Merry attacked by a Nazgûl in Bree
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: September 29, 3018
An event in Frodo's Departure from the Shire; see that entry for an overview:
Pippin yawned. 'I am sorry,' he said, 'but I am dead tired. In spite of all the danger and worry I must go to bed, or sleep where I sit. Where is that silly fellow, Merry? It would be the last straw, if we had to go out in the dark to look for him.'
At that moment they heard a door slam.... Merry came in with a rush followed by Nob. He shut the door hastily, and leaned against it.... he gasped: 'I have seen them, Frodo! I have seen them! Black Riders!'
'Black Riders!' cried Frodo. 'Where?'
'Here. In the village.... I went out for a stroll. I had come back again and was standing just outside the light of the lamp looking at the stars. Suddenly I shivered and felt that something horrible was creeping near: there was a sort of deeper shade among the shadows across the road, just beyond the edge of the lamplight. It slid away at once into the dark without a sound.'....
'Which way did it go?' asked Strider, suddenly and sharply. Merry started, noticing the stranger for the first time. 'Go on!' said Frodo. 'This is a friend of Gandalf's. I will explain later.'
'It seemed to make off up the Road, eastward,' continued Merry. 'I tried to follow. Of course, it vanished almost at once; but I went round the corner and on as far as the last house on the Road.'
Strider looked at Merry with wonder. 'You have a stout heart,' he said; 'but it was foolish.'
'I don't know,' said Merry. 'Neither brave nor silly, I think. I could hardly help myself. I seemed to be drawn somehow. Anyway, I went, and suddenly I heard voices by the hedge. One was muttering; and the other was whispering, or hissing. I couldn't hear a word that was said. I did not creep any closer, because I began to tremble all over. Then I felt terrified, and I turned back, and was just going to bolt home, when something came behind me and I... I fell over.'
'I found him, sir,' put in Nob. 'Mr. Butterbur sent me out with a lantern.... Just nigh Bill Ferny's house I thought I could see something in the Road.... [It] looked to me as if two men was stooping over something, lifting it. I gave a shout, but where I got up to the spot there was... only Mr. Brandybuck lying by the roadside. He seemed to be asleep. "I thought I had fallen into deep water," he says to me, when I shook him. Very queer he was, and as soon as I had roused him, he got up and ran back here like a hare.'
'I am afraid that's true,' said Merry, 'though I don't know what I said. I had an ugly dream, which I can't remember. I went to pieces. I don't know what came over me.'
'I do,' said Strider. 'The Black Breath. The Riders must have left their horses outside, and passed back through the South-gate in secret. They will know all the news now, for they have visited Bill Ferny; and probably that Southerner was a spy as well. Something may happen in the night, before we leave Bree.'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 10, Strider
Elena TIriel 7Jul06