Hello and welcome to this story of mine, which I am writing as part of the nanowrimo, which means that I will try to publish the whole story in July, though I will continue uploading even after it has ended if I'm not done yet. I will try to publish as much as I can, though I don't know how that will turn out. This is my first fanfic, so I don't know how good it'll be. Now, I think I have kept you long enough, thank you for sticking with me so far and have fun with the story.

-hagbraten

The darkness in the east grows steadily, the elves are leaving middle earth in droves and the Dunedain realms are in decay. It is a dark time for humankind and hope is a most valuable commodity for most. Yet there is still hope to be found, a few beacons of resistance are holding back the impending darkness. Two of these beacons are just about to meet. The Wizard Gandalf the Grey, famed for his wisdom and advice in times of need and the wizard known as Saruman the White, the greatest of his order and known for his great knowledge and skill in many disciplines. They meet at the behest of Gandalf, whom has received knowledge of the location of the one ring, one of the most powerful and versatile weapons of the enemy.

As the sun slowly rises above the treetops of the forest of Fangorn a rider clad in an unusually thick gray cloak approaches the impenetrable fortress known as the Orthanc. "Early is the hour of your arrival my friend", a disembodied voice filled with age and experience murmurs, "the pace of your journey has me worried though, tell me Gandalf, what business is so important to you, that it has driven you this far away from your beloved shire?"

"Grave news I suppose, but with a little bit of luck a way to turn the tides in our favor", the cloaked man replies, slowly dismounting with a grace belying his age.

"Then tell me of these grave news that have worried you this much. Perhaps a fresh perspective might help you clear your mind about it, that is after all what you have come here for, is it not?" The first voice replies, this time coming from what appears to be an old man dressed in white. Saruman, for that was the old mans name, was standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs leading up to his tower. With open arms he welcomes the traveler, whom he hasn't seen much these past few decades.

"Now please tell me about that grave news you have mentioned my friend. From your unraveled appearance it seems as if we have much to discuss," Saruman said, looking at his fellow Istari. With a sigh, betraying his exhaustion Gandalf begins his tale. It is not a very happy one, few are, if they contain the nine or the shadow in the east.

As Gandalf narrates his story and his news Sarumans concern only seems to grow with each word. Where he once seemed cool and collected he now looks more like a frail man, then the powerful wizard he truly is. As Gandalf draws to a close he seems weary and pushed to exhaustion. Slowly he looks at his friend, "Gandalf, your news are grave indeed, long since there has been no mention of the nine beyond the walls of Minas Morgul, but I sense that this is not what you came here for, isn't that right?"

"No, you are entirely correct Saruman. While these problems are no trivial matter, I may have found something which may be even more important. A crucial thing that may prove to become a turning point in this war. While I was visiting an old friend in the shire I have found something in his possession that, should my assumption be true, is one of the rings of power, if not the ring itself." Saruman looks incredulous at the gray clad man, a ring of power was indeed no trivial matter. Straightening up, he beckons Gandalf to come inside, knowing that they otherwise may be overheard.

Once deep in the bowels of Orthanc he takes another look at the gray pilgrim. Too serious is this accusation to be anything but truth, yet he still cannot believe him. A ring of power is after all not a thing one usually finds lying around at a friends house. Addressing his friend, he begins asking question about the whereabouts of said ring, "We have to know Gandalf, if your suspicion proves correct. It was very wise of you to consult me in this matter and I thank you for it, but you must tell me where the ring is now, so we might bring it to safety before the dark Lord and his minions learn of these news."

"I'm afraid it might already be too late for that", Gandalf solemnly relies, "the creature known as Gollum, the only one whom also knows about the ring was taken to Barrad Dur, if Sauron doesn't already know where it is now, it won't be long before he gets it out from the poor creature." Saruman freezes at these words, anger distorting his face, "and you have left the ring alone, unsupervised?" he shouts furiously, "We must head out at once to get it, else the enemy may find it before we do and if that happens we're utterly domed." With these words he dashes outside, grabbing two horses for him and Gandalf, "I will follow you, let's hurry, so we might arrive before it is too late."

With nary a break the two wizards ride, seeking out a small hobbit-hole deep in the shire. On the eve of the third day of their travels they finally arrive at the city of Hobbington, a small town, although rather large by shire standards, inhabited by, who would have guessed it, hobbits. As the sun slowly sets behind the rolling hills of the countryside, the pair arrives at one of the numerous hobbit holes which dot the area.

