CD No. 11 Episode XI : The Battle of Pelennor Fields




t h e b a t t l e o f p e l e n n o r f i e l d s

Frodo: No! No! Give it to me. You shan't have the Precious! Thief! Thief!
It's mine - the Precious is mine! Mine!

[Sam cries]

Frodo: Oh, Sam! Sam, what have I said? What have I done? Oh, after all
you've done for me. Forgive me! It's the terrible power of the Ring. I wish
it had never, never been found!

Sam: Sir...

Frodo: But don't mind me, Sam. I must carry the burden to the end. I... it
can't be altered. You can't come between me and this doom.

Sam: That's all right, Mr. Frodo. I - I understand. But I can still help,
can't I?

Frodo: Oh, yes, Sam.

Sam: I've got to get you out of here at once, see! B - but first you'll
want some clothes and gear.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: As we're in Mordor, we'd best dress up Mordor-fashion; and anyway
there isn't no choice. It'll have to be orc-stuff for you, Mr. Frodo, I'm
afraid. I'll scout round and see what I can lay my hands on. After all that
killing, there shouldn't be any shortage of gear.

Frodo: All right, Sam.

- - - - -

[They rummage with the orc-gear]

Frodo: Sam, this is digusting, dirty stuff. Ugh!

Sam: There's nothing else for it, Mr. Frodo. Now put this black cap on.

[They laugh]

Frodo: Eh...

Sam: It's got the Evil Eye on it.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: You see? It fits. Perfect little orc! At least you would be if we
could cover your face with a mask, give you longer arms and make you bow-
legged. But this cloak will cover some of the tell-tales.

[Frodo wraps the cloak around himself]

Frodo: Ugh!

Sam: Now. You're ready?

Frodo: Yes. But - but what about you, Sam?

Sam: Oh, well, Mr. Frodo. I... I'd best not leave any of my stuff behind
and we can't destroy it. I'll just have to cover up. An orc-helm and a
cloak will serve my purpose well-enough, I reckon.

Frodo: But... but how are we going to get out?

Sam: Well, I reckon the orcs have taken care of themselves. And as for the
Watchers at the gate, the Lady's star-glass got me in, so I guess it'll get
us out. And then it's the road for Mount Doom.

- - - - -

Narrator: They passed through the gate. And again, it gave its terrible
warning. In the far distance, still many leagues away, lay Orodruin, the
Mountain of Fire. There Sauron had once had his dwelling place, and there,
in the Fire that welled from the heart of the earth, he had forged the One
Ring, the Ruling Ring.

Sam: Well, there it is, Mr. Frodo. We'd best be on our way there.

[A Nazgûl screams above them. Sam gasps]

Sam: Run, Mr. Frodo! Quick!

[They break into a run]

Frodo: It must have heard the alarm from the Watchers.

Sam: Oh, the hunt'll be up now, and no mistake.

Frodo: Yes.

Sam: Well, let's get on.

Frodo: No! This won't do, Sam. If we were real orcs, we ought to be dashing
back to the Tower, not running away. The first enemy we meet will know us.
We must get off this road somehow.

Sam: With a cliff on one side and a precipice on the other, we'd need
wings.

Frodo: Not quite. Look! Do you see? There's a bridge a little way ahead.
We'll slip off the road there, then down into the valley, and turn
northward as soon as we can.

- - - - -

Frodo: Oh, Sam.

[They are out of breath]

Frodo: Sam, we cannot hope to go much further.

Sam: Well, now, now, Mr. Frodo. Don't you go despairing. We'll manage.

Frodo: Will we, Sam?

[He laughs grimly]

Frodo: I wish I felt so sure. I wonder how long it will be before we are
caught and all the toiling and the slinking will be over, and in vain.

Sam: Well, we really ought to press on, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Yes, Sam. We ought. Oh, and you must keep the Lady Galadriel's
glass. I - I have nowhere to hold it now, except in my hand, and I shall
need both hands in this blind night.

Sam: Very well, Mr. Frodo. I - I'll keep it safe.

Frodo: Sam, will you take Sting as well?

[He brings out the sword]

Frodo: No, no, no - I give it to you.

Sam: Yes...

Frodo: I have an orc-blade, but I don't think it will be my part to strike
any blow again.

Sam: Mr. Frodo, have you any notion how far there is still to go?

Frodo: No, I haven't! Sam, in Rivendell before we set out, I - I was shown
a map of Mordor that was made before the Enemy came back here; but I - I
only remember it vaguely. Even if all goes well, we could hardly reach the
Mountain in a week. I am afraid, Sam, that the burden will get very heavy,
and I shall go still slower as we get nearer.

Sam: That's just as I feared. Well, to say nothing about water, we've got
to eat less, or else move a bit quicker, at any rate while we're still in
this valley. One more bite and all the food's ended, save the Elves'
waybread.

Frodo: I'll try and be a bit quicker, Sam! Oh... come on, then. Let's start
another march.

- - - - -

Narrator: In the chamber of the White Tower of Gondor, Faramir lay upon his
bed, wandering in a desperate fever; and by him his father sat, and said
nothing, but watched, and gave no longer any heed to the defence.

[Footsteps approach]

Beregond: My lord! My lord. My Lord Denethor!

Denethor: I gave orders that none should disturb me.

