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March 9, S.R. 1419 (T.A. 3019)

In the Tale of Years, all four of the storylines which are following members of the Fellowship are again in view on March 9th:

  1. Gandalf reaches Minas Tirith. Faramir leaves Henneth Annûn. Aragorn sets out from Erech and comes to Calembel. At dusk Frodo reaches the Morgul-road. Théoden comes to Dunharrow. Darkness begins to flow out of Mordor.

We do not actually mention the darkness until tomorrow, when the characters themselves begin to observe and to comment upon it.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 5:10 am

In the morning twilight Gandalf and Pippin reach the Rammas Echor. The guards recognize Gandalf but not Pippin: ‘We wish for no strangers in the land.’ When they learn Pippin is a ‘halfling’ and that Gandalf promises to answer for him in front of Denethor, they let them pass.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 6:15 am

As soon as dawn brings light to the sky, Aragorn mounts and leads his Rangers, Legolas, and Gimli on a furious ride southeast toward the coast—still four days away. The Oathbreakers follow close behind.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 8:40 am

Gandalf and Pippin reach Minas Tirith. ‘I must come to your Lord Denethor, while his stewardship lasts. Whatever betide, you have come to the end of the Gondor that you have known. Let me pass!’ The guards admit them. They ride Shadowfax up the streets towards the Citadel.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 9:10 am

Gandalf warns Pippin to mention neither the Ring nor Aragorn’s lineage. They enter the Citadel atop Minas Tirith and come before the Lord Denethor.

His first questions are edged with suspicion: how did a Hobbit survive the Orcs, when his mighty son Boromir was killed?

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 9:12 am

Pippin sees the shards of Boromir’s horn in Denethor’s lap. ‘Yes, I stood beside him, as he blew the horn. But no help came. Only more orcs.’ Since Boromir defended him, Pippin offers his sword—and takes the oath of a knight of the City. Denethor has Pippin sit and tell his tale.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 10:42 am

Denethor has finished questioning Pippin, who is alone again with Gandalf.

‘Are you angry with me, Gandalf? I did the best I could.’

‘Indeed you did your best! I hope that it may be long before you find yourself in such a tight corner again between two such terrible old men.’

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 3:50 pm

While Gandalf attends councils of war, Pippin has befriended Beregond, a guard of Minas Tirith. Now he meets Beregond’s son Bergil. They walk down to the Gate to watch men from the south march into Minas Tirith—only three thousand, because of the corsairs that threaten the coast.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 5:05 pm

After a three-day ride from Helm’s Deep, Théoden reaches Dunharrow, with Merry jogging alongside on his hill-pony. Théoden is surprised to find the Rohirrim already assembled for war, thanks to the orders Gandalf gave at Edoras. Twilight falls early in the steep mountain valley.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 6:05 pm

The day is ending as Aragorn, his companions, and the host of the Dead reach the town of Calembel on the river Ciril. They continue riding southeast in the dusk.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 6:20 pm

Hurrying back to Minas Tirith to report the successful ambush to his father Denethor, Faramir reaches the Anduin and the island of Cair Andros. He sends the rest of his company south to reinforce the west shore of Osgiliath while he himself rides with three men for Minas Tirith.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 6:45 pm

Frodo, Sam, and Gollum reach a ridge above the valley of the Morgulduin and the road that runs west to Osgiliath and east to Minas Morgul. The Hobbits are tired, but Gollum refuses to sleep on the ground so near the road, so they rest a few hours in the branches of a holm-oak.

The Shire-Reckoning · Mar 9 · 8:55 pm

The messengers from Minas Tirith bearing the Red Arrow arrive in Dunharrow and present it to King Théoden. He answers: ‘Say to Denethor that in this hour the King of the Mark himself will come down to the land of Gondor, though maybe he will not ride back.’

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