Lord of the Rings

The Riders of Rohan

Dusk came, and still Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli followed the trail of the Orcs. They traveled all night, with only a brief rest before dawn.

They came upon the bodies of five dead Orcs. Studying the signs, Aragorn decided that there were two kinds of Orcs, and there must have been some dispute.

There was no time to ponder the mystery, though. The three companions continued on the trail, which took them out of the hills of the Emyn Muil and into the rolling plains of Rohan.

The lush grass was pleasant after the grey hills. "Light feet may run swiftly here," said Aragorn. "More swiftly, maybe, than iron-shod Orcs."

After some time, Aragorn turned aside to study some marks to the side of the main trail. He found Pippin's footprints, and the brooch from one of the Hobbits' cloaks.

Heartened by the evidence that at least one of their friends was still alive, the three companions continued on for three days with only brief rests.

By the fourth day of their chase, they had lost hope of catching the Orcs. It seemed that the Orcs had run the whole way without rest, and they were too far ahead. In the distance, though, Legolas could see a company of horsemen coming from the direction in which the Orcs had gone. Aragorn decided that they should wait and seek news from the horsemen.

The riders came in pairs, a long line of mail-clad men, swift, shining, fell and fair to look on, on strong horses of great stature. Aragorn stood and hailed them. "What news from the North, Riders of Rohan?"

The riders came to a halt and their leader, Eomer, demanded to know who they were and why they were in Rohan. Aragorn threw back his cloak and drew his sword. "I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, the heir of Isildur. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me or thwart me? Choose swiftly!"

They told Eomer that they were pursuing the Orcs who had captured their companions. Eomer replied that he and his men had destroyed the Orcs, but they had found no traces of the captives.

Eomer asked Aragorn and his friends to come with him; their sword, axe, and bow would be helpful in the wars against Saruman's forces. Aragorn, though, insisted that he could not abandon the search for Merry and Pippin while any hope remained.

Eomer lent them horses, asking that they return them to Edoras, the capital of Rohan, when they were done with their search. He also warned them to beware of Saruman, who walked here and there, hooded and cloaked, very like to Gandalf.

Thanking Eomer for the loan of horses, the three companions rode on to the borders of a great forest. There they found the site of the battle, where the Riders of Rohan had buried their fallen soldiers and burned the bodies of the slain Orcs. A search of the battlefield turned up no signs of the missing Hobbits.

They made camp beneath the eaves of the forest. Aragorn warned them not to cut down any of the trees for firewood, as it was said that it was perilous to harm the trees of Fangorn.

They feared that the burned bones of the Hobbits were mingled with the Orcs, but in the morning they would decide whether to continue or abandon their search.

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