The Lord of the Rings – Fellowship part 7 – chefhawk – HD


Frodo Pippin and Sam made their way back
to the parlor there was no light Merry was not there and the fire had burnt low it was
not until they had puffed up the embers into a blaze and thrown a couple of
faggots that they discovered Strider come with them he was calmly sitting
in the chair by the door hello said Pippin what are you what do you want
I am called Strider the answered and though he may have forgotten that your
friend promised to have a quiet talk with me you said I might hear something
to my advantage I believe it’s at Frodo what have you to say several things one
said Strider but of course I have my price what do you mean asked Frodo
sharply don’t be alarmed I mean just this I will tell you what I know and
give you some good advice but I shall want a reward and what will that be pray
said Frodo he’s suspected now that he had fallen in with a rascal and he
thought uncomfortably that he had wrought only a little money with him all
of it would hardly satisfy a rogue and he could not spare any of it
no more than you could afford ices Strider with a slow smile as if he
guessed for his thoughts just this you must take me along with you until I wish
to leave you ready to fly Frodo surprised but not much relieved even if
I wanted another companion I should not agree to any such thing until I knew a
good deal more about you and your business
excellent exclaim Strider crossing his legs and sitting back comfortably you
seem to be coming to your senses again and that is all to be good you have been
much too careless so far very well I will tell you what I know and leave the
reward to you you may be glad to grant it when you’ve heard me go on then said
Frodo what do you know too much too many dark things that’s
right a grimly but as for your business he got up and went to the door opened it
quickly and looked out that he shut it quietly and sat down again
I have quick he is he went on lowering his voice and though I can’t disappear I
have hunted many wild and weary things and I can usually avoid being seen for
wish now I was behind the hedge this evening on the road west of Bree when
four hobbits came out to the Downloads I need not repeat all that they said to
old Bombadil or to one another but one thing interested me please remember said
one of them that the name Baggins must not be mentioned
I am mr. Underhill if any name must be given that interested me so much that I
followed them here I slipped over the gate just behind them
maybe mr. Baggins had an honest reason for leaving his name behind but if so I
should advise him and his friends to be more careful I don’t see what interest
my name has for anyone in Bree said Frodo angrily and I have still to learn
my interests you mr. stride I may have an honest reason for spying and he was
dropping but if so I should advise him to explain it well answered said Strider
laughing but the explanation is simple I was looking for a hobbit called Frodo
Baggins I wanted to find him quickly I had learned that he was carrying out of
the Shire well a secret that has concerned me and my friends now don’t
mistake me he cried his Frodo rose from his seat and Sam jumped up with the
scowl I shall take more care of the secret than you do care is needed he
leaned forward and looked at him watch every shadow he said in a low voice
black horsemen if passed through free on Monday one came down the Greenway they
say and another appeared later coming up the Greenway from the south
there was silence at last frodo spoke to Pippin Oh Sam I ought to have guessed it
from the way the gate keeper greeted us he said at the landlord seems to have
heard something why did he press us to join the company
I never behaved so foolishly we ought to have stayed quiet here it would have
been better so Strider I would have stopped you’re
going into the common room if I could but the innkeeper would not let me do to
see you I’ll take a message do you think he began Frodo no I don’t
think any heart of old butterbur only he does not together like mysterious
vagabonds of my sort should I give him a puzzled look well I have a rather dreary
look have I not so Strider with a curl of his lip and a queer gleam in his eye
but I hope we shall get to know one another better when we do I hope you
will explain what happened at the end of your song or that little prank it was
sheer accident interrupted Frodo I wonder said Strider accident then that
accident has made your position dangerous hardly more than it was
already said Frodo I knew these horsemen were pursuing me but now at any rate
they seem to have missed me and have gone away you must not count on that
said Strider sharply they will return more are coming there are others I know
their number I know these riders he paused and his eyes were cold and hard
and there are some folk and Bri who are not to be trusted
he went on real ferny for instance he has an evil name in Breland and queer
folk all at his house you must have noticed him among the company a swarthy
sneering fellow it was very close with one of the southern strangers and he
slipped out together just after your accident but all of those southerners
mean well and that’s for ferny he would sell anything to anybody and make
mischief for amusement finish sell what is my accident got to do with him said
Frodo still determined not to understand Striders hints news of you of course I
saw Strider an account of your performance would be very interesting to
certain people after that they would hardly need to be told your real name it
seems to me only too likely that they will hear of it before this night is
over is that enough you can do as you like
about my reward take me as a guide or not but I may say that I know more all
these lands between the Shire and the Misty Mountains but I have wandered over
them for many years I am older than I look I might prove useful you will have
to leave the open road after tonight for the horsemen will watch at night and day
you may escape from rain and be allowed to go forward while the Sun is up but
you won’t go far they will come on you in the wild in
some dark place where there is no help do you wish them to find you they are
terrible hobbits looked at him and saw the surprise that his face was drawn as
if with paint and his hands clenched the arms of his chair the room was very
quiet and still and the light seemed to have grown dim for a while he sat with
his unseeing eyes as if walking in distant memory or listening to sounds in
the night far away there cried after a moment drawing his hands across his brow
perhaps I know more about these pursuers than you do you fear them but you do not
fear them enough yet tomorrow you will have to escape if you can Strider can
take you by paths that are seldom trodden will you have him
there was a heavy silence murder made no answer his mind was confused with doubt
and fear Sam frowned and looked at his master at last he broke out with you
leave mr. Frodo I say no this Strider here he warns and
he says take care can I say yes to that let’s begin with him comes out of the
wild and I’ve never heard no good of such folk he knows something that’s
plain but it’s no reason why we should let him go leading us out into some dark
place far from help as he puts it if him fidgeted and looked uncomfortable
Strider did not reply to Sam but turned his keen eye on Frodo Frodo caught his
glance and looked away no he said slowly I don’t agree I think I think you are
not really as you choose to look you began to talk to me like the brief oak
but your voice has changed still Sam seems right in this till I don’t see why
you should warn us to take care and yet ask us to take you on trust why the
disguise who are you do you really know about about my business and how do you
know it the lesson in caution has been well learned so Strider with a grim
smile but caution is one thing that wavering is another you will never get
to Rivendell are now on your own and to trust me as your only chance you must
make up your mind I will answer some of your questions if that will help you do
so but why should you believe my story if you do not trust me already still
here it is at that moment there came a knock at the door mr. butterbur had
arrived with candles and behind him was not with cans of hot water Strider
withdrew into the dark corner I’ve come to bid you goodnight said the
landlord putting in the candles on the table nope
take the water to the rooms he came in and shut the door if it’s it’s like this
he began hesitating and looking trouble if I’ve done any harm on screen deed but
one thing drives have another you admit and I’m a busy man but but a first one
thing and then another had this week have job my memory as the saying goes
and not too late I hope you see I was asked to look for out four hobbits in a
Shire and for one by the name of Baggins in particular and what has that got to
do with me ask Frodo oh you know best to the landlord knowingly I won’t give you
