30. The Eyes of the Dark Lord
Chapter Written by Angmar
Evening had come on the fourteenth day of June, the day of Mordor's defeat at the Second Battle of Helm's Deep. At last the dark Figure looked away from the palantír and then pulled the covering over its face. He rose from the chair where He had spent so many hours that day and walked to the end of the chamber. There, a doorway leading to a hall opened before Him. He could be heard from afar, striding down the hallway, His footsteps echoing like thunder through the corridor. He came to one of the several openings to His Great Hall and that door, too, slid aside for Him.
Only a few members of His bodyguard were waiting for Him. There, in honored places along the side of the Hall, sitting in great chairs befitting their exalted state, were six large beings in robes of darkest ebony.
The rumor that had gone abroad from the Dark Lands, spoken in hushed whispers, said that these exalted ones were spirits, too, like Sauron, but far lesser spirits of dark intent too cruel and evil for men of good will even to consider. They were, it was said in the lore, seduced ages before Time began - like Sauron Himself - by Melkor the Great and Potent. The tales also told that when Melkor had fallen long ago in Angband amidst the ruin of the Thangorodrim and had been dragged forth from His lair by the Valar, that these Spirits - or as some called them, "demons" - had taken refuge and burrowed deep in the deepest of recesses somewhere beneath the heart of Dor Daedeloth.
The only thing about them that mattered to Sauron was that they were loyal to Him, admirably loyal in fact, all willing to lay down their physical forms in His service. Tales whispered among gentle folks, long after the children lay slumbering in their beds, spoke of vampires and werewolves and beings who could shift their shapes at will and take various forms, each one more dreadful than the last. It was impossible, though, to determine the veracity of these rumors, for who among the mortals that walk upon the face of the earth would dare go there to see the truth of the matter for himself?
When Sauron strode forth into their presence that evening, they hailed Him as Lord, rising to their feet and bowing respectfully. He scanned their visages for a few moments, His face immutable, impossible to be read.
Then He looked about Him at the room, which lay dark with shimmering highlights in walls of obsidian, twinkling stones of black adamant. Fiery rubies, emeralds throbbing with souls of their own, and a myriad of faceted gems sparkled in many colors, the light of the torches casting their reflections upon the dark walls. There were also large basins kindled with great flames, some dark magick in origin, while others were natural, brought forth upon blazing coal, fruit of the deep earth.
Here and there amongst the bright diamonds, both of white fire and black, lay the mystic stone, the opal, the cloudy stone of magic and dream, ever changing, ever merging and separating, coming together, readable to those gifted in the arcane arts. There were milky stones with pastel speckles, greens mixed with cloudy blues, emeralds shading to deep purple, aquamarine, turquoise and yellow, reds with strange oranges mixed with yellows flowing, and vibrant rainbows set upon fields of black. Some stone, larger than others, appeared as gardens of colors, strange flowering flashes, constantly seething within the stone itself, running and flowing like pulsating glimmers of misty liquid.
All had been drawn forth from the depths of the earth by the once servant of Aulë. It was said that those with esoteric knowledge could look into the opal and see scenes, perhaps from the future, perhaps from the past or present, all melded together into one cohesive whole. Rumors say many things, and who can vouch for the validity of them?
Great steps led up to the massive throne, which was set upon a slab of blackest adamant half of a fathom in height. The throne itself was a marvel, wonderful to those who beheld it. It was of adamant, sable as the night, and no gems marred its soft luster. This was known to all at Lugbûrz, and among the many vassals and ambassadors who were occasionally housed there, as the Dark Lord's Great Throne, where He held court beneath the domed shadowy ceilings of the immense jeweled hall. Beside it in a semi-circle were Nine seats, far lower, but set upon adamant no less wondrous in beauty than was their Master's. The bodyguards sat at the sides of the hall upon great, though lesser, thrones.
When the Lieutenant was in Annatar's good graces - which was, all things considered, most of the time - he, too, sat upon the dais but at a lesser elevation in his own smaller chair, which had been cut into the stone.
Across the hall, opposite to Sauron's Throne, was an aperture cut in the wall, the Window of the Eye. Through it could be seen Orodruin, almost quiet in repose, with only a gentle rumbling to show that the Spirit still dwelt within.
Artano seemed languid, the slits of His Eyes barely hinting of the mood within. He mounted the stairs to His throne and then turned, His long robe of black and gold flowing elegantly about His mighty form as He spun around and sat down. His bodyguard waited patiently, knowing that their Liege would not speak idly, but always with words that held great import. They waited quietly, and then a slight flickering of His Eyes heralded His first words.
"It is over."
None of them responded. Not a whisper, not a shout, not a roar, not even a rasping sound or a faint peeping.
His next words were by thought.
Then ambling, some shuffling, some gliding, all with fangs hidden, claws sheathed and wings folded back across broad frames, some changing in form as their features slowly transcended, some turning into shapes human, handsome in face and form, and others more delicate, graceful, lovely, filled with charm and delight. They filed into a passage, into a corridor which would lead them to secret places where they could be free to take whatsoever form they most desired.
