Lord of the Rings

Flight to the Ford

Frodo grew worse each day. His companions knew they must get him to Rivendell, but they feared that the Ford of the River Bruinen would be held against them. The elf Glorfindel joined them on the road, which greatly lifted their spirits. Even he and Strider, though, would be no match for all nine of the Black Riders if it came to combat. Things came to a head as they neared the Ford.

"Fly!" called Glorfindel. "The Enemy is upon us!"

At this, the white horse leaped forward, carrying Frodo towards the River Bruinen.

Five Black Riders came galloping out of the trees, pursuing Frodo.

From the Riders came a terrible cry. It was answered; and to the dismay of Frodo, four other Riders came flying out of the rocks and trees near the Ford, moving to cut off his escape.

Like a flash of white fire, the elf-horse, speeding as if on wings, passed right before the foremost Rider. Frodo heard the splash of water. It foamed about his feet. He felt the quick heave and surge as the horse left the river and struggled up the stony path. He was across the Ford.

But the pursuers were close behind. Frodo turned to face them. It was useless to try to escape if once they crossed. With a great effort, Frodo sat upright and brandished his sword.

"Go back!" he cried. "Go back to the land of Mordor and follow me no more."

His enemies replied with harsh and chilling laughter. "Come back! Come back! To Mordor we will take you. The Ring! The Ring!"

"By Elbereth and Luthien the Fair," said Frodo, with a last effort, "you shall have neither the Ring nor me!"

Then the leader, who has now half across the Ford, stood up menacing in his stirrups, and raised up his hand. Frodo was stricken dumb. His sword broke and fell out of his hand.

At that moment a roaring arose. Frodo saw the river below him rise in a cavalry of waves. The three Riders that were in the midst of the Ford were overwhelmed, buried under the foam. The remaining Riders drew back in dismay.

Frodo's friends had not been idle. They had hastily kindled a fire. When the flood rose, Glorfindel rushed out, followed by Aragorn, Sam, Merry, and Pippen carrying flaming brands.

Caught between fire and water, and pursued by an Elf-lord revealed in his wrath, the horses were stricken with madness. They leaped forward in terror and bore their riders into the rushing flood. Their cries were drowned in the roaring of the river as it carried them away.

Frodo felt himself falling, and the roaring and confusion seemed to rise and engulf him together with his enemies. He heard and saw no more.

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