CD No. 9 Episode IX : The Two Towers

t h e t w o t o w e r s

[A bird chirps]

Faramir: We have not found what we sought. But what have we found?

Ranger: Not orcs.

Ranger: Elves?

Faramir: Nay, not Elves. Elves do not walk in Ithilien these days. And
Elves are wondrous fair to look upon, or so it is said.

Sam: Meaning we're not, I take it.

[The Rangers laugh]

Sam: And when you've finished discussing us, perhaps you'll say who you
are, and why you can't let two tired travellers rest.

Faramir: I am Faramir, Captain of Gondor. And there are no travellers in
this land: only the servants of the Dark Tower, or of the White.

Sam: W - we are neither. And travellers we are, whatever Captain Faramir
may say.

Faramir: Then make haste to declare yourselves and your errand. Where is
the third of your company?

Sam: The third?

Faramir: The skulking fellow that we saw with his nose in the pool down
yonder. Some spying breed of Orc, I guess. He gave us the slip by some

Frodo: I do not know where he is. He is only a wretched gangrel creature,
but I have him under my care for a while. If you come upon him, spare him,
and send him to us. As for us, we are Hobbits of the Shire. Frodo son of
Drogo is my name, and with me is Samwise son of Hamfast. We have come by
long ways - out of Rivendell.

Faramir: Out of Rivendell?

Frodo: Yes. Seven companions we had: one we lost in Moria, the others we
left at Parth Galen above Rauros: two of my kin; a... a Dwarf there was
also, and an Elf, and two Men: Aragorn and Boromir.

Faramir: Boromir.

Rangers: Boromir!

Faramir: Boromir son of Lord Denethor? You came with him? He was High
Warden of the White Tower, and our Captain-General. What had you to do with

Frodo: Ah... are the riddling words known to you that Boromir brought to

Seek for the sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells.

Faramir: The words are known indeed. It is some token of your truth that
you also know them.

Frodo: Aragorn whom I named is the bearer of the Sword that was Broken. And
we are the Halflings that the rhyme spoke of.

Faramir: And what of Isildur's Bane?

Frodo: That is hidden. Doubtless it will be made clear in time.

Faramir: Hidden? Is not that because you choose to hide it?

Frodo: No, not because I choose. It does not belong to me or to any mortal,
great or small. Though if any could claim it, it would be Aragorn, the
leader of our Company from Moria to Rauros.

Faramir: Why he, and not Boromir, prince of the City that was founded by
the sons of Elendil?

Frodo: Because Aragorn is descended in direct lineage from Isildur
Elendil's son. And the sword that he bears is Elendil's sword.

Ranger: The sword of Elendil!

Faramir: Maybe. But so great a claim will need to be established if Aragorn
comes to Minas Tirith.

Frodo: Boromir was satisfied of that claim. He will tell you when he comes.

Faramir: So! Boromir will tell us when he comes. Were you a friend of

Frodo: He was a valiant member of our Company. Yes, I was his friend, for
my part.

Faramir: Then you would grieve to learn that Boromir was dead?

Frodo: I would grieve indeed. Dead? Do you mean that he is dead, and that
you knew it? You've been trying to trap me in words, playing with me. How
then did he die, and - and how do you know of it?

Faramir: I had hoped that his friend and companion might tell me the manner
of his death.

Frodo: But he was alive and strong when we parted.

Sam: Mm!

Frodo: And he lives still for all that I know. Though surely there are many
perils in the world.

Faramir: Many indeed, and treachery not the least.

Sam: Look, begging your pardon, Mr. Frodo, but this has gone on long
enough. He's no right to talk to you like this. After all you've been
through. Now see here, Captain! Let's come to the point. If you think my
master murdered this Boromir and then ran away, well, you've - you've got
no sense; but say it, and done!

Faramir: Patience! Do not speak before your master, whose wit is greater
than yours. You asked, Frodo, how do I know that the son of Denethor is
dead. Tidings of death have many wings, and night oft brings news to near
kindred. Boromir was my brother. Do you remember aught of special mark that
Boromir bore with him?

Frodo: I remember that Boromir bore a horn.

Faramir: Eleven days ago at about this hour, I heard the blowing of that
horn: from the northward it seemed, but dim, as if it were but an echo in
the mind. On the third night after a stranger thing befell me. I sat at
night by the waters of Anduin, under the pale moon. I saw, or it seemed
that I saw, a boat of strange fashion w - with a high prow, almost filled
with clear water; and lapped in the water a warrior lay asleep. About his
waist, he wore a strange belt of linked golden leaves. It was Boromir, my
brother, dead. The boat passed on into the night. Like a dream, and yet
there was no waking. And I do not doubt that he is dead and has passed down
the River to the Sea.

Frodo: Alas! That was indeed Boromir. For the golden belt was given to him
in Lothlórien by the Lady Galadriel.

Faramir: You passed through the Land of Lórien?

Frodo: Yes.

Faramir: Much that is strange about you I begin to understand. Oh, Boromir!
What did she say to you, the Lady that dies not?

Frodo: Oh... I...

Faramir: But it was no dream. For the horn returned in truth, and not in
seeming. It was found cloven in two in the reeds below the infalls of the
Entwash; and now lies upon the lap of Denethor, as he sits in his high
chair, waiting for news.

Frodo: Your tale fills me with dread. For if Boromir was slain, then I must
fear that all my companions perished too. And they were my kindred and my

[He sighs]

Frodo: Oh, I am weary, and full of grief, and afraid. But I have a deed to
do, or - or to attempt, before I too am slain. Go back, Faramir, and defend
your city while you may, and let me go where my doom takes me.