away but I was told that this Baggins would be going by the name of Andre and
and I was given the description that fits you well enough if I may say so
indeed let’s have it then said Frodo and wisely interrupting a stout little
fellow with red cheeks said Mr butterbur
solemnly they pin chuckled but sam looked indignant now that won’t help
very much it goes for most hobbits barley he says
to me continued mr. butterbur with a glance at Pippin but this one is taller
than some hadn’t been fairer than most and he has a cleft in his chin and perky
chap with a bright eye begging your pardon but he said it not not me he said
it and who is he us Frodo eagerly ah that will stand out
if you know who our main eye whether they say is and he’s a good friend of
mine whether or no but now I don’t know what he’ll have to say to me if I see
him again her turn all my else our army into a
block of wood I shouldn’t wonder he’s a bit hasty still what’s what’s done can’t
be undone well what have you done said Frodo getting impatient with a slow
unraveling with bottomless thoughts I was I said the landlord pausing and
snapping his fingers oh yes Oh Gandalf three months but he walked right into my
room without an oak barley he says I’ve been going off in the morning will you
do something for me you’ve only today me I said I’m in a hurry said he and I’ve
no time for myself but I want a message took too
the Shire have you anyone you can send in trust to go or I can find someone I
said tomorrow maybe your today after I’ll make you tomorrow he says and then
he gave me a letter it’s a it’s a dress hey enough said mister butterbur
producing a letter from his pocket and reading out the address slowly and
proudly he valued his reputation as a lettered man mr. Frodo Baggins bagand
Hobbiton in the Shire I let her forbade from Gandalf cried
Frodo ah said Mr butterbur then your right name is beckons
it is said Frodo and here too better give me that letter at once and explain
why you never sent it that’s what you came to tell me I suppose they’ve taken
a long time to come to the point poor mr. butterbur look troubled you’re
right master he said and I begged your pardon
and I’m more afraid of what Gandalf will say if harm comes of it but I didn’t
keep it a back a purpose I put it by safe then I couldn’t find nobody willing
to go to the Shire the next day nor the day after it none of my own folk word
spire and then one thing in one and after another drove it out of my mind
and I’m a PC man I’ll do what I can to set matters right and if there’s any
help I can give you’ve only to name it leaving the letter side I promise
Gandalf no less barley he says to me this friend of mine from the Shire he
may be coming up this way before long here in another you’ll be calling
himself Underhill find that but you need ask no questions
and if I’m not with him he may be in trouble and he may need help do whatever
you can for him and I’ll be grateful he says and here you are and trouble is not
far off seemingly what do you mean asked Frodo
black men said the landlord lowering his voice looking for packings
if they made well then I’m a hobbit it was on Monday
the dogs were yammering in the gate screaming uncanny I called it nope he
came and told me that two black men were at the door asking for a hobbit called
backings nobs era was all stood on end I bid the
black fellows be off and slammed the door on they’ve been asked in the same
question all the way to Orchard I hear and that Ranger spider he’s been asking
questions to try to get in here to see you before you had a bite or sup he did
he did he said Strider suddenly coming forward into the night and much trouble
would have been saved if you would let him in barliman the landlord jumped with
surprise you you’re always poppin what do you want
now he’s here with my leave said Frodo he came to offer me his help
oh well well you know your business baby said mister butterbur looking
suspiciously at Strider but if I was in your place I wouldn’t
take up with a ranger then who would you take up with a Strider a fat innkeeper
who only remembers his own name because people shouted at him all day they
cannot stay in the pony forever they can’t go home they have a long road
before them will you go with them and keep the black
man off me ruth-marie I wouldn’t do that for anybody so mister butterbur looking
really scared why could you stay here for quiet for a bit miss around a hill
but all these queer goings-on what are all these black men after and where they
come from I’d like to know I’m sorry I can’t explain it old answered Frodo I’m
tired and very worried and it’s a long tale but if you mean to help me I ought
to warn you that you will be in danger as long as I am in your house these
Black Riders I’m not sure but I think I fear they come from they come from
Mordor so strider with the low voice from
Mordor barliman if that means anything to you Oh
all of us tried mr. butterbur turning pale the name evidently was known to him
as the worst news that has come to be in my time it is said Frodo are you still
willing to help me oh you have said mr. butterbur more than ever though I don’t
know what the likes of me can do against against he faltered against the shadow
of the east sit straight it quietly not much barliman but every little helps
you can let mr. Underhill stay here tonight as mr. Underhill and you can
forget the name of Baggins still he is far away right holding that said mr.
Potter / they’ll find out he’s here without help from me I’m afraid it’s a
pity mr. Baggins drew attention to himself this evening to say no more
the story of had mr. Bilbo’s going off has been heard before tonight imbrie
even Arnab has been doing some guessing his slow pate and there are others in
bree quicker an uptake than he’s well we can only hope that the writers won’t
come back yet said Frodo are you not indeed said butterbur I
spoke son look spooks they’ve all get in the pony so easy
don’t you worry until the morning no will say no word no black man shall pass
my doors while I can stand on my legs me and my fault and keep watch tonight but
you had best get some sleep if you can in any case we must be cold at dawn said
Frodo we must get off as early as possible breakfast at 6:30 please right
I’ll see to the orders said the landlord good night mr. Baggins Underhill I
should say rest me bridger mr. brandybuck
I don’t know that Frodo with sudden anxiety they’re forgotten all about Mary
and it was getting late I’m afraid he is out said something about going for a
breath of air well you do want looking after a no
mistake your party might be on a holiday said mr. butterbur I must go and bar the
doors quick and I’ll see your friend is there in when he comes I better send off
to look for him good night to you old and last mr.
butterbur went out with another doubtful look at Strider and a shake of his head
his footsteps retreated down to passage well it’s Australia when are you going
to open that letter go to look carefully at the scene before he broke in it seems
certainly to become those inside written in the Wizards strong but graceful
script was the following message three media’s – ah yeah
opt hear from him bad news has reached in here we’d better leave back in soon
get out of the shower before the end of July latest heavy return as soon as I
can and I will follow you as I find out you
are gone leave a message for me here if you pass through break you can trust
the landlord butterbur you may meet a friend of mine on the road a man leaning
dark tall my son you know who’s your business and will
help you make for Rivendell there I hope we may meet again I do not come Elmont
will advise you yours in haste bad off for any reason whatever not travel by
night mr. Street make sure that is the real
striker there are many strange men on the roads his true name is Aragorn
oh that his gold is the flitter but all those who wonder lost their old that his
strong was not with her the fruits are not reached by the frost and the ashes a
fire shall be woken with a light from the shadow shall spring renewed shall be
blade that was broken like Alice again shall be king
I hope butterbur sends this promptly a worthy man but his memory is like a
lumber-room thing wanted always buried if he forgets
I shall rushed him farewell Frodo read the letter to himself and then passed it
to Pippin and Sam really old butterbur has made a mess of things
he said he deserves a roasting if I’d got this at once we might all have been
safe in Rivendell by now but what can have happened to Gandalf
he writes as if he was going into great danger he has been doing that for many
years said Strider wrote a turned and looked at him thoughtfully wondering
about Gandalf second PostScript why didn’t you tell me that you were
Gandalf’s friend at once he answered it would have saved time
would it would any of you have believed me till now to Strider I knew nothing of
this letter for all I knew I had to persuade you to trust me without proofs
if I was to help you in any case I did not intend to tell you all about myself
