[Recap: Gorlim, taken captive by Sauron, has revealed the hideout of the outlaws, and all but Beren have been slain by orcs. Now Beren is determined to avenge his father Barahir…]
EXT. DORTHONION, WOODS – EVENING
The orc army marches through the forest, hacking aside any branches or undergrowth in their way.
They bear corpses in sacks and other body parts, such as heads on stakes.
EXT. DORTHONION, A CLEARING – NIGHT
An unlit bonfire is piled in the centre. Orcs form a ragged crowd round it, one great macabre party. Torches flicker. The Orcs carouse NOISILY.
THAKREK, orc Captain, steps up onto a stump near the bonfire. He gives a great SHRIEK. It gets a bit quieter.
I call on you now… I said I call on you now… to join – Quiet, filth, I’m trying to speak!
ORC in CROWD
And you’re doing a masterful job of it!
Thankyou Urklish, welcome to your last night on this rotten Earth… Orcs, join me in the joy of this joyous night – when we slew the last enemies of our mighty masters!
As THAKREK continues to talk, we begin to notice that a dark figure is prowling around the edge of the orc encampment, unseen by the orcs.
The blood of the outlaws is trodden in the mud! Glory will be ours.
ORC IN CROWD
Be yours, be yours, you mean, Captain!
Don’t give him ideas.
Ideas! That’ll be the day.
Silence you scum! I’m not so full as I can’t suck your livers out… And Barahir! Barahir, the King of Outlaws, the scourge of orc-kind… What of his hand in this?
He holds up Barahir’s severed hand.
You wear elf-rings in front of me, you lose more than your jewellry!
CRIES from orcs of “Eat it! Eat it!”
No! This we take back to Sauron. The rest, we burn!
CRIES: “No! No! / We’re starving, Captain! / Throw it here!”
Snakes! Enough gibbering! Bring the meats for the burnt offering. Now!
Some orcs carry forward corpses and corpse-parts and load them on the fire.
Thakrek ignites the pile with a torch.
He holds aloft the severed hand.
In the name of Sauron and his great overlord Melkor. Their curse on mankind!
A figure rises impossibly out of the fire, partly alight. It is Beren.
He stabs the astonished Thakrek, who drops the hand. Beren lifts the orc over his head and dumps him on the fire.
Beren rolls, puts himself out –
– snatches up the hand, and runs.
CRIES from orcs. Pandemonium.
Arrows SING through the air, THUD into trees. But Beren is already gone.
EXT. MOORLAND BEFORE NARGOTHROND – DAY
We move in slowly over the beautiful domain surrounding Nargothrond. In the distance are tall rocks, clustered around something that remains hidden from view.
Our POV descends over the plain. Some figure sit on pure white horses far below.
EXT. MOORLAND BEFORE NARGOTHROND – DAY
King Finrod FELAGUND sits motionless on a white horse. He carries his royalty lightly, without airs. He is flanked by two mounted aides (EDRAHIL and BRUMIEL).
(Their P.O.V) Several horsemen appear in the distance over the rise, some large hunting dogs running with them.
CELEGORM and CURUFIN approach at a canter.
All hail to his majesty!
A CHEER rises from the hunters behind.
Felagund raises a hand in greeting as the riders pull up before him.
Lord Celegorm! Lord Curufin! I trust you had good hunting?
Celegorm casts something grisly onto the ground – a huge severed wolf’s head.
It THUDS down with a splatter of blood.
Even now a mother wolf is terrifying her cubs with stories of Elves.
Felagund offers his hand. Curufin takes it. He lets go and we see his palm was soaked in blood, which is now all over Felagund’s hand.
Curufin doesn’t notice and the King tries to pretend not to.
You honour us, your Majesty.
Not at all. I am grateful to the city’s protectors.
Surreptitiously he is looking for a place to wipe his hand.
It’s Huan you should be thanking. All we do is tidy up after him.
Yes, where is Huan?
On his way. We left him to round up the dogs.
