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Leithian Script: Act III: 8. Scene VI, Part 1

A Boy, A Girl & A Dog
The Lay of Leithian Dramatic Script Project

TINUVIEL AT BAY: A CACCIA OF BELERIAND

SCENE VI




Gower:
--Met but with silence, the anxious traveler pursues
answers -- prevented from her own pursuit, seeks clues
to the dark mystery wrapped in Nargothrond's fair hues--

[Interior of Luthien's apartments. The outer room is a small solar, from which a hallway leads to the private suite, and has a paneled door opening onto the hallway that is meant to stay open. Around the room are arched panels made to look like windows, which are murals made of cut stones set in like stained glass and discreetly lit. The decoration is more naturalistic here than elsewhere in Nargothrond, less abstract, and it is of course exquisitely lovely. Luthien is standing there with Finduilas, looking frustrated as well as tired.]

Finduilas:
Do you feel better now?

Luthien:
Not really. --I think your dad's avoiding me.

Finduilas:
Oh, no, I'm sure you're mistaken -- he -- he's just terribly busy. I hardly see him -- and I'm his assistant!

Luthien:
Then why can't I talk to him?

Finduilas: [patiently]
Because he's too busy.

Luthien: [leadingly]
With--?

Finduilas:
Well -- Nargothrond, of course.

Luthien:
And--?

[pause]

The rescue mission--?

Finduilas:
Oh -- well -- of course -- that too.

Luthien: [unconvinced]
Hm.

[walks over to the nearest of the artificial "windows" and runs her hand across the carvings]

Finduilas:
Aren't those wonderful? That's the view looking west from our house in Tirion.

Luthien: [making conversation]
The trees are very beautiful. They look almost like real beeches.

Finduilas:
Oh, those aren't beeches, they're mallorns. They only grow in Aman -- they're sacred to Yavanna, you see.

Luthien:
Well, they look like they'd be perfect for climbing. I can see why she loves them.

[Finduilas gives her a funny look]

Did you bring these with you? They seem -- awfully -- large.

Finduilas:
No, my aunt made them. These are her rooms when she comes to visit, and she did all the decoration for them herself.

Luthien:
Your aunt is an astounding person. I think she's the only Elf to ever master our double-harness loom in a single day.

Finduilas: [not trying to sound patronizing, but doing a darn good job all the same]
Well, she is Noldor, after all.

Luthien: [frowning]
Have you seenthe loom my mother invented? The one that weaves the same pattern on both sides, only with different colors? It takes most people two days just to set it up. And isn't your family half-Teler, anyway? What does that have to do with anything?

Finduilas: [nervous giggle]
Well, -- obviously -- you understand --

Luthien: [clearly doesn't]
How long does it take you to set one up? I know she takes the loom she made with her, so maybe you've worked on it. Mine was only a quarter-sized version and it took longer to make enough width because of that, and it still took me forever to warp it all in -- I think I must have spent half the night getting it strung.

[curious]

How come you never came to visit us, when your family did?

Finduilas: [awkwardly]
Oh. Well. So far to go, you know.

Luthien:
It isn't that far, I've traveled it. And I didn't even have a horse.

Finduilas:
It's just . . . there were so many things to do here, and . . . you know . . . nothing really to do, by comparison.

Luthien: [dry voice]
Yes, that's why your aunt stayed with us all that time, because there was nothing to do there.

Finduilas: [condescending]
Oh, don't be so sensitive. I'm sure it's a wonderful place. You must be very homesick for it, I'm sure.

Luthien: [shrugs]
It isn't my home any more. It was. But my home is with Beren now.

Finduilas: [shocked]
But you must have some regrets, leaving your family and your home and everything you've ever known --

Luthien:
There is one regret I have, yes.

[brief pause]

-- That I waited so long to follow after him.

[recovering/covering, tapping on one of the mallorn images]

How tall are they?

Finduilas: [a little thrown by the change and topic]
Um -- tall -- I don't really know exactly . . .

Luthien:
I wonder if they're taller than Hirilorn -- you could certainly build a house there, all right. Looks a good deal easier to get down from, though. Huh.

[she shakes her head]

Finduilas:
I can't imagine what you must have been thinking . . .

Luthien:
Mostly -- I hope I tied that knot properly.

Finduilas:
Oh! No, I meant -- for all of it.