at once I had to study you first and make sure of you
the enemy has its traps for me before now as soon as I had made up my mind I
was ready to tell you whatever you asked but I must admit yet it with the queer
laugh that I hoped he would take to me for my own sake a hunted man sometimes
worries of distrust and longs for friendship there
I believe my looks are against me they are at first sight at any rate laugh
Pippin with sudden relief after reading down this letter but handsome is as
handsome does as we say in Shire and I dare say we shall all look watch the
same afterlife for days and hedges and ditches it would take more than a few
days a week so he hears of wandering in the wild to make you look like Strider
he answered and he would die first unless you’re made of sterner stuff than
you look to be if in subsided but Sam was not daunted he still eyed Strider
dubiously how do we know that you were the Strider that gondol speaks about he
demanded you never met her and gone off till this letter came out he might be a
play-acting spy for all I can see trying to get us to go with you
it might have done him the real Strider and took his clothes what have you to
say to that that you were a stout fellow that’s a strata but I’m afraid my only
answer to you Sam Gamgee is this if I had killed the real Strider I could kill
you and I should have killed you already
without so much talk if I was after the ring I could have it now he stood up and
seemed suddenly to grow taller in his eyes gleam the light heal in command
throwing back his cloak he laid his hand on the hilt of a sword that had hung
concealed by his side they did not dare to fool
Sam sat widemouth staring at him humbly but I am the real strife fortunately he
said looking down at them with his face softened by a sudden smile I am Aragorn
son of Arathorn and if by my life or death I can save you I will there was a
long silence it lasts further spoke with hesitation I
believe that you’re a friend before the letter came he said or at least I wish
to you have frightened me several times tonight but never in the way that the
servants of the enemy would or so I imagine I think one of his spies would
well seem fairer and feel fouler if you understand I see laughs rather I look
foul and feel Fair is that it all that his goal does not glitter not all those
who wander are lost did these verses apply to you then ask Frodo I could not
make out what they were about but how did you know that they were in candles
lettuce you’ve never seen it I did not know he answered but I am Aragorn and
those verses go with that name he drew out his sword and they saw the blade was
indeed broken a foot below the hilt much uses itself said Strider but the time is
near when it shall be forged in new attempts at nothing well sauce trainer with Sam’s permission
we will call that set Strider shall be your guide he shall have a rough road
tomorrow even if we are allowed to leave Bree unhindered we can hardly hope now
to leave it unnoticed but I shall try to get lost as soon as possible I know one
or two ways out of real and other than the main road if once we shake off the
pursuit I shall make for Weathertop Weathertop sit Sam what’s that
it is a hill just to the north of the road about half way from here to
Rivendell it commands a wide view all around and there we shall have a chance
to look about us Gandalf will make for that point if he follows us after
Weathertop our journey will become more difficult and we shall have to choose
between various dangers when did you last see Gandalf asked Frodo do you know
where he is or what he is doing try to look grave I don’t know he said I
came West with him in a spring I have often kept watching the borders of the
Shire in the last few years when he was busy elsewhere he seldom left it
unguarded we last met on the 1st of May at SARM fort down on the Brandywine he
told me that his business with you had gone well and that you would be starting
for Rivendell in the last week of September as I knew he was at your side
I went away on a journey of my own and that was proven ill are plainly some
news reached him I was not at him to help I am troubled well the first time
since I’ve known him we should have had messages even if he could not come
himself when I returned how many days ago I heard the ill news the tidings had
gone far and why the Gandalf was missing and the horseman had been seen it was
the Elven folk of guild or they told me this and later they told me that you had
left your home but there was no news of your leaving Buckland I’ve been watching
the east road anxiously do you think that the Black Riders have anything to
do with it with Gandalf absence I mean ask Frodo
I do not know of anything else that would have hindered and except the enemy
himself so Strider but do not give up hope enough is greater than you shall
help no as a rule you can only see his jokes and toys but this business of ours
would be his greatest task Pippin yawned I am sorry he said but I’m dead tired in
spite of all the danger and worry I must go to bed or sleep where I sit what is
that silly fellow merry it would be the last straw if we had to go out into the
dark to look for him at that moment they heard a door slam then feet came running
along the passage Mary came in with a rush followed my table he shut the door
hastily and leaned against it he was out of breath they stared at him in alarm
for a moment before he gasped I’ve seen him from round
I’ve seen him Black Riders black practice we’re here in the village I
stayed indoors for an hour and as you did not come back I went out for a
stroll I had come back again it was standing just outside the light of the
lap looking at the Stars suddenly I shivered and felt that something
horrible was creeping near there was a sort of deeper shade among the shadows
across the road just beyond the edge of the lap I know it’s little way it wunst
in the dark without a sound there was no horse where did he go
that’s right as suddenly as sharply when we started noticing the stranger for the
first time go on said Frodo he’s a friend of
Gandalf I was Flynn later he seemed to make off up the road Airy eastward
continued Mary I tried to follow her of course it vanished almost at once I rent
around the corner and on as far as the last house in the road try to looked at
Mary with wander you have a stout heart he said but it was foolish I don’t know
said Mary and either braved or silly I think I could hardly help myself I seem
to be controlling somehow anyway I went suddenly I heard voices by the hedge one
was much ring and the other was whispering or hissing I couldn’t hear a
word that was said I did not creep any closer because I began to tremble all
over and I felt terrified I turned back and I was just going to bolt home when
something came behind me and I I fell over I found himself but did not mr.
butterbur sent me afternoon lantern I went out to the west gate and then then
back up towards the south gate just now I build fair nice house and I thought I
could see something on the road I couldn’t swear to it but it looked to me
as if two men were stooping over something lifting it I gave a shout but
when I got up to spoke there were there were no signs of them and only mr.
brandybuck lying there on the roadside he seemed to be asleep I thought I had
fallen into deep water he says to me when I shook him very queer he wasn’t as
soon as I had aroused him he got up and ran back here like a hare huh I’m afraid
that was true said Mary I don’t know what I said I had an ugly dream I don’t
know what came over me I do so Strider the black breath the riders
must have left their horses outside and passed back through the south gate in
secret they will know all the news now for they have visited Bill ferny and
probably that south and I was a spy as well that may happen in the night before
we leave breathe what what happened said Mary well he attacked agin
now I think not that’s Australia you’re not all here yet in any case that is not
their way in dark and loneliness there are strongest
they will not openly attack a house with invites and many people not until they
are desperate not a while all the long leagues of area door still lie before us
but their power is in terror already some umbria are in that clutch they will
drive these wretches to some evil work burning some of the stranger’s and maybe
the gatekeeper to Edwards with Harry at the West Gate on Monday I was watching
them it was white and shaking when they left him oh we seem to have enemies all
around said Frodo what are we to do stay here
do not go in to your rooms they’re sure to have found out which shows are The
Hobbit rooms have windows looking north and closer to the ground we will all
remain together and bar this window and the door but first no Ben I will fetch
your luggage while Strider was gone flora gave Mary a rapid account of all
that had happened since supper Mary was still reading and pondering Gandalf
