Part III Chapter 3.3
Quest Day 5:  For those of the Light and Dark

From day’s dusk to night’s zenith



Of the brothers


Breathing heavily, Faramir embraced his brother:

 ‘We are safe, safe at last!’


Boromir, spent in bone and spirit, yet relieved, could not release what was pent up within; a torment of being a prisoner with no mind to express his feelings.  He clasped his brother tightly in gratitude and despair, and Faramir understood.


‘Boromir have no fear, the release is here… Now we are secure, we can release your mind from Elmowë’s protective shield.  Raalta said the release would be here..’ as Faramir said these words, he realised that Raalta, in all the rush, had not said what this release was…  where it would be – just that it would be there – in the safe haven.


Farmir turned to look at the room in which they stood.  The cottage was hewn out of some pale wood.  It lined the floor, walls and ceiling of the room.  There were no adornments, but there was a rustic table and chairs in one corner, and a fireplace in the other.  A number of candles were alight on the mantelpiece and a fire was ablaze, bathing the room in a balmy comforting glow. 

Yet Faramir found no comfort in this, for he could not see anything that resembled a vial – for that is what he expected – a vial containing a magic antidote to the spell Raalta had cast… an antidote to the greyish mist that blocked Boromir’s mind. 


But controlling his apprehension, Faramir spoke to Boromir:

‘Come brother, sit upon the lounge in front of the fire… you must be exhausted… I will fetch the release…’


He walked over to the lounge with Boromir, trying not to look at him, to hide the anxiety that churned within him…

‘The release must be in the next room… I will be back with it presently.’


He left Boromir, sensing that despite his efforts, Boromir perceived his anxiety.  Faramir had no idea what lay beyond the room they were in, but he made a show of confidence by walking to the only internal door in the room, opening it cavalierly.  As he did, he heard a chorale of haunting melody.  He spun around.   The melody built into a crescendo, the candles flickered, and from Boromir breaths, a ray of dark-silvery light was exhaled… the light encircling Boromir… then the voices and light disappeared. 


Faramir rushed to Boromir’s side, and Boromir spoke:

‘I am free of his eye upon me; I am free of him…’

Never since the death of their mother, when as two small children huddled together in their room away from the sight of others, especially from their father who would have disapproved of such weakness, had they shed tears together as they did now – but they where then tears of bewilderment and sadness, now they were of relief and joy.  They were safe, and Boromir was Boromir again.


Boromir stood up, again robust and noble – the statue of the fearless Gondorian warrior of the past, nothing of his torment and torture of his trial of the Quest, marked him here and now. 

‘Faramir, dearest brother, we are protected by a mighty power …’ and with the decisiveness of the commander he was, ‘We have much to uncover and plan, we should not delay what must be…  Let us start with the scroll…’


Faramir smiled, Boromir was in charge anew; he felt reassured and relieved that this was so.


Boromir unfolded the scroll on the table, and brought the candle over so both could read.  In the unmistakable hand of their father, were words that leapt from the parchment. Writing that started with the flowing controlled hand of Denethor, but degenerated into a hand overwhelmed by some other force.  They read the words silently but in unison.


To Faramir, my son

I would have wished to have spoken these words to you, but circumstance has made them come from my pen instead.

 There is much I have to say, but there is scant clear vision with which now to say it… 

I write these words so that you may understand the purpose of my actions. In all matters I wished to ensure the future of my line, my ancestors, the House of Hurin.

Swayed by this purpose and another’s cunning and deceit, I entered into a blood alliance, taking Boromir with me into this. For Boromir, I wished blessed with valor and strength, and this the Dark Wizard did enable, for he became a valiant warrior and leader. But the Wizard’s blessing now I see bound Boromir to his evil purpose.  And despite the promise of protection it set Boromir on a path leading to his doom.  In this way I am responsible for his death.   I wish I had the wisdom then to have made it otherwise.

For you, Faramir, your mother protected you from him and me.  This kept you from his darkness. For this, I see now, he hardened my heart against you, and blinded me to your gallantry, consumed in my hope for Boromir. For all this I regret, and more than all, that I trusted not in the strength of our line, and set this evil loose upon it.


But in this clear sight now, dimming with each word and moment, I send the love of a father to you, and my feeling of pride that you will be the heir of Ecthelion. For I know that you will bring immense dignity and distinction to our line

Faramir, honour the death and memory of your brother and our line.   Forget not the forces that brought us to this end.

Denethor II

TA 8 March… 3019


They both sat unable to speak. 


Slowly like the faintest feeling that becomes a blurry thought and then blossoms into a distinctive awareness, they both realised that one part of their mission had been achieved.  Denethor had realised, in a brief gift of insight and peace, the outcome of a pact he had made, and he recognised Faramir, and proudly blessed him as the heir of Ecthelion, as their mission had been set to do.


What still lay before them, yet unknown, was their understanding of this pact. They waited for the promised message that would bring this to them. Although this task sat looming in their minds, both felt a sense of elation, something that both thought nigh impossible had been achieved.  They dispensed with doubt; the message would lead them to other recoverables.  Upon Boromir a faint smile even appeared, and he pronounced confidently:

‘I am far from the point of understanding, but I now know it is possible and that this will release me from my bond to The Dark.’

Faramir in bolstered spirits, added:

‘Boromir, we still have Raalta’s translation of the prophecy, this should aid us further.’


‘Ah, I fear from my past ability with riddles of dreams and prophecies that I will be of little use in working out its meaning,’ Boromir replied.

‘But let us see what it says – for we also have the promised message to light our way,’ Faramir responded unrolling the second parchment to reveal Raalta’s translation of the ancient seer’s prophecy:


When in a majestic city bearing the symbol of the White Tree,

A beguiled father’s love will doom a son

For as it was written, so his death will be set on this day

When the year is reversed and that of the day and month added

Of the birth of the Master of Middle-earth in a world apart.

As good is reversed into evil

So the end will come to the one so bonded

And he will pass over the Falls of Rauros.


