: our numbers are but to ensure fairness, that none should interfere in what passes.

Captain:
Then they will interfere with nothing, for the responsibility for what transpired is entirely mine, and I will not allow it to pass to those who but followed my commands. --Immortal or mortal.

Aglon: [very proud]
That may be, but I will not fight you, for my honor's sake, while you are injured. If you wish me to treat you as worthy adversary, restore yourself, and I will engage you, sir.

[the shade from Alqualonde edges between the two subordinate Rangers, standing with her arms folded and an imperious look on her face]

Teler Maid:
What is this "honor" that I hear you speak so much of? Will it keep you from smiting me, then?

[he makes a disdainful gesture]

Aglon:
I don't fight children. Or maidens.

Teler Maid:
I recollect otherwise.

Formenos: [gallant & disarming - if you didn't know better]
And who might this charming creature be?

Teler Maid: [defiant]
--"Collateral damage" -- I think that is what you have called us.

Formenos: [shaking his head]
I've never had dealings with your folk -- I was the first killed in Middle-earth, after our noble lord was foully murdered by the same demons that slew me.

Teler Maid:
False, false, false!!!

Formenos: [frowning]
Are you not his true-love, following him hither?

[he nods towards the Youngest Ranger]

Teler Maid: [indignant]
I am from the Havens! Can you not tell the differences 'twixt us?

Formenos:
Ah. My error: I do apologize, that I did not at once recognize you one of the Calaquendi, if Latecomer.

Teler Maid:
You -- do make apology for misnaming me -- but not for killing me? What madness is this?!

Formenos: [voice of reason]
Blame your elders, for their selfishness, not us. Blame your king, not ours.

Youngest Ranger: [shortly]
You brought your troubles on yourself.

Aglon:
Go back to your trees, Dark-elf. --Or else fight me, if you wish to consider yourself truly Eldar.

Captain:
Now then, what's wrong with tr--

Teler Maid: [interrupting, sharply to the Feanorian lords]
Do not -- not speak so!

[she is so upset that she is stammering, but stamps her foot emphatically]

Formenos: [bored]
Be quiet, infant, and return to the Hall of Play.

Teler Maid:
Oh!

[in the background, Finarfin and Amarie enter the Hall via the archway, together, and taking in the scene of conflict, come quickly over]

Aglon:
Well, boy, if you will not give me satisfaction by honorable duel, then I must take it as I can -- if you've the courage for it: is it not your people's way to flee from blows rather than return them, to fight from cover and to vanish before retribution falls?

[the Sindarin Ranger does not answer him, except to clench his jaw, standing his ground, the tension in his companions rising as tempers are held forcibly in check]

Steward: [slow emphasis]

Leave -- him -- be.

[the Lord Warden smiles and moves forward threateningly; while the nearer of the Ten move to grab him, the Sea-elf darts in between to obstruct his path completely, scowling up at the taller Noldor warrior.]

Teler Maid:
Go away!

[the Warden of Aglon doesn't answer -- instead he takes her by the shoulder and spins her aside, continuing to push towards the Sindarin Ranger. Without another word, the Steward reaches to his right, rips the Captain's sword from its scabbard and runs the Feanorian through -- no flare, all business. The wounded Elf crumples to his knees as the blade is withdrawn, while his companions stare at the assailant quite aghast--]

Steward: [cold]
You should have listened.

[several of the victim's friends kneel around him, trying to help him get up]

Formenos:
But -- he had not drawn yet!

Captain: [disgusted]
Sweet Cuivienen, can't you tell us apart, either? That's me, not him.

Formenos: [shouting at the Steward]
Where is your honor!?!

Steward: [calm & obnoxiously complacent tone]
If by honor you mean a willingness to be cheated without complaint -- I fear that remained with the rest of my belongings in Nargothrond.

[raising an eyebrow]

Anyone else wishing to try my patience? None?

[he reverses the hilt and returns the Captain's sword with a gracious nod]

--Much obliged, my lord.

Captain: [loftily]
Any time, any time--

[to the hostile Elves]

--Dolts.