letter when Strider and Nob returned well masters Sid nob I’ve ruffled up the
clothes and put in a bolster down the middle of each bed and I made a nice
imitation of your head with the brown format mr. bag utter heel sir he added
with a grin it been laughed ha very lifelike he said but what will happen
when they painted it in disguise we shall see mrs. Ryder
let us hope to hold a fort to morning good night to you said knob and went off
to take his part in the watch on the doors their bags in gear they piled on a
parlor floor they pushed a load chair against the door and shut the window
peering out Frodo saw that the night was still clear the sickle the hobbits named
for the plough or Great Bear was swinging bright above the shoulders of
the hill he then closed and barred the heavy inside shutters and drew the
curtains together Strider built up the fire and blew out all the candles the
hobbits lay down on the blankets with their feet towards the heart
but Strider settled himself in the chair against the door
they talked for a while but Mary still had several questions to ask she looked
over at them chuckled Mary as he rolled himself in his blanket very ridiculous
of you Frodo laughter I wish I’d been here to see the worthies of brief we’ll
be discussing in a hundred years since I hope so
that’s rider then they all fell silent and one by one the hobbits dropped off
to sleep as they prepared for sleep in the in it
brie darkness Leon Buckland a mrs. raid in the dillsen along the riverbank the
house at Creek hollow stood silent fatty Bolger opened the door cautiously peered
out a feeling of fear had been growing on him all day and he was unable to rest
or go to bed there was a brooding threat in the
breathless night as he stared out into the gloom a black shadow moved under the
trees the gate seemed to open of its own accord and closed again without a sound
terror disease he shrank back and for a moment he stood trembling in the hall
then he shut and locked the door the night deepened there came the soft sound
of horses led with stealth along the lane outside the gate they stopped and
three black figures entered like shades of night creeping across the ground one
went to the door one to the corner of the house on either side and there they
stood as still as the shadows of stones well the night went slowly on the house
and the quiet trees seemed to be waiting breathlessly there was a faint stare in
the leaves and a cock crowed far away the figure by the door moved in the dark
without a moon no stars and drawn blade gleamed as if a chilling light had been
unsheathed there was a beloved suffered heavy shuddered Oh bang in a laying of
war door said a voice thin and menacing at the second blow the door muted and
fell back with Timbers burst and what broken the black figures passed swiftly
in at that moment and the trees nearby a horn rang out it rent the night like
fire on a hilltop fatty Bolger had not been idle as soon as he saw the dark
shapes creep from the garden he knew that he must run for it or perish and
Ron he did out of the back door through the garden and over the fields when he
reached the nearest house more than a mile away he collapsed on the doorstep it was some time before anyone could
make up much he was babbling about at last they got the idea that enemies
were in Buckland some strange invasion for the old forest and then they lost no
more time the brandy box were blowing the horn
caller buckland that had not been sounded for a hundred years but since
the white balloons came into their winter when the brandy wine was frozen
over far away answering women’s movement the alarm was spreading the operators
fed from the house one of them that follow had a rope under step as a wrap
and Elaine the noise of boots broke out and gathering to a gallop went hammering
away into the darkness one about Creek hollow there was the sound of horns
below and voices crying in feet running but the black riders rode like a gale to
the north gate let the little people here
sauron of deal with it later meanwhile they had another errand
they knew now that the house was empty and the ring had gone they wrote down
the guards at the gate and vanished in the early night Frodo woke from deep
sleep suddenly as if some sound or presence had disturbed him he saw that
Strider was sitting alert in his chair his eyes gleamed in the light of the
fire which had been tended it was burning brightly but he made no sign of
movement further soon went to sleep again but his dreams were again troubled
with the noise of wind and of galloping horse the wind seemed to be curling
round the house and shaking it and far off he heard of he opened his eyes and heard a cock
crowing lustily in the inn-yard shraddha had drawn the curtains and pushed back
the shutters with a clang the first gray light of day was in the room and a cold
air was coming through the open window as soon as Strider had roused them all
he led the way to their bedrooms when they saw them they were glad that they
had taken his advice the windows had been forced open and was swinging and
the curtains were flapping the beds were tossed about and the bolsters slashed
and flung upon the floor the brown mat was torn to pieces Strider immediately
went to fetch the landlord poor mr. butterball looked sleepy and frightened
he had hardly closed his eyes all night so he said but he had never heard a
sound oh never has such a thing happened in my
time he cried raising his hands in horror guests unable to sleep in their
beds and good bolsters rone and all what are we coming to dark times sit Strider
before the present you may be left in peace when you have got rid of us we
will leave at once never mind about breakfast a drink and about standing
will have to do we shall be packed in a few minutes mr. butterbur hurried off to
sieve that their ponies were got ready and to fetch them a bite but very soon
he came back in dismay the ponies had vanished the stable doors had all been
opened in the night and they were gone not only marries ponies but every other
horse and beast in the place Frodo was crushed by the news how could they hope
to reach Rivendell on foot pursued by mounted enemies they might as well set
out for the moon Strider sat silent for a while looking at the hobbits as if he
was weighing up their strength and courage
Burnie should not help us to escape horsemen he said at last
thoughtfully as if he guess what Frodo had in mind we should not go much slower
on foot not on the roads that I mean to take that was going to walk in any case
it is the food and stores that trouble me
we cannot count on getting anything to you between here and Rivendell except
what we take with us we were to take plenty to spare for we may be delayed or
forced to go roundabout far out of the direct way how much are you prepared to
carry on your backs as much as we must said Pippin with a sinking heart but
trying to show that he was tougher than he looked
oh I can carry enough for two said Sam defiantly can’t anything be done mister
butterbur asked Frodo can’t we could can we get a couple of ponies in the village
or even one just for the baggage I don’t suppose we could hire them but we might
be able to buy them he added doubtfully wondering if he
could afford it oh I doubt it said the landlord
unhappily the two or three riding ponies that there were in Bree were stabled in
my heart they’re gone as for other animals horses ponies for draw or
whatnot there are very few of them in Bree and they won’t be for sale but I’ll
do what I can I’ll round out Bob and send him round as
soon as maybe yes it’s Australia reluctantly you had
better do that I’m afraid we shall have to try to get one pony at least but so
ends all hope of starting early slipping away quietly we might as well have blown
a horn to announce our departure was part of their plan no doubt
there’s one crumb of comfort said Mary and more than a crumb I hope we could
have breakfast while we waited to sit down to it
let’s get older nope in the end there was more than three hours delay Bob came
back with the report that no horse or pony was to be caught for love or money
in the neighborhood except one bill ferny had one that he might possibly
sell a poor old half starved creature ‘yes said bob but he won’t part with it
for Lester’s thrice it’s worth seeing how you’re placed not if I know whose
bill ferny bill Fanny said Frodo isn’t there some trick wouldn’t the
beasts boat back to him with all our stuff or help in tracking us or
something I wonder said Strider I cannot imagine
any animal running home to him once he got away
a fancy this is only an afterthought of kind master ferny’s just a way of
increasing his profits from the affair the chief danger is that the poor beast
is probably a death’s door that does not seem to be any choice what does he want
for it bill thirties price was twelve silver pennies and that was indeed at
least three times the ponies value in some parts it proved to be a bony
underfed and dispirited animal but it did not look like dying just yet mr.
