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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."

TTT: The Departure of Boromir

~oOo~

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~oOo~

Headlong is our flight, though we are hindered in it. We duck beneath low-hanging eaves and charge through alleys, kicking up stones and dust, not daring more speed than safe passage will allow until at last we leave the houses of the Angle’s square behind. Only then when the fallow fields open before us, with the light from Ranger Mathil’s torch passing swiftly upon the night, do we dare set the horses to full galloping. Yet still, by the heaving of Bachor's breast beneath my grip and the sounds that whip past my ears, I know him to be cursing for the slowness of our pace.
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But everywhere he looked he saw the signs of war. The Misty Mountains were crawling like anthills: orcs were issuing out of a thousand holes.

FOTR: The Breaking of the Fellowship

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~oOo~


I no longer smell the smoke, though I doubt not its acrid scent yet clings to my dress and hair. My very skin bears its traces and I know myself not unmarked.

Ai! Nienna of the Countless Tears, have pity on us, I pray!
Continued here )
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'Then I cannot help you much, not even with counsel,' said Elrond. 'I can foresee very little of your road; and how your task is to be achieved I do not know. The Shadow has crept now to the feet of the Mountains, and draws nigh even to the borders of Greyflood; and under the Shadow all is dark to me.'

FOTR: The Ring Goes South

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The hall is quiet. So still are we here Elenir's gentle breathing can be heard over the snapping of the fire and the rasp of Halbarad's knife.
Continued here )
Table of Contents
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You will meet many foes, some open, and some disguised; and you may find friends upon your way when you least look for it.

FOTR: The Ring Goes South

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Whatever could that be?

I halt of a sudden upon the path and my son bumps into my leg.

"Ammë?" he asks, peering up at me.

But I spare him no mind, for a great shouting and an ox bawling in vexation has reached my ears. Down the line of ploughmen and cotters comes the sound of voices raised in anger. Heads turn as men scramble away from their source and a murmuring as the wind rising through the pines runs through them.
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Dust rose smothering the air, as from nearby there marched up an army of Easterlings that had waited for the signal in the shadows of Ered Lithui beyond the further Tower. Down from the hills on either side of the Morannon poured Orcs innumerable. The men of the West were trapped, and soon, all about the grey mounds where they stood, forces ten times and more than ten times their match would ring them in a sea of enemies.

ROTK: The Black Gate Opens

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"And have a care for how you close –"

The door to the buttery slams shut upon my words, shaking the very walls upon which it is hung.

"Edainion!" I cry, but the lad is long beyond hearing. No doubt his feet took him quickly through the garden and down to the old oak where he was wont to sit when his mother makes him of a mind to sulk.
Continued here )
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'Few now remember them,' Tom murmured, 'yet still some go wandering, sons of forgotten kings walking in loneliness, guarding from evil things folk that are heedless.'

FOTR: Fog on the Barrow-Downs

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"Ara-gost, Ara-vorn, Ara-had," my son laboriously recites, checking over his work, for I have set him to putting to memory the lines of the Kings of the Northkingdom and the Chieftains of the Dúnedain.

We sit together after the evening meal, my lord's table lit by candles, he with his lessons and I with my journal. For it has rained all through the day and looks to continue through the night. My child has been restless. He played upon the floor about the hearth, lining his carved figures into battles and I was much pressed to pay no heed to his harsh yells and the clatter of his toys. When that no longer held his mind, he donned the rough quilted tunic I had made for him, its folds filled with river-sand to accustom his young limbs to the weight, and took up his wooden sword.
Continued here )
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Then she fell on her knees, saying: ‘I beg thee!’

‘Nay, lady,’ he said, and taking her by the hand he raised her. Then he kissed her hand, and sprang into the saddle, and rode away, and did not look back; and only those who knew him well and were near to him saw the pain that he bore.


ROTK: The Passing of the Grey Company

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My lord's son was indeed naked and slippery, wet from his hours spent in the garden with Elesinda. She looked the worse of the two, spattered with water and red-faced with the sun.

"Master Edainion!" she scolded when he leapt from the tub, slopping his bath upon her skirts.

"Atto!" cried he, and at the sight my lord's face was no less bright than his son's.

He ran to his father, who dropped the bundle of reeds and string of river perch he carried to greet him, the boy leaping into his embrace. Laughing, my lord kissed the nose that turned up to him and complained his son was more difficult to catch than the fish he would have for his supper.
Continued here )
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'But I must admit,' he added with a queer laugh, 'that I hoped you would take to me for my own sake. A hunted man sometimes wearies of distrust and longs for friendship.'

