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19
Annihilation

B2MeM Challenge: B9: Aspects of Aragorn: Aragorn; Rangers of the North: Eriador
Format: ficlet
Genre: drama
Rating: K+
Characters: Saruman
Summary: “The enemy has set traps for me before…” – “Strider,” FOTR


~~~

Annihilation

The test of loyalty is always blood – his, or another’s. Saruman prefers it be another’s, though with such a task, it may yet be his…

But he Speaks, sends the winter early and harsh, and come spring, can claim one: Argonui. The son survived, though, and chance brought him nearly into Saruman’s hands: for the Ranger come to play herald, who pleads on his Chieftain’s behalf for aid for Tharbad’s refugees, and for good introduction to Gondor or Rohan, begs a meeting with Saruman for his Lord. And were it not that Gandalf had come, too, Arador, when he arrived, might not have lived the night.

When at length, though, Arador and Gandalf are busy elsewhere, Saruman takes ample from among those newly settled nearly on his door, for he’ll need them for his orcs, if he is to rival Mordor’s uruks. Later is soon enough to send the trolls, and in due time, he can claim his second Chieftain.

Then he must hunt, for Arador’s heir is less known to him – young still, he thinks, perhaps unmarried? He pleads Conciliar business in Elrond’s library, and discovers there a name in the Book of Kings: Arathorn. No wife set beside him…

That must surely change soon, though, and so he barters another of the Tharbad settlements, this time to gain the help of the orcs of the Mountains, for he will not risk his pedigrees failing for want of time. Pity, for it takes such hired help four years to draw their quarry out, but he can credit a third kill.

Thus ends the House of Isildur! Eriador is purged of that bloodline – so he tells his brother, who would be his master. Sauron wastes orcs and Dunlendings, and sends the crébain flying for two years and more, but finally – finally – he is satisfied of the truth. Saruman is admitted to the ranks.

The years pass, and Saruman is consumed with his own studies – he must find the Ring! To the devastated Dúnedain remnant, he can devote little time, but he devises now and again traps to cull their leaders, whoever they may be. On occasion, word comes to him of captains caught and killed in them, and this is enough to satisfy Mordor of his allegiance and ensure himself no trouble from that quarter.

Thus it is that for want of a name entered timely into Elrond’s book, ‘tis not ‘til after his own star has fallen and he has escaped to a mean exile that Saruman learns who the witness to his humiliation at Orthanc was, and with bitterness laughs as he traces the name of one of his nine unlikely saviors: A-r-a-g-o-r-n.

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