I sit by the injured Maia, and see that he has again huddled up tightly, hands over his face.
“Sau- Annatar…let me set the wrist. Come, give me your hand.”
Curumo, perhaps regretful, perhaps not, has declared he would set out ahead a way, and then return with news of a path before us fair or foul.
I do not long for his return.
He has turned what was already a very dangerous and strange mission, into a bloody drama. And yet, if he had not come back when he did- I would now be a hostage, on my way to Mordor.
But what he did to Sauron was inexcusable.
Curumo ordered me to shackle him again.
I did not totally obey - how would I do this? His wrist is broken and injured badly- I will not put manacles on him.
I have, however, shackled his ankles.
Just in case.
Now, the golden haired creature beside me finally relents, and uncovers his face, still badly swollen, even worse now, I see.
Trying to remain impassive- and failing- I take the slim wrist, and begin to feel the bones, as gently as I can. I need to lodge them in place before splinting, and it is going to hurt.
“Annatar- brace yourself, I will be quick, but it will be painful.”
He looks at me with wide blue eyes, and grips my arm with his other hand.
Swiftly, I snap the bones back into place, and close my eyes, to not see the face that went along with the soft shriek.
I wrap the splint, and then squeeze his other hand.
“I am so sorry. But it had to be done, otherwise, you would be crippled.”
Sauron smiles through his tears, and then replies very strangely:
“It is a little late to be concerned with that, I am afraid.”
I look at the hand he now raises before me- on the index finger; there is a deep, ugly scar, thick, knotted, in grave contrast to the tapering, elegant finger.
Isildur’s legacy, the never-healing wound.
I do not know what to say, exactly, but he speaks again, and his words weave horror into my heart.
“I was driven back, as you well know, at that fateful battle, and one of them- I do not recall who, now- one of them drove a blade into my belly, through a narrow opening in the armor. I stumbled, and my eyes began to dim, and the pain was like being burned alive. I threw myself upon one of them, and I believe he later died from the heat of my spirit. And good fortune! At least I could be avenged on one of them.”
He paused, and I realized I very much did not want to hear- or know- what he was going to say- but I had to let him speak.
“I knew I was dying, and yet, I could not believe it! I- I staggered- and finally- fell to my knees, and the Elves and Men gathered around me. Elrond drew close, and I saw on his face, mercy and honor mingled, and as he raised his sword, I knew he was going to finish me. And I was glad for it, as the pain was unspeakable. But, then-! Isildur approached, and before Elrond could release me from that suffering body, he kicked me onto my back. The Elves gasped- and the Men cheered!”
Sauron swallows hard, now, and I can not speak. I can only listen. I have never heard this tale, from this point of view.
“He knelt on me cruelly, one knee on my chest, and my mind swam with agony. He did not care. He- and the Men- were glad of it. He pulled off my helm, and the Elves again gasped, seeing the face they knew, then, and they moaned. Some wept. The foul Man spat in my face, and slapped me, as I lay dying under him. And then- and this was the worst of all- he seized my right hand, and beheld my Ring! His face lit with joy, and he raised his blade- now, he could have just taken it off my finger, as I was far too weak to move- but he brought down the blade onto my hand, and severed the ring finger, and took it up, forgetting all about me.”
His face solemn and sad beyond measure, he finishes:
“I am ashamed to say, I screamed, then, and there were, I was astonished to hear, outraged shouts from the Elven company thronged around me, and Elrond was suddenly there again- and he looked angry, furious even. He shouted at Isildur, and his face- I never forgot this- his face was livid, pure anger, and it was for my behalf, and I was again astonished. And then he turned to me. The Elves all fell silent, with bowed heads- they looked like they were praying- perhaps they were! But the Men were rejoicing, shouting, singing, cursing my name. Elrond now knelt beside me, and I would have drawn away, if I could have moved. For a very long moment, we looked in each other’s eyes, and he whispered, sive, Annatar – ‘peace’- as if I could hope for that! -and then- so swiftly, I did not even see it coming!- his blade was through my heart, and a moment of far-away pain released me. And I died, at last. I fled, free of the pain, but horrified at losing the Ring. For many countless years, I was a ghost and a shadow, and then I finally was able to take a body again.”
