57. Scene V.xi
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
It is sort of funny that they did it to keep me safe, when you think about the consequences were. I mean--
[fighting a grim smile]
--it isn't as if I was particularly safe, walking myself down the trunk, or as if given a choice between sending someone out quite alone and going with at least a company of warriors, you'd think that alone was preferable.
Well, I -- don't think they expected you were going to do something like that, really.
Why ever not? I'd been saying I was going to run away and find Beren -- that's why they locked me up, after all, wasn't it? So what would give them the slightest impression that punishing me that way would make me give up?
Finrod: [biting his lip]
I'm pretty sure that Elu didn't think you could, or else he wouldn't have been so careless.
Well, it was lucky for me that he underestimated me, but--
I'm not defending him--
Luthien: [not stopping]
--I really don't see why Dad thought I would be more inclined to agree with him if he insulted me--
Nay, an erring slight be other than insult, verily.
What about calling me insane? And deluded? We consider those insults back home where I come from.
Elenwe: [undaunted by sarcasm]
It hingeth upon purpose and intent alike, th'import of description, so it be merest declaration of percievéd truth, otherwise of scathe.
He called me stupid -- he called me a brainless baby who didn't know what I was talking about, didn't know what lay outside the borders of the country and that wasn't courage, that was just my ignorance talking when I said I was willing to face the Outside -- he said I took for granted everything I'd been given and I was a selfish, vindictive brat who didn't appreciate what they were doing for me -- he said I didn't deserve to be treated like an adult since I wasn't acting like one--
[she stops, too impassioned to go on in an orderly fashion]
Finrod: [raising his eyebrows]
--As Beren would say, --Hoo boy.
[he shakes his head regretfully]
Then there was the bit when I said, "what if you were a prisoner of the Enemy, what if you'd got caught and were strung up on his Gates or in his dungeons, wouldn't you expect Mom would come after you to rescue you then?" and he said, "I'm sure your mother would have the good sense to put her duty to all of you over personal considerations and not risk either herself or the kingdom on a mad and hopeless venture," and I said but Fingon and he raised his voice to me--!
[loud enough to make people jump]
And what's more, we both knew perfectly well it wasn't true!
L-- Highness, he only wished to protect you, for your own sake--
Well, he went about it in the worst way possible, didn't he, then?
[her compatriot cannot answer her, but another attempts to]
Aye. That, in truth, none might e'er deny. --Yet lettest thou nor cease to bear in mind, that elders be but Eldar, e'en as their offspring, and subject no less than more unto equal passions, to the world's storms and the heart's disquiet, and to wrath, and inconstancy, even as to the overmastering pride, that durst not yield concession of any, lest smallest surrender be presage to the all; and willfulness doth ever raise the cry of --Willful! -- as 'twere a mirrored shield to turn back just rebuke.
[with a sweeping gesture, looking at his sons even as he addresses her]
--For hard indeed, and surpasseth measure, to be held unto reckoning by one subject, for fealty, and if 'tis so, how much more so when him that challengeth is child and student, younger in years, in knowing, and in deed, and holding all those -- or so it seemeth -- but from one's self, as a gem's light inwrought by the artisan; for so easily and swift do we forget, that neither earth, nor holy fire, are of our own sole making, nor aught but gift to us that we might help to shape it, nor for our own solitary pleasure, but that all the world derive the blesséd good of it.
[Luthien looks down, pensive and troubled at his words; but they are taken differently by another]
Finrod: [lightly, in a tone of false patience]
Yes, I'm arrogant, I took the gifts you gave me and squandered them and encouraged my siblings in pernicious rebellion -- and I really didn't need to hear it all over again, Father.
[the living Elf-King does not say anything in his own defense]
Teler Maid: [aside, uncertain]
But that is not at all what he meant . . .
Sire -- think about what Lord Finarfin has said.
[Finrod turns and glares at him]
--Use your head, my lord, not only your heart. As if you were listening to any other speaker, at court or in the realm.
Finrod: [his voice shaking slightly]
I can't be dispassionate about it. Not after what he said there -- do you know what he said to me then--
--Well, yes, I was standing about this far away at the time--
[he gestures about a yard and a half apart with his hands; Finrod goes on, talking right over him]
Finrod: [stifled, almost unable to speak as he goes on]
He called me ungrateful. He called me a traitor, and a liar as well. He accused me of making my way to power through the blood of my family. He asked me how long I'd wanted to seize authority from him, while pretending to be on his side in all our House debates--!! He said he hoped I would lose everything the way he'd lost it, the loyalty of our people the way I was taking it from him, have my own flesh and blood turn on me as well, and leave me in the same desolation as I was leaving him, before the Doom of the gods fell on me.
