18. Pippin Gets High
Pippin slept for a long time and eventually Gandalf had to resort to waking him with quite a firm shake. The wizard was anxious to see if there was any improvement in the hobbit's condition and Pippin did seem a little brighter at first, although he could still not hear or speak. However, after a while Pippin became more agitated and Aragorn thought he might be in pain.
The ranger decided to examine the hobbit's broken wrist and undid the bindings that held the limb immobile against Pippin's body. Aragorn held his own hand level and wriggled his fingers to show Pippin what he wanted him to do. Pippin however just grabbed Aragorn's index finger with his good hand and stuck it in his mouth, sucking at the digit and looking pleadingly at the ranger.
"No, Pippin, no more," Aragorn said shaking his head in despair. "You are getting far too dependent on that medicine." Pippin of course could not understand this but could tell he was not going to get what he wanted and shook Aragorn's finger up and down anxiously, leaving the ranger in no doubt of his distress.
Aragorn ignored this as best he could and lifted Pippin's broken wrist up and moved the fingers a little with his other hand. Pippin feigned a lot of pain and the ranger was not too sure if it was real or not. "Legolas," he called to the elf, "come and tell me if Pippin is really hurting or playing with me."
Legolas smiled at Pippin and lifted his face in his hands. 'Hello Pippin,' he said softly. 'How are you today?'
'legolas - bad, need paste, hurts i, say strider please legolas, tell he i got have!'
'It's not good to have any more, Pippin," Legolas explained. "I don't think Strider can give you any more. Don't cry. Pippin, you have to stop having it. Wait for a while and the need will go away. Don't cry.'
As soon as Legolas had told Pippin he could not have any more paste the hobbit had begun to weep and the elf tried to soothe away the tears. He reported back to Aragorn. "He's not really in any pain, not from the injury. The pain is real, but it is from a need for the medicine."
"I thought so." Aragorn grimaced a little. "I should not have given him so much, but I must certainly not give him more now." He patted Pippin on the shoulder to make him turn to him and gently wiped his tear stained face. Then he held up the broken wrist again and made the hobbit flex it a little to show that it was getting better.
Instead of binding it tightly again, Aragorn made a sling for Pippin's arm, which gave him a lot more chance to use his broken limb and would stop it from loosing too much flexibility.
Gandalf then took Pippin by the hand and led him to the Orthanc tower. As he walked he talked as gently as he could to the worried hobbit. 'DON'T BE FRIGHTENED, PEREGRIN, WE ARE GOING TO TALK TO SARUMAN.'
At this Pippin pulled his hand away and ran back towards Aragorn who was following just behind. The ranger caught hold of him and stopped his escape, pushing him back towards Gandalf.
"IT'S ALL RIGHT, PIPPIN." Gandalf reassured him. 'I'LL BE WITH YOU ALL THE TIME AND ARAGORN AND THE OTHERS WILL BE RIGHT THERE. HE CANNOT POSSIBLY HURT YOU. YOU DO TRUST ME – DON'T YOU?'
'trust do, not – but gandalf, you know… what did… not talk… not…'
'I KNOW, PIPPIN, BUT YOU HAVE TO BE BRAVE.'
'will… i can… brave for merry…!'
'THAT'S A GOOD LAD!'
Gandalf unlocked the Orthanc doors and marched into the main throne room with Pippin following just behind him, holding nervously onto the white cloak. Saruman was seated on the throne, although he did not cut such an imposing figure as before. He looked shrunken, and, while still evil, he did not seem as menacing.
"What do you want with me?" the fallen wizard snarled at Gandalf. "I have nothing to say to you, Greyhame."
Gandalf set Pippin in the centre of the floor and lifted his finger up indicating that he should stand there alone. He then walked to the edge of the throne room and pointed to the hobbit. "You have a debt to settle with this one." Gandalf pointed his staff at Pippin. "I can direct your charm with my staff, but you must release him from the bond which you imposed."
"And why should I do that?" Saruman curled his lip at the hobbit. "He disobeyed me, he offended me, my home was ruined because of his interference and my staff broken. I am happy to see him afflicted."
"To see so great a power as yours brought to naught by one small halfling is truly a wonder, Saruman." Gandalf laughed mockingly as he spoke. "I am amazed that you attribute so many ills to such an insignificant creature.
Pippin looked from one to the other, unable to follow the exchange but filled with awe to be in the centre of an apparent argument between such powerful beings.
"You are mistaken again, Grey Fool. It is not this one alone that causes my wrath." Saruman smiled with malice. "You chose to send the other swiftly from Orthanc, as it had been looked upon by the winged messenger. That was a good choice many might think but they would be mistaken. It was not well executed, I have looked and I have guided. Much ill has now befallen that choice."