butterbur paid for it himself and offered Mary another eighteenpence it’s
some compensation for the lost animals he was an honest man and well office
things were reckoned in Bree but 30 silver pennies was a sore blow to him
and being cheated by bill fairly made it harder to bear as a matter of fact he
came out on the right side in the end it turned out later that only one horse had
been actually stolen the others had been driven off or had bolted in terror and
were found wandering in different corners of the Breeland Mary’s parents
had escaped altogether and eventually having a good deal of sense they made
their way to the down in search of fatty Lumpkin so they came under the care of
Tom Bombadil for a while and were well off but when news of the events had Bree
came to Tom’s ears he sent them to mr. butterbur who thus got five good beasts
at a very fair price they had to work harder in Bree but Bob
treated them well so on the whole they were lucky they missed a dark and
dangerous journey but they never came to Rivendell however in the meanwhile for
all mister butterbur knew his money was gone for good or for bad and he had
other troubles for there was a great commotion as soon as the remaining
guests were astir and heard the news of the raid on the in the south and
travelers had lost several horses and blamed the innkeeper loudly until it
became known that one of their own number had also disappeared in the night
none other than Bill ferny squint-eyed companion on suspicion fell on him at
once if you pick up with a whole statement bring him to my house said
butterbur angrily you ought to pay for all the damage yourselves a lot come
shouting at me go ask Bernie where your handsome friend ease but it appeared
that he was nobody’s friend and nobody could recollect when he had joined their
party after their breakfast the hobbits had to repack and get together further
supplies for the longer journey they were now expecting it was close on 10
o’clock before they at last got off but that time the whole of Bree was buzzing
with excitement photos vanishing trick the appearance of the black horsemen the
robbing of disables and not least the news that stride of the Ranger had
joined the mysterious ovens made such a tale as would last for many uneventful
years most of the inhabitants of Bree in state’ll and many even from Carla and
Archard were crowded in the road to see the travellers start the other guests in
the end we’re at the doors are hanging out of the windows Shradha had changed
his mind and he decided to leave Bree by the mane
any attempt to set up a cross country at once would only make matters worse
half the inhabitants would follow them to see what they were up to and to
prevent them from trespassing they said farewell to knob and Bobby and took
leave of mr. butterbur with many thanks I hope we should meet again someday when
things are merry once more said Frodo I should like nothing better than to
stay in your house in peace for a while they tramped off anxious and downhearted
under the eyes of the crown not all the faces were friendly nor all the words
that were shouted but Strider seemed to be held in awe by most of the Breen
lenders and those that he stared at shut their mouths and ran away he walked in front with Frodo Mexica
merry and pippin and last came Sam meeting the package was laden with as
much of their baggage as they had hard to give it but already it looked less
dejected as if it approved of the change in its fortunes Sam was chewing a NAPA
thoughtful eager he had a pocket full of them a parting present from the nahban
bobbing apples for walking in a pipe for sitting I said I reckon I’ll miss them
both before the hobbits took no notice of the inquisitive heads that peeped out
flaws were popped over walls and fences as they passed but as they drew near to
the further gate Frodo saw a dark ill-kept house behind a
thick hedge the last house in the village in one of the windows he caught
a glimpse of a sallow face with sly slanting eyes but it vanished at once that’s where the Tsar was hiding he
thought he looks more like half a goblin over the hedge another man was steering
building he had heavy black brows and dark scornful eyes his large mouth
curled in a sneer he was smoking a short black pipe as
they approached he took it out of his mouth and spat warn in Longshanks
he said o Furley found some friends at last let’s try the non did it did not
answer Paul in my little friends said to the others I suppose you know who you’ve
taken up with and stick it not strive that ease I’ve heard of the names not so
pretty watch out tonight and you SEM a go wheel treating my poor old Paul de ba
he spat again Sam turned quickly and you ferny he said put your ugly face out of
sight or it will get hurt the sudden flick quick as lightning an apple left
his hand and hit bill square on the nose he ducked too late and curses came from
behind the hedge said Sam regretfully and strode on alas they left the village behind the
escort of children and stragglers that had followed them got tired and turned
back at the South Gate passing through they kept on along the road for some
miles it bent to the left curving back into its eastern lines as it rounded the
feet of real Hill and then it began to run swiftly downwards into wooden
country to their left they could see some of the houses and hobbit holes of
stand on the gentler south eastern slopes of the hill down in a deep hollow
away north of the road there was wisps of rising smoke that showed where the
cone lay Archard was hidden in the trees beyond after the road had run down some
way and had left Bree Hill standing tall and brown behind they came to a narrow
track that led off towards the north this is where we leave the open and take
to cover it’s Australia not a shortcut I hope said Pippin our last shortcut
through woods nearly ended in disaster laughs rider my cuts short or long don’t
go wrong you took a look up and down the road no one was in sight
and he led the way quickly down to all of the wooded valley his plan as far as
they could understand it without knowing the country was to go towards Archard at
first but to bear right and pass it on the
east and then to steer as straight as he could over the wildlands to Weathertop
hill in that way they would if all went well cut off a great loop of the road
which further on bent south was to avoid the mid-water marshes but of course they
would have to pass through the marshes themselves in Striders description of
them was not encouraging however in the meanwhile walkie was not
unpleasant indeed if had not been for the
disturbing events of the night before they would have enjoyed this part of the
journey better than any up to that time the Sun was shining clear but not too
hot the woods in the valley was still deer field full of color and seemed
peaceful and wholesome Schrader guided them confidently among the many crossing
paths and very left to themselves they would soon have been at loss he was
taking a wandering course with many turns and doublings to put off any
pursuit I said no I don’t think he will follow us himself he knows the land
round here well enough but he knows that he is not a match for me in the wood it
is what he may tell others that I’m afraid of I don’t suppose there are far
away if they think we have made for our church so much the better whether
because subscride is skilled or for some other reason they saw no sign and heard
no sign of any other living thing all that day neither two footed except birds
nor four footed except one Fox in a few squirrels the next day they began to
steer a steady course eastwards and still all was quiet and peaceful on the
third day out from Bree they came out of the Chetwood the land had been falling
steadily ever since they turned aside from the road and they now enter the
wide flat expanse of country much more difficult to manage they were far beyond
the borders of the Breland out in the pathless wilderness and drawing near to
the mid-water marshes the ground now became damp and in places boggy and
there and there they came upon pools and wide stretches of reeds and rushes
filled with the warbling of little hidden birds they had to pick their way
carefully to keep both dry footed and on the proper course at first they made
fair progress but as they went on their passage became slower and more dangerous
the marshes were bewildering in treacherous and there was no permanent
trail even for Rangers to find through their shifting Quagmire’s flies began to
torment them the air was full of clouds of tiny midges that crept up their
sleeves and breeches and into their hair Sam scratching his neck he spent a
miserable day in this lonely and unpleasant country their camping place
was damp cold and uncomfortable and the biting insects would not let them sleep
there were also abominable creatures haunting the reeds and tussocks and from
the sound of them were evening relatives of the cricket there were thousands of
em and they squeaked all around increasingly old the night until the
hobbits were nearly frantic the next day before was little better and the night
almost as comfortless wear the niqab Rica’s Sam Colton had been left behind
the midges still pursued them as Frodo late I burn unable to close his eyes it
seemed to him that far away there came a light in the eastern sky it flashed and
faded many times it was not the dawn but that was still some hours off what is the light he said to Strider who
had risen and was standing gazing ahead into the night answered just too distant
to make out just like I think that leaps up from the hilltops throw to lay down
again before a long while he could still see the white flashes and against them
the tall dark figure of Strider standing silent and watchful and last he passed
into an uneasy sleep they had not gone far from the fifth day when they left
