Théoden rides for Dunharrow
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 6, 3019
An event in the aftermath of the Parley with Saruman in Isengard; see that entry for an overview:
They talked then together as they ate, until presently Éomer spoke. 'It is near the hour that we set for our going, lord,' he said. 'Shall I bid men sound the horns? But where is Aragorn? His place is empty and he has not eaten.'
'We will make ready to ride,' said Théoden; 'but let word be sent to the Lord Aragorn that the hour is nigh.'
The king with his guard and Merry at his side passed down from the gate of the Burg to where the Riders were assembling on the green. Many were already mounted. It would be a great company; for the king was leaving only a small garrison in the Burg, and all who could be spared were riding to the weapontake at Edoras. A thousand spears had indeed already ridden away at night; but still there would be some five hundred more to go with the king, for the most part men from the fields and dales of Westfold.
A little apart the Rangers of the North sat, silent, in an ordered company, armed with spear and bow and sword.... Their horses were strong and of proud bearing, but rough-haired; and one stood there without a rider, Aragorn's own horse... Roheryn.... [Their] riders [did not] bear any badge or token, save only that each cloak was pinned upon the left shoulder by a brooch of silver shaped like a rayed star.
The king mounted his horse, Snowmane, and Merry sat beside him on his pony.... Presently Éomer came out from the gate, and with him was Aragorn, and Halbarad.... But Merry had eyes only for Aragorn, so startling was the change that he saw in him.... Grim was his face, grey-hued and weary.
'I am troubled in mind, lord,' he said, standing by the king's horse.... 'I see new perils far off.'....
'I must take new counsel for myself and my kindred. We must ride our own road, and no longer in secret.... I will ride east by the swiftest way, and I will take the Paths of the Dead.'....
'It is your doom, maybe, to tread strange paths that others dare not. This parting grieves me, and my strength is lessened by it; but now I must take the mountain-roads and delay no longer. Farewell!'
'Farewell, lord!' said Aragorn. 'Ride unto great renown! Farewell, Merry!.... [We] shall not forget you.'
'Good-bye!' said Merry. He could find no more to say. He felt very small, and he was... depressed by all these gloomy words. More than ever he missed the unquenchable cheerfulness of Pippin. The Riders were ready, and their horses were fidgeting; he wished they would start and get it over.
Now Théoden spoke to Éomer, and he lifted up his hand and cried aloud, and with that word the Riders set forth. They rode over the Dike and down the Coomb, and then, turning swiftly eastwards, they took a path that skirted the foothills for a mile or so, until bending south it passed back among the hills and disappeared from view.
The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 2, The Passing of the Grey Company
Elena Tiriel 3Sep06