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25 Foreyule
T.A. 3018: The Company of the Ring stays in Rivendell preparing for the journey ahead.
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The Two Towers
Book III
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Book IV
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Book III - Chapter 2
The Riders of Rohan

The Three Hunters run westward through the hills of the Emyn Muil in pursuit of their captured friends. They rush down the wide trail of the orcs through the night until, just before dawn, they lose the trail for a moment and decide to rest.

They soon find the trail again when they discover the bodies of five orcs. It is apparent that there are two kinds of orcs in the party - the small orcs of the Northern Misty Moutnains and the larger orcs often used by Sauron in Mordor. But the three hunters find no mark of their friends on the path.

The sun rises and the trail becomes easier to follow, running northward through the rocky hills. By midday it leads though a deep cleft down to the grassy plains of Rohan it becomes even more apparent by the terrible trampling of the grass. They rush on westward.

Aragorn suddenly veers from the trail and stoops to find a small elven brooch in the tranpled grass. Signs show that at least one hobbit had run out from the orcs but had been recaptured. At last the Hunters know that they do not pursue in vain. At least one of their friends yet lives. They run on even faster.

They chase on deep into the night, realizing they are still far behind the orcs. But at last they must rest for fear of losing the trail or missing signs if the hobbits manage to escape again. They wake early and run for another day. And then another rest and another day.

On the morning of the fifth day they near the dark smudge of the Fangorn forest on the horizon. From that direction a troop of armed horse riders approaches and the Three Hunters, recognizing them as soldiers of Rohan, stop them and beg tidings. They are quickly surrounded and the leader of the horsemen, Éomer, explains how he and his men return from a battle with the orcs the Three Hunters pursue. They saw no sign of the hobbits and feel they must have been burned with the bodies of the orcs.

Aragorn convinces Éomer to let them continue their pursuit, and the horselord loans them steeds. They ride quickly to the site of the battle.

They arrive too late in the day to search for signs of the hobbits, so they make camp and settle in for the evening. But their rest is disturbed when an old man suddenly appears at the edge of their campsite and their horses run off into the darkness. Saruman! They are sure the old wizard has stolen their mounts!


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