[to the Steward]

That was better, but you still leave yourself wide open laterally when you lunge that way--

Amarie: [outraged]
Ai, what hast thou done?!?

[giving up the effort, the Warden of Aglon vanishes with a final grimace of agony -- the Teler Maid shrieks, cutting it off at once by clapping her hands to her mouth.]

--Minion of the Enemy thou art in truth!

[there is a moment of shock as everyone stares at each other, and the Ten realize who all was watching and what it looked like]

First Guard: [to Amarie]
Milady, it wasn't what it seemed--

Steward: [looking only at the Sea-elf's horrified expression]
Yes, it was.

[he shakes his head, laughing quietly and hopelessly]

--Of course.

Formenos: [enraged almost beyond speech]
You--

[tries again]

Indeed, you were well-disguised as Morgoth's vermin! I wonder that you needed any camouflage at all!

Nerdanel: [tense]
Thou seest the error of thy ways, then?

[he does not look at her nor otherwise acknowledge her words]


Finarfin: [very harshly]
I am most grieviously disappoint in thee, young sir. 'Tis well thou art restrained, within these Hall's confine, and all such destroying souls.

Captain: [earnest]
But you really shouldn't count this against him, as if he too were no more than a Kinslayer, because none of it was real.

Finarfin:
Upon the contrary -- though thy loyalty aye deserveth praise -- nor thou nor he can answer me that 'twas not done in th'intent of the deed its fullness, nor that the wish and will of't was to act and it were most potently the very blade 'gainst yon rival's flesh, save merely that these phantasmic figurations must needs serve in place for ye.

[looking sternly at the Steward, who is still gazing in bleak dismay at the Teler Maid, who has recovered somewhat from her emotions at the mayhem and is staring at him with a very troubled expression of mingled revulsion and worry]

--Nay, canst thou, Enedrion? For thou didst belie me with the truth, but not the full of it, when at our first meeting thou didst make of merest need but virtue, nor confess that thou might not speak other than of truth, to set thyself higher in my estimation.

Steward: [hollowly]
Indeed, your words are true, my lord Finarfin -- all of them.

Captain: [still more earnestly]
But he wouldn't have done it, if it would have had any real effect on that nitwit.

[No one denies this assertion]

Amarie: [tightly]
Mayhap -- yet still 'twas a deed most wanton, violent, and bloody--

[glancing at the entirely-unmarked floor, grimacing, and is forced to add:]

--in yon ghostly fashion.

Formenos:
I'll serve you now in kind, Enedrion--

[he draws his sword, advancing on the Steward, who does not pay any attention to him]

Nerdanel:
Nay, answer me, that didst answer to me in the Day, and wast even Keeper of our household stores, when yet was peace in Tirion!

[she moves to bar his way, her eyes flashing indignation, but he still ignores her -- even though refusing to admit her presence means he must walk right through her, (sfx) leaving her mute with shock and anger]

Captain: [blocking the Seneschal of Formenos far more effectively]
You don't exist, my lady -- as far as they're concerned. Sorry about that--

[to the other warrior]

--Not you.

Formenos:
I will not fight you unprovoked, and play into your games, King's Fool.

Captain:
All right.

[smashes him hard across the face, backhanded, almost knocking him over]

How's that?

[with a roar of fury, the Lord Seneschal rallies, so quickly the Captain barely has time to get his blade free and parry -- but he does. If the hits taken in the last duel are bothering him, it isn't obvious, as they "have at it" in a flurry of blows in the suddenly-widening circle that forms around them. Beren leaps to his feet, but obeys orders, though his anguish at doing so is obvious; the Teler Maid covers her ears, wincing at each blow, just as distressed as the human, if not for exactly the same reasons.]

Finarfin: [shocked but not at all uncertainly]
--Hold!!!

