Hey there, sorry it took me so long to bring out this chapter, it's my last year of school so I was kinda busy with that. I've tried getting out two chapter during my fall break but I had to study for my driving test (which I failed anyway..." so I didn't have as much time as I thought I would have. Anyway, here's your chapter, I'm sorry it took too long. Unfortunatly the next chapter won't be finished untill December, mostly because of school related stress, I'll have at least two exams per week (not even exagerating there) and won't have much time, or no time at all, to write anything. As soon as I'm done however, you can expect at least one or two chapters during my winter break, more if I have the time for it. If you have any complaints, ideas or feedback for this chapter, please write a pm or leave a comment, I read them whenever I can. Anyway, without further adoo, enjoy the newest chapter of "A story of many colors".
When Frodo finally comes to his senses, he finds himself looking at a gray ceiling, so high up that he doubts that even the largest of the tall folk could touch it. The room he slept in, is small and gray and is completely unfurnished aside from his, far to large, bed and a small chair at the other side of the room. As he slowly blinks the sleep from his eyes and sits up, he slowly begins to recall the last days events. When he and Merry finally got to Isengard, they were greeted by a haggard looking man that told them that Saruman was out at the time and wouldn't come back for another day. Without him here the Ortanc would be closed to any visitors and that they, should they seek an audience with the wizard, would have to wait until tomorrow to meet him. At the pleas of the two hobbits however he eventually relented and let the two in to wait for Saruman inside the guest chambers. After their long and hard time of traveling Rohan both Hobbits were exhausted and only a few hours later they fell asleep in their beds.
As Frodo slowly begins to get up from the bed, someone begins knocking on his door. Hastily he gets dressed before opening for his unexpected guest. Before the Hobbit can get any word out, he is cut off by the visitors, who turns out to be the same man he and Merry already met, words.
"Master Saruman has returned and has told me that he's awaiting your presence in his study. I hope whatever you have to tell him is actually important rather than just another petty peasant plights no one cares about. Now hurry up or should I tell him you were to important to meet with him?"
Without further ado, Frodo wakes up Merry, who was sleeping in the room next to his and heads out to meet the wizard. As he is led to Sarumans study, Frodo begins fidgeting with the ring around his neck. At first only to make sure that it's still there, but soon mostly because he's nervous and restless. From the sound of the mans voice it seems as if Saruman is displeased with their presence here. What if he won't let them stay here, what if he won't offer them any help and just throws them out? Sure, it's unlikely to happen, especially since Saruman knows how important their mission is, but there still might be a chance and without Faramir or his other companions here, he has no idea where to turn to next.
Frodos musing however is cut short since soon after they come to a large black door leading to the study. The man stops in front of it and stands there in absolute silence. Just moments after Frodo begins wondering how someone would get these doors to open, they seem far to large and heavy to simply open them by pushing with even a large number of men, they swing open by themselves revealing Saruman standing behind them.
"Thank you Grima, now to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit my friend, Grima said you have been suspiciously tight lipped about the your reason to stay here."
"I'm sorry, but I'd rather tell you at another time," Frodo answers and much quieter adds, "alone."
"Well then, how about you accompany me outside, the gardens of Isengard are quite beautiful at this time of the year. Grima, stay here and prepare the gifts for the Dunland chieftains we hope to gain for our side." Saruman tells the now named Grima who seems to be listening in from his place near the door. With a small bow the man hisses a simple "yes my lord", before heading out to do his masters bidding.
Saruman occasionally hums or sighs during Frodos recounting of the council of Cirdan and his journey to Isengard, but otherwise stays silent as the two wander beneath the tall trees in the gardens.
"I am not sure of the wisdom in sending you here, so close to the orc infested Misty Mountains, but I agree, the ring must be destroyed and if Cirdan and the others think that this is the best path to do so, then so shall it be."
"I wasn't sure either, but I agree with them, the ring couldn't stay in Mithlond, the chances of someone taking it for himself were just too great." Frodo sighs.
"Well then Mr. Frodo, it seems as if you will be our guest for the upcoming days." Saruman cheerfully declares, before growing more somber
"I will procure the means to protect the ring from outsiders as soon as possible. Even though I trust that non of my servants will take it, the ring has a will of it's own and I can't guarantee that it wouldn't be able to tempt at least one of them. It is a good thing you brought us out here to talk about this, the fewer people learn that you have the ring, the better. Always remember to keep it hidden Frodo, let no one, not even I see it until I have found a way to hide or guard it effectively."
"Alright, I shall keep it hidden, but how could you guard it if no one is allowed to come near it?"
"Let that be my concern Frodo, eventually I will find way. Now go, I will inform my servants that you are honored guests and make sure that you will lack in nothing."