the last straggling pools and reed beds of the marshes behind them the land
before them began steadily to rise again away in the distance eastward they could
now see a line of hills the highest of him was at the right of the line and a
little separated from the others he had a conical top slightly flattened
at the summit that is where the top sits rider the old road that we have left far
away to our right runs to the south of it and passes not far from its foot we
might reach it by noon tomorrow if we go straight towards it I suppose we had
better do so what do you mean asked Frodo I mean when we do get there but
surely we were hoping to find Gandalf there yes but hope is faint if he comes
this way at all he may not pass through breathe and so
he may not know what we are doing and anyway unless by luck we arrive almost
together we shall miss one another not be safe for him for us to wait there
long the riders fail to find us in the wilderness they’re likely to make for
Weathertop themselves commands a wide viewer all around indeed there are many
birds and beasts in this country that could see us as we stand there from that
hilltop not all the birds are to be trusted and there are other spies more
evil than they are the hobbits looked anxiously at the
distant Hills Sam looked up into the pale sky fearing
to see Hawks or Eagles hovering over them with bright unfriendly eyes oh you
do make me feel uncomfortable unknown some Strider he said what do you advise
us to do asked Frodo I think answer Strider slowly as if he was not quite
sure I think the best thing is to go as straight eastward from here as we can to
make for the line of Hills not for weather top there we can strike a path I
know that runs at their feet it will bring us to weather top from the north
and less openly then we shall see what we shall see all that day they plotted
along until the cold and early evening came down the land became drier and more
barren but mists and vapors lay behind them on the marshes a few melancholy
birds with piping and wailing until the round red Sun sank slowly into the
Western shadows then an empty silence fell
the hobbits thought of the soft light of a sunset glancing through the cheerful
windows of Bag End far away at the day’s end they came to a stream that wandered
down from the hills to lose itself in the stagnant marshland and they went up
along its banks while the night lasted it was already night where at last they
halted it may their camp under some stunted all the trees by the shores of
the stream ahead their loom now against the dusky sky the bleak in the treatise
backs of the hills that night they set a watch and Strider it seemed it did not
sleep at all the moon was waxing and in the early night hours a cold gray
lightly on the land next morning they set out again soon after sunrise
there was a frost in the air and the sky was a pale clear blue the hobbits felt
refreshed as if they had a night of unbroken sleep already they were getting
used to much walking on the short comments
George at any rate then wanted to shy they could have thought barely enough to
keep them on their names Pippen declared that Frodo was looking twice the Hobbit
than he had been Marriott so Frodo tightening his belt considering
there is actually a good deal less of me I hope the thinning process will not go
on indefinitely or I shall become a wraith do not speak of such things
so Strider quickly in the surprising earnestness the hills drew nearer they
made an undulating Ridge often rising almost to a thousand feet and here and
there falling again to low cliffs or passes leading into the Eastern land
beyond along the crest of the ridge the hobbits could see what looked to be the
remnants of green ground walls and dikes and inter-cluster still stood the ruins
of old works of stone by night they had reached the feet of the westward slopes
and there they camped it was the night of the 5th of October and they were six
days out from Bri in the morning they found for the first time since they had
left the Chetwood a tract plain to see they turned right and followed it
southwards it ran cunningly taking a line that seemed Showzen so as to keep
as much hidden as possible from view both of the hilltops above and of the
flats to the west it dived into Dells and hunt steep banks and where it passed
over flatter and more open ground on either side of it there were lines of
large boulders and hewn stones that screened the travel is almost like a
hinge I wonder who made this path and what for said Mary as they walked along
one of these avenues where the stones were unusually large and closely set I’m
not sure that I like it it has a well a rather barrow whitish look is there any
barrel on Weathertop no there is no barrel on Weathertop nor on any of these
hills Francis Strider the men of the West did
not live here though in their latter days they defended the hills for a while
against the evil that came out of hangman
this path was made to serve the fort’s along the walls but long before in the
first day of the Northern Kingdom they built a great watchtower on Weathertop
now on sewell they called it it was buried and broken and nothing remains of
it now but a tumbled ring like a rough crown on the old Hills head yet once it
was tall and fair it is told that Elendil stood there watching for the
coming of gil-galad out of the West in the days of the last Alliance the
hobbits gazed at Strider it seemed that he was learned in old law as well as in
the ways of the wild who are skilled Gaillard asked Mary that’s right I did
not answer and seemed to be lost in thought suddenly a low voice murmured
gil-galad was an elven king of him the harbour sadly sing the last whose realm
was fair and free between the mountains and the sea his sword was long his Lance
was keen his shining helm of Farr was seen the countless stars of heavens
field were mirrored in his silver shield but long ago he rode away and where he
dwelleth none can say for into darkness fell his star in Mordor where the
shadows are the others turned in amazement for the voice was Sam’s don’t
stop said Mary that’s all I know stammered Sam blushing I learned it from
mr. Bilbo when I was lad he should tell me tales like that now how I was always
one for hearing about elves it was mr. Bilbo has taught me my letters he was
mighty book-learned was dear old mr. Bilbo and he wrote poetry he wrote what
I’ve just said he did not make it up said Strider it is part of the lay that
is called a fall of gil-galad which is an ancient
tongue builder must have translated it I never knew that there was a lot more
since Sam it’s all about Mordor I didn’t learn that part it gave me shivers I
never thought I should be going that way myself going to Mordor cried Pippin I
hope you won’t come to that do not speak that name sold out Lee said
Strider it was already midday when they drew
nearer the south and end of the path and saw before them in the pale clear light
of the October Sun a grey green bank leading up like a bridge on the north
wooden slope of the hill they decided to make for the top at once while the
daylight was broad concealment was no longer possible they could only hope
that no enemy or spy was observing them nothing was to be seen moving on the
hill if Gandalf was anywhere about there was no sign of him on the western flank
of Weathertop they found a sheltered Hollow at the bottom of which there was
a bowl shaped Dell with grassy signs there they left Sam and Pippin with the
pony and their packs and luggage the other three went on after half an hour’s
plodding climb Strider reached the crown of the hill Frodo and Mary followed and
tired and breathless the last slope had been steep and rocky on the top they
found a Strider had said a wide ring of ancient stone work now crumbling or
covered with aged long grass but in the center a current of broken stones had
been piled they were blackened as if with fire
about them the turf was burned into the roots and old within the ring the grass
was scorched and shriveled as if flames had swept the hilltop but there was no
sign of any living thing standing upon the rim of the ruined circle they saw
all around below than a wide prospect for the most part of lands empty and
featureless except for patches of woodland away to the south beyond which
they caught here and there the glint of distant water they ran like a ribbet the
old road coming out of the west and winding up and down until it faded
behind a ridge of dark land to the east nothing was moving on it
following its line eastward with their eyes they saw the mountains the nearer
foothills were brown in Samba behind them stood taller shapes of grey and
behind those again were high white Peaks glimmering among the clouds well here we
are said Mary and vary cheerless and
uninviting it looks there is no water and no shelter and no sign of Gandalf
but I don’t blame him for not waiting if he ever came here
I wonder said Strider looking around thoughtfully even if he was a day or two
behind us at Breen he could have arrived here first he can ride very swiftly when
he presses suddenly he stooped and looked at the stone on the top of the
car it was flatter than the others and
whiter as if it had escaped the fire he picked it up and examined it turning it
with his fingers this has been handled recently he said what do you think of
these marks on the flat underside Frodo saw sand
scratches there seems to be a stroke adopt and three more strokes he said the
stroke on the left might be a Chiru with thin branches as it strata it might be a
sign left by Gandalf though one cannot be sure the scratches are fine and they
certainly look fresh but the marks might mean something quite different and have
nothing to do with us Rangers use runes and they come here
sometimes what could they mean even if Gandalf made them last Mary I should say
