5. Act IV, Scene II - part I
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
--That Melian's daughter made her way
to Mandos' Halls, and there did win
her way as well, with imploring song,
and of her thought and melody did spin
a thread to bind the sternest and most strong
to clemency -- this all do remember well.
But of the rest, that followed ere the Choice
little is said, and less considered: how still
much ado was made, high counsels held, voice
upraised to counter and to question,
troubling the highest, making them to pause
and ponder long with sad consideration
this strange matter of their love, and cause
that Luthien upholds, appeals, maintains
with such unreservéd zeal that even yet,
beyond the Bent World's verge, her strains
are sung in deathless memory, past the set
of Sun, of Moon, by gods and Elven-kind
until the ending of all things shall find
even the stars and that unstained land--
[The Hall. There is a difference -- where the tea-table occupied an alcove under a lamp, there is now a vast double throne under an arch, with only the lamp, the occupant, and the stone sphere resting on the dividing arm of the throne the same. In the background, Nienna is still paying attention to the Loom. Before the throne, Luthien is looking up at Namo with a desperate expression. ]
I -- I'm sorry, I was thinking about what you'd just said -- I . . . missed your last remark.
[he wipes at his eyes, shaking his head a little]
Might I please speak to him now, my Lord?
I . . . am not sure how to break this to you, but he -- he isn't here.
He has to be.
No, I'm afraid that isn't the case. Except for those who give themselves to the Enemy during their lifetimes, or have ties to their own place that are strong enough to override the call of their Fate, mortals do not remain in Arda.
But he wouldn't have lingered back there -- he's not evil, he has no one left besides me, and he knows I'll come here too.
But Men don't stay here -- they go on from the Halls to their own destiny beyond Ea.
Luthien: [becoming increasingly frantic]
But I told him to wait for me! I -- I came as fast as I could -- how long has it been? You didn't -- you didn't send him on without me -- please tell me you didn't! Surely he would have explained --
--but what if he couldn't--
--is Huan here?
Why would he be here? He isn't an Elf -- he belongs to Orome.
No. He belongs to Beren now. And me. I'm sure he would be waiting for us here somewhere. He might be looking after him--
That's the second time dogs have come up in recent conversation. Very peculiar.
Nienna: [from where she's sitting, not looking over]
If you'd been paying attention to the news, or even what's going on under your own roof, you'd understand. You need to remember the big picture, not just focus on the organizational details, Namo.
Namo: [giving her an exasperated look]
Be a little more cryptic, would you? Ah --
Aaha. The kid with the dog.
They're here? He's still here?
[he nods, picking up the sphere]
--Security, please. --Just how big is that dog, anyway? Uh-huh. I see. Can you put my wife on, please? --Vaire, things have just gotten a little more complicated. --If you can believe it. I know. Look, I need you to talk to that mortal again. He hasn't been rude to you, has he? No, apparently he has some kind of aphasia problem, but he's not deaf. Would you ask him if he's Beren Barahirion? -- and if he is, tell him that Luthien is here and would like to speak with him, and ask him if he would be so good as to come over here. His dog can come too. --Has the dog been rude to you? Well, I'm going to have a little talk with Orome about him. -- Yes, that's right. Love you too.
[sets down palantir, sighs and shakes his head with a pained expression]
I find it difficult to believe that all this madness really is connected. It's almost enough to make one think that order is an illusion.
Why do you think I've been watching all along? It takes patience to see the patterns.
[her brother half-smiles]
Namo: [to Luthien]
--Yes. He's here, beneath this roof, and will be here directly.
Thank you. --Thank you--
[Enter Nienna's Apprentice, and Huan, who sniffs the air and looks towards the Loom, keening softly. Beren is between them, holding onto Huan's collar for balance. He is more bowed and tattered than in Act II, wearing a motley layered assortment of frayed rags and well-made tailoring (all far too large), his head low, his right arm held stiffly by his side. He looks like a defeated veteran of a long campaign stumbling home from the wars.]
[he lifts his head and looks over blankly towards her -- and then he seems to recognize her and lets go of Huan to hurl himself at her in a controlled collapse as she runs to catch him, locking her arms around his back as he leans against her shoulder, eyes closed, oblivious to the rest of his surroundings. Luthien stands there holding him close, crying, unable to speak right away. After a few moments they straighten and look at each other, though she does not let go of him any more than he tries to step away:]
Are you all right?
[he nods. Worried:]
Can you talk?
Beren: [with visible effort]
Luthien: [more worried]
He's right here, on the other side of me.
[Huan comes closer; Beren does not react until the Hound whines]
Beren, can you see?
I can see you. The rest -- is all grey and lights.
[she is very upset, far more than he is]
It's a little bit better now.
Apprentice: [who has been standing awkwardly to the side]
There isn't much more to see than "grey and lights", I'm afraid.
