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February 27–28, S.R. 1419 (T.A. 3019)

From Frodo and Sam’s first conversation in Book IV, we learn that Frodo saw eyes while on watch their first night in the Emyl Muil. We can only guess as to the time.

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 27 · 12:50 am

On their first night alone in the rocky Emyn Muil, Frodo is on watch while Sam is asleep. For a moment he sees eyes glowing at him in the distance.

The long chase of the Three Hunters brings us back to Book III. Aragorn briefly loses the Orcs’ trail ‘in the still cool hour before dawn’ but another mile to the north they find the bodies of Orcs.

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 27 · 6:05 am

Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli find the bodies of the Orcs killed during the scuffle twelve hours ago. Aragorn notes that the bodies are all of the smaller Northern Orcs—none are the large Orcs with white ‘S’ badges.

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 27 · 6:54 am

From a high ridge at sunrise, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli can see the Orcs, perhaps twelve leagues away on the plain. To the south they see the White Mountains of Gondor.

‘Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea!
West Wind blew there; the light upon the Silver Tree…’

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 27 · 8:01 am

Aragorn halts their pursuit for a moment when he sees hobbit-prints veer from the main track of the Orcs. Where the prints end, he finds the elven-brooch that Pippin dropped: at least one Hobbit was still alive at this point. With Legolas and Gimli he continues the chase.

‘As nightshade was closing about them Aragorn halted.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 27 · 6:41 pm

Having rested only twice during the day, the three hunters halt as it grows dark. Legolas thinks they should keep going, but Aragorn agrees with Gimli: ‘We will not walk in the dark. The peril of missing the trail or signs of other coming and going seems to me the greater.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 27 · 6:43 pm

Gimli: ‘Would that the Lady had given us a light, such a gift as she gave to Frodo!’

Aragorn: ‘It will be more needed where it is bestowed. With him lies the true Quest. Ours is but a small matter in the great deeds of this time. A vain pursuit from its beginning, maybe.’

The Tale of Years for the 27th says that ‘Éomer against Théoden’s orders sets out from Eastfold about midnight to pursue the Orcs.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 27 · 11:20 pm

Éomer, fearing that Mordor and Isengard are now in league, leads his éored north—without permission from King Théoden—to pursue the Orc-band that’s been seen running from the Emyn Muil towards Fangorn Forest.

‘Before dawn was in the sky’ Aragorn ‘woke and rose.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 28 · 5:50 am

The hunters wake. ‘They are far far away’ says Legolas. ‘Only an eagle could overtake them now.’ Aragorn listens to the earth, and hears the same sound that entered his dreams: the sound of horses galloping.

They resume their pursuit, following the Orcs north-west.

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 28 · 3:55 pm

The Orcs carrying Merry and Pippin see scouts on horseback to the south: Éomer and his éored are closing on them. The Forest is still miles ahead.

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 28 · 6:01 pm

Less than half a mile from the edge of Fangorn Forest, Éomer’s vanguard gets ahead of the Orcs and cuts off their escape. The Orcs halt on a small hill for defense and are quickly surrounded by horsemen. As dusk deepens the men light watch-fires all around the hill.

‘At dusk they halted again.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 28 · 6:10 pm

Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli halt for the night. The moon is falling westward toward a bank of clouds. The land is rising toward a long line of downs that they glimpsed ahead. They have begun to feel a hostile will, making them weary—from the direction of Isengard.

The Moon has ‘passed westward into thick cloud’ but has not yet set when Merry and Pippin escape.

The Shire-Reckoning · Feb 28 · 10:45 pm

The Mordor-orc Grishnákh seizes Merry and Pippin, hoping to escape and take the hobbits to Mordor. He slinks between two watch-fires—but is seen, and killed by a Rider’s spear.

When more Orcs attack from the forest, the Riders draw their ring inward. The hobbits crawl away.

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