1. Chapter IV: The Gap Of Rohan
The Gap Of Rohan
As the evening drew on, they came to a stop and decided to make camp there for the night. All of them were tired out from their struggle against the mountain at the Redhorn Gate and so Gandalf gave each of them a small amount of the miruvor of Rivendell. Then, when they all had had something to eat, Gandal called a council.
'We cannot, of course, go on again tonight,' he said. 'The attack on the Redhorn Gate has tired us out, and we must rest here for a while.'
'And then where are to go?' asked Frodo.
'We still have our journey and our errand before us,' answered Gandalf. 'We have no choice but to go on, or to go return to Rivendell.'
Pippin's face brightened at the mere mention of Rivendell. He would have given anything right then to be back in the warm beds of Rivendell, surrounded by Elves and friends. Merry and Sam looked up with some hope in their eyes as well, but Aragorn and Boromir made no sign and Frodo looked troubled.
'I wish I back there,' he said. 'But how can I return without shame - unless there is indeed no other way, and we are already defeated?'
'You are right Frodo,' said Gandalf: 'to go back is to admit defeat, and face worse defeat to come. If we go back now, then the Ring must remain there: we shall not be able to set out again. Then sooner or later Rivendell will be besieged, and after a brief time it will be destroyed. The Ringwraiths are deadly enemies, but they are only shadows yet of the power and terror they would possess if the Ruling Ring was on their master's hand again.'
'Then we must go on, if there is a way,' said Frodo, sighing. The brief hope that had been in the other hobbits quickly diminished.
'There is a way we might attempt,' said Gandalf. 'I thought from the beginning, when first I considered this journey, that we should try it. But it is not a pleasant way, and I have not spoken of it to the Company before. Aragorn was against it, until the pass over the mountains had at least been tried.'
'If it is worse than the Redhorn Gate, then it must be evil indeed,' said Merry. ' But you had better tell us about it, and let us know the worst at once.'
'The road that I speak of leads to the Mines of Moria,' said Gandalf. Gimli lifted his head and his eyes reflected a fiery delight, the rest felt only fear. The evils of Moria was indeed a great legends, all, even the hobbits, had heard of this legend that instilled fear.
'The road may lead to Moria, but how can we hope that it will lead through Moria?' said Aragorn darkly.
'It is a name of ill omen,' said Boromir. 'Nor do I see the need to go there. If we cannot cross the mountains, let us journey southwards, until we come to the Gap of Rohan, where men are friendly to my people, taking the road that I followed on my way hither. Or we might pass by and cross the Isen into Langstrand and Lebennin, and so come to Gondor from the regions of the sea.'
Frodo thought this over in his mind, the idea sounding almost too good to be true. Indeed, why go under the mountains through an evil place feared even by Gandalf when there was a much safer and easier road to the south. It struck Frodo as being terribly foolhardy to try and take the road through Moria!
'Things have changed since you came north, Boromir,' answered Gandalf, 'Did you not hear what I told you of Saruman? With him I may have business of my own ere all is over. But the Ring must not come near Isengard, if that can by any means be prevented, The Gap of Rohan is closed to us while we go with the Bearer.
'As for the longer road: we cannot afford the time. We must spend a year in such a journey, and we should pass through many lands that are empty and harbourless. Yet they would not be safe. The watchful eye both of Saruman and of the Enemy are on them. When you came north, Boromir, you were in the Enemy's eyes only a one stray wanderer from the South and a matter of small concern to him: his mind was busy with the pursuit of the Ring. But you return now as a member of the Ring's Company, and you are in peril as long as you remain with us. The danger will increase with every league that we go south under the naked sky.
'Since our open attempt on the mountain-pass our plight has become more desperate, I fear. I see little hope, if we do not soon vanish from sight for a while, and cover our trail. Therefor I advise that we should go neither over the mountains, nor round them, but under them. That is a road at any rate that the Enemy will least expect us to take.'
'We do not know what he expects,' said Boromir. 'He may watch all roads, likely and unlikely. In that case to enter Moria would be to walk into a trap, hardly better than knocking at the gates of the Dark Tower itself. The name of Moria is black.'
