Time: Third Age, year 1075
7. EXT. OUTER COURTYARD. MORNING
Just as the sun rises, the Troop and Baret and Mira start out for their camping trip.
8. EXT. ON THE TRAIL BY THE FOREST RIVER. AFTERNOON
They have been riding a long time and Baret and Mira look tired but are determined to keep going. The Elves don’t look tired at all and are laughing and joking as they ride along.
9. EXT. CAMP SPOT BY FOREST RIVER. SUNSET
The Troop has finished eating; Elanor and Alfirin are washing the eating utensils in the river; Erinelleth has taken up her harp and is softly singing a song; Legolas and Baras are off to one side discussing something; Brui and Gladellon are in a field gathering some wild flowers; Baret is showing Tarag some smooth stones he has found; Narbeleth has two cups in hand and sits by Mira under an old oak tree.
Tired? Some wine will ease your body and mind.
(hands her a cup)
You rode well today.
I’m sore all over. Thank you.
Is the lake much further?
Not much. Legolas would have had us ride on without stopping, but Baras convinced him you and Baret need to rest for the night.
Narbeleth drinks entire cup of wine without stopping, then sets it down on the grass.
I marvel at all of you. You never seem to get tired at all.
Mental weariness tires us, or much physical stress, as in a long battle. We sometimes forget that mortals cannot go long without rest or sleep.
MIRA: (eyes Legolas and Baras)
It seems Legolas and your brother…and Tarag? They do not have girlfriends?
Yes, like Elanor is Brui’s girlfriend? And Alfirin is Gladellon’s girlfriend?
Ah, yes, girlfriends. Steady ones. No, they do not have such. But, they have Elf-maidens they on occasion frolic with.
And you? And Erinelleth? You have no steady ones either?
Erinelleth is very picky. Me?
I am not picky at all!
You seem very different from the other maidens. You are very bold and…strong.
I am a Warrior-maiden. I ride the front line with Legolas, Baras, Tarag and the other Elf warriors. But all of our Troop, and, as most all Silvan Elves, the maidens know how to ride, use the bow, knife…even Erinelleth. She may seem quite delicate, but I have seen her slay Orcs, also, when necessary.
Narbeleth goes to reach for the cup she had placed on the grass, but it is not there.
Hummmm, now where did my cup go…
It was there a moment ago!
Narbeleth glances around, then up into the old oak tree, peering through the branches and leaves with her Elvish-eyes and frowns.
Faeries! Buggers! Steal from me, will they?
(She stands up and hollers)
Baras! Come here!
Baras and Legolas stop talking and walk over to her; Mira stands now and looks confused.
NARBELETH: (to Baras)
Fine place you picked out to camp. Look up!
Both Baras and Legolas look up, peering into the branches as she had.
Sprites! Come down here! Come on now! Come down!
Nay! You have the human kind in your midst! They will kill us!
They will do you no harm! Come down!
And bring me my cup, you *** thieves!
(Legolas frowns at her)
Are you coming down or must I come up there and drive you down?
The rest of the Troop comes up.
Who’s up there?
Faeries! They stole my cup!
Faeries? My lord, you mean they really do exist?
What kind are they?
Flower-kind, I think
I haven’t seen a faery in this area in a long time.
How many are there? Not many I hipe, they make me sneeze!
I love faeries!
Please, fey folk, come down? We won’t hurt you!
Erinelleth? Is that you?
Yes! And who are you?
Poppy! What are you doing way out here?
So! It’s you and your troop! You bring down my cup!
Come on now! All of you!
Send the humans away first!
We can’t do that! Come down! Trust us!
There is a flurry of soft, tiny voices up in the tree, then there’s a flurry of blue, green, violet, yellow and white twinkling lights among the branches and leaves, then there’s a rustle of leaves and grass on the ground…and slowly a group of twenty faeries of various sizes…from six inches to three feet tall…become visible (though almost transparent) and they all have wings. They are all beautiful and have Elvish-looking faces. POPPY, the Queen of the group, the tallest of them, and she holds a willow branch-wand in one hand and the cup in the other. She holds it out to Narbeleth who snatches it away. Elanor sneezes, steps back some, holding her hand over her nose and mouth.
Which of your troop took it?
The one who did the naughty deed will be duly punished. It will not happen again.
But why are you here, Poppy? It is dangerous. Why did you leave the Willows near the Caverns?
We have lost Lilac! She strayed and we cannot find her!
And you may never. You should go back to the Willows.
How long has she been missing?
Three days! There was a large puppy she liked to ride on and he ran into the woods, up along this river. We cannot find the puppy either! Please help us?
You foolish faery! We cannot go on a sprite hunt! Don’t you see we have mortals here that we have to look after? Both the dog and Lilac are probably deep in the forest by now. If Lilac has any wits at all, she will find her way home. Be gone! All of you!
POPPY: (looks at Legoas and bows low)
Prince of Greenwood…alas! Our beautiful forest has darkened almost fully! Mirkwood! Sad are these days! We are almost gone! Long Ages we have dwelt in these woods
and all we have left are a few old trees to safely dwell in! Have pity on our small troop! Perhaps if Erinelleth would play her harp and sing…perhaps Lilac will hear and come hither! It is a blessing you have stopped here…
(looks at Narbeleth)
October…why do you hate us so?
I do not hate you…I think most of you are a great nuisance, that’s all. And some of you are downright mean!
That’s enough, Narbeleth, say no more.
LEGOLAS: (to Poppy)
Excuse her. We do not all feel as she about the matter. If Erinelleth is willing to play and sing to see if Lilac might come, then she may. But when the moon is high, if she does not come, then I want you to take your troop back to the Willows. Agreed?
POPPY: (bow low again)
(looks to Erinelleth)
Would you do this for us?
