Return of the King Book 5, Chapter 5
Merry can see nothing in the dark as he huddles wrapped in a blanket. The host of Rohan has stopped to rest in the woods. It is stretched underneath trees. They had ridden for four days and Merry tries to remember why he was so eager to come in the first place. The marshal of his battalion ignores him and seems to have some sort of understanding with Dernhelm. They are a day away from Minas Tirith and they know that when they arrive they will ride right into the middle of battle. The marshal stumbles over him and tells him that they are going to get ready to leave soon. There are drums in the wood because the Wild Men have decided to put themselves at the service of Theoden. The marshal is glad of this because he fears that they would use their poisoned arrows against them otherwise.
Merry gets up and walks around. He wanders near a pool of light in a clearing. He finds Eomer and Theoden speaking with Ghan-Buri-Ghan of the wild men. Ghan tells them that they will not go with them to war, but they will kill all the orcs that come into the woods, bring them news of the battle, and show them paths. He tells Theoden to make haste because they are so much outnumbered. If they are not careful, the new army coming from Mordor will cut them off before they even reach the walls of Minas Tirith. Theoden is worried that they will not be able to take the main road and will be delayed by any other path. Ghan assures them that there are forgotten roads that will take them more quickly to their destination. Theoden promises a lasting friendship and Ghan vows to lead them himself. If he takes them into a trap, they should immediately kill him. He tells them that it is a 7-10 hour march and they should leave immediately.
Merry leaves the clearing and sees that Ghan has already sent out a screen of Wild Men to make sure that there are no orc spies in the area. They march into the day and come to a great thicket where they are to rest for a moment. Eomer wants to send out spies but Ghan says, "'Wild men have already seen all that can be seen in the bad air.'" Book 5, Chapter 5, pg. 119 . His people tell him that the walls of Gondor are failing but the enemy does not worry too much about reinforcements. They do not watch the roads. Theoden thanks Ghan, and the Wild Man tells him to kill all the orcs. Ghan bows to the ground to say goodbye and then sniffs the air. The Wild Men sound their drums again and the marshal says it is seven leagues to Minas Tirith. Scouts find the dead body of the messenger who brought Theoden the red arrow. Theoden realizes that the people of Minas Tirith have no idea that they are coming.
As they ride through the night, Dernhelm rides forward to listen to the words of the king and his nephew. Minas Tirith is on fire in the distance. Ghan told them that the dawn would bring favor. Theoden speaks loudly and says that they should split the army into two forces and strike in tandem at two sections of the attacking army. They begin to ride with new fury. As Merry clutches to Dernhelm, he loosens his sword and wonders what he will do. They encounter some small groups of orcs away from the great army and they slay them quickly. The host rides silently through the ruins of the outer walls. Burning Minas Tirith gets closer and closer. Theoden halts before they are noticed and fears that they are too late to save their allies. Merry feels the wind in his face and sees a flash from the city. Theoden sits straight up and gives a rallying cry to his men. He lifts his horn and they all begin to thunder across the plain sounding their calls. They enter the battle without mercy. No one can rival Theoden in speed as the morning rises and the wind carries scents from the sea.