Luthien: [gloomy]
They can't do this to me -- How can they do this to me? -- Star and water, that's a long way down! Not in any particular order.

[pause]

--Was that what you were asking about?

Finduilas:
Well . . .

Luthien:
I mean, really there wasn't a lot of thought, just planning, if you see what I'm getting at. By the time I actually succeeded in escaping I'd already done all the agonizing over it -- there was just a lag between, unfortunately.

Finduilas:
I more meant, have you really considered it? Do you think it was the wisest thing to do? Given the war situation, and your family, and your responsibilities to your kingdom and all?

Luthien:
I'm sorry, are you trying to say I shouldn't have run away, I should have stayed stuck in a tree forever?

Finduilas:
Not exactly, but, well, I mean they wouldn't have left you up there forever, really.

Luthien:
Considering the fact that their preconditions for release were completely unacceptable, and considering how stubborn we all are, forever is exactly what we're talking about here.

Finduilas:
But can't you see their point of view at all? I mean you can't really blame them for wanting you to be safe, especially with what you said they said about those Orc-raids having been targeted at you all along--

Luthien: [interrupting]
I told you I think they were just saying that. Or rather my dad was, because Mom didn't say anything, which I think means it wasn't true, though not necessarily, because I've never heard her tell a lie in my life -- I don't think she can. Thoughcome to think of it I haven't ever heard Dad tell one either. --But I still don't believe it, given the situation.

Finduilas: [shrugs]
Anyway, you can't deny that there are Wolf-riders and awful Things out there -- it only stands to reason that they shouldn't want you to get hurt by them. Imagine how they'd feel if you were captured by the Enemy!

Luthien:
What, the same way I feel knowing Beren's a prisoner?

Finduilas:
. . .

[pause]

Luthien: [relenting]
--Look, I gave them every possible chance. If they didn't want this to happen then first, they shouldn't have lost it when they heard about Beren -- did you know that Daeron was actually hoping the search parties would shoot him, that's why he told my father? I was almost angry enough to throw him out of the tree when he admitted that -- and secondly they shouldn't have pulled that craziness about a Silmaril on us, and then they shouldn't have expected me to just sit there and say, "Oh, well," when my mom says he's been caught! What did she think I was going to do with that information?

[she begins pacing back and forth agitatedly, rant gaining power, while Finduilas is being a Good Listener]

Luthien:
So at that point, they could have given me a division and said "All right, you win, we're not going to approve, but at least you're going to go about it properly," but no -- we get hours of lectures as if I was some stupid little kid caught stringing triplines in the house or something dumb like that, and not listening to me at all, and then "Well, we're going to have to lock you in your room, but you'd get sick, and you'd probably get out anyway, so we have just the solution!" --And then thinking that somehow having Daeron lecture me instead was going to work, and not only that but make me "get over" Beren? "Oh, we'll just substitute him instead and she won't notice"--? "We like him better, so of course she will too"--? I mean, really now!

[she pauses for breath, huffing indignantly]

Finduilas:
But you can understand that, can't you? I mean, from a n-- a -- an outsider's point of view, Daeron has a lot going for him. He's even famous at the High King's court. Everyone loves his music, and even if the cirth aren't as pretty as our writing, they are fast and easy. And they've known him long enough to know if he's reliable and trustworthy and Good, after all.

[pause]

Luthien: [very dry]
If what my parents meant when they said all my life, that the most important things were truth and goodness and right judgment and so on, and I should only ever marry someone she saw really embodied all of them, -- was that I should really marry the old family friend and world-famous artist, composer, and inventor of a unique compressed data-storage system who just happened to have never thought of me as anything but a little kid until I finally found someone who embodied all those qualities -- then they jolly well should have said something before!

Finduilas: [discomfort]
Should they have to? I mean . . . really--?

Luthien:
Ah, come again?

Finduilas:
Well, obviously they thought he was suitable for you, if they encouraged you to spend so much time together for so long.

Luthien:
Actually it was because he made a very good babysitter when I insisted on climbing into my mother's yarn and trying to crawl through the looms. My father loves music but he isn't much of a musician himself, and they could always distract me with the flute. And then when I was older they all decided he could teach me too, and that would work out well. How was I to know that one day out of the blue he'd stop thinking of me as "cute little kid sister" and think "--A tender goddess!" instead?

[snorts]

--Idiot!

