Where the Shadows Lie: Prologue – by Queen Muccamukk

by Apr 25, 2002Stories

Historian’s Note: this story takes place during the winter of 2979-80 in the Third Age of Middle-earth.

Saruman the White, Leader of the Istari, Head of the Council of the Wise, sat thinking in the darkest chamber of the Tower of Orthanc. In recent days, he had spent much of his time in deep contemplation, and his thoughts were troubled.

Though he had many causes for worry, the Children of Eorl were not exactly co-operating with his plans for them, a single man was the source of his current concerns. The alias he was using at the moment was Nashir. But he had travailed under many names over the years, each one causing the wizard more grief than the last.

Finally, he had decided rid himself of his troubles, permanently. He could not of course do anything personally. Nashir had many friends, some of them not unversed in the powers of wizardry. He knew that the Grey Wander in particular would be trouble if he investigated his pawn’s untimely death.

The obvious solution had been to hire assassins. They were plentiful enough in the Southern regions of the world, and it was easy to keep his name out of it. The manner of men that he was employing preferred not to use real names.

He had many agents in that part of the world, as in all others, and they had made the arrangements for him. The assassins were said to be the best, four well-practised brigands who made a living off the deaths others. On a cold winter’s night several weeks earlier, they had attacked Nashir in quiet back ally. They had moved in on their target swiftly and silently, two coming from behind, two from the side.

They were all dead, now.

As was the man who had hired them.

The White Wizard still had an irritatingly alive problem.

Thus, Saruman was sitting alone in his darkened chambers brooding over his problem. He considered Nashir’s weaknesses. He didn’t have many; he was a skilled warrior, a brilliant tactician and a gifted speaker. If that wasn’t enough, he seemed to have an uncanny sixth sense that warned him of hidden enemies. He could see the true hearts of men just by catching them with a piercing grey glance.

Truth be told, in all his meditations he had only found two potentially fatal flaws. Nashir had endless need to prove himself worthy of the prize he sought, and a stubborn code of honour.

Yet, those two things were enough.

It would need a little cunning and patience, not to mention the use of many of his spies and agents, but he in the end he would succeed

Aragorn son of Arathorn, the last living heir of Elendil, would be dead before the first flower of spring opened.

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