Frodo, Sam, and Gollum see a Winged Nazgûl over the Dead Marshes
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 2, 3019
It was late in the night when at length they reached firmer ground again. Gollum hissed and whispered to himself, but it appeared that he was pleased:... he seemed to know just where he was again, and to be sure of his road ahead.
'Now on we go!' he said.... [He] started off again..., down what appeared to be a long lane between high reeds, and they stumbled after him as quickly as they could. But in a little while he stopped suddenly and sniffed the air doubtfully....
'The air's moving, change is coming. Sméagol wonders; he's not happy.'
He went on again, but his uneasiness grew.... Then suddenly all three halted, stiffening and listening. To Frodo and Sam it seemed that they heard, far away, a long wailing cry, high and thin and cruel. They shivered.... [It] grew very cold.... [They] heard a noise like a wind coming in the distance....
Gollum... stood shaking and gibbering to himself, until with a rush the wind came upon them.... The night became... light enough for them to see... shapeless drifts of fog, curling and twisting as it rolled over them.... Looking up they saw the clouds breaking and shredding; and then high in the south the moon glimmered out....
For a moment the sight of it gladdened the hearts of the hobbits; but Gollum cowered down, muttering curses.... Then Frodo and Sam staring at the sky..., saw it come: a small cloud flying from the accursed hills; a black shadow loosed from Mordor; a vast shape winged and ominous. It scudded across the moon, and with a deadly cry went away westward, outrunning the wind in its fell speed.
They fell forward, grovelling heedlessly on the cold earth. But the shadow of horror wheeled and returned, passing lower now, right above them, sweeping the fen-reek with its ghastly wings. And then it was gone, flying back to Mordor with the speed of the wrath of Sauron; and behind it the wind roared away, leaving the Dead Marshes bare and bleak. The naked waste, as far as the eye could pierce, even to the distant menace of the mountains, was dappled with the fitful moonlight.
Frodo and Sam got up.... But Gollum lay on the ground as if he had been stunned. They roused him with difficulty, and for some time he would not lift his face, but knelt forward on his elbows, covering the back of his head with his large flat hands.
'Wraiths!' he wailed. 'Wraiths on wings! The Precious is their master. They see everything, everything. Nothing can hide from them. Curse the White Face! And they tell Him everything. He sees, He knows. Ach, gollum, gollum, gollum!' It was not until the moon had sunk..., that he would get up....
From that time on Sam thought that he sensed a change in Gollum again. He was more fawning...; but Sam surprised some strange looks in his eyes at times...; and he went back more... into his old manner of speaking. And Sam had another growing anxiety. Frodo seemed to be... weary to the point of exhaustion. He... did not complain, but... he dragged along, slower and slower, so that Sam had often to beg Gollum... not to leave their master behind.
In fact with every step towards the gates of Mordor Frodo felt the Ring on its chain about his neck grow more burdensome.... But far more he was troubled by the Eye: so he called it to himself.... The Eye: that horrible growing sense of a hostile will that strove with great power to pierce all shadows of cloud, and earth, and flesh, and to see you: to pin you under its deadly gaze, naked, immovable. So... frail and thin, the veils were become that still warded it off....
[What] went on in [Gollum's] wretched heart between the pressure of the Eye, and the lust of the Ring that was so near, and his grovelling promise made half in the fear of cold iron, the hobbits did not guess.... Sam's mind was occupied mostly with his master hardly noticing the dark cloud that had fallen on his own heart. He put Frodo in front of him now, and kept a watchful eye on every movement of his, supporting him if he stumbled, and trying to encourage him with clumsy words.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 2, The Passage of the Marshes
Elena Tiriel 3Mar08