65. Scene V.xix
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project
BELOVED FOOL: BEYOND THE WESTERN SEA
Finrod: [gently chiding tone]
You should have come to visit us before the War broke out.
Luthien: [bittersweet smile]
That's what I said to Finduilas . . .
Where is that dog? Huan, you have to come here, you're the hero of this part -- come down where I can praise you properly.
[reluctantly the Hound gets up, still skulking rather, and squeezes his way through the company, who edge aside to make room for him. He hunkers down behind Luthien on the other side, (since the space in front of the steps is now full of map) and puts his head across her lap. She gives him a quick kiss on the forehead and uses him quite casually as an armrest during the following exchanges. During all this movement Aredhel and Eol reappear, silently and somewhat tenuously, off to one side of the dais. They look about, hackles raised, daring anyone to notice or comment. There is something slightly different about their appearance, but hard to say what. Only now do they look at each other, with closed expressions:]
--Don't say anything.
--It means nothing--
--It doesn't mean anything--
[they stop and glare briefly (but curiously) at each other, then look determinedly away]
Some sort of Ainur trick, that's all.
[she nods shortly; they sit down on the steps, at a distance from the rest but on the same side, though at arm's length from each other. After a moment the Noldor princess gives her husband a sidelong Look.]
So . . . that's what you really want--
Eol: [interrupting, through clenched teeth]
[by now it might have been noticed by viewers that neither of the couple is armed, and Eol though still dressed in all black, is no longer wearing his armour beneath his cloak. The Sea-elf leans over and whispers to her former colleague:]
Teler Maid: [impressed]
How knew you, that 'twould surpass the setting of false fire about her blade for diversion and mirth, to let her gain the Lady's notice?
Just insight, lass, just plain old tercen. And deduction.
[shaking his head]
She'd not be warned by me. And Master Smith has trouble discerning his own best interests, no less. They were bound to fall foul of her soon enough.
So, anyway, we discussed several possible approaches to dealing with Enemy minions, and Huan definitely didn't think my idea of trying to sneak in and get work working as another slave in the kitchens or something would work, but then I wasn't sure if his idea of pretending to be sick or injured out in the woods beside the river bank away from the bridge and me going and pretending to betray him to Sauron out of revenge for him capturing me and giving me over to the Kinslayers would work. After all, the Terrible One might just keep me there and send a minion out to look for him -- though I was willing to try -- and then we came up with the idea of me luring him out, and Huan jumping on him from behind when he came to try to capture me.
[through this narration Finrod and his relations, most particularly Nerdanel, are giving her extremely and increasingly strange Looks]
[he is giving her a baffled smile, which only succeeds in spreading the confusion]
? ? ?
You, and Huan . . . ?
There wasn't anyone else there -- Celebrimbor had already gone away and didn't come back.
. . .
[the Steward leans back, looking faintly amused]
The answer, my lord, is "yes."
Finrod: [still looking confused]
But when did you learn to speak with kelvar, cousin? Or is that something you've always been able to do, like understanding trees,and never mentioned ere now?
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're asking, Finrod.
You and Huan were discussing things.
Third Guard: [earnest]
The Hound does talk, Sire.
[as the High Kings, living and dead, and the other Eldar, lawful or otherwise, stare at him]
Beren said so. [biting his lip, Finrod looks at Huan, then at Luthien, still not knowing quite what to say. The Lord Warden shakes his head with a look of annoyance and scorn]
Aglon: [intending to be heard]
Dogs aren't quendi, you fools.
What, dost claim yon gangling rebel hound be more and greater nor any whelp other of Lord Orome's breeding?
[she and the Warden glare at each other, momentarily, both furious at having shared an opinion in public, and ostentatiously look away from each other; Huan whines sadly.]
I don't know. I don't know if he's any different from the rest of Tavros' pack. All I know is, he's the best dog I've ever had or heard of.
And a better friend I've never had, either.
