The Shire-Reckoning

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For modern date
2016 February 12

Today in the Shire is:
February 12

In the year S.R. 1419

January 25
(17 days ago)
moon 11.2% fullWaxing

Death of Gandalf the Grey. Ten days after falling from the bridge of Khazad-dûm, and after two days of combat upon the peak of Zirak-zigil, Gandalf finally concludes his struggle with the Balrog of Moria. His opponent falls and is destroyed against the mountainside; Gandalf himself collapses and dies.

January 24
(18 days ago)
moon 8.3% fullWaxing

Gandalf continues for a second day to fight the Balrog of Moria upon the highest ledges of Zirak-zigil. The fires and lightnings melt its cap of snow, leaving the rock bare and scorched.

January 23
(19 days ago)
moon 5.3% fullWaxing

Gandalf's weary pursuit of the Balrog finally concludes, as they emerge from the top of the fabled Endless Stair and out on to the dizzy summit of Zirak-zigil. The Balrog bursts again into flame, and the two begin their final combat.

January 18
(24 days ago)
moon 84.5% fullWaning

On the second evening that the Company rests in Caras Galadon, Legolas does not return to their pavilion in the evening; for the rest of their stay in Lórien he spends most of his time among his fellow Elves, often taking Gimli with him as he explores the golden wood and its people.

January 17
(25 days ago)
moon 80.5% fullWaning

The Company wake in Lórien, still blindfolded, and are escorted further inward towards the Elven-city at the heart of the wood. When they reach Cerin Amroth at noon their blindfolds are finally removed, and Gimli becomes the first Dwarf to see the trees of Lórien in more than a thousand years. Frodo and Sam themselves are shown, from atop a high flet, the heights of Dol Guldur — from which the assault against Lórien that the servants of the Sauron have been preparing will finally be launched, in less than eight weeks. Aragorn stands upon Cerin Amroth one last time, wrapped in the memory of the vows he and Arwen exchanged there almost thirty-nine years ago.

A final evening march brings the Company to the woodland city of Caras Galadhon itself, where they are welcomed by Celeborn and Galadriel, the Lord and Lady of Lórien, who are dismayed by the news of Gandalf's fall. The Elves furnish a pavilion — since Hobbits, in particular, prefer sleeping at ground level — and the travellers are able to sleep without fear for the first time since leaving Rivendell almost four weeks ago.

January 16
(26 days ago)
moon 76.5% fullWaning

The Company wakes from sleep beside the falls of Nimrodel, upon the high flets where the Elves guarding Lórien offered them shelter last night. The Orcs that pursued them from Moria passed beneath them before dawn, lured away by the Elves; but Gollum, who has also followed the Company from Moria, was not distracted, and began climbing Frodo's tree before the approach of Elves forced his retreat into the dark.

The Company are lead across the river Celebrant (on the rope bridge that proves so daunting to the Hobbits) and into the interior of Lórien, where Gimli must be blindfolded before proceeding; the others submit to this humiliation for his sake. They march through the day, and fall asleep still blindfolded.

Gollum flees from the Elves who fill the woods in pursuit of the orcs, and follows the Silverlode south. He will lurk along Lórien's southern borders by the Great River until the Company emerges next month.

January 15
(27 days ago)
moon 72.7% fullWaning

The Company wakes in Moria when daylight touches a side chamber where they find both Balin's tomb and the tattered chronicle of his Dwarven settlement. Gandalf reads selections from which they deduce that they slept in Hall twenty-one of Moria's North-end and are standing in the Chamber of Mazarbul; they also learn that the lake and tentacled monster by the West-gate were contrived to trap the Dwarven settlers. Barely a minute after Gandalf reads the final words — `Drums, drums in the deep — they are coming' — they hear great drum-beats pound up from the depths below.

But the Dwarves who perished in the Chamber twenty-five years before had fought assault from both directions, while the hasty attack now brought against the Company threatens only the Chamber's western door; after brief battle in which Frodo survives a terrible spear-thrust, the Company escapes through the east door and down a narrow stair. Gandalf remains behind to lock the door, and is nearly destroyed when his spell is challenged from some presence on the other side; the door shatters and the Chamber collapses under the strain.

After an hour of fleeing southward down dark corridors — for Gandalf now lacks the strength to light his staff — they reach the Second Hall and the narrow Bridge of Khazad-dûm. Behind them in the hall, leading orcs in pursuit, strides a Balrog: the power that opposed the locking-spell, and the terror to which the vast Dwarven city succumbed. Gandalf orders the Company to flee without him — though the valor of Aragorn and Boromir constrains them from obeying — and turns back toward the pursuit.

There upon the bridge Gandalf challenges the Balrog, his ancient peer, another Ainur who dwelt in the halls of Iluvatar before the world's beginning. Though the demon towers in fresh strength above the wizard weary with heavy labors and the mortal flesh he has assumed, the strength of the Grey Wizard and the Ring he bears proves the greater; the Balrog's sword shatters and the Bridge falls from beneath it. But with a final lash of its whip it entangles the wizard and both fall into the dark beneath Moria.

The remaining members of the Company pass out of Moria and on to the Dimrill Stair beneath the sky. Gimli takes Frodo and Sam aside to look in the Mirrormere whose waters reveal Durin's crown shining behind the blue sky above them; and when wounds are tended the Company discovers that Frodo survived the spear-thrust because he wears the mail-shirt made of mithril that Bilbo gave him on the eve of his depature from Rivendell more than three weeks ago. They march to the falls of Nimrodel under the eaves of Lórien where they receive cautious welcome from the Elves, whom the Sons of Elrond warned of the Ring's journey two months ago.

Gandalf and the Balrog finally plunge into water, quenching the Balrog's fire; and in the dark Gandalf clutches his fleeing opponent as his only hope of escape from the deeps. Only after eleven days of weary battle will the two die.