Beregond: The first circle of the City is burning, lord. Men cry out for
the lord of the City.

Denethor: I will not come down. I must stay beside my son. He might still
speak before the end.

Beregond: But what are your commands?

Denethor: Ask of Mithrandir.

Beregond: But you are still the Lord and Steward. Not all will follow
Mithrandir. Men are flying from the walls and leaving them unmanned.

Denethor: Why? Why do the fools fly? Better to burn sooner than late, for
burn we must. Go back to your bonfire!

Beregond: And you, my lord?

Denethor: I will go now to my pyre. To my pyre! No tomb for Denethor and
Faramir. No tomb! No long slow sleep of death embalmed. We will burn like
heathen kings before ever a ship sailed hither from the West. The West has
failed. Go back and burned! Leave me!

Beregond: My lord.

[His footsteps leave the chamber]

Denethor: Faramir's hand is fevered. He is burning, already burning. The
house of his spirit crumbles. Come hither, Peregrin!

Pippin: My lord?

Denethor: Farewell, Peregrin son of Paladin! Your service has been short,
and now it is drawing to its end. I release you from the little that
remains. Go now, and die in what way seems best to you. And with whom you
will, even that wizard friend whose folly brought you to this death. Send
for my servants and then go. Farewell!

Pippin: I will not say farewell, my lord. I will take your leave, for I
want to see Gandalf very much indeed. But he is no fool; and I will not
think of dying until he despairs of life. But from my word and your service
I do not wish to be released as long as I live. And if the enemy comes at
last to the Citadel, I hope to be here and stand beside you and earn
perhaps the arms that you have given me.

Denethor: Do as you will, Master Halfling. But my life is broken. Send for
my servants! They shall bear my son to the vaults of my ancestors. There we
shall perish together on a singly pyre. Farewell!

Pippin: By your leave, lord.

[Pippin's footsteps leave the chamber]

Pippin: Poor Faramir! Where can I find Gandalf? In the thick of things, I
suppose; oh, and he will have no time to spare for dying men or madmen. But
find him I must!

- - - - -

Narrator: Ever since the middle night the great assault had gone on. To the
north and to the south company upon company of the enemy pressed to the
walls. It was against the Gate that they would throw their heaviest weight.
Very strong it might be, wrought of steel and iron, and guarded with towers
and bastions of indomitable stone, yet it was the key, the weakest point in
all that high and impenetrable wall. In the first faint light of dawn,
great engines crawled across the field; and in the midst was a huge ram,
great as a forest-tree a hundred feet in length, swinging on mighty chains.
Long had it been forging in the dark smithies of Mordor, and its hideous
head, founded of black steel, was shaped in the likeness of a ravening
wolf. Grond they named it, in memory of the Hammer of the Underworld of
old. Great beasts drew it, orcs surrounded it, and behind walked mountain-
trolls to wield it.

[A single horseman's footsteps are heard riding on the field]

Narrator: Over the hills of slain, a hideous shape appeared: a horseman,
tall, hooded, cloaked in black. He halted and held up a long, pale sword.

[Drums beat. The mountain-trolls groan in effort]

Narrator: With a vast rush, Grond was hurled forward by huge hands. It
reached the Gate.

[The trolls groan. Grond slams against the Gate]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Again.

[The trolls groan. Grond again hits the Gate]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Again.

[The trolls groan and Grond smashes the Gate. Many orc-voices cheer. The
horseman approaches]

Narrator: In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black shape against the
fires beyond, he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the
Lord of the Nazgûl, under the archway that no enemy yet had passed, and all
fled before his face. All save one.

Gandalf: You cannot enter here! Do you not see that Dawn is at hand? Go
back to the abyss prepared for you. Go back! Fall into the nothingness that
awaits you and your master. Go!

[The Lord of the Nazgûl laughs coldly]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Old fool! Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know
Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!

[A clear horn is blown in the distance]

Gandalf: The horns of the Rohirrim! Théoden is come at last!

[The Lord of the Nazgûl screams in anger as he retreats]

Narrator: The darkness was breaking too soon; before the date that his
master had set for it. Victory was slipping from his grasp even as he
stretched out his hand to sieze it. But his arm was long. King, Ringwraith,
Lord of the Nazgûl, he had many weapons. He left the Gate and vanished.

Gandalf: Turn back...

[A horn cries]

Gandalf: ...lord of darkness! Flee from the Gate of the City whose gates
you were never destined to enter. The Riders of Rohan are come!

Pippin: Gandalf! Gandalf!

Gandalf: What are you doing here? Your place is with Denethor.

Pippin: He sent me away. But I am frightened! Something terrible may happen
up there. Denethor's out of his mind, I think. I'm afraid he will kill
himself and kill Faramir too! Oh, can't you do something?

Gandalf: I must go. The Black Rider is abroad and he will yet bring ruin on
us. I have no time.

Pippin: But Faramir! He's not dead and they'll burn him alive if someone
doesn't stop them.

Gandalf: Burn him alive? What is this tale? Be quick!

Pippin: Denethor has gone to the tombs, and he has taken Faramir, and he
says we're all to burn and he will not wait, and they are to make a pyre
and burn him on it...

Gandalf: Ah!

Pippin: ...and Faramir as well. Oh, can't you save Faramir?