Edrahil comes to his rescue by lifting the flap of his saddle. Felagund discreetly wipes a great smear of blood onto the silken cloth underneath.
Now let me escort you home, my Lords.
Felagund mounts up.
He rides at a walk between Celegorm and Curufin towards Nargothrond.
My friends – I would discuss a certain matter.
A certain matter of interest to my brother?
The news might not be so good as you hope.
May you elaborate?
(looking over his shoulder)
Wait. Here he comes.
Huan! Come and greet the King!
HUAN appears over the rise, a dog like a white husky, but the size of a small horse. Very big, very bad. He races, BAYING, towards them.
Huan. The Hound of Valinor. Sometimes I think he is worth more than my whole kingdom.
We should talk.
HUAN bounds up to pad beside them.
Sorry, your majesty. You were saying.
Nargothrond – rocky mountains painstakingly hewn into a gloriously ornate city – comes into view.
EXT. NARGOTHROND – DAY
Felagund, Celegorm and Curufin walk a slender bridge amidst carved cave mouths and rocky galleries. Huan prowls silently nearby as they talk.
I have dispatched our gift to Menegroth city. As yet King Thingol makes no answer.
Have you spoken with him?
Brother, you did not really expect Thingol to –
Doriath’s king is my ally. Less a friend. It is a great thing you ask.
Merely that I should attend his jubilee?
So that you may meet his daughter, whose beauty is told in a thousand songs.
As well, yes. Is that wrong, your Majesty?
It is not my blessing you need.
Were I to court Luthien, it would work to your advantage.
Felagund looks at him.
Though mainly to my own, it is true.
Perhaps together we shall move King Thingol. Yet I fear he would not admit you even for the great jewels your father made.
There is a sudden chilly SILENCE.
Your Majesty. You must not speak of them in vain.
King Felagund. Would that you could unsay those words.
I am sorry, I meant no –
A joke it may have been. But we cannot find it amusing.
My Lords, forgive me.
We are lost without your help. But do not speak lightly of the Silmarils.
I will not. Well? Lord Celegorm, Lord Curufin? Are you still my subjects?
He presents his ring for them to kiss.
They hesitate, then kneel in turn to kiss the ring.
It looks familiar to us – identical to Barahir’s ring.
The brothers rise and walk away.
Huan follows them.
Felagund looks up at the sky, as a gigantic EAGLE flies overhead.
We rise up and follow after the eagle, and into –
EXT. SKY OVER MIDDLE-EARTH – DAY
The eagle flies fast over the land. We race over gullies, forests, a winding river. Miles are covered in a twinkling.
On the horizon dark mountains lurk.
The eagle banks and flies towards a tract of dense woods. We keep pace.
As we near, we see rocky hills amidst the forest.
There appears to be a city nestling in the centre, hewn out of the rock. Hidden from almost every angle. This is MENEGROTH.
EXT. MENEGROTH – DAY
The eagle sweeps away from the city and flies on into the distance out of view.
Menegroth city gleams below us in the sunlight.
INT. MENEGROTH PALACE, A CHAMBER – DAY
THINGOL sits on his lesser throne. Tall, imperious; even his smiles are steel.
Two Elves from Felagund’s court, TANGRIL and GEDOLAS, stand before King Thingol in low bows.
I am flattered. You may tell Felagund his greetings are returned.
The Elves seem unsure of whether to stay bowing. Fractional glances are exchanged.
Be at ease. I am not so stern as some may say.
The Elves straighten. Thingol smiles icily.
I take it there is more, besides your King’s good wishes?
Great Thingol Greycloak, your friend and ally in the city of Nargothrond begs that you do him the honour of accepting this small gift.
In honour of your coming jubilee.
Tangril produces a velvet bag. He holds it open for Gedolas, who takes out a small lined case.
Gedolas approaches the throne, bows low and presents the closed case.
Thingol merely looks down at Gedolas, frozen in his pose.
Tangril noisily CLEARS HIS THROAT.
Gedolas hurriedly unlatches the case and flips it open before Thingol. Inside is a wondrous necklace of many glistening gems. Thingol’s poise is somewhat thrown by its beauty.
