It was not, at all, that she did not understand and sympathize with their anger, but she had hoped, for some reason, that it would not come to this. She couldn't be displeased with Angrod because her disposition would not allow it, but all the same, she wished…
Elu Thingol paced back and forth, and she sat very still, watching him, seated beside her friend. Melian's face showed nothing, or little, except perhaps a distant and unhappy sorrow, but her friend's husband's expression was coolly furious. So much for peace, she thought, and could not quite keep the bitterness away.
"Did you know them well?" He asked, suddenly, turning on her with sharp eyes, eyes that would have been wiser if they were not so clouded with anger. And how to answer that question? I thought I did, but now I see otherwise. I thought I could have said what they would do. But she had turned out to be even more wrong than she had dreaded, and that mistake had cost the lives of so many in the shifting ice of Helcaraxë.
Galadriel kept her hands neatly in her lap. "No," she said evenly, "I did not." Mostly, she wanted Finrod with her, this moment – Finrod always could assuage her worries and was even better at smoothing situations over, with his calm sensibility that soothed and assured everyone involved. Finrod understood diplomacy, and Finrod was less likely to lose his temper.
Of course, she would have said before now that it was nigh unthinkable that Angrod would lose his temper, and she had proved wrong there as well. Better to say nothing, even if the damage had already been done.
Melian touched her shoulder, lightly. "Anything you may know...may help us."
With what, Galadriel didn't ask, and shook her head slowly. "No. I know nothing."
"Perhaps you do not understand what this means," Elu Thingol snapped, and Galadriel kept a tight leash on her temper, keeping her back straight. "You do not know or do not appreciate-"
"I know, I think, better than you, my lord," she said, very quietly. "But there is nothing I can tell you that you haven't already heard." What would I say, anyway? The small details that are all I can recall with certainty mean nothing to you. I do not know if they meant you any hostility before this. Now, they certainly will.
"Galadriel, please," said Melian, just as softly, and laid a hand over one of hers, her touch cool and light. "If there is any understanding you can give us – no matter how small-"
"They are proud," she said, after a moment, and then closed her mouth again. There was silence. Thingol made a frustrated sound.
"Anyone could have gathered that from their actions thus far. Lady, why do you hold back? Do you feel some misplaced loyalty even for those Kinslayers, responsible for your long and painful journey across the ice?"
I need no reminding of that, she wanted to say. If only Angrod had not spoken at all! Then there would be none of this to worry about, and she wouldn't have to deal with this. And she did not want to, and she thought, should not have to. "I tell the truth, my lord. There is nothing more I can say. I spent little time with them, and they kept largely to themselves." Not quite an untruth. For the most part, they did. It was only in younger days that that had been different, and those days did not matter, and apparently, she thought with bitterness, had never mattered.
Again, she thought longingly of Finrod and shifted, but only slightly, not allowing the movement to appear to be discomfort.
"My love," Melian said, and Galadriel could hear the chastising note in it, and was grateful. "—Galadriel. We ask you not to use anything against them, or to make this any worse than it is. We ask to make a fuller picture, to better understand."
She could almost hear Thingol's teeth grind at the implied willingness to compromise, but he said nothing, and she did not look at him but at her friend. "No," she said, again, still keeping her voice quiet. "I cannot. Even if there was anything I had to say, nothing should have been said at all. I will not be the voice to fan the flames of this blaze any higher." Even if sometimes I want to. Even if I wonder with your power, my friend, I wonder if you could avert my brother's fate.
Melian saw it in her eyes, she knew, and accepted that, and Galadriel accepted that Thingol too would know. "Are you certain?"
She closed her eyes, lightly. Forgive me, Findarato. "Yes. I am certain."
Melian stood. "They will not pass our borders. No one shall pass these borders without the word of you, my love, or myself. And no Fëanorian shall break that boundary but die before taking three steps in our woods." She paused. "And Galadriel…it would gladden my heart if you would stay with me."
"I could not refuse," she said gratefully, and bowed her head, slightly. She felt older, suddenly, than she had in years, and the cool of the green-dappled shadows of the trees made her shiver.
You will mourn this, one day, she told herself, you will wish that you had spoken, told all and urged a war of annihilation, the day your brother dies.
But she could not. She could not.