[Gandalf sighs]

Gandalf: Maybe I can. But if I do, then others will die, I fear. Well, I
must come, since no other help can reach him. But evil and sorrow will come
of this. Even in the heart of our stronghold, the Enemy has power to strike
us. For his will it is that is at work. Let us go, and quickly.

[A horn of Rohan again is blown]

- - - - -

Narrator: And so King Théoden and the last of the Rohirrim came to Minas
Tirith, to the Pelennor Fields. It was a great battle, afterwards told in
many a song in the feast-hall of Meduseld.

[A voice sings:

We heard of the horns in the hills ringing,
the swords shining in the South-kingdom.
Steed went striding to the Stoningland
as wind in the morning. War was kindled. ]

[Many horses gallop across the field]

Théoden: The Gate is broken, but the enemy has fallen back. There is not a
moment to lose. Éomer, lead your company to the Gate to secure its defence
and destroy the siege-engines.

[Éomer draws his sword]

Éomer: I go, my lord!

[He rides away]

Théoden: Where is the captain of the enemy?

Dernhelm: There! Where the banner with its black serpent flies in the wind.
He's seen you! He spurs towards you!

Théoden: And we shall advance to meet him. Now, Snowmane! You have ridden
hard and long. But bear me now against the adversary. Ride with me,
Dernhelm!

[Snowmane neighs]

[A voice sings:

Like fire in a furnace they drove through the bowmen;
Théoden Thengel's son, where the press was thickest.
Shivered his spear as he struck down the Southrons. ]

[Men fight around them]

Théoden: Die, treacherous Haradrim! Captain of the Host of Mordor!

Dernhelm: Beware, my lord! This is not the captain!

[A Nazgûl screams]

Dernhelm: Behold! He comes!

[The men quail and cry out]

[A voice sings:

Came like a cloud, the creature of darkness,
Nazgûl the naked with neither quill nor feather,
Steed of the Morgul-king, mightiest in Mordor. ]

[The winged beast screams]

Lord of the Nazgûl: Yield, dotard king. The hour of thy doom has come.
Throw down your sword.

Théoden: To me! To me! Up Eorlingas! Fear no darkness!

[The Nazgûl screams again]

[A voice sings:

Snowmane, the king's steed, started and reared high,
Crashed to the ground with the king crushed beneath. ]

[The Lord of the Nazgûl laughs]

Théoden: Help me, for I am dying.

Dernhelm: Merry, on your feet! I must defend the king!

Merry: I will stand by you, Dernhelm.

[The Lord of the Nazgûl laughs again, loudly and coldly]

Merry: But I am very frightened, king's man or no king's man. Oh, no! That
terrible thing is coming again!

[The winged beast screams]

Dernhelm: Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in
peace!

Lord of the Nazgûl: Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will
not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of
lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and
thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.

[A sword is drawn]

Dernhelm: Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may.

Lord of the Nazgûl: Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!

[Dernhelm laughs]

Dernhelm: Behold my face, lord of darkness.

[The sound of a helm being cast away is heard]

Éowyn: No living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's
daughter. You stand between me and the king, my kinsman. Begone, if you be
not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch
him.

[The Nazgûl screams at her]

Merry: Éowyn! She must not die! At least she will not die unaided!

[The beast screams]

Éowyn: Die, beast of Angmar!

[Éowyn strikes at the winged creature, whose screaming voice trails away.
It's lifeless wings beat the earth and crumple]

Lord of the Nazgûl: You have killed my steed. Then prepare to feel my
anger, woman of Rohan! Die!

[The Witch-king strikes her with his mace. She cries out]

Éowyn: Merry! Help me!

Lord of the Nazgûl: You who fight in battle like a man, die like a man.

Merry: No!

Lord of the Nazgûl: A Halfling? You sting like a gnat.

Merry: Éowyn, strike now!

Éowyn: Then die!

[Éowyn drives her sword into the Witch-king, who screams. A sudden wind
rises and carries his voice away]

Merry: H - he's gone! There is nothing there but a crown and an empty
cloak. The Nazgûl-king is destroyed!

Éowyn: Merry... look to the king, your master.

[Merry crawls]

Merry: Théoden, my lord!

Théoden: Farewell, Master Holbytla! My body is broken. I go to my fathers.
And even in their mighty company I shall not be ashamed. A grim morn, and a
glad day, and a golden sunset!

Merry: Oh, forgive me, lord, if I broke your command, and yet have done no
more in your service than to weep at our parting.

Théoden: Do not grieve!

[Merry cries]

Théoden: It is forgiven. Great heart will not be denied. Live now in
blessedness; and when you sit in peace with your pipe, think of me!

[He laughs quietly]

Théoden: For never now shall I sit with you in Meduseld, as I promised, or
listen to your herb-lore. Where is Éomer? For my eyes darken, and I would
see him ere I go. He must be king after me. And I would send word to Éowyn.
She would not have me leave her behind, and - and now I see her not again,
dearer than daughter.

Merry: Lord, lord, she is -

[A horse approaches and comes to a stop]

Éomer: How is it with the king?

Merry: You come in good time, my lord!

Éomer: Oh, Théoden! My king!

Théoden: King no longer, Éomer. Take thou my standard.

Éomer: Oh...

Théoden: Hail Éomer-king!

[The surrounding men cry: "Éomer-king!"]

