The Silmaril - Part 1 - Screenplay based on the Beren and Luthien tale

have asked the publisherFADE IN.
EXT. TARN AELUIN - DAWN
Mayflies dance over the waters of the lake, Tarn Aeluin. Wavelets RIPPLE softly on the shore. A few lakeside birds can be heard CALLING.
An object falls through the mayflies into the water with a small SPLASH. A little limpet shell. Rings spread over the water.
On the shoreline, BEREN kneels by a stunted rock. He's a man that a bear would cross the road to avoid, and that a princess would cross a swamp to meet. His clothes are the drab colours of the wilderness around him; his hair is straggly and unkempt. He's an outlaw.
He CHIPS another limpet off the rock with a knife, and SUCKS out the contents, swallowing with relish.
He tosses the shell into the water.
P.O.V.
Beren kneels by the rock a short distance away. Someone, our P.O.V, is slowly approaching Beren from behind.
EXT. TARN AELUIN - DAWN
Beren kneels by the rock. He cuts another limpet from it, and tosses it onto the small pile of them that is gathered upon a cloth beside him. Also lying beside him is a small travelling bag and his sheathed sword. He is dressed for a journey.
P.O.V.
The Someone is walking ever closer to Beren. Footsteps CRUNCH softly.
EXT. TARN AELUIN - DAWN
Beren kneels over the water, peering at his reflection.
BEREN P.O.V.
Beren looks at his face in the water.
Another reflection appears behind his. An old face, bloody and broken. The face of a living corpse.
EXT. TARN AELUIN - DAWN
Beren leaps to his feet and spins around, raising his knife.
BARAHIR is standing there. He is a hale and hearty, if aging warrior. His face looks perfectly normal.
BEREN
(in shock)
Father!
Barahir pushes the knife gently aside.
BARAHIR
Good morning to you too, Beren.
BEREN
Sorry. You surprised me.
He rubs his eyes with his fingertips.
BARAHIR
Did I? Hardly encouraging.
Beren looks back at the water, still a bit fazed.
BARAHIR (Cont'd)
Perhaps it should be me who goes.
BEREN
(recovering)
No Father. Think of the poor orcs.
BARAHIR
Your meaning?
BEREN
It is only polite to offer them the head with the best price on it.
Barahir SNORTS in derision.
BARAHIR
My head will outprice yours until it withers. (Beat). Still I wish you'd stay, Beren.
BEREN
Then you should not have let Gorlim go.
BARAHIR
Could I have stopped him?
Beren looks at him, chewing a limpet.
BARAHIR (Cont'd)
Oh, of course. I could have told him to give up his girl for lost. Or you could have told him.
BEREN
So he loved her.
Beren tosses the shell into the lake.
BEREN (Cont'd)
Now he puts us all in peril. If he's taken, he knows where we are.
BARAHIR
And how do you find your way home? Breadcrumbs?
BEREN
(rhetorically)
Father, if you have better counsel...
BARAHIR
No, I don't. You go. Fetch him back. I suppose a few strong drinks and he'll forget her.
BEREN
That's the plan.
He wraps up his travelling gear and shoulders his bag. He begins to walk away.
BARAHIR
Beren.
Beren turns.
BARAHIR (Cont'd)
Take my ring. It's always brought me good luck.
BEREN
No, Father. It's yours. He gave it to you.
BARAHIR
May I not give it to you?
BEREN
I would lose it.
Barahir looks crestfallen.
BEREN (Cont'd)
One day then. But not yet.
He walks off towards the woods. After a few steps Barahir calls after him again.
BARAHIR
Beren.
Beren turns, like he's used to this...
BARAHIR (Cont'd)
Did I really surprise you?
BEREN
(Double beat.)
It was nothing. I just haven't woken up yet.
He waves casually, and walks on.
Barahir wanders away from the lakeside.
We close on the lake surface, until it fills our view with rippling darkness.
MELIAN (V.O.)
In the first age of Arda, the Dark Lord Morgoth dwelt in Middle Earth, and the High Elves made war upon him for the recovery of the Silmarils.