After dismounting Gandalf knocks on the beautifully painted green front door, leading into the former house of the infamous Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. As one might expect the door was opened rather quickly by a worried hobbit looking up at Gandalf. "This", droned Gandalf, "is Frodo Baggins, my friends nephew. He has entrusted him with the object we have talked about." Saruman slowly walked up to the, now named, Hobbit, towering above him, unyielding as a mountain. Slowly he begins talking to Gandalf, his eyes never leaving Frodo, "you have entrusted one of the most powerful objects in Middle earth to this, this Hobbit, this creature with so little of a backbone that it already cowers before me, before I have even properly addressed it?" Frodo was appearing smaller and smaller, almost seeming to shrink into himself in the presence of Saruman. "Truly the halflings weed has muddied your mind further than I had thought."

Seeing the Hobbits look of fear, the gray pilgrim took pity in him and spoke: "Enough Saruman, his position as the ring-keeper is just. He is good at heart and more able to withstand temptation than either you or me." His tone becomes more mellow, "Now please leave him alone, I have little want for him to be anymore frightened than he already is."

"You're right, let's focus back on the object we came here for, after all we still have yet to determine it's authenticy. Tell me Hobbit, where have you hidden the ring you were entrusted by your uncle?" Frodo seemed hesitant to answer, but with a quick nod from Gandalf he spoke: "I have hidden it, just as Gandalf told me. It is in an envelope locked in the big trunk over there, just beneath the maps and letters."

Quickly Saruman strode over to the chest, expertly destroying the lock with his staff. He ruffles through the paper inside until he comes up with a sealed envelope in his fingers. A Frodos silent nod he breaks the wax seals and pours out the content onto a nearby table. A small ring comes out, it's small sound as it hits the wood silencing the room. Cautiously Saruman eyes the ring, he dares not touch it, for it might alert it's owner. Seeing a napkin he begins to wrap up the ring without touching it, carrying it to the fireplace and trowing both the napkin, as well as the ring into the open flame. The tension in the room is overwhelming, it seeps into every last corner of and holds the breath of all three currently present. When Saruman slowly takes the ring out of the fire with a pair of tongs the other two pale at his grave expression. He returns the ring onto its old place on top of the table and beckons Frodo forward. "Tell me young Hobbit, when you look at this ring, what do you see?" Unsure Frodo looks at Gandalf and slowly says: "It is a ring, not an especially pretty one sure, but nothing unusual. Wait, there seems to be some for of embroilment that I have never seen before, it looks like some sort of elvish, but I can't decipher it."

Both Saruman and Gandalf looks aghast at him, their faces pale and visibly concerned. "Is that a problem?" Frodo questions, worried about their unusual reaction. "Yes and no my young friend", Gandalf replies, still not looking away from both him and the ring. "It is an opportunity at least." Saruman almost silently voices, "an opportunity which may help us get rid of the enemy at long last." At this he throws a napkin at Frodo, "wrap the ring in this and follow us, we must leave this place at once to find a safer hort for it. We shall travel to the Orthanc and keep it there, until a final solution about it's fate is decided." Quickly he walks outside to find a local pony for their soon to be Hobbit companion.

Gandalf meanwhile remains inside, looking at Frodo with sadness, "I apologize. I shouldn't have dragged you into this Frodo." "Shouldn't have dragged me into what Gandalf, what is happening?" Frodo asked, unnerved by his friends unusual behavior. Gandalf took a long look at the young Hobbit, before cryptically replying "Something that is way too big for a Hobbit, even one as brave as you. But let's not dally, we must make haste to get to Isengard as soon as possible. Once we're behind it's walls I will tell you everything."

Frodo packs his things as quickly as possible, not truly understanding the need for the rush, but still understanding that the two wizards being anxious was no good sign. Hastily he trows on a traveling garb and a rucksack with a few essential items, such as a rations and a can of oil, in it. The pair came out, only to find a waiting Saruman with a small pony in front of the door. The white wizard turned to them with a troubled look on his face. "We must go now, I trust that you have made your preparations for the duration of the trip Master Hobbit?" At Frodos nod he swung himself onto his mare and signed for Frodo and Gandalf to do the same. The lack of light that followed the setting of the sun shrouded their departure in darkness, leaving no one in Hobbington any the wiser about it. Although neither of the tree spoke a word, it was clear for all three of them, that their journey wouldn't remain as tranquil as it was before.