They both sat stunned by this revelation, written centuries before. Unmistakably it referred to Boromir; there were the references to Minas Tirith, to a beguiled father, to something being written, a death, and as Aragorn had sent Boromir’s funeral boat, over the Falls of Rauros. 


An anxious silence continued.  Both knew that within these words were the clues to the date of the pact – both were fearful of not being able to unravel this riddle to lead them to this key.


Boromir broke the stillness:

‘Who is this Master of Middle-Earth? Can it mean Ilúvatar or the Ainur, the Holy Ones?  Faramir, you studied the history of Middle-earth with Raalta, to whom would this refer?’

‘If Ilúvatar, then he is immortal and existed before the creation of Arda.  I know of no reference to a date of birth, nor do I recollect him ever being called the Master of Middle-earth.’

‘Then who could this Master be?’

‘I think it none of the Ainur, for these existed beyond dates of recording Middle-earth, but in the history of Middle-earth, there are others who could be thought of as forming the essence of this, such as the Maiar, notably Gandalf, or more likely Tom Bombadil, for mystery surrounds his existence and purpose on Middle-earth, but I cannot recollect any reference to dates of birth – they just existed.’


Faramir stopped and stared into the fire, blooms of crimson sprayed from dying forest fuel, spluttering as if wishing to speak:

 ‘I sense that this Master is not of Middle-earth, for does it not say ‘in a world apart’.


Boromir, hesitated in thought, then uttered, as if prompting his own memory:

‘What were Raalta’s exact words about… understanding?’

‘Look within the vision and see the… meaning unfold,’ Faramir replied.

‘And…. take heed of…. the words and visions…. contained within,’ Boromir added, ‘visions, visions within… within what?’

‘It can mean within the words of one of the parchments...’


Boromir stood up and paced about the room, Faramir waited for his revelation. 


‘Or within the manuscript that Raalta gave us, Faramir where is it?’ Boromir’s words quivering with anticipation.


Faramir went across to a leather pouch that he had placed the manuscript in for their journey, and put it upon the table, unopened.  Boromir reached over to it, but as his hand neared the cover, as if a force from his being blew the manuscript open - it opened on what appeared a blank page.  Boromir was about to turn this, when the page lit up.  Both brothers who had been leaning over the manuscript, jolted back in surprise.  And now the manuscript not only was alight but from it came the sound of the calling of a distant horn.


Then from the parchment of the page, a picture started to appear, like as hazy vision arising from the morning autumn mists of the plains of Pelennor.  The brothers looked at this image, only in black, greyed and whitish tones.  It was of a man in a strange outfit standing in front of a tree, one hand on a walking stick, the other upon its huge trunk.  This was not an image of a god, a king, or even a warrior, certainly not what they expected of the Master of Middle-earth’…


‘Can this elderly man be the Master of Middle-earth?’ Boromir exclaimed in disbelief, ‘why he looks like…’ then he stopped mid-sentence, ‘yet,  something pulls me to him…’, Boromir paused and leaned over to look closely at the man’s face:

 ‘Look Faramir, he is smiling, as if he is beckoning us to understand - showing us some way…’


And as Boromir was about to finish his thought and words, the sound of the horn emanating from the manuscript changed to one of a muted lute, and with this, the image changed – it was now a vividly coloured painting of a village - with farm houses and fields, a single road leading off up to a hill in the distance.  Then in rhythm with the lute various parts of the picture lit up in turn.



The brothers knew that within these happenings were the cues to the prophecy, but before they had a chance to work these out, the picture and music faded; the images disappeared, the manuscript closed, and only silence remained.


‘Did you understand the vision Faramir?’ Boromir uttered in disquieted breathlessness.

‘No Boromir, I saw parts of the picture light up, but nothing revealed itself to me,’ Faramir answered.

‘Then where are we, if we could see it one more time,’ and saying this Boromir reached out for the manuscript again, but before he could touch it, it opened up and the visions replayed.


Now reassured that they had other opportunities to comprehend, the brothers sat down and discussed what they saw.


‘Clearly this Master is trying to show us a way forward…and it seems that this must relate to a tree – or trees…’

‘Of which there were many in the coloured painting.’

‘Did you notice Faramir that there seemed to be a pattern in the way the sections lit up, starting from the middle to the left…then top…

‘I saw this also – let us look at it again,’ and this time Faramir reached for the book, but it remained unopened and dumb.

‘Boromir, it only responds to you…’


So Boromir reached out and as he did the book opened and replayed the visions. 


Just as the pulse ebbed, Boromir jumped up from his seat:

‘I see the connection, did you Faramir?’

‘Only that we were correct, there is a sequence…,

‘There are trees within the sections – different numbers of trees – but more importantly I think we need to count the number of tree-trunks only – for that is what I believe the Master is showing us…’


So they re-ran the visions and counted those within the sections.

‘The numbers are 3, 1, 1, 8, 9, 2.  Do you agree Faramir?’

‘Yes, it is clear the date…the date is 3 January 1892 – but that is no date within the frame we wish, from your memory of the pact being made, the year had to be between, well if you were about 6  and I under 2, around 2984 – not 1892.’

‘Ah but remember, the prophecy said reverse the years and add the day and month, why that makes it 2985 – it is perfect – the date of the pact was then 3 January 2985.’

‘Yes, yes, Boromir we have the date,’ Faramir yelled with delight, embracing Boromir, tears welling up in his eyes, ‘We have the date – although much lies before us in understanding, we have the date!’

‘We must celebrate Faramir, for the impossible has become possible…  Let us find if this safe haven has provisions to feed our bodies,’ and he laughed uproariously ‘yes let us see if we can find anything of sustenance to oil our spirits….’ and he charged through the door and disappeared beyond.


Faramir looked after him… he was glad he was Boromir again, and he knew what he would want to oil his spirits…he started after him, when he heard Boromir shout out…

‘Ah little brother – what a feast I have found,’ and he strode into the room with arms-full of bread, cheeses, meats and wine… a carafe of overflowing purple shiraz.

Boromir set his booty on to the table, and motioned Faramir to join him. 


In this state of elation the brothers realised they were ravenous, for they had taken no food or drink the whole day.  They ate and drank with great gusto, for an enormous anguish had been lifted and the future held real promise; for their path appeared before, and it seemed that The Dark could not touch them here.