[He laughs]

Frodo: Will you not put aside your doubt of me now, and let me go?

Faramir: I doubt you no longer, Frodo. But I cannot do as you ask. I should
now take you back to Minas Tirith, there to answer to Denethor, and my life
will justly be forfeit, if I now choose a course that proves ill for my
city. So I will not decide in haste what is to be done. We will go to a
secret place we have, some ten miles from here. There we may rest for a
while. In the morning I will decide what is best for me to do, and for you.

- - - - -

Narrator: They set out at once, passing like grey and green shadows under
the old trees, their feet making no sound; above them, many birds sang, and
the sun glistened on the polished roof of dark leaves in the evergreen
woods of Ithilien.

[Birds sing. Their footsteps crunch on leaves beneath them as they walk]

Faramir: I thought it better not to pursue the matter of Isildur's Bane in
the open, before many men. But I think you were not wholly frank with me,

Frodo: I told no lies, Faramir. And all the truth I could.

Faramir: I do not blame you. You spoke with skill in a hard place. But I
learned more from you more than your words said. You were not friendly with
Boromir, or you did not part in friendship. Isildur's Bane - I would hazard
that was what lay between you and bred contention in your Company. Though
what it is I know not. I remember only that I heard of it in a tale told by
Mithrandir when I was a child.

Frodo: Mi - Mithrandir! You knew Gandalf? He was the leader of our Company.

Faramir: And where is he now?

[Frodo sighs]

Frodo: He was lost in Moria.

Faramir: An evil fate seems to have pursued your Company. But fear me not!
I have no desire for this thing which Isildur took from the Enemy. I would
not take it if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin
and I alone could save her, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good
and my glory. No. I do not wish for such triumph.

Frodo: Neither did the Council of Elrond. Nor do I. I have nothing to do
with such matters.

Faramir: For myself, I would see the White Tree in flower again in the
courts of the kings, and the Silver Crown return, and Minas Tirith in
peace. But now you must pardon me.

Frodo: Hm?

Faramir: It is a command that no stranger, not even one of Rohan that
fights with us, shall see the path we now go on. I must blindfold you.

Frodo: Very well.

- - - - -

Narrator: All that Frodo and Sam knew of the last mile of the road, they
learned from guess-work. Always the noise of running water was on their
right hand, and it grew nearer and louder. Then they were picked up and
carried down many steps. The water seemed all round them now, and they felt
a fine rain on their hands and cheeks. At last, they were set on their feet
once more.

[Water rushes loudly downward]

Faramir: Let them see.

[Frodo and Sam gasp]

Sam: Well, I never! Mr. Frodo, we're behind a waterfall!

Frodo: Yes!

Sam: Ah! Just look at the colours. It's just like being inside a rainbow.

[Faramir laughs]

Faramir: At least by good chance we came at the right hour to reward you
for your patience. This is the Window of the Sunset, Henneth Annûn, fairest
of all the falls of Ithilien, land of many fountains. Few strangers have
ever seen it. But there is no kingly hall to match it; only what meager
hospitality we can provide within our cave. Enter now, and take your rest!

- - - - -

Narrator: After so long journeying and camping, and days spent in the
lonely wild, the evening meal seemed a feast to the hobbits. Neither Frodo
nor Sam refused anything that was offered, nor a second, nor even a third
helping. The wine coursed through their veins and tired limbs as they sat
at their ease with Faramir, telling tales of their adventures, and
listening to him tell of his.

[Wine is poured]

Sam: You don't say much in all your tales about the Elves, sir.

Faramir: No indeed, Master Samwise, for I am not learned in Elven-lore. Yet
there are among us still some who have dealings with Elves, and ever and
anon one will go in secret to Lórien, seldom to return. Not I. Yet I envy
you that you have spoken with the White Lady.

Sam: Oh...

Faramir: She must be perilously fair.

Sam: Well, I don't know about perilous.

[Frodo laughs]

Sam: Perhaps you could call her perilous because she's so strong in
herself. You could dash yourself to pieces on her, like a ship on a rock;
or be drowned yourself, like a hobbit in a river.

[Faramir laughs]

Sam: But neither rock nor river would be to blame. It strikes me that folk
takes their peril with them into Lórien, and finds it there because they've
brought it. Now Boromir -

Faramir: Yes? Now Boromir you would say?

Sam: Hm.

Faramir: What would you say? He took his peril with him?

Sam: Hm. Yes sir, begging your pardon, and a fine a man as your brother
was, if I may say so. But you've been warm on the scent all along. I
watched Boromir all down the road from Rivendell - looking after my master,
as you'll understand - and it's my opinion that in Lórien he first saw
cleary what I guessed sooner: what he wanted. From the moment he first saw
it, he wanted the Enemy's Ring!

[Frodo chokes on his wine]

Frodo: Sam!

Sam: Eh?

[He gasps]

Sam: Oh, oh, save me! There I go again! Now look here, sir! Don't you go
taking advantage of my master because his servant's no better than a fool.
You've spoken very handsome all along and put me off my guard. But handsome
is as handsome does. Now's a chance to show your quality.

Faramir: So it seems. So that is the answer to all the riddles! The One
Ring that was thought to have perished from the world. And Boromir tried to
take it by force? And you escaped? And ran all the way to me! And here in
the wild I have you: two halflings, and a host of men at my call, and the
Ring of Rings. A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his

Frodo: Draw your sword, Sam!

[He draws his sword]

Sam: Sir.

Frodo: Stand by me!

