The Lord of the... whatever, Book V, Chapter 7:
The Tribunal Of Denethor
The Leech-king withdrew, blistering the air with curses. At that
moment the Haug finally started up again and Gandalf revved the
engine, preparing to ride through the gate. Pipsqueak panicked and
ran in front it, nearly getting squashed by the tires.
"What the hell are you doing?" screamed Gandalf. "You nearly got
us both killed! Besides, is it not a law in the City that those who
wear the sailor's shirt must stay in the Citadel?"
"Denethor has gone mad!" cried Pipsqueak. "He's raving about
angels or something!"
Gandalf looked through the Gate, and already on the field he heard
the sound of dancing. He clenched his fist and hoped that the Nazdaq
wouldn't steal his entire audience. "I must go. The Leech-king is a
broad and he will yet bring the culture of Mordor upon us," he said.
"But Ariellë!" cried Pipsqueak. "She is still alive, and they will
gas her if we don't stop them!"
"She is alive?" asked Gandalf. "What are you talking about? Be
"Denethor has gone to the tombs, and he has taken Ariellë, and
he said life is a gas, and he's waiting for the angels or something.
Can't you save her?"
Gandalf muttered something about working right with his plans, and
why should he leave, which Pipsqueak didn't hear. Pipsqueak tugged on
Gandalf's robes and cried, "Don't just stand there, please hurry!"
"I will come," said Gandalf. "If Ariellë is truly alive, then I'll
have to do something about that." Then he turned the Haug around and
raced up the streets of Minas Tirith. Then as they approached
the slopes of Mount Minnie, the streets got to narrow for the Haug
and Gandalf left it behind. Coming to the green door Gandalf passed
through it and went down the garbage-strewn road that led to the
House of the Stewards.
Once they reached the House, Gandalf sprang up the steps. "What is
this madness, Denethor?" he exclaimed. "The houses of the dead
are no place for the living. Where is your daughter, Ariellë?"
"Madness?" replied Denethor. "I am not mad, Mesprendeur. I
feigned insanity so your friend would bring you here. And here you
will be tried for your crimes against Gondor. We may be doomed,
but I will make sure you pay the price for dooming us."
Then the room lit up with lights and Gandalf saw that he had indeed
been decieved. This was no chamber of the dead, or even cryogenically
preserved heads, but a courtroom. "A trial?" he asked in a sneering
tone of voice. "For what? I have committed no crimes."
"No crimes?" replied Denethor. "Mesprendeur, you are charged
with treason, two counts of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, and
a host of other assorted offenses."
"You have no proof," snorted Gandalf.
Suddenly Denethor laughed, and leaped onto a bench. He reachd
under his robes and drew out a Palantarium. Pipsqueak gazed at in
amazment, for it was smaller than the Palantarium which was given to
Aragon, though he did not now that this was the famed Laptop
Palantarium of which many legends tell.
Then, activating the Valatilë software that had been installed on
the Palantarium, Denethor began to project some images on a
screen behind him. Pipsqueak gazed upon it with wonder, but Gandalf
began to feel uneasy about and hoped fervently that the uneasiness did
not show on his shifty face. "Do I not know thee, Mesprendeur?"
laughed Denethor. "So! With the left hand you would use me to
further your own twisted goals, and with the right bring up this
Ranger of the North to supplant me." The image on the screen
focused, and Pipsqueak saw that it was Aragon, at the Falls of Rauros.
He claimed to Giggly and Lego-lass that Boromir was dead, and
then kicked the warrior to shut him up when he protested. "So your
pawn tried to eliminate my son, no doubt on your orders, but it didn't
work. Boromir lived." Then the image wavered and shifted, now
showing Boromir travelling through the Dead Marshes. "Luckily for
me, your Ranger requires a short leash; every time you let him out of
your sight, he always botches your plans up." Then the image shifted
again, showing Boromir falling in a hail of bullets, and then
coming back to life in the Passages of the Dead, with a goofy-looking
face which Aragon had given him.
"I don't know what kind of sick game Aragon is playing; but he will
find becoming king to be difficult, if Boromir still lives.
Let's move on." The image wavered again, and then it showed Gandalf
talking to Aragon at Deem's Help. They spoke in the words of Auld
High Elvish, which few in the courtroom understood, but the footage
had been edited with subtitles so everyone would know what was being
said. As everyone in the courtroom listened to the conversation,
sweat began beading on Gandalf's forehead. "What else does he have in
that cursed thing?" he thought. Then Denethor spoke again. "So
here we have proof from your own mouth of your treasonous conspiracy
to overthrow the lawful government of Gondor."
Gandalf decided it was time to start bluffing. "Ha!" he said. "Who
hear actually understands Auld High Elvish? For all anyone knows,
Aragon and I could have been discussing barbecue recipies to share
with the Rohirrim!"
