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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:41 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:03 pm
Posts: 5199
Location: Green Hill Country
Apologies for the recent hiatus...I believe real-life caught up with Ethelwynn but she's back now to pick up the threads where we left off!

Season 5: Episode 4 Amon Ereb, First Age, Year of the Sun 506

Melian: [voiceover] Outside, word of Doriath’s rise from ruin spread slowly like a meandering breeze that blows from a warm place out into the open wilderness, gathering strength yet growing evermore colder. Wandering Elves of the Sindar were first to hear the rumour and many forsook the now perilous wilderland and repaired to Menegroth, swelling its numbers. But now the rumour ran among the scattered Elves of Beleriand that Dior Thingol’s heir wore the Nauglamír…

* * * * * * *

[Camera fade in on dark, high clouds rolling towards the Fëanorrim stronghold on Amon Ereb from the North at evening; A lonely outcrop of stone, it looks across leagues of forest towards a row of low hills marching towards the west. A broad road leads up the shallow-sided hill and passes through the north wall through a great arch, whose entrance is closed by a mighty gate.

Camera shft behind the gate to a dark tunnel lit by flaming torches, hung at intervals on the walls, and beyond to a wide courtyard A pair of watchmen on the western walls draw up the hoods of their cloaks, casting longing glances at the lit window of the guard house in the courtyard tower. A guard peers over the parapet into the gathering murk outside the walls. Hooves are clattering over stone in a gallop below them, but there is nothing to see yet. The road to the gate snakes up the west slope of the hill in serpentine loops, passing below them. ]

Guard 1: Can you hear the horses? We are not looking for the return of any traders or scouts for a few days yet, are we?
Guard 2: An unexpected return in the dark is rarely a good portent, though it is unlikely that the Enemy will attack us on horse. If we were hearing wolves, now…

[Guard 2 nocks an arrow and leans over the wall for a better look. Camera shifts to road, following his line of vision. Two riders come in view as they race up to the gate. Caranthir's banner flashes as they pass beneath the lantern lights on the wall. The first guard gives the signal – three horn calls, high and clear – to indicate that a scouting party has returned. The second guard sheaths his arrow and hurries into the courtyard. Just as the courtyard gate is pushed closed again by the men on gate duty, thunder rolls and it begins to rain in heavy, fat droplets.]

Guard 2: [Hailing the riders] What is it? What news from the borders? [holds up a lantern to better see the scout’s face. The rider dismounts and leans close.]
Scout 1: [whispers breathlessly] A Silmaril! A Silmaril burns again in the woods of Doriath! [Any further words are drowned out by another clap of thunder. Cut.]

* * *

[Cut to scene in stable, where scouts are seeing to their mounts. The guard is pacing in agitation.]

Guard 2: We should not tell them. We cannot do it! [the horses snort and shift nervously, picking up on the Elves’ agitation. Scout 2 moves to soothe them, speaking softly in Quenya.]

Scout 1: [tense, wringing hands] What do you suggest we do? The secret will not keep, even if it goes no farther than these stalls on our lips. I would rather they learned it from someone with half a mind, rather than some rambling fool who hopes to win the favour of Lord Celegorm.

Guard 2: [stops pacing, stands with arms crossed over his chest.] Lord Maedhros, at any rate, will hardly rush to Doriath and knock on their doors demanding the Silmaril, he is less impulsive than that. It is a good thing lords Celegorm and Curufin are away, patrolling to the south; I would not vouch for them after their vow to destroy Doriath while Thingol ruled.
Scout 1: Lord Maedhros stores both his sorrow and his wits in a bottle. If Lord Maglor could pull him back to himself, he would surely resist the rash action his brothers will pursue.
Scout 2: True enough. And if horses could fly, I would be back in the home I left so long ago before the sun rises.
Scout 1: It is a lost cause either way, once they learn about the Silmaril they will have to go this time. They are oathsworn to go and take it, though all of Doriath stand in their way.

[Camera shift right as Guard 1 enters. Camera follow as Guard 1 approaches, looking serious.]

Guard 2: It is their peace of mind that depends on the Oath, what little they have left of that. Which is bad enough, admittedly. Their continued existence – and ours - depends on them not going to Doriath. Because once they learn, they will go, and I do not believe for a second that the Elves of Doriath will escort them to the throne room of Menegroth and hand them the Silmaril with a bow wrapped around it. So they will fight for it. At least Lord Caranthir will, he is that kind of fool.

Scout 2: All of them will, for different reasons of their own and one they share: family loyalty.
Guard 2: [draws a long breath, releases it slowly] My mind will not endure another kinslaying, and that surely will come if this path cannot be altered. The screams we heard on those cursed ships still haunt my dreams.
Scout 1: You are not alone in that. [all nod]
Guard 1: We cannot count on support from any of them to sway their brothers' opinion. And if they learn that we withheld our knowledge of it... [Looks from Elf to Elf with a frown.] We will need the most reasonable of us to speak with the most reasonable of them. Which means that I will speak to Lord Maedhros. [All three nod in agreement and hurry out of the stable. Cut.]

* * *

[Cut to scene of scouts being led into the keep: A flight of steps of hewn stone leads up from the inner courtyard to the outer walkway of the second level of the fortress. The landing opens to a wide balcony that looks northwards. An arched doorway leads away back into the fortress where the quarters, chambers and halls of the princes and commanders of the Feanorrim lie. Narrow stairways lead upwards from this level to high turrets, through whose windows peer watchful eyes of sentries.. The scouts are taken towards Maedhros' study. The Guard knocks on the door. Camera cut Maedhros sitting a a still silhouette against the lit window, in the chair behind his desk. A bottle of wine lies flat on the desk, beside a cup. ]

Maedhros: Enter… [guard opens the door and bows]
Guard 2: My Lord Maedhros, forgive us the intrusion. A scouting party has returned and bring tidings about one of the Silmarils…

[Maedhros tenses, lifts his head a bit, then lets his shoulders slump. He picks up the cup and drains it. He tips the bottle over the cup, but only a drop or two falls out. He drops the bottle on the desk, and it rolls toward the edge. Only a scroll case prevents it from crashing to the floor. The sound is loud in the quiet chamber.]

