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Timeline Event

Éomer meets the Three Hunters in the Eastemnet (approximate date)

Event Type: General

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Date: March 1, 3019

Description:

The actual date of this event is 30 February 3019, but it cannot be represented using modern date software.
An event in the aftermath of the Orc-raid at Parth Galen and the Attack on the Orc-raiders at Fangorn; see those entries for an overview:
Legolas... saw... the small figures of... many horsemen.... Far behind them a dark smoke rose in thin curling threads....

'We will wait,' said Aragorn. 'I am weary, and our hunt has failed. Or at least others were before us; for these horsemen are riding back down the orc-trail. We may get news from them.'....

The three companions now left the hill-top.... A little above the hill's foot they halted, and wrapping their cloaks about them, they sat huddled together upon the faded grass.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan

Suddenly they swept up with a noise like thunder, and the foremost horseman swerved, passing by the foot of the hill, and leading the host back southward along the western skirts of the downs....

The host had almost passed when suddenly Aragorn stood up, and called in a loud voice:

'What news from the North, Riders of Rohan?'

With astonishing speed and skill they checked their steeds, wheeled, and came charging round. Soon the three companions found themselves in a ring of horsemen moving in a running circle... and drawing ever inwards. Aragorn stood silent, and the other two sat without moving, wondering what way things would turn.

[Suddenly], the Riders halted. A thicket of spears were pointed towards the strangers.... Then one rode forward... taller than all the rest; from his helm as a crest a white horsetail flowed. He advanced until the point of his spear was within a foot of Aragorn's breast....

'Who are you, and what are you doing in this land?' said the Rider, using the Common Speech....

'I am called Strider,' answered Aragorn. 'I came out of the North. I am hunting Orcs.'

The Rider leaped from his horse. Giving his spear to another... he drew his sword and stood face to face with Aragorn, surveying him keenly....

'[You] know little of Orcs, if you go hunting them in this fashion. They were swift and well-armed, and they were many.... But there is something strange about you, Strider.... That is no name for a Man that you give. And strange too is your raiment.... How did you escape our sight? Are you elvish folk?'

'No,' said Aragorn. 'One only of us is an Elf, Legolas from the Woodland Realm in distant Mirkwood. But we have passed through Lothlórien, and the gifts and favour of the Lady go with us.'

The Rider looked at them with renewed wonder, but his eyes hardened. 'Then there is a Lady in the Golden Wood, as old tales tell!' he said.... 'Few escape her nets, they say.... But if you have her favour, then you also are net-weavers and sorcerers, maybe.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan

'I am named Éomer son of Éomund, and am called the Third Marshal of Riddermark.... wanderers in the Riddermark would be wise to be less haughty in these days of doubt. First tell me your right name.'

'First tell me whom you serve,' said Aragorn. 'Are you friend or foe of Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor?'

'I serve only the Lord of the Mark, Théoden King son of Thengel,' answered Éomer. 'We do not serve the Power of the Black Land far away, but neither are we yet at open war with him.... We welcomed guests kindly in the better days, but in these times the unbidden stranger finds us swift and hard. Come! Who are you? Whom do you serve?'....

'I serve no man,' said Aragorn; 'but the servants of Sauron I pursue into whatever land they may go.... The Orcs whom we pursued took captive two of my friends. In such need a man... will not ask for leave to follow the trail. Nor will he count the heads of the enemy save with a sword. I am not weaponless.'

Aragorn threw back his cloak. The elven-sheath glittered as he grasped it, and the bright blade of Andúril shone like a sudden flame as he swept it out. 'Elendil!' he cried. 'I am Aragorn son of Arathorn and am called Elessar, the Elfstone, Dúnadan, the heir of Isildur Elendil's son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!'

Gimli and Legolas looked at their companion in amazement, for they had not seen him in this mood before. He seemed to have grown in stature... and in his living face they caught a brief vision of the power and majesty of the kings of stone. For a moment it seemed to the eyes of Legolas that a white flame flickered on the brows of Aragorn like a shining crown.

Éomer stepped back and a look of awe was in his face. He cast down his proud eyes. 'These are indeed strange days,' he muttered. 'Dreams and legends spring to life out of the grass.'

'Tell me, lord,' he said, 'what brings you here?.... What doom do you bring out of the North?'