Denethor smiled at him mirthlessly. "I have more evidence to
present to the court, Mesprendeur." Then the image shifted to the
foot of Eyesore in Isengard. Gandalf faced a number of accusations,
each worse then the others. At length he lost his composure, and then
killed Aruman. "What the hell?" wondered Pipsqueak to himself.
"That's not how I remember it at all!" But then it all started coming
back to him; and he eyed Gandalf fearfully, edging away from him.
While Pipsqueak was remembering what really happened at Deem's
Help, Denethor went on. "Aruman discovered your plot and exposed you
Gandalf, and so you killed him and tried to cover everything up.
That's the first count of murder. As for attempted murder..." The
screen then went dark; it was night in Pipsqueak's bedchamber.
Gandalf loomed over Pipsqueak's bed, preparing to smother him with a
pillow, stopped only by the reporters which entered the room a moment
later. "After your companion revealed the existence of Aragon you
tried to kill him, fearing what else he might expose. It wouldn't
have mattered anyway, Mesprendur, since the Palantarium sees
everything." Gandalf had in the meantime had been biting his nails
nervously and had given himself a manicure.
Denethor paid him no heed. "As for the second count of
murder," he continued. The screen shifted to the rout from
Disgiliath, just before the Siege began. "Everyone believes Ariellë
was shot by a Southron during the retreat, but the Palantarium caught
what really happened." The screen shifted to Forlong's rescue.
Gandalf was riding with them. As Forlong tried to convince Ariellë
that she had to leave, Gandalf looked around, and then pulled a gun
out from under his robes and shot her in the back. No one noticed in
all of the confusion and chaos.
"You arranged the death of Boromir and shot Ariellë yourself to
make sure that Dr Faramir would succeed me, since you've already
bribed him heavily to follow you. Ever since Sauron captured you and
paid you off at Dol Guldur, you've been plotting the downfall of the
House of Hurin. You may have succeeded, but you will not live to
enjoy your success."
Then Gandalf knew he had no other recourse. He popped a canister of
tear gas out from under his robes. As everyone coughed and choked, he
knocked Pipsqueak out, and drawing a knife stabbed everyone else in
the room. Then he headed through a small door in the back to the
boiler room and rigged it to blow. He raced out of the House and up
the garbage-strewn streets just as the city was rocked by an
explosion. He looked behind him and saw the remains of the House of
Stewards, now gutted with roaring flames. "That should take care of
the evidence," he said to himself. All that survived the explosion
was the Palantarium, but all the incriminating data had been destroyed
in the explosion, and it was said afterwards that anyone who looked
into it saw only the logo of Gondor: a large black circle topped
with two smaller black circles.
Before waking Pipsqueak up, Gandalf cast a spell of forgetfulness
over him and gave him some false memories to cover up what had
happened. But in his haste and nervousness, he forgot a key
incantation. He shook Pipsqueak awake. "What happened?" Pipsqueak
asked. "Where am I?"
"Alas!" said Gandalf. "He lost his mind, and blew up the House of
the Stewards in his despair. I barley managed to save you."
"I see," said Pipsqueak carefully. Now that his head was starting
to clear, he remembered what happened in the courtroom; and he realized
that he had to be careful and keep his mouth shut if he was to stay
alive. They continued on toward the Citadel, and then heard a great
voice shout, "Wedgiiiie!" Gandalf hurried over to the wall and saw
"What was that?" asked Pipsqueak.
"It would seem that the great Tenor of our enemies has been
destroyed," he said, "but not without grievous pain, for from this
deed will arise a great flame war. So long has the reach of Sauron
become. And now I see how his will was able to enter this city.
Sauron must have taken the Palantarium from Minas Goofy. Using that
stone, he must have set up a chat room, where he made his foul plans
with Denethor, and probably Aruman as well.
Gandalf looked over the wall again, and saw that Aragon had arrived.
"Now I must go down to the field to greet Aragon and Eonard. Come
with me!" Pipsqueak followed quietly. He hoped Gandalf's plans
hadn't doomed Frodo, and that working class hobbit - what was his name?
Sandy? It didn't matter. Pipsqueak knew he was the only one who could
save them all.
This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of
David Sulger <the_real_orius-aaaaaaat-hotmail-dawt-com>.
Copyright © 2001 by the author. All rights reserved. Some variance between this
e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this
as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain
degree of academic embarassment. All agree that the printed version of the text,
available from respectable publishers such as Houghton Mifflin and Ballantine Books,
is to be preferred.
Boromir, Denethor, Minas Tirith and Gondor are trademarks of Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises, who hold all merchandising rights to Gondor and its subsidiaries.
Odds of Paragraph Took surviving to the end of Book V, as set by Las Vegas bookkeepers, are currently running 35-to-1 against.