60. Scene V.xiv
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
[Elsewhere: the Corollaire]
[As Beren lifts his head we see that the Earthqueen has taken on her form as one of the Children of Eru, but here, out of doors and above-ground, her green dress glows in the early morning light and power coruscates from her like a waterfall in sunshine. No question that this is one of the Greater Powers who stands here, whatever her visible guise. She approaches him and rests her hands on his shoulders.]
[smiling, she pulls him up to his feet and continues to stand with her hands on his shoulders, looking down at him with an expression of tearful pride]
I…know you. --But I've always known you--
[she draws her hands down his arms, taking his hand and holding his amputated wrist for a moment before reaching up to brush the hair away from his forehead]
--My bravest of servants.
[still holding him by the hand, she turns and leads him to the eastern crest of the Corollaire, where she sits down in the grass and pulls him down beside her while he is still hesitating over whether it would be disrespectful. Putting her arm around his shoulders as if he were a younger sibling:]
--So. Is this real?
[startled, he ventures to look at her directly, and realizes that she is teasing him a little, -- and starts to smile back]
I think -- that so much of me is left -- is really here. --Whatever here means without a body.
[with a faintly-confused expression]
But -- it seems so real to me -- I seem real to me, I don't feel like a wraith here, even though it's -- Outside--
[stretching, leaning back, lifting his head and closing his eyes, like a hound scenting the wind]
The air -- the grass -- I can smell the breeze, taste the dew on it -- it doesn't feel like just memory this time--
Yavanna: [tossing her head]
Hmph. I should hope not.
[she rubs his back gently, and he looks at her again, trying to understand]
Are -- are you making all this happen -- for me?
I guess it's like when Tinuviel Sent to me in prison -- I never did understand if that was completely in my mind, or not -- I don't think she understood what I was asking, either…I said, "You were there. We were home," and she said, "I know, I was trying so hard to reach you, I didn't know if you were still here," and I kept trying to figure out if it was just a dream, or if I was really seeing it, and she just kept saying, "Well, yes, of course," and I figured it didn't really matter.
Except -- when I heard her in the dungeon, I was alive, so if it was real the way I still think of real then it was her changing the world outside me so that I really sensed it, but if it was a dream -- and I do know better now than to say, just a dream, but I still sort of think that way, telepathy isn't originally a mortal word at all, although none of these are, I guess…and you're being incredibly patient, listening to me ramble around like this--
[Yavanna smiles without saying anything]
--so anyway, if it was all a dream, inside my mind, not the outside world changing but her voice affecting me directly, and I do think that has to be the case, because I don't think even a trumpet you could hear that far underground, much less a voice, then I was still there, only inside myself, so to speak -- so if that's what you're doing now, only more so, because this is even realler than that was -- where am I then? See, if I'm a ghost, then I still must be somewhere, right? But I'm having a hard time figuring that out, and how it would work really -- I mean, outside myself. Because I'm not making this up for me, you are.
I don't have the words to explain this.
I can tell you've been spending far too much time around those "Wise Elves" for your own peace of mind. The words you're looking for are "immaterial extramental reality," I believe.
That sounds about right.
[gesturing down towards the tranquil, uninhabited sward just below them]
--So, if someone was out there, and you didn't think of putting them in this -- extramental reality, I wouldn't see them, would I? And if they looked up at the Corollaire, and happened to be looking on this side, they'd see you just sitting here talking to your self? --Apparently?
Yavanna: [raising an eyebrow]
What makes you think they'd see anyone at all?
You can be invisible if you want to? Oh. Yeah. You're a goddess, I guess you can if you want. Or…
[he frowns, worrying it over]
--Are you even here at all? On the real Corollaire? Or is this just the idea of it that's in your thoughts?
[still smiling, she nods, once, deliberately; he looks down, biting his lip]
I guess I asked for that one. Um. What I'm trying to say is, how much of this is real? except what I'm really trying to ask is, what is "real"--?
Beren: [half-smile, teasing her just a little--]
So if you forgot about me would I stop existing?
Did I make you?
[he blinks at this, uncomprehending -- reaching down into the grass on her other side, she picks up a large snail, which comes out of its dormant state and begins to crawl across the back of her hand, waving exploratory eyes as she offers it to Beren, who lets it transfer itself to his knuckles, regarding with a charmed smile]
--Not even the solid shell, that once protected your moving self as this little one's does, as integral and as hardily lost, is truly of my making, for all that the elemental substance of your flesh was taken from the works of my fashioning, even as theirs takes its nourishment from my husband's. --Though that did allow me to clothe you more appropriately while you remain my guest.
[as Beren looks at the Earthqueen, confusion becomes comprehension -- swiftly followed by utter embarrassment; blushing furiously he scrutinizes the gliding mollusk rather than meet her eyes. She regards him with gentle curiosity:]
--Why does that shame you? Or are you ashamed of your housing itself -- that love once gave you dwelling, made for you a shelter and warmth and garb for your naked soul, like every least furry animal? Do you think it nobler then, to be self-incarnate as we, taking shape but of our own will and power from the elements -- as young Melian did, for love -- than to come into Arda involuntarily, like this little one?
[she scoops up a small rodent from the hillside, mouse or vole or similar critter, and holds it between them cupped in her palm]
--Or Luthien Tinuviel?
[Yavanna looks at him with earnest expression, waiting patiently for an answer. After a moment he carefully lets the snail crawl down onto grass and reaches over to stroke the little mammal sitting in her hand as it grooms its whiskers:]
No. I'm not ashamed of being born.
[looking up at her meaningfully]
I'm not ashamed of being shaped of Earth.
[with a slightly-rueful smile]
--Little bit embarrassed at the idea of you knowing me that thoroughly that you can remember all this--
[gesturing across his body]
--so right, but I guess I can deal with that, since it never bothered me to think of it when I was living, having been born.
[in a light, bantering tone, as he recovers from his discomfiture]
--Thank you for the outfit, by the way. I always seem to be getting given shelter and clothes -- seems like another thing hasn't changed, being dead. You know, I'm supposed to be old enough to look after myself--
[a sudden expression of alarm comes over his face]
Hey, does that mean that
-- that I was in their thoughts the same way I'm in yours, earlier, when…
[he hides his face against his knees in mortification as Yavanna smiles amusedly, letting the mouse-creature run freely from one hand to the other as she sits peacefully in the shadow of the dead Trees…]
to be continued…