Éomer: Let his knights remain here, and bear his body in honour from the
field, lest the battle ride over it!

[A voice sings:

Then said Éomer: "Mourn not yet! Mighty was the fallen,
meet was his ending. When his grave-mound is raised,
great shall be the weeping. But war calls us now!" ]

Merry: My lord, Éomer! Your sister, Éowyn.

Éomer: Éowyn, Éowyn! How came you here? What madness or devilry is this?
Death, death, death! Death take us all! Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the
world's ending!

[The men cry: "Death! Death!"]

- - - - -

[A voice sings:

Dark was the doom that fell upon Denethor:
the end of his House and the high host of Gondor,
fortune had failed him and fighting was vain now.
So in despair, he runs to destruction,
heaps up a pyre for his son and himself;
longs to destroy the last of the Stewards. ]

Gandalf: What is this, my lord Denethor? The houses of the dead are no
places for the living. Put out your torches!

Denethor: Since when has the Lord of Gondor been answerable to thee,
Mithrandir? And may I not command my own servants?

Gandalf: You may. But others may contest your will, when it is turned to
madness and evil. Where is your son, Faramir?

Denethor: He lies within, burning, already burning. They have set a fire in
his flesh. But soon all shall be burned. The West has failed. It shall all
go up in a great fire, and all shall be ended. Ash! Ash and smoke blown
away on the wind!

Gandalf: Where is Faramir?

Denethor: In the room beyond, on the pyre of death.

Gandalf: Stand aside, Steward of Gondor!

- - - - -

Narrator: There they found Faramir, still dreaming in his fever, lying upon
a table. Wood was piled under it, and all was drenched with oil, even the
garments of Faramir. But as yet, no fire had been set to the fuel.

[Faramir moans in his sleep]

Gandalf: Faramir.

Faramir: Father... did I do right?

Denethor: Do not take my son from me!

Faramir: Father!

Denethor: He calls for me.

Gandalf: He calls, but you cannot come to him yet. For he must seek healing
on the threshold of death, and maybe find it not. Take him from the pyre!

[Denethor groans. Footsteps approach to carry out Gandalf's orders]

Gandalf: Whereas your part, Lord Steward, is to go out to the battle of
your City, where maybe death awaits you. This you know in your heart.

Denethor: He will not wake again. Battle is vain. Why should we wish to
live longer? Why should we not go to death side by side?

Gandalf: Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor, to order the
hour of your death. And only the heathen kings, under the authority of the
Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair, murdering
their kin to ease their own death.

Denethor: Pride and despair!

[He laughs]

Denethor: Do you see this, Mithrandir?

Pippin: The stone! The stone!

Gandalf: The stone of Anor!

Denethor: A palantír. Didst thou think that the eyes of the White Tower
were blind? Nay, I have seen more than thou knowest, Grey Fool. For thy
hope is but ignorance. Go then and labour in healing! Go forth and fight!
Vanity. For a little space you may triumph on the field, for a day. But
against the Power that now arises there is no victory. To this City only
the first finger of its hand has yet been stretched. All the East is
moving. And even now the wind of thy hope cheats thee and wafts up Anduin a
fleet with black sails. The West has failed. It is time for all to depart
who would not be slaves.

Gandalf: Such counsels will make the Enemy's victory certain indeed.

Denethor: Hope on then! Do I not know thee, Mithrandir? Thy hope is to rule
in my stead, to stand behind every throne, north, south, or west. I have
read thy mind and its policies. Do I not know that you commanded this
halfling here to be silent? That you brought him hither to be a spy in my
very chamber? And yet in our speech together I have learned the names and
purpose of all thy companions. So! With the left hand thou wouldst use me
as a shield against Mordor, and with the right bring up this Ranger of the
North, who claims the kingship, to supplant me.

Gandalf: He is the king.

Denethor: I say to thee, Gandalf Mithrandir, I will not be thy tool! I am
Steward of the House of Anárion. I will not step down to be the dotard
chamberlain of an upstart. Even were his claim proved to me, still he comes
but of the line of Isildur. I will not now bow to such a one, last of a
ragged house long bereft of lordship and dignity.

Gandalf: What then would you have, if your will could have its way?

Denethor: I would have things as they were in all the days of my life, and
in the days of my longfathers before me: to be the Lord of this City in
peace, and leave my chair to a son after me, who would be his own master
and no wizard's pupil. But if doom denies this to me, then I will have
naught: neither life dimished, nor love halved, nor honour abated.

Gandalf: To me it would not seem that a Steward who faithfully surrenders
his charge is diminished in love or honour. And at the least you shall not
rob your son of his choice while his death is still in doubt.

Denethor: The choice is not thine, Mithrandir. Come hither, my servants!

[They approach]

Gandalf: Hold still!

Denethor: They are not yours to command. Nor is the palantír of Minas
Tirith in which I have seen our doom. Bring me fire! Light the pyre of
Denethor.

[The servants approach with flickering torches]

Gandalf: Denethor!

Denethor: You have robbed me of my son, Gandalf.

[The pyre begins to burn around him]

Denethor: But in this, at least, thou shalt not prevent my rule. I will
rule my own end!

