Today's Date in the Shire
25 Foreyule
T.A. 3018: The Company of the Ring stays in Rivendell preparing for the journey ahead.
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The Fellowship of the Ring
Book I
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Book II
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Book I - Chapter 11
A Knife in the Dark

Image by Lode Claes
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As the four hobbits wait through the long night in Bree, another hobbit is also facing the enemy. Fatty Bolger, alone at Crickhollow, is attacked in the night by Black Riders. They burst through the door shouting commands of surrender, but Fatty is already racing to the nieghbor's home to raise the alarm.

Fear! Fire! Foes! Awake! Awake!

Fatty has alerted the folk of Buckland of their danger, and the Black Riders, now aware that they have missed the Ring bearer, race their horses from the Shire towards Bree.

In the morning Frodo and his friends find that they were wise to not stay in their room. In the night the Riders had burst in and destroyed the room and beds searching for the Ring. Thanks to Strider they had eluded the Riders, but they are left without horses; the enemy had run them all off in the night.

They manage to buy one dispirited pony for their baggage, but the hobbits and Strider are forced to walk as they leave Bree. The entire town watches as they travel eastward along the Road, but once out of site of spectators, the Ranger leads them away from the Road following a narrow track that leads northwards into forested country. He exlpains that he hopes to lose anyone who might be following them.

Three long, tired days later they come out of the woods and enter the swampy country known as the Midgewater marshes. They seem to have avoided any followers for no, but they are nearly eaten alive by the biting insects of the Marsh. They spend two horrible days marching through the wet lands until finally, on the fifth day out from Bree, the ground begins to rise and they see the Weather Hills off in the distance to the East. Strider tells them that the largest hill, Weathertop, is their destination. From there they should be able to scout out the land for many miles away and see if there are any signs of the Black Riders or Gandalf.

But it takes two more long days before they reach the base of Weathertop. There they find an old campsite used by Rangers and decide to camp for the evening. Frodo, Merry and Strider climb the great hill to have a look around. At the summit they notice signs of a recent fire. The old stones, the remnants of a tower that long ago stood on the hill, are blackened and charred as if by lightning. Strider is puzzling over this as Frodo notices movement below along the Road.

Black Riders! One, two...three... four, five of them! Frodo, Merry and Stider hastily creep away and slip down the hill to find their companions.

The Black Riders are here and Strider knows that they cannot avoid them. They build a large fire as the sun goes down and prepare for an assault. Theywait as the night grows longer and the waxing moon climbs slowly over the hill. Shadows move on the crest of the hill. The Black Riders approach!

Everyone grabs a burning branch and turns his back to the fire. The five Riders slowly advance and Pippin and Merry throw themselves on the ground in terror. Sam clings to Frodo who suddenly has the uncontrollable urge to don the Ring. As his terror grows, his hand creeps toward it and slips it onto his finger.

At once everything changes. The Black Riders are no longer black shadows floating in the dark night. Frodo now sees them clearly. Five tall figures with white faces and burning eyes. Their leader, taller and crowned as if a king, holds a long sword in one hand and a knife in the other. He springs forward and bears down on Frodo.

But Frodo's terror takes command. He throws himself to the ground crying O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!, striking out with his dagger. A shrill cry rings out but at the same time a terrible pain erupts in Frodo's left shoulder. The Ring slips from Frodo's finger and Strider leaps forward with a flaming brand in either hand as the hobbit falls into unconciousness.

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