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In the year S.R. 1418
Early in the morning Glorfindel and Strider wake the Hobbits and set out on a final march east along the Road toward the Fords of Bruinen. As they reach its floodplain, they are overtaken from behind by five mounted Nazgûl, and then four more emerge from ambush as the white horse of Glorfindel carries Frodo toward the Ford. They make it across the Ford; the Lord of the Nazgûl begins to cross after them; and then all Nine are swept away as Elrond and Gandalf release the flood they have been preparing, and Glorfindel and Strider attack from behind and panic the horses of those who remain on the west bank.
After walking all night, Glorfindel and Strider halt at dawn and allow the Hobbits five hours of sleep. Through the day they accomplish three further long marches, covering almost twenty miles, and reach a point where the road bends right and turns into valley.
Strider and the Hobbits leave their camp on the ridge in the Troll-fells, enjoying the clear morning after more than two days of steady rain. Frodo is succumbing to the wound of the Morgul-knife he received twelve days ago; a mist occasionally obscures his sight as his perception of the lighted world begins to dim. Winding downhill to the south, back toward the Road, they discover the trolls — long since turned to stone — that Bilbo encountered on his own journey east seventy-seven years ago. Late in the evening they reach the Road, and meet the Elf-lord Glorfindel. After attending to Frodo's wound, Glorfindel leads them in a night march eastward along the road.
After a journey of fourteen days from Weathertop, Gandalf reaches the safety of Imladris. He assists Elrond in preparing a flood of the river Bruinen should the Riders attempt to cross the Ford.
The rain clears that has been soaking Strider and the Hobbits, and they are able to turn south again toward the Road and they camp atop a ridge. Frodo is becoming very weak, which is making progress through the fells very difficult.
As the hills rise higher in front of them, Strider and the Hobbits must turn farther northwards into the Troll-fells — detouring away from both the Road to the south and the river Bruinen which they are trying to reach to their east. The wound that Frodo received on Weathertop ten days ago for the first time tonight prevents him from sleeping because of the pain.
The Elf-lord Glorfindel, who since crossing the Last Bridge five days ago has been searching for the Hobbits back west of the river Mitheithel, finds their trail which leads him back east across the Bridge and toward Rivendell. He sees their trail turn north into the Troll-fells, but travels straight east along the road hoping to encounter them when they return to it.
On their third day of clambering among the Troll-fells, rains begins to pour upon Strider and the Hobbits. For probably the first evening since leaving Bree more than two weeks ago, they are unable to even light a fire for warmth despite the fact that Frodo's wound continues to worsen.
Strider leads the Hobbits for a second day amongst the valleys and ridges of Troll-fells north of the Road as they travel farther from the river Mitheithel and toward the Bruinen, on the far side of which lies Rivendell.
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In the year S.R. 1419
On their second day of travel from Rivendell, Gandalf and the Hobbits cross Ford of Bruinen. Frodo experiences the first of many periodic bouts with darkness and pain that he will experience over the coming years, on anniversaries of the woundings he received on his journey; it was one year ago today that he was attacked by the Nagzul upon Weathertop and received the Morgul-knife wound in his shoulder.
After a visit of slightly less than two weeks, Gandalf and the Hobbits leave Rivendell to return to the Shire. While their journey east along the Road last year was on foot, they now ride west on stout ponies, and Gandalf upon Shadowfax.
Bilbo Baggins turns one hundred and twenty-nine, and his birthday is celebrated by Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin who have all returned just yesterday to Rivendell after leaving Rivendell with the Ring nine months ago.
The wizard Saruman reaches the Shire, having left his ruined fortress of Isengard more than a month ago. While for many years he deployed only spies into the Shire, he recently has been employing wealth and, finally, open violence in order to impose his own rule on the district. They have cut off access to the Tookland, since its Thain is opposing them and his Hobbits are shooting Men on sight; but the Tookland itself is alone in still remaining out of Saruman's power.
After eight final days of riding north, Gandalf and the Hobbits return to Rivendell accompanied by Elrond, his sons, and many Elves of his household. It has been more than four and a half months since Elrond and his advisors rode from Rivendell with Arwen, bringing her south to her wedding in Minas Tirith; at least seven months since the sons of Elrond departed Rivendell to ride south with the Dúnedain to fight alongside Aragorn; and only four days shy of nine months since the Hobbits and Gandalf left Rivendell on a cold night of late December bearing the Ring southward toward its destruction.
After a week of rest in Eregion among the ruins of the ancient Elven city, the time comes for the Elves to part. Celeborn and Galadriel head east with their companions over the Redhorn pass toward their forest of Lórien on the other side of the Misty Mountains, while Elrond, the Elves of his household, and Gandalf and the Hobbits continue north along the west side of the mountains toward Rivendell and the House of Elrond which lie slightly more than a week's ride to the north. It took the Hobbits a full two weeks to cross the same distance on foot when they marched south from Rivendell with the Company of the Ring, more than nine months ago.
The Hobbits and Elves riding north with Gandalf toward their homes reach Hollin and the trace ruins of the ancient Elven city of Eregion. They linger among the stones for a week, the Elves communing together one last time; for Celeborn will remain in Middle-earth, while his wife and Elrond and most of the other High-elves will soon take ship and pass into the West.
The Hobbits and Elves who ride north with Gandalf toward their homes come upon the wizard Saruman, who is also passing north. After a vicious exchange of words on the part of the ruined wizard, they continue north while he moves off to the northwest.
Legolas and Gimli bid the other riders farewell, and accept the invitation of Treebeard to ride north through Fangorn forest as they ride toward their homes in the northern Mirkwood (now named the Wood of Greenleaves following the victories of the Elves against Dol Guldur, as they will learn upon their return) — Legolas toward the city of the Wood-elves where the father reigns, and Gimli toward the great caves under the Lonely Mountain where he will find the old King Dáin Ironfoot has fallen in battle and his distant cousin Thorin III Stonehelm now reigning.
At sunset they approach the Gap of Rohan, the westernmost border of ancient Gondor, where Aragorn bids them farewell so that he may ride back to his Queen who waits in Edoras for both of them to return to Minas Tirith and being in earnest their reign. Aragorn and his knights do not turn immediately, but sit awhile upon their horses to watch the travellers disappear into the sunset, who in return see behind them the sunlight gleaming upon the harnesses and a final flash of green from the Elfstone.