It is Strider, with or without his companions.
Chapter 14: Decisions
Grima stalked towards the door, silently fuming at the interruption between him and Denethor’s youngest son. It was nothing short of a miracle that the boy had practically fallen into his lap, when his orders just six weeks past had been to abduct the younger son.
The white wizard had requested Faramir’s presence in Isengard by whatever means possible, in order to keep him there for safekeeping. Grima was unsure of the reasons, but his best guess was that after the Heir to the Stewardship and the Steward himself were ‘tragically killed’ then Faramir would be installed as the new Steward. After several years under Saruman’s tutelage, the white wizard would be in control of Gondor, pulling the new Steward’s strings.
Opening the door, he stopped short and blinked at Strider who was glaring angrily at him.
“I will speak to the young man; there is something he and I need to discuss.” Strider said curtly. He had looked the horse over, to see if he could prove or disprove the stranger’s claim of innocence. He had been surprised when he had found the tack to be of Gondorian make, which raised further questions of how the horse could have found its way from Gondor to get the equipment and back to Rohan. If this boy had stolen the horse from Gondor, why would it be Rohirrim bred? If it were stolen from Rohan, then why did the man not stay in Gondor? Questions that needed answers before he could leave the Rohirrim’s captive with his captors.
“That would be quite impossible; I am interrogating the thief at the moment. Interruptions are not welcome, however if you schedule an appointment perhaps I shall be able to make time later on.” Grima lied, not prepared to give up the bound young man. The taste of Faramir surprised him, reminding him of fresh water and rich damp earth.
Aragorn stared at the dark greasy man’s audacity. As soon as the young man had been put into Wormtongue’s custody his rangers had been treated coldly and his requests to speak with Theoden King had been rudely rebuffed. Now, as the small pale man made to shut the door in his face, Aragorn reached the limit of his patience. “I will speak with him now.” He said firmly, brushing aside the advisor’s protests.
Faramir looked up from the floor, tensing at the sight of Grima’s reappearance. The foul breath of the man made the air around him stink, and the Gondorian sincerely wished he had never left Ithilien. Trying to loosen his bonds made the rough rope rub coarsely against his wrists and he sighed, looking down again. The sound of another man in the room made him glance up, and Faramir’s eyes grew wide at the scene before him.
Strider stood above him, frowning out of a sodden cloak, with Grima insisting that he be left alone with the prisoner. Faramir winced at the idea of being at his captor’s mercy and silently hoped that he would be believed. “I am no thief,” he insisted quietly. “Is it a crime to own a horse that is Rohirrim? Many people own them.”
“Rohan’s people.” Grima hissed.
Aragorn frowned harder, and reached out to tilt the boy’s head upwards when the young man flinched back. Or he would have, if he had not been bound. Noticing the first time the thick rope binding the sodden body to the chair, he turned and demanded an explanation from Wormtongue. When none was forthcoming, Aragorn began to have serious doubts over who was the true criminal in this situation.
“Please, do not leave me with him.” Faramir whispered.
What happens next?
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