"The Palantír!" Gandalf gasped under his breath.
But Saruman heard. "It is still in my power, I see and I guide." He smirked once more. "But I see you still have one of these insignificant imps, you did not tell me what would be my incentive to help it?"
"For pity's sake alone. Is that not enough?" Gandalf suddenly felt very anxious for Merry, but his immediate problem was Pippin. "Restore his speech and hearing, spare him further suffering and you shall pass from here in peace, if you agree to do no more harm."
"The harm to your pet halflings is done already, Grey Fool! Harangue me no more with your idiocy. The fate of the two interfering worms is out of my hands now - and yours. Their fate lies with Sauron and the Nazgûl. I do not see clearly what it is, but I know this. Their fortunes are bound there as sure as the Over-heaven and the Sundering Seas are part of Middle Earth and nothing you or I can do will change that."
"Either your perfidiousness knows no bounds or your mendacity!" roared Gandalf, "I believe it to be the latter. I will take the spell from you if I must." The White Wizard pointed his staff at Saruman and with his other hand pointed a long finger at Pippin. Light and sparks spat between the two and a bewildered Pippin was caught up in a whirlwind of force that lifted him from the ground and spun him around like a leaf in a storm. His mouth opened in a soundless gasp of surprise and his eyes grew wide as he whirled around off the ground.
The two wizards locked their minds together for one last great battle and Pippin was thrown backwards and forwards on the tempest of their wills for several minutes, his face filled with consternation but resigned nevertheless to this violent tug-of-war. It seemed a perilous position to be in but Pippin trusted Gandalf not to drop him and if he did, he knew one of the others would catch him.
Gandalf suddenly realised that the force holding Pippin aloft was emanating only from his own will. Saruman was making small waves in the effect but Gandalf was fighting a foe with no real power left, only the power to create illusion. Saruman's claim to have passed the enchantment afflicting the hobbits to the Wraith king must indeed be true after all.
Gandalf checked himself, seeing that the battle was pointless. He lowered the staff and Pippin slowly spun down to the ground and stood shaking his head dizzily, almost losing balance and toppling over. Legolas ran forward to deftly catch Pippin before he tumbled down.
"We will leave Saruman here." The wizard said to Aragorn. "But not with the Palantír. I should have removed it earlier and now I fear a terrible fate has occurred to Merry because of my oversight."
"Is he alive?" Aragorn glanced anxiously at Pippin knowing how profound the little one's grief would be should his cousin have perished. His heart weighed heavily for both the hobbits, "Can you tell what fate has befallen Merry?"
"I cannot see clearly," Gandalf furrowed his brow, "I dare not use the palantír but we must keep it safe."
"Then we should take it?" Aragorn asked.
"You should take it." Gandalf said. "You are the heir to the Kings of Gondor and this assuredly is the palantír of Orthanc from the treasury of Elendil. It is a dangerous charge but one to which I am sure you are equal.
"Very well." Aragorn lifted the glass stone, still covered in its protective cloth. "But I will not use it – yet."
As they left the Orthanc throne room, locking the door once more on Saruman and entrusting the key to Treebeard, Gandalf turned to Legolas. "How is Pippin? I am sorry to have waged this battle with Saruman with him in the middle."
"He'll be all right." Legolas saw that Pippin was shaken but not too hurt and his arm seemed undamaged. He plonked the hobbit down amongst their baggage and went to look for the horse that he and Gimli shared.
"We must leave directly." Gandalf explained to King Théoden who was waiting to see the outcome of the wizards' confrontation. "The war will be moving towards Gondor soon and, there is a smaller matter but of great import to my companions and me, I fear greatly for young Meriadoc. I am sure he did not reach Edoras, but I do not know what ill befell him."
"Surely not, Drâmym and Ŭnomer are good men, they would have seen him to safety." Théoden protested.
"I don't doubt it, but I suspect it was something beyond their control." Gandalf was busying himself to be on the road quickly. "We must leave as soon as we can."
"Very well," Théoden instructed Éomer to ready their men to leave. "Although I shall be sorely grieved if my protection failed Meriadoc after I gave him my word."
"Sometimes words can fail in spite of best intentions, My Lord." Gandalf sighed. "I just told Peregrin he would be safe from Saruman and then got him caught up in a fight of my making."
Aragorn returned at that moment with his horse, Hasufel. He heard the end of the conversation then, looking beyond Gandalf and Théoden to their makeshift camp, lifted his hands in dismay. "Pippin! No!"
Théoden shook his head in concern at the halfling, "Maybe Gandalf, but perhaps you need to keep Pippin on a leash to save him from himself!"
The ranger rushed forward to where Pippin was sitting in the midst of Aragorn's plundered belongings, happily eating the poppy paste with his fingers.
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.