Shades unseen to mortal eyes glided resolutely, noiselessly, from the sight of their Master. Wolves of silver, white and black; strange cats with eyes of flame, feline in form but possessed with ancient spirits; and other creatures too foul to describe slunk out from dark corners and followed the procession of fell beings. Serpents, hissing and writhing, slithered sensuously from the vast chamber. Even spiders, some large, some small, skittered away, frightened.
Among the simple it was commonly said that these beings had disappeared at the end of the First Age, but others among them who felt the deep magic stirring in the earth, the air, the wind and the fire, said that they still had being and walked abroad in Middle-earth, though hidden in form. If one were perceptive, one could still catch a hint of the majesty concealed therein.
The main door, the public door to the Great Hall, drew open at a thought by its Master, signaling that the hall was open, and that those who would attend Him for the rest of the evening could approach. First there were trusted guards, both men and orcs, equally honored by being appointed to stand at readiness near the Throne. Upon entering the door, they bowed, first low from the waist and then walked forward, and again halted at a distance of about thirty feet from the Great Throne. Bowing, they waited until Sauron nodded, and then they took their appointed places along the walls.
Next to appear was the Lieutenant, flanked by two servants, whom he dismissed just outside the door. There they would wait, farther down the hall, until they were called upon again. The Lieutenant bowed, then walked ahead, halting ten feet from the Throne. Bowing, he hailed his Master, and was given leave to go to his place.
The Mouth of Sauron by Tamling
(Extreme gratitude to Tamling for drawing this magnificent picture especially for The Circles)
Then the doors closed silently, and the hall was barred. No sound, unless the Dark Lord willed it, would ever escape from that Great Hall. The Mouth waited until he heard the Voice of Sauron echoing in his mind, and the Mouth, honored as always, replied to Him in thought-speech.
"Then, Master of Highest Excellence, defeat is at hand?"
"Defeat is already here, My Lieutenant. It is over; the battle is lost. The Army is in full retreat, their tails between their legs, like beaten dogs. To make the mockery more bitter, the puppet of Mithrandir, the False King of Gondor, Heir to the Thief, begged an exchange of prisoners! He had the audacity, the effrontery, to think that he could lure Me into losing face and assumed that I would accept his offer of trading those Easterlings whom his men had captured for those slave wretches of the Rohirrim!"
"A grave offense, Deity of Flame," the Mouth simpered.
"Let the weaklings rot in their chains! Let them die in slavery for their failures!" the Lieutenant expressed his eagerness.
"The Rohirrim, perhaps, who are men of the earth and not men of mystic leanings, would do the will of Melkor instinctively if left to their own devices. Yet ever do they lean to the counsels of the Men of the West. Whilst you, My Lieutenant, would consider it most expeditious to torture and enslave all - and indeed it is a way to teach discipline - those men under the advice of those of Westernesee will not do that which is most prudent. While they of the heart of Atalantë sojourn here, they will lead men away from their true instincts to follow after Melkor.
"The Easterling dogs will not be tortured, whilst in the keeping of the Gondorians and Rohirrim, but instead will be put to labor doing that which their captors wish to have done. Then, when years have passed, the Rohirrim might do one of several things: escort them to the border, or if they feel perhaps that the men of the East and South have adapted to their ways, offer them land, perhaps near that of the Dunlendings, but away from themselves. This is not altogether disadvantageous to us, My Lieutenant, for who knows what useful tools the Easterlings and Southrons can provide if they gain the confidence of their masters?"
"That could prove most judicious, Lord. But what of the slave women? Since the victory has been robbed from us by incompetence and perhaps even downright sedition, there will be few of them in the future to reward Your faithful in Nurn. The market for slaves in Nurn will be a seller's one, where each of the wenches and their simpering children will be valued much too highly. Except for the sales of those women Your illustrious uruks capture in future forays, the market will soon be dead. I know You have many designs for what few of them there will be."
Indeed, Sauron had plans for some of the captured women. The fairest would be bought at high prices by those who wished to present them as unblemished offerings to Melkor and Himself. It was only fair, equitable and just that those lords who were willing to offer the highest prices for the love gifts were those who were the most loyal and faithful to their Master. Those who were stoutest and bravest would have other uses, for those who showed greatest valor and an unflinching spirit would be given to his best uruks, there to breed upon them a new race which He was planning.
Once again, the light-fearing orcs had proved their unworthiness in battle. Sauron had concluded, even before this war was begun, that the day of that lesser breed was rapidly drawing to its close and that they were fit for little more than to provide food for the more powerful of their race.
There was another reason for this breeding program. The blood of the elves was fading from Middle-earth, and as it faded, it had been found that some of the orcs themselves were weakening. Such as this would fall far too quickly in battle, and so the race of the Orc must be replenished with the bloodlines of Men.
Now the Master sought a new breed, vastly superior to any that had gone before, but to do that, He had to use the women of Gondor, Rohan and other countries. The women of Rohan had proved far more valuable in His breeding program than had the Gondorian women, for the Rohirric females were far more fertile and mated with amazing readiness. The Gondorians were a fading people, and their numbers had steadily decreased. Sauron looked forward to that day when the Númenórean bloodline would be lost to time by their own sterility.
