1. Swallowed Poison Keeps Him Well
Very lyrical in nature, and the jumps in tense and pov are intentional to build stress.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The darkness came upon him again, in the form of a non-Tinuviel, dancing, dancing in the grass. Her eyes were wide and a fake blue, her lissom limbs pale and sickly now, wild and turning in the wind, the image of her mother Melian the maia. She twirls once or twice, her lips pursed in supposed concentration.
It’s not really a glade of grass; that’s just what he *wants* to see. The grass is stale and yellow and he wonders why her feet don’t hurt as she crushes it beneath her soles. It sounds like a thousand pieces of glass shattering. The grass seems to smoke wherever she touches. The non-trees that he sees are really spires of blackened steel covered in some subterranean green plant.
He wanted to yell at her and he could feel the action rising in his throat, the chords moving and he could almost see a music instructor, telling him to sing higher. He could see the faces in the crowd, all of them specters of his past, faces he had seen twist in agony. Finrod Felagund was the most vivid. So he inhaled sharply, meaning to cry out, as if to say ‘I exist.’ But nothing came out but a light voice, childish in fact. He altogether tried to not speak after that.
She stopped for a moment, her false opaline eyes stopping on him. She looked as if she wanted to speak, maybe sing but was unable to. It was amazing how many expressions could play on the human face: happiness, hurt, guilt, loneliness... He could feel his own face moving with the mention, a grin, a frown, and a wistful glance following in step.
Her lips moved a little and she looked like she had tried to bow, an introduction perhaps with puppet strings, but her lips moved no more than to a small air hole. Something black and glossy seemed to hold her expression in place.
He relished the fact that she seemed so incapable. Turnabout is fair play, Tinuviel.
She danced again, as a flower bobbing in the breeze, but this time she seemed more real, like she was in pain, the light in her eyes dimmed though they danced in crystalline light, grey and pink one minute, blue and black the next. It always seemed to him that pain was just in the other room, an unbidden guest in your house and you can sense when she turns the corner to meet you. You can’t always know death is across the street. He doesn’t come over often, but his visits are never long.
The sky was inky black, moving with the inhaling and exhaling of his chest, the clouds swirling in shades of grey and maroon. Tinuviel was slowing in her dance, the movements more jerky and bloodless. A terrible throbbing could be heard in his head and he could have sworn it was the fleeting sound of wings against the sky. Perhaps instead it was his beating heart and suddenly he was reminded of when he was small, or at least chose to be, and he was under the control of the first Dark Lord.
He, in the form of a small elda child, had come before his lord.
“You have no heart,” the silky voice had said and he, still in the form of youth had raised the Dark Lord’s hand to where he could feel the beating of what he thought was blood. His hands were so small, so petite and pale in comparison to his master’s slim, powerful palm. He looked like a doll, a painted doll with sapphires for eyes, a toy for the mightiest of the Ainur. The Dark Lord smiled coldly, walking his fingers up to the child’s face.
“It’s not the same,” a smile edging his lips.
Tinuviel was moving one step at a time, slowed to the point of breaking. Her eyes were wider than before and even now, he could see her falling from her dance, the yellowed grass shattering under her weight. Her feet bled under the pressure, taking her steps more gingerly as the silvern blood stained the grass.
He moved to her, taking each step as if upon holy ground, and indeed, his soiled and bleeding feet felt seared by the pain of its sanctity. (Praise be to Iluvatar, that he would punish the wicked and claim his children in strength and love, spoke something from recesses before the dawn of time.)
The words sounded hollow coming from him. He didn’t think often of Iluvatar, his divine creator, but he was sure that the divine creator thought of him, ill or otherwise.
Luthien was slowing
Had stopped breathing, her little mouth rounded into an ‘o’ with all her grace, as were all the firstborn. But now he could see what had kept the song off her lips, a sound that he no longer found pleasing after his first defeat in the First Age. He had loathed the sound of Luthien Tinuviel’s voice then, revolted at each octave. H eneed for her to stop, to make that wretched music stop.
He took another step forward.
He gaped stupidly for a moment, knowing that the horrendous beating was not in his ears, but transfixed on the still figure, her eyes wider than ever, as though she had not been expecting an audience. There was something keenly grotesque about the picture.
Her mouth had been sewn shut.
And he was holding the thread and needle.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
There is little to fear of sleep, he thought, though his fear lay rooted in that perhaps one night he’d lay his head down to rest and not wake at all, as though someone had smothered a candle. There was always that chance. He was weak and tired, disowned and disbanded from what home he had made for himself.
