Child of Mordor - Four
This is really short, so just consider it a bit of the story, and not really a chapter. I'm posting it at the same time as Five, so it shouldn't be too bad. Thanx for understanding.
Neoresh stared out of the black curtains hanging in her window. They were solid, but she could see out of them. Therefore, she knew immediately when Gandalf the Grey rode up the path. She knew of course that he was coming. She had seen it in the Palantir. But she was also glad to know the moment of his arrival. She left her seat and went to Saruman to warn him of the arrival of his old friend.
But he was already prepared. He jumped nervously when Neoresh entered his room, but he was wearing his white robes, and all his dark magic tools had been put away. His chamber was a mass of scrolls filled with harmless spells. It looked set up, but if Gandalf was preoccupied with something else, he would not notice. And of course he was preoccupied with something. It was the Ring, and the little hobbit that carried it.
"He is here, Saruman. Do what you must, for I will be watching where you least expect me," she said ominously.
Saruman nodded distractedly, and Neoresh glared at a scroll. The parchment disintegrated into a burst of a soot. Saruman shivered, and stared at Neoresh.
"I am glad you noticed that at least," she said nastily. "You seemed not to be paying attention to the other things I was saying. But you were, weren't you?" she asked, lowering her voice dangerously.
Saruman swallowed. "Yes, lady."
Neoresh went straight to the Palantir. It's silvery cloth covering shimmered in the blackness of the chamber. Neoresh sat in the throne for many long minutes, but slipped into the shadows behind it when she heard voices approaching the room. Her veil hid her face well, and her black clothing always worked.
Then Gandalf and Saruman entered and Saruman walked straight to the center of the room where the Palantir stood. Gandalf was uttering something about how dangerous the Palantir was and how they shouldn't use it. He was a fool. He recovered the seeing stone, and stood still.
But Saruman, filled with overconfidence, walked slowly to his throne and sat. Neoresh could hear every word he said from where she hid.
"The hour is later than you think," he said softly. "Sauron's forces are moving. The Nine," and here even his steady voice let out a soft shudder, "have left Minas Morgul."
Gandalf's eyes expanded with fear. "The Nine?" he echoed.
Saruman smiled wryly. "They crossed the river Isen on Midsummer's eve, disguised as riders in black."
Gandalf slowly backed up, abandoning all pretense of being in control. "They...they've reached the Shire?" His fear was evident to Neoresh, even though the scant light of the room cast him into shadow.
"They will find the Ring," said Saruman, knowing he had won. "And kill the one who carries it." His tone was sure.
Gandalf muttered something so softly Neoresh couldn't hear it, and tried to run from the room. But Saruman shut the doors in his face. He ran to every set leading out, a futile gesture, since he would not get far even if he got out of the room. But when all the doors were shut, Neoresh stepped out from behind the chair.
Saruman jumped, but Gandalf stayed where he was. Neoresh stared at him, then turned to Saruman.
"Poorly done, Saruman, but at least you did it." Then she turned to Gandalf. "Yes, you know me don't you old man." It was not a question. "You have never looked upon me, but you know me all the same. I am the one the tales speak of, except that they have stopped telling those tales. But you still know me."
Gandalf nodded his head slowly. "Neoresh," he said, spitting her name out.
Neoresh smirked. "Yes. Now, Saruman knows what he must do, and he will do it. But you are stronger than he is. I just want to see if I gain anything from you before you outsmart him."
Gandalf nodded again. Neoresh could tell he knew what she was doing. She didn't know who was the stronger of the two, and she didn't know if Gandalf would escape, but she did know that goading Saruman would make him angry, and desperate to prove his power. So she insulted him, calling his enemy the greater. And Gandalf knew that she was guaranteeing him great pain.
Neoresh nodded smoothly at Saruman, and swept out in a rustle of black skirts and a swish of black hair.