The darkness of the waters seems to BREAK OPEN before our eyes like a clearing mist.
We pass through - and a flash of lightning dazzles us for a moment. Suddenly we are high up, flying through lashing rain.
Far below us, a huge battle is raging.
EXT. FENS OF SERECH - DAY (FLASHBACK)
The plain is covered with battling soldiers: Orcs, Men, Elves. Lightning flickers through the rain.
Wave after wave of warriors clash into one another. Bodies are strewn all about. It is utter chaos beneath a dark and thunderous sky.
EXT. FENS OF SERECH - DAY (FLASHBACK)
King Finrod FELAGUND and a small band of Elf soldiers are fighting a losing battle against overwhelming numbers of orcs backed up by gigantic trolls.
Felagund swings and chops and hacks with his sword, but his horse is covered with blood and is failing beneath him.
FELAGUND
To me! To me, Elves of Nargothrond! To me!
EXT. FENS OF SERECH - DAY (FLASHBACK)
In another part of the field, YOUNG BARAHIR is hewing aside the orc soldiers with relish, aided by his cohorts of battle-hardened men. A strong young man, Barahir is clearly a warrior of a high and noble lineage.
Faintly the sounds of a desperate call come to his ears.
FELAGUND (O.S.)
To me! Your king summons you! Elves of Nargothrond! To me! To me!
Barahir turns towards the sound and stares a moment.
BARAHIR P.O.V.
Below him in the fens, Felagund and his men are hopelessly surrounded by orcs and the hammer-wielding trolls.
BARAHIR
(roars)
The King is in need! Beor, Beor!
Swinging his sword Barahir hurls himself through the enemy lines towards Felagund. His fellow soldiers follow him, cleaving a path through the orcs.
SOLDIERS
Beor! Beor for King Felagund!
EXT. FENS OF SERECH - DAY (FLASHBACK)
Felagund and his soldiers are fighting a losing battle. Felagund's horse is felled beneath him.
Elves are slain to his left and right. Felagund, exhausted and bleeding, fights on.
A huge troll smashes him down. Felagund gazes up at it, helpless.
The troll raises its huge hammer, bellowing.
Its bellow turns into a scream of pain as a sword skewers up through its neck. It falls forward, the sword still embedded.
Felagund rolls aside just in time. He looks up to see who has saved him.
Barahir stands there, upon the back of the fallen troll. He heaves his sword out of its throat.
FELAGUND
(in amazement)
Barahir!
Barahir smiles.
BARAHIR
King Felagund.
Barahir and his men help escort Felagund away, protecting in a fence of shields.
EXT. TARN AELUIN - DAWN
Barahir, as an old man, stands on a slope overlooking the lake. He ponders the ring in his hand, and slips it back on his finger.
EXT. FIELDS OF BELERIAND - DAY (FLASHBACK)
Felagund, young Barahir and a small band of Barahir's men are gathered on an empty grassy plain.
Barahir is kneeling before Felagund. Felagund raises him up.
C.U. Felagund passes a ring - the same ring we have already seen - to Barahir.
FELAGUND (V.O.)
Receive this now as a sign of undying friendship between King Finrod Felagund of the Elves and the house of -
EXT. TARN AELUIN - DAWN
FELAGUND (V.O.) (CONT'D)
- Barahir the great-hearted, mighty among mortal men.
Old Barahir contemplates Felagund's ring, and the now old and wrinkly fingers of his hands. A wry look of nostalgia takes over his lined and haggard features.
BARAHIR
If you could see me now, old friend.
Giving a quick sad smile he walks on.
EXT. TARN AELUIN - DAWN
We pull away from Barahir as he makes towards the lakeside cliffs. As we rise above him a vast EAGLE soars by through the sky overhead.
EXT. SKY OVER DORTHONION - DAY
The Eagle flys in the sky ahead of us as a rugged land unfolds beneath.
The morning sun bathes the land in golden rays. We fly over mountains, crags, woods... the sublime beauty of Middle Earth.
The Eagle banks and wheels out of view.