They talked into the night, reminiscing buoyantly about their boyhood.  They spoke from their heart without any pain of their father’s acts of favouritism for Boromir. This had once lingered between them, not that there was any animosity between the brothers, but a feeling of unfairness festered nonetheless.  And as they drunk of the wine their words flowed on their feelings of their Third Age life and of this time of the Quest.

‘Ah if things in the past could be altered with what we know now,’ Faramir sighed.

‘Yes little brother, there are things from now that would have changed my life, and these are not only of the pact,’ Boromir responded nonchalantly, taken by the euphoria of the moment and the vintage.

‘Of what do you speak?’

‘Of something of no import – of something frivolous… in terms of what lies ahead of us,’ Boromir responded guardedly, realising that he had let his words slip…

Faramir felt this guardedness, something he had never seen before in the frank-talking Boromir.

‘Well you can’t stop there Boromir… tell me what it is that you dwell on!’ Faramir replied, goading Boromir to continue.

Boromir laughed, then took a gulf of the wine:

‘It is nothing…’

‘Then it is something,’ Faramir retorted not wishing to let Boromir leave things unsaid.

‘Well, if you will not let me retreat from my loose words, it is…  Éowyn,’ Boromir blurted out under the influence of the grape.

‘Éowyn, what about Éowyn?’ Faramir questioned.

Boromir stood up, wine glass in hand, and walked past Faramir, slapping him on the shoulder as he passed.

‘What about Éowyn?’ Faramir persisted, turning to face Boromir who was now leaning against the mantle-piece of the fireplace.

‘It is not wise for me to say,’ Boromir uttered, turning to look at Faramir, who had remained seated.

‘Now brother, you cannot leave it at that.  Say what you feel.  You know how I feel about Éowyn.’ Faramir replied, now in a somewhat strident tone, rising to his feet and walking across to where Boromir stood.

‘If you will not let it past…’ Boromir stammered, affected by the brew.

‘Not now that these words have been spoken,’ Faramir insisted.

‘I mean no hurt to you Faramir…,’Boromir responded.

‘Then say in truth what you mean. I know that you would not wish me hurt.’ Faramir rejoined.

The brothers now stood facing each other.  Boromir taller and broader build, rippling with physical power, Faramir of more delicate yet muscular physique but nevertheless a match in all other senses for his brother.   Two warriors posturing for position…. the younger not now bowing in submission to the older…

‘Say what you mean Boromir!’ Faramir demanded.


Boromir turned and walked back to the table, filling his glass with the purple liquid.

‘I have drunk too much …but will answer you honestly.  If things had been different, and I had met Éowyn – I would not have let her go,’ Boromir uttered, waiting for a response from Faramir, but Faramir said nothing…, so he continued:

‘When first she came into The Light, I was stunned by her beauty, and when I saw her with others, her gentle and gracious bearing, but could hear her spirited stance, I fell totally under her spell.  I thought I had hid my feelings completely; say you did not see them.’

‘No brother, you hid them well, I had no idea how you felt about her… but know what it is you felt..’

‘So you see Faramir, why I said nothing then, and wished to say nothing now…only the brew let slip unintended words.  I meant not to bring up such hurt for you.’

‘That two brothers should love the same woman, there is no hurt in that,’ Faramir uttered poignantly, and went across and embraced Boromir.

‘The sole hurt is that we have no chance with her… for she loved from the start, and will always love, Aragorn,’ Faramir added.

‘And he… loved the Elf.  Friend as Aragorn is, what a fool; for the choice was between a woman, who fearlessly took on the Lord of the Nazgûl to save her King; ravishing, courageous and spirited beyond that I have known in any woman, and one who, as it is written, did nothing momentous in all her life; I know which one I would have chosen, beautiful as the Elf might be.  Ah, but if I had met Éowyn in our times, I would have…’

Boromir did not finish his words; he clasped Faramir’s shoulders, and declared:

‘If we are granted any wish from this Quest, mine would be that wherever my future lies, I would find such a woman there….  Come Faramir, let us drink to this.’

He strode across to the table, refilling his and Faramir’s glasses, and handing the glass to Faramir, proposed:

‘To a ravishing, courageous and spirited woman, may she be there in our future,’ and the brothers downed the wine and threw the glasses into the fire. It spluttered and then red flaring flames flew up in response.


As they did, the brothers felt a sensation, barely a flicker of a feeling.  They sensed others in the cottage.  Others arriving.  No, some who had arrived years before, as they had now.  A fleeting sensation, that lasted but a second and then drifted away in time and space. 


Beyond their sanctuary, as the night reached it zenith, The Dark was reasserting its command, by frenzied gale:

“and with the reverberation of the thunder the cloudburst pours its torrent, so and not otherwise was the transformation, violent and instantaneous, upon the utterance of the word:  (Joyce Ulysses, ‘Oxen of the Sun’)  Poqrek?!’



Of the maiden


Éowyn entered the cavern, looked guardedly about her, and then at Raalta, who had stopped to turn, waiting for her.

He waited for something to be unleashed, he knew not what, only that it had been set.


The cavern was bathed in a ghostly silvered light.  Then he saw it, or really sensed it… something he had not seen in a thousand years on Middle-earth. Just before Éowyn, a ripple of air…as if the gaseous particles were charged with the energy of a lightning strike, they pulsated then welled up, an aura taking on a fluidity, growing into a spinning gushing whirlpool. 


Raalta tried to warn Éowyn, he shouted out, but in the charged atmosphere, his words dissipated as clouds before warm earthen air.


Eowyn stepped forward, and as Raalta watched on, helpless to intervene, the swirling whorl consumed her. 


Raalta rushed to the spot, but where she had passed, he was blocked.  He had seen this whorl but four times in his thousands of years.  It was the Vortex of Melkor, of Melkor the Master of the Dark Lord himself.   It formed and wrought devastation in like manner to the Black Holes of the heavens and the Devil’s Triangle, of which he had heard much from scholars. Four times he had seen beings consumed by this whorl, on three, they had disappeared for ever, and on the fourth, an Elven King, had  walked from the whorl, eyes blazing yellow, transformed into an agent of The Dark.