'You speak of what you do not know, when you liken Moria to the stronghold of Sauron,' answered Gandalf. 'I alone have ever been in the dungeons of the Dark Lord, and only in his older and lesser dwelling in Dol Guldur. Those who pass the gates of Barad-dûr do not return. But I would not lead you into Moria if there were no hope of coming out again. If there are Orcs there, it may prove ill for us, that is true. But most of the Orcs of the Misty Mountains were scattered or destroyed in the Battle of Fiver Armies. The Eagles report that Orcs are gathering again from afar; but there is a hope that Moria is still free.
'Thee is even a chance that Dwarves are there, and that in some deep hall of his fathers, Balin son of Fundin may be found. However it may prove, one must tread the path that needs chooses!'
'I will tread the path with you, Gandalf!' said Gimli. 'I will go and look on the halls of Durin, whatever may wait there - if you can find the doors that are shut.'
'Good, Gimli!' said Gandalf. 'You encourage me. We will seek the hidden doors together. And we will come through. In the ruins of the Dwarves, a dwarf' head will be less easy to bewilder than Elves or Men or Hobbits. Yet it will not be the first time that I have been to Moria. I sought there long for Thráin son of Thrór after he was lost. I passed through and I came out again alive!'
'I too once passed through the Dimrill Gate,' said Aragorn quietly; 'but though I also came out again, the memory is very evil. I do not wish to enter Moria a second time.'
'And I do not wish to enter it once,' said Pippin.
'Nor me,' muttered Sam.
'Of course not!' said Gandalf. 'Who would? But the question is: who will follow me, if I lead you there?'
'I will,' said Gimli eagerly.
'I will,' said Aragorn heavily. 'You followed my lead almost to disaster in the snow, and have said no word of blame. I will follow your lead now - if this last warning does not move you. It is not of the Ring, nor of us others that I am thinking now, but of you, Gandalf. And I say this to you: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware!'
'I will not go,' said Boromir, 'not unless the vote of the whole company is against me. What do Legolas and the little folk say? The Ring-bearer's voice surely should be heard?'
'I do not wish to go to Moria,' said Legolas.
The hobbits said nothing. Sam looked to Frodo for an answer and finally he spoke. 'I do not wish to go,' he said; 'but neither do I wish to refuse the advice of Gandalf. I beg that there should be no vote, until we have slept on it. Gandalf will get votes easier in the light of the morning that this cold gloom. How the wind howls!'
As he fell into silence, so did the rest of the Company.
When they awoke the next morning there was a heaviness on the camp. The moment had come when the rest of the journey would be decided. If the wrong choice was made, it could be the ruin of all, but a choice had to be made.
'Well I daresay we eat anything before making a decision,' said Sam to Frodo as they sat up in the morning mist. He quickly fetched some food from his pack.
'If we were in Rivendell, they'd have a great feast ready for us...' commented Pippin, the mention of it last night still fresh in his mind.
'We won't be seeing Rivendell for a long time Pippin,' said Merry, the hobbits faces all looked downcast. Merry smiled. 'But we will see it again, mark my words. The four of us hobbits will walk back into Rivendell before you know it.
Frodo smiled, but there was still a great fear in his heart. What if neither of them ever saw Rivendell or even the Shire again? What if they... He cut himself off, not wanting to go on with such a line of thinking.
'Come,' they heard Gandalf say. 'It is time for the vote. My vote is, of course, for Moria.'
'Moria!' said Gimlie, a smile of his face.
Aragorn was also for Moria, but Legolas again refused, Boromir as well. Then they all looked to the hobbits.
'We'll be wherever Frodo goes,' said Sam with determination, then the hobbits agreed by nodding their heads.
'Well Frodo, the choice is yours,' said Gandalf with a reassuring smile.
Frodo thought the matter through his head, indeed the matter hadn't left his mind since last night, everything that they had said making his decision harder and harder. He did not want to go to Moria, and Boromir made the Gap of Rohan sound so easy... but he had to remember Saruman. So it was back to Moria, but then he'd recall how unsure they had sounded. 'We'll look for the entrance', 'there might be Orcs', 'Saruman might be just as big of a danger there'. And what had Aragorn meant by: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware? His mind had been made up.
'I want you to know, that I did not come to this decision rashly, I have thought about it all night and I believe that there is no longer a safe path to Mordor... and so I beg that we take the Gap or Rohan.'