[Sam draws his sword. Faramir gasps, and then sighs]

Faramir: Alas for Boromir! It was too sore a trial! How you have increased
my sorrow, you two strange wanderers from a far country, bearing the peril
of men! We are truth-speakers, we men of Gondor. I said, Not if I found it
on the highway would I take it. Even if I were such a man as to desire this
thing, and even though I knew not clearly what this thing was when I spoke,
still I should take those words as a vow, and be held by them. But I am not
such a man. For I am wise enough to know that there are some perils from
which a man must flee. Sit. Sit at peace!

[The hobbits sheath their swords]

Faramir: Be comforted, Samwise. If you seem to have stumbled, think that it
was fated to be so. It was safe to declare this thing to me. It may even
help the master whom you love. Well, Frodo, at last we understand each

Frodo: Yes.

Faramir: If you took this thing on yourself, unwilling, at others' asking,
then you have pity and honour from me. And I marvel at you: to keep it hid
and not to use it. You are a new people and a new world to me. But tell me,
if you will, whither you wish to go, and what to do? For I must watch, and
wait, and think.

Frodo: Ah... yes... I was going... I was going to find a way to Mordor. I
was going to Gorgoroth. Must find the Mountain of Fire and cast the Ring
into the gulf of Doom. Gandalf sa...

[His voice trails away as he collapses]

Sam: Oh! Mr. Frodo!

Frodo: Ah...

Faramir: Help me to carry him, Master Samwise.

Sam: Yes, sir.

Frodo: I don't think I shall ever get there.

Sam: Here we are, sir. Here we are, sir. There! Now...

[Frodo is placed on a bed]

Sam: I reckon he's just about all in.

Faramir: He will sleep soundly tonight.

Sam: I'll see to him now.

Frodo: Oh, Sam...

Sam: It's all right, sir. Good-night, Captain. And - you took the chance,

Faramir: Did I so?

Sam: Oh, yes, sir, and showed your quality: the very highest.

Faramir: The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards. Yet there was
naught in this to praise. I had no love or desire to do other than I have

Sam: Ah well, sir, but I will say this: you have an that reminds me of -
well, Gandalf, of Wizards.

Faramir: Hm, maybe. Maybe you discern from far away the air of Númenor.

- - - - -

Narrator: And while Frodo slept in Ithilien, Aragorn and the Grey Company
passed swiftly over the plain and came to Dunharrow as darkness fell.
Beyond the ancient stronghold rose the grim black wall of the Haunted
Mountain, and at its foot, the dark door to the Paths of the Dead.

[Birds sing]

Éowyn: Is it then your errand to seek death? That is all you will find on
that road, Aragorn. They do not suffer the living to pass.

Aragorn: Lady Éowyn, I walked in this land ere you were born to grace it.
The Paths of the Dead hold no terrors for me. And they may suffer me to
pass. I must venture it.

[Éowyn sighs]

Aragorn: No other road will serve.

Éowyn: But this is madness. For with you are men of renown and prowess,
whom you should not lead into the shadows, but should lead to war, where
men are needed. I beg you to remain here with me. To await the coming of my
brother, Éowyn, and the king. Then when the Muster of Rohan is completed
shall you ride forth.

Aragorn: It is not madness, lady, for I go on a path appointed. Those who
follow me do so of their own free will.

Éowyn: But why must you go on this deadly road?

Aragorn: I do not choose paths of peril, Éowyn. I go because I must bear my
part in the war against Sauron. Were I to go where my heart dwells, far in
the North I would be wandering in the fair valley of Rivendell.

Éowyn: You are a stern lord and resolute. But if you must go, let me ride
in your following. For I am weary of skulking in the hills, and I wish to
face peril and battle.

Aragorn: Your duty is with your people.

Éowyn: Oh, too often have I heard of duty. But am I not of the House of
Eorl, a shieldmaiden not a dry-nurse? I can ride and wield a blade. And I
do not fear pain or death.

Aragorn: What do you fear, Éowyn?

Éowyn: A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them, and
all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.

Aragorn: And yet you counselled me not to adventure on the Paths of the
Dead because it was a perilous road?

Éowyn: So may one counsel another. Yet I do not bid you flee from peril,
but to ride to battle where your sword may win renown and victory. I would
not see a thing that is high and excellent cast away needlessly.

Aragorn: Nor would I. Therefore I say to you, lady: stay! For you have no
errand in the South.

Éowyn: Neither have those others that go with thee. They go only because
they would not be parted from thee - because they love thee.

- - - - -

Narrator: The sun was not yet risen above the high ridges in the East when
Aragorn and his company set out. Éowyn stood still as a figure carven in
stone, her hands clenched at her sides, as she watched them until they
passed into the shadows under the Haunted Mountain. A dread fell on
Aragorn's company as they passed between the lines of ancient stones, and
so came to the Dark Door. It gaped before them like the mouth of night.
Signs and figures too dim to read were carved above its wide arch, and fear
flowed from it like a grey vapour.

Gimli: My blood runs chill. This is a fearful place!

Halbarad: This is an evil door, and my death lies beyond it. I will dare to
pass it nonetheless; but no horse will enter.

Aragorn: Our horses will face the terror of the Paths of the Dead if our
own hearts are steady. They must go with us. For if ever we come through
this darkness, many leagues lie beyond, and every hour that is lost will
bring the triumph of Sauron nearer. Light your torches. Follow me!

Who shall call them
from the grey twilight, the forgotten people?
The heir of him to whom the oath they swore.
From the North shall he come, need shall drive him:
he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead.