He despaired for Éowyn, now beyond his reach or help… but he suddenly remembered she wore Gandalf’s pendant… if only he could use his ring of labradorite – the jewel of the opened Third Eye, to connect with this he may be able to feel, direct what she did…

He held in his hands the jewel of iridescent green, and commenced to chant – to connect with the pendant of his Maia kin.


For Éowyn, she was conscious that she had moved into a new realm…that she had passed through an ingress into a separate world… and knew her trial had began.  The path seemed to lead her on… but then without warning, it stopped. 


Something of where she stood flooded back from her memory… and then she realised what was, where she was… She was in the hall of her home, of Aldburg - but it was of many years ago…when she was a child, then gradually, hesitantly images came to her…there was her mother… her mother as she received news of her husband’s death, slain brutally by orcs on the eastern marches. Éowyn, looked on, as she did then as a child of three, in the shadows where she had crept that day, hearing the servants talk of the horrific news of their liege’s slaying…She felt the overwhelming pain and helplessness as she looked on at her mother’s grief… then her mother noticed and turned to her, eyes swollen with tears and despair, reached out and beckoned Éowyn … Éowyn knew it was an apparition, but she could not help reaching out to her mother, but as she did, her mother disappeared, torn from her, as she was when she died soon later of grief.


Éowyn reeled back in shock, and admonished herself for being tricked by this image, she was better than this…

‘Dark Lord’ she yelled out, ‘is this the best you can do!’

  Then she heard behind her a cry:


She spun-around and there was Théodred riding into an ambush at the Fords of Isen, an orc hidden from Théodred’s view, ready to strike a fatal blow.

‘Théodred, behind you…’she yelled out reflexly, and watched on helplessly as the axe fell upon him… His blood splattered into the air, and as he fell he looked at her, stunned in the realisation of death, she reached out instinctively to break his fall…and as she did, he disappeared…


She drew breath, unconsciously panting in distress, but resigned to face what next would befall her…

‘Bring it on’, she said, but this time under her breath – not as an direct taunt for He who was testing her, waiting for her to fail… to shatter her sense of being… to fester her doubt of worth…


She waited, but nothing happened…


‘Is this all?’, she thought, feeling that she may well have run the gauntlet… but just as she had let herself feel a bit at ease, she heard, coming from a thick mist that had sprung up in front of her and now bore down on her, the snorts of horses and other beasts, and the frantic galloping of charging cavalry racing towards her, then the horns and clanging of battle, and the stench of fear and death…. She peered through the mist… and walked forward to face what lay ahead…


Without warning she found herself in the midst of the battle of Pelennor Fields…horses, oliphaunts, orcs, trolls, uruks, Rohan and Gondorian warriors – stabbing, thrusting, yelling… The noise, smells, fever of battle flooded like a torrent, a deluge of agony and trauma, engulfing her - she did not know where to look, to stand…she was there, but not there!   Then she saw Théoden crushed by his mount… she went to rush to his side… but stopped and stood her ground – as others rushed by her… but tears welled up as she remembered, felt the death of her uncle and King.  She would not rush to his side, she wound not be a pawn in this, Dark’s game…


She felt the chill of his anger, as she refused to partake in his assault of her mind, he would need another snare, so he played his trump card…


‘Éowyn’, she heard… and out of the mist her mother walked, speaking reassuringly:

‘Do not fear or think me just an apparition of The Dark. I come from the future as you do.  I come to you with hope that all the tragedy of your past can be righted.  You have the power to change the evil that has befallen our family in the Third Age; you need only to do a simple thing…’

Éowyn looked at the image in front of her:

‘Why do you think I would trust that you are not an agent of The Dark,’ she asked.


‘For I ask nothing of you but to intervene in the death of your father… would an agent of The Dark do this… why would it want him saved?   In saving him, you would save me from my death of grief, and set the future to save Théodred, and Théoden… You merely have to warn your father of the ambush in the eastern marches… come my child, trust me at least to come with me so that I may prove who I am and of the prophecy which has sent you back to right these wrongs…’and Éowyn’s mother put out her hand, ‘Come child, I ask nothing more than this…’


Éowyn faltered, tempted…how easy it would be just to warn her father…and how different her life would have been…and for those others she loved.  She had only to choose this path… to unravel so much tragedy… Like the lure of the Sirens, Éowyn was enchanted, enthralled - how could she refuse to at least listen…, but still within her railed an opposition to this promise of righteous reversal of wrongs. 


Raalta, watching on, knew what trap had been set, for it was an image in the guise of Éowyn’s mother that had a hand outstretched, and coming within its sphere would instantly bind Éowyn to The Dark… 

There was only One could forestall her entrapment.


Raalta had contacted Iarwain Ben-adar as Éowyn had entered the vortex, now the Ancient One stood in readiness.

Raalta sent a pulse from his ring to Gandalf’s pendant; it released an aura that enveloped Éowyn.  Raalta sent the message to the Ancient One that it was time. 


Taking the coordinates of Gandalf’s pendant, the Ancient One sent a shaft of plasma to encapsulate the aura, and from this central charge, bolts of lightning bombarded the vortex.


Sauron looked down in horror…how did The Light locate the maiden, for the vortex by it very nature had no identifiable position, and now the essence of its source was being attacked.  As he looked on, under The Light’s battering, his negative ionization was shattered and the vortex blew asunder.  It exploded in the time of QD5 in the bowels of Minas Tirith, and propelling a pythonic fireball of contra-charge through to the Dark Lord’s world, his palantir spluttered with the recoil, and then with the sound of a screaming siren, turned opaque…


Raalta had shielded himself from the eruption – and when the conflagration was over, a dense fog of shattered particles of light and dark shrouded the cavern.  Raalta could not see if Éowyn had survived. He struggled through the pall, calling her name... Then at edge of despair, he heard back:

 ‘Raalta, I am here, over here.’


