Frodo and Sam see the enemy camp from the Morgai
Event Type: General
Age: 3rd Age - Ring War
Date: March 16, 3019
An event in the prelude to the Destruction of the One Ring; see that entry for an overview:
They came to a cleft between two dark crags, and passing through found themselves on the very edge of the last fence of Mordor....
Frodo and Sam gazed out in mingled loathing and wonder on this hateful land. Between them and the smoking mountain... all seemed ruinous and dead, a desert burned and choked. They wondered how the Lord of this realm maintained and fed his slaves and his armies. Yet armies he had. As far as their eyes could reach, along the skirts of the Morgai and away southward, there were camps, some of tents, some ordered like small towns. One of the largest of these was right below them. Barely a mile out into the plain it clustered like some huge nest of insects, with straight dreary streets of huts and long low drab buildings. About it the ground was busy with folk going to and fro; a wide road ran from it south-east to join the Morgul-way, and along it many lines of small black shapes were hurrying.
'I don't like the look of things at all,' said Sam. 'Pretty hopeless, I call it — saving that where there's such a lot of folk there must be wells or water, not to mention food. And these are Men not Orcs, or my eyes are all wrong.'
Neither he nor Frodo knew anything of the great slave-worked fields away south..., beyond the fumes of the Mountain by the dark sad waters of Lake Núrnen; nor of the great roads that ran away east and south to tributary lands, from which the soldiers of the Tower brought long waggon-trains of... booty and fresh slaves. Here in the northward regions were the mines and forges, and the musterings of long-planned war; and here the Dark Power... was gathering [its armies] together.... For the moment it... brought up new forces, massing them about Cirith Gorgor for an avenging stroke. And if it had also been its purpose to defend the Mountain against all approach, it could scarcely have done more.
'Well!' Sam went on. 'Whatever they have to eat and drink, we can't get it. There's no way down that I can see. And we couldn't cross all that open country crawling with enemies, even if we did get down.'
'Still we shall have to try,' said Frodo.... 'I never hoped to get across. I can't see any hope of it now. But I've still got to do the best I can. At present that is to avoid being captured as long as possible. So we must still go northwards, I think, and see what it is like where the open plain is narrower.'....
They soon found that it was impossible to make their way along the crest of the Morgai, or anywhere along its higher levels.... In the end they were forced to go back down the ravine that they had climbed and seek for a way along the valley.
The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 3, Mount Doom
Elena Tiriel 22Aug06