'The doom of choice,' said Aragorn. 'You may say this to Théoden son of Thengel: open war lies before him, with Sauron or against him. None may live now as they have lived, and few shall keep what they call their own. But of these great matters we will speak later. If chance allows, I will come myself to the king.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan

'All that you say is strange, Aragorn.' he said. 'Yet you speak the truth, that is plain.... But you have not told all. Will you not now speak more fully of your errand, so that I may judge what to do?'

'I set out from Imladris... many weeks ago,' answered Aragorn. 'With me went Boromir of Minas Tirith. My errand was to go to that city... to aid his folk in their war against Sauron.... Gandalf the Grey was our leader.... But alas!... He fell into darkness in the Mines of Moria and comes not again.'

'That is heavy tidings,' said Éomer....

'It is tidings more grievous than any in this land can understand...,' said Aragorn.... 'My part it has been to guide our Company... Through Lórien we came... and thence down the leagues of the Great River to the falls of Rauros. There Boromir was slain by the same Orcs whom you destroyed.'

'Your news is all of woe!' cried Éomer in dismay. 'Great harm is this death to Minas Tirith, and to us all.'....

'But now, lord, what would you have me do!.... It is true that we are not yet at open war with the Black Land, and there are some, close to the king's ear, that speak craven counsels; but war is coming. We shall not forsake our old alliance with Gondor, and while they fight we shall aid them: so say I and all who hold with me. The East-mark is my charge... and I have removed all our herds and herdfolk, withdrawing them beyond Entwash, and leaving none here but guards and swift scouts.'....

'Then you do not pay tribute to Sauron?' said Gimli.

'We do not and we never have.' said Éomer with a flash of his eyes....

'But at this time our chief concern is with Saruman. He has claimed lordship over all this land, and there has been war between us for many months. He... has closed the Gap against us, so that we are likely to be beset both east and west....

'I do not know how it will all end, and my heart misgives me; for it seems to me that his friends do not all dwell in Isengard. But if you come to the king's house, you shall see for yourself. Will you not come? Do I hope in vain that you have been sent to me for a help in doubt and need?'

'I will come when I may,' said Aragorn.

'Come now!' said Éomer.... 'There is battle even now upon the Westemnet, and I fear that it may go ill for us.

'Indeed in this riding north I went without the king's leave.... But scouts warned me of the orc-host coming down out of the East Wall three nights ago, and among them they reported that some bore the white badges of Saruman. So suspecting what I most fear, a league between Orthanc and the Dark Tower, I led forth my éored... we overtook the Orcs... and gave battle yesterday at dawn. Fifteen of my men I lost, and twelve horses alas! For the Orcs were greater in number than we counted on....

'Nonetheless we put an end to them. But we have been too long away.... Will you not come?'....

'I thank you for your fair words,' said Aragorn, 'and my heart desires to come with you; but I cannot desert my friends while hope remains.'

'Hope does not remain,' said Éomer. 'You will not find your friends on the North-borders.'

'Yet my friends are not behind. We found a clear token not far from the East Wall that one at least of them was still alive there. But between the wall and the downs we have found no other trace of them, and no trail has turned aside.... I can only think that they were carried off into the forest before the battle.... Can you swear that none escaped your net in such a way?'

'I would swear that no Orc escaped after we sighted them,' said Éomer. 'We reached the forest-eaves before them, and if after that any living thing broke through our ring, then it was no Orc and had some elvish power.'

'Our friends were attired even as we are,' said Aragorn; 'and you passed us by under the full light of day.'

'I had forgotten that,' said Éomer. 'It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels.... How shall a man judge what to do in such times?'

'As he ever has judged,' said Aragorn. 'Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.'

'True indeed,' said Éomer.... 'I do not doubt you.... Yet I am not free to do all as I would. It is against our law to let strangers wander at will in our land, until the king himself shall give them leave, and more strict is the command in these days of peril. I have begged you to come back willingly with me, and you will not. Loth am I to begin a battle of one hundred against three.'

'I do not think your law was made for such a chance,' said Aragorn.... 'My duty at least is clear, to go on.... Aid us, or at the worst let us go free.'....

Éomer was silent for a moment, then he spoke. 'We both have need of haste,' he said.... 'This is my choice. You may go; and what is more, I will lend you horses. This only I ask: when your quest is achieved, or is proved vain, return with the horses over the Entwade to Meduseld, the high house in Edoras where Théoden now sits. Thus you shall prove to him that I have not misjudged. In this I place myself, and maybe my very life, in the keeping of your good faith. Do not fail.'

'I will not,' said Aragorn.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 22Jan05

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