"I didn't think Queen Melian would be feeling too friendly towards me after we broke our news so I decided I'd better have that private talk with her
first." Beren continued wryly.
He eventually, by dint of much searching and much asking, ran the Queen to ground in a hemlock grove not far from the gates of Menegroth, sitting by a fountain at its heart. She looked up from the water at his approach and he bowed. "My Lady, today in hall I asked you a question, one unfitted to that time and place for which I apologize. Now I would ask again, in private. Have you seen why I was brought here?"
"How could I?" he was stunned by the bitterness in her voice. "You know more of the One who brought you here than I. I can only guess at His will."
Beren blinked in shock. "But..but you're a Maia! You are one of His Holy Ones who've seen His face, dwelt with Him in High Heaven!"
"Long, long ago," she said, still more bitterly. "In a memory that has faded. Now the Walls of the World are between us and our Father. We are bound to
Arda and cannot to reach beyond it. The One is become a stranger to us - save for Manwe who can still ask for His guidance, but is not always answered."
"Like the Elves," Beren said flatly. "Only worse because you know what you've lost." He shook his head wonderingly. "Is the World really worth such a sacrifice?"
"If you had seen the Vision shaped by the Music you would not ask that," Melian answered, and for a moment the wonder of it shone again in her face but all to soon the light went out. "That was before Morgoth, before the Marring."
"Which brings us back to why He brought me through the Dungortheb to throw me at Tinuviel's feet. What does it mean? What does He want of us, of her and me?"
"That I do not know. All I know is you will take my daughter away from me, away from her father and from her people." Tears brimmed over in her eyes and rolled down her face.
Beren's heart ached with pity. He understood loss very well, too well. "Only for a time. A very short time by your measure. When I am gone she will need
your love, your comfort more than ever."
Melian shook her head. "No. We have lost her."
"She was right," Luthien said in a hard, cold voice. "I will never go back to Doriath. I will never see or speak to her or my father again. Not after what they did to us."
"Why do you keep making excuses for them, for him?" she demanded passionately. Luthien turned to Emeldir and her new sister and brother by marriage. "My father raved like a madman when we told him about us. He said terrible things, unforgivable things. He called Beren a thrall - a spy of the Enemy - which he knew wasn't true!"
"Along with things that were all too true," Beren said ruefully, "I am mortal and I was landless, and homeless, with nothing at all to offer any woman,
much less the Princess of Doriath." He spread his hands ruefully. "Not that I wasn't angry myself at the time, but looking back I see Thingol's point. He was just being a father."
"I will never forgive him." Luthien said, trembling with barely contained rage. "Never, never, never! Nor my mother either. She just sat there and listened,
didn't try to help us at all!"
Thingol knew he was raving. He could see the unbelieving horror in his daughter's eyes and the stern reproach in his wife's but he couldn't stop himself.
How dared this - this - Mortal this mayfly raise his eyes to Luthien Thingolien, Princess of Doriath!
There he stood, the mere Man who'd somehow stolen the heart of Thingol's only child, cold and silent and formidable. There had to be some way to be rid of the creature. Surely once he was gone Luthien would come to her senses! Then suddenly Thingol knew how. Luthien was his Jewel, the great treasure of Doriath. Very well then he'd demand a Gem of equal value as her bride price. A Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth himself.
And the Man laughed. Of all possible reactions the most unthinkable - and terrifying. "You hold your daughter cheap, Thingol, to be willing to trade her for a cold, dead gem, a mere thing of craft. But if a Silmaril is your price than a Silmaril I will get for you. Await my return," the Man's pale eyes blazed into Thingol's with a contained anger somehow more terrible than any open wrath could ever be. "and never doubt that I shall return, O King." He turned his cold gaze on Melian, and it softened with something very like pity. The Queen met it for a long moment then bowed her head.
Finally Beren turned to Luthien, bending to kiss her hand. "Don't worry, Sweetheart, it'll be all right," he promised, and walked out of Melian's morning room without so much as a final glance at Thingol.
Luthien gave him a look almost of hatred, then ran after the Man. He turned to Melian to find his wife's eyes swimming with tears. "Oh Elu, what have you done!"
"The bastard," Emeldir said flatly.
"Yes," Luthien agreed, grimly.
"No," Beren said firmly. "You're both being unfair. King Thingol knows nothing about Men, I'm the only one he's ever met, and so had no way of knowing what mad, stubborn creatures we are. He thought I'd give up and go away. He never dreamed I'd accept his condition."
Emeldir smiled unwillingly. "No, I don't suppose he did." She arched that left eyebrow again. "Not a very sensible thing for you to do, my son."
"Don't I know it!" Beren agreed with fervor. "But I was just as angry as he was - and just as much to blame for what followed."
"I was terrified," Luthien said. "I was afraid I'd never see Beren again, that he'd get himself killed trying to meet my father's demands."
"Beren! Beren!" He stopped and waited for her to catch up with him. "Where are you going?"
"Nargothrond," he said flatly then seemed to come back to himself and smiled at her. "To King Finrod. We Beorings always take our troubles to him."
Luthien let out a sigh of relief. "Oh yes, that's a good idea." her cousin was so wise, so reasonable he'd keep Beren from doing anything foolish and find some
way out of this mess. "Finrod will know what to do."
"That's what I think too." Beren agreed. Then his face went serious and his hold tightened on her shoulders. "I am coming back, Tinuviel. Never doubt that."
"I won't." she promised.