[there is Power in his word as well as anger: in momentary surprise the combatants stop, but only for a moment -- although the Captain obeys, the Seneschal presses the advantage, forcing him upon the defense again]

Captain:
Sorry, Sir--

[they set to savagely again, no quarter on either side, just the same kind of ruthless fighting as against Eol earlier; the Captain stumbles, and this time it's no "accident" -- but as the Feanorian lord moves in for the kill his sword-hand is transfixed with a very real-seeming arrow, and as he tries to recover with his left, looking as all do to the source of the shot, his opponent regains his footing and presents once more no easy target. The Youngest Ranger is kneeling with another arrow knocked and already set to loose.]

Youngest Ranger: [terse]
Next time, your eye.

[there is a pause, a sort of momentary truce, or rather recognition of impasse, and one of the other supporters of House Feanor comes up and sets about drawing the arrow, casting the pieces aside into thin air.]

Formenos: [disgusted]
--Damnéd archers! No honor whatsoever.

[both the Ambassador and Amarie start to say something, but whatever it is is cut off by the baying from without, as Huan returns -- with rider. As the Lord of Dogs and the Lord of Caves make their dramatic entrance, five very bemused law-abiding Eldar alternate staring from each other to the newly arrived to the denizens who seem to regard this as nearly, if not the height of normality.]

Nerdanel: [aside]
Hall of Play, in truth!

[Finarfin gives her a surprised Look; explaining:]

Hath not any ridden Huan since of thine and mine the youngest were little more than babes.

[her brother-in-law nods ruefully, as his eldest son's ghost dismounts and strides over, looking around first to make sure that Beren is all right, as Huan plows through everyone else, still barking fit to raise the roof, to get to Beren himself]

Finrod:
Would anyone care to explain to me what's going on?

[there is a chaos of everyone talking at once -- the Lord Warden of Aglon remanifests to make his case personally, much to the startlement of the living witnesses; Finrod waits until the roar dies down somewhat.]

Now, -- would anyone care to explain to me what's going on?

Steward:
There were words, escalating towards blows. I struck first. All else followed from that.

Finrod:
Whence the provocation?

Steward: [before anyone else, and louder]
From both sides.

Formenos:
No insult had been offered you, you slave of a slave, but you cut him down without warning nonetheless!

Amarie: [earnest]
Though little had I e'er thought, that I should speak in such as that one's just defense, he doth speak truly: 'twas a blow most villainous and cruel -- if 'tis not falsehood in its own right, to imply withal that any might be otherwise!

Aglon: [furious]
And I will take my recompense in the same way, d'you hear?!

Steward: [chill calm]
I will accept such, if it is my lord's decree.

[the Teler Maid stares at him, her face frozen]

Aglon:
As if he'd ever give fair judgment against any of his own!

[loud jeering and countering from the Ten, matched by their Feanorian opponents, with even a few barks from Huan added in; Finrod holds up his hand for silence, and there is instant attention from all, adversaries and supporters alike]

Finrod:
The temptation is strong to take the way of water and avoiding resistance give you both what it is you wish--

[looking at the Warden]

--to you, satisfaction of your anger, and to you,

[turning to the Steward]

--expiation, of yours. But--

[smiling grimly, to the Warden]

--in no small measure is that owing to the desire to let you make a poorer showing than you already have, disgracing yourself in the sight of the living and the dead, as well as the gods. Which is not justice, at all.

[he shakes his head]

No, it is too complicated. I cannot decide: I must defer this entirely to a higher authority.

Formenos: [snorting]
I trust your uncle to give us fair hearing no more than I trust you, Finarfinion.

Finrod: [still graciously]
Not the High King, I'm afraid -- I meant an authority that outranks all of us, living or dead, royal or no. Take your complaint of my people's conduct to Lord Namo or his Lady, and let them judge it, and whatever finding is theirs in this matter, we will submit to -- however little it is to our liking.

[he matches stares with the chief lords of House Feanor's supporters in Mandos, and does not give any sign of uncertainty, until finally after a long moment, the Lord Seneschal, still cradling his right arm, nods to his people and the hostile contingent storms out in a jostling, angrily-glaring mob.]

Sorry, that took a lot longer than I expected. I see you've got things under control, though. Good idea sending Huan for me right away.

