October of S.R. 1419

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moon 67.7% full October 5.

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.

moon 71.1% full October 6.

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.

moon 44.4% full October 28.

After twenty-five days of travel from Rivendell, Gandalf and the Hobbits reach Bree at nightfall. The town has been the periodic victim of violence since the withdrawal of the Rangers to the war in the south early this year, and the Barliman the innkeeper is glad to see them. They share the news of what has happened in the South, and learn that the pony they bought from Bill Ferny eventually returned and is safely stabled at the inn.

moon 47.8% full October 29.

The Hobbits and Gandalf spend a second day and night at the Prancing Pony in Bree. They arrived late last night from Rivendell and shared with Barliman news of their travels, but tonight much of the town turns out to see the travellers of whose return many expressed so little hope when they departed in early October of last year.

moon 51.2% full October 30.

Having spent two nights resting at the Prancing Pony in Bree, the Hobbits are finally ready to return to the Shire, and ride out with Gandalf in the morning for their last day of travel.

As the Hobbits approach the Shire, to their surprise Gandalf turns south off the road toward the house of Bombadil where he plans to have a long talk. They will not see him for almost two years, until they again meet, for the last time, at the Havens.

As dusk closes around the Brandywine Bridge, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin reach the borders of the Shire — very much as they left it as they passed under the Hedge in a misty dawn more than thirteen months ago: as four Hobbits, travelling together, without wizard or companion or counsellors. And yet they now ride stout ponies where, before, they walked; they wear Elven-cloaks and beneath their cloaks both Merry and Pippin wear armour; and all are armed.

They find the Bridge barred with gates at either end and guarded by gate-wardens, that include not only a frightened crowd of Hobbits, but a Man: Bill Ferny, who was already been in league with spies from Isengard when the Hobbits entered Bree on this evening exactly two years ago. They force Bill Ferny to leave the Shire at swordpoint, then order that the gates be locked again before they spend the night with the Hobbit gate-wardens in the dank gatehouse.

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