[the Ambassador turns his head away, hiding a stricken expression behind his hand]
Angrod: [not quite aside either]
We always did say he understood every word we said . . .
[closes his eyes, starts over again. Carefully:]
Has anyone besides yourself heard him?
Well, -- Beren.
And my father. And Mablung. And Beleg. And a whole lot of other people who were there when he died.
[stroking the Hound's ears gently as she finishes]
[leaning back to look at the Captain]
You weren't making a joke about it, then, earlier.
Nerdanel: [resigned, though her brothers-in-law still look dubious, as do others]
Nay, I do confess me much astonisht withal -- yet truly, ever did we say him wise, clever, and cunning in wit nigh as any Elf, about the House, in lost Day.
[happy tail thumps]
Aredhel: [very aside]
What utter rot.
Eol: [just as obviously not intended to be heard by Luthien]
Obviously. I told you my royal family were mad.
Apprentice: [generally smug]
Oh, there'll be far stranger things than a talking dog before this is over--!
Finrod: [struggling to not be incredulous]
So . . .
[he covers by reaching over to scratch Huan's nose, but is plainly rattled]
. . . ah, you came up with a plan to draw Sauron out and trap him, between the two of you. I mean, between the two of you, you came up with a plan . . .
It works the other way, too.
It . . . sounds very . . . simple.
--And completely insane--!!
Well, I challenge you to come up with a better one on short notice--
Oh -- no, I -- I didn't mean to say that, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry--
[she clutches her temples, grimacing, (fortunately at this point nothing she can do one way or the other can make her hair any worse) while Finrod shakes his head, trying to reassure her -- but not able to get through until Luthien experiences again for herself the dampening consequences of being distraught around a large friendly canid, as Huan takes advantage of proximity to snuffle in her ear and under her chin]
Finrod: [rubbing her shoulder]
Shh -- I understand.
[Luthien pulls herself together, not entirely over her attack of remorse]
It's still insane.
[as she gives him a wary Look]
--What did Beren say about it, I wonder?
[she glares at the ceiling arches]
That's what I thought. So
-- I gather you rode Huan, then, like a horse?
[the Lord of Dogs wags his tail again before remembering that there are other people about]
Well, there isn't--
[checks -- wryly, glancing over at the Apprentice]
--wasn't -- a faster
mount in my stables, so that part at least was sane, in my judgment. And he'd be better than any warsteed for dealing with any enemy patrols you might have run into.
Are you going to be all right with me telling this?
[her cousin nods, smiling just a little; she looks around at the rest of his relatives, and continues rather acerbically]
Just to warn all of you, I'm not -- and I'm probably going to start crying again at some point.
[to Finrod, anxious again]
--Are you sure?
[he nods again, not looking away from her]
It's over for us.
Teler Maid: [very abruptly]
I do not wish to hear this part again.
[she gets up and goes to the falls, a little way from where the Youngest Ranger is lying down, and kneels down to watch the water too.]
Elenwe: [considering Finrod's kinfolk with a piercing Look]
Not for self alone doth the child speak, I deem.
Thou seest overmuch, good my niece. Yet tales there be, that rehearsal doth not lighten, nor the passing time dull their most hurtsome edge upon the heart.
Luthien: [very quietly]
I'm sorry, my lord -- but what happens after doesn't make much sense, if I leave this out.
Nay, say on: aught that
hath been shall ne'er be made naught, by ceasing to speak thereof.
[Finrod steals a concerned glance at his father -- it is only now beginning to sink in for him what the other Elf is going through. He does not however notice Amarie's frozen expression; Nerdanel holds out a hand to her, but the Vanyar lady either does not or chooses not to notice, keeping hers firmly folded on her knee as though posing for her portrait. The camera cuts over to the waterfall: by the spill pool, the Sea-elf has already gotten bored of silence and tosses something accurately at the unsuspecting Sindarin warrior. He startles, reaching up to snag it out of the air and sitting bolt upright in one quick motion, then looks bemusedly at the bracelet he has caught for himself.]
