کتاب سوم - فصل 02-02
- زمان مطالعه 16 دقیقه
- سطح ساده
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
“We will not walk in the dark,” he said at length. “The peril of missing the trail or signs of other coming and going seems to me the greater. If the Moon gave enough light, we would use it, but alas! he sets early and is yet young and pale.”
“And tonight he is shrouded anyway,” Gimli murmured. “Would that the Lady had given us a light, such a gift as she gave to Frodo!”
“It will be more needed where it is bestowed,” said Aragorn. “With him lies the true Quest. Ours is but a small matter in the great deeds of this time. A vain pursuit from its beginning, maybe, which no choice of mine can mar or mend. Well, I have chosen. So let us use the time as best we may!”
He cast himself on the ground and fell at once into sleep, for he had not slept since their night under the shadow of Tol Brandir. Before dawn was in the sky he woke and rose. Gimli was still deep in slumber, but Legolas was standing, gazing northwards into the darkness, thoughtful and silent as a young tree in a windless night.
“They are far far away,” he said sadly, turning to Aragorn. “I know in my heart that they have not rested this night. Only an eagle could overtake them now.”
“Nonetheless we will still follow as we may,” said Aragorn. Stooping he roused the Dwarf. “Come! We must go,” he said. “The scent is growing cold.”
“But it is still dark,” said Gimli. “Even Legolas on a hill-top could not see them till the Sun is up.”
“I fear they have passed beyond my sight from hill or plain, under moon or sun,” said Legolas.
“Where sight fails the earth may bring us rumour,” said Aragorn. “The land must groan under their hated feet.” He stretched himself upon the ground with his ear pressed against the turf. He lay there motionless, for so long a time that Gimli wondered if he had swooned or fallen asleep again. Dawn came glimmering, and slowly a grey light grew about them. At last he rose, and now his friends could see his face: it was pale and drawn, and his look was troubled.
“The rumour of the earth is dim and confused,” he said. “Nothing walks upon it for many miles about us. Faint and far are the feet of our enemies. But loud are the hoofs of the horses. It comes to my mind that I heard them, even as I lay on the ground in sleep, and they troubled my dreams: horses galloping, passing in the West. But now they are drawing ever further from us, riding northward. I wonder what is happening in this land!”
“Let us go!” said Legolas.
So the third day of their pursuit began. During all its long hours of cloud and fitful sun they hardly paused, now striding, now running, as if no weariness could quench the fire that burned them. They seldom spoke. Over the wide solitude they passed and their elven-cloaks faded against the background of the grey-green fields; even in the cool sunlight of mid-day few but elvish eyes would have marked them, until they were close at hand. Often in their hearts they thanked the Lady of Lórien for the gift of lembas, for they could eat of it and find new strength even as they ran.
All day the track of their enemies led straight on, going north-west without a break or turn. As once again the day wore to its end they came to long treeless slopes, where the land rose, swelling up towards a line of low humpbacked downs ahead. The orc-trail grew fainter as it bent north towards them, for the ground became harder and the grass shorter. Far away to the left the river Entwash wound, a silver thread in a green floor. No moving thing could be seen. Often Aragorn wondered that they saw no sign of beast or man. The dwellings of the Rohirrim were for the most part many leagues away to the South, under the wooded eaves of the White Mountains, now hidden in mist and cloud; yet the Horse-lords had formerly kept many herds and studs in the Eastemnet, this easterly region of their realm, and there the herdsmen had wandered much, living in camp and tent, even in winter-time. But now all the land was empty, and there was silence that did not seem to be the quiet of peace.
At dusk they halted again. Now twice twelve leagues they had passed over the plains of Rohan and the wall of the Emyn Muil was lost in the shadows of the East. The young moon was glimmering in a misty sky, but it gave small light, and the stars were veiled.
“Now do I most grudge a time of rest or any halt in our chase ‘ said Legolas. “The Orcs have run before us, as if the very whips of Sauron were behind them. I fear they have already reached the forest and the dark hills, and even now are passing into the shadows of the trees.”
Gimli ground his teeth. “This is a bitter end to our hope and to all our toil!” he said.
“To hope, maybe, but not to toil,” said Aragorn. “We shall not turn back here. Yet I am weary.” He gazed back along the way that they had come towards the night gathering in the East. “There is something strange at work in this land. I distrust the silence. I distrust even the pale Moon. The stars are faint; and I am weary as I have seldom been before, weary as no Ranger should be with a clear trail to follow. There is some will that lends speed to our foes and sets an unseen barrier before us: a weariness that is in the heart more than in the limb.”
“Truly!” said Legolas. “That I have known since first we came down from the Emyn Muil. For the will is not behind us but before us.” He pointed away over the land of Rohan into the darkling West under the sickle moon. “Saruman!” muttered Aragorn. “But he shall not turn us back! Halt we must once more; for, see! even the Moon is falling into gathering cloud. But north lies our road between down and fen when day returns.”
As before Legolas was first afoot, if indeed he had ever slept. “Awake! Awake!” he cried. “It is a red dawn. Strange things await us by the eaves of the forest. Good or evil, I do not know; but we are called. Awake!”
The others sprang up, and almost at once they set off again. Slowly the downs drew near. It was still an hour before noon when they reached them: green slopes rising to bare ridges that ran in a line straight towards the North. At their feet the ground was dry and the turf short, but a long strip of sunken land, some ten miles wide, lay between them and the river wandering deep in dim thickets of reed and rush. Just to the West of the southernmost slope there was a great ring, where the turf had been torn and beaten by many trampling feet. From it the orc-trail ran out again, turning north along the dry skirts of the hills. Aragorn halted and examined the tracks closely.