Captain:
Er, well, actually--

Finrod:
Oh -- more of his own initiative, I take it?

Captain:

He didn't tell you? [his lord chuckles briefly, thinking it's only a joke. Beren, with Huan at heel, comes up quietly now that the immediate danger is past, not interrupting]

Ambassador:
So easily you dismiss them, Sire, and have full confidence they will not return when your guard is down, to take the vengeance they hold to be their own? --And yes, I am here, and would rather not be, whatever possible construction you wish to place upon that statement, and I have equal confidence in your Majesty's courtesy and intuition revealing my wish not to dwell upon any particulars of it.

[Finrod gives him a pensive Look, but honors his request, answering him only (while maintaining an aloof disinterest in his family members standing nearby)]

Finrod:
Oh, they won't take it any further. They'd have to explain to the Lord of the Halls, in detail, you see, and even for them it would be difficult to justify their motivations, and so they'll simply drop it. --They might bring it up again when the next trouble starts--

[looking at the Steward]
--and you'll probably never hear the end of it.

Steward:
My lord, I--

Finrod: [putting a hand on his shoulder]

If they succeeded in provoking you, it must have been bad. I trust -- that your conscience is more than equal to any reprimand I might bestow on you, my friend.

[he turns to look at the others -- and frowns in amazement]

What are you doing here, Maiwe?

Teler Maid: [bitterly]
Trailing about after him, what else to expect?

Finrod:
--Oh.

[he starts to ask further, then defers it for later. To the others:]

What's been going on, while I've been busy elsewhere?

Steward:
Your brother Aegnor returned and provided us with some diverting moments, I fear.

Finrod: [sighing]
Yes, I've given him a bit of a talking-to about that. I don't think it'll happen again. Anything else? What set that lot off?

First Guard:
They came looking for trouble and found it. The Lord Seneschal's flunkey went to kick Beren for -- if you'll believe it, my lord -- discourtesy.

Finrod: [with an angry snort]
What then?

Youngest Ranger: [embarrassed at drawing attention to himself]
I -- Sire, I -- I knocked him down and bashed him in the knee. But the other way round. That's why he wanted -- wanted to challenge me.

Finrod: [warmly]
Good job. Don't worry about it -- either of you--

[he looks at the Steward]

--they won't take it further, I'll warrant. And if they do, we'll deal with it then. I need a volunteer for a quick errand, now--
Finarfin:
What dost thou presently, indeed?

[pause]

Finrod: [very guarded tone]
Why do you ask?

Finarfin
I had but concern, for these thine own concerns, that seeketh to fulfill its own lack by learning how all doth transpire, perchance to aid.

[longer pause]

Finrod: [formal politeness, undercut by irony]
The concerns of the dead are not yours, Sire, nor, I believe, is there anything your will may accomplish here. --Unless you claim Lord Namo's role here in addition to your own lawful title -- which I somehow doubt is the case.

Finarfin:
Nay, my son -- I seek to compel thee not.

[they stare at each other for a brief moment, taut and unhappy; but this time their position is subtly reversed, with Finrod being the one giving stinging barbs and Finarfin the wary, restrained recipient of them.]

Finrod: [turning back to his following]
All right then, who among us is worst at chess? All forms of it -- and doesn't like it, either. It's no good if he can tell you enjoy learning, you'll never break free.

[the Third Guard steps forward, and Finrod gives an approving nod.]

Please go and ask my uncle to come here, without delay, as a favour to me. Phrase it as graciously as you can, but make sure it's clear that I need him to come talk to me now, not six hundred years from now, and I do mean here. Er -- not in those words, of course.

[the Guard bows and hurries off, leaving Finrod to deal with his family and others. He looks at them a bit warily, recognizing that there is something going on, but not having any information as to the source of their (additional) tension. Polite:]

Did you wish to speak to me, father?

Finarfin: [equally]
An thou'lt not converse upon thy present concerns, belike thou might willingly relate some account of thy kingdom, yon realm that thou didst found for thyself upon the other shore, and the workings of thy rule.

