The moon shone full and huge over Rohan, and as Gandalf stole his way to the prison, the countryside seemed bathed in an unearthly haze.
He had spoken at length with the others, and though they did not entirely agree with what he was about to do, neither did they try to dissuade him.
Silently, he walked up to the front- and his heart sank, as he saw two guards. One of them had fallen asleep- but the other- who now nudged his companion urgently- was very much awake.
“Greetings, Gandalf Greyhame!” The first guard said nervously.
Gandalf replied in an even tone “And to you, my friend! I am here to visit Saruman the White- whom you hold within.”
“The traitor? At midnight, my lord?”
Gandalf knit his brows fiercely, and the man shrank back.
“Y-Yes, of course. You may enter, Gandalf”
The men moved aside, intimidated.
Inside, there was another guard on duty- but Theoden, in his joy over capturing Saruman, had been very careless. He was very lightly guarded.
Gandalf strained to see in the near darkness- and lit the crystal at the end of the Staff.
He made his way to the cells, and finally, finding all empty, proceeded to the end cell- and there- in the cold and damp- was Saruman, lying as if asleep.
“Saruman!” Gandalf whispered harshly, “Saruman- wake up! Make haste!”
He lifted the Staff again, and the lock opened with a soft clang.
Saruman slowly stirred, and Gandalf could see they had given him no cover, no bedding at all- and it was very cold. Punishment, no doubt.
“Who is there?” Saruman said, in his deep rumbling voice, now oddly weak.
“It is I, Gandalf- get up, Curunir!”
Saruman sat up, and in the half light Gandalf could see the large black and blue bruises on his pale face.
“Saruman! What- what did they do to you?”
Saruman frowned, as if in annoyance at the foolish question.
“What do you imagine they did, you fool! The same as I would have done, in this circumstance! Beat me until I fell, and then- I suppose, had at me some more. It is nothing I do not understand.”
Gandalf looked at him, and the marks of the beating, appalled.
“Curunir- I – I am so very sorry. But no time now, for pity, we have no time at all! Get up- hurry!”
Saruman looked at him blankly- “What are you babbling about? I heard the horse-filth speaking in the hall earlier- they shall hang me at dawn- I suppose they shall all have their hands in their trousers when they do it! Now, get out of here, you have done enough to ‘help’ me.”
Gandalf finally lost his patience: “Get up, old fool! I am trying to save your life!”
Saruman looked at him with confusion, and then understood.
“You- would – do this- for me? Betray your comrade?”
Gandalf sighed, very annoyed, trying desperately to get him to get up.
“You have been my comrade as well, Saruman, before reason left you. And as for Theoden- he has betrayed my trust as well. Will you get up!!”
Saruman finally stood then, and Gandalf saw he was shivering.
“Not even a blanket! Here – take this!” He handed Saruman his over cloak, and Saruman stared at him, speechless.
Gandalf pushed him to the open cell door.
“You fool! GO! We have no time- move!”
The guard inside was still quite soundly asleep, but there were still the two at the gate. Gandalf thought frantically of what he would say to them- and then he realized there was only one way to do this.
As they emerged from the prison, Gandalf only allowed the guards one startled glance before he raised his Staff, and brought down unconsciousness on both of them.
He motioned behind the prison, where he had tethered Shadowfax and another horse.
“Come on, haste, haste!”
They mounted the horses -and were gone into the moonlight.
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.