The Fellowship of the Ring
At the time when this story begins the Bounders, as they were called, had been greatly increased. There were many reports and complaints of strange persons and creatures prowling about the borders, or over them: the first sign that all was not quite as it should be, and always had been except in tales and legends long ago. Few heeded the sign, and not even Bilbo had yet any notion of what it portended. (prologue.3.7)
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say. (1.1.121)
That name [Mordor] the Hobbits only knew in legends of the dark past, like a shadow in the background of their memories, but it was ominous and disquieting. It seemed that the evil power in Mirkwood had been driven out by the White Council only to reappear in greater strength in the old strongholds of Mordor. (1.2.10)