Gandalf lets Faramir meet Saruman - in Orthanc or Rivendell, you decide
Chapter 16: Orthanc
-Bell Witch 31 January 2006 20:36 (GMT)
“Unaccustomed as I am to leaving this tower it is likely wisest to go to Faramir’s side rather than bring him here. I would prefer to stay but do not wish to cause further strain on his health,” Saruman said, moving to prepare for the journey to Rivendell.
“Physically he is much better,” Gandalf began thoughtfully. “He is comfortable in Rivendell—physically—but troubled in mind and that is what needs to be fixed.”
Saruman raised an eloquent eyebrow. “Think you that it is wise for him to travel? While I agree that this tower is safe from the Witch-King the journey may not be.”
“I am aware of that,” Gandalf snapped before realising to whom he was speaking. “It is my concern for Faramir that causes me to speak rudely. I think that it may be good for him to move, to go somewhere new where he does not have the memories of when this first happened. Yes, I will bring him to you here.”
Saruman nodded at this decision. “Very well. I will see what my books tell me and be ready upon your return to free the young man from Angmar’s grasp.”
He paused a moment as if in thought. “Will you be staying as well?”
“I would wish to but I cannot. News needs to be brought to Minas Tirith and none but me will have a chance to placate Lord Denethor. Faramir will be safe with you.”
Pale and tired, Faramir tried to eat something after the journey to Isengard. Orthanc was impressive if nothing else. Mithrandir had told him stories about Saruman that would have brought him great joy in the past but now merely served to keep him from shuddering at the presence of the other wizard.
“I will be leaving again at first light,” Gandalf said, rising from the table. “I would like to hear what you have discovered, but Faramir needs his rest now.”
Faramir settled into bed in a chamber finer than his rooms in the White City with an assurance that Gandalf would speak to him before departing. The wizards would talk long into the night.
Tired as he was, Faramir had trouble getting to sleep, afraid that the dreams would haunt him and humiliate him in front of Saruman. Then again, Lord Elrond has seemed hard and unfeeling and proved otherwise. If Mithrandir had trust in Saruman, then Faramir should not doubt him.
Still, it was difficult to face the head of the Istari on his own and was therefore very surprised that Saruman’s demeanour the next day was much more casual making him more at ease.
“You have been through great trials, young Faramir. I hope that they will soon come to an end. I need to see this ring to be certain but I believe I can rid you of it with little difficulty to you.”
“Little difficulty to me? What of yourself?” Faramir asked.
“Worry not. I have power enough to destroy Angmar’s trinket and it must not remain with you for longer than absolutely necessary. Let me see it.”
Faramir held out his hand nervously as he bit his lower lip. Saruman’s head rose slowly to study his face.
“You must have courage. You have come far and your journey nears its end. I believe I can remove this ring and sever his connection to you if I strike when he is distracted.”
Faramir looked up in actual hope and then his face fell. “How can you know when he is distracted?”
Saruman’s look was grim. “That is easy enough—I will remove it even as you dream of him. The spell is long but manageable, and when you wake from that last horrible nightmare you will be free again.”
He rose swiftly but halted when Faramir spoke.
“You know about the dreams?”
“I do. It was necessary that I know and you are fortunate that I do—they are the key to defeating the power of this ring. You need only experience them once more and then they will plague you no more. Perhaps even tonight his dominion over you will end.”
And mine will begin. He is perfect—not merely beautiful but intelligent and brave. He is a challenge worthy of me. He will not give in easily: Angmar is not the only one with tricks and secrets.
Faramir spent the day looking about Orthanc and trying not to think about what would happen that night. Would he have the nightmares at all or would he have to pass more days like this, waiting? The idea that the White Wizard needed to be there, to observe him while he slept and dreamed nearly sent him running but he had nowhere to go. Unless the ring was removed the Witch-King could follow him, could find him anywhere.
“Surely I can survive through them once more,” he said aloud to the sky. “Then perhaps my heart will begin to mend.”
He dined alone that evening, though with little appetite. His look to the west before he ate had a plea in it that surpassed the usual respectful gesture. He was exhausted by the time he retired to his chamber although filled with a nervous energy. He prepared for bed, wondering if Saruman would wait until he slept to come in. A few minutes later, he heard a knock on his door.
“Are you prepared to end this ordeal?” Saruman asked as he entered bearing a moderate-sized old book.
“Would that it never happened,” Faramir said nervously. “But yes.”
“Lie down then. You need do nothing but sleep as you normally would. I will wait for the nightmares to come and then perform the spell. Remember if you can that the dreams are not real. If you are aware that you are dreaming, the spell will be easier to do—but do it I will regardless. By morning it will be over.”
A candle was left burning for Saruman, but that was not why Faramir could not fall asleep. He hated to be observed as he slept even if there was no help for it. A long time later, he finally relaxed enough to sleep.
A soft cry signalled the onset of a nightmare and Saruman reached his mind out to Faramir’s. Yes, Angmar made love to the boy who writhed most wantonly and begged for more even as a voice asked him questions about Gondor’s security. Interesting. He observed for a short while before turning his mind to the spell. Angmar was occupied by the direct contact and his power was physically weakest. He could indulge in fantasies of his own with Faramir once the Witch-King’s influence was destroyed.
The ring’s glow faded as the spell finished and Faramir calmed in his sleep.
How unfortunate that I could not witness the climax of the dream. But the boy is mine now and no one is here to stop me. Even Gandalf is leagues away travelling to Minas Tirith.
Saruman bent over the sleeping figure and smiled darkly. He removed the ring from Faramir’s finger as easily as picking a ripe berry.
It had been a good night’s work: tomorrow should prove to be most interesting.
What happens next?
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