53. Scene V.vii
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
[Nearly everyone is paying close attention to Luthien's account of the abrupt shattering of Doriath's serenity, although Aredhel is boredly flipping a dagger into the air and catching it in various creative ways, and as a result the Teler Maid is watching her with the disconcerting fascinated focus of a cat. Whatever temptations are simmering in her mind however apparently requiring some level of cooperation, any nefarious plans are presently held in check -- every time she looks pleadingly at one or another of the Ten, the Captain shakes his head definitely against it; for the present the White Lady is safe from juvenile mayhem.]
Luthien: [earnestly to Finrod]
I'm so sorry, you must be so bored listening to me complain about my family by now.
[she is in much better control of herself right now, but clearly still fragile. Her cousin shakes his head]
No. I'm -- rather upset by the fact that part of me was still convinced that some of it had to be -- not exaggerated, perhaps, but at least somewhat magnified and distorted by report, and -- that I was wrong. I -- did expect much better of Elu and your mother than that.
[he looks very downcast and rather agitated]
This is the first time in the past twelve years that I've regretted 'Tari going out East. If she'd been there, I'm certain things wouldn't have come apart this way.
[his father's attention sharpens, but the (living)
King of the Noldor does not interrupt]
Me too. From the very start.
[with a slight smile]
She hates being called that, you know. It annoys her worse than when you roll the "d" in her name.
Of course. That's why I do it. Someone's got to make her laugh when she starts getting all, "Harken, fools!" over trivial things. Going on a picnic in May is not organizing a rope-bridge traverse over a crevasse and sometimes she forgets that.
Steward: [observing quietly, apparently to Huan]
You know it's gotten out of control when I start wondering if it's really necessary to redistribute the weight in the saddlebags just one more time and if it will make any difference if we've four dozen different choices of menu or only thirty-six.
[the Doriathrin lord smiles faintly but quickly restrains his humour at the recollection; Finarfin's expression is a study in melancholy longing]
And we still forgot, what was it, the walnut-butter? No, apple jelly.
[frowning at Finrod]
Only that was because you nicked it to tease her, and then you forgot you'd put it in your wallet until we'd gotten home.
You're cheering me up again.
Finrod: [rueful smile]
Sorry. I'll try not to do it again.
[she gives him a light swat with her fingers on his elbow]
Luthien: [serious again, but in a sort of whimsical-remote tone]
No, but really, it was as if I was the only adult left in Doriath, and everyone else was acting like -- like -- I don't know, like spooked animals in a thunderstorm or something. There's Mom -- "Let's just pretend nothing's happening," -- right after she's just told me that oh, yes, Beren's being tortured in a dungeon and the only brightness in his life is remembering us -- but don't go ask your father for an army, and don't even think about trying to rescue him yourself, because you'll just be miserable afterwards anyway. There's Daeron -- "I won't help you for his sake, because I'm upset with him for making you so unhappy, even if it's not reasonable -- but I'll do it for yours."
[tossing her head scornfully]
Huh --with this friends like this, enemies have to wait their turn. And then there's Dad, alternating between shouting at me, shouting at Beren even though he's not there, and pleading with me in tears to just stop it all and promise that I wouldn't try to follow him.
[she laughs shortly]
--And then there's me, feeling like -- feeling like maybe this was what it felt like here, when the Darkness came and everybody went half-crazy like we heard--
[with a raised-eyebrow Look at Angrod]
--in bits and pieces, to be sure.
[transferring the Look to the Ambassador]
And then there's everybody else, making perfectly-reasonable suggestions about what should be done the madwoman, like keeping me locked in my rooms for a hundred years, except no, that wouldn't work, because I'd get sick and pine not being able to see starlight and trees, unless what if we put her to sleep for all that time instead, except that wouldn't work because nobody's powerful enough except maybe Mom and she wouldn't get involved, so then somebody comes up with the brilliant suggestion of sticking me up in the top of Hirilorn, which was just fiendishly brilliant, and who was it who came up with it any way, you or cousin Galadhon-- or I suppose it doesn't matter now, does it…
Eol: [confused and disgusted]
Why wouldn't it?
[Luthien stares at him in equal confusion]
The wrong does not cease to have been done you, because you are dead and there's no way now for you to revenge yourself against the perpetrator.
