“Who is this man, what sort of devil is he
to have me put in a trap and choose to let me go free?
It was his hour at last to put a seal on my fate,
wipe up the past and watch me clean up the slate.
All it would take was a prick of his knife,
Vengeance was his and he gave me back my life.”
~ Les Miserables
Saruman had not seen the violent exchange take place. All he saw was the elf’s body go rigid, his hands glued to the seeing stone, his face locked in a grimace. The wizard burned to know what was happening, but didn’t dare touch Araviel when he was before Sauron. For what seemed a lifetime, the elf stood still, the wizard waited and all the while flames danced within the swirling ball.
Suddenly Araviel wrenched his hands off the Pilantir and his whole body was blown back with the force of a hurricane. He slammed into the wall clear across the room and lay crumpled there in an unconscious heap. His body was bloody, much more than when he first grasped the stone, and purple bruises covered him. There were slashes on his skin and clothes, as if some great beast had been toying with him, and his blackened eyes were closed. Saruman smiled slowly.
He turned toward the seeing stone and saw that it was glowing and flaming, Sauron was still there. He walked toward it and placed his long hands upon it, happily anticipating the Dark Lord’s pleasure at having received such a prized prisoner. He looked upward and saw the Great Eye before him.
“I want that one brought to me, alive,” the great voice echoed. Saruman bit his lower lip.
“But he is already dead, my lord.”
Hot air blew back his hair, almost knocking him over. “Do you dare challenge me? He is alive and you will keep him so. I want him, Paladin’s whelps and the man taken to Mordor, where I will deal with them,” the voice boomed. Saruman took in a deep breath, wishing he dared to defy the dark lord.
“As you wish, my lord. I will send them with a company of my fastest orcs,” he said.
“Orcs! Orcs are untrustworthy. Send them with your best men. Do not fail. My honor and your life are at stake if I do not have them,” the voice was angrier than Saruman had ever heard him.
“They will not escape, I will see to it,” the wizard replied.
“Good, now go! I have no more need of you,” the voice yelled. Saruman wrenched his hands away from the stone and was transported back to the high chamber. There was a loud knock on the door.
“Enter,” Saruman bellowed.
An orc guard walked in, and looked confusedly at Araviel’s limp form, but he turned his sickening face toward Saruman, his eyes full of fear and reverance.
“What orders from Mordor my Lord? What does the eye command?” he asked in a low, growl of a voice.
“Take that,” Saruman pointed at the crumpled elf, “To a cell, and get Erinual, I need to speak with him.” The orc sauntered over to Araviel’s body and kicked his stomach forecefully.
“Wake up!” the orc yelled. The elf made no response.
“Is he…?” the orc asked slowly. Saruman shook his head.
“He is alive and you must keep him so. He is of importance to the Dark Lord and is wanted living. Make sure he is not hurt and is fed. He’s crafty and wants to escape, if he does it will cost you your life. Leave!” Saruman ordered. The orc nodded and slung Araviel’s thin body over a slimy shoulder. Saruman slammed the door behind his retreating back.
It’s a pity he thought. I so would have loved to watch him die.