Finduilas: [shocked]
But -- he's a genius, Luthien!

Luthien:
I don't care how many disciplines Daeron counts as a Sage in -- he's still an idiot. The fact that he would think that getting my true love killed would make me like him better, or at all, just goes to show that lore isn't everything.

Finduilas:
But don't you feel at all sorry for him?

Luthien:
Of course. I started talking to him again, didn't I?

Finduilas:
Well, yes -- but that was because you need his help again, you said. Don't you feel you were just using him, rather?

Luthien:
No, it was long before that. I listened to his apologies for days before I made up my mind to escape and figured out how and enlisted him. But regardless -- are you trying to say, that because I needed his assistance, I should not have talked to him, but only if I hadn't needed anything of him should I have forgiven him? That seems rather cruel, not to mention counterproductive.

[pause]

Finduilas:
That doesn't make any sense.

Luthien:
That's what I thought.

[pause -- she leans back against a "window" and folds her arms]

I'm sort of getting the impression that you disapprove of what I've done.

Finduilas:
Well -- I did think it was incredibly romantic at first -- but then . . . I actually thought about it, and -- Luthien, how?

Luthien:
Ah, "how" what? That covers an awful lot of territory.

Finduilas:
Luthien, he's a child! He's not even half a yen old, and -- It's -- it's just wrong. In so many different ways.

[long silence]

Luthien:
Do you know how much older my mother is than my father?

[pause]

Neither does she.

Finduilas:
How can you not know how old you are?

Luthien:
Well -- there wasn't any way to reckon time for most of her life, so it's really a meaningless question. But the measurable part -- in the sense of there being landmarks, so to speak, is from before there were the Stars, before any of our people awoke, and before there were any differences between Elf and Elf inMiddle-earth.

Finduilas:
All right -- but that's different.

Luthien:
How?

[Finduilas just gives her an exasperated look, as though she is being tiresome]
I'm serious -- this is what I keep asking, and not getting answers to.

[starts pacing again as she talks]

You're being just like them. "Oh, Luthien's gone crazy--" "He must have put some kind of Enemy sorcery on you--" "What's wrong with you? Don't you care about your mother and me?" "--You always used to be so responsible!"

[Finduilas, getting tired of turning around every time Luthien does another turn up the room, takes a chair from the octagonal table in the center of the room and leans forward, being Very Serious.]

Finduilas:
But don't you think they have a point?

Luthien: [short laugh]
I'm here, aren't I?

[pause]

Finduilas:
I mean, really, to just get engaged to some random stranger you met out walking in the woods? Did you actually think they wouldn't get upset? Even leaving aside the problematic fact that he's a human and not one of the Kindred.

[Luthien laughs out loud]

What? Why are you laughing at me?

Luthien:
That's the family legend, cousin! Don't tell me you haven't heard -- that's what my parents are famous for! It's this great romantic story they tell all the time, about how they met, how Dad heard Mom singing and left everything behind to follow her and when he touched her Time stood still for them and neither she nor he ever looked back to Aman after that. I've heard about it all my life from them, about how your priorities change when you meet the the right person and not worrying about what the world thinks and all. They're being raging hypocrites about the whole thing.

Finduilas: [nonplussed]
Well, yes, true, --

[recovering]

-- but that was then. Things were different when they were young. The world is a more complicated place, now, and they have responsibilities, and so do you. You can't expect them to not be at least concerned, and to have grave reservations about it.

Luthien:
Why? If they really trusted me to be wise and sensible like they said they did, then they would respect my judgment in this too.

Finduilas:
Now you're being naive, on purpose.

Luthien:
Naive?!

Finduilas:
You don't really think that anyone looking at it objectively would consider it reasonable or appropriate for you to just enter into a relationship of such magnitude without consulting your elders or taking any advice first?

Luthien: [raising eyebrows]
That's what they did.

Finduilas:
Yes, but you're the Princess now, you're not just some private individual, not answerable to anyone. You have to take practical matters into consideration, including how it will affect the people around you -- because that's the most important decision in one's life, choosing whom one will marry!

Luthien: [dry]
Then, wouldn't you agree, it's too important to be decided by committee?

Finduilas: [shaking her head in exasperation]
Gwin and I thought about it for several decades, before we decided to get engaged, just getting to know each other and making sure it would be a good thing for both of us, and we made sure our families approved first. It's much less trouble--

Luthien:
--Look, you may be indecisive as all get-out, but I've never been used to living my life as a reflection of other people's opinions. I've always gone and done exactly as I pleased, and my parents never had a problem with it. Until now.

