2. Author notes
* Merry and Pippin's fate: not pretty. The Riders are not coming to slay the Orcs and (inadvertently) rescue them from being eaten. They would either end up on the menu at the foot of Fangorn, or, if the infighting were won by the Uruks (and my money's on them), be taken to Saruman, and then end up on the Orc menu once he discovers they don't have the Ring.
* Rohan's fate: not pretty. Saruman's troops would overrun the realm and wreak havoc everywhere.
* Éowyn's fate: too horrible to contemplate (I mean: being the wife to Gríma? Eeps!)
* Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli's fate: unsure. Would they even meet Gandalf, if they never enter Fangorn? Would they follow the Orcs all the way to Isengard and be slain in an attempt to rescue the Hobbits? Would they give up the chase and go to Minas Tirith?
* Gondor's fate: doomed to fall. Without the Rohirrim to help, without (possibly) Gandalf and Aragorn to help, Minas Tirith would not withstand the siege.
* Frodo/Sam's fate: unchanged! Unless my memory is faulty, there is no real connection between events in Rohan and Frodo's quest for Mount Doom. Thus, they might succeed in destroying the Ring after all, and cause Sauron's downfall.
* Which would then leave Saruman and his armies to rule Middle-earth whichever way they like.
Oh, I love 'what ifs'! Someday, maybe. When I win the lottery, and no longer have to work to make a living...
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