CONCLUSION: ( Gandalf and Saruman face each other at Isengard – after Helm’s Deep.)
It has come full circle, now, for both of us; he stands atop Orthanc, eyes blazing with such fury and madness that even from all the way down here, I can feel their rage.
I now confront him, I must confront him, there is no choice, no choice at all. To show weakness now, will be fatal for all of us.
When I finally told the Council of his treason, I knew that we had crossed the line, both of us. I had no choice. How I loathe having no choice.
How many things have happened now, good and terrible alike, and I have come back from the abyss of Death itself, and found myself now wearing the vestments of the White Wizard.
I have had to violently cast my dearest friend and ally from the body of a King that he had possessed and obsessed, and seen so much death and violence all around me, that I will never be the same.
Something is ruined in me now, somehow, just as Curumo is ruined from Sauron's deadly attentions through the many years.
I ride forward, and brutally force down my emotions- my love- for my fallen friend and lover.
No time for weakness.
He waits for me, as a cornered and rabid wolf faces the hunter, and I see him raise the Staff, preparing to attack.
I shout up to him, feeling a strange, total sense of despair, "Come down, and your life will be spared!" –
he seems to glow with anger at my words, and perhaps I could have chosen them better. Making him feel threatened was not my intention, but I must try to get him to surrender. There are those with me, who may let fly an arrow, out of pure fury at what he has done. He needs to relent.
"So! Have you come to kill me, or to spare me, Gandalf the White? Save your pity and your mercy, I have no use for it!"
I hear his snarling reply on the wind, and before I can answer him that, no, I do not want to hurt him, I am trying to protect him, I am terrified for him, the Staff is raised high- and then a huge flame cascades down at me. It reaches me in a matter of seconds, but I do not even feel it, save for a rush of heated air.
I cannot allow this to go on- if he is determined to launch such reckless attacks, I know my companions are going to kill him.
I ride forward again, and I raise my own Staff in reply: "Saruman- you leave me no choice- I must break your Staff, and remove your rank!" And without giving him a chance to attack again, I send forth the spell, and his Staff cracks apart in his hand, the black and metallic Staff of Aule the Smith falls apart.
Saruman curses me in Quenyan, and then in the Black Speech, for good measure.
"Now: Curumo- listen to me: you are no fool. You know you must yield. You must refrain from what you are doing- and you will be safe! No harm will come to you, but you must yield!"
Saruman falls silent, and I find hope that he may be actually listening. I try to think past the thunder of my heartbeat, and I continue:
"Trust me, Saruman. Do you not understand, you can trust me? I will not have you harmed, or even imprisoned. But please- please! – listen to me!"
Curumo listens in silence, and then a change seems to come over him, like a half-hearted miracle:
I see his expression slowly begin to lose the madness, and the anger. Behind him, for the first time, I can see Grima crouching, his face a mask of terror. Finally, after what seems like forever, Saruman replies:
"Even if I believe you, Olórin, what of – that other-? Do you think we would be safe from- him?? Do you know what he will do to me - to you? So much, that you do not understand! He will torture you to death, and for me, even worse, no doubt!"
I do not try to figure out what would be worse than being tortured to death, and answer him again:
"Come down, Curumo, Aratar! Come down, and at least we can face our fate side by side! Come down, and stand at my shoulder, and let us begin again!"
I hold my breath, afraid to even move, in anticipation and dread of his response. And then he disappears from the top of the Tower, and I wonder grimly what may be coming. Far behind me, Theoden, Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn as well, wait with me, wait to see what will happen. Legolas has an arrow at the ready, even though I had asked him to not do so. They are too tense, too eager for "justice". I prefer, by far, mercy, and redemption.
This situation is exceedingly dangerous, for all concerned.
And if my old mentor would only fight alongside us- we just might have a chance against the Dark Lord.
Like a ghost of the past, Saruman very suddenly appears out of the doorway of Orthanc, and steps forward carefully, and cautiously, onto the muddy steps. Behind him, looking tormented and afraid – but relieved as well- slinks a very nervous Grima. Curumo regards us all with a sweeping glance, and then looks at me. I see something different, somehow, but what, I am not sure.
His eyes have lost the insane glaze that I have come to regard as normal for him in the past years; I can see something of the Istar I know, and remember. "Put down all your weapons!", I hastily shout to my companions- I am still greatly worried that if there is a wrong move made, they will let fly a fatal arrow at Saruman or Grima. "Mithrandir- do you think that's wise -" I hear Legolas say softly. But he takes the arrow and puts it back in the quiver. The others shift nervously on their steeds.
I look again to the dark eyes, and still he simply watches me, silently. The tension is too much for Gimli, who clears his throat loudly. Saruman does not even look his way, but he does finally speak:
"Olórin- I – I will trust you, then."
It is a monumental statement, and there are audible gasps behind us. I feel a powerful surge of emotion, and I force it back, but only barely. I know Saruman can see the tears in my eyes, and he frowns slightly, but says no more. He holds out a large ring of ancient keys, and I take them, nodding.
The Keys of Orthanc.
Aragorn speaks up now:
"Saruman- it is good you have found reason! We will take you back with us, as a prisoner of war now. You will be safe from both your own folly, and Sauron's evil."
"No!", I say quickly, and there are gasps, again.
"No- he will ride with me- but not as a prisoner! And Grima as well."
Saruman looks at me with what might be gratitude- or perhaps merely amusement - who can say? - and my companions regard me with looks of wonder and anger? As if I have taken the prey from the jaws of a ravening lion!
No, there will be no revenge, this day.
I will not see Saruman be humiliated, or disgraced, in any way.
I will not allow it.
He is, and always will be, my Aratar- and I love him well- too well.
And there may yet be, behind the depthless black eyes, and inside that ancient heart, the smallest whisper of hope.
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.