[Finduilas blinks at the sheer bluntness of her dismissal, but decides to overlook it]

Finduilas:
But what did you expect would happen when you finally told them about him? Or were you even going to?

Luthien:
I expected that they'd be reasonable and realize that that they'd been mistaken about humans all along, I expected that they'd be sensible enough to see his worth too and that they'd treat him with the respect he deserves. I meant to introduce people to Beren a few at a time, after he wasn't so nervous any more, and have them get to know him in a setting where he was comfortable.

[bitter smile]

--It never occurred to me that he wouldn't know who I was, which I suppose was rather arrogant of me, but I honestly assumed he realized I was the King's daughter and I had no idea otherwise until I had to find him and tell him about the problem, and he said, "You have parents?" in this shocked voice -- he thought I really was completely independent and on my own.

[sighs]

He wasn't angry though, he just sort of laughed and said, "It figures," in this gloomy way, that he hadn't had anyone trying to kill him for over a year and he shouldn't have expected it to last.

Finduilas:
But then once you realized they were not going to be pleased, or sympathetic, didn't you have any second thoughts about throwing away your position and your happiness for a Man?

Luthien:
Finduilas, he isn't just "a Man" -- he's Beren. Of all the people I know or have ever met -- he's the most beautiful.

[Finduilas gives an astonished laugh]

What?

Finduilas:
Luthien! How can you say that?! Beautiful--?

[Luthien just Looks at her]

He -- he's so scruffy, Luthien! Even when he tries, he still looks such a mess! I mean, really, his hair -- couldn't you have at least cut it for him?
Luthien: [astounded]
Is that what you think is important?

Finduilas:
It isn't just that -- he's got scars. And his hair is already going pale the way theirs does--

Luthien:
So? My father's hair is completely that color.
Finduilas: [patronizing]
You don't know much about Men, do you?

[Luthien gives her a Look again]

It means they're getting old.

Luthien:
Beren's not old, not even by human standards -- you were just complaining about that.

Finduilas:
It isn't just that, it means that their bodies are starting to wear out.

Luthien: [an edge creeping in]
I heard that Beren made it here from Menegroth half as quickly as I did. And I can go without sleep a lot longer than he can. That doesn't sound worn out to me.

Finduilas:
But he was in awfully bad shape when he got here.

Luthien:
--So was I. It's not much fun travelling cross-country by yourself, without anyone to help you and no proper gear. --But you know, you can do it, and -- you still get there. He's not "worn out" or old, Finduilas, he just went through a horribly stressful time and was very sick for a while afterwards. If you'd ever seen him fight you wouldn't even ask.

Finduilas:
When did you see him fight?

Luthien: [shrugs]
Well, not fight, exactly, but I've watched him practicing lots of times.

Finduilas: [bewildered]
Why?

Luthien: [holding out her hands]
Because it's beautiful. It's like a dance of another kind. Don't you ever watch your Gwin at training? Beren's spectacular -- I think he's as good as Mablung that way. Oh, and they have these dances with swords, real dances, that they do -- used to do -- for Arien, I finally got him to stop being self-conscious and show me, and they're amazing. And rather scary. Just the coordination and the sharp edges and everything--

Finduilas:
-- Luthien, are you listening to yourself? Do you know how twisted that sounds? How -- how unladylike? My aunt is a little wierd that way, but with four older brothers encouraging her, everybody kind of expects it. But you -- I mean, you're not a warrior, and -- swords, for the gods?!

Luthien:
What? Just because I don't do it myself doesn't mean I can't appreciate it.

Finduilas:
But -- don't you think there's something wrong with using violence to honor the Powers? They don't approve of war and weapons.

Luthien: [raises eyebrows]
News to me -- my mother doesn't have a problem with them as such. And didn't they do an awful lot of it themselves before we showed up? The Wild Hunt and the assault on Angband and all?

Finduilas:
How can you have such a neutral attitude towards fighting?

Luthien: [shrugs in turn]
Maybe because we'd been doing it for centuries before you all arrived. We don't have your superstitious attitude about it. Or about weapons.

Finduilas:
Superstitious?!