A horseman rides hard in the distance over green slopes, heading away from us. We draw nearer.
It is Beren.
EXT. DORTHONION COUNTRYSIDE - DAY
Beren rides over the bright green land on his horse.
The horse's hooves pound the ground.
Hair and mane thrill in the wind.
Beren rides on into the distance.
EXT. A VILLAGE - DAY
A rustic village, loosely scattered with ramshackle dwellings of wood and stone. Goats and dogs roam among the cottages. Peasants walk to and fro on their daily chores.
It is market-day. Several sorry-looking stalls of food, leather, clothes and sundry other items stand in the muddy ground. Sellers cry but without the gusto normally associated with stall-holders.
Customers wander to and fro, despondently inspecting the wares. This is not a happy village, we feel. Some great weight or shadow hangs on the hearts of everyone who lives here.
Beren rides unnoticed into the edge of the village square and tethers his horse to wooden post.
EXT. A VILLAGE, THE MARKETPLACE - DAY
ROWLATH, a crusty old seller of skins, knives and assorted tools, looks grimly left and right as he searches out customers. He gives the occasional incomprehensible salesman's GRUNT.
Beren, his head hooded, walks up to his stall.
BEREN
A slow day?
ROWLATH
Same as ever -
He notices who it is with a start of alarm.
Hell's iron! What are you doing here!?
BEREN
Just looking.
Rowlath glances about in alarm.
ROWLATH
You fool, if anyone sees you -
BEREN
Rowlath, no-one will see me. Not if you don't bring them over here. You're hardly an attraction.
He fingers the shoddy wares on the stall.
ROWLATH
(savagely)
Just what do you want, Beren?
BEREN
Can your nephew mind the stall for a moment?
Rowlath turns and shouts to a youth a short way off.
ROWLATH
Delmor! Here.
EXT. A VILLAGE - DAY
Rowlath hurries down a dirty village street in front of Beren, as if he's trying to get away from him.
BEREN
Not at all? Not even passing through?
ROWLATH
Nor hide nor hair. Why? Did he say he was coming back?
Rowlath reaches a hovel. He looks around to see if anyone is watching, then quickly hustles Beren inside.
INT. ROWERL'S HOVEL - DAY
Beren is seated on a rough stool at a wooden table. Rowlath grudgingly plonks a cup of something in front of him.
He does not sit but stays standing or pacing, restless.
BEREN
What about his old house? Is Eilinel still living there?
ROWLATH
I always thought she went with Gorlim?
He looks at Beren, who shakes his head.
ROWLATH (CONT'D)
Anyway, she's long gone, wherever she is. The old house is tumbledown now.
A young woman, MYRIA, approaches bashfully out of a side room and lays some bread and cheese before Beren.
ROWLATH (CONT'D)
Myria! You shouldn't be here. Go out and... wash some clothes or something.
MYRIA
What's the matter if I stay here?
She clearly has eyes for Beren.
ROWLATH
Look Beren, I would help you if I could. What makes you think Gorlim was coming back to the village?
BEREN
Because his wife was here. Or was meant to be here. I don't think he ever really got over Eilinel.
MYRIA
He came back for her? That is sweet.
BEREN
Sweet? He knew the price of what he'd become. Those who fight openly against Morgoth cannot take lovers.
MYRIA
Why not?
BEREN
We choose the danger we visit on ourselves. We have no right to bring that danger on others.
ROWLATH
And yet, here you sit, in my ***ed house...!
BEREN
Calm, Rowlath. I'll be gone before dark.
ROWLATH
(slightly amazed)
So you don't want a bed for the night?
He seizes the jug of ale in delight and refills Beren's cup.
ROWLATH (CONT'D)
Have some more for the road.
EXT. THE FENS OF SIRION - DAY
A MOAN of wind. We move over a darker, bleak landscape.
The land is swamp, rock, ragged woods, atingle with foreboding.
A shadowy tower appears in the distance, rising off a misty river island: TOL-IN-GAURHOTH.
It looms menacingly as we close on it. Something wicked herein dwells...
