July 19. He awoke slowly, for when he was clad in his body he must slumber like a Mortal. The Olórë Mallë had been shut to him since before the fall of Númenór, and never had it brought him any repose. Better to sleep in the deeps of his cavern keep, under the bare hill of Dol Guldur.
Under hill, he mused dreamily, noticing an absence in the huge stone chamber. Then his obsession asserted itself and pushed all other thoughts from his mind. But no matter how unceasingly Sauron dwelt on his plan to destroy the West, he never saw a completion.
Thranduil will be dragon meat, he thought, and the balrog will burn Rivendell to its stones. Lothlorien the loathéd was a mere hundred miles from Dol Guldur and when his armies were done, he would be delighted to put the heads of Celeborn and Galadriel on the same stake. I will take her yet, and she will wish she was with Fëanor before I am done.
Yes, he thought he could manage the scattered and vulnerable Elves. But some of the White Council might emerge intact, and their allies lay in a mighty swath that began at Saruman's Isengard and continued through Rohan to Gondor: the Axis of the West.
As head of the White Council, Saruman would be a difficult foe. Like Sauron, he was a Maia and a disciple of Aulë. We have studied the same arts, he thought. And Rohan is friend to him, as Gondor is to Rohan.
Try as he might, Sauron could not puzzle out how to defeat Saruman and his allies. Not without his Ring.
He allowed himself to think of his great loss. And with that diversion, Sauron became fully aware of the complete absence of sound. He heard no cracking of whips, no far-off shriek of slaves. No rumble of furnace. It was as if the folk of Dol Guldur, and whatever beasts they kept, and the very elements themselves, paused and waited.
What's amiss? Sauron flung himself from his couch. A smoky mirror against the wall reflected his rising image. He overtopped the tall mirror by some three feet, for, while he enjoyed the sight of his body, he never looked at his own unmasked face. Another vanity of Sauron's was a pool of sulfur in the chamber's center, kept liquid by the force of his will. It bubbled up in response now to his sudden fear, threatening to flow out onto the flagstones. He once had kept lava but found it too strong and wayward for his control. He preferred sulfur anyway; it matched his eyes. He liked the dim lighting that its yellow glow gave to the cavernous room. He liked its smell.
He breathed deeply of the smell and turned to the mirror, seeking calm amidst the eerie silence. The glass showed his naked self from the neck down. Sauron Diminished was still Sauron the Splendid, he decided. Behold my Will! He uncurled his arm and pointed at an imagined enemy, perhaps Gil-Galad, with his four fingers. In his mind, fiery bolts sped from his hand and -
A black movement slithered on the stone floor, flickering at the bottom of the mirror.
"Aaiii!" he roared, speaking no tongue but pure Black Speech. He spun faster than a maelstrom, sweeping the floor with his huge hand, scooping the figure that had crawled on its belly toward him, hurling it with deadly force against the mirror. The figure connected - crunch! - and fell dead. So strong was the force of Sauron's throw, the mirror was cracked; but so strong was the mirror that the crack was only a hair's width.
It was an Orc servant.
"Aaiii!" he roared again, this time with rage that was as pure as the sulfur, save for a tinge of relief. He threw the carcass down a nearby open pit whose chute descended half a mile to the dungeons and furnaces of Dol Guldur. "Send me my lieutenant!"
The Orc guards who watched their dead comrade go hurtling past shook their heads and growled a farewell chorus of Sauron's Lament which went "At least he didn't suffer." When the Lieutenant approached, not briskly but not insolently either, the chief guard made a signal to him: Beware!
The Lieutenant paid no notice. He had reached Sauron's favor by humoring him, and no one did it better.
Entering the chamber, he bowed to Sauron and saved him the trouble of a question. "My Lord, the silence is noted by Number Two," - referring to the Ringwraith who kept the tower of Amon Lanc. "He–" fears – "forebodes some news, or rumor, and sent the Orc servant to advise you."
"Fool, I noted it myself upon rising!" Sauron lifted his hand, and favored or not, the Lieutenant wondered if the guards would soon be singing Sauron's Lament for himself. But Sauron stood as still as could be.
Three hundred miles to the north, in the caves of the Misty Mountains, Bilbo Baggins reached out into the dark and put his hand on a ring.
"What is happening?" quavered the Lieutenant.
For Sauron, the moment was like no other. His black hand began to throb. He stared at it wonderingly and it seemed to him that the missing finger reappeared, an airy ghost thing that wore a ghost ring. "Do you see - " he began, and then a sensation of heat and ecstasy swept him from head to toe. He felt the possibility of fulfillment; the promise of potential. Dark joy coursed through him. His skin turned livid
He's turning into a mountain of fire, thought the Lieutenant and heard the Dark Lord roaring a word he did not know.
"Wærloga! I have it! I see it all"
"Wærloga! The people of Rohan call me that; meaning One Who Breaks Faith. That is unfriendly of the Rohirrim, is it not? I have broken no faith with them, but Saruman shall."
Sauron seized the Lieutenant by his leather tunic and pulled him up, eye to hideous eye. "There is no need to defeat Saruman by force. I will suborn him like another Ar-Pharazôn. He will do my bidding as if it were his own."
"What is your bidding, My Lord?" gasped the Lieutenant.
"Why, to break Rohan for me, and recover my ring."
Sauron's dreadful laugh rang out. "Ha." A pause while the clamor of Dol Guldur returned to its normal pitch. "Ha." The Lieutenant felt his head would explode with the sound. "Ha." Sauron let go of the leather tunic and the Lieutenant fell to his knees
Sauron leaned down. "There is much to do," he whispered. "We shall plan battles: attacks, defenses, feigned withdrawals. Mordor awaits, my Lieutenant of Barad-dûr."
The Lieutenant took a deep breath and stilled his shuddering. "Take some ease first," he suggested shakily.
Not for nothing was he called the Mouth of Sauron.
1. In Old English, the word Warlock is Wærloga or Wäërloga and means One Who Breaks Faith; i.e., the Devil.
2. Sulfur occurs naturally in pure and other forms. It reaches a viscous, molten, liquid state at about 240 degrees F. It has a lot of uses, including the making of gunpowder.
3. Ar-Pharazôn was the last King of Númenor and Sauron's dupe. Sauron seduced him, and persuaded him to fight the Valar for immortal life by sailing on Valinor. As punishment for this act, The One sank his armada and the island of Númenor beneath the waves of the Great Sea, bent the world, and removed the Undying Lands from the reach of Mortals forever.
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