It wasn’t really sleep that came, but a coma, swallowing him whole, like all the stories that the Eldar used to tell amongst the young about the monsters in the north. In earnest he was afraid to sleep alone, that when he woke up that rather than no one, *everyone* would be there, staring. They’d all just look and do nothing, and that he feared more than anything.
His ears twitched a little, abnormally pointed, more pointed than any elda. He wondered if that was because he was a werewolf. He could hear well with those ears, he still hears voices with those ears. He might have been in Doriath when he heard it, maybe it was Tol-in-Gaurhoth. What would living people be doing at his tower, he thought with a laugh.
~“It’s bad luck, seeing a werewolf.” One of the older elda children had said, a simple bow over his back as he watched a whole troop of youths his age watch the werewolf on the ridge of their forest, their Doriath. They know little of the girdle of Melian. “Smell that? That’s the smell of death.” he said smugly, blonde hair tied back into his child’s braid.~
He rolled over in his daze, the normally soft fabric scratchy and harsh on his pale white skin. His hands clutched at the top, pale spiders against the velour of indigo. One weary eye peered from beneath the fabric, wide and long lashed, dark butterflies against sickly eyes rimmed with red. Oh, he didn’t even have his health anymore, he thought sadly. His skin would tear easily like paper, as he had been weak upon gathering his strength to retreat.
The heart of his body skips a beat, thinking with a thrill the smell of blood and torn flesh. His fingers tap with each thump his lifeforce makes in his veins, a maddening metronome.
He hadn’t been ready to leave his house, his tower of Barad-dur. It had never really been a “home” to him, just another dwelling place. Home welcomes, and Barad-dur most certainly would have no part in that.
And oh, how it hurt him to move from his safety, his pinnacle. He could remember dwelling in Numenor, among the kin of Elros and seeing a small child fall while playing with friends. They had laughed and helped him up, but the child had cried all the same.
Hurts, doesn’t it?
No one will help up the forsaken maiar Sauron, to contend with his famous lack of self-control and constantly dismal mood. There was nothing to be happy for. He had fallen into hell and no one intended to lift him. With a bitter twinge of the heart, he remembered he hadn’t felt any semblance of glee (ill or otherwise) in years.
It was almost a temptation to try and recover, perhaps flee to the South where he was still potent, mayhaps even flee into the deep east in which the folk actually welcomed him, where they had never seen the Eldar or the Edain, where he was welcome, not a dark lord. He could find some semblance of peace, even if he would feel betrayed by the west.
“You don’t have a heart,” echoed the purring voice of his master. He could feel cold fingers playing up his cheeks. “But you don’t need one to make me happy,”
Sauron did not think of himself as pleasing, aesthetically or otherwise. He had always been rather slim and lanky, a lengthened spine serving as punishment for becoming a werewolf. It was this that gave him such an imposing stature.
“What would you have me do then, my lord? What would please you so?”
He shut his ears to the memories, for even with the passage of time, they were no less potent and still stung with animosity. Even now, Celebrimbor looked at him, betrayed. Gil-galad’s mouth was agape in pain and confusion, Aeglos failing him that day. He had truly shined like a star, covered with sweat and the light of his fiery fea giving a glance Sauron’s way before departing. Elrond had been *so* upset.
Even he didn’t know where exactly they went, other than the Halls of Waiting. They could have all been alone, their bright eyes gleaming in pale lamplight. Vairë may still yet wrap them in her tapestries, an almost pagan ritual of mummification.
'I wonder if it’s silk or taffeta,' He thought in a moment’s passing, illness ravaging his mind. He would give anything up just to forsake all living and go to the Halls of Mandos. Maybe they would wrap his broken fea in linen, chanting a forgotten prayer and leave him to rot.
They’re chanting in his ear (Speak not these words most foul: the truth)
Or maybe he would return to Halls of Eru. Would Eru be as condemning as Aule and Manwe, or would he just let Sauron fall soundlessly on the floor and let him cry? Already he could hear all the other ainur, looking at him, taunting, endlessly taunting. And All he can do is say for them to stop, *stop*, STOP!
He wakes as if he had just been asleep, not imagining. He can still hear their laughter in his ears and it makes him crazy, it makes him angry and violent and he just wishes they would all JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE.
Sauron swung his body up feeling a horrible sickness in his chest, fluid rising in a painful gush. Blood rises to his mouth, sweet and lethal, a delicious treat to himself. Swallowed poison keeps him well and now there’s nothing he would like to do more than sleep.
And if you listen
you can hear his heart slow and the blood stops breaking through for a moment, and there’s hope, desperate hope that he can sleep now. Maybe now the panic has vanished.
And so he relaxes and laughs a little at his own expense, knowing he had nothing to fear.
Because he never has nightmares.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.