Narrator: And bearing his torch aloft, Aragorn strode into the whispering

Aragorn: Oathbreakers of Dunharrow!

[A single sigh is heard]

Aragorn: The time has come to fulfil the promise made to Isildur. He laid a
curse upon you that you should never rest until your oath was fulfilled. I,
Aragorn, the heir of Isildur, summon you to the Stone of Erech, where you
swore your allegiance. Follow!

[A wind fills the air]

Gimli: The torches have gone out!

Aragorn: They will not be rekindled. Follow me through the darkness.

Legolas: Do you hear? The Dead arise and follow us.

Gimli: I hear. And I would that we were out of this terrible darkness!

Narrator: Of the time that followed, Gimli remembered little. The others
pressed on, but he was ever hindmost, pursued by a groping horror that
seemed always just about to sieze him. At length, the company passed
through a gateway, high-arched and broad, and into a chasm of dark shadow.
Above them, the first stars of evening glinted in the sky.

Aragorn: Friends, forget your weariness! Mount now and ride. We must come
to the Stone of Erech ere this day passes, and long still is the way.

[Horse hooves are heard]

Gimli: Do the Dead follow us? I cannot look back.

Legolas: They follow. I see the shapes of men and of horses, and pale
banners like shreds of cloud, and spears like winter-thickets on a misty
night. The Dead are following.

- - - - -

Narrator: So they rode out of the ravine, and into the Vale of Morthond,
and came at length to the hill of Erech.

Aragorn: Give me the horn of silver.

[He blows the horn]

Aragorn: Oathbreakers, why have you come?

A Voice: To fulfil the oath made to Isildur.

[The voices of the Dead sigh: "Aye"]

Aragorn: The hour has come at last. Now I go to Pelargir upon Anduin, the
city of royal ships, and ye shall come after me. And when all this land is
clean of the servants of Sauron, I will hold the oath fulfilled, and ye
shall go in peace for ever. Halbarad, unfurl our standard!

Narrator: And behold! The standard which Arwen had woven was black, and if
there was any device upon it, it was hidden in darkness. Then there was
silence and the Grey Company passed into the darkness of the Storm of
Mordor, and was lost to mortal sight; but the Dead followed them.

- - - - -

Narrator: And as the long night drew towards its end in Ithilien, Frodo and
Sam were roused from their sleep by Faramir, who led them to place at the
side of the waterfall.

[The water rushes loudly towards the ground far below]

Sam: Oh... it's a fine view, no doubt, Mr. Frodo, but chilling to the
heart, not to mention the bones.

Faramir: Frodo? Do you see the pool down there, at the bottom of the cliff?

Frodo: Yes...

Faramir: Something's moving. What is it? It has four limbs and dives like a
man. What is it doing? Seeking a way up behind the waterfall to our
hidings? I have a marksman posted. Shall we shoot?

Frodo: No, no! I - I beg you not to.

Faramir: You know, then, what this thing is?

Frodo: Yes.

Faramir: Is it your gangrel companion?

Frodo: Yes.

Faramir: He is dead to come to Henneth Annûn and his life is forfeit. I
marvel at the creature: to come sporting in the pool before our very
window. Does he thing that men sleep without watch all night?

Frodo: He knows little of men. But I think he is lured here by a mastering
desire, stronger than his caution.

Faramir: He is lured here, you say? Does he then know of your burden?

Frodo: Yes, indeed. He bore it himself for many years.

Faramir: He bore it? This matter winds itself ever in new riddles. Then he
is pursuing it?

Frodo: Maybe. It is precious to him. But I did not speak of that.

Faramir: What then does the creature seek?

Frodo: Fishsss.

Faramir: Fishsss...?

Frodo: Ah! Fish.

Faramir: Ah.

Frodo: The creature is wretched, and hungry, and unaware of his danger. And
Gandalf, your Mithrandir would have bidden you not to slay him for that
reason, a - and for others. In some way, he is bound up with my errand.
Until you found us and took us, he was my guide.

Faramir: Your guide! I would do much for you, Frodo, but I cannot let this
sly wanderer go free at his own will from here. He must be slain or taken.

Frodo: Then let me go down quietly to him. Yes? I - I... I will bring him
to you.

- - - - -

[The waterfall meets the pool]

Gollum: Fishsss!

[He splashes through the water]

Gollum: Nice fish! Now we can eat...

[He splashes]

Gollum: in peace. No! Not in peace, precious. For the Precious is
lost. Yes, lost. Dirty hobbits! Nasty hobbits! Gone and left us, gollum.
And Precious is gone. Throttle them, precious! Throttle them all!

Frodo: Sméagol.

[Gollum starts]

Gollum: Nice fishss!

[He struggles to keep ahold of it]

Frodo: Sméagol!

Gollum: Nice fishss!

Frodo: Come quickly, Sméagol!

[Gollum whimpers]

Frodo: Men will kill you if they find you here. Come quickly! We are in

Gollum: Oh, no! Not nice master. Leaves poor Sméagol; goes with new
friends. Master can wait. Sméagol hasn't finished.

[He splashes]

Frodo: Sméagol, there's no time for all that. The Precious will be angry.

[Gollum cries out]

Frodo: I shall take Precious, and say: make him swallow bones and choke.

Gollum: Gollum! Nice Master!

Frodo: Ah.

Gollum: Nice hobbit! Come back to poor Sméagol.

[He laughs nervously]

Gollum: Good Sméagol comes. Let's go quickly, yes, yes!

Frodo: Now, we must go up the stream. I can't leave Sam. For you're not
safe yet. I will save you, but you must trust me.