[at Namo's stern Look]
No criticism of your Lady's decorating scheme was -- well, I'm afraid it was, rather, but, erm -- it could be a lot worse.
Why don't you go find something to do while they make their goodbyes, hm?
Goodbyes?!? What do you mean?!
So that he can be on his way.
Isn't that what you wanted? Since you didn't get the chance to speak together before his dissolution?
Luthien: [shaking her head]
No! I mean, yes but not just that, I want to stay with him -- him to stay with me, always.
[she is on the edge of tears, and holds onto Beren tighter than ever. Huan presses up against them both, looking anxious]
But that isn't possible.
Because the One has organized the universe otherwise. He isn't supposed to stay here. But you know this. So make your farewells, and let him go.
I may have emphasizedthe part about how we didn't get a chance to even say goodbye properly a little too much. My Lord, please, can't you make an exception?
No. I didn't make the Law.
But you're in charge here.
I administer the Law. But I do not have the power to change it.
I didn't come all this way just to have him taken away from me again. I will not let this happen.
Luthien, I'm afraid you don't understand.
I understand very well, my Lord, and I don't care.
Beren: [uneven smile]
Haven't we done this before?
Please try to look at it rationally. I agree that it is a terrible tragedy, but you knew that your husband was mortal and under a separate Doom before you married him. The tragic shortness of your marriage does not change that essential fact.
Then can we at least have an entire lifetime here before he has to go? We're owed at least that!
Very few people, in this world, get what they deserve. It shouldn't have happened this way, you're right.
And it's unfortunate. Most unfortunate. That's why I'm giving you a chance to have a good memory, before he goes.
--No. Beren is staying with me.
Your Highness, that's not--
What, will he blast me if I defy him?
No, that isn't my style. You need to reconcile yourself to facts, Luthien.
If someone says that to me one more time, I'm going to scream until the roof falls in. I know what the facts are. I want solutions! And acceptable ones! This -- saying goodbye to Beren so that he can be kicked out yet again like a trespassing vagabond -- is not an acceptable solution. You've got to do better.
[the Lord of the Halls gives a short laugh and closes his eyes]
You understand I really do not have the time to spare, even though I'm making it.
Well, we jolly well didn't have it either. Don't try to make me feel sorry for you, it won't work.
[the Apprentice covers his face with his hand]
Why can't you even make an exeption to the rules?
Because it is not a Rule, it is the Law. And it would not be fair to him.
I don't understand--
--How could it not be fair to him? He's the one who's been cheated most by all this!
You wish to keep him here, in this fragmentary state, because of your affection for him. But he is not made for this place, nor this state, because he is not like you.
Look at him. Do you want to hold him in that, without any hope of being rehoused, without the natural properties that make such a mode endurable, alone and severed from his own kind, until you've decided that you've had him long enough? What does he think of all this? Have you even asked him, or simply laid commands on him?
[Luthien looks defiant, but increasingly anxious]
Sir, could perhaps something be done -- to some small area, to make it less overwhelming to his senses?
I don't know. Nor do I know yet what his feelings on the matter are.
--Beren son of Barahir.
[Beren starts and tries to focus on the Lord of the Halls]
What do you want?
Beren: [after several attempts]
I want Tinuviel to be happy.
Being happy and getting what one asks for are not always the same thing. --What do you want for yourself?
[pause -- Luthien looks wretched and afraid]
I want to stay with my wife.
[she hugs him in relief]
As you now are, young Man?
I've known worse. This doesn't hurt.
Namo: [to where Nienna has been up till now]
I'm surprised you haven't jumped in yet -- where's she gotten to?
[sighing -- to Beren:]
You're not making things any easier.
Beren: [a very faint smile]
I usually don't.
Namo: [snorts, sounding exasperated, but not angry]
I'm not sure what to do. This is unprecedented, and nothing I can recall from the Song gives me any hints, let alone specific directions. I'm going to consult with my peers about this -- fortunately they're already somewhat aware of your circumstances, so it shouldn't take too long to bring them up to date. Meanwhile you two might as well--
[loud single bark]
--three, might as well stay here as anywhere else. Then we won't waste any time trying to find you again.
[to the Apprentice]
You're sure you don't know where my sister might be?
Yes. Erm, no. That is, I'm sure I don't know where she is. I know many places where she might be.
[the Lord of the Halls looks up at the ceiling]
Do you do this on purpose, or does it come naturally? --Has she given you any tasks that you're supposed to be doing right now?
I don't know, my Lord. --I mean, I'm not sure why I do it. My Master only told me to make myself useful about the Halls.
Good. --About the latter, not the first part of your statement. Go find my Lady, explain things to her -- quickly -- and ask her to meet me at the Mahanaxar. First, however, ask her what you should be doing and then go and do it. If nothing else, then I'll have you handle coordinating security -- that should help curb your taste for adventure, seeing how these stakeouts really go down.
