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March 8, S.R. 1419 (T.A. 3019)

The Tale of Years for today identifies events along two threads of the story:

  1. Aragorn takes the ‘Paths of the Dead’ at daybreak; he reaches Erech at midnight. Frodo leaves Henneth Annûn.

And while those are certainly a good start, a third thread can be added, as we will see below.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 8 · 5:30 am

Faramir wakes Frodo and leads him outside. In the moonlight, Rangers are watching Gollum fish in the forbidden pool of Henneth Annûn and are ready to shoot. Frodo saves Gollum by tricking him into being captured instead. Faramir distrusts Gollum, but releases him to Frodo’s care.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 8 · 6:55 am

At daybreak, Éowyn—now dressed for battle—again asks to ride with Aragorn. He again refuses: ‘that I could not grant without leave of the king and of your brother; and they will not return until tomorrow. But I count now every hour, indeed every minute.’ He and his men ride away.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 8 · 7:25 am

Aragorn, his Rangers, Legolas, and Gimli pass the standing stone of Dimholt and reach the tunnel that leads into the mountain. They dismount. Leading their reluctant horses, they enter the Paths of the Dead.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 8 · 7:45 am

Frodo and Sam wake. Faramir returns their packs, which he has had filled with provisions, and gives each hobbit a staff of polished wood. They are blindfolded with Gollum, lead out of Henneth Annûn, and released into the forest. They start walking south.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 8 · 3:52 pm

Aragorn and his friends emerge alive from the Paths of the Dead. A couple of hours remain until sunset. Mounting their horses again, they ride south toward the Stone of Erech. Mountain people flee their villages and fields ahead of them—‘The King of the Dead is come upon us!’

The third storyline on which we can comment is Gandalf and Pippin’s furious ride towards Minas Tirith, for the narrative tells us that it is on ‘the second, no, the third night since he had looked in the Stone’—thus, tonight—that Pippin sees the war-beacons of Gondor aflame in the distance.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 8 · 6:55 pm

Riding southeast across Anórien, Gandalf and Pippin watch as fires are lit, from east to west, on outlying hilltops along the feet of the mountains: the war-beacons of Gondor. Shadowfax pauses as three riders pass (they carry the Red Arrow to Théoden) then returns to a gallop.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 8 · 11:51 pm

At midnight Aragorn stands at the Stone of Erech. ‘Oathbreakers, why have ye come?’

A distant voice cries, ‘To fulfil our oath and have peace.’

‘When all this land is clean of the servants of Sauron, I will hold the oath fulfilled, and ye shall have peace and depart for ever.’

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