Narrator: Wreathed in fire and smoke he took up the staff of stewardship
and broke it on his knee and perished in the flames, clutching the palantír
to his breast. And it was said that ever after, if any man looked into that
stone, unless he had great strength of will to turn it to other purpose, he
saw only two aged hands withering in flame.

[A voice sings:

Lamps were burning bright in Gondor.
Death came to Denethor; his doom fulfilling,
Faramir brought they forth from the pyre
to the House of Healing, for help of his wounds. ]

- - - - -

[A voice sings:

In the Field of Pelennor, fate turned against them;
Gondor's fortune failed in the morning;
monstrous ships in the middle distance,
wonder and fear and the watchers crying. ]

Voice: The Corsairs of Umbar! The Corsairs of Umbar! Look! The black sails
of the Corsairs!

[The men fighting on the field despair]

Voice: Another enemy is upon us!

Voice: The pirates from the South are coming!

Voice: The pirates of Umbar have joined with the forces of Mordor!

Voice: We are lost! This is the last stroke of doom!

Voice: Back to the walls! Back to the walls!

Voice: Come back to the City before all are overwhelmed!

Éomer: Rally, men of Rohan! Rally to me!

[A horn is blown]

Éomer:

Out of doubts, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing out of the sun, sword unsheathing.

[He pulls out his sword]

Éomer:

To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!

Voice: The pirates, Lord Éomer!

Voice: See the black-sailed ships of Umbar!

Éomer: Let them come! Let all who are against us come, that we might know
them face to face!

Voice: See, my lord Éomer! Their banner! They bear not the banner of the
Corsairs!

Aragorn: Take heart, men of Gondor! Take heart, men of Rohan!

Éomer: Hope beyond hope comes to us now in the hour of doom. It is Aragorn
son of Arathorn, returned from the Paths of the Dead!

Aragorn: On the wind of the sea, I come!

[The men cry out in joy]

Voice: Isildur's heir returns!

Gimli: And with him, Gimli Glóin's son!

Legolas: And Legolas the Elf! With bow and axe we come!

Aragorn: And Andúril is drawn for Gondor.

[A horn cries. The men cheer]

Aragorn: Thus we meet again, Éomer.

Éomer: Twice blessed is help unlooked-for, and never was a meeting of
friends more joyful. Nor indeed more timely, for you come none too soon,
Lord Aragorn. Much loss and sorrow has befallen us.

Aragorn: Then let us avenge it, ere we speak of it!

[A voice sings:

Death in the morning and at day's ending
lords took and lowly. Long now they sleep
under grass in Gondor by the Great River.
Grey now as tears, gleaming silver,
red then it rolled, roaring water:
foam dyed with blood flamed at sunset;
as beacons mountains burned at evening;
red fell the dew in Rammas Echor. ]

- - - - -

[Men moan. Merry gasps painfully]

Pippin: Merry! Merry, oh, thank goodness I have found you!

Merry: Oh, Pippin! Pippin!

Pippin: Yes! Yes, it's all right, Merry.

Merry: But where are King Théoden and Éowyn?

Pippin: They have been taken up into the Citadel. I think you must have
fallen asleep on your feet and taken the wrong turning. When we found that
you were not with them, Gandalf sent me to look for you, and - oh, how glad
I am to see you again! Oh, but you are worn out, and I won't bother you
with any talk. But - but tell me, are you hurt, or wounded?

Merry: No. Well, no, I don't think so. But I can't use my right arm,
Pippin. Not since I stabbed the - since I stabbed the Nazgûl. My sword
burned all away like wood.

Pippin: Well, you had better come with me as quick as you can. Oh, I wish I
could carry you! You aren't fit to walk any further. They shouldn't have
let you walk at all; but you must forgive them. So many dreadful things
have happened in the City, Merry, that one poor hobbit is easily
overlooked.

Merry: Oh, it's not always a misfortune being overlooked. I was overlooked
just now by - no, no, I can't speak any more of it.

Pippin: Yes.

Merry: Help me, Pippin!

Pippin: Yes!

Merry: It's going all dark again, and my arm is so cold.

Pippin: All right! Lean on me, Merry lad! Come on, now! Foot by foot. It's
not far.

Merry: Are you going to bury me?

Pippin: No, indeed, no! We are going to the Houses of Healing.

- - - - -

Ioreth: It grieves me, Master Gandalf, that our leech-craft cannot
withstand this evil.

Gandalf: Evil indeed, it is, Ioreth. And the malady lies heavily on the
halfling and the Lady of Rohan. For they are fast falling down into the
darkness, and a grey shadow is creeping upon their faces.

Ioreth: And poor Lord Faramir! He burns still with fever. Alas! If he
should die. Oh, would that there were kings in Gondor, as there were once
upon a time, they say! For it is said in old lore: The hands of the king
are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known.

Gandalf: Men may long remember your words, Ioreth! For there is hope in
them.

Ioreth: Oh?

Gandalf: Maybe a king has indeed returned to Gondor.

- - - - -

Narrator: As the sun went down, Aragorn and Éomer drew near to the City
with their captains and their knights.

[Horse-hooves walk swiftly]

Aragorn: Behold the sun setting in a great fire! It is a sign of the end
and fall of many things, and a change in the tides of the world.

Éomer: Go we into the City now?

Aragorn: The City and realm has rested in the charge of the Stewards for
many long years, so I will not enter in, nor make any claim, until it be
seen whether we or Mordor shall prevail.