[Elenwe turns and slowly looks at him as though he were some repellent but fascinating beast]
'Twas yon will to vengeance that did animate thy foes, was't not? And burning vengeance that drove my lord his uncle across the Sea.
It must come, an end to vengeance -- else ne'er end shall come in Arda, nor only Arda its ending.
Eol: [controlled, mocking irony]
Spare me your pious mysticism, Light-elf.
Aye -- yet shall any spare thee from thyself, kinsman?
[the Warden of Aglon gives her a strange, troubled Look and then turns away, staring out into the shadows with an expression of longing]
Luthien: [ignoring Eol and continuing to Finrod]
You know, I finally felt sorry for Galadriel after it came out about the Kinslaying. It's funny -- I felt sorry for you all, getting shouted at by Dad, but I was too upset with her to pity her at all, back when it happened. I mean, I forgave her, and it was all right between us, like with her and Mom, but when it first was all still going on, after you left, and my parents made her sit down and fill in all the gaps and verify Mom's guesses--
[shaking her head]
I just felt betrayed. Because I felt like she was a little sister, or even better, because she was so different from everyone else I knew in Doriath and I knew her so much better than you, because she lived with us. I'd never had a friend like her before, and she was so clever and exciting and had so many stories to tell…and then I realized how much she'd been leaving out, and why, and it just made me sick.
[in the background, the palantir is glowing softly, but no one is paying attention, and no one notices, not even Nienna's Apprentice. Eventually it goes dark again.]
I wouldn't talk to her for I don't know how long. I stayed up in the trees because I didn't even want to look at her, or hear her try to apologize to me. When Mom and Dad were raking her over the coals and Celeborn took off to stand guard with the Rangers for a while and said he didn't know if he was going to come back, what was the point of setting up a communications service if the people it was meant to reach weren't going to talk to us -- I just felt it was justice.
[Huan starts making increasingly-loud Please-Don't-Be-Unhappy! whines and she reaches down to shush him. With a profound sigh:]
I still do. I don't think there's any comparison between concealing the story of the Darkening and all but lying to Mom while she was taking everything Mom would teach her, and not even telling Dad his best friend had been murdered until she had to, let alone the rest of it -- and my keeping Beren's presence for myself. I knew he wasn't a threat to us, -- and he wouldn't have been, if they hadn't made him into one. But when it was my turn to be questioned and reprimanded and cross-questioned and scolded again and again, I understood why she would have tried to put it off forever, pretend that everything was all right and deny it when it wasn't, for as long as possible -- because there's nothing more horrible than having the people you love look at you as if you've changed into something awful, or been changed--
I'd forgiven her, but I hadn't ever pitied her before. But I finally knew what she must have been feeling, and how much it must have hurt inside, and I finally thought, "Poor Galadriel."
[with an uneven smile]
I only then realized how much it must have hurt for us to call her that -- Galadriel, I mean, not "poor" -- because of it being the name Celeborn gave her, until they got back together again after all that. What else were we going to call her? I don't think it even occurred to us to use her other ones. But she never gave any sign of what it must have felt like. I wasn't that brave -- though it was the other way around, I wanted them to use the name he'd given me -- but…
There was at least as much pride involved as unwillingness to embarrass you. --I know what we're like. She wouldn't have admitted that it made her unhappy any more than I ever let on that being teased by my relatives for having a Dwarven aftername once bothered me.
[his uncle looks penitent, while his living relatives look interested]
The jesting -- that got old quickly. It stopped mattering when I asked myself why it did, being a true name, and given that I held the wisdom of the one who had occasioned it in far higher esteem than those kinsmen who laughed at the thought of Elves living in burrows underground.
[Luthien gives the High King of the Noldor in Beleriand a hard Look -- then on a sudden inspiration turns and catches the two Princes also looking rather embarrassed]
No, well, you wouldn't have heard any teasing like that around our House, obviously.
Why do you think I used to invite myself over for long visits? It wasn't only for the free music.
I thought it was to argue over the nature of Time with Dad. That's what it seemed like.
[with a small reminiscent smile]
Galadriel and I used to have bets on how long it would take for you to start arguing about whether Time was a constant or not and who would be the first one to say the words "axle of the heavens."