Guard 2: My lord Maedhros?
Maedhros: [tired, slightly drunk] Show them in. [The scouts enter and drop to one knee, bowing their heads.]

Scout 1: My lord, I am not glad to have to report this. We are aware of the --- likely consequences
Maedhros: Close the door. [Waits for the guard to carry out his order, cradling his head in his left hand] Where is it?
Scout 1: In Doriath,
Maedhros: [ nods slightly.] Who else here knows of this?
Scout 1: [eyes flicker to the guard by the door.] Only the people present in this room, my lord.stands to gaze out at the autumnal landscape..] Tell me how you know that the jewel has come again to Doriath. Have you seen it?
Scout 1: No, my lord. Lord Caranthir sent a handful of men to scout the northern reaches of Andram while we brought orders to the outpost on Amon Lenthir. We were to rely on speed and secrecy, but an enemy patrol scattered us, and I was driven into the hills alone, where a company of traders out of Doriath had made camp on their way to the coast. They spoke of nothing but the Silmaril before we revealed our presence, and when we did, were anxious to conceal their high spirits. [Maedhros turns back from the window to face them. Outside, clouds have rolled in, blocking the sun and throwing the land into shadow.]

Scout 2: [nervously] My lord, if I may ask a question? [Maedhros rounds the desk and his shadow falls on the scout who winces.]
Maedhros: Ask, soldier.
Scout 2: [breathes deeply, gathering courage] My lord, how - [clears his throat] – how do you intend to get the Silmaril back? Will you attack Doriath?
Maedhros: [sighs, shakes head slowly. Speaks with a slur, very tired] I will not attempt to regain this Silmaril. Not by force, not by words, not by deeds or reason. Were it lying in the middle of the road before my feet I would not pick it up. Those cursed jewels bring nothing but death and sorrow, and our people have had more than enough of that. Let Dior take some of the misery in this world for a change, and leave us in peace.
Scout 2: My lord, with all due respect, I know you held the lady Lúthien in high esteem for her victory over the Enemy –
Scout 1: [hurridly interjecting] --we all do, it is impossible not to - but the stone is your father's and rightfully belongs to the House of ---
Maedhros: [interrupting] --- Dior Eluchíl, if I am reading the signs correctly and Lúthien has indeed died. It can be no other stone; there is none now who can repeat the deeds she and Beren wrought, and I will allow no discussion of its ownership. [Tense silence falls. Maedhros sits back down in his chair. He eyes all three Elves with a shadow of his old firmness and strength of command. Camera shift to Elves, nervous. Camera shift to Maedhros as he lifts his chin, resolved.] Not one word, nor hint of a word, of this news will leave this room. Your lives stand upon your silence. No more will we spill the blood of kin for some trinkets. Now go on with your lives… [Scouts bow and Guard escorts them out of the room. Maglor enters as soon as they are gone. Maglor picks up the bottle, shakes it ruefully, sets it down on the desk and pulls a leather stool over so he can sit near Maedhros.]

Maedhros: Do you not have songs to sing? Or boys to teach the skills of bow and sword?
Maglor: The moon is at its crest, and all my students are abed. Even my songs are asleep.
Maedhros: Then why do you not join them and leave me in peace?
Maglor: Because you are drunk again.
Maedhros: What of it?
Maglor: And, if what I have just heard is true, there is a Silmaril within our reach. [Maedhros glares at him.] I was standing outside the door for much of your conversation.
Maedhros: Were any with you?
Maglor: None in the hallway. Still, you know how well such news will keep. [leans forward, firm and urgent] You must deal with this problem sooner or later, Maedhros. Never before were you one to hide from trouble. Now is not the best time to take up that habit.
Maedhros: [frustrated] Why do you come to me with every problem that reaches our doors? You see where my leadership has taken us! I never wanted this!
Maglor: [firm] No, but you have it.
Maedhros: Would you ask me to lead the last of our race to death in Doriath? Or would you prefer I go in like a raving monster, killing women and children and men who cannot even pick up a blade to defend themselves?
Maglor: I expect better of you.
Maedhros: Well, do not! All I can lead any to is bloody death.
Maglor: You blame yourself too much. Fingon’s death was not by your hand, but by treachery and bad luck.
Maedhros: Then why do I still see him?
Maglor: [questioning look]
Maedhros: In the night, in the day, when I sleep, there is no escape. The faces of those who followed me shadow me still, accusing me with their silent eyes. Nassë, Fingon, even that bandy-legged Naugrim who slew the Fire-Drake. They would all still live if not for me, and my desire to fight battles I could not win. [slumps in chair, with head in hands]
Maglor: [stands] Maedhros, brother, I know not where your courage has gone. Hear me now: Find yourself! If you cannot, then I fear for the remainder of our family. I know not how to reach you, now that reason seems to have fled. [Camera follow Maglor, exit right. Maglor shuts the door carefully behind him. Faervel approaches from left, a wry look on his face. Maglor frowns.]

Faervel: Someone is going to have to pull him out of that, you know.
Maglor: You are still here?
Faervel: [shrugs] I like a roof over my head better than wandering through lands infested by every kind of beast loyal to our foe. I like to have my belly full, and I like a good game now and again.
Maglor: [raises eyebrow] Yet you are one of the Sea Elves…
Faervel: A Sea Elf who has no love for boats, or the water. This is better; no ocean to swallow me. [pauses, nods toward Maedhros’ door] I have a friend who fell into such a mood.
Maglor: [sarcastic] How nice. [pushes past Faervel]
Faervel: [continues, evenly] It was not easy to pull him back to the world. First, I had to make certain he found the bottom of his well of sorrow and smacked his face into it. Only then could he climb back out.
Maglor: [pauses] What are you suggesting?
Faervel: I do not know Lord Maedhros well enough to know what he fears most to lose. All I can suggest is this; let him see how close he is to losing it. My friend, I fear, needed more than one good blow to his face before he came to his senses.
Maglor: [shakes head sadly] That sounds like good advice. Sadly, I fear what my brother most feared to lose has already been lost and cannot be regained.
[Camera pan back as Maglor walks down the corridor. Faervel watches him leave, then follows. After a moment another Elf steps from the shadows, glances toward Maedhros’ door, then hurries down the corridor. We cannot see her face, only that this is a female. Camera follows her as she exits through the other end of the corridor. Camera fade.]