Éomer: But already you have raised the banner of the Kings of Gondor on the
fields of Pelennor and defeated our adversaries.

Aragorn: No, Éomer. I deem the time unripe. For although we have won a
victory, it is not yet the final one. Men shall pitch my tents upon the
field, and here I will await the welcome of the Lord of the City.

Éomer: Then with your leave, Aragorn, I will go and pay tribute to the
fallen, and look once more upon the faces of King Théoden and my sister,
Éowyn.

Aragorn: Go, Éomer, and find ease for the burden on your heart.

- - - - -

[Éomer's footsteps are heard]

Éomer: Gandalf, I seek the Lady Éowyn. Where is she?

Gandalf: She lies within, and is not dead.

[Éomer sighs with relief]

Gandalf: But she is near to death. So too is Meriadoc the Halfling and the
Steward of Gondor.

Éomer: What aileth the Lord Denethor, for he did not fight in the battle?

Gandalf: Denethor has departed and his House is in ashes. Faramir is now
Steward of Gondor, but has taken grievous hurt.

Éomer: Should we not send for the Lord Aragorn?

Aragorn: He is come.

[His footsteps approach]

Aragorn: I have come because Gandalf begs me to do so.

Gandalf: I did so because it is only in your coming that any hope remains
for the sick that lie in this House. Thus spake Ioreth, wise woman of
Gondor: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so shall the
rightful king be known.

- - - - -

Aragorn: Good woman, you have store in this House of the herbs of healing?

Ioreth: Yes, lord, though not enough, I reckon, for all that will need
them. But we do our best in this House with what we have, as I am sure your
lordship will see.

Aragorn: I will judge that, Ioreth, when I see. One thing is short -

Ioreth: But you really...

Aragorn: ...time for speech! Have you athelas?

Ioreth: I do not know it, lord, at least not by that name. But I will go
and ask the herb-master; he knows all the old names.

Aragorn: It is called kingsfoil, and maybe you know it by that name...

Ioreth: Oh!

Aragorn: ...for so the country-folk call it in these latter days.

Ioreth: That! Well, if your lordship had named it at first I could have
told you. No, we've none of it, I'm sure. Why, I have never heard that it
had any great virtue; and indeed I have often said to my sisters when we
came upon it growing in the woods: "Kingsfoil," I said, "tis a strange
name, and I wonder why 'tis called so; for if I were a king, I would have
plants more bright in my garden." Still it smells sweet when bruised, does
it not? If sweet is the right word: wholesome, maybe, is nearer.

Aragorn: Wholesome verily. And now, dame, if you love the Lord Faramir, run
as quick as your tongue...

[Ioreth walks swiftly out of the room]

Aragorn: ...and get me kingsfoil, if there be a leaf in the City!

- - - - -

Ioreth: I have it, Sir! Kingsfoil; six leaves, but not fresh, I fear. It
must have been culled two weeks ago at least. I hope it will serve, Sir?

Aragorn: It will serve, Ioreth. It will serve. Pour the hot water.

[Water is poured into a basin]

Aragorn: Now, I take the leaves and breathe upon them.

[Aragorn sighs softly over the leaves]

Aragorn:

When the black breath blows
and death's shadow grows
and all lights pass,
come athelas! Come athelas!
Life to the dying
In the king's hand lying!

And then, I crush them.

[He crushes the leaves]

Aragorn: And cast them upon the water. Faramir! Faramir!

Faramir: My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?

Aragorn: Walk no more in the shadows, but awake! You are weary. Rest a
while, and take food, and be ready when I return.

Faramir: I will, lord. For who would lie idle when the king has returned?

Aragorn: Farewell then for a while! I must go to others who need me.

[Aragorn walks away]

Ioreth: There! So it is the king! What did I say? The hands of a healer, I
said.

- - - - -

Aragorn: Here is a heavy blow indeed, for alas! The Lady Éowyn was pitted
against a foe beyond the strength of her mind and body. She is a fair
maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens. And yet I know not how I should
speak to her.

Éomer: What mean you, Aragorn?

Aragorn: When first I looked on her and perceived her unhappiness, it
seemed to me that I saw a white flower standing straight and proud, shaped
as a lily, and yet I knew that it was hard, as if maybe a frost had turned
its sap to ice. Her malady begins far back before this day, does it not,
Éomer?

Éomer: I marvel that you should ask me, lord. For though I hold you
blameless in this matter, I knew not that Éowyn was touched by any frost
until she first looked upon you.

Aragorn: I saw also what you saw, Éomer. Few other griefs amid the ill
chances of this world have more bitterness and shame for a man's heart than
to behold the love of a lady so fair and brave that cannot be returned.

Éomer: But what can be done for her now?

Aragorn: I have, maybe, the power to heal her body, and to recall her from
the dark valley. But to what will she awake: hope, or forgetfulness, or
despair, I do not know. And if to despair, then she will die, unless other
healing comes which I cannot bring. Awake, Éowyn Éomund's daughter! Lady of
Rohan, awake! For your enemy has passed away! The shadow is gone and all
darkness is washed clean!

[Éowyn stirs in her sleep, but does not wake]

Aragorn: You must call her, Éomer, for she loves you more truly than me.
For you she loves and knows as sister does brother, but in me she loves
only a shadow and a thought. With you I leave her, and you must call her.