Certainly, Sir. [he gives a rather extravagant bow, and strides jauntily out, though not without a backwards concerned look at the three shades. The Lord of the Halls picks up his cup from the other arm of his throne (where it was not a moment before) finishes the last of his tea and rises from his throne. Setting down the cup he vanishes, without another word. Beren reacts, starting.]
What's gonna happen now?
I don't know. I -- I --
[shaking her head]
I'm going on nothing but instinct right now. I don't know why they all need to discuss it. And I have no idea what they'll decide.
[Behind them Vaire appears for a moment, glances across at the trio with a sympathetic expression, and with a fond shake of her head dismisses the teacup sitting on her husband's chair. Another quick gesture dismisses the muddle of chairs and dims the light of the Loom to a faint glow. She disappears without them noticing her, with the possible exception of Huan. Beren sinks down onto his knees, closing his eyes. Luthien drops down in front of him]
What's wrong -- Beren, love, what's the matter?
Beren: [looking up at her, vaguely]
I'm tired. --And I got chilled and couldn't get warm again.
Have they hurt you somehow?
No. Some people -- I'm not sure what kind of people they were. They weren't Elves, I'm pretty sure. They came, and . . . talked at me kind of loudly. They -- they weren't real happy with me being there in the entryway. But nobody did anything except talk. I -- wasn't listening to most of it anyway.
[he reaches out his hand, and Huan bumps his head under it]
He came along and started licking my face . . . and made me move and kind of curled up around me . . . and after that . . . I wasn't cold. He growled at them when they came by to yell at me, too, and after a while they stopped.
[he smiles, rubbing Huan's ears]
He's a good dog. Isn't that right, boy?
[Luthien pulls Beren close against her side, and he leans his head on her shoulder. Huan moves to lie couchant behind them, right at their backs.]
Shh, it's all right, don't be afraid -- we're here now, I won't let anything else happen to you. Just rest, you're safe, we've got you, we've got you . . .
Beren: [not opening his eyes]
Sounds good . . . to me . . .
[she is weeping silently, but not letting him know it as she alternately smoothes his hair and rubs gently at his wrist. Across the room as she is trying to blink away the tears, the glow of the Loom attracts her attention, and she strains to make out what it is. At that moment the quiet of the hall is shattered beyond repair:]
Tulkas: [shouting in the distance]
Well of course it's unprecedented, everything's unprecedented, you know we're just making it up as we go along!
[Following this proclamation the speaker himself appears, striding in out of nowhere to where the three are, much to the astonishment of the lovers. Huan does not leave where he is lying pressed up against Beren and Luthien, but he gives a short happy bark and thumps his tail on the floor]
Tulkas: [shaking his head in disgust]
They call me "simple" -- but not everything is this complicated. Some things are simple.
[looks around and snorts in disgust]
What is it with this obsessive need of Vaire's to tidy everything? How much work is it to leave a few chairs around?
[manifests a heavy, carved chair of the royal fald-stool with arms and back type, flings self down in it. (Note: there are no obvious sfx -- no flashes, no "magical" sounds -- it's just there.) Manifesting a drinking horn:]
You want anything? A drink? Say the word --
[Beren, a bit wild-eyed, shakes his head; Luthien is marginally more composed.]
Oh -- no thank you, my lord. We are quite -- adequate -- as we are --
Tulkas: [to Beren]
--Good work with those little spiders. Too many to clean out, of course, but you made a nice dent in the population.
Beren: [startled into blurting out a response]
Should've seen their mother.
[shakes his head sadly]
I'll regret not catching her to the end of the world.
[he takes another pull of his drink]
So will the world.
That's what I said.
[Beren looks confused.]
Now, mind you, I don't go in for all those fancy gadgets, myself -- I'm more the hands-on type -- but heh, even I can see why you wouldn't want to come to close quarters with those things. How come you never used a, a whatsit, poky-stick-thing -- you know, a "spear?" Seems a lot better than going after those things with a -- sword -- farther away, right? Why didn't you make yourself one?
Um -- 'cause I'm not a smith?
[Tulkas looks a bit confused at this]
I didn't have the tools, or the time, and I wouldn't have known what to do with them if I did. And a spear can be damned inconvenient for hauling around in rough terrain -- anything taller than you is gonna catch on stuff. Plus there's the problem of if you throw it you haven't got it, but if you hang on to it, it can become a liability. Spears are best for open country and pitched battle. Otherwise--
[it clicks, suddenly, and he looks horrified]
Ah. Sir. --My lord. --Oh gods -- help me--
[Tulkas looks around]
No one else here, unless you're counting Huan. "Otherwise--?" You were saying--?
Beren: [quietly, rushed]
Otherwise it can become just another thing to slow you down.
[bowing his head]
Oh yeah. I'm with you there.
