The four riders ride along a barren mountain pass. The path is eerie & cold. Cristiel shivers & draws her cloak more tightly around herself. Gimli then asks:
“What kind of army would linger in such a place?”
“One that is cursed.”
Answered Cristiel. She had heard the tale of the cursed army before. Legolas continued to the dwarf:
“Long ago the Men of the Mountain swore an oath to the last King of Gondor to come to his aid, to fight. But when the time came, when Gondor’s need was dire, they fled, vanishing into the darkness of the mountain. And so Isildur cursed them never to rest until they had fulfilled their pledge.”
The elf’s voice slipped into chant.
“Who shall call them from the grey twilight? The forgotten people. The heir of him to whom the oath they swore. From the north shall he come. Need will drive him. He shall pass the door to the Paths of the Dead.”
They approach the Dimholt door. It is adorned with skulls. They dismount their horses. Gimli says in a shaking voice:
“The very warmth of my blood seems stole away.”
Legolas looks at the glyphs above the door. He translates:
“The way is shut. It was made by those who were dead & the dead keep it. The way is shut.”
Wind & noise come out of the door. Spooked, Brego & Arod flee. Though uneasy, Rochiril is reluctant to leave her mistress until Cristiel murmurs in her ear:
“Go. I will call when I need you.”
The golden mare then disappeared down the path. Aragorn calls out after his horse:
Then he turns back towards the entrance.
“I do not fear death!”
Aragorn enters the mountain. Legolas looks to Cristiel. Taking her hand, the two of them follow Aragorn into the darkness. Gimli hesitates.
“Well, this is something unheard of! An elf will go underground where a dwarf dare not? Ah, I’d never hear the end of it!”
The dwarf then runs into the tunnel after his companions.
* * *
Morning falls on Dunharrow. The Rohirrim prepare to depart. Théoden orders his men:
“We must ride light & swift. It’s a long road ahead. The men & beast must reach the end with the strength to fight.”
The King looks down on Merry & his pony from his mount.
“Little hobbits do not belong in was Master Meriadoc.”
“All my friends have gone to battle. I will be ashamed to be left behind.”
Retorted the hobbit to the King. Théoden & Merry argue.
“It is a three day gallop to Minas Tirith & none of my riders can bear you as a burden.”
“I want to fight!”
“I will say no more.”
The King rides away leaving Merry disappointedly watching the riders stream past him. Suddenly one of the riders snatches Merry up onto their horse.
“Ride with me.”
Merry recognizes the voice as Éowyn’s. She is disguised as a male soldier. He grins.