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The Return of the King

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The Return of the King

    【《TXT小说天下》www.txtweb.com.cn 欢迎您来txtweb推荐好书,】 The Lord of the Rings Part 3 The Return of the King

    By J. R. R. Tolkien

     Part 1: The Fellowship of the Ring

     Part 2: The Two Towers

     Part 3: The Return of the King

     THE RETURN OF THE KING

     Book V

     Chapter 1 Minas Tirith

     Chapter 2 The Passing of the Grey Company

     Chapter 3 The Muster of Rohan

     Chapter 4 The Siege of Gondor

     Chapter 5 The Ride of the Rohirrim

     Chapter 6 The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

     Chapter 7 The Pyre of Denethor

     Chapter 8 The Houses of Healing

     Chapter 9 The Last Debate

     Chapter 10 The Black Gate Opens

     Book VI

     Chapter 1 The Tower of Cirith Ungol

     Chapter 2 The Land of Shadow

     Chapter 3 Mount Doom

     Chapter 4 The Field of Cormallen

     Chapter 5 The Steward and the King

     Chapter 6 Many Partings

     Chapter 7 Homeward Bound

     Chapter 8 The Scouring of the Shire

     Chapter 9 The Grey Havens

    -----------------------------------

     THE RETURN OF THE KING

     _being the third part of

     The Lord of the Rings_

     _Chapter 1_

     Minas Tirith

     Pippin looked out from the shelter of Gandalf's cloak. He wondered if he was awake or still

    sleeping, still in the swift-moving dream in which he had been wrapped so long since the great ride

    began. The dark world was rushing by and the wind sang loudly in his ears. He could see nothing

    but the wheeling stars, and away to his right vast shadows against the sky where the mountains of

    the South marched past. Sleepily he tried to reckon the times and stages of their journey, but his

    memory was drowsy and uncertain.

     There had been the first ride at terrible speed without a halt, and then in the dawn he had seen a

    pale gleam of gold, and they had come to the silent town and the great empty house on the hill. And

    hardly had they reached its shelter when the winged shadow had passed over once again, and men

    wilted with fear. But Gandalf had spoken soft words to him, and he had slept in a corner, tired but

    uneasy, dimly aware of comings and goings and of men talking and Gandalf giving orders. And

    then again riding, riding in the night. This was the second, no, the third night since he had looked in

    the Stone. And with that hideous memory he woke fully, and shivered, and the noise of the wind

    became filled with menacing voices.

     A light kindled in the sky, a blaze of yellow fire behind dark barriers Pippin cowered back,

    afraid for a moment, wondering into what dreadful country Gandalf was bearing him. He rubbed

    his eyes, and then he saw that it was the moon rising above the eastern shadows, now almost at the

    full. So the night was not yet old and for hours the dark journey would go on. He stirred and spoke.

     'Where are we, Gandalf?' he asked.

     'In the realm of Gondor,' the wizard answered. 'The land of Anórien is still

    passing by.'

     There was a silence again for a while. Then, 'What is that?' cried Pippin suddenly, clutching at

    Gandalf's cloak. 'Look! Fire, red fire! Are there dragons in this land? Look, there is another!'

     For answer Gandalf cried aloud to his horse. 'On, Shadowfax! We must hasten. Time is short.

    See! The beacons of Gondor are alight, calling for aid. War is kindled. See, there is the fire on

    Amon D?n, and flame on Eilenach; and there they go speeding west: Nardol, Erelas, Min-Rimmon,

    Calenhad, and the Halifirien on the borders of Rohan.'

     But Shadowfax paused in his stride, slowing to a walk, and then he lifted up his head and

    neighed. And out of the darkness the answering neigh of other horses came; and presently the

    thudding of hoofs was heard, and three riders swept up and passed like flying ghosts in the moon

    and vanished into the West. Then Shadowfax gathered himself together and sprang away, and the

    night flowed over him like a roaring wind.

     Pippin became drowsy again and paid little attention to Gandalf telling him of the customs of

    Gondor, and how the Lord of the City had beacons built on the tops of outlying hills along both

    borders of the great range, and maintained posts at these points where fresh horses were always in

    readiness to bear his errand-riders to Rohan in the North, or to Belfalas in the South. 'It is long

    since the beacons of the North were lit,' he said; 'and in the ancient days of Gondor they were not

    needed, for they had the Seven Stones.' Pippin stirred uneasily.