Gollum: We must trust...

Frodo: Yes.

Gollum: ...master? Why not go away at once, hm?

Frodo: I told you, Sméagol. Now go on!

[Gollum whimpers]

Frodo: Or Precious will be angry!

[Gollum splashes]

Frodo: That's it. Come on - up! Careful, careful.

[Gollum breathes heavily as he moves through the water, and then gasps]

Frodo: What?

Gollum: Something's there. Wicked master! Tricksy! False master!

Frodo: Sméagol!

[Gollum growls]

Ranger: Hold still! Or we'll stick you as full of pins as a hedgehog.

[Gollum hisses and struggles]

Ranger: Tie him up.

[Gollum screams and cries]

Frodo: No! No, no! Don't hurt him, if you can help it. He'll be quieter, if
you don't. Oh, Sméagol! They won't hurt you, Sméagol.

Gollum: They are! They are!

Frodo: I'll go with you, and you shall come to no harm. Now trust master!

Gollum: False master! Gollum.

- - - - -

[Gollum screams]

Faramir: Come! Set him down.

Gollum: Loose us!

Faramir: Let's have a look at you.

Gollum: Loose us! The cord hurts us, yes it does, it hurts us, and we've
done nothing.

Faramir: Nothing? Tonight you have come where it is death to come. The fish
of this pool are dearly bought.

Gollum: Gollum.

[The fish slap to the ground]

Gollum: Don't want fish.

Faramir: The price is not set on fish. Only to come here and look on the
pool bears the penalty of death. I have spared you so far at the prayer of
Frodo. But you must also satisfy me.

[Gollum whimpers]

Faramir: Cut him loose.

[A knife is pulled. Gollum cries out]

Frodo: Now, Sméagol! You must trust me.

[Gollum hisses]

Frodo: I will not desert you. Now, answer truthfully, if you can.

[The knife is sheathed]

Faramir: Come hither. Look in my eyes. Do you know the name of this place?
Have you been here before?

Gollum: We doesn't know and we doesn't want to know. Never came here; never
come again.

Faramir: I believe you. What oath wll you swear never to return?

Gollum: Master knows! Sméagol promises to Precious. Promises faithfully,
faithfully, never to come again. Never, never! Sméagol, no. Never, never!
No, precious, no. Gollum.

Faramir: Are you satisified, Frodo?

Frodo: Yes. You will get no more from him. And I promised him that if he
came with me, he should not be harmed. I would not be proved faithless.

Faramir: Then I surrender him to you.

[Gollum whimpers]

Faramir: As for you, Frodo, I declare you free in the realm of Gondor to
the furthest of its ancient bounds. But tell me, whither would you go?

Frodo: Where my guide leads me.

[Gollum laughs]

Frodo: He said that there is - or there may be a path near to Minas Ithil.
A path that climbs up into the mountains.

Faramir: Do you know the name of that high pass?

Frodo: No.

Faramir: It is called Cirith Ungol.

[Gollum hisses]

Faramir: It not that its name?

Gollum: No! Y - yes, yes, yes, yes. We - we heard the name onces, yes. But
what does the name matter? Master says he must get in. There is no other
way to try, no, no...

Faramir: No other way? There is some dark terror that dwells in the high
passes. If Cirith Ungol is named, old men and masters of lore will blanch
and fall silent. Frodo, do not go there.

- - - - -

Narrator: The time came for Frodo and and Sam to set out. The cool morning
air was fresh and sweet about them, and they were in haste to depart. But
Faramir drew them aside for one last counsel.

[Water falls around them]

Faramir: Frodo, I think you do very unwisely in this. I do not think you
should go with that creature. He is wicked.

Frodo: Not altogether wicked.

Faramir: Not wholly, perhaps, but malice eats him like a canker. He will
lead you to no good.

Frodo: I have promised many times to take him under my protection and to go
where he led. You would not ask me to break faith with him?

Faramir: No. But my heart would. I do not think you are holden to follow
him to Cirith Ungol, of which he has told you less than he knows. It is a
place of sleepless malice, full of lidless eyes. Do not go that way!

Frodo: But where else would you direct me? I mea - you cannot guide me to
the mountains, nor over them. But over the mountains I am bound to go, by a
solemn undertaking. I - If I turn back, where then shall I go among Elves
and Men? Would you have me come to Gondor with this - this thing that drove
your brother mad with desire?

Faramir: Oh...

Frodo: Oh, Faramir, what spell would it work in Minas Tirith? Would it not
bring evil and decay as Sauron brought evil to Minas Ithil, your twin city
that once so fair? And turned it into the horror that is Minas Morgul.
Shall there be two cities of Minas Morgul, grinning at each other across a
dead land filled with rottenness?

Faramir: I would not have it so.

Frodo: Then what would you have me do?

Faramir: I know not. It is a hard doom and a hopeless errand. I do not hope
to see you again on any other day under the sun. But you shall go now with
my blessing upon you, and upon all your people.

[They hug]

Frodo: Dear Faramir!

Faramir: Fare well.

Frodo: Fare well.

- - - - -

Narrator: At the rising of the sun, Gandalf and Pippin came at last to
Minas Tirith, and passed through the seven gates of the City to the Court
of the Fountain.

[The Fountain splashes in the background]

Pippin: A withered tree! Why leave a dead tree in the courtyard, when
everything else is so well-tended?

Gandalf: Don't you remember the rhyme I spoke to you?

Pippin: Seven stars and seven stones and one white tree.

Gandalf: Aha.

Pippin: But it isn't white. It's dead, and broken, and black.

