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Today in the Shire is:
In the year S.R. 1419
The host of the West are lead by Aragorn out of Ithilien and into the desolate lands through which the road passes before coming to the Black Gate. They can see the southern reaches of the Dead Marshes to their north. Those soldiers who are unable to bear the horror of the poisoned land, and the harassment of the Nazgûl, are sent southwest by Aragorn to retake Cair Andros.
Frodo and Sam cast away their orc disguises and all of their gear, keeping only simple garments, Sam's sword, and the phial and box which the Lady of the Wood gave them. They march southward from the road they abandoned yesterday, covering more than half of the distance remaining to the Mountain of Fire. They drink their last mouthfulls of water and sleep, thirsty and exhausted, upon the broken plain of Gorgoroth.
The armies of the West remain on the march today — their fifth since setting forth from Minas Tirith — hoping to challenge the might of Mordor before its very gates, and thus draw the Eye of the enemy from the Ring and its bearer. Having defeated a small ambush yesterday, they meet no further opposition today as their march carries them nearly to the borders of northern Ithilien; this is the last evening they will camp among thickets and trees before passing into the wastes that extend around the Black Gate. The heralds continue to proclaim Aragorn openly as the King Elessar, and the Nazgûl now shadow the march of the army, their oppressive presence faintly palpable despite their great altitude.
Frodo now becomes silent, speaking not at all as he and Sam struggle east upon the road toward Barad-dûr. They finally abandon the road once the smoldering cone of Orodruin stands directly to their south, and begin moving across the shattered plain towards its feet. They drink most of the water they collected yesterday and Sam, who has been drinking less than his share, becomes very thirsty.
The lieutenants of Sauron who govern Dol Guldur make a third and final assault across the Anduin upon the forest of Lórien. Like their first efforts, made eleven and then five days ago, this assault is pushed back into the Anduin, accomplishing only fires and damages to the forest where it borders the River.
The army lead by Aragorn passes northward through Ithilien, where in the afternoon Orcs and Easterlings attempt to waylay them; but the ambush is detected and destroyed. In the evening Nazgûl observe their forces from above.
For another day Frodo bears the ring eastward along the road from the Isenmouthe toward Barad-dûr, which draws them also nearer the fire-mountain Orodruin. Sam finds some muddy water in one of the cisterns along the road which they drink and fill their water bottle. At night they creep off the road to sleep.
Leaving great force of archers to guard the crossroads, Aragorn leads his hosts and princes northward through Ithilien. Imrahil insists that he be heralded as `the King Elessar.'
During the day Frodo and Sam struggle eastward along the road towards Barad-dûr, now several leagues from the Isenmouthe which they left yesterday. They spend the night in hiding off of the road.
While the hosts of the West arrayed at the crossroads, their vanguard with Aragorn comes within sight of Minas Morgul and casts down the bridge.
Before dawn the orc-company in which Frodo and Sam have been forced to run reaches the road-meeting at the Isenmouthe and Sam in the confusion leads his exhausted master off the road. After sleeping they move east across the broken plain then take the high road which they leave only to rest. They are wary but meet no traffic, for Sauron has completed the movement of his forces to meet any attempt at invasion through the Morannon.
The lords of the West march from Minas Tirith eastward towards Mordor to assault the Dark Lord and keep his attention from the Ring-bearer. They pass through Osgiliath and camp on the highway leading to Minas Morgul. Aragorn reaches the crossroads and claims possession of Ithilien; the statue there of the king is repaired.
Merry watches Aragorn and the armies depart from Minas Tirith, then must return to the Houses of Healing to recuperate from his wounds — received when he stabbed the Lord of Morgul in the great battle upon the Pelennor three days ago.
Frodo and Sam rest within sight of the fortress of Durthang, where the road finally emerges from behind the Morgai and descends to the plains below. Sam finds water but glimpses Gollum near his master as he returns. After eating, drinking, and again filling their water-bottle, they set out down the road, only to be overtaken by Orcs who mistake them for small goblins and force them to run with them down the long road.
Final preparations are made for six thousand foot and a thousand mounted soldiers to march tomorrow toward Mordor from Minas Tirith. The three thousand riders that set out yesterday under Elfhelm assault and drive across Cair Andros the orc-army that four days ago entered Anórien to check the ride of the Rohirrim to Minas Tirith.
After marching through the night and into morning, Frodo and Sam rest, then set out again in the evening, moving northward through the valley between the Ephel Dúath and the Morgai. This increases their distance from Mount Doom, but they must come to the Isenmouthe before they can descend on to the plain.
The orc-chieftain Shagrat, having fled from his command of Cirith Ungol, arrives at Barad-dûr bearing the items recovered from Frodo — his elven-cloak, marvelous mail-shirt, and Sam's sword.
The Battle of Dale. The Easterlings who several days ago crossed the river Carnen drive the forces of King Brand back to Dale, where they are forced to abandon the defense of their town and retreat into the dwarven-halls beneath Erebor. Both King Brand and King Dáin Ironfoot fall defending the gates.
Frodo and Sam continue north through the ravine between the Ephel Dúath and the sharp Morgai, whose precipice they visit. They see Mount Doom still more than a dozen leagues distant, and the camps of soldiers southward along the mountain-feet where Sauron has gathered them to meet the Lords of the West whom he expects will assail Mordor through the Morgul Vale. After moving on again the hobbits pass an orc outpost, and overhear that Gollum still lives and is sought by the Dark Tower — from whom the Enemy would learn of their Quest if he were captured.