Feb 26 2020, 12:26pm
Today in Middle-earth
TIME - February 26
The Breaking of the Fellowship.
1. Death of Boromir; his horn is heard in Minas Tirith.
(from the appendices)
..."Aragorn sprang swiftly away and went in pursuit of Sam. Just as he reached the little lawn among the rowans he overtook him, toiling uphill, panting and calling, Frodo!
... 'Come with me, Sam!' he said. 'None of us should be alone. There is mischief about. I feel it. I am going to the top, to the Seat of Amon Hen, to see what may be seen.... ...Follow me, and keep your eyes open!' He sped up the path.
...Sam did his best, but he could not keep up with Strider the Ranger, and soon fell behind. He had not gone far before Aragorn was out of sight ahead. Sam stopped and puffed. Suddenly he clapped his hand to his head.
... 'Whoa, Sam Gamgee... ...Your legs are too short, so use your head! Let me see now! Boromir isn't lying, that's not his way; but he hasn't told us everything. Something scared Mr. Frodo badly. He screwed himself up to the point, sudden. He made up his mind at last—to go. Where to? Off East. Not without Sam? Yes, without even his Sam. That's hard, cruel hard.'
... Sam passed his hand over his eyes, brushing away the tears. 'Steady, Gamgee!' he said. 'Think, if you can! He can't fly across rivers, and he can't jump waterfalls. He's got no gear. So he's got to get back to the boats... ...Back to the boats, Sam, like lightning!'
... Sam turned and bolted back down the path. He fell and cut his knees. Up he got and ran on. He came to the edge of the lawn of Parth Galen by the shore, where the boats were drawn up out of the water. No one was there. There seemed to be cries in the woods behind, but he did not heed them. He stood gazing for a moment, stock-still, gaping. A boat was sliding down the bank all by itself. With a shout Sam raced across the grass. The boat slipped into the water....
... '...I read the signs aright,' [Aragorn] said to himself. 'Frodo ran to the hill-top. I wonder what he saw there? But he returned by the same way, and went down the hill again.'
...Aragorn hesitated. He desired to go to the high seat himself, hoping to see there something that would guide him in his perplexities; but time was pressing. Suddenly he leaped forward, and ran to the summit, across the great flag-stones, and up the steps. Then sitting in the high seat he looked out....
......Even as he gazed, his quick ears caught sounds in the woodlands below, on the west side of the River. He stiffened. There were cries... ...to his horror, he could distinguish the harsh voices of Orcs. Then suddenly with a deep-throated call a great horn blew, and the blasts of it smote the hills and echoed in the hollows, rising in a mighty shout above the roaring of the falls.
... 'The horn of Boromir!' he cried. 'He is in need!' He sprang down the steps and away, leaping down the path. 'Alas! An ill fate is on me this day, and all that I do goes amiss. Where is Sam?'"
..."As he ran the cries came louder, but fainter now and desperately the horn was blowing. Fierce and shrill rose the yells of the Orcs, and suddenly the horn-calls ceased. Aragorn raced down the last slope, but before he could reach the hill's foot, the sounds died away; and as he turned to the left and ran towards them they retreated, until at last he could hear them no more. Drawing his bright sword and crying Elendil! Elendil! he crashed through the trees.
...A mile, maybe, from Parth Galen in a little glade not far from the lake he found Boromir. He was sitting with his back to a great tree, as if he was resting. But Aragorn saw that he was pierced with many black-feathered arrows; his sword was still in his hand, but it was broken near the hilts; this horn cloven in two was at his side. Many Orcs lay slain, piled all about him and at his feet.
... Aragorn knelt beside him. Boromir opened his eyes and strove to speak. At last slow words came. 'I tried to take the Ring from Frodo,' he said. 'I am sorry. I have paid.' His glance strayed to his fallen enemies; twenty at least lay there. 'They have gone: the Halflings: the Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them.' He paused and his eyes closed wearily. After a moment he spoke again.
... 'Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.'"
...[Faramir speaking with Frodo in Ithilien] "'Five days ere I set out on this venture, eleven days ago at about this hour of the day, I heard the blowing of that horn: from the northward it seemed, but dim, as if it were but an echo in the mind. A boding of ill we thought it, my father and I, for no tidings had we heard of Boromir since he went away, and no watcher on our borders had seen him pass.'"
2. Meriadoc and Peregrin captured.
(from the appendices)
... "...[Pippin] and Merry had run off into the woods. What had come over them? ...suddenly they had crashed right into a group of Orcs... ...and dozens of other goblins had sprung out of the trees. Merry and he had drawn their swords, but the Orcs did not wish to fight, and had tried only to lay hold of them, even when Merry had cut off several of their arms and hands...!
... ...Then Boromir had come leaping through the trees. He had made them fight. He slew many of them and the rest fled. But they had not gone far on the way back when they were attacked again, by a hundred Orcs at least... ...and they shot a rain of arrows: always at Boromir. Boromir had blown his great horn till the woods rang, and at first the orcs had been dismayed and had drawn back; but when no answer but the echoes came, they had attacked more fiercely than ever. Pippin did not remember much more. His last memory was of Boromir leaning against a tree, plucking out an arrow; then darkness fell suddenly."