[Finarfin buries his face in his hands, bowing his head as both Amarie and Nerdanel turn, and with the Sea-Mew, stare at him in shock]
--Well, his wish came true.
He couldn't have cut me worse than if he'd taken your spear and run it through my heart--
Yes, but he's apologizing--
[Luthien nods, her expression earnest agreement, but Finrod is too upset to notice]
I didn't hear a "sorry" in there anywhere.
My lord -- only consider how long and complicated your own apology to the Powers was, given that there were parts of what you'd done that you didn't regret, nor feel that you ought to regret, either.
Finrod: [very brittle tone]
Even you, now?
What do you think, Sire?
[he reaches out his hand to clasp the Captain's]
--Curse or not, it all served one good purpose, notwithstanding -- to show me which were my true friends.
[simultaneous, amused contempt]
You're such a loser, Ingold.
[Finarfin raises his tear-stained countenance in a stern glare at his niece, while his brother steels himself to rebuke his daughter and the Warden of Aglon looks at the couple with a conflicted dismay]
--Is that how I appear?
[before any of their respective kindred can say anything more in reproach]
Soldier: [aloud to his comrades]
We could just bore a deep hole in the floor and fling them both in.
But Lady Luthien said not to.
She didn't say anything about the White Lady.
[their conversation arouses both appalled dismay and involuntary laughter from the lawful Eldar]
She only said not to pound him. That doesn't rule out pushing him, does it?
But Ar-Feiniel is the High King's scion. Are we allowed to do things to her?
We just won't ask. So what if we get in trouble after?
[pause -- glancing at the late High King of the Noldor in Beleriand]
Besides, I don't think he'll mind it that much, even if he thinks he ought to.
[Fingolfin winces and looks at the ceiling]
Aredhel: [standing up, furious]
I will not stay here and be insulted like this.
Eol: [unfazed by any of it, with a casual wave of his hand]
Don't worry, darling, I'll be here waiting for you -- before or after your ill-bred countrymen have indulged their natural inclinations for bloodshed.
[she glares at him and sits down again]
Apprentice: [worried frown]
Don't you think you really ought to be encouraging your followers to solve problems without recourse to violence?
They just did. At least for the moment.
Finrod: [partly serious lament]
Why couldn't I have been born to some quiet, obscure, uncomplicated family with no ambitions and no connections and nothing to do but employ my skills as I pleased?
[Finarfin, struggling to control his tears, gives a short involuntary laugh at that]
Fingolfin: [entirely serious lament]
Why could I not have been blessed with servants possessing the intelligence and courage to call me down and restrain me, instead of the agreement and recklessness I mistook for the former virtues?
Finrod: [snapping right out of humorous self-pity]
Because you didn't choose people of that caliber to counsel you, uncle.
That's an awfully cold thing to say, Finrod.
--Yet the truth, I fear. 'Tis always easiest to choose those that but agree, and that enthusiastically, than those discouraging sorts who point out every possible reason not to follow the desired course, and what the possible consequences of any action are, and the likelihood of the least pleasant of them to occur as a result, nor is it particularly pleasant to surround one's self with those who do not hesitate to name your faults, as soon or sooner than to sing your praises, and still less when there is no question it be done from loyalty, not jealousy.
[he bows his head to the Steward, who smiles wryly at this unsought praise]
Edrahil, is there anything else you'd add to that?
Little -- save to remind you, my lord, that it requires two to hold converse, and words which were said did not go unanswered that Night. --As you yourself in recollected times recall, and have regretted that which you said in turn, which was little less in harshness.
Finrod: [dark sarcasm]
[his father makes a hurried gesture]
---Nay, 'tis no matter--
What other sorts of things did you say to your father, besides calling him irresolute and weak?
[her cousin starts to answer -- stops, looks away in shame, tries again and shakes his head]
I -- can't we just say it was -- in anger, and let it go at that?
If you're willing to leave it like an open chasm between you.
[checks again -- helplessly]
Luthien, I -- I can't. I'm -- not proud of what I said.
But too proud to repeat it.
You'll have to address it someday, which you must have known, unless you stay here forever really.