Luthien: [shrugs]
Well, you're obviously very uncomfortable with them, in a "we'd rather pretend it's not something we really do, just on the side, out of necessity," kind of way and I've noticed that before among you Noldor, a lot of you. You just, well, make a bigger deal about it than we do.

Finduilas: [superior tone]
Surely you don't mean to say that you think War is a good thing?

[Luthien stops pacing and puts her hands on her hips, giving her a very ironic Look]

Luthien: [very dry]
Considering that there was a very real chance of us getting wiped out by Orcs before you ever showed up, and we stopped it only with appalling casualty levels, and considering that we still have to deal with incursions -- and therefore casualties -- on a regular basis along the borders, and considering that my mother, and her assistants, and that includes me, are the ones to deal with the consequences -- the chances of that are pretty fair slim, wouldn't you say? --How many poisoned arrows have you had to dig out of people lately, cousin?

[Finduilas gives an incredulous laugh, not sure she's serious]

What, you've never had to cut metal fragments out of someone before? Without letting them bleed to death while you're at it? It's not my idea of fun, either.

Finduilas:
We have trained specialists to do that kind of work properly. Anyhow, you're changing the subject.

Luthien:
No, I'm not. You already did.

Finduilas:
Honestly, Luthien, that's rather childish, don't you think? The point is, that he won't live very long, no matter what. Not by our standards. And then what?

[earnestly]

Have you thought about this? About the fact he can't possibly live more than sixty years more, at most? And that for most of those -- if he lives so long -- he'll be decrepit? And afterwards he won't be waiting for you in Aman, either.

Luthien: [wide-eyed]
  --Thank-you for putting it so clearly, I never would have guessed that, despite the fact that we rent a quarter of our western frontier to mortals and we've only been hearing about them from Finrod since they first showed up in Beleriand.

[raising her voice slightly]

Of course I understand that Beren's people are more fragile and short-lived than we are! What I don't understand is why you are all so blasé about the fact that your King is in prison, isn't it stranger that you don't seem to care about getting your people out than that I want to get my true-love out -- and you're treating me like I'm the irrational one here?

[pause]

Finduilas:
You don't have to be so rude. But I understand that you're still exhausted and extremely stressed, so I'm making allowances.

[Luthien only stares at her, then runs her hands through her hair, making it stand up even more, and turns away to look at the "window" that shows mountains in the distance, putting her palm flat against the carving.]

Luthien: [leaden voice]
--Yes. I'm that. Thank you, cousin.

Finduilas:
And what if you have children? What will they be?

Luthien: [turning back]
Er, --people?

Finduilas: [exasperated]
Please try to be serious. I meant, would they be Elves or mortals? Can you even have children together?

Luthien:
I don't know. As far as we know we're the first mixed-race couple in history. Except for my parents, of course.

[raises her hands]

--Does it matter?

Finduilas: [still more exasperated]
Luthien, I'm trying to have a serious conversation!

Luthien:
Why do you think I'm not? If we can, we can. If we can't, we can't. Worrying about it won't change things. Mortals aren't guaranteed children either -- nobody's actually guaranteedanything in life, are they, really? I mean, look at what happened to the gods!

Finduilas:
But what will you do after he dies? I know it isn't the same, but still -- it would be awfully strange to marry a second time. I can't imagine what anyone else would think of it, how they would feel, knowing . . . It almost seems indecent, frankly.

[Luthien turns around abruptly]

Luthien: [disbelieving]
Why would I want to marry anyone else?

Finduilas:
But . . . but you'll be . . . you'll be all alone.

Luthien:
I never wanted to marry anyone before I met Beren. Why should I think that would ever change?

Finduilas:
But . . . eventually you'll meet your soulmate, of course, and what then?

Luthien: [gesturing widely]
Finduilas -- he is my soulmate. I will never love another. --Who could compare? It would be unjust to anyone else to set him against Beren.

Finduilas: [nervous laugh]
You're so melodramatic, Luthien. You can't mean it.

Luthien:
--Are you so blind that you really can't see past externals? --That fine clothes and combed hair are the most important things to you? You'd never make it in the woods.

Finduilas:
It isn't just that, it's everything. The -- the gulf, of background, culture, everything that goes with age -- I don't see how it could work. I mean, yes, he's certainly a hero, and I do appreciate his valiant efforts against Morgoth, but when all is said and done there isn't anything he can actually do except kill things, is there?

