Nazgûl ambush Frodo at the Ford of Bruinen
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: October 20, 3018
An event in the Ambush at the Ford of Bruinen; see that entry for an overview.
[The] Road went suddenly under the dark shadow of tall pine-trees, and then plunged into a deep cutting.... Echoes ran along as they hurried forward; and there seemed to be a sound of many footfalls following their own. All at once..., the Road ran out... into the open. There at the bottom of a sharp incline they saw before them a long flat mile, and beyond that the Ford of Rivendell....
There was still an echo as of following feet in the cutting behind them; a rushing noise as if a wind were rising and pouring through the branches of the pines. One moment Glorfindel turned and listened, then he sprang forward with a loud cry.
'Fly!' he called. 'Fly! The enemy is upon us!'
The white horse leaped forward. The hobbits ran down the slope. Glorfindel and Strider followed as rear-guard. They were only half way across the flat, when suddenly there was a noise of horses galloping. Out of the gate in the trees that they had just left rode a Black Rider. He reined his horse in, and halted, swaying in his saddle. Another followed him, and then another; then again two more.
'Ride forward! Ride!' cried Glorfindel to Frodo.
He did not obey at once, for a strange reluctance seized him. Checking the horse to a walk, he turned and looked back. The Riders seemed to sit upon their great steeds like threatening statues upon a hill, dark and solid, while all the woods and land about them receded as if into a mist. Suddenly he knew in his heart that they were silently commanding him to wait. Then at once fear and hatred awoke in him. His hand left the bridle and gripped the hilt of his sword, and with a red flash he drew it.
'Ride on! Ride on!' cried Glorfindel, and then loud and clear he called to the horse in the elf-tongue: noro lim, noro lim, Asfaloth!
At once the white horse sprang away and sped like the wind along the last lap of the Road. At the same moment the black horses leaped down the hill in pursuit, and from the Riders came a terrible cry, such as Frodo had heard filling the woods with horror in the Eastfarthing far away. It was answered; and to the dismay of Frodo and his friends out from the trees and rocks away on the left four other Riders came flying. Two rode towards Frodo: two galloped madly towards the Ford to cut off his escape. They seemed to him to run like the wind and to grow swiftly larger and darker, as their courses converged with his. 1
Frodo looked back... over his shoulder. He could no longer see his friends. The Riders behind were falling back: even their great steeds were no match in speed for the white elf-horse of Glorfindel. He looked forward again, and hope faded. There seemed no chance of reaching the Ford before he was cut off by the others that had lain in ambush. 2 He could see them clearly now: they appeared to have cast aside their hoods and black cloaks, and they were robed in white and grey. Swords were naked in their pale hands; helms were on their heads. Their cold eyes glittered, and they called to him with fell voices.
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 12, Flight to the Ford
1 'The Riders made straight for you, as soon as you fled. They did not need the guidance of their horses any longer: you had become visible to them, being already on the threshold of their world. And also the Ring drew them.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 1, Many Meetings
2 'At sunrise I escaped and fled towards the north.... I hoped to draw some of them off.... Four Riders did indeed follow me, but they turned back after a while and made for the Ford, it seems.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond
Elena Tiriel 18Jul06