We -- discussed other things, too. On several occasions.
Sorry -- I'm cheering you up again.
Luthien: [with a nostalgic smile]
It's all right.
It's kind of nice…to remember being happy and safe and not worried or angry. It wasn't, when I was alive -- it just made things so much worse.
Is that -- another reason -- why you all never wanted to talk about Aman the way Mom did?
[Finrod nods sadly]
Nerdanel: [shaking her head, bemused]
I confess, I do find it a great wonder and a difficulty, to conceive of young Artanis wed.
It's even funnier thinking of her living the primitive rustic life out in the woods all the time, not just going out on hunting trips but staying in a cave with no conveniences and no technology surrounded by illiterates.
[Eol snarls at this; Luthien gives the Noldor Princess a cool, thoughtful look as the latter says leadingly]
Though someone as dull and dutiful as he sounds might be pleasant . . .
[she smiles at her husband's expression; for the first time she seems to properly notice her aunt's existence.]
--What are you doing here anyway, 'Danel? You're not dead.
I do recollect me that once thou hadst better manners, when thou didst guest within my House -- else better mastery of thy inconsideration.
[she gives Fingolfin a Look that says volumes (or centuries, rather) about past familial interaction]
'Feiniel, you know we've told you what the Thousand Caves were like, not quite a thousand times, but often enough.
[Aredhel tosses her head as she catches her dagger by the point and spins it about her fingers]
Yes, but it's amusing to watch my consort strangle over wanting to contradict me but not wanting to say anything nice about his royal cousins whatsoever.
[this doesn't impress any of her relatives -- favorably, but it does inspire the Elf from Alqualonde to beg for her friends' assistance again]
Teler Maid: [urgent whisper]
Please! Oh please, just but once!
[she clasps her hands and makes puppy-eyes at the Captain, but he shakes his head]
Be patient, Ternlet.
[she sulks a bit, and starts eyeing the Apprentice speculatively as her next target in would-be conspiracy]
Finarfin: [hesitantly to Luthien]
Gentle kinswoman, I had not willingly to interrupt thy discourse further -- yet must I perforce wish to, would I or no; and thus I'll entreat thy gracious indult, that thou might say, and thou wouldst in mercy, of what temper and measure and spirit be this thy kinsman, that hast been named in hearing as one Celeborn -- and eke my son as yet unknown to me, by bond of love.
[Luthien blinks for a moment]
What's he like--? Well, um…he's my cousin…he likes messing around with boats, he's got a good way with trees -- he can be pretty stubborn, sometimes -- of course, that's all of us--
Finrod: [cutting in]
He's pretty reasonable most of the time, I always thought.
Yes, but you only say that because he usually agrees with you.
And your point is--?
[his living relatives are not sure how to take this]
You two argued for almost a month over the special boat service you wanted Menegroth to implement as part of your communications network.
Yes, but he came round to my way of seeing things in the end, so that was all right.
Nerdanel: [raising an eyebrow]
And thou dost rebuke others for fault of arrogance?
You think I believe only agreement is a sign of rationality? Not at all -- his objections were mostly well-founded, and indicated things which needed to be worked through in more detail, if they hadn't been quite overlooked. I was referring to him losing his temper and saying things he has to apologize for afterwards, or running off to the Marches instead of . . .
[he stops talking and looks quickly at and away from Amarie. Pause. Stiffly:]
Never mind about that. --He isn't unreasonable beyond reason -- most of the time he is quite rational and objective.
Finarfin: [still concerned]
Thou art assuréd of his goodness, his wisdom, moreover that his strength sufficeth for that thy sister might not overawe his better sense, as hath betimes been known of our House in bygone Day?
Finrod: [slightly mocking tone]
Father, are you asking me for my judgment on matters of virtue and prudence?
Yes. He loves her enough to contradict her when he must. There aren't that many of any of our Kindreds brave enough to do that. And she loves him enough to listen when he does. She knows that she can trust Celeborn to stand firm upon matters of principle, even if he'd rather give in to her for the sake of peace -- but that in matters of personal pride and no more, he's strong enough to bend, and to apologize, and to change his mind when he sees himself in the wrong.
Finarfin: [with the slightly-edged tone his son used a moment ago]
And thou dost not deem him weak, else irresolute, for all of that?