Three Hunters pursue the Orc-raiders from Parth Galen
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Dates: February 26, 3019 ~ March 1, 3019
An event in the Breaking of the Fellowship and the aftermath of the Orc-raid at Parth Galen; see those entries for an overview:
'Our choice then,' said Gimli, 'is either to take the remaining boat and follow Frodo, or else to follow the Orcs on foot. There is little hope either way. We have already lost precious hours.'....
[Aragorn] stood silent for a moment. 'I will follow the Orcs,' he said at last. 'I would have guided Frodo to Mordor and gone with him to the end; but if I seek him now in the wilderness, I must abandon the captives to torment and death. My heart speaks clearly at last: the fate of the Bearer is in my hands no longer. The Company has played its part. Yet we that remain cannot forsake our companions while we have strength left. Come! We will go now. Leave all that can be spared behind! We will press on by day and dark!'
They drew up the last boat and carried it to the trees.... Then they left Parth Galen. The afternoon was fading as they came back to the glade where Boromir had fallen. There they picked up the trail of the Orcs. It needed little skill to find.
'No other folk make such a trampling,' said Legolas....
'But they go with a great speed for all that,' said Aragorn, 'and they do not tire. And later we may have to search for our path in hard bare lands.'
'Well, after them!' said Gimli.... 'But it will be a long chase: they have a long start.'
'Yes,' said Aragorn, 'we shall all need the endurance of Dwarves. But come! With hope or without hope we will follow the trail of our enemies. And woe to them, if we prove the swifter! We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel among the Three Kindreds: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Forth the Three Hunters!'
Like a deer he sprang away. Through the trees he sped. On and on he led them, tireless and swift, now that his mind was at last made up.... They passed away, grey shadows in a stony land.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 1, The Departure of Boromir
'At last!' said Aragorn. 'Here are the tracks that we seek! Up this water-channel: this is the way that the Orcs went after their debate.'
Swiftly now the pursuers turned and followed the new path. As if fresh from a night's rest they sprang from stone to stone....
The ridge upon which the companions stood went down steeply before their feet. Below it twenty fathoms or more, there was... a sheer cliff: the East Wall of Rohan....
'Look!' cried Legolas, pointing up into the pale sky above them. 'There is the eagle again!.... He seems to be flying now away, from this land back to the North... with great speed.'....
'No, not even my eyes can see him, my good Legolas,' said Aragorn. 'He must be far aloft indeed. I wonder what is his errand, if he is the same bird that I have seen before. But look! I can see something nearer at hand and more urgent; there is something moving over the plain!'
'Many things,' said Legolas. 'It is a great company on foot; but I cannot say more, nor see what kind of folk they may be. They are many leagues away: twelve, I guess; but the flatness of the plain is hard to measure.'....
They followed their enemies now by the clear light of day. It seemed that the Orcs had pressed on with all possible speed. Every now and again the pursuers found things that had been dropped or cast away: food-bags, the rinds and crusts of hard grey bread, a torn black cloak, a heavy iron-nailed shoe broken on the stones. The trail led them north along the top of the escarpment, and at length they came to a deep cleft carved in the rock by a stream.... In the narrow ravine a rough path descended like a steep stair into the plain.
At the bottom they came with a strange suddenness on the grass of Rohan....
'Light feet may run swiftly here,' said Aragorn. 'More swiftly, maybe, than iron-shod Orcs. Now we have a chance to lessen their lead!'
They went in single file, running like hounds on a strong scent, and an eager light was in their eyes. Nearly due west the broad swath of the marching Orcs tramped its ugly slot; the sweet grass of Rohan had been bruised and blackened as they passed.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan
'I fear they have passed beyond my sight...,' said Legolas.
'Where sight fails the earth may bring us rumour,' said Aragorn. 'The land must groan under their hated feet.' He stretched himself upon the ground with his ear pressed against the turf. He lay there motionless... At last he rose, and now his friends could see his face: it was pale and drawn, and his look was troubled.
'The rumour of the earth is dim and confused,' he said.... 'Faint and far are the feet of our enemies. But loud are the hoofs of the horses.... But now they are drawing ever further from us, riding northward.'....
So the third day of their pursuit began.... they hardly paused, now striding, now running, as if no weariness could quench the fire that burned them.... Over the wide solitude they passed and their elven-cloaks faded against the background of the grey-green fields; even in the cool sunlight of mid-day few but elvish eyes would have marked them.... Often in their hearts they thanked the Lady of Lórien for the gift of lembas, for they could eat of it and find new strength even as they ran.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan
Elena Tiriel 31Dec04, 5Feb05