Luthien: [shaking her head, wry]
Is that what he said? He's too shy. He sings beautifully. And he has the true dancer's grace.

Finduilas:
Now you're sounding superficial. --Aren't you?

Luthien: [looking up at the ceiling]
No, -- I was just trying to correct your misunderstanding that he has no talent, that he's inferior because he doesn't care about art. That's just not true.

Finduilas:
But does he make anything? He said not, to Celebrimbor.

Luthien:
Finduilas, when would he have had time to make anything, or learn to make anything? He was hunted like a wild animal for most of the last ten years, while he was hunting down Orcs and trying to defend the last holdouts who hadn't fled the North-country already. --Do you know he had to bury his father and family and all his friends? I cried when he told me how his dad didn't want to send him to find out if it was true that Sauron himself had come out from the Fortress to get them, because he was afraid he'd never see him again, and -- it was true, but not that way. Can you imagine living that kind of life?

Finduilas: [nodding]
Oh, so it's that you felt sorry for him. Well, I can understand that, but -- to risk your life, your happiness, because of sentimentality is rather excessive. Spouses should be equals -- that's what "match" means, after all. Pity isn't enough to make a lasting relationship.

Luthien:
No, I'd been seeing him for some time before he told me about the really miserable bits -- I only knew some of the legends of Beren, and frankly I was more than a bit intimidated and figured he'd think I was rather silly and useless compared to him. --And now you're going to say, "Hero-worship isn't enough to build a relationship on." Right?

[Finduilas gives her a Look, but doesn't say anything.]

I've got Ages of practice at this -- I only did it half the summer, I can probably do both sides of the argument if you want to leave.

Finduilas:
Please don't be so hostile, cousin. I'm only trying to help you, because I don't think you've really thought things through. Being sarcastic doesn't help matters any.

Luthien:
I'm tired of this being treated like a fool. I thought you were on our side, and now you're doing it too! Didn't you talk to him while he was here? You must have seen how kind and intelligent and noble he is --

Finduilas:
--Luthien. Look me in the eyes and tell me: Do you truly believe he is -- could possibly be -- your equal?

Luthien:
Yes.

Finduilas: [knowing look]
You're just saying that.

Luthien: [angry]
No, I'm not! --Well, yes, I am just saying it, but I'm "just saying it" because I just believeit. I wouldn't "just say" it if it was otherwise. What's wrong with you?

Finduilas:
I'm just afraid that you've put yourself into the position where you have to keep saying and defending what you've started out because you're too proud and toocommitted to keeping your own opinions to actually be objective. I don't think you're being fully honest when you say that you think you're really suited well. I think you're rushing into things. I grant completely that Lord Beren is a wonderful human being -- but he's still a human, not an Elf.

Luthien: [icy]
You might have gathered I'm not very pleased with my parents right now, but one thing in my father's benefit -- he's at least consistent. He doesn't despise mortals but use them anyway.

Finduilas:
You're putting words into my mouth, Luthien! That isn't what I said.

Luthien:
No? Because it sure sounds like it. That you, at least, think they're good enough to fight your war and get killed in it, but not as good as real people.

Finduilas:
You're reading things into what I said that aren't there. I just don't see how this can work. What can you possibly have to talk about, for example? How can you converse on the same level? --What do you see in him as a potential consort?

[silence]

Luthien:
--The world.

[brief pause]

Finduilas, the way he sees it -- the way he simply revels in learning about it, about everything, about music and trees and the names of the Stars and the stories and making things and everything -- it's as though I'd never seen it properly, all the things I thought I knew and understood and have taken for granted for centuries, and now he's learning them all for the first time, and I'm seeing it new as well--!

Finduilas: [very knowing tone]
That doesn't sound anything like a match of equals. It sounds like you enjoy having him around because he's so much more ignorant than you that he can't help but look up to you, and that makes you in turn feel like a Sage, because it's incredibly flattering to have such unquestioning respect and admiration.

[kindly]

--Which is understandable.

Luthien:
You're quite wrong about that. Beren isn't ignorant, he knows lots of things -- his mind's like a dark mirror --

Finduilas: [frowns]
--That doesn't sound attractive at all.