I mean, it's all just a way of hitting harder in one place than another. I don't know why other people go on about weapons as if they're so much better than brute force, especially the more moving parts they have. They're not any easier. All this business about "it's so easy, you just pull it and the bow does the work for you," and nothing about how it wants to go in all different directions, including back into you and along your arm--!
Beren: [startled into forgetting]
Somebody said archery was easy? I would never agree with that.
But you were really good at it.
Yeah, but I started practicing when I was what, four? five? and I kept practicing, and I twanged myself good more'n a few times there -- first time I tried fooling around with a full-size bow I gave myself a bloody nose, and my first recurved hunting job -- ouch. --Of course I shouldn't have been too impatient to put on a vambrace before testing it. But yeah, anything that can punch through an elk, or a warg, or an armored Orc, before it can get close enough to damage you, is going to have a hell of a lot of power and need extreme control to make that power go where you need it to, and only there.
[he stops, and starts to panic again -- Tulkas does not seem to notice, but Luthien hugs him]
Tulkas: [smiling triumphantly]
I'm going to have you tell my brother-in-law this. Someone needs to take him down a notch. Besides, you understand when brute force is the right thing -- that bit with Feanor's brat, when he grabbed her? On the horse? -- No hesitation, no stopping-to-think-it-over -- exactly what I would have done. Perfect.
[gestures with his horn towards Beren and drinks a toast]
Of course, I helped a bit. You've always tended to be a little too thoughtful and cautious -- except towards the end there -- and sometimes you just need to act without distractions. Not the time and place for it
Y--you're Tulkas, right--?
Last time I checked. I think that's what they're still calling me.
Ah . . . okay. So -- when I pulled Curufin down, that was really you? Your power working through me? I should thank you for saving Luthien then?
Tulkas: [shaking his head]
Oh no, I just helped with the distractions. It was all you. Besides, you already did. I'm one of the Valar, right? Don't you remember thanking us?
. . .
How do you know all this -- milord?
Oh, I was following the story off and on from a long ways back -- even before what's-his-name, the guy who didn't come back -- Thingol -- got my attention begging me to smite him couple-three times a day. Nia said this was one I'd li--
Luthien: [interrupting, outraged]
--Of course not. That's not how it works, anyway, and your dad knows it.
Besides, I didn't need to.
[glares at Beren]
What were you thinking, you dimwit? You had every chance handed to you to go off and have a decent life with your girl and what do you do, you go and yourself killed, for a bargain which nobody in his right mind would have considered taking up -- can we say "rigged contest," hm? -- and you can't claim it was an accident, how often did you try to get yourself killed before you succeeded? Every time she said "Let's just go and live in the woods," would it have, huh, killed you to say "yes"? Obviously not. Believe me, I wanted to clobber you a couple times there.
[the disgruntled Power recovers from his rant with another drink]
I'm sorry, if that helps any.
Tulkas: [looks around expectantly, then shakes his head]
--Nope, nothing's changed. So I don't think it did.
[Beren looks even more baffled.]
Well. What are you going to do now?
Right, what are you going to do about this situation you got yourselves into?
. . .
I got us into it too. But at this point it isn't up to us. What can we do?
That is to say, we're dead.
I know that. How much of a simpleton do you take me for? There's always something you can do. It might not work, but at least--
[There is a sudden gust of wind through the place and a tall, athletic woman (who might well be played by Maureen O'Sullivan, the original "Jane") in swirling but rather abbreviated drapery appears behind Tulkas, and puts her hands over his eyes, exclaiming:]
Hmm . . . I think . . . but no, can't be sure--
[She leans over and gives him a quick upside-down kiss]
Tulkas: [frowns, shakes his head]
[they share a rather-more-protracted moment]
I think -- but . . .
[he ducks before she can thwack him on the head, grinning]
Nessa: [moving around beside him]
Where did all the chairs go?
You know Vaire -- leave something alone for a moment, it gets cleaned up and put away. Here, sit on my lap, we only need one chair anyway.
[Nessa plunks herself down on his knees, grabs the mead-horn and takes a big gulp before passing it back and leaning against his shoulder.]
So what's going on? Anything interesting?
Nessa: [scornful expression]
Pfft. Talk, talk, talk, "Rules" -- talk, talk, talk, "mortal" -- talk, talk,--
Who's saying what?
--You know how it goes. Somebody says one thing, someone else says another, and after it wrangles around for a while the first person's saying what the third said and the third and second are disagreeing with themselves and everyone else is just shaking their heads.
You left out shouting.
You didn't let me get there --
[pokes him in the ribs]
--talk, talk, talk, "War," -- talk, talk, talk, "Melian" -- shouting: "That scoundrel who seduced my finest employee and convinced her to throw away her career and become a housewife--"
--That's got to be Irmo--
--More shouting. Back again to "mortal -- Rules -- War." It's soooo boring. --This chair is not big enough for the two of us.
That's because you insist on trying to sit sideways.
Well, how else can you feed me grapes? If I face forward, you stick them in my eye.
