I open groggy, unfocused eyes, and try to get a view of what is around me. Ah, a voice! Distant, but sweet, enticing. Closer now. I hear words in the familiar Quenya : “It will take you some time to get acclimated, don’t worry… ” So familiar! I know the owner of that rich, deep voice. But I cannot recall. I see his face through a fog, and a warm rush of recognition flows through me.
I blink again, and strain to see clearly; he is gazing at me with a strange, bemused expression- and something else- what?
The tall figure, bearded- his long beard is black, framed with edges of white- his hair is jet black, with ivory just beginning to touch the temples. He wears it long, cascading down over his broad shoulders, and I see he is wearing a shimmering white robe- he seems nearly to be made of white light.
I blink again : Curumo, I think. Beleg ar yaara, Aratar! Mighty and ancient, Holy, Exalted One! My heart trembles to be in his presence.
He smiles at me slightly, and speaks again: :
“Yeeta sinome, vorima laito! Marl-yaa sinya!” ( Look here, everlasting youth! Your new home! )-
and I struggle once more to gain vision in my new body, and the Lord Curumo once more passes lingering eyes over my newly created form.
He reaches out to me, and I feel his touch; long, elegant Istar fingernails graze my face lightly, and he mutters something I cannot quite understand, low under his breath.
His eyes peer into me with an intensity that is almost unendurable. I feel intensely aware of my naked newly-created state, suddenly, and I make a tremendous effort to sit up. It is a valiant effort, but I cannot manage it, and I only earn a scold from my noble mentor:
“Orna, orna, ascar ore !” ( Hasty, hasty, impetuous heart! )-
he comes closer, and I can smell the scent of him, musky-sweet, intensely masculine and unique.
He lifts me up to a sitting position, and I can finally take in my surroundings and situation. I seem to be in a semi-dark room, or perhaps it is only dark to my new eyes; I am having so much difficulty seeing! Curumo has a radiance around him so powerful he actually gives off light, and this seems to be the only source, save for one small candle I see in the dimly perceived room.
My great teacher and protector has been watching me silently all this time, as I slowly try to adjust to the body. Now he sighs deeply, and says: “You must get used to speaking in the tongues of men, now. No more of our mother-tongue, for a while. I will teach you everything you need to know -everything.”
He repeats “everything”, I do not know why. He continues to look me over, and again, I am acutely aware of the body, and its nakedness, and his eyes upon me like dark living swords penetrating my very soul; I shiver as I contemplate his steady gaze.
I try to speak: I succeed in making a very strange noise, and I try again, as he regards me, silently. “Lo-rd, Lord Cur-a-mo. Curu-mo. My lord.” I finish, exhausted but triumphant. He frowns, and instead of the praise I foolishly hoped for, almost like a child, I only receive another chastisement:
“No, no, Olórin - do not address me as Lord. Or ‘Curumo’. Remember! Get used to the tongues of men! Saru-mahn. Say it! Here on Middle Earth I am Sa-ru-man!”
And so I begin again, “Saru-mahnn?”
He smiles at me, and seems placated : “Yes, that is correct! Good, then. Now- put this on your self!” He throws a grey cloak at me, and I look at it in confusion; “Put it on! Your- appearance- is distracting to me!” I do not understand yet what “distracting” means, exactly, so I take it to mean he does not like to see this new body of mine.
I struggle to make my hands and arms work well enough to put on the grey garment, and finally I am clothed, and covered. Curu- no, no, Saruman- does not assist me, but he does watch me, and I feel as if his eyes are devouring me, somehow. This “distraction” must be a very compelling thing, indeed.
He steps close to me: “Arise, GANDALF, for that is your name here! Arise, and take your place in the Heren Istarion!”
is that me? I wonder, disorientated, looking into the looking-glass, some days later.
I see an rather elderly face- what did I expect to see?- and I study its features. This is the face I will wear for a very long time, until our mission here is done. I have been left alone by Saruman- as he wishes, that is what I shall call him- and I have been engaged in becoming familiar with this body.
Very curious: my new fleshly abode is built very powerfully, and seems to be youthful, and strong- yet, my appearance is of a much older man, and I wear a long beard, and it is already grey! My hair is also long ( and grey ) in the back and sides, though not nearly as long as Saruman’s, which is far past his shoulders.
I am surprised out of my mirror-gazing by Saruman, who I am still not at ease around. He is fond of slipping up behind me and- just- watching me. I am alternately repelled, and then curious about this.
And now he is staring at me again, unabashedly, uncaring that I have caught him doing so. I turn around slowly, unsure what to say; instead, it is he who speaks:
“We are sent down here as guides and guardians, as you already know. Therefore we are forced to take on the appearances of ancient wisdom. It was not of my doing, I assure you, belethil!”
Saruman, I have discovered, does a great many things that he has forbidden me to do. He still speaks the Eldar/Valar tongue Quenyan frequently, and I have heard many of his spell-castings using Quenyan speech. And just now, he has called me a Divine radiance in Quenyan- a compliment to be sure, but I do not understand his rules; however, I will try to abide by them.
The compliments, in fact, multiply and continue :
elerrina lind (star-crowned song),sinda-silme (grey starlight), alcarin ancalima (glorious light giver)- and they are delivered at moments in time when there is no real opening for such a thing to be said: however, Saruman says them anyway.
His glances are more severe, and intense, every day now, and I am aware of his – shall we say- affection towards me. I am flattered and shocked and fearful, all at once.
Flattered because he is a Great Maia, the Head of my Istari Order- Curumo the Exalted -and I respect him in a way that is beyond words. Shocked because he has always behaved in such a cold and distant fashion, and never seemed to exude any warmth in my direction ( or any other ); and finally, fearful because at times, he acts in ways that- well- do not seem quite right.
In the very short time I have been in this body of mine, I have seen and heard much that is irrational, and arrogant from him, but far more troubling is the unstable nature of his personality. Once, he very nearly cursed the Valar themselves, and it seemed to be only with great effort, that he restrained himself. I fear my beloved mentor is not quite what he is thought to be.
But as my caution and concern grow, so also grows my affection, and devotion, and respect.
I find he is on my mind ever and always throughout the day, no matter where I am sent to here and there, on various missions. By the end of a year, I cannot imagine life without him.
By the end of two years, I refuse to even contemplate the idea.
And at the end of five years and a day, my well-loved teacher and guide summons me to him, for what will turn out to be an extraordinary meeting.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.