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24 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 IV - Chapter 4
Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

Frodo and Sam, following Gollum, leave the sleepless watch of the Morannon, the Black Gate of Mordor. They travel through the night and turn on the dark northern shoulder of the lower mountains and head southwards. They plan to make a journey of nearly thirty leagues to the cross-roads above Osgiliath.

For some thirty miles south of the Morannon, the road was newly repaired. As they proceded south, they passed the handiwork of Men of old along the straight, sure, and level road. The ancient road was gradually so encroached by the wild that it seemed only a little used country cart-road passing into the northern marches of fair Ithilien. Gollum does not seem to care for the fragrant air as Spring touches the desolate garden of Gondor.

Sam gives a thought to food, hoping to find something to eat in Ithilien and keeping the elven lembas for later, even hoping they might find a way to return after their deed is done. While looking about, he comes across an old campsite where charred and broken bones and skulls are the remains of a dreadful feast and slaughter. He does not tell the others and urges them in another direction, hoping to prevent Gollum from finding the bones.

They move on and Sam asks Gollum to find them something fit for hobbits to eat. Gollum returns with some rabbits, which Sam stews over a small fire with some herbs. Gollum is upset about the fire, and even more upset that Sam cooks the rabbits. The creature prefers his uncooked. Frodo and Sam eat the herbs and stewed rabbit with a little bit of the lembas. Sam goes to wash his pans and returns to find that his cook fire had spread out. He stamps out and covers the fire and then he and Frodo hide in the ferns, having heard bird calls and voices.

Soon, they are surrounded by tall Men, striding through the fern, so Frodo and Sam spring to their feet, back to back, whipping out their swords. Their captors are even more astonished than the hobbits. One of them is Faramir, Captain of Gondor, and brother of Boromir. They fail to capture Gollum. Frodo speaks a part of the riddle that Boromir brought to Rivendell.

Faramir leaves two men to guard the halflings, while the Dunedain of the South, the Rangers of Ithilien, ambush a regiment of Southrons marching to Mordor. A great sound of shouting,and ringing steel was soon heard and Sam gets his wish to see an oliphaunt, a huge Mumak of the Southrons, before the battle was done. Sam tells his guards not to wake Frodo when Faramir returns, which they think amusing.


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