FOTR: Strider

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The sun beats upon my head so that the hair on my neck is a torture. I cannot bear to wear a scarf about my head and so have abandoned it. Still, though I wear my hair in a braid as always, errant strands cling to my skin. They itch and tickle and I push at them, wishing I had thought to coil their length atop my head. Ah, but it is hot! My very shift seems as a second skin pasted to my back. The current rushes burbling against my knees as I gingerly balance my bare feet on the river stones. The distant rattling beat of a woodpecker echoes over the river and, when I scoop up cool water and pat it upon my face and beneath the line of my shift, I search the trees for the bird's telltale flicker.
Continued here )
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‘That is the road to the vales of Tumladen and Lossarnach, and the mountain-villages, and then on to Lebennin,’ said Beregond. ‘There go the last of the wains that bear away to refuge the aged, the children, and the women that must go with them. They must all be gone from the Gate and the road clear for a league before noon: that was the order. It is a sad necessity.’ He sighed. ‘Few, maybe, of those now sundered will meet again.’

ROTK: Minas Tirith

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Ah, I daresay you have not felt such a tiresome wearing of the hours.

The people of the Angle, aged and young, stretch and rise from the soil upon the day's grey dawning. A coughing has awakened me and I can hear them from within our small nest of baskets and blankets where have curled my son and I. Ah, but the folk press ever around and there is no place of quiet and rest. And now all about is damp and chill, and the sheep and cattle protest the lack of pasture from their paddocks. For it had rained in the night, great black-bellied clouds drifting above us as the barges upon the Bruinen of my youth.
Continued here )
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Legolas stood before the gate and turned his bright eyes away north and east, and his fair face was troubled. ‘I do not think that any would come,’ he answered. ‘They have no need to ride to war; war already marches on their own lands.’

ROTK: The Passing of the Grey Company

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"Have you naught you would say, Master Bachor?"

The man sighs, running a hand through his dark hair.

"I am unsure whether any word of mine shall have a bearing on this matter, my lady," he says.
Continued here )
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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.

TTT: The Departure of Boromir

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~oOo~


Footsteps and voices drift from the hall below me. I sigh and bury my face in the pillow, pulling it closer.

“My lady!” a voice calls, but still I am adrift in sleep, sunk beneath its warm blanket. Beyond the windows, rain falls in a steady patter and the cold night air seeks to slip through the shutters and winter rugs. My son stirs in his sleep upon his small mattress and then falls still.
Continued here )
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It was the pride and wonder of the Northern Line that, though their power departed and their people dwindled, through all the many generations the succession was unbroken from father to son.

LOTR: Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers

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There they are, my lord leading his horse up the dusty path with my son perched atop. Edainion's fingers twist deeply in the horse's mane as he squeals.

"Mamil! Mamil!" he cries when he catches sight of me. "Look! I ride at'inya horse!"
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They heard of the Great Barrows, and the green mounds, and the stone-rings upon the hills and in the hollows among the hills. Sheep were bleating in flocks. Green walls and white walls rose. There were fortresses on the heights. Kings of little kingdoms fought together, and the young Sun shone like fire on the red metal of their new and greedy swords. There was victory and defeat; and towers fell, fortresses were burned, and flames went up into the sky.

FOTR: In the House of Tom Bombadil

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~oOo~


"How many does that make, Master Herdir?" I follow my lord's reeve as we enter the pasture, and he drags the gate closed behind us.

"Well, my lady," the man says, dropping the rope about the head of the post and squinting up at the sun. His fingers move in a swift dance upon his leg as figures no doubt play out in his head.
Continued here )
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The further you go, the less easy will it be to withdraw; yet no oath or bond is laid on you to go further than you will. For you do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you cannot foresee what each may meet upon the road.'

FOTR: The Ring Goes South

~oOo~

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I cup the wick with its bright petal of flame in my palm. A mist creeps down the river and throughout the meadows of our home, muffling the sounds of nightfall. Indoors, we are comfortable, with the fire to warm us and our beds awaiting our slumbers. By rights, it is my lord's voice that should call the blessing, but in his stead it is I who give thanks.

"Thanks we offer to the One for the giving of his gifts," I say. "I name my lord, son of Arathorn, Lord and Chieftain of the Dúnedain, and am blessed for the strength of his will that shelters his people against the Shadow and preserves his life where his foes would claim it."
Continued here )
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There he said farewell to Eldarion, and gave into his hands the winged crown of Gondor and the sceptre of Arnor.

