Théoden camps in Drúadan Forest
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Dates: March 13, 3019 ~ March 14, 3019
An event in the prelude to the Siege of Minas Tirith and the Battle of the Pelennor; see those entries for an overview:
Théoden in Drúadan Forest.
The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age
It was dark and Merry could see nothing as he lay on the ground rolled in a blanket.... [All] about him hidden trees were sighing softly. He... heard... a sound like faint drums in the wooded hills and mountain-steps. The throb would cease suddenly and then be taken up again at some other point.... He wondered if the watchmen had heard it.
He... knew that all round him were the companies of the Rohirrim. He could smell the horses in the dark, and could hear... their soft stamping on the needle-covered ground. The host was bivouacked in the pine-woods that clustered about Eilenach Beacon, a tall hill standing up from the long ridges of the Drúadan Forest that lay beside the great road in East Anórien.
Tired as he was Merry could not sleep. He had ridden now for four days..., and the ever-deepening gloom had slowly weighed down his heart. He began to wonder why he had been so eager to come.... There seemed to be some understanding between Dernhelm and Elfhelm, the Marshal who commanded the éored in which they were riding. He and all his men ignored Merry.... Dernhelm was no comfort: he never spoke to anyone.... Now the time was anxious, and the host was in peril. They were less than a day's ride from the out-walls of Minas Tirith that encircled the townlands. Scouts had been sent ahead. Some had not returned. Others hastening back had reported that the road was held in force against them. A host of the enemy was encamped upon it, three miles west of Amon Dîn... and was no more than three leagues1 away.... The king and Éomer held council in the watches of the night....
He sat up, listening to the drums that were beating again, now nearer.... Presently he heard voices speaking low, and he saw dim half-shrouded lanterns passing.... Men nearby began to move uncertainly in the dark.
A tall figure... stumbled over him, cursing the tree-roots. He recognized the voice of the Marshal, Elfhelm.
'I am not a tree-root, Sir,' he said, 'nor a bag, but a bruised hobbit. The least you can do in amends is to tell me what is afoot.'
'Anything that can keep so in this devil's mirk,' answered Elfhelm. 'But my lord sends word that we must set ourselves in readiness: orders may come for a sudden move.'
'Is the enemy coming then?' asked Merry anxiously. 'Are those their drums?'....
'Nay, nay,' said Elfhelm, 'the enemy is on the road not in the hills. You hear the Woses, the Wild Men of the Woods: thus they talk together from afar.... [They] have offered their services to Théoden.... So much I have heard but no more. And now I must busy myself with my lord's commands. Pack yourself up, Master Bag!'
The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 5, The Ride of the Rohirrim
1 A "league" is approximately three of our miles.
Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Appendix, Númenórean Linear Measures
Elena Tiriel 14Mar08