He followed the call and found Éowyn in a heap alongside the northern wall of the cavern.  He bent down to her, for although she tried to stand, her legs would not support her.  He looked at her eyes; they were not yellowed with the taint of The Dark.


Raalta comforted her:

‘Ah Fair Éowyn, stay here for now.  You have survived what I know no other has,’ and he dropped down alongside her.

‘Raalta, how is it that He could entrap me here…How did…’

‘Éowyn, ask me not these questions, for their answers are beyond me… All I know is that we must seek safety elsewhere, where your questions may be answered.’

‘Is there anyway safe… anywhere away from his command?’

‘The Light has come to your aid…it will provide you a sanctuary, away from Dark’s touch.’

‘Then let us leave this place now…’

‘You feel that you could manage to walk..’

‘With the promise of safety… I will manage it…’ Éowyn declared, and assisted by Raalta, rose to her feet, and shakingly took a few steps…


Raalta walked beside her along the passageway, through the rubble of the detonation, neither spoke of it, for its experience was too raw to put into words.  He saw she was ashen in face, her eyes sunken in sheer emotive exhaustion, her mouth taut with determination, for though her hands and legs trembled, in single-minded resolve to reach safety, she forced herself on. 


They came to a massive metal gate.

‘The last one,’ Raalta said in a wheezing whisper, ‘Last one!’

‘There is no lock,’ Éowyn uttered in dismay, fearful that after all, they would be defeated at this final turn.

‘This gate does not open with a key,’ Raalta whispered in reply.  He pointed his Light at a middle plate, and by some seemingly magical light-hydraulics, it swung open.

They stepped out into a large cave, into which shimmering rays of a golden crested moon streamed.  Éowyn hurried to the entrance, taking in gulps of the fresh air of a resplendent star-filled night.


This cave was located on top of the lower slopes of Mt Mindolluin, at the back of the White City’s walls, furthest from the terror of Mordor.

‘Do you wish to take a rest here, before we descend to the plains?’

‘No Raalta, let us not tarry where he may be…’ she answered.


The slopes were covered with shrub and thorny bush clinging to the barrenness of the rocky outcrop.  As they walked it tore at their cloaks, as if even here the enemy had engaged allies to block their escape, but Raalta and Éowyn did not falter in their step. As they descended, Éowyn was staggered by the silence.  Only their tread on fallen leaf or branch, broke the eerie stillness.  When they reached the bottom of the slope, where a thicket of gnarled trees grew, they found a pair of tethered horses.

‘We have til night’s zenith to reach the place of safety when we will come under the protection of Iarwain Ben-adar – it is a cottage in the southern tip of the Drúadan Forest. 

‘The Drúadan Forest’, Éowyn thought and shuddered, for this forest had always been avoided by the people of Rohan, who believed it was haunted, but she said nothing of this to Raalta.


They mounted the horses, and did not waver in their course.  They stopped only once to water their mounts, pushing themselves and their steeds onward through vale, plain and pain.    The forest emerged in the distance; the trees appearing to race toward them. 

As she looked into the dark grey of the forest, she felt a sense of doom.  The trees were not of those from her land of Rohan.  They rose high and ominous, as if reaching to cover some secret treachery.


They dismounted and led their horses into the woodland.  They made their way passed trees which loomed as sinister sentinels.  Finally they could see in the moonlight their destination; up high on a hill, virtually undetectable, was a modest timber and thatch cottage melding completely into the trees themselves.  They began their ascent through what appeared as an impenetrable barrier of decaying mounds, pits and standing snags, but as they moved forward, it seemed the growth of the forest yielded up to them a path to the cottage. Raalta leading, they strode up the hill, and reached the cottage, just as the moon had climbed to its summit, surrounded by a shawl of glistening gems.


 ‘We will be safe here.  Should anyone be able to trace where we have ridden, I have friends within the forest that will warn and protect us.’

 ‘I saw no-one’.

 ‘But they saw us,’ said Raalta, ‘and we would not have reached this cottage without their approval.’

Éowyn felt too exhausted to ask more.  She was just thankful that they, who-ever they were, were on Raalta’s side.

They entered the cottage and immediately Éowyn felt a sense of relief, whispering to herself: 

 ‘We are safe, safe at last.’


Neither knew nor cared what hour it had become, for “Blue dusk, nightfall, deep blue night.  In the darkness of the dome they wait” (Joyce, Ulysses, ‘Proteus’), they waited in the safety of The Ancient One.



Of those of Brandybuck and Took


Their task was done… or at least that of recording Treebeard’s visions was done.  They felt a sense of elation, QD4 had presented them with trials and turmoil, all survived, and now QD5 had produced the list.  They felt relief and euphoria… Gandalf would be pleased!


And as the day had passed, so a glorious night blossomed.  The winds and torrent of yester-day had blown asunder all the staleness of the land, and this day brought a brightness and clarity – a sky overflowing with the gaiety and luminosity of the constellations, and in the deepest sapphire sky, there shone this night a sparkling spectacle of silvers, blues and reds, courting a tangerine moon.  It was if Gandalf’s fireworks had blanketed the sky.


So it was that the hobbits relaxed after a day of inspiration… an inspiration of man’s achievements… and a burning with a desire to hear more.

 ‘Treebeard, tells us about…’Pippin blurted out in excitement.

‘About what Master Pippin?  For there is such abundance I would not know where to start…’, Treebeard answered kindly.

‘Well, well…,’Pippin responded, trying to think of what to start with.

‘Tell us Treebeard, of what you think was the most wondrous and the most horrendous…,’ Merry added.

‘Ah, even that is not a trifling task…but in recounting these discoveries for the list, there were…. yes, hm, hmmm, they form the nature of the best and worse…’

‘Yes Treebeard… tell us about the best and the worse…’

‘Master Pippin, not the best and worse – but an instance of both…’

‘Whatever Treebeard, whatever..,’ Pippin replied keen to hear of these things.