     'Sleep again, and do not be afraid!' said Gandalf. 'For you are not going like Frodo to Mordor,

    but to Minas Tirith, and there you will be as safe as you can be anywhere in these days. If Gondor

    falls, or the Ring is taken, then the Shire will be no refuge.'

     'You do not comfort me,' said Pippin, but nonetheless sleep crept over him. The

last thing that he

    remembered before he fell into deep dream was a glimpse of high white peaks, glimmering like

    floating isles above the clouds as they caught the light of the westering moon. He wondered where

    Frodo was, and if he was already in Mordor, or if he was dead; and he did not know that Frodo

    from far away looked on that same moon as it set beyond Gondor ere the coming of the day.

     Pippin woke to the sound of voices. Another day of hiding and a night of journey had fleeted by.

    It was twilight: the cold dawn was at hand again, and chill grey mists were about them. Shadowfax

    stood steaming with sweat, but he held his neck proudly and showed no sign of weariness. Many

    tall men heavily cloaked stood beside him, and behind them in the mist loomed a wall of stone.

    Partly ruinous it seemed, but already before the night was passed the sound of hurried labour could

    be heard: beat of hammers, clink of trowels, and the creak of wheels. Torches and flares glowed

    dully here and there in the fog. Gandalf was speaking to the men that barred his way, and as he

    listened Pippin became aware that he himself was being discussed.

     'Yea truly, we know you, Mithrandir,' said the leader of the men, 'and you know the pass-words

    of the Seven Gates and are free to go forward. But we do not know your companion. What is he? A

    dwarf out of the mountains in the North? We wish for no strangers in the land at this time, unless

    they be mighty men of arms in whose faith and help we can trust.'

     'I will vouch for him before the seat of Denethor,' said Gandalf. 'And as for valour, that cannot

    be computed by stature. He has passed through more battles and perils than you have, Ingold,

    though you be twice his height; and he comes now from the storming of Isengard, of which we bear

    tidings, and great weariness is on him, or I would wake him. His name is Peregrin, a very valiant

    man.'

     'Man?' said Ingold dubiously; and the others laughed.

     'Man!' cried Pippin, now thoroughly roused. 'Man! Indeed not! I am a hobbit and no more

    valiant than I am a man, save perhaps now and again by necessity. Do not let Gandalf deceive you!'

     'Many a doer of great deeds might say no more,' said Ingold. 'But what is a hobbit?'

     'A Halfling,' answered Gandalf. 'Nay, not the one that was spoken of,' he added seeing the

    wonder in the men's faces. 'Not he, yet one of his kindred.'

     'Yes, and one who journeyed with him,' said Pippin. 'And Boromir of your City was with us, and

    he saved me in the snows of the North, and at the last he was slain defending me from many foes.'

     'Peace!' said Gandalf. 'The news of that grief should have been told first to the father.'

     'It has been guessed already,' said Ingold; 'for there have been strange portents here of late. But

    pass on now quickly! For the Lord of Minas Tirith will be eager to see any that bear the latest

    tidings of his son, be he man or-'

     'Hobbit,' said Pippin. 'Little service can I offer to your lord, but what I can do, I would do,

    remembering Boromir the brave.'

     'Fare you well!' said Ingold; and the men made way for Shadow fax, and he passed through a

    narrow gate in the wall. 'May you bring good counsel to Denethor in his need, and to us all,

    Mithrandir!' Ingold cried. 'But you come with tidings of grief and danger, as is your wont, they say.'

     'Because I come seldom but when my help is needed,' answered Gandalf. 'And as for counsel, to

    you I would say that you are over-late in repairing the wall of the Pelennor. Courage will now be

    your best defence against the storm that is at hand that and such hope as I bring.

    For not all the

    tidings that I bring are evil. But leave your trowels and sharpen your swords!'

     'The work will be finished ere evening,' said Ingold. 'This is the last portion of the wall to be put

    in defence: the least open to attack, for it looks towards our friends of Rohan. Do you know aught

    of them? Will they answer the summons, think you?'

     'Yes, they will come. But they have fought many battles at your back. This road and no road

    looks towards safety any longer. Be vigilant! But for Gandalf Stormcrow you would have seen a

    host of foes coming out of Anórien and no Riders of Rohan. And you may yet. Fare you

well, and

    sleep not!'

     Gandalf passed now into the wide land beyond the Rammas Echor. So the men of Gondor called

    the out wall that they had built with great labour, after Ithilien fell under the shadow of their Enemy.

