6. The King
It was the grief of his children that reminded him he was still a father.
It was the sudden burning desire to know what disaster befell his people and the fate of the rest of the party that reminded him he was still the king.
He was yet a father whose children needed him. He was yet a King whose people looked to him.
And so he raised his head from the bier and wiped the tears from his face. He gathered his five remaining children to him, whispered soft words of reassurance and bid Bregolas to lead them to the family quarters and await him there. Then he turned and walked to his throne and sat, and looked upon the few who had been allowed into the Great Hall. His eyes fell to Urithral, his advisor of many years; whose grief was etched deeply in the lines of his face.
“What happened?” he asked quietly.
Thus it was Urithral who first told him of the birth of his son. His heart sparked with joy at this, only to fade into sorrow, and then anger, to learn that his child and Urithral’s two were captives.
Thranduil dismissed his herald and advisors, and sat, head bowed, awaiting his Captain and the plans for the rescue of the captive elves. His thoughts and grief turned again to Narawen.
He would never forget he was yet a husband, and his wife would await him in Valinor.
And in his heart, along with his sorrow and grief, burned also a desire for vengeance. His long distrust of men had proven true at great cost.
The sun had not yet risen when the 10 warriors met at the palace gates. They knew not how long their journey might be, nor what they might encounter. Extra horses held supplies for several months travel, including winter clothes and other items that might be needed by the four when they were found.
Rawien had consented to Ethiwen as a member of the party and the King had not objected. A fully trained warrior, she had the skills needed for the endeavor. As mother of two of the four, she had a motivation of cataclysmic proportion.
The other members were carefully chosen as well. Laerion and Sadron from the original party, great friends of Alagos; Galithon, the senior of the King’s guard, was a superior tracker, Varandil a skilled healer; Bellion renowned for his strength; Elunell for her keen senses; Lachthoniel for his survival skills; and Meren for her bowmanship.
Thranduil stood near the palace gates. Rawien approached him, and bowed.
“My King, I have failed you greatly. I shall not return until I have the ones we seek, or know of a surety their fate.”
“Not all circumstances can be foreseen, my friend. I blame you not. Go with the blessings and hopes of all Mirkwood,” Thranduil paused. “I hope to soon meet my son.”