“They rested here a while,” he said,”but even the outward trail is already old. I fear that your heart spoke truly, Legolas: it is thrice twelve hours, I guess, since the Orcs stood where we now stand. If they held to their pace, then at sundown yesterday they would reach the borders of Fangorn.”
“I can see nothing away north or west but grass dwindling into mist,” said Gimli. “Could we see the forest, if we climbed the hills?”
“It is still far away,” said Aragorn. “If I remember rightly, these downs run eight leagues or more to the north, and then north-west to the issuing of the Entwash there lies still a wide land. another fifteen leagues it may be.”
“Well, let us go on,” said Gimli. “My legs must forget the miles. They would be more willing, if my heart were less heavy.”
The sun was sinking when at last they drew near to the end of the line of downs. For many hours they had marched without rest. They were going slowly now, and Gimli’s back was bent. Stone-hard are the Dwarves in labour or journey, but this endless chase began to tell on him, as all hope failed in his heart. Aragorn walked behind him, grim and silent, stooping now and again to scan some print or mark upon the ground. Only Legolas still stepped as lightly as ever, his feet hardly seeming to press the grass. leaving no footprints as he passed; but in the waybread of the Elves he found all the sustenance that he needed, and he could sleep, if sleep it could be called by Men, resting his mind in the strange paths of elvish dreams, even as he walked open-eyed in the light of this world.
“Let us go up on to this green hill!” he said. Wearily they followed him, climbing the long slope, until they came out upon the top. It was a round hill smooth and bare, standing by itself, the most northerly of the downs. The sun sank and the shadows of evening fell like a curtain. They were alone in a grey formless world without mark or measure. Only far away north-west there was a deeper darkness against the dying light: the Mountains of Mist and the forest at their feet.
“Nothing can we see to guide us here,” said Gimli. “Well, now we must halt again and wear the night away. It is growing cold!”
“The wind is north from the snows,” said Aragorn.
“And ere morning it will be in the East,” said Legolas. “But rest if you must. Yet do not cast all hope away. Tomorrow is unknown. Rede oft is found at the rising of the Sun.”
“Three suns already have risen on our chase and brought no counsel ‘ said Gimli.
The night grew ever colder. Aragorn and Gimli slept fitfully, and whenever they awoke they saw Legolas standing beside them, or walking to and fro, singing softly to himself in his own tongue, and as he sang the white stars opened in the hard black vault above. So the night passed. Together they watched the dawn grow slowly in the sky, now bare and cloudless, until at last the sunrise came. It was pale and clear. The wind was in the East and all the mists had rolled away; wide lands lay bleak about them in the bitter light.
Ahead and eastward they saw the windy uplands of the Wold of Rohan that they had already glimpsed many days ago from the Great River. North-westward stalked the dark forest of Fangorn; still ten leagues away stood its shadowy eaves, and its further slopes faded into the distant blue. Beyond there glimmered far away, as if floating on a grey cloud, the white head of tall Methedras, the last peak of the Misty Mountains. Out of the forest the Entwash flowed to meet them, its stream now swift and narrow, and its banks deep-cloven. The orc-trail turned from the downs towards it.
Following with his keen eyes the trail to the river, and then the river back towards the forest, Aragorn saw a shadow on the distant green, a dark swift-moving blur. He cast himself upon the ground and listened again intently. But Legolas stood beside him, shading his bright elven-eyes with his long slender hand, and he saw not a shadow, nor a blur, but the small figures of horsemen, many horsemen, and the glint of morning on the tips of their spears was like the twinkle of minute stars beyond the edge of mortal sight. Far behind them a dark smoke rose in thin curling threads.
There was a silence in the empty fields, arid Gimli could hear the air moving in the grass.
“Riders!” cried Aragorn, springing to his feet. “Many riders on swift steeds are coming towards us!”
“Yes,” said Legolas, ‘there are one hundred and five. Yellow is their hair, and bright are their spears. Their leader is very tall.”
Aragorn smiled. “Keen are the eyes of the Elves,” he said.
“Nay! The riders are little more than five leagues distant,” said Legolas.
“Five leagues or one,” said Gimli;”we cannot escape them in this bare land. Shall we wait for them here or go on our way?”
“We will wait,” said Aragorn. “I am weary, and our hunt has failed. Or at least others were before us; for these horsemen are riding back down the orc-trail. We may get new s from them.”
“Or spears,” said Gimli.
“There are three empty saddles, but I see no hobbits,” said Legolas.
“I did not say that we should hear good news,” said Aragorn. “But evil or good we will await it here.”
The three companions now left the hill-top, where they might be an easy mark against the pale sky, and they walked slowly down the northward slope. A little above the hill’s foot they halted, and wrapping their cloaks about them, they sat huddled together upon the faded grass. The time passed slowly and heavily. The wind was thin and searching. Gimli was uneasy.
“What do you know of these horsemen, Aragorn?” he said. “Do we sit here waiting for sudden death?”
“I have been among them,” answered Aragorn. “They are proud and wilful, but they are true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but not cruel; wise but unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs, after the manner of the children of Men before the Dark Years. But I do not know what has happened here of late, nor in what mind the Rohirrim may now be between the traitor Saruman and the threat of Sauron. They have long been the friends of the people of Gondor, though they are not akin to them. It was in forgotten years long ago that Eorl the Young brought them out of the North, and their kinship is rather with the Bardings of Dale, and with the Beornings of the Wood, among whom may still be seen many men tall and fair, as are the Riders of Rohan. At least they will not love the Orcs.”
“But Gandalf spoke of a rumour that they pay tribute to Mordor ‘ said Gimli.
“I believe it no more than did Boromir,” answered Aragorn.
“You will soon learn the truth,” said Legolas. “Already they approach.”
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