* * * * * * *

There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.
~Diana Cortes

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 5:03 pm
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Location: Green Hill Country
[Camera fade in on Caranthir’s fortress at Ramdal. Perched on the end of the long range of hills, there are several stone buildings that look as if the Noldor have reshaped ruins from previous tenants. Old breastworks and defenses ring the hill. A small keep, built of stone and roofed in tiles dominates the high ground. Camera pan over Elves moving in the twilight, doing chores or standing watch. Camera shift to the brushy plain and focus on a female Elf moving quickly through the gathering dark. She pauses at the edge of the trees and carefully exposes a small, shielded lantern. The light is faint and clear.

Camera shift left as Caranthir emerges from shadows and moves toward her. He pushes his hood back so she can see who he is. Camera focus on Caranthir as he smiles lasciviously. Cut to female elf, who smiles warmly and licks her lips as he approaches.]

Caranthir: Lotsë! I had almost given you up. [brushes fingers over her cheek gently] Did you have trouble getting away?
Lotsë: Some scouts came in late, and I was required to stay to feed them. [takes Caranthir’s hands in hers and squeezes them eagerly] You will never guess what news I overheard!
Caranthir: [chuckles wryly] No doubt my older brother calling for more wine. That would be enough to make any girl run.
Lotsë: [slaps Caranthir gently] No, you impudent rascal! The scouts that came late were taken directly to Lord Maedhros’ chambers, and Lord Maglor joined them soon after. I made sure nobody saw me and listened at the door.
Caranthir: [puts his arm around her shoulder as they begin walking toward the keep] And what was their news? Wargs in the wardrobe?
Lotsë: [rolls eyes] No, but I have knowledge almost as dangerous: a Silmaril burns in Doriath, on the breast of Dior, Thingol’s grandson! [Camera focus on Caranthir, startled and interested.]
Caranthir: [hesitates] You are certain of this?
Lotsë: [nods] I am. Lord Maedhros swore he would not force King Dior to give up the gem. He wanted no chance of bloodshed between our people and the Hidden Land.
Caranthir: Still, the jewel is within our reach. I know we can do this. [turns to Lotsë] And when we do, I will make you a queen. How would you like to rule Doriath beside me? I can set you upon a throne of silver, set with pearls and sapphires to match your eyes.
Lotsë: [laughs, disbelieving] You are being foolish…
Caranthir: I am being serious as Maglor when he tunes his harp.
Lotsë: [serious] If you want to make me happy, then let us be married. Let everyone know that you love me.
Caranthir: I will, dearest. But first I want to be able to give you everything you deserve. [pulls her along more quickly] My brothers must hear your news. After that, we have the whole night.

[Camera pull back as Lotsë and Caranthir hurry up the hill toward the Keep. Camera fade as the door opens to let them in.]

* * *

[Camera cut to Celegorm’s chamber. Caranthir, Curufin, and Celegorm sit near a fire, attentive and tense. Lotsë stands before them, nervous. She glances at Celegorm repeatedly as she speaks.]

Celegorm: You are sure of this?
Lotsë: I heard the scouts’ report myself, with just the door between us.
Curufin: So, the rumors our own scouts have heard are true indeed. Dior Eluchíl now rules in Menegroth and wears a Silmaril upon his breast.
Caranthir: [bitterly] If Father were to see us he would be shamed: Noldorin princes of the eldest line of the House of Finwë living in huts in the woods like any common Green Elf, whilst a half-Elf brazenly taunts us by displaying the heirloom of our House!
Curufin: We must plan a response! A strongly worded letter reminding Dior of our demand that he return our own to us might persuade him.
Celegorm: He will refuse. We must gather our people once again. [pauses, considering] I know both you and Caranthir stand with me, as befits true sons of Fëanor, and will support me in this task. The twins' reactions are harder to predict.
Lotsë: [looks to Caranthir for reassurance] Surely, once King Dior realizes how strong we are he will give you the jewel without trouble. After all, he knows he has no right to it.
Caranthir: [rises] Of course, Beloved. There will be no battle over this stone. Do not worry yourself. [kisses her lightly] That is what you are doing, is it not?
Lotsë: I could not bear it if any harm came to you because I brought this news. Or to any of our people, of course. I do not want to be the cause of another kinslaying.
Caranthir: [winks at brothers] Is she not the perfect image of a elleth? It seems the Valar have deigned to bless me after all… And now I think it is time I bid you both good night. We can make better plans after some sleep.

[Camera follows as Caranthir and Lotsë exit. Camera follows, shifts to Celegorm and Curufin as soon as the door closes.]
Celegorm: [mocking] If he gets any sleep this night it will be because someone hit him over the head with a brick. Our brother needs to put his mind where it belongs.
Curufin: He was right to get her out of hearing. Nothing said before a spy is secure, even if she is our spy. [leans back in his chair] Now, as to Amrod and Amras; they generally look towards our eldest brothers, though of late they have been spending much time off by themselves, and so may perhaps be more inclined towards independent thought.
Celegorm: [bitter laugh] Especially now, after seeing the results of their revered oldest brother's 'leadership'. No, only Maglor and Maedhros are likely to pose any problems. Maglor has ever been the weakest of us, interested only in harping and singing - why he was not born a girl, I will never know. As for Maedhros, the disastrous outcome of his proud Union appears to have destroyed more than just his credibility as our leader…
Curufin: [musing] Verily…the light seems to have fled his eyes, and he takes little interest in his surroundings. Still, he greeted us civilly enough when we returned. Perhaps he will now accept the necessity of reclaiming the one Silmaril we can reach, before attempting to regain the others still locked in Angband …

[Curufin leans toward the fire, thinking hard. Camera shift to fire. A log snaps loudly, sending sparks shooting into the room and up the chimney. Camera fade on fire.]

* * * * * * * *

[Scene opens on Nimloth walking down a darkened corridor. She stops at a door and softly opens it. Inside, the royal children are sleeping – the twins cuddled together in a large bed. Elwing sleeps in a cotbed in a separate room off of the boy’s room. Nimloth checks on her daughter first then tends to her sons. She dowses their lamps and kisses each on the brow, tucking the covers gently up around their shoulders. She retreats to the door, then hesitates, turning to watch her sons again. Dior appears at her back, and sees the pensive look on his wife’s face.]