We don't have any grapes, silly.
Well, get some!
[Beren gives Luthien a cautious Look; she only raises her eyebrows in answer. This is not what she expected either.]
Never mind, I'll fetch them.
[Nessa holds out her hand and manifests a large cluster, pulls off one and pops it in her husband's mouth before giving him the rest of the bunch. Tulkas looks at both occupied hands, shakes his head and sets the drinking horn down on the floor, on feet which might not have been there a moment before. He starts feeding her grapes while she crosses her feet on one arm of the chair and leans back on the other. Tulkas starts teasing her, holding them just a little too high, and Nessa tickles him in return. This was not such a good idea, as in the resulting upheaval the chair really proves to be too small and she falls halfway onto the floor out of his lap. Huan has to get up and come over and "help" at this point with excited noises and nose-pokings]
Huan, get away! This is stupid--
[she glares at the arm of the chair and gives it a whack with her hand]
I'm going to fix this, just wait a moment--
[There are no obvious sfx at this point, either audio or visual enhancement, just as with the previous manifestations]
Beren: [whispering to Luthien]
Were they talking about your parents--?
Luthien: [almost incapable of speech]
I -- I'm -- I think so--
Did you get that -- that -- bit, about -- being angry at --
[breaks off, astounded -- loudly:]
--That's a hill. A real hill, from outside -- at least it looks real--
[instead of a heavy fald-stool with arms, the divine couple are now sitting on a grassy hillock with some shrubs growing on it, allowing for much easier reclining. It is a fairly decent-sized prominence, not inconspicuous at all. ]
Would you like one too? We have plenty around our hall -- I can get another, no problem.
Uh -- thank you very much, my lady, but I really don't want to put anyone to any trouble on my behalf.
Nessa: [between grapes]
Well, I don't think you're obnoxious at all. That was very polite.
Luthien: [temper starting to flare]
Who's saying Beren's obnoxious?
Different people. My brother, like he's got room to talk. People with no senses of humor. Or romance.
[she sits up and takes the fruit and they switch places. To Luthien:]
I was so pleased with the way you used my Art to put old Melkor in his place--
Heh. That's one way of putting it.
You were shaking me and screaming and whacking Tav on the arm and yelling "See? See? Don't you ever call Dance a frivolous waste of time again!" until everyone told you to sit down and be quiet.
I didn't hear that.
That's 'cause you were shouting.
[she silences him with another grape]
You want to talk about obnoxious? He -- Melkor -- used to swagger about like he was Eru's gift to Valier -- and no idea how to win friends, much less hearts. No understanding of what conversation meant. He honestly thought that we wanted to hear him talk about himself.
Well, if someone's interesting, that's all right.
You met him. Did he have anything the least bit interesting to say? The "art of conversation" involves an exchange of ideas, right? He couldn't ever grasp that there's this basic difference between a conversation and a monologue. Do you know how annoying it is to have someone just ignore everything you say to them?
Well, up until recently I'd have had to say -- no, but--
I wasn't talking about you, I was referring to Celegorm. And my father. You listened, you just disagreed with me.
I was right, though--
No, you were not. If you had listened to me from the very beginning, milord, you would not have lost your hand, and you wouldn't be incapacitated in a fight, and you wouldn't have gotten yourself killed. Am I not right? Beren? Am I not right about that? Even the gods think so, weren't you listening--
But it wouldn't have worked then either--
Nessa: [loudly as if shooing a cat, dropping the grapes and clapping her hands]
[they jump -- the Patrons of Spouses look at them very seriously and severely]
What are you fighting about?
Sounds like you're fighting over something that's already over.
Er . . .
Uh -- I guess because -- I've been doing it so long --
We've been doing it--
--we -- just don't know how to stop.
That's not a good enough reason. Is it?
[they shake their heads meekly. Huan thumps his tail and gives a sympathy whine]
--Where were we?
Talking about my ex-rival. Whose head I am someday going to pound flush level with his neck.
[gives him another grape -- to Luthien:]
I'm betting all he said was, "Nobody appreciates me, I don't get the respect I deserve, everyone else is having such a great time, poor me, --you watch, they'll all be sorry someday" -- am I not right?
That was pretty much all, except that you left out the bit about, "Get down here or I'll shoot you down with a lightning bolt."
Oh, how nice. He's got a new hobby. Indoor target practice. Joy.
No, he used to do that.
Well, how would we know what he was doing all that time in Utumno? --This is a silly argument. Let's stop.
Nessa: [gesturing towards Beren with her arm]
Did you ever get a proper Acclamation? Did your family ever acknowledge him as your consort?
Luthien: [a bit dry]
Haven't you been watching us all along?
No, I had work to do right around then. Summer, you know.