EXT. TOL-IN-GAURHOTH - EVENING
Strange HOWLS - wind, or something else? Sauron's tower looms on the isle of Tol-In-Gaurhoth.
We dive towards the roots of the tower, where narrow slits lead down, down, and further down to dark prison cells.
A woman is SOBBING. It is EILINEL.
EILINEL (O.S)
Gorlim... Where are you?
INT. TOL-IN-GAURHOTH, A DUNGEON CELL
Eilinel shivers on the dank floor. A woman at the very end of her tether.
EILINEL
Gorlim! If you can hear me, answer me! Please!
(Double beat.)
They told me you were here! They told me you were here! Why won't you speak to me? Why won't you come and help me?
Out of her line of sight we see a tiny window high up in the wall. The face of GORLIM looks through it, agonised. Eilinel cannot see this.
EILINEL
Don't leave me in here! Please come. Please come.
Gorlim shouts M.O.S -
GORLIM (M.O.S)
Eilinel! I'm here!
He is dragged away by unseen hands.
INT. TOL-IN-GAURHOTH, ANOTHER CELL
Gorlim - a brave man beaten and broken - reels across his cell from a hard shove.
FAURKHESH (O.S)
There you are. You've seen her. Now talk to me.
GORLIM
Let her go.
FAURKHESH - a hulking, brutal orc - grabs him and hurls him down.
FAURKHESH
Try again.
GORLIM
I'd plead with you, if you folk were only slightly less foul.
FAURKHESH
What's wrong with your minds? Do Men truly love pain?
He forces Gorlim's head back with fingers in his eyes, and strikes his hip with a cudgel. Gorlim HOWLS and folds up.
FAURKHESH
Where are the Outlaws, Gorlim?
GORLIM
I don't know. I've told you. I swear. Their camp is secret and they're always moving it.
Faurkhesh kicks him as he roars:
FAURKHESH
So how do you find Barahir when you go to report to him?
Gorlim says nothing, just SOBS softly.
FAURKHESH (Cont'd)
A code? Marks on the trees? A secret whistle? Gorlim, you are a treasury of knowledge but you're so miserly with it!
GORLIM
If I know, if I don't know, what's different? You'll torment me anyway because that's the only happiness you have.
FAURKHESH
True enough.
He heads for the door.
FAURKHESH (Cont'd)
So you won't mind if I fetch in your sweet little wife.
GORLIM
You will not touch her!
FAURKHESH
Please! The whole garrison is way ahead of you there. But I thought you'd like to watch it happen to someone else for a change.
He picks up a torture implement.
GORLIM
Wait! Please, in the name of... Wait!
FAURKHESH
Yes?
GORLIM
I can't tell you.
(Double beat.)
Him. Let me speak to Him.
FAURKHESH
To... Him?
EXT. DORTHONION WILDS - DAWN
Beren rides his horse up a slope towards a ridge.
He reaches the top of the ridge and reins in. He looks out over the land.
BEREN P.O.V.
Fogs still lie in the valleys, the tips of the forests are kindling in the first light of day. There is no sign of any living thing for miles around.
BEREN
Curse you, Gorlim.
He takes a final irritable look around.
BEREN (CONT'D)
This is hopeless.
Beren turns his horse and rides off back the way he came.
INT. TOL-IN-GAURHOTH, THRONE ROOM
Gorlim stands alone on the stone floor.
Before the throne stands SAURON - a towering figure, black-gowned, face cowled.
SAURON
My General tells me of a bargain you would make?
GORLIM
Yes. Please, I would.
SAURON
All know I am a fair lord. Name your bargain.
Sauron, strangely, suddenly seems to be a pleasant-faced man who strolls around as he chats to Gorlim. Gorlim is bewildered but stays composed with a huge effort.
GORLIM
Oh Lord Sauron, great right-hand of Morgoth-
Sauron is abruptly his dark cowled self again, having apparently not moved from his place before the throne.
SAURON
You dare use this name? Faurkhesh, remove his tongue.
Faurkhesh moves to obey.
GORLIM
I did not mean it - !
Sauron stays Faurkhesh with a gesture.
