Gandalf crosses the Isen. The hobbits meet both Black Riders and Elves, and spend the night West of Woodhall.
"Blackriders" by Alan Lee
Today is a day of gentle contrasts for our Travellers, which is perhaps a foreshadowing of the shocking contrasts between good and evil that are to come. Their first encounter with a Black Rider is troubling, but not terrifying. Much more memorable is Sam's first encounter with Elves, led by the enigmatic Gildor Inglorion of the House of Finrod, singing a hymn to Elbereth Gilthoniel.
Round the corner came a black horse, no hobbit-pony but a full-sized horse; and on it sat a large man, who seemed to crouch in the saddle, wrapped in a great black cloak and hood, so that only his boots in the high stirrups showed below; his face was shadowed and invisible.
When it reached the tree and was level with Frodo the horse stopped. The riding figure sat quite still with its head bowed, as if listening. From the hood came a noise as of someone sniffing to catch an elusive scent; the head turned from side to side of the road.
This is the beginning of a pattern that Tolkien follows all through The Lord of the Rings, one of movement from a dark and dangerous moment to a light moment, filled with comfort, friendship and beauty. The dialectic between these two moments will drive our Travellers deeper and deeper into the mysteries of Middle-earth.
Artwork: "Blackriders" by Alan Lee
Calendar entry by Merry