By the stars… this is wonderful indeed.
EXT. NELDORETH WOODS, A GLADE – DAY
LUTHIEN – dark-haired, blue-gowned Elf princess, paragon of earthly beauty – wanders in the dappled light of a clearing.
The sunlight seems almost to cling to her, to caress her, as she moves slowly beneath the trees. She stares about her in delight at the lush leaves, the birds which SING in the branches, the brightly coloured flowers.
She pauses to sniff a blossom. A songbird swoops down and alights on her wrist. It SINGS a few twinkly notes.
Luthien LAUGHS softly and sends the bird skywards again.
INT. MENEGROTH PALACE, A CHAMBER – DAY
King Thingol reaches out to take the bright necklace which Gedolas is holding out to him. He caresses it in his fingers.
From Finrod Felagund?
The Nauglamir, your Majesty. A Dwarf-made jewel of many stones.
He keeps well? (Beat.) Have you news? Does he need help?
A slight hiatus…
Please accept this gift also from the Lords Celegorm and Curufin, who wish you every joy in the celebrations to come.
Thingol’s face clouds.
I see. Still that devious pair would buy my favour. For a moment I almost let myself believe…
(B.G.) MELIAN the Queen enters quietly.
You may tell Lord Celegorm and Lord Curufin that their trinket is returned. And tell King Felagund that his gifts are poisoned if he shares them with two such treacherous –
(soft yet penetrating)
The messengers’ looks of horror subside slightly as they realise she is there.
Thingol glowers briefly. He seems to reconsider.
Well. You may tell Felagund that I accept his gift. Send warmest wishes to my generous friend.
With huge relief, Tangril and Gedolas bow and exit swiftly though the door.
EXT. NELDORETH WOODS, BY A STREAM – DAY
Luthien wanders by the bank of a babbling brook.
She stoops and scoops up a palmful of water, letting it trickle from her hand. The water seems to burn with light as it falls from her fingers in the sun.
She springs lightly across the water to the opposite bank, twirling as she lands for the sheer joy of being in these beautiful woods.
A shimmer of HARP MUSIC drifts faintly from among the trees, growing louder as Luthien moves with gliding steps towards it.
Luthien SINGS a few soft notes to blend in with the harp music.
INT. MENEGROTH PALACE, A CHAMBER – DAY
Queen Melian approaches Thingol. Young and beautiful, she commands an aura of thousands of years’ worth of wisdom.
That seemed to go well.
Kings should not scold other kings. Leave that to their queens.
She kisses Thingol lightly.
Sometimes I wonder if you grow bored with the enemies you already have.
Oh, Felagund I respect. But he lacks insight. One day he will regret harbouring those two.
Melian turns and glides to the door.
Please say I have no other visitors today.
Oh, but I want Luthien to see your present. Before you hoard it away in a vault somewhere.
I don’t hoard things, Melian.
Just pride, I forgot. All the same, I must ask her something. Daeron has been begging to learn if she has read the poem he wrote in praise of her.
Hmm. Our daughter is courting?
How should I know?
EXT. NELDORETH WOODS, A CLEARING – DAY
Luthien dances in the glade to the sound of the HARP.
Her movements are smooth, balletic, as if she weighs nothing at all and can float on the very air.
A radiance seems to spring from inside her as she dances. She seems like a thing not of this world.
Through the trees we see DAERON, the player of the harp. He is a tall, soulful-looking Elf, clearly smitten to the heart with Luthien’s beauty. He never takes his eyes off her as he plays.
Luthien dances towards him and about him, now near, now moving further off. The love in Daeron’s eyes is almost painful to see. His MUSIC reaches untold heights of joy and melody.
A voice speaks suddenly out of nowhere, as if only Luthien can hear it.
Luthien pauses in her dance. Daeron’s playing peters out.
Luthien, the King would see his princess.
I will come, mother.
She looks at Daeron, who meets her gaze. Disappointment is written deep in his features.
She blows Daeron a kiss and sets off through the woods.