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Back now to the mountain! cried Thorin. We have little time to lose. And little food to use! cried Bilbo, always practical on such points. In any case he felt that the adventure was, properly speaking, over with the death of the dragon.

Bilbo almost stopped breathing, and went stiff himself. He was desperate. He must get away, out of this horrible darkness, while he had any strength left. He must fight. He must stab the foul thing, put its eyes out, kill it. It meant to kill him. No, not a fair fight. He was invisible now. Gollum had no sword. Gollum had not actually threatened to kill him, or tried yet. And he was miserable, alone, lost. A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo?s heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering.

But Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion, and to her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of L¢rien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came. Galadriel had passed away and Celeborn also was gone, and the land was silent. 'There at last when the Mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and Elanor and Niphredil bloom no more east of the Sea.

But I am the real Strider, fortunately. I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.

But the Queen Arwen said: 'A gift I will give you. For I am the daughter of Elrond. I shall not go with him now when he departs to the Havens; for mine is the choice of Luthien, and as she so I have chosen, both the sweet and the bitter. But in my stead you shall go, Ring-bearer, when the time comes, and if you then desire it. If your hurts grieve you still and the memory or your burden is heavy, then you may pass into the West, until all your wounds and weariness are healed. But wear this now in memory of Elfstone and Evenstar with whom your life has been woven!' And she took a white gem like a star that lay upon her breast hanging upon a silver chain, and she set the chain around Frodo's neck. 'When the memory of the fear and the darkness troubles you,' she said, 'this will bring you aid.

Fare well we call to hearth and hall Though wind may blow and rain may fall We must away ere break of day Over the wood and mountain tall To Rivendell where Elves yet dwell In glades beneath the misty fell Through moor and waste we ride in haste And wither then we cannot tell With foes ahead behind us dread Beneath the sky shall be our bed Until at last our toil be sped Our journey done, our errand sped We must away! We must away! We ride before the break of day!

Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me! Then Merry heard in all sounds of the hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. But no living man am I! You are looking upon a woman. Eowyn am I, Eomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him. The winged creature screamed at her, but then the Ringwraith was silent, as if in sudden doubt. Very amazement for a moment conquered Merry's fear. He opened his eyes and the blackness was lifted from them. There some paces from him sat the great beast, and all seemed dark about it, and above it loomed the Nazgul Lord like a shadow of despair. A little to the left facing them stood whom he had called Dernhelm. But the helm of her secrecy had fallen from her, and and her bright hair, released from its bonds, gleamed with pale gold upon her shoulders. Her eyes grey as the sea were hard and fell, and yet tears gleamed in them. A sword was in her hand, and she raised her shield against the horror of her enemy's eyes.

I invented that little rhyme about 'One Ring to rule them all', I remember, in the bath one day.

I stand in Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun; and behold! the Shadow has departed! I will be a Shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.

I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger; someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them...