Faramir guards the retreat over the Pelennor
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 13, 3019
An event in the Siege of Minas Tirith; see that entry for an overview:
'If [Faramir] wins back at all across the Pelennor, enemies will be on his heels,' said the messenger....
[Said] Gandalf[,] 'Yet he is resolved to stay with the rearguard, lest the retreat over the Pelennor become a rout. He may, perhaps, hold his men together long enough, but I doubt it. He is pitted against a foe too great.'....
At length watchers on the walls could see the retreat of the out-companies. Small bands of weary and often wounded men came first with little order; some were running wildly as if pursued. Away to the eastward the distant fires flickered; and now it seemed that here and there they crept across the plain....
'The enemy,' men murmured.... 'Where are our own folk?'
It drew now to evening by the hour, and the light was so dim that even far-sighted men upon the Citadel could discern little clearly out upon the fields, save only the burnings.... At last, less than a mile from the City, a more ordered mass of men came into view, marching not running, still holding together.
The watchers held their breath. 'Faramir must be there,' they said. 'He can govern man and beast. He will make it yet.'
Now the main retreat was scarcely two furlongs distant. Out of the gloom behind a small company of horsemen galloped, all that was left of the rearguard. Once again they turned at bay, facing the oncoming lines of fire. Then suddenly there was a tumult of fierce cries. Horsemen of the enemy swept up. The lines of fire became flowing torrents, file upon file of Orcs bearing flames, and wild Southron men with red banners, shouting with harsh tongues, surging up, overtaking the retreat. And with a piercing cry out of the dim sky fell the winged shadows, the Nazgûl stooping to the kill.
The retreat became a rout. Already men were breaking away, flying wild and witless here and there, flinging away their weapons, crying out in fear, falling to the ground.
And then a trumpet rang from the Citadel, and Denethor at last released the sortie.
The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 4, The Siege of Gondor
Elena Tiriel 5Sep04, 12Mar08