Title: The Gift (a working title)

Authoress: Sat-Isis/Suten Net

Fandom: Lord of the Rings

Pairing: Gríma/Éowyn

Genre: Romance, Angst, Humor, AU

Rating: PG – 13

Warnings: AU, Movieverse

Archive: Yes! Just ask.

Summary: Gríma, confronted with his actions that have lead to the fall of Rohan, rushes to Helm's Deep to warn the Rorrihim of the impending danger. He gets caught up in the battle for Éowyn's sake and for the sake of his own redemption.

The Gift

Gríma, called Wormtongue, absently licked the blood welling up from the corner of his mouth. The gesture was at once unconscious and soothing. He had been summoned. A great whoosh of air from the opening door made him look up. The door slammed against the wall as Saruman appeared from beyond the threshold.

"You have failed me," a statement, not a question, and then a hard glare, "wipe that blood off your face." Saruman turned on his heel and strode back into the room, expecting his immediate compliance.

"Gandalf the White – Gandalf the fool!" Saruman paced wringing his hands, "Does he seek to humble me with his newfound piety?"

Gríma sidled through the threshold; his eyes taking the details of the room in. It was dark and shadowed, ne'er had he seen it such before. Ne'er had he seen Isengärd in such a state either.

"There were three who followed the wizard: an elf, a dwarf, and a man," Gríma's steps brought him closer to Saruman with each word. Saruman sneered with each sniff of his overlarge nose,

"You stink of horse." Gríma opted wisely for the silence as he made his way out of the dark room.

"The man," Gríma turned at Saruman's voice, "was he from Gondor?" Saruman arched a steel brow.

"No, from the North," Gríma patted the blood at the corner of his mouth. He wanted out of this horrible room. "One of the Dunadain Rangers I thought he was. His cloth was very poor – and yet – he bore a strange ring," his face contorted at the memory and he indicated on his finger where the dark haired man had worn the ring. "Two serpents with emerald eyes," the room was so cold his nose began to run; he would give Saruman his precious knowledge so he could be dismissed from this dark, cold room. "One devouring the other crowned with golden flowers."

Saruman went to his library and Gríma obediently followed, yet hung back at the room's threshold. It was far colder in that room. With hands like spiders, Saruman plucked a book from his self and sat. His nails grazed the pages, seeking out what he wanted.

"The Ring of Barahir." A pause. "So Gandalf Greyheim thinks he has found Iseildor's heir: the last king of Gondor – he is a fool! The line was broken years ago." He snapped the book shut, contemplating. Gríma kept silent and watched with interest Saruman's violent mood swings.

"It matters not. The world of men shall fall. It will begin with Edoras." When Saruman fell into his own dark musings, Gríma walked out of his mater's chambers. Though his mind cried "Out! Out!" he dared not draw attention to himself.

He found an empty room that was not so dark or so cold and sat upon its bed. Two days gone from Edoras and he was still no better than when Hama and his guards had thrown him bodily from the Golden Hall. At least he was still alive, miserable, but alive. He collapsed on the bed, pressing his handkerchief against his bleeding mouth. He was exhausted from his long ride and soon passed into sleep.

He had been summoned and found himself in much better spirits after resting. He still bled at the mouth and pressed at the blood with his soiled handkerchief. Saruman's Chambers were as foreboding as before, but now it did not press on him so. Today, Saruman sat, sure of himself and listening intently to Gríma's words.

"Théoden will not stay at Edoras. It is vulnerable – he knows this. He will expect an attack on the city. They will flee to Helm's Deep: the great fortress of Rohan." Gríma glanced at Saruman to find the wizard's inner machinations showing through his eyes. "It is a dangerous road to take through the mountains. It will be slow; they will have women – and children – with them." Saruman's mouth twitched and would have smiled -- if it only remembered how.

He stood up abruptly and strode out of his chambers. Gríma skittered behind him. Down dark hallways and down dark stairwells into the dark outdoors he followed Saruman. His eyes swept the Orc ridden grounds of Isengärd and he suppressed a shudder.