Finrod: [bemused]
You want to hear about Nargothrond? I shouldn't have thought you'd be interested in the forbidden doings of a bunch of rebels, now.

Nerdanel:
Nay, but ever must parents wonder and yearn for word of children's faring, doubt it not, though thou hast none.

[there is an awkward moment]

Finrod: [clapping his hands together]
Very well, why don't we make ourselves comfortable over there and we can try to give you something of an idea, at the least, of what we've been up to on the other side of the Sea.

[he gestures towards the falls, and there is another awkward moment, as the four guests look at each other, and at him, uncomfortable but not willing to be the first to speak.]

Is there a problem, then?

Captain: [smoothly interjecting]
I'm rather afraid that milord your father is overwhelmed by our inability to recount tales singly and in good order, your noble aunt still very much unsettled by so many houseless spirits, your lady wife wishing us very much still at the other side of the Sea, or better yet the bottom of it, and your royal uncle's servant thinking nigh the same of the Beoring. Have I read the situation aright, gentles all?

[four rather chill Looks would seem to indicate so]

Finrod: [wry]
This is as bad as diplomacy back home. I might as well not have died, for all the good it did me. Very well, then--

[he looks around, oblivious to the reflexive flinches of his family and the background collecting of a wager by the Youngest Ranger, and shakes his head]

I'm afraid there are only the two chairs, and I really don't dare move them--

[brief expressions of confusion are replaced by utter bemusement as they realize which "chairs" he is referring to]

--so it seems there is only the rather rustic alternative over there--

[pointing to the hill]

--if you do not find that unacceptable.

Ambassador:
Surely none of our race could ever object to the comfort of the greensward, but one must ask of direst curiosity -- whence comes a piece of the growing earth to enliven these sunless Halls?

Finrod:
A gift, lent by the grace of Lady Nessa, I hear tell.

[with a polite, edged smile to Amarie]
It is both real, and untainted by any rebellious craftsmanship, my lady--

[her lips tighten, but she does not retort]

Nerdanel: [firmly]
--Nephew. Keep thy private quarrels to home. --Thou kennst well what I do intend; moreover, herein lieth not thy true home.

[he stops, forestalled before he can respond, a touch chagrined.]

Finarfin: [soothing]
Ample accommodation, in truth, and a most pleasant spot, yon turfen hill -- to which, gentles, let us repair, that we may hear the wondrous and most strange news from the land of our Awakening.

[with a shepherding gesture he takes Amarie's hand and motions the others to accompany them, allowing no room for objection]

Beren: [aside to Finrod]
Is this? -- I mean -- you -- you know-

[looking over at Finarfin and the others, raising his eyebrows]

Finrod: [blunt]
No, I'd rather be thrown off a cliff than deal with them, as you correctly surmise. But in courtesy, they can't be left to their own devices, and absent any higher authority to foist them off on, it falls to me to entertain them. Don't worry, I'll survive -- so to speak.

[squaring his shoulders, he assumes a look of determined pleasant calm and goes to play the part of the lordly host among welcome guests, leaving worried companions behind]

Beren: [alarmed, aside to the Steward]
Does he know?

Captain:
Know what?

Beren:
--He doesn't, does he?

[narrowing his brows, the Steward shakes his head]

Steward:
I do not see how it is possible he should.

Beren:
I bet his dad's not going to say anything, either.

Captain:
Oh-h.

[he grimaces, glancing quickly over to the hill]

Beren: [looking across and back]
This isn't good. --Do you think that all of 'em know?

[the Steward follows suit as well]

Steward:
Most probably.

[Beren & the Captain wince]

Beren:
Except him. Nothing we can do about it, though, is there?

Steward: [nodding towards the rest of the Ten & companions]
No, save trouble our friends to no purpose by our conversing on it.

[the Sea-Elf, suspicious, comes up to their urgent consultation and demands:]

Teler Maid:
Do you talk of me?

Captain: [gently]
--No.

[to Beren]

I don't think there's anything we can do, that won't make things more difficult than less all round.

