Gandalf Greyhame Escapes Orthanc as the Nazgûl Cross the River Isen
Moon rise came late on this long September evening, the pinnacle of Orthanc stood in silhouette, it’s four black tiers set against the Moons ghostly glow.
The Ringwraiths rode hard from the East, skirting the lower hills of Nan Curunír, as they made for the valley of the wizard.
The Dark Lord had summoned Saruman to the Palantir of Orthanc and had drawn from him news he had thought to keep hidden.
Sauron suspected the wizard of treachery and though Saruman tried to hide his desire to posses the Ring for himself, the Eye in the Dark Tower missed nothing. Sauron sneered at the wizards attempts to use his voice to deceive. Sauron was the Lord of Deceits and none could outwit him.
The Nine Nazgûl rode to the feet of the Misty Mountains, were Isengard lay under the shadow of night. They had been told to ride first to the Wizards Vale, before going north through the Gap of Rohan. They were directed to question the prisoner and to extract from him all that he knew of of the Ring and of the one who dared possess it.
A silver darkness hung over the hills under the pale moonlight, as the Lord of the Nazgûl rode up to the Gate of Isengard. He felt a presence above as a shadow fell across the moon. A great winged shape, regal and cunning came down over the spiked tiers of the tower. An eagle landed and perched upon the tower for just a moment, before it sprang upward into the air with a figure upon it’s back. Cries were heard from the base of the tower, gnashing of teeth and the ring and clash of steel. The prisoner… the grey Istari has escaped!
With just a word of command, the iron gates of Isengard were snapped open and crashed back against the inner walls of the fortress as the nine horsemen entered. The Lord of the Nazgûl rode forth to the tower of Orthanc and the servants of Saruman fled before his wrath. The Nine sat upon their steeds waiting for the White Wizard to come down to meet them, but he would not. Finally he came to the balcony above, he drew himself up and told the Lord of the Nazgûl that the prisoner had escaped.
An Uruk-hai stood watching from a distance. His name was Narkû and he had hidden himself when the Riders from the Tower of the Eye came forth. He watch as his Master, the White Hand came forth to treat with these riders. A great fear and dread had fallen over the plain of Orthanc. He was not able to hear what was spoken, only the terrible shrieks that came from the riders. He placed his hands over his ears and fell to the ground cringing in the dirt. When he finally dared look up again, the riders were gone, but still his Master stood upon the balcony looking out over the valley below.
Later after the night had grown old, the Nine Riders in black left the vale of Nan Curunír and headed west to the fords. They crossed the River Isen and passed silently through the Gap of Rohan into the west.
It was now a race against time, the Nine Nazgûl rode hard along the North ~ South Road. The lands of Enedwaith and Dunland passed by them and any living creature who might happen to see these wraiths in black, fled before them or covered they eyes in fear. The Black Riders knew they must reach the Ring quickly, before the one who possess it was warned of their coming and had time to flee from the black hand of Mordor that stretched out to grasp it!