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Isengard - Orthanc

The world is changing.
Who now has the strength to stand against
the might of Sauron and Saruman...
... and the union of the Two Towers?
Together they shall rule this Middle-earth!




Beneath the mountain's arm within the Wizard's Vale
through years uncounted had stood that ancient place
that Men called Isengard.
Partly it was shaped in the making or the mountains,
but mighty works the Men of Westernesse had wrought there of old;
and Saruman had dwelt there long and had not been idle.



To the centre all the roads ran between their chains.
There stood a tower of marvellous shape.
It was fashioned by the builders of old,
who smoothed the Ring of Isengard,
and yet it seemed a thing not made by the craft of Men,
but riven from the bones of the earth
in the ancient torment of the hills.

A peak and isle of rock it was, black and gleaming hard:
four mighty piers of many-sided stone were welded into one,
but near the summit they opened into gaping horns,
their pinnacles sharp as the points of spears,
keen-edged as knives.



Between them was a narrow space,
and there upon a floor of polished stone, written with strange signs,
a man might stand five hundred feet above the plain.
This was Orthanc, the citadel of Saruman, the name of which had
(by design or change) a two-fold meaning;
for in the Elvish speech orthanc signifies Mount Fang,
but in the language of the Mark of old the Cunning Mind.



On the eastern side, in the angle of two piers, there was a great door,
high above the ground; and over it was a shuttered window,
opening upon a balcony hedged with iron bars.
Up to the threshold of the door there mounted a flight
of twenty-seven broad stairs,
hewn by some unknown art of the same black stone.
This was the only entrance to the tower;
But many tall windows were cut
with deep embrasures in the climbing walls:
far up they peered like little eyes in the sheer faces of the horns.



The plain, too, was bored and delved.
Shafts were driven deep into the ground;
their upper ends were covered by low mounds and domes of stone,
so that in the moonlight the Ring of Isengard looked
like a graveyard of unquiet dead.

For the ground trembled.
The shafts ran down by many slopes and spiral stairs
to caverns far under; there Saruman had treasuries, storehouses,
armouries, smithies, and great furnaces.
Iron wheels revolved there endlessly, and hammers thudded.
At night plumes of vapour steamed from the vents,
lit from beneath with red light,
or blue, or venomous green.



A strong place and wonderful was Isengard,
and long it had been beautiful;
and there great lords had dwelt, the wardens of Gondor upon the West,
and wise men that watched the stars...



But Saruman had slowly shaped it to his shifting purposes,
and made it better, as he thought, being deceived -
for all those arts and subtle devices,
for which he forsook his former wisdom,
and which fondly he imagined were his own,
came but from Mordor;



... so that what he made was naught, only a little copy,
a child's model or a slave's flattery,
of that vast fortress, armoury, prison, furnace of great power,
Barad-dr, the Dark Tower, which suffered no rival,
and laughed at flattery, biding its time,
secure in its pride and its immeasurable strength.
(J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, pages 197-227)

"Tell me, 'friend'...
When did Saruman the Wise abandon reason for madness?!"