Nimloth: [softly] See how our children sleep…are they not more precious to us than any jewels?
Dior: [kisses her neck tenderly] My Love… It seems of late you have not been yourself. If something troubles you I would sooner you share your worry with me...
Nimloth: [turns to her husband] What should I say to you, my Lord? I cannot answer for I myself know not the reason for the persistent shadow that afflicts me. [slowly shakes her head, her face darkening with doubt.] Yet I almost fear for our continued bliss here in Doriath… [instinctively leans closer to her husband. She looks in concern to her sons, innocent and relaxed in their dreams. Dior sees her apparent distress, and takes her hand in a comforting gesture.]
Dior: Do not worry, my Love… [smiles disarmingly] Surely it be nothing but foolish fears. Our people and realm have never been better, and we are blessed with the wholesome power of the Silmaril in our midst. All shall be well!

Nimloth: [disturbed] Indeed it is strange that I should feel so troubled when all seems well in this realm! Indeed, there is more joy and prosperity than ever before. Yet I will admit to a chill that passed over my heart's happiness when you mentioned the Silmaril, and that troubles me all the more. I would take back my words to you when the jewel first came to us. 'Receive it now in hope,' I said then, but woe be to us if the jewel has us pay for the light and joy it has so far given, by bringing darkness to Doriath once more! [Fade.]

* * * * * * *

[Camera cut to Amon Ereb. Caranthir, Celegorm, and Curufin ride through the gates accompanied by several armed Elves. Camera shift to Lotsë, sweeping the steps as they dismount. Her gaze follows Caranthir, although he does not turn toward her. Camera shift to an upper window. Eldacala leaves her workbench and joins Maglor as he watches Caranthir, Celegorm, and Curufin enter the keep.]

Eldacala: [voiceover/mindspeak] You are troubled.
Maglor: I have a bad feeling about this.
Eldacala: [voiceover/mindspeak] They are your brothers. You should not fear them.
Maglor: When those three are together, trouble usually follows hard on their heels. We are a cursed breed.
Eldacala: [hugs Maglor lightly, voiceover/mindspeak] I do not believe that.
Maglor: Fortunately, you do not have to deal with them. I had best find out what they are about, before something is started that will be impossible to stop. [hugs Eldacala, kisses her fingers playfully. Pulls back with dust on his hands.] What have you been working on?
Eldacala: [voiceover] A shield to replace the one that was broken. I thought it might cheer your brother.
Maglor: If anything can, that should. I will not be long about this.
[Eldacala returns to a large piece of leather she is tooling, picks up tools, and begins to hum lightly. Camera follows Maglor as he exits right.]

* * * * * * *

[Camera cut to an office in Amon Ereb. Caranthir, Celegorm, and Curufin sit around a large wooden table strewn with maps and parchments. Amrod and Amras lean over their shoulders, interested.]

Celegorm: [taking the lead] My brothers...the Silmarils have long been in the hands of the Enemy; as you know, one of them is now free, yet it is not within our grasp. It is held unjustly by one to whom it does not belong. [all sit silently, waiting for him to go on. He taps map in centre of table] It is our obligation to take it back.
Amras: The Silmaril has been free of Morgoth’s possession for quite some time already, but it is not until now that you say we should try to get it?
Curufin: Years ago we sent to Thingol of Doriath, who returned us nothing but scornful words. Celegorm and I thereafter openly pledged death to Thingol. Yet we need not have vowed for the Silmaril itself did justice to our words. Thingol slain through consequences of his own making in his desire for the jewel. It was without doubt a fitting end.

Amrod: Was it not in his daughter's possession for some time? And she lived not so far from here...
Celegorm: [shifts uncomfortably] None dared assault the daughter of Thingol…
Amrod: [persisting] Yet, if I understand correctly, this meeting was summoned because we are going to harass her son instead?
Celegorm: [swallows hard] She... was a thief! And yet she was spared by the Valar, so that she could breed a son who is no better than his father. [mutters irritably] Why are none of the Noldor ever spared?
Amras: You sound as if you are still angry that she rejected you. Jealous of a mortal? [Amrod laughs]

Curufin: [to Twins] Enough! The Valar work against us. They ever will. They deemed it well enough for Thingol to possess a Silmaril. No pressure was laid on him to return the jewel to Valinor. No forcing. No punishment. [his dark eyes sweep the room] They are foolish if they do not believe we will attempt to deal justice and mercy ourselves.
Caranthir: [a fire flickering in his eyes] Justice and mercy! We would at least regain the justice if we had but one Silmaril. We would fulfil what we promised to Father. Mercy we will never have, not as long as we reside within Arda, and the Valar hold their power.

Amrod: Then how will we regain the Silmaril that is now in Doriath? Full blown attack? Dior is not Morgoth. I do not wish for another kinslaying. They result in too much unnecessary death.
Celegorm: [raises his eyesbrows] Unnecessary? Kinslaying was naught we aimed for. But just as the Teleri, the Sindar are unlikely to surrender only through parley. [bitter chuckle] They are close kin, after all!

[Camera shift right as Maglor enters, followed by Maedhros. Lotsë follows, carrying a bottle of wine and several cups. She sets wine and cups carefully on a side table, then glances at Caranthir. Camera shift to Caranthir who smiles. Lotsë mimes a kiss.]
Maedhros: [to Lotsë] Leave us, girl. [Lotsë exits right] So you think that a letter might sway Eluchíl to hand over his greatest treasure to you?
Caranthir: [lifts chin, resolved] Certainly words may sway him. Carefully chosen words, of course. Not too much of a threat, but enough that he will have reason to fear our wrath.
Celegorm: A disguised threat, Caranthir. No use to be outright rude or we will achieve even less of what we want to. [looks at Caranthir who sighs but says nothing.]
Curufin: [mocking] Of course, Dior is not rude when he takes pride in our looted jewels, as if he were both owner and maker.
Maglor: I think that Celegorm is right, we give him a better image if we do not lose our tempers. Threats did not work with Thingol and rushing in to Menegroth fully armed is a path we will save as the last resort.
Celegorm: They already have their image of us, and I doubt it will change. [yawns, scratching his nose.] Let us send a letter for formality's sake… [pulls out parchment from pile on table] I have taken the liberty of drafting a rough copy for your approval-- [A low tapping becomes apparent in the room. Camera shift toMaedhros, noticeably silent until now. is drumming on the edge of the table with his fingers. His face is tense with frustration.]