‘Not in such a hurry, Master Pippin, for it is not as easy as turning the pages of a book to find, I must recall…’

  ‘Ah Treebeard, Pippin would not even be able to find his way around a book,’ Merry laughed…

‘Well Mister Merry-scholar, I never had a reason to do so… but now Treebeard has shown me the fascinations of such things, well , well things will change,’ Pippin rejoined in a hurt tone…

‘Come now Pip, I was only joking, when was it I looked last at a book …’ Merry continued, giving Pippin a friendly jab…

‘I think it was that comic in the Prancing Pony as we drank our pints…’ Pippin chortled, then after a quick thought, ‘You know Treebeard, while you search for the details, I think I will prepare our sup.’

‘A fine idea….’ Treebeard responded…and moved into the clearing to think.


The hobbits ran across to their duffer bag, and pulled out an array of goodies…crusty gained bread rolls, slices of smoked beef, chunks of cheese, olives, gherkins, dried figs, and chocolate biscuits; at which point, Pippin piled high his plate, putting the biscuits which he could not fit on his plate into his pocket.


Treebeard looked on, and smiled, commenting:

‘Remember you have tomorrow…’

‘Oh Gandalf will look after that,’ came Pippin’s response, but Merry retrieved some food from Pippin’s plate and packed it back in the bag…

‘And what of the next day Pip…’


Pippin frowned fleetingly, but then nodded in agreement, for he was not going to have his spirits dampened; he took his (reduced level of) goodies, and sat down at the edge of the clearing, waiting for Treebeard’s account.  Merry joined him.


Treebeard looked down at the eager faces…  then walked around the glade clearing and focusing his mind.

With a mouth-full of bread and cheese, but chafing at the bit to start, Pippin chimed in:

‘Treebeard, you stopped in the list when you mentioned a… “bamb”.’

‘A bomb Pippin…an atomic bomb….’

‘Yes a… “bomb”, is this the worst of things?’

Treebeard came across to the hobbits, and lifted them up to the platform, so he might be eye-to-eye in the telling.


‘I will not guarantee that my story is absolutely accurate, for I am here in this forest, and I am dependent on my eagle friends and others who have been my eyes and ears in other worlds, but the message I am sure is faithful to the truth.’


Treebeard recounted how in a branch of science called physics, it was found that all matter was made up of minuscule particles called atoms…and how in understanding these atoms, there were hopes of being able to harness for the progress of mankind the tremendous amounts of unseen energy.

Pippin commented ‘That sounds good…’

Treebeard nodded, and continued, giving a rough sketch of the earnest scientists forging ahead, splitting this atom, refining the outcomes…

The hobbits listened intently.

Then Treebeard described the Great War – the second of these faced by the states of man… and how sides were taken, and there began a race to utilize these outcomes as a weapon…

Merry interrupted:

 ‘When did the scientists decide to change from the worthy purpose expected?’

‘When they realised that the energy released could be used for destruction, and when both sides feared that the other would use it against them…’

Merry wrinkled his brow in puzzlement over the absurdity of this argument as Treebeard continued:

‘So a monstrous weapon was built, and it was carried over the sea by…

‘A fell beast of the Dark Lord?’

‘No Pippin, by one of those flying machines I mentioned before that they had built, like a metallic eagle, that carried the bomb and dropped it upon a city…’

And he described how it exploded, disintegrating buildings and bodies – and culminating in a mammoth mushroom cloud blackening the sky.  Destroying all life instantly, 100,000 souls… and making those who survived die a slow painful death, and leaving fallow the land for all….

The hobbits were so shocked, neither could say anything…   then Merry asked:

‘100,000 people in a single blast…  Treebeard surely you facts are not correct…why that would be most of Middle-earth...’,

but before Treebeard could answer, Pippin interjected:

‘And did the other side drop such a… bomb on them – and then…where did it end?’

Treebeard shook his head:

‘Where could it end!  It was said that this blow saved thousands in ending the war,’ and he explained about the surrender of Japan, and then he continued:

‘But it was by good fortune, that such a terrifying outcome appalled and frightened some, that there was a curtailing of the use of such weapons… I think this is enough to show you the worst side of man’s achievement.’  He did not tell the hobbits of the other bombs, and how close the world of this time came to annihilation, he was sure his point had been made.


‘I do hope it is not this weapon that Gandalf will seek to bring from the future of man – for to me it seems to be the child of the Dark Lord himself,’ Merry whispered, almost fearful of giving the thought life…


Treebeard nodded in agreement:

‘That is the truth of it…but do not despair, for all of mankind is not such, and many advances are for the greater good; of all of these, I will tell you the story of penicillin, a breakthrough for the treatment of infections.’

Treebeard then explained how the discovery of antibiotics, their use in medicine and mass production, was due to the insights, dedication and tenacity of a group of scientists across the nations of the world.  He showed how it saved lives of thousands in the same war that the atomic bomb took them…’

 ‘Then it is stronger than Athelas – and does not need a King of the line of Elendil to release its full powers…’ Pippin remarked.

‘Then surely this… peni… penicillin, is a demonstration of a discovery of man that is entirely good…’ Merry added.

‘Ah, but if only it was possible for such things to be “entirely good” Master Merry, for to some penicillin is a poison’, Treebeard declared, and he explained the adverse effects and the life-threatening allergic reactions of some to the drug.


So it was that hobbits and Ent talked through the evening on defining “good” and “evil” and the sometimes finest line between them.   And their minds raced and thoughts welled-up by what they heard of the marvels of man…

‘Treebeard, will man of this Age ever be happy with where he is… with his man-made wonders and, and where he fits into his world and those of nature,’ Merry asked guilelessly. 

 ‘Ah, hmm, humm, Master Merry I know not how to answer you. It seems that man is never content with where his is… and… hmm…. that I suppose is a good… and not so good thing… hmm… for he seems intent on measuring his progress by changing, and in his eyes, improving nature…’ Treebeard answered solemnly, and then paused rapt in thought…


The moon had wound its weary way to near its summit, and an easterly breeze bought upon its crest, a field of cumulus clouds, which covered the stars and cast a shadow upon the clearing where they sat. 


Treebeard looked up just as the moon, having fought a bold battle, was consumed.


