And…we’re back on the trail. Upon their two horses, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli ride along the path of the orcs, but it’s been ridden over already by the riders of Rohan, and the tracks are muddled. Éomer had mentioned a group of orcs that had joined the main pack from the east, and Aragorn rides alone up that trail just to check it out. There’s nothing exciting to see there.
They ride slowly back on the larger trail, as Aragorn thinks that the orcs might have tried to squirrel their captives away here once they knew they were being followed. There’s still nothing, until they reach a clearing just a short way within Fangorn forest. There’s the pile of burned orcs! A burial mound for the Rohirrim slain in battle lies nearby. The three hunters search around the area, but by nightfall they have found no sign of Merry or Pippin.
Nothing says “grisly” like a veritable bonfire stack of charred remains. A head on a stake sits at the height of the pile of ashes, which is done pretty darn accurately in the movie:
In contrast, the burial mound of the Rohirrim is quite respectful. Near where the Entwash flows out of the forest, it has been recovered with grass. Fifteen spears stand around the mound, presumably one for each of the fallen. Not a bad location to be buried at all, if it weren’t for the steaming pile of evil just across the way.
Meanwhile, still no sign of Merry or Pippin. Our heroes are now considering the very real possibility that they’re just as charred underneath all the orcs. Oops.
“‘It will be hard news for Frodo, if he lives to…'”