Maedhros: Our family record with regard to this particular Silmaril is hardly admirable, and holding Dior to ransom will not improve it. What part of the oath were you and Curufin fulfilling when you betrayed Finrod and usurped his brother-son's throne? As a result, you sent our cousin to Mandos.
Celegorm: [beligerantly] Doubtless we would still have ended up with one dead cousin regardless. One could hardly have anticipated Beren and Lúthien would succeed.
Curufin: The point is, we do not have the Silmaril. They do.
Maedhros: [in exasperation] But Morgoth has one the less. ‘Twas he who stole them in the first place, killing Grandfather in the process and still he holds two of them. And you keep telling me that Ada would want us to go after the one Dior has?? Methinks this has to do with your old resentment of Thingol - or some grudge you still harbour against Lúthien. It is Morgoth who is our enemy, I tell you! Forget this foolish notion and concentrate on the Dark Enemy!

Celegorm: [in disgust] You have concentrated our efforts on Morgoth already, yet what have you to show for it? A mound of corpses, with Huor and Fingon somewhere in the middle of it.
Caranthir: After all, a few more deaths should hardly weigh on your conscience. If you still have one, that is, inside that wine flask you call a head.

[There is silence. Maedhros goes rigid in his chair, his face dead white. After a long silence he responds]

Maedhros: [levelly] True enough...I tried to save our people and ended up slaughtering them like cattle. Nay, you are right: I have already killed so many, it hardly matters now whether I kill a few more of them intentionally. If you insist on going to Doriath I will not stop you.

[He quietly gets up and turns for the door, then stops as he passes the table with the wine. He reaches for the bottle, stops himself, then exits, breathing hard. The door slams shut and shudders on its hinges as he leaves. Camera pan room as Brothers stare at each other, Celegorm stands frozen by the head of the table, open-mouthed. Camera pans around the others seated at the table. Curufin is playing absently with his dagger; Caranthir is pale and breathing hard. The twins simply look frightened and as if they wish they were somewhere else.]

Maglor: [urgently] Celegorm, go after him! Go now, before it is too late, and tell Maedhros you do not plan on invading Doriath, whatever Dior’s response! [For a moment Celegorm wavers. But he is too afraid of losing face. He sees Caranthir glare and Curufin frown. His gaze hardens, he looks down, then turns back to the table.]
Celegorm: I will place my troops along this road… Curufin, if you bring your archers in through --- [Camera pull back to Maglor, who turns from the plan. Maglor pauses by the Twins, but both are engrossed in the planning and ignore him. Maglor exits quietly, shaking his head. Camera cut.]

* * *

[Cut to Maedhros sitting at the foot of a favourite tree, leaning against the bole, staring into the middle distance. He barely glances up in acknowledgement, as Maglor sits down beside him.]

Maedhros: I have lost it… I have lost my hold, my edge... I can no longer make them listen. How can we dissuade them of this? It is wrong!
Maglor: [wryly] There is nothing you or I can say will stop them now. And I have already used up all my arguments. We have fallen too far already, Maedhros, you know this. Fingon would have said the same.
Maedhros: [closes his eyes] And his blood is on my hands. Even if I choose not to regard what I said back there as a promise, I know Celegorm will try to hold me to it. Dior is an arrogant fool. Maybe arrogant foolishness is punishable by death in Beleriand nowadays, but it is certainly not we who should be doing the punishing. It is morally reprehensible!
Maglor: I know no real harm of Dior. I have never met him. By the messenger’s reports, he is not polite to Fëanorians, but, since he is the son of Beren and Lúthien and the great-nephew of Olwë of Alqualondë, he can hardly be expected to be.

Maedhros: The Girdle is gone, and we are no longer helping to guard his eastern borders in strength. Even if we do not attack Doriath, Morgoth will attempt it soon.
Maglor: But that is not an excuse; if Dior cannot defend the Silmaril against Morgoth, how will we defend it once we get hold of it? By rights we should be petitioning for admission into Doriath to help him strengthen his defences!
Maedhros: You are underrating the people of Doriath: Dior’s warriors were trained by Mablung and Beleg…they will be formidable opponents indeed. And we would be fighting on enemy territory The only chance to get that Silmaril without huge losses on both sides will be to go in there and get out again as fast as possible, with as much force as possible, a quick strike...
Maglor: [wryly] Just as Ada imagined he could get the ships out of Alqualondë without killing a single Elf?
Maedhros: [sighs] I simply want some peace from the Oath that continues to haunt my days. [muses] Were we happy once, in Aman, or is my memory betraying me again? [He gets up, hesitates and looks down at Maglor.] Maglor, do you agree with Celegorm that Ada would want us to invade Doriath?
Maglor: [shrugs] Which Ada? The loving father we knew as children or the madman who ordered us to slaughter the Teleri and abandon our cousins to death in a frozen waste? [Fade.]

* * * * * * *

There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.
~Diana Cortes

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Fade into to scene of King’s Council in Doriath. Dior, Elmo, Celeborn, Galadriel, Oropher and Thranduil are gathered, seated. Nimloth stands by her husband’s chair. Dior is speaking to a servant…]

Dior: [leaning back in his chair, holding the rolled up parchment just delivered.] An envoy from the sons of Fëanor you say! [The servant nods.] Make him comfortable and bid him wait at our convenience. [Elf bows and leaves the room. The rest of the council sit with downcast eyes. An ominous silence descends upon the chamber.]

Dior: So the doom of Doriath now comes to the final point as I have long feared! They are come to claim their own no doubt, yet shall it be the Silmaril's fate to return to their house? Or if it be otherwise, should the Doriathrim hope to withstand the wrath of Fëanor's sons and prevail?
Elmo: [sighs] Alas that this grief should come so soon to disturb the newfound peace of Doriath!
Dior: [unrolls the parchment and reads aloud. Camera pan over assembled council members as the letter is read. Reactions range from worry to resolve to grim eagerness for the fight threatened. Galadriel closes her eyes, tense. Celeborn takes her hand and caresses it, reassuring.]