They did give us a feast and all, but I'm not sure that I would call it a proper celebration. It wasn't very celebratory, you see, what with Carcaroth on the loose and so many people having been killed by his rampages and everyone all packed into the Caves for safety and the whole place completely disorganized as a result. No one was very cheerful, to put it mildly. Poor Mablung looked like a ghost -- he shouldn't even have been up yet, but trying to make him or Beleg stop for their own good is like telling Beren to take care of himself --
[Beren looks away, embarrassed]
--and my mother didn't look much better, and Dad was trying so hard to be polite and not say anything distressing, but there really aren't a whole lot of conversation topics left that don't end up somewhere unpleasant, and how much can you say about the weather? And Beren was so nervous -- and so was I -- and we weren't used to sitting at table -- out in the woods by the campfire I'd cut things and hold them for him, but our timing was all off and we kept knocking everything over. And then everyone pretended they didn't notice, and that was even worse. Beren was almost in tears, and I was trying not to get angry, and it wasn't working very well . . .
Oh, you poor kids!
. . . and we were both so exhausted and frayed that trying to be social was, frankly, a waste of time, and then there was all this fuss with Mom over whether we should have my old rooms, or the best guest suite instead, and since every available chamber was full of refugees who would have to be shuffled around, I thought it was irrelevant, especially given our living conditions for the past year, and they didn't understand that it was a joke when I said "Just give me a sword and I'll make a lean-to of branches like I usually do," and so I got lectured about The Dangers of Carcaroth! as though I were an idiot, and then I said, "Well, is my house still up in Hirilorn?" and that killed conversation completely for a bit.
[shaking her head]
And then Mom wanted to give me their room, and neither one of us wanted that, and Beren tried to help by suggesting that we could sleep on the floor in one of the storage caves, and they thought that was Not Funny either, and then they realized that it wasn't supposed to be a joke, and things got touchy again for a little while, and then we had another round of mutual apologizing.
So what did you end up doing?
Luthien: [completely unable to stop now that she's started talking about it]
Hirilorn, actually. No one else was staying there, no way up it for Carcaroth -- and the army stationed all around the gates of Menegroth below -- and ultimately everyone agreed it was the best solution. Not perfect, mind you -- I had to guard Beren up the ladder like you do with small children to the house door, and then he got upset all over again about how high up it was -- he'd only seen the tree once at sunset and it was a lot more impressive actually being in it -- because of me climbing down from it, and then we fought about me sleeping on the floor with him because my bed was too small for us both and he was being all self-sacrificing again and I had to cry before he'd stop it, and then we fought about him going on the Hunt the next day, because he insisted that it ` really was his fault about Carcaroth and besides Mablung was going in spite of his injuries, and we were both feeling so Doomed that I couldn't tell if it was a real perception or not, and I tried to make a joke about this being familiar, up in the moonlight with sentries down on the lawn and he got upset again about the fact that I had to rappel down, and about the fact that they were in the Pit then . . .
[she stops, taking a ragged breath; Beren is profoundly mortified -- Tulkas gives him a sympathetic look]
Tulkas: [pointing at the drinking horn on the floor]
Sure you don't want some mead? You look like you could use a drink.
No thanks -- but it sounds like a better idea all the time.
. . . and I almost wished that they'd just drunk us a toast, broken a loaf, handed us some blankets and said "there's an empty corner behind those shelves over there," just bread -- wine -- bed, instead of even trying to make a fuss . . . It wasn't just the awfulness at dinner, the rest of the celebration wasn't any good either -- there wasn't any of the traditional singing, because it wouldn't have been appropriate with all the mourning, and everyone was so awkward about congratulating us . . . and about actually looking me in the eye, and not staring at Beren. As a wedding -- it was pretty awful, really. And then he got killed--
[she stops abruptly]
That's not right! You deserved better than that!
Well, -- yes. But under the circumstances--
That doesn't matter. That's just no good at all. --You know Morgoth ruined our honeymoon, too.
Luthien: [blinking suspiciously hard -- politely:]
The party was wonderful. Which just made everything after so much more awful as well. It's worse when good memories get spoiled by some disaster.
What happened? I remember Mom saying something about that was why you all moved out of Middle-earth -- something about volcanic eruptions or something -- she wasn't very clear, and I was a little kid being fished out from under the loom.
He used our wedding as cover to sneak his army of fiends in from Without and start entrenching up north and by the time we realized he was causing the pollution and the mutations, that it wasn't something we'd done wrong, he had already tunneled under the Lamps.
I shouldn't have gone off-duty.
No darling, it was my fault for distracting you. You couldn't have known about the double-agents -- not even Manwe did, then, so why shouldn't you have had the night off?
Honey, don't you dare blame yourself. Just as much my fault for daring you to try to wear me out--
No one can keep up with me. I bet I could do it again tonight . . .
A beach holiday on Tol Eressea. Moonlight on the ocean, dolphins playing, and the water right there when we get sandy. --What are you betting?
A mountain-climbing vacation.
