PartIII Chapter 2.9
The Dark (QD4)
It was the minutes afore the death of the night. Menacing mindful moments for the Lieutenant and the Wizard.
The Lieutenant had left, called away to a pressing matter. Saruman sat alone before the seeing-stone; time counted down to the dawn. As Saruman waited anxiously for the return of the Lieutenant, it seemed that the seconds stood still, caught in some warp, the Wizard’s thoughts recalled those hours in the deep night-tide, when…
He had placed the Ithil-stone on a cabinet positioned near a small aperture in the turret wall, the only source of air and link to the world outside. A blustering breeze burst into the chamber, blowing asunder papers which had been stacked high. He was unperturbed, waiting, as he gazed into the shadows of a solemn sapphire sky, for the sign.
The spark of the seeing-stone started to surge. He began to chant, infiltrating the mind of the Steward’s first-born, and as a dove taken by an eagle to its eyrie, so Boromir was brought to the stone of Minas Anor.
His seeing-stone sprung to life, fueled by his energy and will, infused by that of his captured prey and the presence of the Dark Lord.
In his semi-trance, he had not heard the door unlock. The Captain entered soundlessly. Suddenly he became aware of a giant form looming over him from behind. He turned, startled. From an amorphic darkness, words pierced his space:
‘The Dark Lord has sent me. Our Master will execute the final assault. You should continue to draw the Gondorian warrior to the Tower, but Our Lord will take over when in the purview of the palantir. Is that clear, Wizard?!’
He had mixed feelings of relief and trepidation at this order, for while the end result now would be Sauron’s responsibility, the hand-over would be perilous; however he did not raise any of his concerns, he just nodded in acquiescence.
He felt the fury of a fearsome fray and a frenzied flight; and then… then he saw the muted image of the first-born at the seeing-stone.
A huge steel glove gripped vice-like onto his shoulder:
‘The Dark Lord will take control.’
He shuddered at the memory.
He sat back in his chair.
There was a shudder, then for a split-second the stone filled with a swirling scarlet mist, and a shrill siren sounded.
He relaxed; the transfer had occurred without incident, Sauron was in command.
The blare of the sound was overwhelming and mesmerizing; Gondor’s commander was ensnarled, merely the stone’s cover stood between this heir of the Stewards and the Dark Lord.
‘Remove the shroud…’ he heard hissed from the Dark Lord to the quarry.
The shadow of a hand appeared and the cover commenced to lift.
He gulped and leaned forward to watch the uncovering, roused to see the unveiled face of the High Warden of the White Tower, as the Dark Lord struck.
The veil was lifting, revealing hands and body, neck - almost to the head, nearly…, for when Sauron could lock on to the eyes – the portals to the very essence of the being - then the Steward’s first-born would be The Dark’s!
He was unconsciously holding his breath; the Captain leaned over him further, also wanting to capture the moment; yet at the instant of triumph... the veil fell, there was a heavy thud and the figure disappeared.
He gasped; the Lord of the Nazgûl drew in a hollow sighing wheeze, like the last gasp of the dying.
He looked up, never before had he been so close to the Captain, who now loomed above him, and a sinister aura fell over him as he saw into the dark chasm of Witch-king’s hood, and beheld… the sight shot a deathly chill through him…
The Captain sensed the stare of Saruman, and recoiled from him, standing upright and towering over the Wizard, exclaiming:
But as the Captain spoke, the stone was infiltrated by a blue light, then it went opaque; the siren continued to shriek.
The Captain quaked, receiving a message of another, then announced:
‘The Dark Lord has beckoned me, instructing you to stay with the stone. Be prepared to receive a summons…’
Then with thunderous steps strode to the door, flung it open and stomped out…
Though relieved at the Captain’s exit, he was agitated about the happenings with the stone and the imminent summons; he waited apprehensively – not knowing for what he would be held responsible…and what of the prophesies of the seer of Methedras?
It was just before the first flush of light that the Lieutenant returned, and scattering the Wizard’s memories, declared:
‘Aurora may arise, all is in readiness.’