51. Scene V.v
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
[Luthien is looking a bit hectic and brittle as she talks, just short of ranting, with the illusion of more control than actually is present. It is a very awkward situation for her audience, who cannot actually do anything to help the distress to which they are witness, and haven't anywhere else to go -- though Luthien is fairly unaware of their presence at the moment now that Finrod has gotten her started talking, and would probably not notice if they left or not.]
And everyone kept trying to make me feel that it was my fault for being miserable, as if I were just -- choosing to be unhappy, out of spite, to punish them. Not that if I'd known what they were going to do after I wouldn't have wanted to -- but I'm not Gifted that way. Not like Mom.
[shaking her head]
It's so strange, looking back on that time, and knowing now what I didn't know then, not just about what was happening to Beren and you, but about everything. How things would happen. What people would do. That they would make those decisions, and what I would do, and now it's like watching other people playing chess, and seeing the strategies they're using, and knowing how the game is going to go, and not being able to do anything about it, because they won't listen to advice. Only it's not really like that, because it's all in the past. --But would we have listened, if we had actually known what was going to happen, or would we not?
[Finarfin tries to catch his gaze, but he won't look up]
The worst thing was how they all expected that it would pass, if I weren't being so perversely-stubborn. "I can't just get over him," I kept telling everybody--
[with a narrow Look at the Ambassador]
--"and I'm not singing because I don't feel like singing, not because I'm trying to make you feel guilty, and I'm staying out in the woods all the day round because I can't stand to be around here, and at least there I can remember him even if it hurts -- not because there's still a spell on me."
And Dad would say things like "He's not coming back, he's certainly not crying his eyes out over you, and he isn't worth your notice, let alone getting despondent over," and Mom would say, "You don't understand," and when I'd say -- "What? So tell me--" she'd just shake her head and sigh and give me this pitying smile, until I'd start saying it was the same as them, and then she'd get upset.
And everyone wanted me to just be happy. --Or to stop being unhappy so that they wouldn't have to feel uncomfortable around me, at least. That was the worst -- when I realized that it wasn't -- at least not entirely -- concern for me that made them want me to be normal and back to my old self.
Aye, that's a tune its burden I ken well.
[her lips tighten in angry recollection]
Luthien: [getting more and more precise]
I felt so -- so drained and horrible at first, after the numbness wore off, that I thought I was fading -- and I told people that, and they laughed. "Don't be silly." --Don't be silly--! That was what they told me. Because you can't really be in love with a human, so you can't be fading, even if he was dead. --Only Daeron didn't laugh. He knew it was real. He always knew.
[she wipes her eyes furiously while Finrod looks up over her head to meet Aegnor's burning Look]
I never said that. --You said something very close to that, when you came to ask me for help. --I didn't laugh, either.
Luthien: [oblivious to their interaction]
And I thought he was sorry because he understood now, because he believed me, that it was an accident in a way, an honest mistake of him fearing for me -- not that he was jealous and didn't care that we were truly in love. He was so understanding and sympathetic, listening to me for hours, and it never occurred to me to think that he was doing it for an ulterior motive.
[the tears start winning over her self-control again]
Elenwe: [shaking her head]
'Tis a strange and wondrous thing, such avarice for love, that sorroweth at others' joy, nay, had liefer suffer in solitary darkness than take delight in the shining world else, and seemeth much akin to that which denieth joy to others, when to share delight should cost one naught of loss, nay, moreover but little distance, to that Darkest joy that feedeth but on sorrow.
Ambassador: [hackles raised]
My lady, we of the Twilight are not of the Dark, and little would you presume to think it, did you know our Lord and Lady in their gracious selves.
Finarfin: [not angry, but stern]
Sir, we do not for ever here compare our very selves unto our sundered Kin, but most of all do speak and think of that which hath our present and former experience encompass't. --Such, I do believe, is most commonly the way of it, among any folk of any race, else place, else Age. My kinswoman did set in balance the deeds of this thy Daeron against them of Feanor my brother, and deem both at some near remove from th'envious soul of him our common foe, the Lord of Fetters -- no more.
I do beg your pardon, gentles. The dissensions that your rebel element's return have made within this Age throughout our lands have caused us to be somewhat over-ready in taking insult; but I should have considered first that those most near to Felagund would scarcely speak with the same arrogance as others.
[Elenwe is as indifferent to the apology as to the reason for it, but Finarfin exchanges a wry glance with his brother's shade -- the "relative of Finrod" status is a sensation which takes some getting used to]
Luthien: [unable to stop crying, embarrassed]
I'm sorry, this is so stupid--
[Eol chuckles -- Finrod turns to give him a lethal glare while Fingolfin turns away from the sight of his son-in-law's ghost, clenching his fists]
Finrod: [to Eol]
Say anything, kinsman, and I will both personally and vicariously beat you into the floor. Repeatedly, until you learn better manners or the Powers ask me to stop, whichever comes first. Understood?
[Eol doesn't deign to respond, but doesn't say anything to or about Luthien. Aredhel smirks, just a little]
Captain: [grim approval]
No shortage of volunteers, for that.
[the Noldor princess leans towards him, in a familiar aside]
You know, it's a shame your sister isn't here.
[the Captain starts, and then stares fixedly ahead at her words, with the expression of someone who does not dare to say anything just yet, or else is choking on too many things to be said all at once. Finrod's cousin goes on:]
She's so much fun -- I'd enjoy having her about, and then there'd be someone on my side finally.