Gandalf: It died with the twenty-first Steward of Gondor, and no sapling
could be found to replace it.

Pippin: But why leave it there?

Gandalf: Because it is a descendant of Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor,
which Sauron burned on the alter of the temple of Armenelos. For Isildur
stole a fruit from that tree. And from it grew the White Tree of Gondor.

Pippin: Yes, but why leave it in the middle of -

Gandalf: No more questions, Peregrin Took. We must go before Denethor. And
be careful of your words - Denethor is not a kindly old man like Théoden.
He's proud and subtle; a man of far greater lineage and power, though he is
not called a king. But he will speak most to you and question you much
since you can tell him of his son, Boromir. He loved him greatly - too
much, perhaps. But under cover of his love he will think it easier to learn
what he wishes from you rather than from me.

Pippin: Really?

Gandalf: Do not tell him more that you need. Leave quiet the matter of
Frodo's errand.

Pippin: Well, of course!

Gandalf: And say nothing about Aragorn unless you must.

Pippin: Why not? What's wrong with Strider? He'll be arriving here himself
soon, anyway.

Gandalf: Maybe, maybe. Though if he comes, it is likely to be in some way
no one expects, not even Denethor, who sees much. At least he should come
unheralded by us.

Pippin: Well, I'm very sorry, but I don't understand.

Gandalf: If you hadn't passed your time in the Shire bird-nesting and
playing truant, you might have known that Denethor is only Steward. He
holds the office in the name of the king until he shall return.

Pippin: Yes.

Gandalf: But it is long since men believed that the king would truly
return. It's scarcely wise when bringing the news of the death of his heir
to a mighty lord to speak over much of one who will claim the kingship.

Pippin: Kingship?

Gandalf: Yes.

Pippin: But I didn't know Strider would -

Gandalf: If you've walked all these days with closed ears and mind asleep,
wake up now!

Pippin: Yes, Gandalf.

Gandalf: Come.

- - - - -

[Gandalf's footsteps echo]

Gandalf: Hail, Lord and Steward of Minas Tirith, Denethor son of Ecthelion!
I am come with counsel and tidings in a dark hour.

Denethor: Dark indeed is the hour, and at such times you are wont to come,
Mithrandir. But though all the signs forbode that the doom of Gondor is
drawing nigh, less now to me is that darkness than mine own darkness. It
has been told to me that you bring with you one who saw my son die. Is this

Gandalf: It is. One of the twain. The other is with Théoden of Rohan and
may come after. Halflings. But this is not he of whom the omen spoke.

Denethor: Yet a Halfling still, and little love do I bear the name, since
those accursed words came to trouble our country-side and drew away my son
on a wild errand to his death. My Boromir! Now we have need of you. Faramir
should have gone in his stead.

Gandalf: He would have gone. Be not unjust in your grief! Boromir claimed
the errand and would not suffer any other to have it. But you speak of his
death. You have had news of that ere we came?

Denethor: I have received this.

[He lifts the halves of Boromir's horn]

Pippin: That's the horn that Boromir always wore!

Denethor: Verily. And in my turn I bore it, and so did each eldest son of
our house, far back in the vanished years before the failing of the kings.
I heard it blowing dim upon the northern marches thirteen days ago, and the
River brought it to me, broken. What say you to that, halfling?

Pippin: Thirteen days. That would be so. I stood beside him when he blew
the horn. But no help came. Only more orcs.

Denethor: Why did not help come? And how did you escape, and yet he did
not, so mighty a man as he was, and only orcs to withstand him?

Pippin: The mightiest man may be slain by one arrow, and Boromir was
pierced by many. I swooned and was made captive. He died to save us, my
kinsman Meriadoc and myself, waylaid in the woods by the soldiers of the
Dark Lord.

Denethor: A bitter sacrifice.

Pippin: Little service, no doubt, will so great a lord of Men think to find
in a hobbit; yet such as it it, I will offer it, in payment of my debt.

[He draws his sword and lays it at Denethor's feet]

Denethor: Once again it is shown that looks may belie the man - or the
halfling. I accept your service. For you are not daunted by words; and you
have courteous speech. We shall have need of all folk of courtesy, be they
great or small, in the days to come. Swear to me now!

Gandalf: Swear on the sword, if you are resolved on this.

Denethor: Swear fealty and service to Gondor, and to the Lord Steward of
the realm, to speak and to be silent...

Pippin: To speak and to be silent.

Denethor: do and let be...

Pippin: To do and let be.

Denethor: come and to go...

Pippin: To come and to go.

Denethor: need or plenty...

Pippin: In need or plenty.

Denethor: peace or war...

Pippin: In peace or war.

Denethor: living or dying...

Pippin: In living or dying.

Denethor: ...until my lord release me, or death take me.

Pippin: Until my lord release me, or death take me.

Denethor: And I will not forget, nor fail to reward that which is given:
fealty with love, valour with honour, oath-breaking with vengeance. Receive
your sword!

[Pippin sheathes the sword]

Denethor: And now, my first command to you: speak and be not silent! Tell
me your full tale, and see that you recall all that you can of Boromir, my
son. Sit now and begin!

Narrator: In the Great Hall, under the piercing eye of the Lord of Gondor,
Pippin told his tale, conscious all the while of Gandalf at his side,
watching and listening. When the hour was over, he felt quite worn out.

[A gong resonates]

Denethor: Send word to the Captains that I have sworn this halfling to my
service, and he shall be known as Peregrin son of Paladin, and taught the
lesser passwords.

[The guards answer: "Sire"]

Denethor: He shall lodge with the Lord Mithrandir, if he will.

