[Southwestern Doriath: an armed camp, in the greenwood, Thingol in full armor coming from his command tent with Captain Mablung as Beleg enters the clearing, accompanied by a small crowd of warriors, in camo and looking absolutely grim.]
--You want the report in public, or privately first, Sir?
Might as well give it right here and now -- we've done everything else as a public show, why stop now?
[Beleg gives a short nod, goes on]
The good news is, you don't have to worry about the Sons of Feanor showing up to dinner and drinks. Luthien suborned one of their agents and broke out on her own.
Mablung: [not-quite aside, innocent look]
Again . . .
[Beleg catches his eye, shakes his head]
There's more. And worse.
She will not come home again. She's thrown her lot in with him for good, and no one knows where they've gone. No sign or word of Master Daeron. And--
[he starts to speak and stops abruptly]
Don't try to spare me, Strongbow. --Or soften the blow.
--Orodreth is King in Nargothrond.
[Thingol closes his eyes, turning his face away.]
I'm so very sorry--
Thingol: [holding up his hand to stop him]
--I guessed that was the burden of your message. It does not make it any easier. --Are there details?
Thingol: [not asking]
They're very bad.
Captain Strongbow, could I ask you to keep them until we get home again? I'm not ready to deal with so much news right now, for such a long ride back. And that way you will only have to tell it once.
No trouble, Sir.
Sire, what do we do now?
Thingol: [eerie calm]
--We go home. We go back to work. --What else can we do? She clearly does not need our help any more, nor, apparently, ever did. --And if she does, we have no hope of finding her, to be of any use. No: we will return, and see if our Lady will consent to advise me again, now that I am willing to listen, or if that is lost to us too.
At least he's not a Kinslayer, Sir. You said so yourself, remember . . .
He might as well be. Don't speak of him again in my hearing. We will never see her again. --Or at least, not as long as he lives. Perhaps she'll come back to us after. Until then -- my daughter might as well be dead, thanks to him.
You don't think -- he seemed a decent sort -- that he'll bring her back home, after she's calmed down and gotten over her temper?
If he does, I'll kill him, and I'm sure he knows that perfectly well.
--Unless you think he's actually going to hold up his end of the bargain and come back with a Silmaril in hand--?
[he slams his fist against the trunk of the nearest tree and sighs bitterly. After a moment -- to Beleg:]
Thank you for undertaking this mission, Strongbow; I'm glad you're back safely. Mablung, can you make sure that everything is struck properly and that we're ready to start back as soon as possible?
[Thingol ducks back into his tent and closes the flap behind him. Mablung exchanges looks and brief hand-signals with several of the troops standing round and they go off to get things underway. Beleg sinks down to sit against another tree, rubbing his hand over his eyes. Mablung kneels down beside him, looking concerned]
You all right, old chap? You look pretty beat -- nobody winged you, did they? --Not to be insulting or anything.
Beleg: [shaking his head]
I am beat -- not physically, though.
[pause. looking up at Mablung, bleakly:]
--Place is a ruddy mess.
Us? Or them?
I know. --I know.
[pats the other officer sympathetically on the shoulder]
--"back to work--"
[he rises and goes off to assist in the packing, while Beleg folds his arms and leans his head against the tree, closing his eyes.]