The Muster of Rohan
|The Muster of Rohan|
|Chapter of The Return of the King|
|Event||Théoden and the Rohirrim set out for Gondor.|
|Date||9-10 March 3019|
|< The Passing of the Grey Company|
|The Siege of Gondor >|
The Muster of Rohan is the third chapter of the first book in The Return of the King.
Théoden and the Riders reached the outer hills of Rohan after a hard three days' journey. Éomer, Théoden's sister-son, urged his uncle not to go further east, but Théoden insisted on going to war. Gathering the remaining Riders of Rohan, Théoden decided to ride to the Hold at Dunharrow, where the people of Rohan had taken shelter in anticipation of war. He found Éowyn, the Lady of Rohan, waiting there among her people, and he ordered the host to rest for the night.
At dinner, Merry waited at Théoden's side, fulfilling his duties as the king's new squire. Théoden further explained to Merry the legend of the Paths of the Dead, speculating about whether or not Aragorn would survive. A messenger from Gondor entered the tent. Merry was startled by the man's armour, as it reminded him of Boromir. The stranger brought a Red Arrow—a summons, sent only in times of great peril—from the Steward of Gondor. Théoden stated that six thousand Riders would set out for Minas Tirith in the morning, but that they would not reach Minas Tirith for a week.
There was no sunrise the next morning; a great Darkness had descended, and all the land was buried under a terrible gloom emanating from Mordor. As the host prepared to leave, Théoden asked Merry to stay behind when they passed the city of Edoras. The ride to Gondor would be hard and swift, and none among the Riders could afford the burden of carrying the hobbit along. Merry was sorely disappointed, but the king had made up his mind. Éowyn, however, escorted Merry to a small booth and outfitted him as best she could in the armour of the King's Guard. She bade Merry farewell and returned to her tent.
In Edoras, Merry lost all hope of going to Gondor until a young and slender Rider offered to carry Merry with him secretly to battle. The Rider introduced himself as Dernhelm. Merry gratefully accepted, and soon Théoden's host departed for Minas Tirith.