Gandalf and Gimli looked immediately concerned, Boromir couldn't hid his smile and Aragorn seemed to have a weight lifted off of him. Legolas and the hobbits were pleased with his answere as well.
'Frodo, it is too dangerous to go near Saruman,' said Gandalf.
'I have thought of that, of course, and I believe that all paths will be watched. We can go around Isengard, can we not?'
'It is possible-'
'Of course we can!' said Borormir quickly. 'We need not walk near Isengard, we can go to the Fords of Isen and then turn east to Rohan where we will be protected by the Rohirim.'
'I beg you to reconsider, Frodo,' attempted Gandalf once more.
'I am sorry Gandalf, but this is the only way I wish to take the Ring.'
'We can make it Gandalf,' reassured Aragorn. 'It may be just as perilous as going through Moria, thought the land to the south is better known to me.'
Gandalf nodded. 'Indeed we must make it, for no other option, but to fail, is before us. We have wasted enough time, we must leave immediately.'
Frodo felt a sigh of relief, his friends smiled at him as they quickly grabbed their packs and Aragorn walked over.
'Do not worry Frodo, I will see that we succeed,' he patted Frodo's shoulder and then left to go make peace with Gandalf who was now standing on the outskirts of their camp looking slightly annoyed.
They began to journey south, slightly to the west, and as they did so the clouds were pushed away by the wind to reveal a bright blue sky, and it warmed the hearts of the Company, for they took this as a good omen.
'And to think we would have had to be locked under ground during such a beautiful day,' said Sam as they walked.
As they continued to journey, they learned that it would probably take them a month or longer to read the Fords of Isen, for they would have to go a great distance out of their way to avoid Isengard, and soon almost all were convinced that no harm would come to them from Saruman as long as they did this.
On the fifth night as they sat around the fire telling stories to each other in whispered voices, they heard the long and low howl. A silence settled over them.
'Wolves?' Aragorn asked, sitting beside Gandalf.
'No,' said Legolas quickly. 'They do not sound like ordinary Wolves.'
Aragorn, Boromir, Legolas and Gimli were quickly standing, each holding our their weapon and straining their ears from listening. They heard the howl again, closer and soon more joined in.
'Fling fuel on the fire!' creid Gandalf to the hobbits. 'Draw your blades, and stand back to back!'
The hobbits were quickly on their feet, drawing their blades and at the same time throwing more faggots onto the fire. Fear and adrenaline rushed through their bodies as they heard the howling getting closer and closer. Grey shapes seemed to appear in the blackness.
For a fleeting instant Frodo feared that this was his fault. Had they gone to Moria, they could have avoided this. Frodo's thoughts were then cut off as one of the grey figured leapt out, to reveal a huge Wolf, bigger than any wolf Frodo had ever seen in the Shire.
The first kill went to Aragorn, as he sunk his blade deep into the throat of one, and soon he was one the next one. None of them had a moment to think. Legolas stood back with the hobbits, using his bow to kills the Wolves that were still on the outskirts and Boromir, Gandalf and Gimli were swinging their blades with a great fierceness and bravery.
Frodo looked to Gandalf and it seemed to him that Gandalf began to grow into a great and powerful figure, then he took a burning branch from the fire and went towards the Wolves, and they fled in fear before him. Then he threw the branch into the air and it flared bright white heat like a bolt of lightening and Gandalf's voice was the thunder.
'Naur en endraith ammen! Naur dan i ngaurhoth!' he cried.
Suddenly a tree burst into flames and the fire lept from tree to tree until theyr were surrounded with a great and terrible fire lightening everything up as if it were day. All their blade shone and as Legolas let another arrow fly, it too burst into flames as it plunged into the heart of one last Wolf, all the others having fled.
Then the fire in the trees died down, ash began to fall on them like snow and smoke curled up into the sky, covering all the stars. The nine waited to see if the Wolves would return, but they did not.
'What did I tell you, Mr. Pippin? Said Sam, sheathing his sword. Wolves won't get him. That was an eye-opener and make no mistake! Nearly singed the hair of my head!'
'These were no ordinary wolves hunting for food in the wilderness. These were Wargs,' said Gandalf, looking less terrible but still as fierce. 'We will keep the fire strong in case they return and leave first thing in the morning.'
