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In the year S.R. 1419
Merry and Pippin remain another day in the grasp of the Orc-band that captured them yesterday by the Great River. The leaders, large Uruk-hai bred by Saruman, drive forward through the daylight both the mountain-Orcs that came to avenge their losses in Moria and the sinister Orcs of Mordor that already sense treachery in Saruman's bid to acquire these prisoners for himself.
In the dark hours just after midnight, Éomer resolves to disobey King Théoden's order that his force remain available for the last defense of Edoras. Fearing that Saruman has formed some alliance with their enemy the Dark Lord, he leads his éored northward in pursuit of the Orc-company that descended yesterday evening from the Emyn Muil.
Through the hours before dawn Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursue the Orcs that yesterday captured Merry and Pippin on the lower slopes of Amon Hen. By sunrise they reach the crest of the Emyn Muil, and Aragorn sees the White Mountains of Gondor again after many long years; also the light reveals the Orc-band already more than twelve leagues away and moving in a straight march toward the north-west. They spend the day in pursuit, finding the elven-brooch that Pippin cast aside; then at night they rest rather than wear themselves out and miss any further signs.
Frodo and his servant Sam spend their first full day negotiating the difficult and often impassible Emyn Muil as they struggle eastward toward the marshes that lie at their feet.
Before dawn Aragorn and Frodo observe the edges of Sting gleaming faintly, warning them of distant Orcs; they guess that these are on the east-shore of the lake, but in fact a large force of Orcs of Mordor and of the Misty Mountains, and Uruk-hai of Saruman, are approaching from the north with orders to destroy the Company but take any Hobbits alive.
In the morning comes the hour when the Company must finally decide their course. Frodo wanders the slopes of Amon Hen steeling himself to choose the East; Boromir follows, urges Frodo to bear the Ring to Gondor for use in war, and finally tries to seize it himself; whereupon Frodo dons the Ring and runs invisible toward the summit.
From the Seat of Seeing atop Amon Hen, Frodo perceives strife and preparation for war from Mirkwood to the Sea and from the ring of Isengard to the fires of Mordor — and there his gaze is captured by the Lidless Eye that begins to grope for him and the Ring he wears. But from afar Gandalf challenges the dark thought of Sauron, and in the balance between them Frodo chooses to remove the Ring and escape the searching Eye. His will is thus tempered and he resolves to depart for Mordor alone, neither leading his companions into danger nor tempting them further with the Ring.
Boromir returns and describes their argument; the other Hobbits are immediately suspicious and run off calling for Frodo. Only Sam perceives Frodo's intentions and intercepts him at the boats, and the two set out together across the lake. Behind them on the western shore the Orcs pour through the woods, and the great horn of Boromir is winded for the last time as he is overwhelmed and Merry and Pippin are captured; it is said later that his horn-blasts were heard far away in Minas Tirith. Aragorn arrives in time to receive Boromir's dying confession, and after committing his body to the falls in an elven-boat, the Ranger and Legolas and Gimli set off after their captured companions.
Merry and Pippin awake as prisoners of the Orcs. During a confrontation among his captors, Pippin is able to sever the bonds about his wrist; upon reaching the plain after nightfall he swerves aside and drops his Elven-clasp in the hope that Strider finds it. Then he is forced back into line and the Orcs lope off northwest-wards toward the distant borders of Fangorn.
Éomer, the Third Marshal of the Mark of Rohan, hears from one of his scouts that a great company of Orcs has descended to the plains from the Emyn Muil.
In the afternoon Frodo and Sam reach the east-shore of Nen Hithoel and hide their elven-boat before climbing into the broken hills of the Emyn Muil where they spend a first night. On his watch Frodo is startled to see gleaming eyes in the distance, hint that Gollum has followed the Ring across the river and is following them across the barren ridges.
Brief drizzle before dawn is followed by heavy rains in the morning after the Company leave their camp at the base of the rapids of Sarn Gebin and float down the Anduin between cliffs that rise upon both hands. But the clouds clear and blue sky stands above them when finally they reach and pass the Argonath, where the Anduin runs between the colossi of Isildur and Anárion standing guard upon the border of ancient Gondor; and Frodo perceives the strength of the king, Aragorn son of Arathorn, sitting in the stern behind him as they pass beneath the images.
As their tenth day on the river since leaving Lórien draws to its close, they make camp upon the green slope of Parth Galen, which lies on the western shore of lake Nin Hithoel beside tall Amon Hen and just north of the thundering Rauros where the waters of the Anduin pour down from these hills of the Emyn Muil.
First Battle of the Fords of Isen. Théodred, the son of King Théoden, is slain in battle with the forces of Saruman attempting to defend the Fords of Isen.
The Company spends the night under cover on the west-bank after the Orc ambush they suffered on the river above the rapids just before midnight. At dawn Boromir advocates abandoning their boats for an overland march through eastern Rohan and so down to Gondor. But Aragorn wishes both to avoid the fens of the lower Entwash and especially to reach the ancient High Seat upon Amon Hen — the Hill of Seeing beside the river where the narrow waters of Nen Hithoel empty over the thundering Rauros — from whence he hopes to exercise his ancestral sight and take counsel before leaving the River.
Aragorn and Legolas set out westward at daybreak and find further inland the old portage-road around the rapids of Sarn Gebin. The Company spends the day moving their gear first to the road, then down to the foot of the rapids, where they lay down exhausted for an uneventful night of sleep.
The Company have now been on the Anduin for a week since parting from Lórien. The hills about the river become larger and more rocky as they paddle and drift southwards before dawn, and many birds flutter about the cliffs and chimneys as they camp under cover during the day; but far above they descry a hunting-eagle (spying for Saruman, though they will not guess this until his Uruk-hai attack them three days hence).
The take to the water again at dusk and just before midnight reach the deadly rapids of Sarn Gebir — they are miles south of where Aragorn had imagined them. The strong current draws them toward both the rapids and the east-bank, from which Orcs fire arrows from sudden ambush. They gain the west-bank without injury — their boats and grey elven-cloaks apparently present difficult targets even for Orcs in the darkness — and Legolas turns and with an arrow fells the flying carrion-steed of a Nazgûl that flew toward them from the south.
After paddling their boats until dawn the Company make camp again on the west-bank of Anduin and sleep through most of the day before proceeding south again. They have now been seven days out of Lórien. Overcast skies begin to clear and they see the new moon setting in the west soon after sunset.
The sixth day arrives since the Company woke for the last time beneath the golden mallorn of Lórien and committed themselves to the great river Anduin. As the river carries them southward toward lands held by the Enemy, they now sleep during the day under what cover they can find and move at night.