Lady From Beyond the Sea – Chapter 21 – The Voice of Saruman
I’m getting settled in my new apartment, so hopefully I will be able to get chapters out more consistently. For now, enjoy!
Zandra: She has water power, which includes weather power. She is slowly regaining her memory of who and what she is. She is Dae Kular, which literally means “light warrior,” but she thinks it is something more.
Tinania: Zandra’s eldest sister, she became something (we don’t know what yet) and went away. She has fire power.
Jaessa: Zandra’s other sister, described as sweet, and calm. She has earth power, which includes plants.
Zandra’s Mother: associated with stars
Zandra’s Father: associated with shadows
Dyryn: Zandra once thought she loved him, but he tricked her and imprisoned her in Dol Guldur He had a ring, and became a wraith.
Gallin: Boy from Rohan, a friend of Zandra’s, died at Helm’s Deep
https://www.theonering.com/docs/9291.html – Prologue
https://www.theonering.com/docs/12885.html – Chapter 20
They passed through the ruined tunnel and stood upon a heap of stones, gazing at the dark rock of Orthanc, and its many windows, a menace still in the desolation that lay all about it. A strange foreboding filled Zandra at the sight, along with a reluctance to go nearer. She sharply berated herself, Don’t be foolish! There is nothing to be afraid of. Saruman is finished!
“There is Gandalf, and Theoden and his men!” said Legolas, pointing to the riders picking their way across the waste; they were coming from the north side, and already they were drawing near Orthanc. “Let us go and meet them!”
“Walk warily!” said Merry. “There are loose slabs that may tilt up and throw you down into a pit, if you don’t take care.”
They followed what was left of the road from the gates to Orthanc, going slowly for the flag-stones were cracked and slimed. The riders, seeing them approach halted under the shadow of the rock and waited for them. Gandalf rode forward to meet them.
“Well, Treebeard and I have had some interesting discussions, and made a few plans” he said; “and we have all had some much-needed rest. Now we must be going again. I hope you companions have all rested too, and refreshed yourselves?”
“We have,” said Merry, “But our discussions began and ended in smoke. Still, we feel less ill-disposed towards Saruman than we did.”
Speak for yourself Zandra thought indignantly, I do not so easily forget a betrayal. And less easily do I forgive one.
“Do you indeed?” said Gandalf, his tone an echo of Zandra’s thoughts, “Well, I do not. I have now a last task to do before I go: I must pay Saruman a farewell visit. Dangerous, and probably useless; but it must be done. Those of you who wish may come with me – but beware! And do not jest, this is not the time for it.”
“What’s the danger?” asked Pippin. “Will he shoot at us, and pour fire out of the windows; or can he put a spell on us from a distance?”
“The last is most likely, if you ride to his door with a light heart,” said Gandalf. “But there is no knowing what he can do, or may choose to try. A wild beast cornered is not safe to approach. And Saruman has powers you do not guess. Beware of his voice!”
A shaft of fear laced the foreboding that had earlier filled Zandra. Again she scolded herself. Saruman can have no reason to use his power on you. He has payed no special notice to you in the past.
They came now to the foot of Orthanc. It was black, and the rock gleamed as if it were wet. The many faces of the stone had sharp edges as though they had been newly chiseled.. At the foot of the stairs Gandalf and the king dismounted.
“I will go up,” said Gandalf, “I have been in Orthanc, and I know my peril.”
“And I too will go up,” said the king, “I am old, and fear no peril anymore. I wish to speak with the enemy who has done me so much wrong. Eomer shall come with me, and see that my aged feet do not falter.”
“As you will,” said Gandalf. “Aragorn shall come with me. Let the others await us at the foot of the stairs. They will hear and see enough, if there is anything to hear or see.”
“Nay!” said Gimli. “Legolas and I wish for a closer view. We alone here represent our kindreds. We also will come behind.”
“Come then!” said Gandalf, and with that he whirled, his grey cloak blowing aside, giving a glimpse of the white robes beneath. Zandra had no desire to go closer, and no intention of doing so, but when Legolas and Gimli moved to follow the wizard, some force, some other will impelled her feet forward slowly. As she moved forward the two great piers on either side seemed to reach out towards her, pulling her deeper into their dark embrace, seeming to absorb all light foolish enough to come near. The tower reared up before her, blocking all view of the sky. Her heart quailed, and the forward movement of her feet ceased.
Legolas turned and surprise and then concern flashed in his eyes. He drew neared to her and whispered, “Are you sure you wish to come?”
Zandra knew he could read the fear in her gaze, but nodded. “I . . .”her voice broke and she cleared her throat and began again. “This fear is groundless. I must face it or know the reason why.”
“Are you . . .” he broke off as a hollow boom echoed from the door of Orthanc as Gandalf beat on it with his staff. “Saruman, Saruman!” he cried in a loud commanding voice. “Saruman come forth!”
Both Legolas and Zandra moved to the top of the stairs. Zandra held back a little and stood in the shadow of the little group, her cloak pulled tight about her.
For some time there was no answer. At last the window above the door was unbarred, but no figure could be seen at its dark opening.
“Who is it?” said a voice that filled Zandra with a disgust that lessened her fear. “What do you wish?”
“Go and fetch Saruman, since you have become his footman, Grima Wormtongue!” said Gandalf. “And do not waste our time!”
The window closed. Time stretched on, the anxiety causing the blood to pound in Zandra’s temples as fear threatened to overthrow her. Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, and the dark and fear fled, to be replaced by a fog that left her without feeling, in a blessed numbness, the world seemed distant . . .
“Well?” a soft voice said suddenly with gentle question. “Why must you disturb my rest? Will you give me no peace at all by night or day?” Its tone was that of a kindly heart aggrieved by injuries undisturbed.