After the Warg attack, the nights became much more quiet. The Company was afraid that the Wargs would sneak up on them yet again, but they weren't seen again on their journey to the Gap of Rohan. Gandalf believed that they had come from the north and had been tracking them through Hollin, and he was quite sure that no more would return.
Their journey continued, now with a greater fear than before, for as each day passed they were closer to Mordor, and closer to Saruman and the fear of attack grew greater. Gandalf feared that Saruman may have been behind the Wargs, having sent them north to find them, and that other creatures such as Orcs might be sent next to finish them off.
Days turned into weeks for the Company and soon they found themselves leaving Hollin and coming to the end on the Misty Mountains, and so they began to travel much more to the west in order to avoid Isengard and whatever ticks he might have left to send towards them.
The hobbits were becoming weary, desperately wishing for a well deserved rest. When would they come to Rohan where they could spend a night or two on a bed and try to forget just for a moment of their plight and the Ring? Would there ever be a time when such a thing was possible, until the Ring was destroyed that is...
Finally, when the hobbits thought the could go on no more, they came upon the river. It was a beautiful sight for all of them, the clear water sparkling and without and second thought the hobbits rushed over and began to wade their feet in the cold water.
The river Isen, or Angren as it is know to Elves, was a river that flowed from Isengard out to the sea. They were at the northern bend of it, just east of where it connected with the river Adorn that flowed from the mountains that separated Rohan and Gondor.
'Well finally!' said Sam, taking off his heavy pack and smiling. 'This is a nice little rest, isn't is Mister Frodo?'
Frodo nodded, sitting at the side of the river, but knew their worries were far from over. His sense of fear was greater than ever now, he could feel the eyes of Saruman watching him and it made his body shudder.
'The river is low,' said Aragorn, coming up to the hobbits
'Yes,' replied Gandalf. 'For Sarumar has dammed the river at Isengard to fuel his machines. This river was once far greater than what you see now, and will be great once again. The evils of Saruman will not go unpunished. Now come, we will follow the river east the the Fords of Isen and Rohan.'
Pippin sighed audibly. 'Just when I thought we might have a bit of rest.'
'There is no time for rest, Peregrin Took. We are in Saruman's land now, we must travel as often as we can and keep a sharp eye out for enemies. So keep your talk as quiet as possible,' ordered Gandalf. He was becoming more and more agitated as they had travelled south and now that they were there, Pippin realised it would probably get even worse - especially with them now having to walk right under Saruman's nose.
Pippin went up to Merry. 'Think we'll run into any trouble?' he asked.
Merry thought for a bit. 'I think so Pippin, we're long overdue for another attack, and the longer we go without one, the worse I feel.'
'I know, being in a fight is one thing... waiting for one is driving me mad.' Pippin looked back at Boromir who was taking up the rear. 'And I don't think I'm the only one, Boromir is acting very strange.'
Merry looked back as discreetly as possible. 'The other night I woke up in the middle of the night, and there was Boromir on watch, only the only thing he was watching was Frodo.'
'You don't think-'
'I think we should keep an eye out for Frodo.'
(*Twitches* I am eating way too much pixy dust than is healthy... Ok! So here's the first chapter the one of the strangest LOTRFic ideas I've had. The idea really evolved... It started out with my little sister and I playing the 'if you were' game, and her saying: "If I was ever in the Fellowship, I'd feel so useless because I know that they'd succeed anyway." and then I said: "Yeah, and you'd propbably fuck it up." and then I was hit by lightning (figuratively) and saw this great fic in my head, mocking all those other fics of some girl from our world joining the Fellowship, because in this world she fucks everything up by warning them against going to Moria. Then as I started working out the logistics I realised that I didn't need this other character, what if just one pivotal thing happened differently? What if the Wargs missed them that night and they weren't driven into the mines? Then they'd probably head to the Gap of Rohan, and the possibilities just explode after that. I keep revising things, and when I wrote this the first two pages were right out of the book (just the dialogue, all the narration is mine), but I won't be doing that anymore, because it's very hard to write with one hand, as I hold the book in my other (literally). Will they succeed? Will the right people live and die? Will Legolas end up naked? One must read on! I called it 'The Butterfly Effect', because that's the proper term for what's going on, but it's in no way based off of anything (movie or book) by that name. Thank, goodbye, and go read my other Fics! Sorry about spelling/grammar mistakes, it takes me a few times going over it to make the fic look all pretty)
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.