By Milly of Isengard
(In which the characters of the VOS are redeemed- a hard backhanded blow to Peter Jackson's VOS )
NC-17 Graphic Sex/ Violence / Angst
The riders approached the mud strewn ruins of Isengard- Gandalf the White rode in front, dreading the confrontation to come, and yet knowing there was no way out.
He glanced at Théoden behind him, and saw the naked hatred on the King's face- nothing would do but that Saruman the Wise must fall, and justice be meted out.
Gandalf thought wearily, trying to come up with a plan of action that would allow Saruman to surrender- without being slaughtered first- and that would allow him to 'save face' enough to be willing to do so.
The Tower of Orthanc loomed above them, and around the great ancient Tower were the various ruined machines of Saruman's reign of terror: spiked wheels, broken scaffolds, and dead Uruks and Orcs still lay in the mud.
In war there is little time to bury the dead, for anyone.
As they rode closer, Gandalf whispered softly: "Be careful! Even in defeat, Saruman is dangerous!"
Gimli snorted angrily, "Then let's just have his head and be done with it, then!" Gandalf turned to him gravely- so eager to kill, so anxious to spill the blood of their foes!
He sighed, and said sharply: "No! If there is another way, we will take that path! Has there not been enough death, yet?"
Gimli looked chastened, and lowered his head.
Saruman suddenly appeared, at the very pinnacle of the Tower. He leaned on his metal Staff, and regarded them with a badly disguised baleful glare.
"Ah, the noble victors approach! What do you want here, why do you come to Isengard?"
Théoden answered him abruptly, saying : "You know why we have come, Saruman, traitor! We have come to avenge the lives lost to your duplicity and treachery, though one life can scarcely atone for so many!"
Saruman smiled slightly, and did not answer in anger, but only replied:
"Can we not have peace, Théoden, you and I? The battle is done, and the dead of both sides lie on the fields yet. Can we not have - a truce? For long we took counsel together, and long was our friendship. Can we not have some measure of decency about all this?"
Théoden fairly sneered with contempt as he answered: "Yes- we shall have peace-" the others looked at in surprise- "We shall have peace when you pay for your murders and crimes, and hang from a gibbet for the sport of your own crows! Then, and only then, we shall have peace!"
Saruman's look changed to one of bitterness and scorn, and as he watched in silence, Gandalf could sense his alarm and hidden fear.
As an Istar himself, he was very attuned to his fellow Maia's emotions and moods.
Saruman replied in rage: "Gibbets and crows! Dotard! You are an imposter, Théoden! You are the lesser heir of greater predecessors- horselord!"
He turned then to Gandalf:
"And what of you, then, Gandalf? Do you aspire for the Keys of Orthanc, and Barad-Dur as well? And then you shall have the One Ring for yourself, and all that it brings! I see through your facade, Gandalf Greyhame!"
Gandalf shook his head, and replied: "You see nothing, Saruman. I do not long for power, and mastery over others! But listen, will you not come down? Is it not time, perhaps, to think on other things? Do you have, even, something you may wish to undo, something to unsay?"
Mentally, Gandalf spoke to Saruman: I will give you a way out..be wise enough to take it..my comrades long for justice!
Saruman looked at him sharply, hearing him both physically and mentally, and Gandalf again felt his terror at being cornered, at being so close to death- to being trapped.
He frowned, and answered:
"Unsay? What have I to unsay? Come down? You do take me for a fool! I know your wild tree-demons are still near! Come down, yes, of course, so that you may have your fiends trample me!"
Gandalf shook his head, and said firmly:
"The treacherous are ever distrustful! But listen to me, you need not fear for your skin! I do not wish to kill you, or hurt you, and you would know that, if you really understood me."
Mentally, Gandalf strained to reach him before it was too late:
Do not be a fool, Curumo! I can not restrain Théoden forever, will you not take the way I set before you, to save yourself?
Saruman hesitated, and then seemed to be deep in thought- the conflict on his face was obvious, and Gandalf spoke again:
"Come down, Saruman! And your life will be spared!"
And Saruman, feeling the fury again at being cornered- and by his lesser! - seethed at the very idea of needing mercy, and roared back to him:
"Save your pity and your mercy! I have no use for it!"
And before anyone could speak again he raised the Staff and sent down a fireball at Gandalf- it enveloped him, to the horror of the comrades, and to the delight of Saruman.
But his relief was short-lived- as the smoke cleared, Gandalf still remained, very much unscathed, and looking up at him with an unreadable expression.
Saruman felt his heart fail for dread- now, the retribution would be terrible!
Before he could move, Gandalf spoke to him in a clear and steady voice:
"Saruman- your Staff is broken!"
And broken it was indeed, and as Saruman watched in horror and dismay, the staff simply disintegrated in his hand.
He choked back the deep fear, and forced himself to remain standing, facing his enemy. Gandalf simply stared back up at him, and then finally spoke, after what seemed like an eternal silence.
"Saruman- your wisdom is not acting on your behalf this day! Now: for the last time- come down! I give you my oath you will not be harmed!"
He turned back to the others: "Will you all respect my wishes in this?"
One by one, the parties nodded in assent, but Théoden only flushed in anger.
But against Gandalf's stern expression he gave way, and finally nodded.
Gandalf turned back to Saruman:
"Come down, there is nothing for you here now. By force, or by peace, we will retake Isengard. You know this. I would see you live. Are you willing to do so?"
Saruman suddenly hissed a reply to Gandalf in his mind, not wanting it shared:
I do not wish to be a prisoner! I cannot- I cannot!
Gandalf answered him mentally:
You will not be taken. You will be free- and by that I mean free- free of bond or restraint- free to go anywhere you wish, even Mordor, if that is your wish. But you must realize- worse than death awaits you at Mordor! Come with us, will you not fight by my side again, as we did once before?
Saruman swallowed hard, and clenched his jaw nervously. And then, as the little party below watched, equally nervous, he turned and disappeared.
They all watched the front door of Orthanc with deep apprehension, and finally- Saruman appeared- with Grima behind him, very pale.
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.