Zaagiir Skrithûrz....?

After a night of little sleep and almost constant serenading by the howls of distant wolves, Madurz and Ashgaz see the dawn of March 20th begin to break and with it they know that soon the firey eyes of Arien (the Sun) will peer at them from the darkness to the East. Thoughts enter their minds. Did the Witch-King leave them there to fend for themselves and has no plans to come back for them? Is this just another one of the many cruel jokes of the Witch-King? Had he planned this all along and only made them think that he was swayed by their pleas to go with him? Madurz and Ashgaz begin to lose hope and so they decide to set out on their own.

The map above shows their approximate location. They have already travelled far from the original place where the beast fell. At least the air will be fresher with enough distance between them and the beast' carcass, although a stray western wind might still bring them a faint reminder of stench of its decay.

Madurz and Ashgaz are near the base of the woody hills near Nen Hithoel, but still in the grassy plains of the East Emnet of Rohan. They can see the hills to their north. They are eight miles west of the River Anduin and 2.5 miles from the Hill of Seeing, Amon Hen.

They are on the west side of the wall of Rohan, but the wall is not insurmountable. There are possibly breaks in it at places, and vegetation has rooted upon it, giving room for grabbing roots and branches as they pull themselves up.

They may want to try crossing this wall and going up the Portage Route (next map) and then going to the Seat of Seeing. This hill gives people visions of many things, sometimes of the present and sometimes of the future. Some might even think they are able to see the past. However, if they went up there, they would have to come back down the Portage Road. Although the whole area is a lonely place with few visitors, one never knows what or whom one might possibly meet. It is probably safer than staying in the East Emnet near where the beast landed though, for there the two could meet wandering soldiers of Rohan, straggling Uruk-Hai bearing the White Hand, or even be mistaken as enemies by Mordor soldiers travelling far northward.

From back at the bottom of the Portage Road, where would Madurz and Ashgaz go? They could continue southeast on the west side of the river, but they would run into the Mouths of the Entwash, many streams and small rivers. If they cross the river below the Falls of Rauros in some manner to the other side, they would run into the Nindalf Wetwang Swamp. They could try to go on the narrow strip of land between the Nindalf and the Emyn Muil, and attempt to go between the Nidnalf and the Dead Marshes into the NoMan's Land to the Black Gate, but that is quite a long way, especially without much food and water. That way is long and weary and is not recommended.

Madurz and Ashgaz' situation is difficult. Would they dare chance finding a log and floating down the river beyond the Entwash and the Nindalf Wetwang? Perhaps they should stay by the river and hope that someone from Mordor will come back for them?

Floating on a log would not hurt Ashgaz, but definitely cause him confusion and dizziness. He should make sure he does not fall in; most hobbits did not know how to swim. Ashgaz should not trust the water; remember, the spirit of Ulmo the God of the Water or Ossë his servant might lurk there and take him into their clutches, dragging the wraithling downward to what fate cannot be known.)

However, do not give up hope! Madurz still has her wits and a little food. Water is not a problem. Ashgaz needs neither food nor water. Perhaps the two should look for an omen and pray that the wind blows from the East, or the North.....

Here is a map of the Portage Route, should Madurz and Ashgaz choose to go to the Hill of Seeing.

The challenge for Madurz, at least for the time, is merely to live. Perhaps what has happened to her already and being this far away from Minas Morgul and Lugburz will cause her to curse both Khamul and the Witch-King and perhaps she will wish to try to break her oath to the Dark Lord. The choice is hers.

Ashgaz' quest is to make sure Madurz lives and protect her at all costs. Whether Ashgaz succeeds or whether he fails in that challenge, Mordor will be like a beacon for him, and though it might take a hundred years for him to get back, Mordor ever draws all creatures like the wraithling. It is his fate.

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All maps taken from The Atlas of Middle Earth, Revised Edition, Karne Wynn Fonstad. Copyright, all rights reserved.