[Aragorn steps out of the chamber]

Éomer: Éowyn, Éowyn!

Éowyn: Éomer!

[Éomer sighs]

Éowyn: Oh, what joy is this? How long have I been dreaming?

Éomer: Not long, my sister. But think no more on it!

Éowyn: I am strangely weary. I must rest a little. But tell me, what of the
Lord of the Mark?

Éomer: He is dead, but he bade me say farewell to Éowyn, dearer than
daughter. He lies now in great honour in the Citadel of Gondor.

Éowyn: And what of the king's esquire, the halfling?

Gandalf: He lies nearby, Lady.

[His footsteps approach]

Gandalf: And I will go to him.

Éowyn: Éomer, you shall make him a knight of the Riddermark, for he is
valiant!

Éomer: Indeed he is. And the valiant shall recieve his reward.

Gandalf: Éomer shall stay here for a while, but do not speak yet of war or
woe, until you are made whole again. Great gladness it is to see you wake
again to health and to hope.

Éowyn: To health? It may be so. At least while there is an empty saddle of
some fallen Rider that I can fill, and there are deeds to do. But to hope?
I do not know.

- - - - -

Gandalf: Come, Pippin. Let us see how your friend fares.

Pippin: Poor Merry! Aragorn, is he going to die?

Aragorn: Do not be afraid. I came in time, and I have called him back. He
is weary now, and grieved, and he has taken a hurt like the Lady Éowyn, by
daring to smite that deadly thing. But these evils can be amended, so
strong and so gay a spririt is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it
will not darken his heart. It will teach him wisdom. Awake, Meriadoc!

[Merry stirs and yawns]

Merry: Oh, I'm hungry. What time is it?

Pippin: Past supper-time now, though I daresay I could bring you something,
if they'll let me.

Gandalf: They will indeed. And anything else that this Rider of Rohan may
desire, if it can be found in Minas Tirith, where his name is in honour.

Merry: Good! Then I would like supper first, and after that a pipe.

[Pippin laughs. Merry remembers Théoden's words:

Théoden: ...and when you sit in peace with your pipe, think of me! ]

Merry: No. No, not a pipe.

[ Théoden: For never now shall I sit with you in Meduseld, as I promised,
or listen to your herb-lore. ]

Merry: I don't think I'll smoke again.

Pippin: Why not?

Merry: Well, he is dead. King Théoden. It has brought it all back to me. I
shan't ever be able to smoke again without thinking of him.

Aragorn: Smoke then, and think of him! For he was a gentle heart and a
great king and kept his oaths; and he rose out of the shadows to a last
fair morning. Though your service to him was brief, it should be a memory
glad and honourable to the end of your days.

Merry: Very well, then. I will smoke and think of him, if Strider will
provide what is needed. I - I had some of Saruman's best in my pack, but...
but what became of it in the battle, I'm sure I don't know.

Aragorn: Master Meriadoc, if you think that I have passed through the
mountains and the realm of Gondor with fire and sword just to bring herbs
to a careless soldier who throws away his gear, you are mistaken. Besides,
I must leave you now. I have not slept since I rode from Dunharrow nor
eaten since the dark before dawn.

Merry: Oh, Strider! Forgive me. I am frightfully sorry. Oh, go at once! Oh,
ever since that night at Bree we have been such a nuisance to you. But it
is the way of my people to use light words at such times and... and say
less than they mean. We fear to say too much.

Aragorn: I know that well, or I should not deal with you in the same way.

[He kisses Merry's brow]

Aragorn: May the Shire live for ever unwithered! Now rest. Come, Gandalf.

[Aragorn walks from the room]

Gandalf: Good-bye for the present, Merry. And well-done!

Pippin: Yes...

[Gandalf follows Aragorn. Merry sighs]

Pippin: Oh, was there ever any one like Aragorn? Why, except Gandalf, of
course. I think they must be related. And as for you, my dear ass, your
pack is lying by your bed, and you had it on your back when I met you.

[He laughs]

Merry: Hm? Oh!

Pippin: Of course, Aragorn saw it there all along. So come along and fill
up with Longbottom Leaf while I run and see about some food. And then let's
be easy for a bit. Ah, dear me! We Tooks and Brandybucks, we can't live
long on the heights.

Merry: No, not yet, anyway. But at least, Pippin, we can now see them, and
honour them. It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I
suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the
Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and I - I am glad
that I now know a little about them. Oh, but I don't know why I'm talking
like this. Where is that leaf?

Pippin: Sorry, Merry! Yes, of course.

[He rummages through Merry's pack]

Merry: A - and get my pipe out of my pack, if it isn't broken.

[Pippin hesitates]

Merry: Pippin, what is it?

Pippin: Well... I was just wondering about Sam and cousin Frodo, and
whether they've got a pipe to comfort them where-ever they are now.

- - - - -

[Frodo laughs grimly]

Frodo: We seem to have come to a dead end, Sam. If we go on, we shall only
come up to that orc-tower. But the only road to take is that road that
comes down from it, unless we go back. We can't climb up westward or climb
down eastward.

Sam: Then we must take the road, Mr. Frodo. We must take it and chance our
luck, if there is any luck in Mordor. We might as well give ourselves up as
wander about any more, or try to go back. Our food won't last. We've got to
make a dash for it!

