54. Scene V.viii
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
[Beren is still lying motionless on the burnt hillside, with all as in the previous scene, the only movement or sound being a small whisper of wind over the dunes blowing little drifts of ash about. A tall figure approaches across the field, completely robed and muffled in long, flowing draperies that conceal all individuality and prevent any glimpse of features beneath the overshadowing hood. There should be a striking resemblence between Luthien in Act II and She Who Mourns, as she now appears, coming to stand beside him, still veiled.] Nienna:
For what do you sorrow, Child?
[there is a long pause, before he answers, through clenched teeth, not raising his head nor even opening his eyes:]
--Then for what do you not weep?
What difference does it make?
You might be surprised.
What of the griefs that are yours? What of your pains, and the losses of home, of comrade and kin, of joy and hope and song?
What are mine, in the balance of Ea?
If you will not grant your own sorrow the right of honour, what of others'--?
What then of she who loves you, who has known so many weary days on your behalf, each filled with grief beyond measure, and each heavier than the last? Is her sorrow of no worth, for being the sorrow of one only?
[silence -- but alive with tension]
--What, too, of the lady of the Northlands, who left behind her heart and her hope, even as she bore away others' in the strength of her staff and her sword, repaying the trust of her people at the cost of heart's breaking?
[the ash blows in a sudden gust like smoke]
What of her lord, who dying hoped, but never knew, that the son of their love yet escaped the Doom that love betrayed had brought him?
[he makes a choked sound, not quite a sob, but does not move]
What of those lovers, rent for no wrongdoing of theirs, but only the misfortune of place, and time, and the Marring? Or what of the lost, with their lord and the land they defended, whose reward for such service was ever-more privation, and not even victory to set in mind as the hope or the fee of it? What of that land, of the wounded earth and the tortured trees, and the anguish of all under the burden of hate?
[Beren gives a convulsive shiver]
What of the people who loved as well and truly as they hated, hiding their young lord and holding his secret in their own despite? Or of those others, not bound by blood, nor fealty, nor any tie save friendship, whose faith held firmer than any wall or weapon ever shall? What of the King who suffered shame upon shame without reproach, and clasped pain still greater most freely in hope of sparing friend the same?
[his hand clenches up the burnt sand where it rests]
What of the faithful Hound, who might not save his master, for all his strength, and all his suffering, even at the cost of his own life -- exchange made but folly, in that Man's dying?
Are they not worthy of your tears?
[silence -- he does not answer, but she does not leave, waiting. After long moments Beren draws his arm closer against his face, hiding his expression -- and very quietly begins to cry.]
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