"Send out your Warg Riders," Saruman said to a particular Orc and his lips drew back over his teeth in the semblance of a smile. He could see the Wargs, those great snarling beasts. Disgusting, frightful creatures they were, and Gríma made his way back up to his quaint little room amid the gloom of Isengärd.

Gríma approached Saruman's Chambers. He had been summoned; again…this time to be questioned directly in regard to Helm's Deep no doubt. This time he had acquired a single candle holder to light his way through the dark halls. It was then that a drop of molten candle wax decided to splash across the back of his hand and Gríma flinched. He quickly drew his other hand up to brush the cooling wax off. Then he was assaulted by Saruman's booming voice,

"What took you so long? Never mind. Tell me of Helm's Deep." Gríma followed Saruman's voice into his laboratory. He was making something insidious, conjuring destruction. He was muttering under his breath, on how fire could undo stone, and his hair was uncombed. Gríma was starting to question Saruman's sanity.

"Helm Deep has one weakness. Its outer wall is solid rock, but for a small culvert at its base…which is little more than a drain," Gríma answered obsequiously. He let confusion twist his face as he moved to get a closer look at what Saruman was concocting in that strange cauldron.

"How? How can fire undo stone?" Gríma mimicked Saruman's words. "What kind of device could bring down the wall?" He stood over Saruman's concoction looking down into what looked like black pepper corns. He sniffed and then his breath stilled in his chest as Saruman's hand snatched out and held his wrist in an ice cold death grip. Very firmly, he pushed Gríma back and walked out of his laboratory, expecting to be followed.

"If the wall is breached, Helm's Deep will fall," Saruman informed. Gríma walked quickly to keep up with Saruman. He still did not understand Saruman's plans and for once he spoke his mind,

"Even if it is breached, it would take a number beyond reckoning…thousands to storm the keep!"

"Tens of thousands," Saruman corrected. Gríma was growing impatience and it made his tongue unwisely loosen,

"But, my lord, there is no such force!" And then Gríma found himself on Saruman's balcony, looking down. He could not believe at first what he saw. His insides were at once turning to ice and bursting into flame. So, this is what Saruman has been planning, was Gríma's one rational thought. Amid the organized chaos below came silence at Saruman's command and his voice rolled over Gríma like crashing waves,

"A new power is rising. Its victory is at hand. This night...the land will be stained with the blood of Rohan!" The dark and hideous horde below screeched and bellowed trumpets in jubilation. Saruman continued,

"March to Helm's Deep! Leave none alive! TO WAR!" Distantly, Gríma felt a tear roll down his cheek as Saruman's army turned about face and began to march; an army more than ten thousand strong.

"There will be no dawn for man," Saruman said quietly. Gríma stared at him, horrified. Saruman was mad. He backed away from the wizard who continued to gaze down upon his army as if it where a son to be proud of. Gríma went to his room, nearly running, and bolted the door. He leaned heavily against it, panting and wheezing.

Saruman the White was a warlock; an oath breaker. It mattered not now whether Gríma had succeeded or failed as the end would have been the same. Death and destruction was all the White Wizard had to offer and Gríma, fool that he was, had failed to see what was so plainly apparent now. He was no different from Théoden, enthralled by Saruman to do his bidding. No, he was worse than Théoden - Théoden had been trusting, a trait Gríma did not possess. Oh, but the White Wizard was cunning, offering a prize so desirable no man could resist, least of all Gríma.

That, however, was the not the most darkly amusing thought that crossed through his mind at present. Thinking Helm's Deep impregnable to Saruman's forces had freely delivered to his cruel master the means to the end of his dreams. And those damn Rohirrim, so predictable, would make Helm's Deep their tomb! It would make a fitting monument to the glorious fall of Rohan.

Éowyn! His eyes and hands worked themselves feverishly, twitching.

The army was enormous and their weapons many, but in the end it would only serve to slow them down. Surely a single man on horseback could travel faster. Spurred by desperation he hoped there would be enough time to warn Théoden – enough time for them to escape the deathtrap of Helm's Deep. Enough time to save…