--Sunrise over the Pelori, bonfires under the stars at the edge of the world, and that bracing mountain air means we'll have to keep warm somehow. The deer will like it too, we won't have to ask anyone to watch them while we're away.
Ooh, you're cheating!
[she pokes him in the ribs. He sits up and tries to catch her hand, giving her kisses, while she keeps on trying to tickle him.]
Beren: [to himself]
They looked a lot more staid on Gran's tapestries . . .
[Luthien gives a speculative look at the Powers and then at him]
If you hadn't gone and gotten yourself killed, we could have had that in Middle-earth, too. They've been married for thousands of years and somehow they manage not to fight most of the time.
[Beren winces. Unnoticed except by Huan, who pricks up his ears, Aule's Assistant appears in the middle of the hall. He does a double-take at the sight of the hill and its occupants, before giving a disgusted snort at the sight of the amorous deities.]
Aule's Assistant: [clearing his throat]
If you can manage to divert your attention from this unseemly spectacle, and grant this humble messenger a modicum of the same?
[they all turn and stare at him]
Tulkas: [looking around the room]
Unseemliness? We can't have that. --Where?
[the Assistant shakes his head. Nessa throws a grape at him; he ignores it with studied decorousness]
Assistant: [to Luthien]
The Powers have requested -- in the absence or preoccupation of the regular staff -- that I provide you with escort to the chamber in these Halls where they will hold their deliberations so that you may address them, and account for your actions.
[silence. Beren and Luthien, looking nervous, start to get up]
Luthien: [to Beren]
If you find yourself getting panicked again, leave the talking to me this time.
The presence of your -- consort -- is not required.
What do you mean?
I mean, plainly put, that the mortal is not to attend this meeting.
Well, then, -- I'm not going either. Why can't he?
To your first word, this is not "attendance optional," to your second -- in plainest speech -- because he does not belong here in the first place, nor with you, who are of a different kind, nor is your reasoning made clearer by his company.
Luthien: [tearful frustration]
Why is everyone out to get us? We're not hurting anyone, we didn't ask for very much -- we just want to be together. --What is the problem? Why does everyone in the world have to make such a fuss about us? What do the gods care about me, about Beren, when they have all of Arda to worry about? What difference do we make?
Well, you did come and insist rather loudly that Namo pay attention to you. --Not trying to be mean, just pointing out a fact.
But why can't you just fix things?
You're the gods, you're supposed to be all powerful.
Now, little sister, I'm sure Melian taught you better than that.
Luthien: [still stubborn]
You still haven't explained why such a fuss is being made.
You've thrown everyone off by doing something completely unprecedented. People don't just show up here without being called for, you know.
Well, there was that other time which is sort of the same thing--
Yes, but that's not a good precedent. And it isn't really the same at all. They're not like them -- and a jolly good thing, too!
You should really do something with your hair, you look like a poor sheep they've forgotten to shear.
[Luthien, looking intensely piqued, starts to say something -- and Beren laughs]
It looks so nice when you braid flowers in it.
Luthien: [to Beren, who has turned it into a cough]
Beren: [complete innocence]
Oh absolutely, I agree -- about the flowers.
[she gives him a narrow Look; he takes a lock of her hair in his fingers]
You just don't get a break, do you? --It's okay, it's okay, this is just a little thing--
[he tugs her closer until their foreheads touch; whispering:]
You still don't look as much of a sheepdog as me--
[embarrassed, they straighten back up]
Assistant: [clearing his throat]
--Could we please stop wasting time, young Lady?
Luthien: [same tone back]
That is Princess, to you, sir. And we are not wasting anyone's time, but quite the reverse.
Nessa: [to her husband]
Oh, I've got a plan. A good plan! Listen--
[She grabs his head and whispers into his ear.]
Let's go find her, all right?
You really think that will help?
I'm sure. --Oh, I want to stop by the house first and pick up the deer.
Are they part of the plan?
No, silly, it's just more fun when they're around. Race you back to the hall!
[Vanishes. Tulkas vanishes a split-second later. The Hill is left behind]
Assistant: [shaking his head]
--Well, don't expect to see them any time soon.
[to Luthien, not really a question]
Your Highness, are you coming or not?
Luthien: [folding her arms]
I told you, I'm not going anywhere without Beren.
You tell them -- If he is not welcome, I'm not welcome
--Tinuviel -- maybe--
No. If they're going to make this big deal about me being Mom's daughter and "isn't it wonderful" to meet me and isn't it so awful what happened, they can treat you with the respect due you as my consort. Otherwise it's just the same as Doriath.
[The Assistant gives her a disgruntled glare; she gives it right back to him]
I will speak to my Patrons about this, Elf.
Good. You do that.
[after a brief staring contest Aule's messenger vanishes, not before saying, in a last-word-power-play manner:]
Don't touch anything while you're waiting. --Especially the Loom.