Frodo: All right, Sam! You lead me. As long as you've got any hope left.
Mine is gone. But I'm afraid I can't dash, Sam. I'll just plod along after
you.

Sam: Well, before you start plodding, you need sleep and food, Mr. Frodo.

Frodo: Oh...

Sam: Come and take what you can of them! And I'll have to leave you for a
bit and trust to luck. We must have water or we'll get no further.

Frodo: Sam, be careful.

Sam: I will.

- - - - -

Sam: Mr. Frodo. Mr. Frodo!

[Frodo wakes suddenly]

Frodo: What! What is it, Sam? What is it?

Sam: Easy, Mr. Frodo, sir. It's all right. But I'm going to have to take a
little sleep, and I - I can't hold my - my eyelids up much longer. But it's
not safe for both of us to sleep.

Frodo: Why, Sam? What's up?

Sam: Well, that Gollum's about again. Well, leastways, if it wasn't him I
spied nosing around, well then there's two of 'em.

[Frodo laughs]

Frodo: So he's still following us.

Sam: Well, yes. As if it isn't enough to have Orcs by the thousand, we've
still got that stinking villain sneakin' about. I wish Faramir's men had
shot him.

Frodo: Don't say that Sam, please! Remember Gandalf's words. Gollum may yet
have some part to play, for good or ill.

Sam: Yeah, that's just what I fear, sir. That the part he'll play will be
for ill.

- - - - -

Frodo: This is madness, Sam! We're right out in the open now.

Sam: Well, no matter. There's nothing to hide from yet a while. And one
good thing at least: we've seen no more of Gollum.

Frodo: Sam...

Sam: What, Mr. Frodo?

Frodo: Look! There ahead, on the road. Torches coming towards us. I knew
it, Sam. We've trusted to luck, and it has failed us.

[Marching Orcs approach]

Frodo: We're trapped!

Sam: It seems so. Well, we can but wait and see. If only they are in a
hurry and will let a couple of tired soldiers alone and pass by.

Orc Captain: Hi, you!

[A whip cracks. The hobbits cry out in pain]

Orc Captain: Get up, you! Come on, you slugs! This is no time for
slouching. Deserting, eh?

Frodo: No!

Orc Captain: Or thinking of it? Up you get and fall in, or I'll have your
numbers and report you. No, no! Not at the rear. Three files up.

[He cracks the whip again. The hobbits cry out and moan]

Orc Captain: And stay there! Or you'll know it when I come down the line.

[He whips them. The marching orcs surround them]

Orc Captain: Now! On! On! On!

- - - - -

Narrator: As Frodo and Sam faced this new peril, the Captains of the West
met in Aragorn's tent on the field of Gondor.

Gandalf: My lords, you may triumph on the fields of the Pelennor for a day,
but victory against the Dark Lord cannot be achieved by arms. Whether you
sit here to endure siege after siege, or march out to be overwhelmed beyond
the River. You have only a choice of evils.

Éomer: Then you would have us retreat to Minas Tirith or Dunharrow, and
there sit like children on sand-castles when the tide is flowing?

Gandalf: No! I still hope for victory, but not by arms. For in the midst of
all these policies comes the Ring of Power, and if that is destroyed, then
Sauron will fall, his power will crumble, and he will be maimed for ever.
He knows that the Ring has been found again. And he knows too that if we
have found this precious thing, there are among us some with strength
enough to wield it. For do I not guess rightly, Aragorn, that you have
shown yourself to Sauron in the seeing stone of Orthanc?

Aragorn: I have. I thought the Eye of Sauron should be drawn out from his
own land.

Gandalf: That you have done, and now he is in great doubt, and his doubt
will be growing even while we speak here. His Eye is now straining towards
us, blind almost to all else that is moving. So we must keep it. For
therein lies our hope. In wisdom or great folly, the Ring has been sent
away to be destroyed, lest it destroy us. This then is my counsel: make war
on Sauron so that we can keep his Eye from finding the Ring-bearer, until
his quest is done or he fails in the attempt. What say the Captains of the
West?

Aragorn: As I have begun, so I will go on. We come now to the very brink
where hope and despair are akin. To waver is to fall.

Éomer: Aragorn speaks wisely. I have little knowledge of these deep
matters, but I too will accept this counsel.

Gandalf: What force could we muster and lead out in two day's time, at the
latest?

Aragorn: I judge that we could lead out seven-thousand of horse and foot
and yet leave the City in better defence than it was when the assault
began.

Gandalf: Then make preparations to do so. For we must push Sauron to his
last throw. We must call out his hidden strength, so that he shall empty
his land. We must make ourselves the bait, though his jaws should close on
us. We must walk open-eyed into that trap with courage, but small hope for
ourselves.

[A sword is drawn]

Aragorn: You shall not be sheathed again, Andúril, until the last battle
has been fought.

Éomer: So say the men of Gondor.

[He draws his sword]

Éomer: And so, too, say the men of Rohan!

Gandalf: Then let us march out to meet the enemy before the Black Gates of
the Land of Shadow. For it is there we must attack; furthest from where the
Ring-bearer was known to be. And thither draw the Eye of Mordor, that Frodo
may yet bear our hopes and fears towards the Crack of Doom.






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