I Won't Bite by zeen
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Story Notes:

Contains minor canon deviation(s) -- The Silmarillion mentioned (very) briefly that Thingol set off messengers with (potentially politically fraught) messages to Maedhros, in the wake of Lúthien's escape from Nargothrond. (Since, as Celegorm's eldest brother, and the leader of the Fëanorians-at-large, he was obviously responsible for the latter's terrible behavior, re: Lúthien.)

Unfortunately -- or perhaps, fortunately, for Maedhros' admittedly shaky peace of mind -- those messengers were waylaid (and, the text suggests, killed) by Carcharoth, who was on his way to Doriath. Only Mablung survived to get the word out.

Also, a note on werewolves on Middle-earth -- I've seen no indication -- though I could be wrong -- that a werewolf bite would make anyone into a werewolf. Alas, werewolves seem to be only there for the whole terror-and-killing-biting thing.

Finwë's straw hat started its fictional life in an earlier story of mine, where Maedhros also briefly appears.

Thank you, Himring, for your hand-holding, and awesome beta-skills. 

 

It was all a very mysterious business, with missing (possibly runaway) princesses, seedy-looking mortals, obnoxious foreigners, and many, many secret letters passed back and forth. Oropher knew not much about it, though he knew enough to look alert and nod smartly whenever anyone important should come to ask him a question. About the sons of Fëanor, he had little idea, only there seemed to be too many of them, and they were a very bad lot, though they held themselves very high indeed.

No matter.

Of the drama between the princess and her father, Oropher knew enough to keep his mouth firmly shut. He had seen Beren only once, as the man had been dragged before the king. He hadn't seemed the sort of person that the most beautiful girl in the world should lose her head about, but then again, on the vagaries of love, Oropher would be the first to admit that he knew nothing.

Instead, Oropher stood smartly outside the king's antechamber - the one that was meant for the king's private business only, and a way off from the main halls where the business of the nation was attended to - and tried to look like he belonged there.

He tried not to slouch, which was a difficult business, because Saeros, the king's councilor and an altogether unpleasant sort of person was breathing down his neck, as if Oropher had mortally offended him - just by being born. It was just that Saeros hated seeing anyone get above where he could easily step on them. It was just what he did.

Oropher shot him a confident grin - just to show that he was not in any way put off by Saeros' open hostility - when his name was called, and he went inside. The doors closed behind him with a decided bang.

Now, Oropher took care not to gape at his surroundings like an awe-struck fool, who was straight from the deepest woods, and unused to Menegroth's many wonders. That was not what he was, at all. He had been here for two years already, and could take the splendid beauty of the Thousand Caves with grave equanimity.

But still, it was a difficult task to stay focused, for everywhere he looked, there was a new sight, a new marvel. The torchlight gleamed over the carved forms of both birds and beasts, that seemed to shift and move, with sudden lights in their jeweled eyes and ivory-carved claws. The trees too were fantastically wrought, and seemed to live their own mysterious lives of slow growth and gain.

A polite "Ahem!" brought Oropher back to himself. He bowed quickly, his knees scraping against the smooth stone floor. The sight before him now was more splendid by far than anything else -there sat Elu Thingol, tall and still touched by light of the Trees. Queen Melian, sat on his right. She was - indescribably fair, a power now housed in human-shape. And she was watching Oropher now with bird-bright eyes.

She must know everything there is to know, he thought, with wonder. About everything! And he did not think that she had just now winked at him, it must have been a delusion on his part. (Not, of course, that he was prone to delusions, but...)

The Queen's face was now quite grave.

But in any-case, it was she who had stirred him from his wonderment, and it was she who he bowed to, again.

"Enough, enough," said Thingol impatiently, gesturing to Oropher to come closer. He did so, with elaborate caution, until he was closer to the king and queen than he had been ever in his life.
A shadow stirred behind the king, from out of it, emerged Celeborn, the prince. He was blunt. "You know your business, Oropher?"

Oropher nodded, eagerly. Well, he wasn't quite sure, but...

Celeborn went on. "We do not expect much from such - people, since they have not responded to the messengers we have sent before. This is their last chance to act with honor."

Here, Celeborn interrupted himself, and glanced over to his great-uncle, who nodded his agreement. "We expect that you should behave yourself. Can you do that?"

Oropher nodded again. Thingol said, his voice low but carrying, "Child, if I send you along, will you do your best to honor me?"

Oropher fervently assured him that he would.

Thingol looked doubtful, but his wife chose this time to speak. Her voice was deeper than her small frame would suggest, and reminded him of nightingales and starry nights at the very beginning of the world. "Your way is set, I deem."

The three watched as he bowed and scraped, and finally turned, and left the room. As soon as the door closed, he sighed with relief.

Now, Oropher, though mostly obscure and certainly untried, was no fool. If Thingol had wished to approach Maedhros in anyway other than straight-out hostility (that, nonetheless, fell short of fighting), he would have sent Celeborn, his own great-nephew and beloved of the formidable Galadriel, Maedhros' own kinswoman, to settle matters among them. Celeborn was the natural choice in such a mission, for the prince was skilled in all manners of diplomatic detangling, and had a great personal charm that could even undo a Noldo's stony heart.

(As seen in the case of his beloved, the lovely but somewhat gimlet-eyed Galadriel.)

Oropher, on the other hand, had none of those things. Perhaps, he was meant to be an insult. But for his king, he would do all of that, and more besides. And so he put aside his confusion, and squared his shoulders.

"I should hope to be worthy of the task," he said to no-one in particular, and walked out to meet his destiny.