SAURON
Proceed, mortal.
Sauron continues to be one person and then the other without warning. Gorlim tries to keep up, becoming more and more unhinged.
GORLIM
Please. Eilinel my wife is my only love. I beg you, set me free with her. That's all I ask.
SAURON
In return for which, you will...?
GORLIM
(Double beat.)
I will tell you where Barahir, Beren, and all the other Outlaws hide.
SAURON
A small price, for so great a treachery! It shall be granted. Tell on!
Gorlim is silent, mesmerised by Sauron.
Sauron (as cowled figure) gestures. A lifelike map of Middle-earth unfurls like an igniting fire on the floor before the throne.
SAURON
Tell.
Gorlim points (as if it pains his arm to do it) to a small wood by the lake of Tarn Aeluin.
It begins to tarnish. Sauron CHUCKLES gently. Gorlim turns away in horror.
SAURON
Thankyou, Gorlim. Faurkhesh, fulfil his wish. Set him free, and reunite him with his love.
Faurkhesh drags Gorlim towards a hatch in the floor.
The hatch opens and the orc forces Gorlim to the edge of the pit beneath.
Coals and sulphur bubble in the depths.
Gorlim is panic-stricken.
GORLIM
Sauron! Great Sauron! No! What of your promise? Your promise!
Sauron gestures. We see Eilinel, just as Gorlim saw her from his cell. She is slightly translucent now, obviously an ILLUSION.
ILLUSION OF EILINEL
They told me you were here! They told me you were here! Why won't you speak to me? Why won't you come and help me?
Gorlim stares open-mouthed in horror. He has been tricked.
GORLIM
Oh, Barahir! Beren!
Faurkhesh pushes him into the pit. Before he reaches the the bottom -
EXT. DORTHONION WILDS - DAY
Beren rides over the dales.
EXT. NEAR TARN AELUIN - DAY
A band of orc troops races down a rocky slope. One or two orcs stumble and slip.
MONTAGE:
1. Beren rides towards home. The sun shines bright, flashing off tumbling brooks and glinting on his horse's bridle.
2. The orcs force their way through the forest towards the lakeside hideout.
3. Orcs burst out of the lakeside woods, wielding huge axes and drawing longbows fitted with black arrows.
4. A lone LOOKOUT dashes away from them.
5. A hail of arrows cuts him down.
6. Beren leads his horse under low trees. The only sounds is the twitter of birds.
7. At the lakeside, armed MEN burst from a hidden opening in the cliff and attack the orcs.
8. The men slay a few orcs but are quickly overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
9. The orcs pile into the cave.
10. Beren is checking his saddlebag. A crow CAWS on a branch overhead.
INT. THE OUTLAWS' HIDEOUT - DAY
Barahir stands alone against the orcs. He fights with great skill for an old man, wielding two swords.
He is disarmed and hewn down, still alive.
The orcs stretch out his right arm, ringed hand clearly visible.
They raise an axe over his wrist.
BARAHIR
Morgoth be damned! Sauron be damned!
As the axe falls, we find ourselves in -
EXT. WOODS NEAR TARN AELUIN - DAY
Beren loosens his horse's girth, and slaps him. The horse trots off.
The horse trots into a glade. It bows its head to eat the grass.
The corpses of slaughtered horses lie all around. Beren's horse is oblivious.
EXT. WOODS NEAR TARN AELUIN - DAY
Beren walks down the path towards the lake.
He wanders between the trees and emerges at the lakeside.
Corpses are strewn about the shore.
BEREN
Manwe. No.
Beren draws his sword, looks about wildly, then races for the hideout.
INT. THE OUTLAWS' HIDEOUT - DAY
Beren bursts in through the door.
The floor is crowded with corpses, both human and orc piled one on another. One body lies slightly apart. It's Barahir.
BEREN
Father! Oh, Father...
He kneels by the corpse and lifts it in his arms. We see the handless wrist.
Beren hugs the corpse, eyes shut, whole body trembling with pent-up anger and grief.
He opens his eyes wide, and we see one thing burned into them: Vengeance.
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