A Knife in the Dark & Flight to the Ford
Throughout the opening pages and first days of our journey they have pursued us: the Nine, the Black Riders, the servants of the Enemy. Their true nature is not yet known to us, but no explanation will truly unveil their forgotten origin and mysterious form. Such things are of little concern right now, for they are tracking us, hunting us across the wilds of the world, seeking to capture us and take us to where we wish not to go. For though not borne by black horses or cloaked in dark garb, the Nine are present in our own world, and we too are their target.
Like Frodo, we never expected to be caught up with them. We believed that we could have peace and quiet without concern for the bigger things; we thought we were too small and insignificant for their eyes. Yet our heritage has left us with both a burden and a treasure: a burden that draws them to us, a treasure they seek to take and use for their own nefarious purposes. We cannot ignore the servants of the Enemy, nor can we hide from them. Instead, we must flee them, we must resist them, until we can gather around us the strength of will and fellowship to drive them off.
Like Frodo, we have been wounded by them. Often we have been pierced by their daggers, and left un-whole. The weapons of the servants of the Enemy are diabolical and laden with foul concoctions, and therefore our wounds seem to not truly heal. The effects linger with us: with guilt and with sorrow, with weakness and with separation, with senses of worthlessness, temptation, obliviousness, self-justification. We carry the scars of our encounters, and the world seems more gray because of them. And while we can try to ease the pain, we seem to know no remedy for them.
Like Frodo, it all seems hopeless with them. The servants of the Enemy are too great for us. They will try to silence us, and we must not let them. They will break our weapons, but we must stand our ground. They will command us to resist no more, and the temptation will be there, at times too strong for our weak wills. In those darkest of hours we must have faith that there are things greater than ourselves, and the beyond our wildest dream will come the floods of the ford to wash the Black Riders away from us once more.
For truly, whether they are of physical or spiritual nature, of lesser or greater power, coming from within or without, they are here: we must not delude ourselves into thinking there are no servants of the Enemy. The burden of sin draws evil to us and into our communities, seeking to take from us our greatest treasure: our souls, our very selves, the gift of the image and likeness of God. Both in our resisting and in our shortcomings we take damage from them, and they shall never stop hunting us. Yet there remains hope, even in the darkest of days. There may yet be ancient healing in the House of Rivendell, in the church confessional. There may yet be fortifying substance in the elven flask, in the eucharist. There may be yet power to resist them ever in those that will not bow to the lord of Mordor.