“Amon Ereb, Year 506 of the Sun.

To Dior Eluchíl, Lord Of Doriath, from the Princes of the House of Fëanor:

It has come to us that you now hold the Silmaril that was rescued by your father and mother from the Iron Crown of Angband. We have heard how you have used its power, healing the hurts of your people and land with its light, bringing joy back to your realm. We do not begrudge you your good fortune, as all that is well done by the Silmaril is also a joy to us. However, we, the Sons of Fëanor, are also compelled by our Oath and our father's dying wish:

"To pursue with vengeance and hatred to the very ends of the world, Vala, demon of Morgoth, elf, man or any creature good or evil who should so hold, take or keep a Silmaril from our possession!"

We are bound to each other by blood and this sworn Oath: our duty is clear. We must take back what is rightfully ours… Yet we would have you know that we have not carried out its harsh edicts in mercy, leaving you awhile to raise again your kingdom. Now the time has come to return the jewel to its true heirs who have waited patiently in the dark for it.

Therefore we ask you in all devotion to your wisdom, that you surrender the Silmaril to the House of Fëanor, and so lay to rest our Oath, as well as to give hope for us to raise anew the glory of the Noldor in Beleriand.

We await your answer in earnest...
We the undersigned sons of Fëanor…”

…and they have all signed it… [drops the parchment wearily on the table.] Your thoughts?

Galadriel: Not because I bear a grudge against my kin do I say this. It is the truth. Since Fëanor’s sons would kill Elves for ships and abandon closest kin, I do not think that they will hold their hands from an attack if you refuse, now that they know that Melian has departed. [She falls silent, frowning.]
Dior: Perhaps, though if they think me a child to be bullied they are mistaken.
Celeborn: [stirs in his chair] I must concur with my wife. Her kin will not give up the Silmaril so easily. They are no allies of ours.

Nimloth: [corrects him] They will not give up their claim… [lifts her chin and looks directly at her uncle.] while Lúthien wore the Necklace of the Dwarves, the Noldor did not dare to assail her. Their kingdoms have fallen and their hosts are scattered. Will they not hesitate to attack us over a jewel? We are no enemies of theirs. We do not threaten them. Why need they take this further than idle threats?
Elmo: [taps his fingers on the arm of his chair.] They need not, yet I fear they will. As you say, their kingdoms have fallen. They cannot hope to claim Bauglir’s crown by force of arms and they dare not attempt to steal into Angband as Lúthien and Beren did. Now they hunt Ossiriand like wolves – and like wolves they will attack the weaker prey.
Nimloth: [shakes her head obstinately] They have no more claim to the jewel. As they once claimed their kingdoms by right of liberation, so did Dior’s parents claim this Silmaril. [to Galadriel] Lady, your kin have no further claim to it!
Galadriel: [sighs wearily] Nonetheless, they will come.

Dior: [bends head] I thank you, lady. [the jewelled collar around his neck glows steadily with a cool, silver-gold light.] Who else will speak?
Oropher: You are already aware of my opinion, my Lord and it does not change now. I consider the whole discussion pointless. The sons of Fëanor will attempt to seize the jewel. This is not a happy prospect.
Dior: [gazes remotely across the chamber.] What then would you have me do? Should I give up the prize for which my father gave his hand? Over which my forefather Thingol lost his life?
Celeborn: [winces] Oft did I hear Melian counsel Thingol to give up–
Dior: [stands, angrily interjecting] -Enough! Who of us would happily agree to turn the stone over to the lady Galadriel’s Noldor kin? No one who has known and adored Lúthien could submit to such a thing. My parents did not brave Tol-in-Gaurhoth and Angband for their sake. I shall not give up the jewel. [looks around the assembled nobles gauging their reactions.]

Thranduil: [anxiously] My lord! Would you now keep this thing against all prudent counsel, claiming it for your own as one ensnared by the perilous desire which has brought low all others who have kept it for themselves?!
Dior: [calmly] I do not now claim the Silmaril for my own, nor have I ever done so! Neither do I wish any harm to come to my people and my realm. Yavanna herself foretold that the fate of the Silmaril shall lead it even unto the heavens, where it shall remain a sign of hope to all of true heart in Middle-earth The Valar shall not allow the sons of Fëanor to regain the Silmarils…
Galadriel: [quietly] Then what is to be your answer, my lord?
Dior: [smiles faintly] My answer is that we return the sons of Fëanor’s message... without a reply
Thranduil: [taken aback] How so my lord? Have you not just chosen to keep the Silmaril?
Dior: Indeed! Yet it is my hope that to say neither yea or nay may leave the princes in a doubt that returns them to further debate on their next move.

Galadriel: And in your wisdom, what might that be, my lord?
Dior: It is my hope that they will opt to send again for an answer at a later time.
Elmo: [shakes his head] I doubt the reach of their patience in this matter. There is a cold flame that burns under their fair countenances, a fey mood that they can scarcely conceal!
Celeborn: Shall such as these opt to withdraw their claim for a season and by so doing, unwittingly give us the chance to re-arm our warriors and fortify our land?
Oropher: [rises angrily] Nay! They will surely return, not to plead again, but to plunder and destroy Menegroth! And we are not yet prepared to face the repercussions of our choice as Doriath and its marches need to be fortified. Too long has our time been spent in newfound mirth, heeding little the growing perils from without or taking thought of its defence..

Dior: [raising a placating hand] Even so, there is no other choice left to us in this. No other way of placating them of our decision! The Silmaril is fated to stay in Doriath, or at least to remain with Thingol's kin. Because it is so, we will in truth say nay to their request. Yet I must somehow soften the blow of our decision to them, delaying their wrath. Of the princes, I deem Maedhros is of a milder temper though all report makes him very proud. Yet his courteous manner gives me faint hope that he is less fiery of mood and would perhaps be more apt to assent to a temporary reprieve.
Elmo: [doubtfully] And what of Celegorm? and Curufin? Theirs is a dark mood that deeply dislikes the Sindar. They surely will not assent to any talk of delay.
Dior: No, they would not, yet to win Maedhros over to our purpose may be enough. Surely Celegorm would be loath to gainsay his elder brother. Therefore I shall return no answer at this time for I still have much to consider in this matter as do my people. I shall bid them with humble words to give me until the coming of Spring, for only then shall they hear my word!
Oropher: Then we shall do what we must to gird Doriath: Double patrols and border guards. Give anyone who can lift a sword or draw a bow the appropriate training. Celeborn and I shall rearrange the patrols and set watchers in the woods to best effect.
Dior: [nods] I am grateful that you do not plan to leave, despite your clear belief that Doriath is doomed to be destroyed. [sighs, resigned.] We shall stand our ground and await Fate's purpose. [He stands, offers his wife his arm and they exit the chamber, signalling the end of the council. Celeborn turns to his wife, who looks pensive.]