Steward: [shaking his head]
I see no discreet way of imparting the information to our lord at present.

[the Elven-maid continues to stand there, with a chafing expression, caught in the awkward state of bystanding a conversation without belonging to it and not wanting to go away in embarrassment or to cause a scene; she looks up frowning darkly at the Steward, who glances down at her in the same moment, and very seriously moves aside a little, leaving a deliberate place for her. After a moment she steps in a little closer, her arms folded, still wary and half-outsider]

Beren: [frowning]
Hm.

Teler Maid: [after another hesitation]
What would you have him know?

Beren:
He doesn't know that they didn't know what happened to us and now they know, and they don't know that he didn't know they didn't know, and that now they know. And they said things to each other that they probably wouldn't have if they'd known -- mostly his dad. And Amarie. And now he's saying stuff back, and they're not going to know what to say.

[longish pause]
Teler Maid:
I could go and say that someone needs him without, and then tell him myself when we are from here.

Captain:
Yes, but then they're bound to ask him what the matter was, when he gets back, and it's the same problem, I'm afraid.

Beren:
Good idea, though.

Captain:
Nothing for it but to hope Himself doesn't say anything too sharp, before a chance to apprise him comes along.

[he shakes his head, sighing]

Beren: [deadpan]
He might figure it out anyway. He's pretty smart.

[the Elven-girl looks at him strangely]

Teler Maid:
That is a most simple and manifest thing to say -- yet I do not think you are simple of wit -- so why say you what all well know, that Lord Ingold is most wise and clear-sighted?

[Beren shrugs, a bit embarrassed]

Captain:
That's more mortal humor.

[pause]

Teler Maid:
'Tis strange.

Captain:
It is indeed.

[pause]

Teler Maid: [frowning, changing the subject]
What is that matter of chess Lord Ingold did speak of? For I think it must be a pastime, but I know it not.

[Beren and the Captain share a Significant Look, while the Steward covers his face with his hand]

Beren:
I think we can find someone to teach you.

Steward:
--No. That would not be prudent.

[as the Sea-elf looks at him with an uncertain expression half between automatic outrage and wariness, Beren is the picture of injured innocence]

Beren: [bewildered]
I wasn't talking about you. I don't know why in the world you would think I was meaning you, sir -- it's like you think I've got nothing better to do than cause trouble for you--

[the Steward gives him an eyebrow-raised Look of arctic frostiness, while he continues to protest disingenuously]

Teler Maid: [to the Captain, decidedly]
'Tis very strange indeed.

Beren:
--I mean, we all know how to play chess, I don't see why--

Steward: [curious, resting his hands on the mortal's shoulders]
--Beren, what would you do, if I did indeed answer you as from your tales you would expect your cousins to have answered such incessant japery, by half-wringing your neck in jest or impelling you beneath the outlet of yonder cascade?

[pause -- Beren looks up at the much-taller shade thoughtfully.]

Beren:
I'd win, on account of having made you respond without using any words again.

[brief pause]

Steward:
--Hina.

[he brushes his knuckles lightly against Beren's cheek, almost smiling, and turns to the falls, going over to where Finrod left his harp -- instead of sitting down apart, however, he carries it to where their comrades are waiting, uncertain as to what's all going on, and takes his place in their midst, to their obvious pleasure, and begins to play very quietly.]

Teler Maid: [troubled]
Why does it misgive you not, that he dismiss you as but a child?

[Beren shakes his head]

Beren:
Kinsman.

Teler Maid:
No -- the word is child, in their speech--

[she nods sharply, including the Captain and all the Ten (& even Huan) in her gesture, all of her insecurities coming to the fore in her tone]

Beren: [gently]
But it means kinsman, when he says it to me.

[she looks back and forth to see if they're teasing her, and then across at the Steward, providing background music for the warriors' conversation and games, and appears distraught.]

C'mon, somebody over here can teach you how to play chess, if you really want.

Teler Maid: [fretful]
I do not know what I want.

[but she accompanies them back to the waterside nonetheless.]

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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