The Passing of the Grey Company

Gandalfwasgone,andthethuddinghoofsofShadowfaxwerelostinthenight,whenMerrycamebacktoAragorn.Hehadonlyalightbundle,forhehadlosthispackatParthGalen,andallhehadwasafewusefulthingshehadpickedupamongthewreckageofIsengard.Hasufelwasalreadysaddled.LegolasandGimliwiththeirhorsestoodcloseby.

‘SofouroftheCompanystillremain,’saidAragorn.‘Wewillrideontogether.Butweshallnotgoalone,asIthought.Thekingisnowdeterminedtosetoutatonce.Sincethecomingofthewingedshadow,hedesirestoreturntothehillsundercoverofnight.

‘Andthenwhither?’saidLegolas.

‘Icannotsayyet,’Aragornanswered.‘Asfortheking,hewillgotothemusterthathecommandedatEdoras,fournightsfromnow.Andthere,Ithink,hewillheartidingsofwar,andtheRidersofRohanwillgodowntoMinasTirith.Butformyself,andanythatwillgowithme...

‘Iforone!’criedLegolas.‘AndGimliwithhim!’saidtheDwarf.

‘Well,formyself,’saidAragorn,‘itisdarkbeforeme.ImustgodownalsotoMinasTirith,butIdonotyetseetheroad.Anhourlongpreparedapproaches.

‘Don’tleavemebehind!’saidMerry.‘Ihavenotbeenofmuchuseyet;butIdon’twanttobelaidaside,likebaggagetobecalledforwhenallisover.Idon’tthinktheRiderswillwanttobebotheredwithmenow.Though,ofcourse,thekingdidsaythatIwastositbyhimwhenhecametohishouseandtellhimallabouttheShire.

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