Of course. I shall be happy to.
Erinelleth goes to sit on a log by the river bank and the faerie troop follow her and she begins singing and playing her harp and the faeries fade into a sprinkle of lights all about her.
Goodness! No one will believe when I tell of this! I’m glad Baret has seen them, too!
All the Troop wander off toward a bunch of rocks to sit upon, except for Narbeleth and Mira.
What are faeries, anyway? Where do they come from?
The fey-folk claim they were once Maiar, lesser immortals, that came here when the Valar were still forming the Earth. Somehow, some of the Maiar got separated from the main hosts and got lost in many of the dark places. Some of them, Melkor, the Great Enemy, seduced and turned into evil creatures, but some hid from him for a very long time and when they felt it safe, they emerged…and fell in love with Earth, the trees, the flowers, the meadows…those are considered the good faeries, though they can still be annoying.
But they look like miniature Elves!
They are sprites who can take whatever shape they want. Most seem to like the way we Elves look, so they copy us…except they have wings, which we surely do not.
And they have families?
Not really. Some like living in a troop as Poppy’s, but a lot live alone. Most don’t reproduce, so a troop doesn’t like losing even one, such as Lilac. Some are even tinier than those you just saw. Sometimes they hide in mushrooms and get eaten by mistake. They taste terrible.
Some of your kind call us Elves faeries…I personally consider it an insult…though we Elves will fade and become like fey-folk, too, if we linger too long on Middle-earth.
Some say you Elves have a magical place you go to when you die? Is that true?
We call it the Undying Lands, Valinor and To Eressea. Our Eldar folk got to go to Valinor even while they lived if they wished…but now that is closed and all of us who now wish to Sunder West will reside on Tol Eressea, in the Bay of Valinor. But if we die before we Sunder? Then our spirits go to the Halls of Mandos on Valinor to spend whatever time is doomed for us…or until the Ending of the world.
I wonder if we human folk will go to such a place when we die? Father says we just rot in the ground.
Your body will rot, but your spirit? Elves do not know where the spirits of mortals go. it is a mystery to us.
I have a spirit? My!
Yes, indeed! But enough of this talk. Let’s go join the others.
10. EXT. RIVER BANK. SUNSET
Erinelleth continues to sit on the bank singing and playing while the faeries whirl about her.
11. EXT. ROCK PILE. SUNSET
Brui and Gladellon whisper something to Elanor and Alfirin and the four run off together into a nearby field of high grass and play tag, laughing, enjoying each other.
Narbeleth and Mira sit with the others.
BARET: (to Narbeleth)
Would you care to go for a walk with me?
Narbeleth remembers what Legolas told her.
I’m sorry. I wish to walk with another.
I would like to walk with you, swordsman. Shall we?
TARAG: (to Legolas)
On your leave?
Go. But don’t go far. Not beyond the river bend.
Tarag and Narbeleth walk off up along the river.
Mira shivers and pulls her cape up around her.
It’s getting a bit chilly, isn’t it?
I’ll light a fire.
He picks up a couple of twigs and snaps his fingers over them and a bluish-flame spouts forth but an inch or so above the twigs.
How did you do that? Are you a wizard?
BARAS: (laughs lightly)
Not hardly. It’s just an elvish-fire.
He snaps his fingers again at the fire and it goes out.
Then Legolas joining in the fun, snaps his fingers toward the twigs and the fire comes back on, then snaps them again and it goes out.
Elvish-fire is mostly a fire to see by but does not give warmth, nor does it consume…just a bit of elvish-magic. I’ll start you a real fire.
He begins to pick up sticks and small branches.
12. EXT. UP THE RIVER. SUNSET
Narbeleth and Tarag walk along the river.
what is this all about? Since when do you wish to walk with me?
It was a way to get away from Baret. Legolas forbids me to spend time alone with him.
He thinks I want to frolic with him.
And you would like to?
He’s quite fair-looking for a mortal. He is well-built. he attracts me, no doubt.
You know we best not get intimate with mortals. You have elves uncountable at your beck and call. Why rile up unnecessary trouble? And especially Legolas. You are a thorny bush to him. You should try to please him more instead of pricking him every chance you get.
It’s the only way I can get his attention.
It seems to me I can remember times when yo had more than his attention. Just a few days ago in the woods…
Those times are few and far between.
Poor Narbeleth, the one maiden in all the realm who can get any Elf she wants…except the one she most wants.
And he knows it.
Everyone knows it.
They walk on in silence.
13. EXT. ROCK PILE: MOON LIGHT
Legolas, Baras, Baret and Mira have a fire going. They listen to Erinelleth still playing harp and singing.
The moon is overhead.
Oh, no! Must the faeries leave without Lilac?
Yes, it is time.
He whistles twice in a certain way. Erinelleth stops singing and playing. The faery troop swoops up, then flies off. Erinelleth joins the group and looks sad.
BARAS: (to her)
You did all you could.
Then the four who where playing in the field also come running. So, also, do Narbeleth and Tarag…and even their horses. It was the ‘gathering’ whistle.
Time to rest. Baras and I will keep the first watch…
Just then some SHRILL HOWLS go up from the woods across the river.
The Elves pick up their bows and quivers of arrows.
Listen! I hear a dog yipping!
I hear it!
It must be the lost puppy!
Shall we try to rescue it?
Lilac! I bet she did hear me singing! Yes, we must go see!
Not all of us! We have Baret and Mira to think of! Baras, you and Tarag and Narbeleth go! Make haste!
The ones mentioned spring upon their horses and are off quickly, going up the river, then Baras finds a shallow spot and they cross it and speed off into the woods.
I would have liked to have gone! I have hunted wolves and bears!
I cannot risk your life while you are in my charge…unless necessary.
They all stand alert…and wait…
(to be continued)