As they rode towards Edoras, Gandalf noted with some degree of concern that Théoden would occasionally draw to the side one of his men, and then after some hushed conferring, break apart again.
He narrowed his eyes, deeply suspicious. Something was clearly wrong- but what?
Saruman rode apart from the others, staying more closely to Gandalf than any of the others. He did not entirely trust him, and he certainly was not pleased at the way things were turning out- but had not
Gandalf attempted to aid him, even in his misguided and unwanted way of pity?
Gandalf rode closer to him- “Curumo…” -speaking in Quenyan now- “Have a care…stay closer by my side, here.” With a movement of his head, he nodded in a subtle fashion towards the Rohirrim- who were returning their glances with equal interest.
Saruman nodded grimly.
It was not a terribly far journey to Edoras- and at length they arrived, weary and famished.
Gandalf dismounted first, and then Saruman- Gandalf turned briefly to address the hobbits, and a clatter sounded, causing him to turn back around.
There- surrounded by many long Rohirrim spears pointed at his chest, stood Saruman, his expression one of bitter anger- but no real surprise.
“What are you doing!” Gandalf cried to them- “I gave him my word! Take those weapons away!”
Théoden strode forward purposefully, saying in aloud, exultant voice:
“ No! Gandalf Greyhame- your authority ends here! We are in my Kingdom, now!”
Gandalf clutched his Staff in anger and dismay, and replied in a hoarse tone:
“Théoden! I gave him my promise!”
Théoden smiled unpleasantly: “ Yes..*your* promise. I gave no such promise. You exceed your authority, Gandalf!”
Saruman stood stock still, suddenly very lucidly aware of the desire to not be run through. He looked at Gandalf with a mixture of fear, suspicion, and anger.
Gandalf controlled his rapidly rising anger- and said in a softer voice:
“Nay, Théoden, has there not been enough dying? Is all mercy gone from your heart?”
Théoden motioned to Grima, who still sat on his horse, his face blank and shocked.
Théoden looked over at Saruman: “I have given all the mercy I intend to! This criminal- this killer! – will face my judgment, and that of the people of Rohan!”
Gandalf shook his head, and started in the direction of the circle of Rohirrim weapons- and Théoden shouted to him “ Do not intervene! If you do – I will give the word, and this will be settled here and now, and then- I will simply hoist the body for the people to find some solace in!”
The hobbits gasped in unison, and Gandalf felt his fury flash before his eyes. Saruman made no sound, but his eyes had widened somewhat.
“No, Gandalf. I do not understand your sympathy for this traitor- it is most disappointing- but this is where it ends- take him to the prison!”
Saruman did not move, and the Rohirrim jabbed their spears at him, and when he still did not move- never taking his eyes off Gandalf- one of the men prodded him with the sharp end of his spear.
“Cease! Do not do that to him!” Gandalf started forward again, and Saruman shook his head- “No- Gandalf- I will go- you have heard this horse lover- they will simply kill me here and now!”
Gandalf watched helplessly as Saruman walked towards the prison, as the men went around him, a circle of bristling weapons.
He turned to Théoden, eyes blazing- “Have you now, too, lost your wits! What are you doing! He is not even sane, anymore! Will you truly require his life- the life of a deranged being?”
Theoden glared at him- “I am sorry your pity ends at the doorstep of Orthanc alone- and I suppose- reserved only for your own kind! But when you have lost a son, and countless of your people to a traitor, perhaps you will ask no such questions!”
He turned and walked away, leaving Gandalf to stare at him in horror and sadness.
And then, muttering, he also turned, and headed back to his company, for a conference of his own.
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.