[silence -- particularly deafening after the last visitors; the couple look at each other, recovering from the overwhelming personalities and onslaught of information they've just experienced.]
Not -- not quite what you expected either, huh?
I think -- my parents -- left a lot out.
[pulling herself together]
Now I'm wondering what else they neglected to mention or somehow failed to convey quite vividly enough. --So what were you expecting?
I don't know. Not this.
[shaking his head]
I mean -- I don't know, I just -- my folks raised me to be godsfearing and pious, I learned my myths, and how you don't reap all the field, you leave some for the deer in winter because Yavanna is patron of wild animals, not just farmers, and you don't ever shoot swans because they're sacred to Ulmo, and if you wear down a knife or a needle where it can't be sharpened any more you don't throw it away in the trash, you bury it out of respect for Aule, and you thank Manwe when the weather holds good for harvest --
[short dismayed laugh]
--that was all just -- everyday stuff -- just life, but not -- there, like the War. The stories -- they were like tapestries, bright colors, and detailed, and interesting, but background, not -- real -- the way stories about our history were real, people if you didn't know, at least you knew people who had known someone who had known them.
And then everything fell apart, and -- what was normal and what wasn't -- by the end nothing human was real to me, and I swear I could understand what the streams were saying, but since it wasn't in words I couldn't ever say what it was -- and then -- you --
[she smiles sadly at him]
and afterwards . . .
[he shakes his head]
. . . he'd say things, or they would, and I literally couldn't make anything of it . . . I hear words like "and so I asked Varda," and -- my mind just stops, like a pony balking -- I can't make any pictures to go along with the words. I just had no idea really what to expect . . . being mortal, especially . . .
[with a touch of resentment]
--but I did think it was going to be peaceful at least.
It's different for me, obviously -- more like your old family stories about Hithlum, friends of my parents and places that I've never met or seen but had always felt familiar towards, because of the way they talked about them. But it's still quite different from the way I'd imagined it, from their stories . . .
[glancing up at the glowing vaults with a thoughtful frown]
So that is the Loom. That answers one question, at least. I wonder . . .
[she gets up and tugs him over towards it, despite his reluctance]
Tinuviel, he just said--
All he said was don't touch it. I'm just looking, Beren.
[it's clear that's not going to be the case for very long]
Oh, interesting. I can see now why they call it a "loom." I think -- look at that, there actually are several, um, heddles, I suppose you have to call them -- see?
More than several, really. They just keep on going, all the way back in, I don't see how they all fit. And that's got to be the take-up -- again, I don't understand how all of them can be in there--
[she leans in and starts trying to measure spaces]
--because there's got to be one for each "heddle", but it looks to me like you could unwind the, ah, cloth, and thread it over these bits, if you--
[without her actually touching anything, some part of the construct moves and there is a dramatic, if brief, change in the intensity, texture, and color of the lights]
Oh! --Did you see that? You did see that, right? I don't know exactly what it was, but there was definitely something there-- Now if I do this -- or this instead--
Beren: [trying to pull her away]
I don't think we're supposed to be doing this . . .
And that has stopped you when?
. . .
[she keeps poking around, while he alternates between expressions of dread and resignation. Thus neither of them see when Huan re-enters, carefully leading Finrod Felagund by the sleeve, who is a little bemused but otherwise calm and unflustered.]
Huan, I don't think we're supposed to be back here. I know it's a madhouse right now and no one seems to be around to give any answers, and I haven't been able to find anyone to send down to Orome about you, but don't you think we should look for someone to come explain what's going on . . . and . . .
I -- think we've found them. Somehow -- I'm not surprised. Aside from being shocked beyond words. Beren? -- and Luthien? -- how --
[He hastens over to the two of them, who have turned around with a start and are standing frozen in front of the Loom]
How . . .?
[Beren, speechless, falls on his knees before him, Luthien kneeling with him. Finrod at once kneels too, taking their free hands in his own -- or attempting to.]
Finrod: [in extreme distress]
Beren, what's happened?
Beren: [roughly, not looking up]
I've failed you again, sir.
Last I knew you were safe and living happily together. What happened to you -- three?
Morgoth's anti-Huan defense system. But I knocked him out and we got in anyway, but then Morgoth saw through my ruse and recognized me.
Ah -- you were killed by Morgoth?
No! We got it. But then Carcaroth got it. And Beren's hand. And then the Eagles came and got us. And Huan and I took care of Beren. And then we went home, but Carcaroth had already gotten there and into Doriath because of the Silmaril but I'm not sure if it might not have been because of Beren's hand, either, and they went to hunt him and he almost got my father but Beren got in the way -- and here we are.
You -- got -- a Silmaril. --Yourselves.
And then I lost it.
You two -- went into Angband and took one of the jewels away. By yourselves.
With Huan's help.
Finrod: [horrified, touching Beren's wrist ]
Is that what happened to you?
No. That was Carcaroth.
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.