Celeborn: The cursed Silmaril – so many dear to us have died for it, and even now Dior will not yield it.
Galadriel: The sons of Fëanor will soon have their answer…Dior cannot hope to bluff them. In my heart, I know it will end in blood. Dior is well-liked, but he is not Thingol, and Nimloth is no Melian. There is no more magic to keep the darkness at bay. [Cut..]

* * * * * * *

[Cut to scene in Maedhros’ chambers, Amon Ereb. Maedhros is standing staring out of the window to the north. There is a soft knock at the door.]

Maedhros: Come!. [His brother Maglor enters. Maedhros turns back to the northern view, hardly taking note of the newcomer as he comes and sits next to him. There is a moment of silence.]
Maglor: Do you look to the north with anticipation or with foreboding?
Maedhros: I presume by foreboding you mean do I fear Celegorm and Curufin's return? They will not fail in delivering our message to Dior, and I deem they shall be answered. I cannot guess as to whether Dior shall say either yea or nay, yet I shall act upon his answer in accordance to whatever my own counsel dictates in the matter.
Maglor: Caranthir fears or anticipates nothing, but await only to either receive that which we have requested, or confront he who would withhold what is ours! [stands and begins pacing the narrow floor in apparent agitation.] Since word came to us of the Silmaril's return to Doriath, my dreams have been disturbed once more. The Oath haunts my sleep…that is what began such madness as has followed, and now we stand upon the brink of fell deeds that would further serve to haunt me. I no longer know how to change the path that is laid before us…
Maedhros: What would you have me say? [grimly]We hope against hope and continue on unto the bitter end if needs be!
Maglor: [whispers, aghast] To the bitter end? [color=blue][i] [There is a firm knock at the door.]
Maedhros: Enter. [Maedhros' doorwarden enters]
Doorwarden: My lord, riders have been sighted to the northwest! [Swiftly, Maedhros rises from his seat and goes to the window. He sees in the distance black specks upon the far road. He turns and gives a nod; his doorwarden bows and leaves them, closing the door softly behind him. Maedhros turns to Maglor who again stands beside him staring into the distance.]

Maedhros: Think you I do not suffer from troubling dreams and visions of a past I would sooner forget? The burden of sorrow and guilt lies upon all of us. [He looks back to the approaching riders and can now discern that Celegorm and Curufin are indeed returned. He lays his good hand upon Maglor's shoulder. Sighs deeply.] Our brothers are returned and stern counsels may soon be taken. [There is another knock on the door, followed by the entrance of Caranthir.]

Caranthir: Celegorm and Curufin are returned. Should we not go down and await them in the Council Chamber?
Maedhros: [nods and exits. Camera focus on Maglor, tense and defeated. Maglor closes his eyes, sighs deeply, then follows Maedhros. Camera cut.]

* * *

[Scene opens on meeting of the Feanoriath at Amon Ereb. All the brothers are seated around the oak table in the center of the council chamber. Celegorm holds a scroll containing the message from Doriath. ]

Celegorm: [looks round at them all] It seems we are refused, Brothers! [A series of emotions passes over the brothers: some are angry, scowling and cursing through gritted teeth as they let fall their clenched fists upon the table. Others stare listlessly, realising that the feared confrontation is now more or less inevitable.]

Maedhros: [disbelieving] Was his refusal so final as to leave no hope of even a parley perhaps, that might lead to peaceful debate in council?
Celegorm: He begs leave for more time to consider our request – until the Spring, I ask you! It is plain he delays in a planned attempt to keep the jewel! I say Dior attempts to fool us!
Amras: As much as I deem Dior to be wise, I cannot discount the enamouring power of the jewel that might seduce even the most noble to keep it for themselves.

Caranthir: Indeed, why would he still withhold the Silmaril if he truly means to give it up? What would it matter in giving it to us now rather than in the coming Spring? What does the long winter hold for him that his messenger would suggest against our return during that time?
Amrod: Perhaps he needs that delay so as to hide the jewel...or perhaps he plans to fortify Doriath, knowing full well that we would seek to enter his realm and confront him.
Curufin: I agree Dior is not to be trusted! What do we have to lose by going to Doriath with a mind of taking our birthright forcefully? Even if we were to march upon Menegroth, we need not fight if he would but yield the jewel at the last. It is the Silmaril we all want, not a war!

Celegorm: Dior refuses to answer our demand to relinquish the Silmaril he unlawfully withholds from the House of Fëanor - indeed, I have heard it said he openly wears it about his neck in Menegroth, making no secret of his defiance of our rightful claim. No more shall the sons of Fëanor plead in vain for return of our inheritance - it is time to act, and finally reclaim what is ours.
Maglor: At the cost of another Kinslaying? We spilled innocent blood before, at Alqualondë. Have you forgotten the horror of that day, that you would propose we repeat it?
Celegorm: [snaps] I have forgotten nothing, brother, including the words we spoke before that blood was shed. The Oath applies to any creature, Maglor, and it makes no exceptions. And the people of Doriath are neither kin, nor innocent, for they willfully withhold what is ours by right, knowing what the cost of their arrogance must be.
Caranthir: Our brother speaks the truth. We are obligated by that sworn oath to do this. [Curufin nods his head in support.] We came to these shores to regain the Silmarils our father made - and it is past time we do so. We do not go to kill, but for the Silmaril, the jewel that should be ours by right, which we have vowed to regain at whatever price

Amras: [protesting] But regaining only one Silmaril will not fulfill our oath. As long as Morgoth holds the other two, we are still bound. Yet we now have no hope of defeating him. [He pauses and looks at Maedhros, who has bowed his head and is staring fixedly at his hands.] What good will it do to assault Doriath then?
Curufin:. Just because we cannot succeed against Morgoth at this time does not mean that we are free to turn away from the Silmaril in Doriath. Dior must either yield it, or we will take it from him by force - and it would seem he desires the latter.
Celegorm: [firmly] It is clear we have no choice. We must move against Dior, or stand foresworn. The only thing left to decide is when and how to act. I propose -

Maglor: [sternly] -You are not the head of our House, Celegorm, and you cannot make such decisions in our name. Only Maedhros has that right.
Celegorm: I will do as I must, regardless of what our oldest brother may say. [scornfully] Unlike him, and you, I respect our father's memory, and his last wishes. I will see the House of Fëanor rise to greatness again, instead of skulking in Ossiriand, subservient to the Avari.
Curufin: I will support Celegorm in this.
Caranthir: I also.
Celegorm: [to Amrod and Amras] What say you, brothers? [The twins look at each other in uncertainty.]

