Lord of the Rings

The Voice of Saruman

By the time Merry and Pippin led Strider, Legolas, and Gimli through the ruin of Isengard to the foot of Orthanc, Gandalf, Theoden, and company were waiting for them.

"I have now one last task here," said Gandalf, "I must visit Saruman. It is probably useless, but it must be done."

"I too will go up," said Theoden. "I wish to speak with the enemy who has done me so much wrong."

"As you will," said Gandalf, "but beware of his voice! He has powers you do not guess." He strode forth and beat on the door of Orthanc with his staff.

They heard a voice, low and melodious. Each hearer was entranced by the sound of it. "Well?" it said. "Why must you disturb my rest?" Looking up, they saw an old man standing at the rail of a balcony above the door.

"Theoden, son of Thengel, why have you not come before, and as a friend? Much have I desired to see you, mightiest king of western lands. Shall we not have peace, you and I?" The Riders murmered with approval at the words of Saruman, and then they too were silent, as men spell-bound.

"We will have peace," said Theoden at last, and some of his men cried out gladly. "We will have peace when you and all your works have perished! You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. When you hang from a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc. I fear your voice has lost its charm."

Saruman was beside himself with wrath. "Dotard! What is the house of Eorl but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek, and their brats roll on the floor among the dogs? Go back to your huts!" Turning to Gandalf, his voice turned smooth again. "But you, Gandalf! For you I am grieved. Even now will you not listen to my counsel?"

All those listening were moved by this new tack. Each one felt that Gandalf would go up into the tower, that they would be left outside and betrayed.

Gandalf laughed. The fantasy vanished like a puff of smoke. "Saruman, you missed your calling. You should have been a jester." Saruman turned to leave.

"Come back, Saruman!" commanded Gandalf. "You have become a fool. You might have yet turned away from evil, but you choose not to. I am no longer Gandalf the Grey, now I am Gandalf the White, who has returned from death. I cast you out. Your staff is broken."

With a crack Saruman's staff split and fell from his hand. He crawled back from the balcony.

At that moment a heavy shining thing came hurtling down from above. It narrowly missed Gandalf and hit the steps near his feet. It was a globe of crystal, dark but glowing. Pippen ran after it and picked it up.

"The murderous rouge!" cried Eomer.

But Gandalf was unmoved. "No, that was not thrown by Saruman, but came from that window higher up. A parting shot from Master Wormtongue, I fancy, but ill aimed." Turning, he hastily took the globe from Pippin. "Here, my lad, I'll take that! I think we'll find this to be a great treasure, one that Saruman will not appreciate losing."

They turned to go. As they neared the gate they found Treebeard. Gandalf introduced Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas. The Elf greeted him, and asked his leave to travel with Gimli in Fangorn's Wood when this all was over.

"Hoom, hm. Ah now. An Elf and a Dwarf. This is a strange friendship."

"Strange it may seem, but I have promised we shall travel to Fangorn together," said Legolas. "Gimli's axe is not for trees, but for orc-necks."

"Hoo! Come now!" said Treebeard. "That is a better story! But that is for another time. Now we must part for a while.

Merry and Pippin bade their friend farewell, promising to send him any news of entwives. Treebeard promised Gandalf that the Ents would not let Saruman escape, and the company rode forth to return to Edoras.

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