‘Ah young Masters, the shadows of the night tell us it is time for rest.  We have much to discuss with Gandalf when he arrives at dawn… and a mountain of questions and concerns unanswered which I am sure our dear friend will explain.  Come now; let as find some peace in slumber.’


Merry and Pippin suddenly found themselves exhausted, and without ado, jumped into their bed of silky leaf, frond and petal, and after saying goodnight to Treebeard, Merry whispered to Pippin:

‘I fear this future world of man … the Dark Lord seems to have a hand in all its wonders…’

and as slumber came upon them,  across the forest came a deep sigh, and with it, for those of the Quest “The midnight sun is darkened. The earth trembles…  A chasm opens with a noiseless yawn.” (Joyce Ulysses, ‘Circe’)



Of the Wizard of Isengard 


As night fell Saruman was in the Royal Archives of the Great Library of Gondor. 


Summoned into life the star of the Wizard’s staff burst into light, and with a pulsating amber glow it illuminated the space.


Before journeying Saruman had hoped that the maiden would be there as the palantir tracer had shown, and that she might be caught unawares.  However, once arrived it was evident that she had fled the Library.  Now in Minas Tirith, Saruman could sense her more directly, and received a vision of her fleeing the city via the catacombs.  Saruman was aware that Melkor’s Vortex awaited her in the last passage-way, and that there was no chance of her survival beyond being transformed into a vassal of The Dark.  While feeling no real compassion for her, Saruman shuddered at the thought of her end…

Yet, missing her was an irksome frustration, and as Saruman pondered on how the calculations could have been so erroneous, in a stroke of insight, recalled the prophecy of the seer, Elmowé, on the appearance of the cosmos and visions across time:


Ygap e hqaes awa yomm tseqa unip sga bitlut

Gaexapmw ickabst yomm ennaeq et sgaw ipba yaqa, pis et sgaw eqa

Ti os ot yosg xotoipt ebqitt sola epf tneba

Yges ot taap ot sga nets, pis sge nqataps.     

When a great eye will stare upon the cosmos
Heavenly objects will appear as they once were, not as they are
So it is with visions across time and space
What is seen is the past, not the present.

In terms of this prophecy, Saruman understood that the sight of what had been tracked by the palantir had been delayed and what had been seen was in the past… by how much was not apparent. The Wizard now though was focused on finding out exactly what the maiden sought, and how much The Light knew.


Saruman examined the shelves of books and table, noticing the tell-tale signs painstakingly arranged by Raalta, then proceeding methodically to the bookcase containing the Great Books.  Once, by duping the assistant of the Protector of the Books when the Protector was away, the Wizard had made a copy of the gem that acted as the key to the doors, and having stored this in the Coffer of the Wise, had brought this along.  Saruman inserted it into the emblem of Minas Tirith, and the doors, slowly and thunderously, opened.


Saruman could identify which books the maiden had looked at.  Pulling out those, Saruman touched the leather bindings, immediately perceiving those that she had dwelt. The Wizard smirked with triumph, thinking:

‘It has been a being with mighty acumen that has helped the maiden mask the books to which she referred, clearly beyond the capabilities of the Ranger King, nevertheless whoever, they are of no match for a Maia’s mastery of detection.’ 


Nonetheless, Raalta had ensured Saruman’s task was formidable, for there were seven such books.  Saruman, searched for salient signs.  There were five places where she had lingered most.  He took note of these positions.   Restoring the books to their proper place, Saruman then lifted out the box of Middle-earth artifacts.  Sensing that she had touched some objects, the Wizard’s hands shook with agitation; who had directed her to this ancient treasure?  Calling forth a Maia’s capacity of recall, Saruman conjured up an image of those latest in the aura of the artifacts.  

Like a reflection in a tarnished mirror, a hazy image was projected of the maiden, the Ranger King…. and one-other, identity masked, declaring in muffled tones:

 ‘The letter is gone.’

Saruman slumped back into the chair:  this was more than a coincidence: the maiden sought the letter which Gandalf had taken from the Coffer of the Council of the Wise, which Saruman had stolen from this very box eons ago.   With the revelations from the Great Books, the pieces of the puzzle, were coming together, and the conceit of old arose within the Wizard:  for it was manifest… 


Elated by the findings, Saruman repacked the artifacts, then noticed a small metal disc with an etched engraving of a familiar symbol; with Maia acuity on its significance, Saruman covetingly took it – to be used later.


With the hour counting down, Saruman strode into the main library and scrutinized the catalogue, then at the bookcases, to seek any recent use or absence. 

 ‘Ah’ he murmured when he discerned the tracks and decoys which had been planted, ‘I have underestimated the force that has assisted and shielded her.  I recognize a Maiarian influence, in fact the character of familiarity but….   No matter, I have all I require.’


Saruman consulted the chronometer; it was zeroing the minutes to departure. Hurriedly returning to the Archives, where the warriors of the stained-glass windows blazed in resonance to the light of the Wizard’s staff and looked down in disdain on the actions of this deceiver and thief, Saruman was recalled to The Dark.



Of the Lieutenant


Since Saruman’s egress, the Lieutenant remained transfixed to the palantir, following the trail of the Wizard, then realigning the palantir to follow the others.  It was a time-consuming and nerve-racking process, knowing what his Lord expected, and what was feasible, doable, even with shaman and Maia faculties.   The lieutenant meticulously recorded every sighting and fragment of captured transmitted thoughts in preparation of the Wizard’s re-emergence and Sauron’s summon.


From their experiments they had determined that they risked not being able to retrieve beings if the transmigration exceeded the passage of the sands of the hourglass – and so this was programmed as the maximum of the Wizard’s stay in Minas Tirith.   They had also derived that there was a time-incongruity between the transported world and theirs, such that for the transmutation there was a multiple of three.   Saruman had left at nightfall, and with this factoring, was scheduled to reappear at 9 pm. 

As the moments drew to 9 o’clock, the Lieutenant switched the palantir to locate Saruman’s tracker.  It was strong and constant.  The clock on the Black Tower struck 9, bass bells resonating over Mordor; the Wizard did not materialize.  


