In a moonlit clearing in the Old Forest, surrounded by snow covered trees and sheltering rocks, and creeks burbling quietly under ice, a ranger knelt beside a hobbit who arrived there not of his own volition. And it was clear the perils of the wild had not been kind to this dweller of the gentle hills. But the arduous chase was ended. The nightmare ride was over. And wrapped in the anguish that had become all that was left for him of Middle-earth on this gruesome journey, the hobbit reached to the friend who had come to his side beyond the bounds of hope . . . .