[Angrod and Aegnor shift restlessly, avoiding each other's eyes, and everyone else's]
--Yes. And yes. But I thought I would have a lot longer to put it off. --Like 'Tari.
'Tis no matter, my son.
Finrod: [looking up, his gaze fierce]
But it is. She's quite right. And I'm a coward, and--
Finarfin: [amazed aside]
You, a coward?
--I don't want to revisit that -- that Darkening, I'd much rather pretend it didn't happen, just like you -- but it remains a yawning abyss which will swallow up all attempts to bridge it over, unfilled. If -- if you chose to remind me of my words, that would be one thing, but I -- cannot overcome my shame at them to utter them again, even to unsay them, not even though most people here heard them the first time.
[Luthien looks at him seriously]
But he won't. You can See that as clearly as I.
And I can't.
Then set another the task in your stead, Sir.
[Finrod turns and stares at him with uncertainty and worry]
That -- is no office for a friend.
If not a friend -- then for whom?
[after a moment Finrod nods assent, tautly, but looking somehow relieved that it's taken out of his hands, as does his father]
I'll make report of you, for you, to both of you, my lords, and do you tell me if recollection fails me.
[Finrod puts his head down on his forearms, hiding his face]
Only not all of it, for Nienna's sake--
Captain: [grim smile]
No, I don't think there's any need for all six-hundred exchanges less ten with or without repeats. The last one is enough--
[he pauses, gathers himself and goes on in a cold, clipped, ironic cadence recognizably familiar from Act II, the close of the Council, despite the archaic phrasing of this debate]
"Nay, then, sir, do thou go back in duteous release, winking at thine own cowardice, and name thyself faithful and hold thyself high as Oiolosse in thine own esteem, and thou will -- but thou shalt ken, e'en as we, aye down all thy safe unthreatened changeless hours, that selfish and corroded center of thy spirit, which hath feigned a pious remorse at which offense nor thou nor we did e'er commit, nor might have circumvented, saving only had we forgone all prudence, and hasted e'en so rashly as our blood-reckless kin, and so there's naught of reason in yon self-blaming for Swanhaven so sad incarnadined -- no more than in thine accusatory claims upon me. --Indeed, 'tis well hast ceded up thy ring withal, for certes thou hast no claim longer upon thy folk that now, saving but for we that art 'most willfully rebel 'gainst the gods,' do wander without guide or guard to their defence and ordering. Desert them, in their darkest need, my father, and name thyself virtuous thereby, in empty Tirion -- and be that thy consolation, as our duty must needs be ours."
"Deceive thyself, as thou wouldst, O Wise Elf, but do thou rest assuréd, thou dost not hide thy falsehood its truth from mine eyes; nor will I pardon thee, nay though the Lady of Sorrows in her own most high self should weep for thy pains, that hast broken apart not only our House, but my heart withal, stealing from me all my children that thy mastery be complete--"
[he stops, as distraught and shaken as the Kings he has been quoting]
[shaking his head]
I can't do the rest either.
There's none can wound another so bitter-keen nor killing deep, as them that long in love enwoven dwelt, and afterwhiles are riven--
[it is Luthien's turn to put her arm around Finrod's shoulders in a gesture of consolation which is severely lacking by the looks on the faces of all gathered there; even the Lord Warden and the embattled spouses appear somewhat subdued at the recollected display of familial disintegration they have just witnessed. Finrod raises his head to face his father, even as the Captain rests his forehead on his hand, looking unwell and upset -- the Steward quietly urges Huan to get up and go around behind the dais to his friend, where the Hound crouches down behind him like a sphinx, leaning his jaws on the Captain's shoulder. (The Sea-elf, who was moving to make a similar gesture, stops and frowns at the Lord of Dogs.)]
Finrod: [with effort]
I regret . . . all of my words to you at Araman . . . except those which which were true, and remain so.
[Finarfin doesn't say anything, just Looks at him]
We couldn't have prevented the Kinslaying, and--
--it was our duty to lead, and that fact of duty . . . all my consolation hereafter.
[silence; Amarie sighs and shakes her head dispiritedly]
And I do ken full well thou wert no rebel miscreant nor rival unto me, my wiseling, and would unsay my charges of that cold hour. Canst thou yet pardon me, of thy pity, for that cruel anger and yet this last, the which I vow indeed be last, nor only latest--?
I do, sir.
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.