    For ten leagues or more it ran from the mountains' feet and so back again, enclosing in its fence the

    fields of the Pelennor: fair and fertile townlands on the long slopes and terraces falling to the deep

    levels of the Anduin. At its furthest point from the Great Gate of the City, north-eastward, the wall

    was four leagues distant, and there from a frowning bank it overlooked the long flats beside the

    river, and men had made it high and strong; for at that point, upon a walled causeway, the road

    came in from the fords and bridges of Osgiliath and passed through a guarded gate between

    embattled towers. At its nearest point the wall was little more than one league from the City, and

    that was south-eastward. There Anduin, going in a wide knee about the hills of Emyn Arnen in

    South Ithilien, bent sharply west, and the out-wall rose upon its very brink; and beneath it lay the

    quays and landings of the Harlond for craft that came upstream from the southern fiefs.

     The townlands were rich, with wide tilth and many orchards, and homesteads there were with

    oast and garner, fold and byre, and many rills rippling through the green from the highlands down

    to Anduin. Yet the herdsmen and husbandmen that dwelt there were not many, and the most part of

    the people of Gondor lived in the seven circles of the City, or in the high vales of the mountain-

    borders, in Lossarnach, or further south in fair Lebennin with its five swift streams. There dwelt a

    hardy folk between the mountains and the sea. They were reckoned men of Gondor, yet their blood

    was mingled, and there were short and swarthy folk among them whose sires came more from the

    forgotten men who housed in the shadow of the hills in the Dark Years ere the coming of the kings.

    But beyond, in the great fief of Belfalas, dwelt Prince Imrahil in his castle of Dol Amroth by the

    sea, and he was of high blood, and his folk also, tall men and proud with sea-grey eyes.

     Now after Gandalf had ridden for some time the light of day grew in the sky, and Pippin roused

    himself and looked up. To his left lay a sea of mist, rising to a bleak shadow in the East; but to his

    right great mountains reared their heads, ranging from the West to a steep and sudden end, as if in

    the making of the land the River had burst through a great barrier, carving out a mighty valley to be

    a land of battle and debate in times to come. And there where the White Mountains of Ered Nimrais

    came to their end he saw, as Gandalf had promised, the dark mass of Mount Mindolluin, the deep

    purple shadows of its high glens, and its tall face whitening in the rising day. And upon its out-

    thrust knee was the Guarded City, with its seven walls of stone so strong and old that it seemed to

    have been not builded but carven by giants out of the bones of the earth.

     Even as Pippin gazed in wonder the walls passed from looming grey to white, blushing faintly in

    the dawn; and suddenly the sun climbed over the eastern shadow and sent forth a shaft that smote

    the face of the City. Then Pippin cried aloud, for the Tower of Ecthelion, standing high within the

    topmost walls' shone out against the sky, glimmering like a spike of pearl and silver, tall and fair

    and shapely, and its pinnacle glittered as if it were wrought of crystals; and white banners broke

    and fluttered from the battlements in the morning breeze' and high and far he heard a clear ringing

    as of silver trumpets.

     So Gandalf and Peregrin rode to the Great Gate of the Men of Gondor at the rising of the sun,

    and its iron doors rolled back before them.

     'Mithrandir! Mithrandir!' men cried. 'Now we know that the storm is indeed nigh!'

     'It is upon you,' said Gandalf. 'I have ridden on its wings. Let me pass! I must come to your Lord

    Denethor, while his stewardship lasts. Whatever betide, you have come to the end of the Gondor

    that you have known. Let me pass!'

     Then men fell back before the command of his voice and questioned him no further, though they

    gazed in wonder at the hobbit that sat before him and at the horse that bore him. For the people of

    the City used horses very little and they were seldom seen in their streets, save only those ridden by

    the errand-riders of their lord. And they said: 'Surely that is one of the great steeds of the King of

    Rohan? Maybe the Rohirrim will come soon to strengthen us.' But Shadowfax walked proudly up

    the long winding road.

