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.
At least for a while the road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
As we read the school reports on our children, we realize a sense of relief, that can rise to delight, that, thank Heaven, nobody is reporting in this fashion on us.
Aule has might little less than Ulmo. His lordship is over all the substances of which Arda is made. In the beginning he wrought much in fellowship with Manwe and Ulmo; and the fashioning of all lands was his labor. He is a smith and a master of all crafts, and he delights in works of skill, however small, as much as in the mighty building of old. His are the gems that lie deep in the Earth and the gold that is fair in the hand, no less than the walls of the mountains and the basins of the sea. The Noldor learned most of him, and he was ever their friend. Melkor was jealous of him, for Aule was most like himself in thought and in powers; and there was long strife between them, in which Melkor ever marred or undid the works of Aule, and Aule grew weary in repairing the tumults and disorders of Melkor. Both, also, desired to make things of their own that should be new and unthought of by others, and delighted in the praise of their skill. But Aule remained faithful to Eru and submitted all that he did to his will; and he did not envy the works of others, but sought and gave counsel. Whereas Melkor spent his spirit in envy and hate, until at last he could make nothing save in mockery of the thought of others, and all their works he destroyed if he could.
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 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.
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!
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...