Sauron's forces set out from Minas Morgul for Osgiliath
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 10, 3019
An event in the Siege of Minas Tirith; see that entry for an overview:
[Gollum] spoke.... 'Not rest here. Fools! Eyes can see us. When they come to the bridge they will see us. Come away! Climb, climb!'....
But it was too late. At that moment the rock quivered and trembled beneath them. The great rumbling noise, louder than ever before, rolled in the ground and echoed in the mountains. Then with searing suddenness there came a great red flash. Far beyond the eastern mountains it leapt into the sky and splashed the lowering clouds with crimson.... [It] seemed unbearably violent and fierce.... [Ridges] like notched knives sprang out in staring black against the uprushing flame in Gorgoroth....
And Minas Morgul answered. There was a flare of livid lightnings: forks of blue flame springing up from the tower.... The earth groaned; and out of the city there came... a rending screech, shivering, rising swiftly to a piercing pitch beyond the range of hearing. The hobbits... cast themselves down, holding their hands upon their ears.
As the terrible cry ended, falling back through a long sickening wail to silence, Frodo slowly raised his head. Across the narrow valley..., the walls of the evil city stood, and its cavernous gate, shaped like an open mouth with gleaming teeth, was gaping wide. And out of the gate an army came.
All that host was clad in sable.... Against... the luminous pavement of the road Frodo could see them, small black figures in rank upon rank, marching swiftly and silently, passing outwards in an endless stream. Before them went a great cavalry of horsemen..., and at their head was one greater than all the rest: a Rider, all black, save that on his hooded head he had a helm like a crown that flickered with a perilous light. Now he was drawing near the bridge below, and Frodo's staring eyes followed him, unable to wink or to withdraw....
[The] Rider halted suddenly, right before the entrance of the bridge, and behind him all the host stood still. There was a pause.... Maybe it was the Ring that called to the Wraith-lord, and for a moment he was troubled, sensing some other power within his valley.... Frodo... felt... the command that he should put on the Ring. But great as the pressure was, he... knew that the Ring would only betray him.... He sighed and bent his head.
At that moment the Wraith-king turned and spurred his horse and rode across the bridge, and all his dark host followed him.... [He] was in haste. Already the hour had struck, and at his great Master's bidding he must march with war into the West.
Soon he had passed... down the winding road, and behind him still the black ranks crossed the bridge. So great an army had never issued from that vale since the days of Isildur's might; no host so fell and strong in arms had yet assailed the fords of Anduin; and yet it was but one and not the greatest of the hosts that Mordor now sent forth.
Frodo stirred. And suddenly his heart went out to Faramir. 'The storm has burst at last,' he thought. 'This great array of spears and swords is going to Osgiliath.... [Who] can now hold the fords when the King of the Nine Riders comes? And other armies will come. I am too late. All is lost. I tarried on the way. All is lost. Even if my errand is performed, no one will ever know. There will be no one I can tell. It will be in vain.' Overcome with weakness he wept. And still the host of Morgul crossed the bridge.
Then at a great distance..., he heard Sam's voice speaking. 'Wake up, Mr. Frodo!'....
There was a dull clang. The gates of Minas Morgul had closed. The last rank of spears had vanished down the road....
'Wake up, Mr. Frodo! They're gone, and we'd better go too.'
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 8, The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
Elena Tiriel 10Mar07