The Lord of the Rings – Book 4, Chapter 7: “Journey to the Cross-roads”

Faramir has men fashion staves befitting the stature of the Hobbits and provision them with some food, offering warnings of the waters of Imlad Morgul, the Valley of Living Death.  Gollum is released, and the trio are blindfolded, led out of the hideout.

The journey continues, with Gollum telling of the dangers and watching eyes in the area.  The ruined city is a nasty place, as he tells it, and they must move as quickly as possible through the Morgul Vale to the Cross-roads.  Gollum leads them through the paths to the Cross-roads, climbing ever higher and becoming ever more dangerous.

And then Gollum disappears.  Sam is fine by this, ready to be free of the creature and suspicious of his tricks.  For his part, Frodo keeps the faith, reminding Sam of the help Gollum has given them.  The very air around them seems to be changing.  It’s somewhat dark in the daylight, and the air is warm and heavy.

Gollum reappears, waking Sam and Frodo in a rush, directing them to the east, up a slope to the Southward Road to the Cross-roads.  Nearing this destination, they find the statue of a king of Gondor, now headless and desecrated. Sam finds the head, a crown of gold and white flowers growing upon it.  Frodo sees this as a good sign, that even Sauron cannot hold power forever.

Then, as if on cue, night falls.

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