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September 23, S.R. 1418 (T.A. 3018)

Both Gandalf’s comments at the Council of Elrond and the entry for this date in the Tale of Years—which was perhaps itself based on Gandalf’s tale—specify that only four Nazgul entered the Shire directly and started the search for ‘Baggins’.

The Shire-Reckoning · Sep 23 · 12:25 am

The Nazgûl now split up. Five Nazgûl pursue the Rangers who are fleeing north-east in a desperate race to warn their captain in Bree. The other four Nazgûl ride across Sarn Ford and enter the Shire to search for ‘Baggins’.

The Shire-Reckoning · Sep 23 · 10:59 am

Frodo finishes his packing. Merry leaves immediately for Buckland, driving the final cart east with Fredegar Bolger—‘Someone must get there and warm the house before you arrive.’ Folco plans to go home after lunch, leaving only Sam and Pippin to walk with Frodo across the Shire.

The Shire-Reckoning · Sep 23 · 3:50 pm

Lobelia Sackville-Baggins and her son Lotho arrive at Bag End early (the sale goes into effect at midnight). ‘Ours at last!’ She insists on taking an inventory of the furniture. Frodo does not offer her tea.

The Shire-Reckoning · Sep 23 · 6:08 pm

Frodo, Sam, and Pippin finish tea and leave Bag End as the sun sets. ‘It’s going to be a fine night. That’s good for a beginning’, Frodo says. ‘I am going to start, and Gandalf must follow me.’

Behind them, Sam hears the Gaffer send away a cloaked rider who asks for ‘Baggins’.

The Shire-Reckoning · Sep 23 · 6:59 pm

Shadowfax finally agrees to bear Gandalf. The Grey Wizard mounts the silver horse and they race north-west toward the Shire—a full five days behind the black horses of the Nazgûl.

The Shire-Reckoning · Sep 23 · 11:44 pm

Pippin becomes sleepy as it gets closer to midnight, so Frodo and Sam agree to stop. They move off the narrow forest road into a fir-wood that Sam is familiar with. After enjoying a small fire, they fall asleep amongst the roots of a fir-tree.

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