La Dàdiva

Chapter Two

Gríma paced his room fiercely, his mind working feverously. Saruman's army was enormous and their weapons many, but that would only serve to slow them. He realized he was talking to himself, his words and thoughts cycling back on themselves over and over again,

"Surely a single, slight man on horseback could travel faster." Spurred on by desperation he hoped there would be enough time to warn Théoden – there had to be. Gríma wrung his hands together despairingly.

He had to mount his horse and slip out from under Saruman's large nose in one piece. It seemed a monumental task, but one he would accomplish. He had no choice now.

Thankfully, he had eaten some small thing before Saruman had revealed his lethal forces, but he was not as stupid or preoccupied as to fail in obtaining water skins. He would drive his mount hard – possibly even unto death. Gríma made a mental checklist of what he would need before leaving; some foodstuffs, perhaps a blanket, water skins he reminded himself and anything else he came across that might be useful. He would do his best to keep from killing his mount – he needed to reach Helm's Deep in time. He must.

Gríma slid the bolt aside and eased the door open. He peered into the hallway before slinking out of his room. He needed to know what Saruman was doing. If he did not plan his exit perfectly he would fail and he trembled at the thought.

He came before Saruman's chambers and pressed an ear to the door. It was quiet inside which meant nothing in particular. He opened the door and passed into the antechamber without notice. Saruman was not in sight. His anxiety only increased the oppressiveness of the rooms tenfold. Gríma stepped into Saruman's library and peered about. There were maps upon the table. He was panting with excitement now. Glancing about him again he reached out and grabbed a handful, stuffing them under his clothes.

He left the library and was about to make his way out of Saruman's chambers when he noticed a door. A shiver ran down his spine, a cold sweat trailing in its wake before it settled in his stomach with a sharp pang. He could not remember door being there. Curiously, Gríma softly, deftly, pushed open the door.

It was the darkest of all rooms. He did not want to pass over the threshold where the cold crept just beyond. He was about to turn when a flash of color halted him. Gríma turned his gaze to the center of the room to find a glowing orb placed atop a pedestal in the center of the room.

It called to him and he passed the threshold. It was very pretty. Gríma wished to touch it. He found himself before it and reached out with both hands, fingers steady as he caressed the smooth, glossy orb. With the realization that his mind had been made before he entered the chamber, Gríma wrapped the orb in his lota. He held it like a child against his chest and carried it back to his room.

He placed his spoil on his bed and regarded it for a moment. Then he turned on his heel and headed for the storerooms. He knew he would find water skins, saddlebags, and foodstuffs there.

Notes of the Authress:

I am sorry for the short chapter, but I have hit a wall. I did not wish to leave you all hanging until I got things sorted out. I have never read the books by Tolkien, but I do wish to incorporate some of that into this story. I am also sorry - I have tried - but I just cannot read Tolkien. Forgive me. If anyone can help me out, please e-mail me.