With these words, Saruman heads back into the Orthanc while Frodo lingers outside for another moment. He takes some time to admire the expansive and furthermore carefully attended gardens and orchards of Isengard. While some of the plants seem to come from faraway lands and seem strange or fantastical even, with beautiful colors and exotic scents, some remind him of home, of the Shire with its large meadows and old but carefully trimmed trees. At some point he thinks he can even spot some pipeweed but believes it to be a trick of his eyes. The orchards mostly hold fruit though and seem to be build in order to offer a steady amount of food, whether in preparation for a siege or just to make Isengard less dependent of others Frodo doesn't know, but with how big they are he's sure that they haven't simply been build to offer fresh food for Saruman. Eventually however he leaves the gardens, he leaving Merry in their room without a clue of what's going on after all wouldn't be wise under any circumstance.
When he arrives however Frodo learns that Merry, surprisingly enough, hasn't actually waited for him to come back after his talk with Saruman and instead seems to have headed out by himself to get them something to eat, only leaving Frodo a small note to tell him to search for him in the kitchens. After getting some quick pointers from a nearby servant, Frodo heads there to get something to eat himself where he actually finds Merry. Not eating though but much rather sitting on a large barrel of Longbottom Leaf, one of the finest pipeweed brands in the whole Shire.
"Hello there Frodo, how nice to see you." He said, hoping on his feet and bowing deep, "I didn't expect any guests, but I'd be most glad to share some of this fine pipeweed with you."
"Merry, where did you get all that, it must have cost a fortune!"
"Well my dear Frodo, I found this treasure in our hosts luxurious pantry, along with two other barrels, both of fine age and brand," replies Merry, "And yes I'm sure that he won't mind, who needs three barrels for himself after all. And if he does end up needing them, well I always liked it more to ask for forgiveness rather than permission."
"Alright then, give me some of your oh so fine weed and let my try for myself," Frodo laughs.
The two Hobbits sit there for a while, simply smoking, talking and laughing, not about any big issues or important topics, but rather about the small thing in life, such as whether Saruman got his habit of smoking from Gandalf or Gandalf from him. The things that amuse them and make them think about the good things in the world and, most importantly, the things that make them forget the past few days, make them forget about leaving their new found friends behind and not knowing what happened to them. And indeed, from afar, the two appear as merry as they want to present themselves, but upon closer inspection it becomes apparent that their smiles never truly reach their eyes and that, most of all, they are tired. Tired from their journey sure, but also emotionally tired. Tired of running, tired of always having to sleep with one eye open and most of all tired of leaving behind those that they care for. They know that eventually they will have to leave the safety of Isengard again, but have simply decided to make the best out of their time here. It comes as no surprise then, that the next days are spent in a similar matter, drinking, frolicking and smoking, but never worrying or contemplating their quest. Only in the occasional talk with Saruman is it ever brought up and those are few and far between. Despite their cordial relationship, they barely see the wizard, partly because he always seems to be busy with one thing or another, such as meetings with messengers, writing messages and coordinating the servants, and partly because he himself wishes to avoid them as much as possible, the allure of the ring is strong after all and he fears that it might take control of him if he spends to long in it's presence.
Their routine is only broken on the third day of their stay in Isengard, not counting the one they arrived on, when one of the guards calls for Sarumans, Frodo is currently talking to, attention. "heavily armed riders approaching from the south, my Lord. Two men, an elf and a dwarf!"
Immediately the keep is on alarm, but before anyone can react, Frodo storms outside the gate too look for them himself. It takes only a moment for him to spot the four and immediately he recognizes them. He didn't believe that they would survive, but here they stand, Faramir, Gimli, Halbarad and Galdor, his comrades and maybe even his friends. Without another thought Frodo, shortly followed by Merry, runs to their side. Even from a distance it seems clear that their friends have had better times, they seems exhausted and it looks like Faramir can only barely hold himself up on his horse. And indeed, only seconds before the two Hobbits reach the companions, Faramir slowly begins to tip over, before falling of and hitting the ground. It only takes a second for their friends to pick up the body. The first thing Frodo notices once he comes closer, is Galdors concerned look as he hunches over their friend. While the others do seem worried, it's clear, that Galdor is far more troubled than them. Without any words of greeting, he simply picks up the body and yells at the Hobbits.
"get Saruman, we have need for his skill at healing!"
It doesn't take long for Frodo to get the wizard, but when he returns to Galdor he looks even more worried than before. It seems as if he has since given up on his efforts to carry the human and is instead simply trying to keep him stable for Saruman to survive, who, upon seeing Faramirs condition, immediately starts helping him in his endeavor. Soon enough guards start forming a perimeter around the two healers at work while servants hush around to get a salve or some herbs Saruman requests. Frodo however can only stand nearby, hoping that the two can save his friend, before being taken away by one of the guards.