The Lieutenant waited.  The bells rang out: 10 pm, then 11…. and as the night-tide edged towards its summit, the Lieutenant felt a swell of angst.   Those they had “lost”, the tracers had dissipated then disappeared, not so with the Wizard… but what could be causing the delay?


The Lieutenant had started to cogitate on the options, when there was a blaze in the palantir, a surge of cataclysmic colours, of blood red and raven, then a whirling sound, like a shrouded horn on the wayward wind.  


Sure this was a sign of the Wizard’s retrieval, the Lieutenant rushed to the tower-room… and Saruman was there, disheveled and disoriented, but looking otherwise unharmed.

The Lieutenant exclaimed:

‘Wizard, it is good to see you returned; how you went with the maiden?’ and then concernedly without pausing for a response, ‘Do you know it is just prior to mid of night – you have been absent nearly six hours – twice our computation...’


Saruman relieved but totally spent, was shocked by the temporal loss, and slurring in reply:

‘The maiden was gone...’

The Lieutenant shaken, blurted:

‘Could this be …the palantir showed…?’

Saruman interjected:

 ‘I have deduced that our palantir visions are delayed and of the past… but no import,’ the Wizard wheezed breathlessly as if on the edge of physical debilitation, ‘I have located what she sought…. must piece together …. the riddle in readiness for our report to the Dark Lord…’ then hesitating,  gasped for breath, ‘ b’t  now… need…need a respite… to … to clear my… thoughts,’ then gagging and swaying, Saruman’s staggered, trying  desperately to remain upright, both legs gave-way and the Wizard buckled over and dropped heavily to the ground in a swoon.

The Lieutenant dashed to Saruman’s side, shouting for help.   The tower guards hurtled in and carried the Wizard to a bench.   The Lieutenant called urgently for the attendance of the healer.  Saruman languished in a fitful stupor on the verge of life as darkness moved closer to its zenith.



Of the Dark Lord


A message had been sent to Sauron that the Wizard was close to death.


Sauron had not been able to track the course of the Wizard in Minas Tirith, for he had been occupied with the foray with the maiden. She had been ensnarled by his trap, but he had sensed the life-force being drained from the Wizard in re-entering The Dark.


He was irked by the ineptitude of Dark’s attempts at restraining The Light.   It seemed at every turn The Light had an upper-hand and escaped Dark’s clutches. Notably, The Light managed time-travelling devoid of incident; the operatives of The Dark could not.


It was not that The Dark was powerless, but their plans had been deflected from the mark.  The Steward’s first-born had evaded the ambush in Minas Tirith, but in doing so had perished.  Sauron was confident of this, for by all measures the warrior’s spirit had ended. 

Although Sauron had writhed with anger when the warrior slipping through his net, he would have preferred to capture the Steward’s son alive to personally test the warrior’s mettle, but by his reckoning, this fatality put the Quest in jeopardy, with one falling, the whole Quest would fail. 

Yet, despite the marks of the favourite son’s annihilation, something wrangled within Sauron, for he had tracer on the younger brother and he did not sense in him the devastation he had anticipated, being cognizant of the closeness of the brothers, if the elder had died.   The younger had ridden to Drúadan Forest then vanished, and for a split second, in a fleeting instant of psychesis, Sauron perceived a resurgence of… – could the elder have been brought back to being? Sauron mobilized his agents of that era to uncover the source. 

Then there was the maiden and the lure that had been set should the Wizard have missed capturing her in the Library.  The Wizard had given Sauron the map of the tunnels of Minas Tirith, and it was at this final door that Sauron had nominated to install his snare.  Here, where escape and safety were within reach, hope reigned, that the maiden would be most vulnerable.   At this point of promise, Sauron conveyed Melkor’s Vortex to engulf her.  From the destructive ebb of this mind-whirlpool, utilized in the days of the Valar by Sauron’s Master (the mightiest dweller in Arda), none had survived.


However, creating the Vortex was not without risk for Sauron.  For into the energy-field of this maelstrom, he needed to have flow his own dark essence, weakening him during this streaming, but he carefully monitored the depletion of this potency.  For he had learnt the dire consequences of draining of Dark’s power; for Melkor, in attempting domination over all, had dispersed Evil’s core throughout Arda, and in this was diminished, and in that state, defeated. 

Sauron was consumed by wrath, blinding and torrential was his hate whenever he recollected the Light’s vanquishment of his Master; then, he could think of nothing else but the tortuous obliteration of all those who had a hand in this. 

 He would vent his vengeance whatever the cost… the Ancient One would be made to witness, to suffer, as those of the Quest were devoured in torment by The Dark.  Already, the Steward’s first born had succumbed and been destroyed fending off The Dark’s attacks… Now for those remaining…  out of malice and revenge he would pursue them all even though the Quest was, with the warrior’s demise, forthwith nullified and no longer a threat to him.


So Sauron turned his malevolence to Éowyn.  He had been certain he had the measure of the Rohan maiden as he lured her into the Vortex.  Her Achilles heel lay at her experiences of helplessness, festering from childhood, and as he detected, rekindled by being abandoned again by the Ranger King.   Sauron had invaded her unconscious, and fathomed the turmoil of her soul.  His plan was to feed off this, and break her resolve and pledge not to change what must be; tempting her to reach out and touch the dark-edge… engulfing her, body and mind.   And his lure had worked, he had her – had her within inches of being inveigled and transmuted irrevocably into The Dark.  Almost… except for the intervention of Istari power. 


At the moment of the destruction of the Vortex Sauron was livid with rage, gasping in fury – but then he saw… and proclaimed:   ‘Poqrek?!’    



 “ … the earth had trembled in reverberation of his thunderous yawn, and upon the utterance of his word, poured a torrent of darkness, violent and instantaneous, and the nightfall of blue dusk was transformed as a chasm opened across the dome of the deep blue night, and the midnight sun darkened, and so and not otherwise, they (of The Light) waited, noiseless…  they waited for the cloudburst” (A fusion of words from Joyce, Ulysses, ‘Oxen of the Sun’, ‘Proteus’ and ‘Circe’) “the deep breath before the plunge” (Tolkien, LOTR, ‘Minas Tirith’)