HASA Resources

Timeline Event

Théoden accepts Gondor's request for aid

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Date: March 9, 3019

Description:

An event in the prelude to the Siege of Minas Tirith and the Battle of the Pelennor; see those entries for an overview:
Presently the captain of the Guard thrust aside the curtain. 'A man is here, lord,' he said, 'an errand-rider of Gondor....'

'Let him come!' said Théoden.

A tall man entered.... In his hand he bore a single arrow, black-feathered and barbed with steel, but the point was painted red.

He sank on one knee and presented the arrow to Théoden. 'Hail Lord of the Rohirrim, friend of Gondor!' he said. 'Hirgon I am, errand-rider of Denethor, who bring you this token of war. Gondor is in great need. Often the Rohirrim have aided us, but now the Lord Denethor asks for all your strength and all your speed; lest Gondor fall at last.'

'The Red Arrow!' said Théoden, holding it, as one who receives a summons long expected and yet dreadful when it comes.... 'The Red Arrow has not been seen in the Mark in all my years! Has it indeed come to that? And what does the Lord Denethor reckon that all my strength and all my speed may be?'

'That is best known to yourself, lord,' said Hirgon. 'But ere long it may well come to pass that Minas Tirith is surrounded, and unless you have the strength to break a siege of many powers, the Lord Denethor bids me say that he judges that the strong arms of the Rohirrim would be better within his walls....'

'But he knows that we are a people who fight rather upon horseback and in the open, and that... time is needed for the gathering of our Riders. Is it not true, Hirgon, that the Lord of Minas Tirith knows more than he sets in his message? For we are already at war..., and you do not find us all unprepared. Gandalf the Grey has been among us, and even now we are mustering for battle....'

'What the Lord Denethor may know... I cannot say,' answered Hirgon. 'But indeed our case is desperate. My lord does not issue any command to you, he begs you only to remember old friendship and oaths long spoken.... It is reported to us that many kings have ridden in from the East to the service of Mordor. From the North to the field of Dagorlad there is skirmish and rumour of war. In the South the Haradrim are moving, and fear has fallen on all our coastlands, so that little help will come to us thence. Make haste! For it is before the walls of Minas Tirith that the doom of our time will be decided, and if the tide be not stemmed there, then it will flow over all the fair fields of Rohan, and even in this Hold among the hills there shall be no refuge.'

'Dark tidings,' said Théoden, 'yet not all unguessed. But say to Denethor that even if Rohan itself felt no peril, still we would come to his aid. But we have suffered much loss in our battles with Saruman the traitor, and we must still think of our frontier to the north and east, as his own tidings make clear. So great a power as the Dark Lord seems now to wield might well contain us in battle before the City and yet strike with great force across the River away beyond the Gate of Kings.

'But we will speak no longer counsels of prudence. We will come. The weapontake was set for the morrow. When all is ordered we will set out. Ten thousand spears I might have sent.... It will be less now, I fear; for I will not leave my strongholds all unguarded. Yet six thousands at the least shall ride behind me. For say to Denethor that in this hour the King of the Mark himself will come down to the land of Gondor, though maybe he will not ride back. But it is a long road, and man and beast must reach the end with strength to fight. A week it may be from tomorrow's morn ere you hear the cry of the Sons of Eorl coming from the North.

'A week!' said Hirgon. 'If it must be so, it must. But you are like to find only ruined walls..., unless other help unlooked-for comes. Still, you may at the least disturb the Orcs and Swarthy Men from their feasting in the White Tower.'

'At the least we will do that,' said Théoden. 'But I myself am new-come from battle and long journey, and I will now go to rest. Tarry here this night. Then you shall look on the muster of Rohan and ride away the gladder for the sight, and the swifter for the rest.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 3, The Muster of Rohan

Hirgon... was there before him, and beside him stood now another man, like him and dressed alike.... As Merry entered he was speaking to the king....

'Now the great cloud hangs over all the land between here and the Mountains of Shadow; and it is deepening. War has already begun.'

For a while the king sat silent.... 'So we come to it in the end,' he said: 'the great battle of our time.... But at least there is no longer need for hiding. We will ride... the open road and with all our speed. The muster shall begin at once.... Have you good store in Minas Tirith? For if we must ride now in all haste, then we must ride light, with but meal and water enough to last us into battle.'

'We have very great store long prepared,' answered Hirgon. Ride now as light and as swift as you may!'

'Then call the heralds, Éomer,' said Théoden. 'Let the Riders be marshalled!'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 3, The Muster of Rohan

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 8Mar08

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