Luthien: [exasperated]
Haven't you ever seen a pool at midnight when it's so black you can't even see the trees in it, only the stars are reflected with absolute clarity and it seems like it goes on forever, it's so deep--? That's what his thoughts are like, he just observes, with this amazing detail, and the faintest light is caught and noticed -- and then it's as if it changes, like the same pool freezing over, only instead of ice it's silver, and everything's reflected brightly and light is cast on all kinds of things nobody else ever saw before, and that's what talking to him is like. --Why are you so worried about me when--

Finduilas:
--Well, it is worrying. It's unprecedented, it's very strange, and you just keep trailing off when you're asked about him as if you're embarrassed about it all or talking as though unable to say anything sensible, so what else are we supposed to think?

Luthien:
No, that isn't it at all--! Do you -- you don't just talk about your private moments in public with everyone, do you? To people you don't know very well at all? Especially when everyone's been unsympathetic to it earlier and all your friends have deserted you.

Finduilas:
Well, he left you too, so you could say he deserted you as well.

Luthien:
No, deserting me would have been if he'd said, "--I'm really sorry, it's been great knowing you, but I'm going west to see if I can find any of my own people left and settle down with a nice mortal girl who doesn't have insane relatives giving me the choice between death, life imprisonment or a task that all the Kings of Arda and all their armies couldn't manage between them." Which, if he'd said it, I really couldn't have blamed him very well, either. Finduilas, Beren and I . . . he . . . he's -- I'm doing it again.

[shakes her head, laughing bitterly at herself]

All right, little cousin, you want details, you want to know it all, you want to understand. I will tell you -- but you have to promise not to be negative about it, not make sarcastic remarks while I'm telling the story.

[she sits down on the bench across from Finduilas' chair, under one of the "windows"]

So -- what do you want to know first?

Finduilas:
Well, you've never even really explained how you two met -- I thought no one could get into Doriath without your mother's permission. Were you outside the borders somehow?

Luthien:
No, he just walked right through them without even noticing them. And Mom never knew he was there, either.

[darkly]

--Which should have told them something right away.

Finduilas:
How could it, if they didn't know he was there?

[Luthien closes her eyes, rubbing her temples]

Luthien:
I meant, when they found out.

Finduilas:
Oh -- I see. So you really just ran into each other, completely randomly, without any introductions or anything, without knowing who the other one was, and decided that you were soulmates just like that. with just one look? Honestly, Luthien, that doesn't make any sense! How many people do you really know who haven't grown up together, or at least known each other for Great Years, before falling in love?

[Luthien starts to open her mouth]

And you're going to say your parents again, aren't you?

[pause]

Luthien: [deadpan, loftily]
--It was a very long look.

[Finduilas glares at her]

It was a little more complicated than that. It seemed like coincidence at the time, but I'm not sure really . . . was it coincidence for my parents? I just felt one night that I had to go to the upper reaches of Esgalduin -- I guess it was like Beren deciding he had to come down into Doriath, that that was where he was supposed to be, except that I didn't have any wargs hunting me, of course. I said to Daeron, "Let's go to Neldoreth, we haven't worked in Neldoreth for such a long time." And he said, "Because there's no one in Neldoreth," and I said, "Except trees," and he said, "Oh, well, trees! That's rather boring, don't you think? They're not very appreciative an audience." And I started teasing him about being too vain to be a proper Sage, that the truly enlightened don't care about applause and that he was just concerned to impress the Singers, and if he was that lazy I'd just go by myself, I didn't really need an accompanist-- So he made this show of "Oh, the things I put up with for little Luthien, catering to her every whim," and we went . . .

[she stops, looking into the middle distance]

Finduilas: [reminding]
Luthien . . .

Luthien: [wry laugh]
--Right.

[giving herself a little shake]

Anyway, we went to Neldoreth, and Beren heard us and came to investigate -- and that's another sad thing about it all, Daeron hating him and Beren having no more idea of it than I, because he simply admired Daeron's performance skills and compositional abilities without limit. Daeron couldn't have asked for a more appreciative audience, Beren had never heard anything like it -- not that anyone has, of course, Daeron really is that good -- but not even remotely similar, their music's completely different from ours--

Finduilas: [patronizing]
Well. In quality perhaps.

Luthien: [checking]
What do you mean?


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Last Update: 16 Aug 14
Stories: 7
Type: Reader List
Created By: helenjones


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Story Information

Author: Philosopher At Large

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 1st Age

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/25/03

Original Post: 08/16/02

Go to Leithian Script: Act III overview