     For the fashion of Minas Tirith was such that it was built on seven levels, each delved into the

    hill, and about each was set a wall, and in each wall was a gate. But the gates were not set in a line:

    the Great Gate in the City Wall was at the east point of the circuit, but the next faced half south,

    and the third half north, and so to and fro upwards; so that the paved way that climbed towards the

    Citadel turned first this way and then that across the face of the hill. And each time that it passed

    the line of the Great Gate it went through an arched tunnel, piercing a vast pier of rock whose huge

    out-thrust bulk divided in two all the circles of the City save the first. For partly in the primeval

    shaping of the hill, partly by the mighty craft and labour of old, there stood up from the rear of the

    wide court behind the Gate a towering bastion of stone, its edge sharp as a ship-keel facing east. Up

    it rose, even to the level of the topmost circle, and there was crowned by a battlement; so that those

    in the Citadel might, like mariners in a mountainous ship, look from its peak sheer down upon the

    Gate seven hundred feet below. The entrance to the Citadel also looked eastward, but was delved in

    the heart of the rock; thence a long lamp-lit slope ran up to the seventh gate. Thus men reached at

    last the High Court, and the Place of the Fountain before the feet of the White Tower: tall and

    shapely, fifty fathoms from its base to the pinnacle, where the banner of the Stewards floated a

    thousand feet above the plain.

     A strong citadel it was indeed, and not to be taken by a host of enemies, if there were any within

    that could hold weapons; unless some foe could come behind and scale the lower skirts

of

    Mindolluin, and so come upon the narrow shoulder that joined the Hill of Guard to the mountain

    mass. But that shoulder, which rose to the height of the fifth wall, was hedged with great ramparts

    right up to the precipice that overhung its western end; and in that space stood the houses and

    domed tombs of bygone kings and lords, for ever silent between the mountain and the tower.

     Pippin gazed in growing wonder at the great stone city, vaster and more splendid than anything

    that he had dreamed of; greater and stronger than Isengard, and far more beautiful. Yet it was in

    truth falling year by year into decay; and already it lacked half the men that could have dwelt at

    ease there. In every street they passed some great house or court over whose doors and arched gates

    were carved many fair letters of strange and ancient shapes: names Pippin guessed of great men and

    kindreds that had once dwelt there; and yet now they were silent, and no footsteps rang on their

    wide pavements, nor voice was heard in their halls, nor any face looked out from door or empty

    window.

     At last they came out of shadow to the seventh gate, and the warm sun that shone down beyond

    the river, as Frodo walked in the glades of Ithilien, glowed here on the smooth walls and rooted

    pillars, and the great arch with keystone carven in the likeness of a crowned and kingly head.

    Gandalf dismounted, for no horse was allowed in the Citadel, and Shadowfax suffered himself to

    be led away at the soft word of his master.

     The Guards of the gate were robed in black, and their helms were of strange shape, high-

    crowned, with long cheek-guards close-fitting to the face, and above the cheek-guards were set the

    white wings of sea-birds; but the helms gleamed with a flame of silver, for they were indeed

    wrought of _mithril_, heirlooms from the glory of old days. Upon the black surcoats were

    embroidered in white a tree blossoming like snow beneath a silver crown and many-pointed stars.

    This was the livery of the heirs of Elendil, and none wore it now in all Gondor, save the Guards of

    the Citadel before the Court of the Fountain where the White Tree once had grown.

     Already it seemed that word of their coming had gone before them: and at once they were

    admitted, silently, and without question. Quickly Gandalf strode across the white-paved court. A

    sweet fountain played there in the morning sun, and a sward of bright green lay about it; but in the

    midst. drooping over the pool, stood a dead tree, and the falling drops dripped sadly from its barren

    and broken branches back into the clear water.

     Pippin glanced at it as he hurried after Gandalf. It looked mournful, he thought, and he

    wondered why the dead tree was left in this place where everything else was well tended.

     _Seven stars and seven stones and one white tree._

     The words that Gandalf had murmured came back into his mind. And then he found himself at

    the doors of the great hall beneath the gleaming tower; and behind the wizard he passed the tall

    silent door-wardens and entered the cool echoing shadows of the house of stone.

     They walked down a paved passage, long and empty, and as they went Gandalf spoke softly to

    Pippin. 'Be careful of your words, Master Peregrin! This is no time for hobbit pertness. Théoden is

    a kindly old man. Denethor is of another sort, proud and subtle, a man of far greater lineage and

    power, though he is not called a king. But he will speak most to you, and question you much, since

    you can tell him of his son Boromir. He loved him greatly: too much perhaps; and the more so

    because they were unlike. But under cover of this love he will think it easier to learn what he

    witches from you rather than from me. Do not tell him more than you need, and leave quiet the

    matter of Frodo's errand. I will deal with that in due time. And say nothing about Aragorn either,

    unless you must.'

     'Why not? What is wrong with Strider?' Pippin whispered. 'He meant to come here, didn't he?

    And he'll be arriving soon himself anyway.'

     'Maybe, maybe,' said Gandalf. 'Though if he comes, it is likely to be in some

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