[The guards exit the hall]

Denethor: Mithrandir, none shall hinder your coming to me at any time, save
only in my brief hours of sleep. Let your wrath at an old man's foolish
grief run off and then return to my comfort!

Gandalf: Nay, my lord, when you are a dotard you wil die. You can even use
your grief as a cloak. Do you think that I do not understand your purpose
in questioning for an hour one who knows the least?

Denethor: If you understand it, then be content. Pride would be folly that
listened not counsel at need; but you deal out such gifts according to your
own designs. Yet the Lord of Gondor is not to be made the tool of other
men's purposes, however worthy. And to him there is no purpose in the world
higher than the good of Gondor. And the rule of Gondor, my lord, is mine
and no other man's, unless the king should come again.

Gandalf: Ah. Unless the king should come again? Well, my lord, it is your
task to keep some kingdom still against that event. But I will say this:
the rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as
the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not
wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes
through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit again in the days
to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know? Come, Pippin!

[They leave Denethor's hall and return to the Court of the Fountain, the
waters of which flow in the background]

Pippin: I did the best I could, Gandalf.

Gandalf: You did indeed!

[He laughs]

Gandalf: And I hope it may be long before you find yourself in such a tight
corner again between two such terrible old men. Still the Lord of Gondor
learned more from you than you may have guessed, Pippin.

Pippin: How?

Gandalf: You could not conceal the fact that Boromir did not lead the
Company from Moria, and that there was one among you of high honour who was
coming to Minas Tirith.

Pippin: Oh...

Gandalf: Denethor has long sight. He can see, if he bends his will thither,
much of what is passing in the minds of men, even of those that dwell far
off. It is difficult to deceive him, and dangerous to try.

Pippin: Did I do write to swear him service?

Gandalf: It was well done. It touched his heart, as well as pleasing his
humour. And at least you are free now to move about Minas Tirith - when you
are not on duty. But there is another side to it. You are at his command;
and he will not forget. Be wary still!

- - - - -

Narrator: And while Pippin explored the battlements of Minas Tirith, the
King of Rohan came out of the hills and looked upon Dunharrow. A rider came
out to meet him, clad in armour and girded with a sword.

[A horse approaches. A wind blows]

Éowyn: Hail, Lord of the Mark! My heart is glad at your returning.

Théoden: Éowyn, my sister-daughter! In helmet and armour?

Éomer: Éowyn, you are a true shield-maiden.

Éowyn: Brother.

Théoden: Is all well with you, Éowyn?

Éowyn: All is well, though it has been a hard road for your people who have
sought refuge here, torn from their homes. But all is now ordered. Your
lodging is prepared for you. I have had full tidings of you and knew the
hour of your coming.

Théoden: So Aragorn has come, then? Is he still here?

Éowyn: He came at night, and rode away yestermorn, ere the Sun had climbed
over the mountaintops.

Théoden: You are grieved, daughter. Tell me: did he speak of the road
towards the Haunted Mountain? Did he purpose to ride through the Paths of
the Dead?

Éowyn: Yes, lord. And he has passed into the shadows from which none have
returned. I could not dissuade him. He has gone.

Théoden: All, all have gone to some doom. And my turn will come soon,

Éowyn: An hour ago, an errand-rider came from Minas Tirith. He bade me give
you this.

[She hands the arrow to Théoden]

Théoden: The Red Arrow! Has it indeed come to that?

Éowyn: Denethor asks for all your strength and all your speed.

Théoden: And we will go as soon as the muster is complete.

Éomer: If you would take my counsel, you would remain in Edoras until the
war is over, lost or won.

Théoden: Speak not the soft words of Wormtongue in my old ears! Never will
I lean upon my staff again. If the war is lost, what good will be my hiding
in the hills? And if it is won, what grief will it be, even if I fall,
spending my last strength? Let us take what rest we can. We must set forth
as soon as the sun is risen.

- - - - -

Gollum: Are we ressted?

[The hobbits are startled from their sleep. Gollum laughs]

Gollum: Have we had a beautiful sleep?

Sam: We aren't.

Frodo: And we haven't.

Gollum: Follow Sméagol!

Sam: We'll go if we must.

Gollum: Follow Sméagol!

Narrator: Now, the Ring-bearers travelled by night, Gollum leading them by
the road to Minas Morgul. There seemed to be a great blackness looming
slowly out of the East, eating up the faint, blurred stars. The sinking
moon was ringed all about with a sickly yellow glare.

Gollum: Day soon, hm, hm.

[Sam coughs]

Gollum: Hobbitses must hurry; day soon!

[Frodo groans]

Gollum: And then, then, hobbitses can sleep. Follow Sméagol...

- - - - -

Narrator: But no day came; only a dead, brown twilight. In the East, there
was a dull red glare under the lowering cloud. But it was not the red of

[A wind blows]

Frodo: Sam.

Sam: Sir?

Frodo: Do you think that is the opening of the Morgul Valley? Away over
there, beyond that black mass.

Sam: Oh, need we think about it yet? Well, surely, we're not going to move
any more today, if the day ever happens.

Frodo: Grey vapours arise in the east out of Mordor. The twilight is

- - - - -

Narrator: The very air seemed brown, and all things were black, and grey,
and shadowless. There was a great stillness. The world was darkling.

Éomer: It comes from Mordor. It began last night at sunset. The Riders of
the Marches saw it rise and creep across the sky, eating up the stars. Now
the Great Cloud hangs over all the land between here and the Mountains of
Shadow, and it is deepening. War has already begun.

