Chapter 34

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Guards approach the company as they climb the stairs to the hall, stopping them from entering.

Gandalf: "Ah."

Guard: "I cannot allow you before Théoden king so armed, Gandalf Grayhame. By order of...Gríma Wormtongue."

The guard looks slightly disgusted as he says it, clearly not liking what he was having to do. With a nod from Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas & Gimli surrender their many weapons to the guards. When Gandalf does not give up his staff, the guard looks at him.

Guard: "Your staff."

The wizard feigns surprise.

Gandalf: "Eh? Oh. No, you would not part an old man from his walking stick?"

The guard thinks for a moment. Then, giving Gandalf a knowing look, allows him to pass. Winking, the wizard takes Legolas' hand as they enter the hall.

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Walking into the Golden Hall, Gandalf leans on Legolas, as though he really was an old man who needed support. King Théoden sits on his throne, looking pale & sickly. Gríma Wormtongue, a pale, wizened looking man, is at the King's side & seeing the group bends down close to the King's ear.

Gríma: "My lord. Gandalf the Grey is coming. He is a herald of woe."

Gandalf: "The courtesy of your hall is somewhat lessened of late, Théoden King."

Guards follow Gandalf & his party as they approach the King of Rohan.

Gríma: "He is not welcome."

Raising his head, with visible difficulty, the King addresses Gandalf in shaking voice.

Théoden: "Why should I welcome you, Gandalf Stormcrow?"

Gríma: "A just question my liege."

The King looks towards his advisor. Gríma stands up, walking forward.

Gríma: "Late is the hour in which this conjurer chooses to appear. Lathspell I name him. Ill news is in ill guest."

Gandalf: "Be silent! Keep your forked tongue behind you teeth. I have not passed through fire & death to bandy crooked words with a witless worm!"

Anger laces the wizard's voice. Gandalf then raises his staff & Gríma's eyes widen in fear.

Gríma: "His staff! I told you to take the wizard's staff!"

The guards rush at the wizard with the intention of taking his staff but Aragorn, Legolas & Gimli fight them. Gandalf walks towards the King. One of the King's guard moves to draw his sword but the door guard stops him.

Gandalf: "Théoden, Son of Théngel. Too long have you sat in the shadows."

Gimli knocks down Gríma & puts a foot on the terrified man's chest.

Gimli: "I would stay still if I were you."

Gandalf: "Harken to me! I release you from the spell."

The wizard raises his hand. Théoden laughs.

Théoden: "You have no power here Gandalf the Grey."

The King continues laughing. Gandalf throws aside his grey robe, revealing his white clothes. Théoden, startled, leans back in his throne.

Gandalf: "I will draw you, Saruman, as poison is drawn from a wound."

Gandalf points his staff at Théoden, who squirms in his throne.

Théoden: "Aah!"

Èowyn rushes in, hearing her uncle's shout & tries to go to Théoden, but is stopped by Aragorn.

Aragorn: "Wait."

Théoden [Saruman's voice]: "If I go — Théoden dies."

Gandalf again points at Théoden with his staff & the King flies against his throne.

Gandalf: "You did not kill me. You will not kill him."

Théoden [Saruman's voice]: "Where is the dragon master, Gandalf? I thought I might have the pleasure of meeting her here. She belongs to the dark, after all."

Gandalf is about to reply, when the doors of the Golden Hall fly open. Everyone turns to see Miyuki, surrounded in a glowing silver aura, Raiden behind her. Guards start to move to stop her but a snarl from Raiden causes them to freeze in fear. Miyuki walks towards Théoden.

Miyuki: "I am here, Saruman. A pleasure to meet you."

Théoden [Saruman's voice]: "The dragon master. The pleasure is all mine. I must ask, when do you plan to go to Mordor? The master awaits you."

A smile crosses Miyuki's face. A dark & dangerous smile which does not match the pleasant voice that she is speaking with. Everyone shivers.

Miyuki: "Go to Mordor? You seem to have misunderstood me. I have no intention to go to your master. His offers are nothing to me."

Théoden [Saruman's voice]: "Oh but your will means nothing. He will have you. You will fall & no..."

Théoden begins to choke. Raising her hand, Miyuki has her hand in a position as though her fingers were wrapped around something. Her eyes narrow.

Miyuki: "Be gone."

A surge of power erupts from Miyuki. The King is knocked back into his throne. Èowyn rushes to Théoden, whose face begins to change & soon he looks normal & healthy again. He sees Èowyn before him.

Théoden: "I know your face. Èowyn — Èowyn."

Èowyn smiles in happiness. Turning, Miyuki walks to Raiden, who puts an arm around her. Théoden looks up & sees Gandalf.

Théoden: "Gandalf?"

Gandalf: "Breathe the free air again, my friend."

Théoden: "Dark have been my dreams of late."

Gandalf: "Your fingers would remember their old strength better — if they grasped your sword."

The door guard brings the King his sword. Théoden draws it, examining the blade. He then turns his gaze towards a cowering Gríma.

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