ROTK: Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers

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I am not well. Ai! Is it not enough my stomach must turn at the smell of the cold hearth and food sits there uneasily? But, now, once my belly has settled itself in these last months of my confinement, I have fallen truly ill.

I awoke in the midst of the night in a sweaty tangle of sheets and fur coverlet, aching and muddle-headed. When the morning came, my thoughts were no clearer. In my daze, I dreamed of boats scraping their hulls against the timbers of the river docks, only to rouse to the sound of Elesinda shifting tubs and barrels about in the pantry.
Continued here )
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'Only a Ranger!' cried Gandalf. `My dear Frodo, that is just what the Rangers are: the last remnant in the North of the great people, the Men of the West.'

FOTR: Many Meetings

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The next morning, I awoke early. The sky lightened slowly in the frame of the solar's windows and I, curled upon my side, watched the sun's rising and listened to the soft sounds my lord made as he slept.

A thing I have learned of him, my lord takes his pleasure most oft upon his awakening. Atimes, I would rouse to his lips upon the ridge of my ear and his hands upon me, calling softly to me. Others, he would stretch his limbs to find me waking and so draw me to him to gentle himself fully alert. And then there were the mornings when I awoke before my lord and held myself as if I slumbered still. For I knew, should I rise from the bed we shared, 'twas not likely I would feel his touch that day.
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'Few other griefs amid the ill chances of this world have more bitterness and shame for a man's heart than to behold the love of a lady so fair and brave that cannot be returned.'

ROTK: The Houses of Healing

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I think my lord and his kinsman in deep disagreement over me.

I came upon them in the hall from the buttery door, only to find the room cold and the men in it suddenly silent. My lord had a look of weariness about him and Halbarad was much agitated. They are not often at odds and it seemed to wear heavily on my lord's kinsman. For he paced and rapped his fingers upon the table, and then, clearing his throat, pulled roughly on the drawers beneath the settle, folded the blankets and otherwise tidied the place where he slept.
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The Men and Dwarves were mostly talking of distant events and telling flews of a kind that was becoming only too familiar. There was trouble away in the South, and it seemed that the Men who had come up the Greenway were on the move, looking for lands where they could find some peace. The Bree-folk were sympathetic, but plainly not very ready to take a large number of strangers into their little land.

FOTR: At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

~oOo~

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My lord sits in the dappled and shifting shade where the limbs of the old oak spread out above the stone wall. There Halbarad has carried his chair and the wind stirs the leaves to dancing above his head as he sits and looks out upon the folk of the village. Crows and rooks raise their harsh cries over the stubble of the fields where we set the beasts of the Angle to graze. My lord has asked me to stand with him and so I do, just within a raised hand's distance from the back corner of his chair where his Steward would be placed had he one. There I listen to the cawing echo deep against the line of the forest. Let the black-winged birds cock their glittering eyes to the ground and peck at the furrows. No longer do the children and dogs chase them away. We leave off our long battle and surrender the fields to them, for we have already carried off the greater prize. Rings and bushels of grain stuff our granaries full to the bursting and we can afford to relax our vigil against them.
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One of the travellers, a squint-eyed ill-favoured fellow, was foretelling that more and more people would be coming north in the near future. 'If room isn't found for them, they'll find it for themselves. They've a right to live, same as other folk,' he said loudly.

FOTR: At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

~oOo~

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My lord laughs, his back leaning upon his chair and his hand curling about a cup of ale, for Halbarad has returned and tells the tale of his travails.

"You left me Melethron. Of all men, Melethron?" my lord's kinsman protests. "He cannot keep a thought in his head that does not come out betwixt his lips. From here to the Last Bridge to Weathertop and back, ever his yammering sounded in my ears."
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Indeed there is a power in Rivendell to withstand the might of Mordor, for a while: and elsewhere other powers still dwell. There is power, too, of another kind in the Shire. But all such places will soon become islands under siege, if things go on as they are going. The Dark Lord is putting forth all his strength.

FOTR: Many Meetings

~oOo~

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"My lady," Elesinda says. "Shall I save this or put it to the geese?" She tips a bowl toward me with the heels and scraps of bread, near half a loaf.

"Yes, save it and let it dry," I say. "The plums ripen quickly and we could make a pudding of it."

She smiles and I know she thinks either of Halbarad's love of sweets or my attempts to cozen my lord, or perhaps both. Either thought brings a fondness to her face and I am well pleased.
Continued here )
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