3. Frodo and Samwise enter the eastern Emyn Muil.
(from the appendices)
... "'Coming, Mr. Frodo! Coming!' called Sam, and flung himself from the bank, clutching at the departing boat. He missed it by a yard. With a cry and a splash he fell face downward into deep swift water. Gurgling he went under, and the River closed over his curly head.
... An exclamation of dismay came from the empty boat... ...Frodo was just in time to grasp Sam by the hair as he came up, bubbling and struggling. Fear was staring in his round brown eyes.
... 'Up you come, Sam my lad!' said Frodo. 'Now take my hand!'
... 'Save me, Mr. Frodo!' gasped Sam. 'I'm drownded. I can't see your hand.'
... 'Here it is. Don't pinch, lad! I won't let you go. Tread water and don't flounder, or you'll upset the boat...'
......With a few strokes Frodo brought the boat back to the bank, and Sam was able to scramble out, wet as water-rat. Frodo took off the Ring and stepped ashore again.
...'Of all the confounded nuisances you are the worst, Sam!' he said.
... 'Oh, Mr. Frodo, that's hard!' said Sam shivering. 'That's hard, trying to go without me and all. If I hadn't a guessed right, where would you be now?'
... 'Safely on my way....'
...'...All alone and without me to help you? I couldn't have a borne it, it'd have been the death of me.'
... 'It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam,' said Frodo, 'and I could not have borne that.'
... 'Not as certain as being left behind,' said Sam.
... 'But I am going to Mordor.'
... 'I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I'm coming with you.'
...'Now, Sam,' said Frodo, 'don't hinder me! The others will be coming back at any minute. If they catch me here, I shall have to argue and explain, and I shall never have the heart or the chance to get off. But I must go at once. It's the only way.'
... 'Of course it is,' answered Sam. 'But not alone. I'm coming too, or neither of us isn't going. I'll knock holes in all the boats first.'
... Frodo actually laughed. A sudden warmth and gladness touched his heart. 'Leave one!' he said. 'We'll need it....'
......So Frodo and Sam set off on the last stage of the Quest together. Frodo paddled away from the shore... ...past the frowning cliffs of Tol Brandir. The roar of the great falls drew nearer. Even with such help as Sam could give, it was hard work to pass across the current... ...and drive the boat eastward towards the far shore.
... At length they came to land again upon the southern slopes of Amon Lhaw.... ...Then shouldering their burdens, they set off, seeking a path that would bring them over the grey hills of the Emyn Muil, and down into the Land of Shadow."
4. Aragorn sets out in pursuit of the Orcs at evening.
(from the appendices)
... "'No other folk make such a trampling,' said Legolas. 'It seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way.'
... 'But they go with a great speed for all that,' said Aragorn, 'and they do not tire. And later we may have to search for our path in hard bare lands.'
... 'Well, after them!' said Gimli. 'Dwarves too can go swiftly, and they do not tire sooner than Orcs. But it will be a long chase: they have a long start.'
... 'Yes,' said Aragorn, 'we shall all need the endurance of Dwarves. But come! With hope or without hope we will follow the trail of our enemies... ...We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel among the Three Kindreds: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Forth the Three Hunters!'
... Like a deer he sprang away... ...On and on he led them, tireless and swift, now that his mind was at last made up. The woods about the lake they left behind. Long slopes they climbed, dark, hard-edged against the sky already red with sunset. Dusk came. They passed away, grey shadows in a stony land."
5. Éomer hears of the descent of the Orc-band from the Emyn Muil.
(from the appendices)
... "'Indeed in this riding north I went without the king's leave, for in my absence his house is left with little guard. But scouts warned me of the orc-host coming down out of the East Wall... and among them they reported that some bore the white badges of Saruman."
6. Frodo's ordeal on Amon Hen.
(not from the appendices)
... "And suddenly he felt the Eye. There was an eye in the Dark Tower that did not sleep. He knew that it had become aware of his gaze. A fierce eager will was there. It leaped towards him... ...searching for him. Very soon it would nail him down, know just exactly where he was, Amon Lhaw it touched. It glanced upon Tol Brandir—he threw himself from the seat, crouching, covering his head with his grey hood.
... He heard himself crying out: Never, never! Or was it: Verily I come, I come to you? He could not tell. Then as a flash from some other point of power there came to his mind another thought: Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring!'
... The two powers strove in him.... ...perfectly balanced between their piercing points, he writhed, tormented. Suddenly he was aware of himself again. Frodo, neither the Voice nor the Eye: free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so. He took the Ring off his finger. He was kneeling in clear sunlight before the high seat. A black shadow seemed to pass like an arm above him; it missed Amon Hen and groped out west, and faded. Then all the sky was clean and blue and birds sang in every tree."
7. Gandalf aids Frodo in his struggle on Amon Hen.
(not from the appendices)
... "'I sat in a high place, and I strove with the Dark Tower; and the Shadow passed. Then I was weary, very weary; and I walked long in dark thought.'"
We have been there and back again.
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