8. Of Wolves And Worms
"So what is in it for us, old man? Why should we throw our lot in with you?"
The huge warrior bristled, more beast than man, as he received no reply from my master.
I coughed, nervously, and he turned his gaze on me in the shadows, his face florid.
"There are some who say that Wulf was at best bitter and vengeful… and at worst a craven coward- a madman who ranted and raved at shadows, and wept in the night about voices only he could hear."
The words hung accusingly in the air, and the huge warrior snarled.
"Who says this, worm?"
I licked my lips nervously, and my eyes flickered to my master on his throne for approval, but there was nothing- his eyes were closed, and but for the rise and fall of his chest one would have thought him a statue.
I had to do this on my own.
I took a step from the shadows.
"No-one says it out loud in your lands, my lord Reddh- not in your hearing, at least- but in the lands so cruelly taken from you…"
I shrugged, and he grunted.
"There are whispers in those lands that your people were a curse- worse than locusts, worse than plague."
"They whisper that Helm the Hammer-Hand did right to slay Freca for his impudence, that your lord Wulf was a lunatic, and that you and yours deserve to be hunted down and slain like diseased dogs, deserve to be driven from Middle Earth."
The warlord turned his gaze to my master, his hand flying to the handle of his axe at his belt.
"Is what this worm says true, wizard, or should I smash his brains across your halls, and yours too, for harbouring such a wretch?"
My master sat still for a long time, but finally- just when I feared the Dunlending would make good his threat- finally, and with dreadful slowness, he opened his eyes, and the fury there was as a flame.
"My servant does indeed speak truth, and you would do well to listen to him- as you would do well not to threaten a wizard within his own tower."
My master rose from his throne, and he was great and terrible in his wrath, and the Dunlending quailed before him.
"You will go back to your people, Reddh son of Bryn son of Carfax, and you will tell them that they shall rise up and join my armies. You will tell them that the Man Of Skill will provide them with blades to slay their foes, and with armour to deflect the strongest hurts, and with allies to trample all before them- to take back the lands so cruelly snatched from them."
"You will do this, and you will do it willingly, and none will stand before you- not man of Rohan nor of Gondor, not elf of forest nor dwarf of mountain- for my hand and blessing will be on you."
The Dunlending could not flee fast enough- a whipped dog before my master's glory. Turning to me, he nodded.
"As it shall be on you, Grima Wormtongue."
I swelled with pride, and bowed my head.
My master returned to his throne, and closed his eyes once more, but still I felt his gaze upon me.
"Return to Edoras with all haste, Grima."
I nodded, and rushed from the room, his voice still ringing in my ears.
There was still much to do.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.