Amrod: [quietly] Believe me when I say I will not shy away from fighting for my birthright since Dior refuses us: I am as bound by a grave Oath and constrained by my father's dying wish as you are! Yet I would ask to be allowed a little despair for future deeds that may lead to more Eldar blood tainting my hands. [He falls silent with his head bowed.]
Amras: I am reluctant to agree to this, but the Oath seems clear - we have no choice.
Maglor: [angrily] We always have a choice…and I will not do this, Celegorm. It is wrong.
Celegorm: [sneering] Does that not depend on what the Head of our House decides? As you are so fond of reminding me, you are bound to respect his authority - if he orders us to proceed, will you defy him? [looks to his eldest brother] Well, Maedhros?
Caranthir: [bluntly] You gave away your kingship long ago, Maedhros. All that you have is the Oath of our father. Itt shall call you to Doriath, whether you wish it or not.

Maedhros: [color=blue][i] [slowly and deliberaely]
I will not order Maglor, or any of my brothers, to assault Doriath…
Maglor: [relieved] Celegorm, I suggest –
Maedhros: [cutting him off] -But neither will I order them to refrain from this action. [wearily] Those of you who agree with Celegorm are free to join him, those who do not agree may stand aside. Decide for yourselves - I will not choose for you.
Maglor: [imploring] Maedhros, no! Can you not see that this is wrong? To murder innocents...
Maedhros: As you yourself said, Brother, we have done so before… [raises his head and gazes steadily at Maglor; the expression in his eyes is dark.] None of us have clean hands. And we all swore Father's oath - 'To the everlasting Darkness doom us if our deed faileth'. [bitterly] Who am I to call that down upon my brothers by forbidding this?

Celegorm: [decisively] Then it is decided - those of you who agree with me should remain here, for we need to plan our campaign.
Maglor: [defiantly] I will not aid you in this.
Celegorm: It is of no matter. We do not need your assistance. Maedhros? [For a long moment Maedhros says nothing. Looking up, he finally replies:]
Maedhros: I am no oathbreaker - I will come. But I will bring no soldiers, only myself… [looks at Maglor with a strange expression on his face] ..and our brother Maglor. [Maglor goes pale, looks to object but Maedhros puts up his hand to silence him] I will not order you to fight, but I do demand you come and watch. I will not let you claim an innocence you do not possess.
Celegorm: [satisfied] Then it is settled. All that remains is to strike. We shall aim to be in Doriath on the day of midwinter, when the night is at its longest. That is a fortnight from today. We will march and once again ask for the Silmaril, only this time face to face with Dior. Should he not surrender it, we will do what we have to. It is no less than Father would expect from us.
Curufin: [eyes glinting darkly] Soon the Silmaril will again reside in the hands of its rightful owners, and the sons of Fëanor will be one step closer to achieving our oath. Father would be proud today.
Maedhros [bitterly] He would indeed…
Maglor: [puts head in his hands, whispers] We are all damned. [Fade.]

* * *

[Camera fade in on the Workroom. Coals burn in a small forge, and a curved pot with a long handle hangs over the heat. The pot has a close fitting cover and a prominent spout on one side. Eldacala is rubbing wax into the leather covering of a small shield, the replacement she made for the one Maedhros lost. Camera shift right as Maglor enters. Eldacala smiles as she rises from her stool. Camera focus on Maglor, fighting back tears.

[Camera shift to Eldacala as her face falls. She takes a cup from a shelf, goes to the pot, and pulls it off the fire with a piece of leather to protect her hand. She fills the cup with warm wine and hands it to Maglor, concerned. Maglor drinks, then glances up from his cup.]

Maglor: I am certain that in a few years every hearth in the land will have at least one of your little pots on it.
Eldacala: [voiceover] Your brothers have returned…
Maglor: You do not ask me what is wrong.
Eldacala: [voiceover] The way you have fretted these past weeks, I know already. Your brothers mean to march on Doriath.
Maglor: [nods, drains cup and sets it on the workbench] Worse, Maedhros has commanded me to go with them. [Eldacala shakes her head] I have no choice in this. I cannot support my older brother’s place as head of our family and then defy him because he does something I do not like.
Eldacala: [voiceover] No! You must not go!
Maglor: I cannot see that I have a choice.
Eldacala: [voiceover] Then you must not fight! [shakes head]
Maglor: [placating] With luck and good sense, there may not be any fighting. Dior is no fool. No jewel can be so valuable to him that he would risk his people to hold it.
Eldacala: [voiceover, angry and firm] But you would risk your life, the lives of those who follow you, and all those in Doriath to win back some token gem!
Maglor: [anger rising] That ‘token gem’ is the greatest creation of our father! No Valar brought it into being – only Father, through skill and sweat! Why should we not desire to reclaim it?
Eldacala: [voiceover, hurt and angry] Do as you will. I hope the blood wears well on your hands! I say this: No work of mine will aid you!

[Camera pan from Maglor to Eldacala as she picks up the nearly finished shield and tosses it onto the coals. Flames leap around it, consuming wood and leather. Metal fittings blacken. Camera cut to Maglor, who watches the shield burn for a moment before he turns and leaves. Camera focus on Eldacala, grim and resolute, as she glances the window. Snow falls gently outside. Camera shift to the spitting flames of the fire.. Camera fade.]

End of Episode

There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.
~Diana Cortes

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