Théoden: So we come to it in the end, the great battle of our time, in
which many things shall pass away. But at least there is no longer need for
hiding. We shall ride the straight way and the open road to Edoras, and
with all speed. There shall the Muster of Rohan be complete, and there
shall our trumpets sound for battle.

- - - - -

[A deep rumbling is heard in the distance]

Sam: Now, what was it I was looking for? Weeds and thorns and brachen all
over the place. Oh, how did a garden get into this mess? It's a job of work
for me. I'm a little tired. What was it I was looking for? My pipe! That's
it! Silly!

[He fumbles in his pack]

Sam: It's in your pack all the time! Huh? Oh, oh... you may have your pipe,
Sam Gamgee, but no head! You're hundreds of miles from Bag End. Well, it's
dark. I must have slept all day. Oh! Oh, have you had no sleep, Mr. Frodo?
W - what's the time? It seems to be gettin' late.

Frodo: No, it isn't. But the day is getting darker instead of lighter:
darker and darker. As far as I can tell, it isn't even midday yet...

Sam: Oh...

Frodo: ...and you've only slept for about three hours.

Sam: Oh! I wonder what's up? Is there a storm coming? If so, it's going to
be the worst there ever was. We shall wish we were down a hole, and not
just stuck under a hedge.

[The rumbling becomes louder. Sam gasps]

Sam: What's that? Thunder, or drums, or what is it?

Frodo: I don't know. It's been going on for a good while now. Sometimes the
ground seems to tremble, sometimes it seems to be the heavy air throbbing
in your ears.

Sam: Where's Gollum?

Frodo: Hm? Eh - off hunting, I suppose. There's not been a sign or sound of

Sam: I've never taken anything on a journey that I'd have been less sorry
to lose on the way. But it would be just like him, after coming all these
miles to go and get lost now, just when we shall need him the most. I hope
he doesn't fall into other hands, as you might say. Because if he does, we
shall soon be in for trouble.

[The rumbling returns]

Frodo: I think we are in for trouble anyhow. I'm afraid, Sam, our journey
is drawing to an end.

Sam: Oh! Well, maybe, but where there's life there's hope, as my Gaffer
used to say; and need of vittles, as he mostways used to add. You have a
bite of food Faramir gave us, and then a bit of sleep, Mr. Frodo.

Gollum: No time to sleepss!

[Frodo and Sam are startled. Gollum laughs]

Gollum: We must go! Yes, must go at onccce! No time to lose!

Sam: Go now? What's your little game? It - it isn't time yet.

Gollum: It is, it is.

Sam: It can't even be tea-time, even. Leastways not in decent places where
there is a tea-time.

Gollum: Silly! We are not in decent placess. Time's running short, hm.
Running fast. No time to lose! We must go to the Crossroads. Follow

- - - - -

Narrator: At last, they came to a great ring of trees, open in the middle
to the somber sky. The spaces between their immense boles were like great
dark arches in some ruined hall. In the very centre four roads met. The
fourth way, the road they were to take, passed out eastward into darkness.

[Deep rumbles shake the sky]

Frodo: Oh! The sun! Look, Sam! A ray of sunlight.

Sam: It would shine just as it's about to set. Much good that'll do us.

Frodo: Look! Do you see?

Sam: Huh?

Frodo: It's falling on an old statue.

Sam: Oh...

Frodo: A statue of one of the old kings guarding the Crossroads.

Sam: Well, it looks like the orcs have got him. They've sliced his head
off, scrawled their filthy writing over him. Oh, here's his head, lying
over here. Poor old king.

Frodo: But look, Sam. He wears a crown again; a crown of trailing flowers
like white stars. They cannot conquer for ever.

- - - - -

[A horn cries. Horses beat the earth]

Théoden: I am going to war, Master Meriadoc. I release you from my service,
but not from my friendship. You shall abide in Dunharrow, if you will, and
serve the Lady Éowyn.

Merry: But - but... but lord! I - I offered you my sword. I don't want to
be parted from you. Why did you receive me as swordthain if not to stay by
your side?

Théoden: I receieved you for your safe keeping and also to do as I bid.
None of my riders can bear you as burden, and it is a hundred leagues to
Minas Tirith. I will say no more.

[His horse carries him away]

Éomer: Prepare to ride.

[A horn-call fills the air again]

Merry: I won't be left behind to be called for in return. I won't be left.
I won't!

[A horse approaches]

Dernhelm: You wish to go whither the Lord of the Mark goes. I see it in
your face.

Merry: I do.

Dernhelm: Then you shall go; with me. I will bear you before me under my
cloak until we are far afield, and this darkness is yet darker. Such good
will should not be denied.

Merry: Oh, thank you, indeed! Thank you sir, though I do not know your

Dernhelm: Do you not?

Merry: And since you've got your visor down, I cannot see your face,
begging your pardon, sir.

Dernhelm: Then call me Dernhelm.

[A horn is blown again. Many horses begin to gallop]

Narrator: And so the great ride into the East began, with which the songs
of Rohan were busy for many long lives of men thereafter.

[A voice sings:

Forth rode the king, fear behind him,
fate before him. Fealty kept he;
oaths he had taken, all fulfilled them.
Forth rode Théoden. Five nights and days
east and onward rode the Eorlingas
through Folde and Fenmarch and the Firienwood,
six thousand spears to Sunlending,
Mundburg the mighty under Mindolluin,
Sea-kings' city in the South-kingdom
foe-beleaguered, fire-encircled.
Doom drove them on. Darkness took them,
Horse and horseman; hoofbeats afar
sank into silence: so the songs tell. ]