Rains jewelry here, eh?
[she does not sound particularly contrite, though -- he smiles at her, and she giggles]
Youngest Ranger: [straight-faced]
What are these?
Those are pearls, which come of oysters, which are akin to snails, though they do not look it. One finds them underwater.
Are you sure? They look like polished white glass to me.
Of course I am sure! I brought them up myself, and we had them for supper. The oysters, I mean. When I was alive of course. The ones I am dreaming of.
How do beads come from snails?
I am not quite sure.
Youngest Ranger: [still deadpan]
Are you sure you're not making fun of me?
Yes. No, I am not, I mean.
Oh, but you are making sport of me! For you are known of Lord Cirdan, and the havens of the Land of Morning!
Not I, I'm afraid. I lived my life inland, always -- I was never stationed on the Coast.
[she makes an exasperated noise, tossing her head]
If not you, then all
of you -- and indeed you must know something of them, for there
are pearls on the very image of your cloak-pin there!
Do you also know the way of it that pearls are fashioned, then?
[he shakes his head]
I must ask my Lady someday, that is all.
[when he goes to give her back the bracelet she makes a "keep it" gesture, and looks at him thoughtfully with her head on one side.]
Are you afraid of Lady Uinen?
Youngest Ranger: [at a loss]
I --'ve not had the honor -- never been introduced--
Teler Maid: [probing]
But would you, if you were to chance to meet her?
[he starts knotting the pearls into the end of his braid]
Youngest Ranger: [very busily not looking at her]
But you are are a warrior, you have fought demons and do not fear to wield weapons! And you are clever, you even know how to call things out of rocks!
[she waves towards the Falls]
Youngest Ranger: [dismissive]
I learned that from the King. I don't understand what I'm doing enough to teach anyone else, and I think that's part of doing anything properly. And I grew up always knowing that there were creatures of the Enemy out there, and that people I knew had fought them, and might have to again. I didn't grow up knowing the gods as neighbors.
Teler Maid: [even more dismissive in turn]
Yes, but you have met them now, have you not? So why do you yet fear them?
I think when you and I look at things, we see them differently.
Of course! Or we should not be different people.
Youngest Ranger: [patient]
I mean, more differently than most differences. --When I look at the gods, it's like standing by the smeltry and watching them cast ingots for the forging. That level of raw energy, even if it's completely controlled, scares me more than I can tell. I trust the smiths, but I don't like being around so much power. I don't think it's the same for you.
You do not like the gods.
[worried and scolding]
Are the words of those proud Noldor true, then, though they should not mock anyone for Turning, that you do reject the Powers of our land?
That wasn't what I said.
But it was in your thought.
Youngest Ranger: [correcting patiently]
I don't like being around them. It frightens me.
Though a lot of that was my own fears, about being sent back. Now that I know they were right, that no one has to leave before he's ready, the idea of the Lord and Lady doesn't make me sick with anxiousness.
Teler Maid: [with a sulky but self-directed humor]
That, you might indeed have known, did you but consider me -- even were you not willing to trust your friends' wisdom!
But I didn't know it. Not until I was willing to ask Them and risk the answer.
Are you afraid of Nienna, too?
Youngest Ranger: [surprised tone]
Why? Or not, as it rather were.
[she gives him a Look, and he sighs and goes on]
--Because when She looks at you, you know that nothing you've done, nothing that was done to you, nothing you could ever do, and nothing you didn't do, could ever make Her look at you in any other way. --Or look away from you. How could I be frightened by Love that doesn't demand anything of me in return, doesn't judge me, has no conditions, and won't ever stop?
I'm not sure why House Feanor is so afraid of her, myself.
[the other shade looks away, subdued, and slumps
down to lean on the rocks and watch the flames on the water for a while]
Teler Maid: [very quietly]
Because it makes one to wish to become worthy of that love.
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