when said Strider they stood for g3 and we’re a sign that Gandalf was here
October the 3rd that is three days ago now it’ll also show that he was in a
hurry in danger was at hand so that he had no time and did not dare to write
anything longer a plainer if that is so we must be wary I wish we could feel
sure that he made these marks whatever they may mean said Frodo it would be a
great comfort to know that he was on the way in front of us or behind us perhaps
since Rider for myself I believe that he was here
and he was in danger they have been scorching flames here and now the night
that we saw three nights ago and the eastern sky comes back to my mind I
guess that he was attacked on this hilltop but with what result I cannot
tell he is here no longer we must now look after ourselves and make our own
way to Rivendell as best we can how far is Rivendell asked Mary gazing
around wearily the world looked wild and why from whither top
I do not know if the road has ever been measured in miles beyond the Forsaken in
a day’s journey east of Bree ancestry de some say it is so far and some say
otherwise it is a strange road and folk are glad to reach their journey’s end
whether the time is long or short but I know how long it would take me on my own
feet with fair weather no ill fortune twelve days from here to the ford of
bruinen in’ where the road crosses the wild water that runs out of Rivendell
we have at least a fortnight’s journey before us but I do not think that we
shall be able to use the road before at night so Frodo I thought may happen in
that time it may said Strider they stood for a while silent on the
hilltop near its southward edge in that lonely place Frodo for the first time
fully realized his homelessness in danger he wished bitterly that his
fortune had left him in the quiet and beloved Shire he stared down at the
hateful road leading back westward to his home suddenly he was aware that two
black specks were moving slowly along it going westward and looking again he saw
the three others were creeping eastward to meet them he gave a cry and clutched
Ryder’s arm look he said pointing downwards at once Strider flung himself
on the ground behind the rune circle pulling Frodo down beside him
Mary threw himself alongside what is it she whispered the worst Isis rider
slowly they crawled up to the edge of the ring again and peered through a
cleft between two jagged stones the light was no longer bright for the clear
morning it faded and clouds creeping up from the east had now overtaken the Sun
as it began to go down they could all see the black specks
but neither Frodo nor Mary could make out the shapes for certain it’s
something told them that there far below were black riders assembling on the road
beyond the foot of the hill yes said Strider who’s kena site left
him in no doubt the enemy is here hastily they crept away and slipped down
the north side of the hill to find their companions salmon Peregrine had not been
idle they had explored the small Dell and
surrounding slopes not far away they found the spring of clear water in the
hillside and near its footprints not more than a day or two old in the Dell
itself they found recent traces of a fire in some signs of a hasty camp there
was some fallen rocks on the edge of the Dell nearest to the hill behind them Sam
came upon a small stone of firewood neatly stacked I wonder if all Gandalf
has been here he said to Pittman whoever it was put this stuff here meant to come
back it seems miss Ryder was greatly interested in these discoveries I wish I
had waited explore the ground down here myself
he said hurrying off the spring to examine the footprints it is just as I
feared he said when he came back Sam and Pippin have trampled the soft ground and
the marks are spoiled or confused Rangers have been here lately it is they
who left the firewood behind but there are also several newer tracks that were
not made by Rangers at least one set was made only a day or two ago by heavy
boots at least one I cannot now be certain but I think there were many
booted feet he paused and stood in ancients thought
each of the hobbits saw in his mind a vision of the cloaked and booted riders
if the horsemen had already found the del the soonest ride and led them
somewhere else the better Sam viewed the hollow with great dislike
now that he had heard news of their enemies on the road only a few miles
away had we better it’ll clear out quick mr. Strider
he asked impatiently it is getting late I don’t like the hold it makes my heart
sing somehow yes we certainly must decide what to do
at once answer Strider looking up and considering the time and the weather
well Sam he said at last I do not like this place either but I cannot think of
anywhere better than we could reach before nightfall at least we are out of
sight for the moment and if we move we should be much more likely to be seen by
spies all we could do would be to go right out of our way back north on this
side of the line of hills where the land is old much the same as it is here the
road is watched but we should have to cross it if we try to take cover in the
thickness away to the south on the north side of the road beyond the hills the
country is bare and flat for miles can riders see past Barry I mean they seem
usually to use their noses rather than their eyes smelling for us is smelling
as the right word at least in the daylight but you made us lie down flat
when you saw them down below and now you talk of being seen if we move I was too
careless on the hilltop remnants Australia I was very interest to find
some sign of Gandalf but it was a mistake for three of us to go up and
stand there for so long for the black horses can see and the riders can use
men and other creatures as spies as we found at bree they themselves to not see
the world of light as we do but our shapes casts shadows in their minds
which only the noon Sun destroys and in the dark they perceive many signs and
forms that are hidden from us then they are most to be feared
and at all times they smell the blood of living things desiring and hating it
senses – there are other than sight or smell we can feel their presence it
troubled our hearts as soon as we came here and before we saw them they feel
ours much more keenly also he added and his voice sank to a whisper the ring
draws them is there no escape then said Frodo looking round wildly if I move I
shall be seen at a haunted if I stay I shall draw them to me just write a
lady’s hand on his shoulder there is still hope he said you are not alone let
us take this wood that is set ready for the fire as a sign there is little
shelter or defence here but fire shall serve for both Sauron can put fire to
his evil uses as he can all things but these riders do not love it and fear
those who wield it fire is our friend in the wilderness might be muttered Sam but
it’s also a good way of saying here we are as I can think of bar shouting down in the lower and most sheltered
corner of the Dell they lit a fire and prepared a meal the shades of evening
began to fall and it grew cold they were suddenly aware of great hunger for they
had not eaten anything since breakfast but they dared not make more than a
frugal supper the lands ahead were empty of all save birds and beasts and
friendly places deserted by all the races of the world
Rangers past at times beyond the hills but they were few and did not stay other
Wanderers were rare and of evil sword trolls might stray down at times out of
the northern valleys of the Misty Mountains only to the road were
travelers be found most often dwarves hurrying along on business of their own
and with no help and few words to spare for strangers I don’t see how our food
can be made to last since Frodo we’ve been careful enough in
the last few days and this sucker is no feast but we have used more than we
ought if we have two weeks still to go and perhaps more there is food in the
wild saw Strider very root and herb and I have some skill as a hunter in need
you need not be afraid of solving before winter comes
but gathering and catching food is long and weary work and we need taste so
tighten your belts and think with hope of the tables of Elrod’s house the cold
increased as darkness came on puring out from the edge of the Dell they could see
nothing but a Grail and now vanishing quickly into shadow the sky above had
cleared again and was slowly filled with twinkling stars Frodo and his companions
huddled around the fire wrapped in every garment and blanket they possessed but
Strider was content with a single cloak and sat a little apart drawing
thoughtfully at his pipe as night fell in the light of the fire began to shine
out brightly he began to tell them tales to keep their minds from fear he knew
many histories and legends of long ago of elves and men and the good and evil
deeds of the elder days they wondered how old he was and where he had learned
all this law tell us of gil-galad said Mary suddenly when he paused at the end
of a story of the elf kingdoms do you know any more of that old lay that you
spoke of I do indeed answer Strider so also does Frodo for it concerns us
closely Merry and Pippin looked at Frodo who was
staring into the fire I know only the little that Gandalf has told me said
Frodo slowly gil-galad was the last of the great elf kings of middle-earth
gil-galad his starlight in the air tongue with Ellendale the old friend he
went to the land of maril said Strider interrupting I do not think that tale
should be told now with the service of the enemy at hand we went through to the
house of Elrond you may hear it there told and for then tell us some other
tale of the old days Big Sam a tale about elves before the failing time I
would dearly like to hear some more about elves the dark seems to press
around so close I will tell you the tale of tinuviel said Strider in brief for it
