Failure suited her poorly, even when not her own. Very little managed to unsettle the lieutenant, but Marillel would prefer being anywhere but this unwelcoming city. Adding to the oppression of waiting for rejection was the fact she outright cared little for Menegroth and less for its inhabitants. That they should seclude themselves while the world burned around them left a bitter taste in her mouth. Were they so haughty as to think they would not ultimately be touched by the shadow? Or were they simply ignorant? Either attribute gave little reason for her to find commonality with the Grey Elves who never knew the Light of the Trees that had illuminated her long passed youth.
Soft but troubled footsteps scuffed at the stable floor as she attempted to pace away her troubles to little avail. Thingol would not give them aid. She knew it to the depths of her core even though no final word had been given. For all her devotion to her liege, Fingon’s efforts were wasted here. The High King did not make the journey himself, of course, but had sent an emissary group of which she’d been so unfortunately drafted. Fortunately, the entirety of her role while within Doriath required an ample amount of silence. Ensuring that the actual ambassadors, the elves Fingon sent far better with words than she, reached the protected city constituted her primary concern. Getting them home was her next obligation, but until then, the current situation forced her into waiting for the inevitable. She’d rather be on the edge of battle – without Thingol’s army – than waiting for the coward king to cast them out like mangy cur dogs. Melian’s attempts at maintaining some civility could only last so long, and it was a brittle peace at best.
Rather than pretending to be some sociable creature with the Sindar, false pretenses abound on this adventure, Marillel stuck to overseeing the horses of her party. Not that any of these Sindar stablehands would know, but she’d managed to establish a good deal of renown for her horsestock, of which composed the majority of the Noldor mounts. They were better horses than any other stabled at present. In her opinion at least, and her opinion on horses rarely faltered. But perhaps there was some dormant bias (indeed there was) and lingering insult at the mild uproar their arrival had caused. Messengers they were, and it was a sacred act to welcome bringers of news but no that damnable girdle kept them out, begging to be let in like one of her brother’s cats on a cold night. They had been let in –eventually and after being stripped of any and all weaponry much to her vexation – but the message was clear enough: they were far from welcome.
Just how long they would be permitted to linger in Doriath remained unknown, but Marillel hoped for a brief stay even though it was supposedly an honor (so described by the lead ambassador) that any Noldor should be allowed within its boundaries. A good sign, as well so they said, but Marillel knew better. Those had just been hopeful words, ultimately wasted ones, but such was the nature of orators she supposed, wordsmiths in their method of political seduction. Marillel did not have the patience for such back-and-forth or the desire to bring others to her point of view. Having Doriath’s armies would be a blessing, but it was as likely as Erestor giving up wine, and the world might end before that came to pass.
Despite wearing an expression to rival the calm of a statue, Marillel felt the edges of her patience beginning to fray. The hand that tightly gripped the thick braid tossed over her shoulder held it with a white knuckled intensity. Her blue roan mount tossed his head in agitation, sensing his rider’s distress, and in the next moment, she glided to comfort him, tenderly stroking his muzzle and whispering sweet nothings in Quenya. To the best of her knowledge, she was alone in the stables so what harm could cooing the banned language to the horse bring, but admittedly, she might have done so anyway out of sheer spiteful pride.
It hadn't been long before everyone living in Doriath had heard the news about Fingon's messengers coming to their homeland. There was much speculation among them whether or not King Thingol would even allow them inside his realm. Thranduil never once doubted that he would. It was the Sons of Fëanor who were the only Elves who would never be allowed to set foot in Doriath and rightly so but, as any good king should, Thranduil knew that Thingol would listen to the words of Fingon's messengers.
Would he offer whatever help that the messengers asked of him? Just as sure as Thranduil had been that King Thingol would let them in, he was just as sure that he would graciously say no to whatever Fingon wanted of him. Melian protected them in his realm, kept the evil at bay, why should he risk the lives of those he ruled for what some might deem to be a hopeless battle? And Thranduil was still not sure how to feel about that. On the one hand, he could respect a ruler wanting to keep his people safe from all harm; on the other hand, they lived in this world and, as such, was it not their duty to help protect it with the others who lived in it with them?
But Thranduil was only four hundred years old, a few centuries past maturity for his kind but still very young in mind. No one, lest of all King Thingol, would care to listen to what he had to say. The King would do what he wished to do. The only one who might be able to sway his mind one way or the other would be Melian, and she was not likely to disagree with her husband. So the outcome was already decided and most seemed to know that. Yet, Fingon's messengers would linger until they were sure that Thingol was not going to miraculously change his mind.
While they continued their game that could end only one way, Thranduil found himself walking towards the stables. Not often did the Elves of Doriath wander past the Girdle of Melian, usually only in hunting parties, but Thranduil was still young enough to be unafraid of what might happen to him every time he ventured outside of Doriath's protected borders. He had yet to encounter anything other than small groups of orcs that were no match for him.
When he stepped inside, he heard a female's voice whispering in a forbidden language. Along with the messengers had come many to protect them on the dangerous journey. Any other Elf might have had no second thoughts about dragging her before the King for her offense but Thranduil stood still, listening to the language that was quite foreign to him. It was beautiful and a shame that such beauty had to be banned because of one bad group of people.
Deciding that it would be rude of him to linger there silently, Thranduil took a few more steps forward to the point where the Elf-maiden could not help but notice his presence. "You should not be speaking that tongue here," he said, not in a threatening manner but as if he was merely stating a simple fact of life, "but it can be our secret." No one else was anywhere near the stables, everyone being gathered together anxiously awaiting news of their King's decision. The fact that the two of them were the only ones here could only mean they were the only two who were not fooling themselves that Thingol would choose anything other than to remain safely behind the Girdle. "I am Thranduil," he introduced himself.