4. Enter the Wizard
A loud knock sounded at the door. "Enter!" called Thranduil. A page slipped in, shutting the door after him. He bowed stiffly.
"If you please," he said ceremoniously, "Saruman the White is here."
"Good," said Thranduil. "See that his horse is well taken care of, and have him shown in."
"Aye, sire," the page responded. He bowed again and slipped out. A moment later both doors opened grandly, and a tall figure in long white robes appeared in the doorway. Thranduil stood and bowed himself, hand over heart.
"Thank you for coming on such short notice, my lord," the King of Mirkwood said respectfully. He came down the steps from his throne as the throne-room doors boomed shut. "My council wrestled long and hard and could only think of sending for yourself, in hopes you would be able to answer our riddle. I hope your trip was in fine weather?"
"Terrible weather," the wizard replied shortly in a voice that filled the room. "But there are more important things to be thought of. Come, where is the ring?"
"Here, my lord," said Legolas, stepping forward. His hand opened like a flower. The ring lay in the middle of his palm, brightly polished. The mithril chain on which it was strung seemed pale and dull in comparison. Before the young Elf could have any odd doubts about letting Saruman handle the ring, the wizard's hand snaked out and his long fingers snatched the chain. Bringing it in close, he inspected the golden circle intently.
"It makes one disappear?" he asked in the same manner as before. At the affirmative, he said, "And what else have you discovered?"
"Nothing, my lord," said Thranduil, sounding a little surprised (and a little nettled). "We judged it folly to handle such a powerful ring when we were not aware of its properties."
Saruman murmured something to himself. Legolas thought he caught the words "silly, ignorant Elves" and stiffened. It was with an effort he held his tongue.
"There is nothing curious or different in its size or shape," the wizard said in a thoughtful voice, "yet there is something lovely about it." He turned suddenly and walked briskly across the room, towards one of the torches that was ensconced on the wall. Legolas moved to step forward, about to speak. Elnen put a forearm across his chest, and gave a quieting look when Legolas glared at him. However, Elnen also nearly said something when Saruman held the ring almost in the fire.
Thranduil had no such bar. "My lord, what are you doing?" he asked quickly, hurrying his steps over. His brows were knit in confusion and concern.
"I am seeing something," said Saruman sharply. Thranduil stopped a few feet away, confused and a little more nettled than before. A few moments crawled by, and then Saruman said, "A-ha!"
"What?" asked three Elvish voices. Thranduil and Elnen were confused and curious; Legolas was demanding. Thranduil and Elnen both turned to look at him for a moment in surprise. Legolas' grey eyes snapped in anger, and ... worry? The King and his elder son exchanged a glance before turning back to the leader of the White Council.
Saruman was concealing the ring in one long-fingered hand. "I now know what ring this is," he said. His voice sounded of constrained excitement and his eyes were bright with desire and joy. Thranduil was slightly disturbed to see such a strange expression on the face of someone who he had thought would be calm and neutral.
Hiding his annoyance, Thranduil said in forced politeness, "What is it, my lord?"
Saruman's face closed. "It does not concern you," he replied, now in a calm voice. Legolas heard a sneer in the words and barely restrained himself from speaking words he would later regret.
"I think it does, my lord," said Thranduil, now more openly irritated. "We were the ones who found the ring, and the bearer of it. We have held fourteen captives in my dungeon, in case you were interested in them. We have left this ring untouched so that you might readily tell us its nature. Now you would say it is none of our business?"
"It is none," Saruman said coldly. "I will take this ring to Isengard, and there -- "
Legolas had held himself back long enough. He pushed past his brother's arm and cut off the wizard. "What, my lord? Take the ring? I think not; it does not belong to you. Oughtn't you to ask the owner -- "
"Owner?" Saruman cut off in his turn. "What makes you the owner of this Ring of Power, Elfling?"
Legolas' face flamed. "I didn't say it was mine," he corrected, his tone heated to match his face. "And I am no Elfling."
The White Wizard smiled in a condescending way. "Then perhaps you shouldn't act like one by interrupting your elders." Legolas clenched his fists and said nothing. Elnen approached and whispered something in his ear.
"I will take this ring to Isengard," continued Saruman as though nothing had happened; "I must study this ring."
"I thought you knew what it was," Thranduil said icily. Saruman hid his hand in his clothing and when it again saw the light it was empty. He turned and strode towards the door.
"I do," he said without turning around. He offered no more of an explanation. He opened one of the doors and turned back for a moment. "Good day, my good Elves," he said lightly. Legolas heard an insult, saw a mocking smile, and would have shouldered past Elnen had Elnen not tightly wrapped one hand in Legolas' tunic to hold him there. The door shut with a dramatic boom.
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.