I wandered for a long time on a road that was dark, and as I stumbled along I felt hopelessness wash over me, that I would never reach the end of my road, and that even if I should, my destination would lie in ruins, or I would not recognize it for what it was and remain forever lost.

Into this mist there would come, very quiet, a frail voice calling my name. But when I looked ahead, all I could was see a faint light, red and flickering. And I made for this light, unsure of its source, but preferring it to my aimless wandering.

I staggered on for a long time and then, without warning, my journey became terrible. Behind me, I could feel the rapid approach of a nameless enemy, gaining on me, with a cry that froze the will and left me struggling to move. The light ahead of me went dim. I fell to the ground.

When I steeled myself at last to raise my head and looked around, I saw that I was lying on the bridge of Osgiliath, as it had been. Still I could not stand, and ever behind me I heard the advance of the enemy. I could see now that the red light ahead was my city, burning.

Despair engulfed me, but a last flame of resistance flickered. If I am to die, I thought, it will be facing my foes. Wearily, I turned myself around, and looked up at an inky sky. In that darkness, black shapes were wheeling, but they seemed to have no substance, as if holes had been ripped in the very fabric of the heavens. A dart pierced me. Then, with hideous shrieks, wave upon wave of orcs descended on me, and hewed at me. The old stone of the bridge crumbled beneath their weight, and I was plunged into the depths.

All went black. And then I heard a voice again, but this was stronger and more commanding than the other. It seemed to me that I was floating, perhaps on the water, or perhaps my spirit had at last left my body. Above me, the stars came out and, feeling life in my limbs once more, I grabbed for the river bank and struggled ashore, gasping. When I looked ahead, I saw a light once more, and it burned with a green flame.

I was weary now, caught between fire and water, and I longed for sleep. But the voice came again, calling my name with soft insistence. I wanted to obey it - but the lure of the darkness was strong, and whispered to me of oblivion, of peace. I closed my eyes again, but the voice called me a third time, and this time it could not be denied. I opened my eyes and looked on the face of my king.