Legolas’s heart was moved to pity even as he looked up in surprise, for he had heard no sound of his coming; and he saw a figure standing at the rail, looking down upon them; an old man, swathed in a great cloak, the color of which was not easy to tell, for it changed if Legolas moved his eyes, or if Saruman stirred. His face was long, with a high forehead, he had deep darkling eyes, hard to fathom, and benevolent, and a little wary, as they examined each member of the little group in turn. Then they turned to Legolas, and their gaze sharpened, and a sly calculating look entered them; no, not at Legolas, behind him, at Zandra! Shock flooded him as he followed the wizard’s gaze. Zandra’s eyes were clouded, and the lids half covered them. Saruman’s voice held her in thrall! Cold fury filled him at the thought that Saruman would dare touch her with his dark powers. He moved closer to her and looked back up at the wizard, whose gaze was now on Theoden, a mask of grieved kindness.
“But come now,” said the soft voice. “Three at least of you I know by name. Gandalf I know too well to have much hope that he seeks help or counsel here. But you, Theoden Lord of the Mark of Rohan, are declared by your noble devices, and still more by the fair countenance of the House of Eorl. O worthy son of Thengel the Thrice-renowned! Why have you not come before, and as a friend? Much have I desired to see you, mightiest of kings of western lands, and especially in these latter years, to save you from the unwise and evil counsels that beset you! Is it yet too late? Despite the injuries that have been done to me, in which the men of Rohan, alas! have had some part, still I would save you, and deliver you fro the ruin that draws nigh inevitably, if you ride upon this road which you have taken. Indeed I alone can aid you now.”
Theoden opened his mouth as if to speak, but he said nothing. He looked up at the face of Saruman, and then to Gandalf at his side; and he seemed to hesitate. But Saruman had turned his dark solemn eyes away from the old king.
“And the third, my poor child!” his voice was filled with the tender concern of a father for a child, his gaze turned back to Zandra. “You I cannot fault. Your past sufferings have filled you with confusion. It is only natural that you should be unsure. But now you have come, and I can tell you what I have learned. For you must not think that you have been forgotten in this time of trouble. Indeed, your pains and afflictions have been much on my mind. Long and hard have I toiled to discover some answer to your questions. I have poured over old tomes, spoken to people from the far north, and the deep south, searching for some clue to your identity.”
For a moment Legolas’s anger abated, for his words had the ring of truth, surely one who had worked so long on Zandra’s behalf could not be all bad.
“At last I have had some success,” Saruman continued, his voice now filled with tired triumph. “Will you not come up and see what I have discovered?”
Legolas’s anger returned full force as the direction of Saruman’s intent became clear. Saruman was trying to get Zandra into Orthanc to use as a bargaining chip with Mordor now that his double treachery was revealed!
He knew who she was! The thought flitted through the fog in her mind joyfully. The promise in his melodious voice could only mean that. Impetuously she moved one step forward, then was halted by a sudden pressure on her arm. She looked down to find Legolas’s slender fingers detaining her. Then she looked up at him with a flash of anger at his interference. However the expression in his eyes stopped her. There was anger, not directed at her, but for her, and concern. The strength of that emotion on her behalf stopped her breath. She reluctantly pulled her gaze away from his as Saruman spoke again. But the fog had fled, and his voice seemed empty now, the expression of concern in his eyes but a hollow mask.
“Come Zandra, Child of Water, come to me. Let me aid you. I can tell you of your people, I can tell you of your sisters.”
Zandra drew in a sharp breath. Could he really tell her? He knew something, she was sure that there was truth in that; but what did he know? And what was his price? Was she giving up a chance to learn who she was? She felt Legolas’s hand move to her shoulder, and drew strength from that contact.
“Saruman,” she said, her voice strong, “If it were guaranteed that I would never know anything of my family save through you, still I would not join you. You are a treacherous cur who is grasping wildly at any chance left him. I will not become your pawn in a desperate gamble to regain something that you never had and were a fool to wish for in the first place. You had the opportunity to be great, for you were wise, but you were not satisfied, and so your wisdom turned to stupidity. I may never discover my past, but I would give it all up gladly before I came to lick your fingers. Turn else whither, your voice has lost its charm.”
“Fool!! What do you know of wisdom! Vicious termagant, vile shrew!” Zandra could not recall ever seeing such fury, or such venomous hatred before. Saruman was completely transformed. “Beware!” he hissed, turning away from her to address anyone he could reach, “Beware all of you!! Your doom draws nigh, indeed it travels in your very company,” as he spoke his voice changed, became deep, echoing in the minds of all who listened, foretelling death and destruction of all who would not heed him, “Beware Gandalf! The instrument of your demise, of the end of all you aim is even now with you. You think that your machinations have kept out of reach that which Sauron most desires, yet you bring within his grasp that which has been his aim for countless centuries. You do not know the ill you did when you released her from the pits.” One long bony finger stretched out to point at Zandra. “Better for all had she died there lost in the ruins. You should have left her there, and when we attacked Dol Guldur she would have been buried, but now she is free to wreak her destruction on the world.”
“If she is so dangerous, why did you wish her to come to you?” Gandalf asked, his voice calm, and, to Zandra’s astonishment, slightly amused. “What aim did you have?”
“I sought to keep her here, to bring her within my grasp to end the danger she poses, but she is stronger and more dangerous than I had supposed. Destroy her, before she destroys all!”
Saruman’s words echoed loudly in Zandra’s mind you bring within his grasp that which has bene his aim for countless centuries. Was her presence here risking that which she only wished to protect? Did she only bring doom? Did Dae Kular mean that she fought against light?
Then Gandalf laughed. Zandra blinked, and she realized that she had been again affected by Saruman’s spell, believing his lies, and allowing darkness to cloud her mind. But was it all lies? She very much feared not.