31. Saruman the White
"Well, that's the last of them," Khamul said, vigorously shaking the ghost box over the grave.
"Do you suppose the souls of the dead mind?" Ancalime asked as she watched.
"Do you think they mind having ghosts living in their graves?"
"I think they're in Mandos right now."
"It still doesn't seem very polite."
"I don't care," Khamul snapped. "We're going home now." With Aica on her way to Arthedain, I think I'll take custody of that stone, she thought. If she didn't take it with her.
"Oh, I'll be glad to be back," Ancalime said. "It's very cold and nasty out here." She cast a disapproving look around the moors surrounding the grave.
"So will I," Khamul said, swinging onto her horse. "Let's go before it gets dark." Dammit! Did I say that? Ah well, Ancalime won't notice.
"Do you think the ghosts will come out after dark?" Ancalime asked nervously, looking around.
"Maybe, I don't know. They can't hurt us though." So why am I so nervous?
"Oh! Should we warn him?"
"Warn who?" Khamul asked, glancing around frantically.
"That man over there. On the road. The one dressed in white."
A twinge of panic struck Khamul as she looked up and at the man she'd seen all those years ago in the Gladden Fields. He'd been looking for the Ring, but had only found the Elendilmir. And he was a Maia.
"We've got to get out of here," Khamul muttered, kicking the horse.
"Ah, friend!" the Maia called, waving a hand.
"Oh, he sounds friendly," Ancalime said.
"No! Oh, you idiot!" Khamul cursed as Ancalime nudged her horse toward where the Maia…Saruman, stood.
"It is not safe for women to be out after dark," the Maia said, his eyes glittering as Ancalime and – reluctantly – Khamul rode up.
"It's not safe for old men either," Khamul snapped. We're both not what we seem, she thought. And we both know that. Let's just get that straight.
"Oh, I'm not as old as I look," Saruman said with a smile.
"Yeah, you're older. Come on, Ancalime, let's go."
"Might you be ringbearers?"
"No. We're leaving. Let's go."
"Ringbearers?" Ancalime asked. She held up her hand. "Well, I've got a ring."
"I see," Saruman said. His dark eyes glittered even more.
"She's married," Khamul said.
"No, I'm not," Ancalime protested. "I got this ring from…oh, never mind."
"Sauron?" Saruman prompted."
"Yes, him," Ancalime said cheerfully. "He was very nice. I liked him."
Stop talking, stop talking, stop talking, Khamul prayed. Thank the Valar she's talking about Sauron in the past tense though.
"Such a tragedy about the Ring," Saruman said.
"Oh, but I've got it right here."
"He means the One Ring," Khamul snapped.
"Oh, that," Ancalime said. "I don't know what happened to that. I think Isildur took it. He was a gentleman."
"I'm sure," Saruman said. "Perhaps it fell off when he was killed in the Gladden Fields. Could someone have picked it up?"
"I suppose," Ancalime said. "Where was it you said he died? I thought he died in Arthedain or something."
Saruman looked thrown by Ancalime's stupidity and Khamul clapped a hand over her mouth to hide a giggle.
"My…friend, isn't all there," Khamul said, tapping her head.
"I see," Saruman said. He looked disappointed. Perhaps he was doubting that they were actually servants of Sauron. Let him think that.
"I'm all here," Ancalime said defensively.
"Yes, yes, of course you are," Khamul said. Yes, she's a crazy woman. That's it. I'm her Haradrim caretaker. Exactly.
"I'm sorry to trouble you on such strange and trivial matters," Saruman said with a charming smile. "I mistook you for others, I fear."
"Oh, that's all right," Ancalime said. "What a nice man," she commented as they rode off.
What I don't like – don't like most – about Saruman is this apparent obsession he's got with the One Ring, Khamul thought. He's already been out looking for it once, and in the right place I might add. Why does he care about it? He's a Maia, he's got tons of power. He doesn't need the One Ring. But if he had it…
If it came to a showdown between Saruman and Sauron, who would I back? Whoever had the Ring, I suppose. They'd be the strongest. I don't like Saruman because he's a slimy bastard, but so is Sauron. You can't trust a word either one of them says. But Sauron's got a shred of something – I wouldn't call it honor – in him. He hasn't overtly stabbed me in the back. Saruman would, I think, without a second's hesitation.
So Sauron? Well, I guess so. I just pray the damn Ring stays lost.
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.