Visibly weary, he sank back down, dropping the maimed hand beside him.
“I never forgot the savagery of the Men- or the honor and inexplicable mercy of the Elves, enemies though we were- and are.”
Badly shaken by all he has said, I cannot even move for a moment, and then I gently put my arms around him, grieved.
“Foul your actions and deeds have been, yet I would have spared you such suffering, if I could have.”
I am deeply disturbed by this new version of a very old tale.
Is it the truth?
And yet, why did Isildur cut the finger off, and did he truly do it while Sauron was still alive?
I shudder, suddenly, sickened.
I decide to change the subject, as quickly as possible.
“Do you- think you can eat something? Whilst Curumo is gone away?”
He looks up at me, face marred badly by Curumo’s blind rage, and mind hurt by what he has just recalled- and then sighs.
“I will try, Olórin.”
Lurid blue of his eyes, boring into me.
“Lean down closer.”
Suspicious, I hesitate. “Why?”
“Will you kiss me now, that my fairness is only a memory, once again?” he asks, mockingly, watching my face for a reaction.
“I will not kiss you now- but not because you are not fair- nor did I kiss you before only because of that fairness! I will not kiss you, because you have been injured, and I will not hurt you.”
He looks at me and frowns, and I am not sure if he believes me. But it is the truth.
With a weary sigh, he stretches out, and shifts his manacled ankles, and the clink of the chains disturbs me, somehow.
I am very uncomfortable with what our relationship has become.
I look at him out of the corner of my eye, in the morning light.
I am well aware of his notorious history of seducing his enemies- both sexually and emotionally- and then taking what he desires of them, leaving them in pain and despair.
I know what he did to Celebrimbor. Poor Celebrimbor, whose last thoughts were perhaps of the golden hair and icy beauty, even as he was slaughtered in cold blood, a helpless captive- at Sauron’s request.
He led all of Númenor to its doom, all because he desired vengeance on them for their assault upon him. Even as he himself endured drowning, he no doubt exulted in their ruin- all at the hand of Ar-Pharazon, who now became the supplicant at Sauron’s feet, in a strange reversal of fates, yearning only for him, and following all he asked.
Or not so strange, for anyone who beheld the radiance of Annatar.
He moved male and female alike, and they seemed to understand that the unnatural and burning fairness was his true form- not a glamour or a falseness- but his true Maia form.
The only falseness was in his disguising the corruption that lay hidden inside himself.
He is frowning at me, and a petulant look comes across his marred perfection: I see the childish pout begin, and yet- he is injured.
So I listen.
Strange, that he should call me that. He has always used my true name, up until now.
In the late morning light, his hair has the glow of a setting sun- I find myself drifting into it- and then, with a great effort, I cease.
“I do not wish to be subject to Curumo’s rages anymore!”
“I agree, and I understand. I make no excuse for him. But he is my- my superior- I will do all I can to protect you- I already have done so, and I will again.”
“All you can? You have not done me too much good, I do not think! I hurt from head to toe, and- what if he endeavors to do still worse?”
He slithers closer- so snakelike!
“Nay, you had better let me go- or my harm and death will be your doing!”
“You already know I will not release you. Long years have gone by, with you at liberty. I cannot do such a thing! I will protect you.”
Now, he tries a different tactic. Subtle, sweet, coy.
“Do you not care for me, Olórin? Look in your heart, and see what it tells you. Nay, do you not love me somewhat, already? If you deny, still, I know otherwise!”
I must not let him know what I feel. To do so will be ruin.
“My own feelings- impassive as they are- mean nothing in this matter. You know this! I do not wish to see you harmed, or terrorized. And I shall plead leniency for you in Valinor, despite your attempt to abduct me. But release you? Nay, that would only put all of Arda- and indeed, you yourself, in grave danger. For Curumo will certainly insist that we slay you, ere you be found again!”
He curls a long arm around my shoulder, as I sit next to him- smiling now, sweetness mingled with poison-
“For every protest you utter, your mind and body deny, and I can yet feel you reach out to me, in love, not merely lust!”
I must silence him.
My hungry mouth finds his bruised one, and finally, I find relief from the maddening words of the truth.
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.