"I can't just cheer up," I said, "and I'm not even going to try -- are you crazy?" And then -- people started pretending -- pretending -- that I wasn't there--
Only one person ever did feign I was not present.
[their respective partners react with obvious tenseness and chagrin. The Captain looks at Aredhel at last:]
Captain: [absolutely neutral and pleasant]
It's funny you should say that, your Highness, because my lord's sister and I were discussing the same thing on the Ice once, and what the Lady Galadriel said to me was, "Good thing Suli's smarter than either of us -- I'd hate to have drawn her into this," and I agreed absolutely with every point of it, in every possible way.
"Just forget about him" -- as if!
At least you didn't have siblings telling you that you ought to find someone else.
[Amarie gives him a sudden diamond-flash Look, but his attention is on comforting Luthien. Angrod and Aegnor share involuntary, guilt-filled glances. Aredhel narrows her eyes at the Captain]
My cousin indulges your impertinence shamefully.
No, as a matter of fact, the word you want is "abets," my lady. I manage things that it would be inappropriate for him to take official notice of. --Unless you're referring to that one time when I broke your nose by accident. --Which I wouldn't have done if you'd clobbered me from in front rather than behind. Did you want me to apologize for that again, your Highness?
Just a little friendly advice -- I really don't think you should express your indignation on behalf of your friends quite so -- energetically this time, when someone says anything about the sons of Feanor in the near future.
Do not tell me what to do. You're not one of my counselors.
--I don't consider you a friend, either.
Yes, but I consider the Lord of Dogs and Beren and Princess Luthien mine, in their own ways. They don't need more trouble, even if you aren't worried.
[with a sidelong Look]
Besides, Highness, what do you care what anyone says to you? You never let it affect you one way or the other.
[Luthien pounds her clenched hand on her knee, until Huan lifts up his head with a whine and rests it on her lap]
Luthien: [raising her voice]
"He's not a tame deer," I said, "I didn't lose a pet -- and I didn't lose a game either, it isn't just that I was humiliated in front of everybody -- I can't just brush it off and move on to the busy fun-filled rest of my life, and you trying to 'help' me by making me participate in silliness and make-work are just making it worse by making the contrast between your lives and what's been done to us all the stronger!"
[she shakes her head, stroking Huan's muzzle absently as she goes on, getting hiccoughy again]
And they said -- you're being -- heartless. --And irrational.
[her voice gives out and she lets Finrod pull her against his shoulder so she can just cry.]
Those twin goads of loneliness and anger do serve as spurs to action at the need, but in the quiet hours and between-whiles how such terrible weights drag upon the heart and mind and even flesh and bone, so that only action cure them, for a little while…
[his living relatives look at him with both sympathy and a little surprise at this display of reflection on the part of one so formerly brash, but his daughter shakes her head scornfully]
Oh, Father, when are you going to stop feeling sorry for yourself? It's embarrassing to be around you any more.
[Nienna's Apprentice has a sudden coughing fit -- he waves his hand in dismissal as people turn and stare at him]
Sorry. Something stuck in my throat.
[very quietly and looking (for him) quite uncertain and awkward, the Lord Warden of Aglon comes in, scanning the chamber and not seeming to find whomever he is looking for. As he stands there by the doorway, the Lord of Dogs lifts his head and bares teeth in his direction, snarling softly, and both the Steward and his ex tense up -- Finrod sets one hand on his counselor's shoulder and takes hold of Huan's collar with the other, addressing all of his following in an undertone:]
--Disregard him unless and until he makes a scene.
[after hesitating there the Lord Warden begins a very circuitous journey towards the side of the dais where the Apprentice is sitting, very obviously avoiding everyone else as well as avoiding looking at them, his carriage very stiff and haughty.]
Eol: [spitting the words]
I'll not share the same floor with one of them--
[he starts to rise]
[at that he glares and sits back down, caught between two horns of the dilemma of controlling pride]
What signifieth yon word?
Long story. It's the lake where we first set up a permanent camp, you see…
[as he gives a quick rundown for the cousin who never set foot there, the partisan of Feanor comes to stand next to Nienna's Apprentice, wearing a bleak and very uncomfortable expression]
Where's your Master?
[the Apprentice shrugs]
I need to talk to her.
Join the crowd.
I am in no mood for your humour now.
Wasn't joking. I don't know where she is, and I badly want to ask her advice, so that makes two of us at least here. --Join the crowd.
Or don't, as you please.
[the Warden of Aglon glares at him for a brief moment, looks around at the others uncertainly and realizes that he is not the center of all attention, that nobody is giving him more than passing notice, and slowly makes his way a little distance off, sits down -- but not so far that he is completely out of the conversation.]
Little other than Tirion in the time of unrest it seemeth -- to journey so far afield, and yet make all as 'twas homewards!
[she shakes her head in mild amazement at their folly]
Yes, but there it was different because we knew they'd killed, instead of just having it be this mysterious and unspoken possibility as it was in the Day of innocence. So it was pretty unpleasant for us, as you might imagine.
[the newcomer gives him a hostile Look, but does nothing. To Luthien, who has cried herself out again:]
Would you like more water?
No, thank you, I'm fine, I -- I'll be all right.
[she wipes her eyes again and goes on in a thin forced tone of normality]
Would you believe, my parents actually were put out with me because -- they said -- it was my fault they couldn't take their summer holiday that year!?
[with a grim smile of beyond-outrage exasperation]
And I said, "My heart is broken, and you're complaining because you don't feel you can go on vacation." And Dad said, "You'll get over it."
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.