is a long tale but which the end is not known and there are none now except
Elrond that remember it a right as it was told of old means a fair tale though
it is sad as are all the tales of middle-earth and yet it may lift up your
hearts he was silent for some time and then he began not to speak but a chance
softly ladies were long the grass was green the hemlock on those tall and fair
and in the glade a light was seen of stars and shadows shimmering tinuviel
was dancing there too music of a pipe on scene and light of stars was in her hair
and in arraignment delivery the Baron came from Alton’s cold and lost he
wandered under leaves and where the elven river road and he walked alone and
sorrowing he peered between the hemlock leaves and so and wander flowers of gold
upon her mantle and her Steve’s and her hair like shadow following enchantment
healed his very feet but over Hills her doom into Rome and forth he haste and
strong and fleet and Rastatt moonbeams glistening through move in woods in
melvin home she slightly flared on dancing feet and left him lonely still
to roam in the silent Forest listening he heard they’re off the flying sound of
fleet as light as linden leaves or music welling underground in hidden hollows
quavering now withered lay the hem not leaves and at one by one with sighing
sound whispering fell the beaches leaves and the wintry woodland wavering he
sought her ever wandering far where leaves of years were thickly strewn by
light of Moon and ray of star in frosty heavens shivering her mantle glinted in
the moon as on a hilltop high and far she danced and at her feet was strewn a
mist of silver quivering when River passed she came again and her song
released a sudden spring like rising dark and falling rain and melting
bubbling he saw the Elven flowers spring about her feet and healed again long by
her to dance and sing upon the grass on troubling again she fled but swift he
came to New VL tinuviel he called her by her elvish name and there she halted
listening one moment stood she and a spell his
voice laid on her barren came and doom for long to reveal that in his arms lay
glistening as Baron looked into her eyes within the shadows of her hair a
trembling starlight of the skies he saw there mirrored shimmery tinuviel the
elfin fair immortal maiden elven wise about him cast her shadowy hair and arms
like silver glimmering long was the way that faith involved her stony mountains
cold and gray in Falls of iron and darkling door and woods of nightshade
more or less the Sundering seas between them they and yet at last they met once
more and long ago they passed away in the forest singing sorrow let’s try the
side and pause before he spoke again that is called Anthony off among Theo’s
but it’s hard to remember in our common speech but this is but a rough echo of
it he tells of the meeting of Baron son of Barra here and Luthien tinuviel
Theron was a mortal man but Luthien was the daughter of thingö a king of elves
upon middle-earth where the world was young and she was the fairest maiden
that has ever been among all the children of this world as the stars
above the mists of the northern lands was their loveliness and in her face was
a shining night in those days a great enemy of whom Sauron of Mordor was but a
servant dwelt in a hanging abandoned in the north and the elves of the west
coming back to middle-earth made war upon him to regain the silver it which
he had stolen and the fathers of men aided the elves but the enemy was
victorious and bara here was slain and Baron escaping through great peril came
over the mountains of terror into the kingdom of thing gone in the forests of
Nell dureth there he beheld lúthien singing and dancing in a Glade beside
the enchanted River as Gale doing and he named her tinuviel that is the
nightingale at the language of old many sorrows befell them afterwards and they
were parted long tinuviel rescued bearing from the dungeons of Sauron and
together they passed through the great dangers and cast down even the great
enemy from his throne and took from his iron crown one of the three syllables
brightest of all jewels to be the bride price of lúthien to think all her father
at last baron was slain by the wolf that came from the gates of an bond and he
died in the arms of tinuviel but she chose mortality and to die from
the world so that she might follow him it is sung that they’ve met again beyond
the Sundering seas and after a brief time walking alive once more in the
green woods together they passed long ago beyond the confines of this world so
it is that Luthien tinuviel alone of the elf kindred has died indeed and left the
world and they have lost her whom they most loved but from her lineage of the
elf lords of old descended upon men their lives still those of whom lúthien
was the for mother and it is said that her line shall never fail Elrond of
Rivendell is of that kin for of Beren and lúthien was borned your your thing
goes there and of him L winged the white whom arendelle wedded her he had sailed
his ship out of the mists of the world into the seas of heaven with the silver
of upon his brow and of arendelle came the kings of númenor at his West Ernest
Estrada was speaking they watched his strange eager face dimly lit with the
red glow of the wood fire his eyes shone and his voice was rich in deep above him
was a black starry sky suddenly a pale light appeared of the crown and further
top behind him the waxing moon was climbing slowly above the hill that
foreshadowed them and the stars above the hilltop faded the story ended the
hobbits moved and stretched look said Mary the moon is rising it must be
getting late the others looked up even as they did so
they saw on the top of the hill something small in dark against the
glimmer of the moonrise it was perhaps only a strange stone or jutting rocks
shown up by the pale light Sam and Mary got up and walked away from the fire
Frodo and Pippin remained seated in silence Strider was watching the
moonlight on the hill intently all seemed quiet and still the photofiltre
called dread creeping over his heart now this rider was no longer speaking
he huddled closer to the fire at that moment Sam came running back from the
edge of the Dell I don’t know what it is he said but I suddenly felt that afraid
I didn’t go outside this Jail for any money
I felt I felt that something was creeping up the slope did you see
anything past Frodo springing to his feet no sir I saw nothing but I did not
stop to look I saw something said Mary or I thought I did
away Wester is where the moonlight was falling on the flats beyond the shadow
of the hilltops I thought there were two or three black shapes they seem to be
moving this way peep goes to the fire with her faces outward cried Strider get
some of the longer sticks ready in your hands for breathless time they sat there
silent an alert with their backs turned to the wood fire
each gazing into the shadows that encircled them there was no sound of
movement in the night photo stirred feeling that he must break the silence
longed to shout aloud – whispered Strider what’s that gasp Pippin at the
same moment over the lip of the little Dell on the side away from the hill they
felt rather than saw a shadow rise one shadow or more than one they strained
their eyes and the shadows seemed to grow soon there could be no doubt feathers were standing nope looking down
so black were they that they seemed like black holes in the deep shade behind
them would have thought that he heard the faint hiss has a venomous breath and
felt a thin piercing chill then the shape slowly advanced terror overcame
Pippen and berry and they threw themselves flat on the ground
Sam shrank to Frodo side and Frodo was hardly less terrified than his
companions he was quaking as if it was bitter cold but his terror was followed
up in a sudden temptation to put on the ring the desire to do this laid hold of
him and he could think of nothing else he did not forget the barrel or the
message of granteth but something seemed to be compelling him to disregard all
warnings and he longed to yield not with the hope of escape or of doing anything
either good or bad he simply felt that he must take the ring and put it on his
finger would not speak felt Sam looking at him
that his master was in some great trouble but he could not turn towards
him he shut his eyes and struggled for a while but the resistance became
unbearable and at last his slowly drew out the chain and slip the ring and the
four fingers immediately though everything else
remained as before dim and dark the shapes became terribly clear he was able
to see them if they’re black wrappings there were five tall figures to standing
on the lip of the Dell three advancing with their white faces burned keen and
merciless eyes under their Mantle’s were long grain roads upon their gray hairs
with elders of silver and their Haggard hands were swords of steel their eyes
fell on him and pierced him as they rushed towards him desperate who drew
his own sword and it seemed to him that it flickered red as if it was a
firebrand two of the figures halted the third was
taller than the others his hair was long and evening and on his helm was a crowd
in one hand he held a long sword and in the other
both the knife in the hand that held it glowed in the pale light he sprang
forward and bore down on Frodo at that moment Frodo threw himself forward on
the ground and he heard himself crying aloud at the same time he struck at the
feet of his enemy he felt a pain like a dart of poisoned ice pierce his left
shoulder even as he spooned he caught as through
a swirling list of glimpse of strider leaping out of the darkness with a flail
a bland of wood in either hand with a last effort Frodo dropping his sword
slipped the ring from his finger and closed his right hand tight upon it

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