Flotsam and Jetsam
After they had eaten their fill, they pulled out pipes to smoke. "Pippin found two barrels of the finest Southfarthing pipe-weed. It must have been for Saruman's private use, but it was washed out of some storeroom by the flood," explained Merry.
"Now, let us have a tale," said Aragorn. "We will sit on the edge of ruin and talk."
Merry and Pippin told their tale, from their capture by the orcs to their meeting with Treebeard.
Merry continued, telling of the Entmoot. "That next morning we went to Entmoot, a gathering of Ents. It lasted all that day and the next, but in the afternoon of the third day the Ents suddenly blew up. It was amazing. They sang a war song as they strode through the hills towards Orthanc."
"We came down into the valley of Isengard at nightfall," said Merry, "and it seemed the Forest itself was marching with us. Treebeard explained that they were Huorns, Ents that have become more and more tree-like, usually quiet, but dangerous when roused. As we came over the ridge, there were trumpets and an army of orcs came pouring forth, heading south."
As soon as the army went off, the Ents went to work. They started tearing up the walls of Isengard. An angry Ent is terrifying. Their fingers, and their toes, just freeze on to rock; and they tear it up like bread-crust. It was like watching the work of great tree-roots in a hundred years, all packed into a few moments."
"At some point in the night Gandalf came riding up. He halted and looked down at us, but did he say 'Hullo, Pippin! This is a pleasant suprise!'? No he did not! He said, 'Get up, you tom-fool of a Took! Get me Treebeard, and quick!' After a hasty conference Gandalf rode off again, with no further explanation to us, and soon hundreds of Huorns left after him."
"The Ents around the other side had dammed the Isen. After midnight they poured its waters into the vale, flooding out all of Saruman's caves and tunnels. Since then the water has been slowly sinking. We spent a busy time rummaging through the crates and barrels that have floated out, finding both the food and pipe-weed you've been enjoying.
"Well," said Merry, "the afternoon is getting on. We had best go meet with Gandalf. The water has largely subsided, so we can cross. But step carefully." They entered the ring of Isengard and picked their way between the pools.
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