There was a calculated peril in this, though, for with the addition of mannish blood and the ensuing ability to withstand the light, there would come more cunning and deceit, and a streak of rebellion. With the increasing strength of the mannish blood would come more intelligence and with intelligence came the ability to plot. With too much of mannish blood, the orcs themselves might be more likely to succumb to the mannish qualities, and someday rise against the very One who had improved their stock. Sauron would watch for that quality carefully and have that type marked for destruction.
Ever was the Mind of the Master a calculating one, deep in its ways, far-sighted in the scope of its plans. He could not concentrate now upon His losses, for there was always the future for which He must plan. Barring any more interference from His meddlesome kindred, the Valar and the Maiar, perhaps someday He would be successful and mold Arda into the ordered, structured world that He had long envisioned. He saw His Mind as a continuation of the Mind of Melkor. Sauron felt in His heart that He was pleasing to His King, Who languished somewhere beyond in the darkness of the Void. That thought had consoled Him through many of His most desolate hours.
Sauron knew that the Mouth would be eager to learn any glimmering of the plans of His new breeding program, hoping, no doubt, to satisfy his base desires and watch - from a safe distance, of course - the mating rituals and the actual mating itself. Sauron knew the thoughts of His servant, for they mirrored His own. He enjoyed tormenting the Mouth by denying this weak, lesser creature a sight that would excite him so much, for He alone would watch that spectacle. Perhaps, though, He might intimate some of the more titillating of the couplings just to remind the Lieutenant that he was not worthy to observe.
Only once had Sauron allowed the Mouth to study the mating from the first bellowing bleats of the male to the last whimpering cries of the golden-haired wench from whom the uruk had just wrenched the flower of maidenhood. Moaning with excitement and deviant desire, the Lieutenant had gripped the sides of his chair as he looked with gawking eyes at the scene unfolding before him. Then his intense gaze was broken when his Master had called the guards to pull the male from the female who lay trembling, her mangled thighs smeared with her own blood. The Mouth, almost beside himself with his own lusts, slumped limply in his chair, shaking and drenched in sweat.
How had he envied the orc at that moment and feared that his Master would deny the Lieutenant a night of pleasure with one of his mistresses, favoring instead to lecture him on the strengthening values of abstinence and self-control. Sauron had glared at him with disdain, concluding, as always, that mortals were utterly disgusting and loathsome creatures. The Dark Lord sometimes wondered why He ever bothered with Man, for though the race was like-minded with Melkor, they could be so petty and base at times.
"Perverted little bastard," Sauron thought in the deep recesses of His mind, far beyond that which was open to the Mouth in thought-speech.
The Mouth waited patiently for his Lord to direct His thoughts back to His servant, and the Mouth let his mind rest in expectant repose, not suspecting the contempt His Master held for him. As he pondered the glories of his Lord, he considered how honored he was to be in the counsel of the Great Sub-creator.
The Great Eye directed His thoughts back to His servant. "You know My conclusions, Lieutenant, that My kindred used their influence, though it was cloaked in the signs of nature and coincidence, against Me."
The Mouth sensed that the Dark Lord was hurt, angry, and he understood completely the feelings of rejection that his Lord harbored. He felt sympathetic, almost protective, as he always did at these times. His heart swelled with righteous anger, at the slights and injuries that his Master had suffered at the hands of His own kindred.
"They have aggrieved Me, Lieutenant, and treated Me unjustly, just as they treated My Lord, Melkor the Blessed and High. What else could I expect?" He sighed, His voice drenched in humility. "The Servant is not higher than His Master."
Sauron's feelings were heartfelt. Indeed, He believed sincerely with all of His Being that both He and Melkor had been wronged mightily by the One and by His Servants, the Valar. Possibly those of the Elves, aged and wise, would say that the Dark Lord was a master of deceit and forever was proving His mastery by deceiving even Himself. But who could ever understand, save Another who had suffered in like manner?
For ever would the Elves judge Him harshly, but many of the men, who were more like unto Melkor than they were to Ilúvatar, might, too, deem Him wronged. They would not admit it, though, save in the darkest places of their hearts.
"True, my Lord," pitied the Mouth, "both You and Melkor the Great and Wondrous, the Wise, the Mighty in Spirit and Might, have been treated most harshly and unjustly by the Advocates of the False God, Your kindred."
"Perhaps someday they will learn the error of their ways, but now is not the time. My kin see it, no doubt whilst congratulating one another, as another victory over Me. They know how unjustly they have dealt with the Great One and with Me. Kinslayers, all of them, with the corrupted hearts of Elves! They would slay Me if they could!"
"Shunned, rejected, hated, reviled and despised. You do not deserve this, O Divinity Sacred and Wise!" The Mouth was close to tears.
"I must do the best that I can after the results of their underhanded dealings. In any event, Lieutenant, Orthnac is still denied to you. I know the loss of this hope will be a sore one."
"Doubtless, Lord," the Lieutenant said, his simpering mood turning vituperative, "there is naught apparently that we can do to rectify the injustices that they have done to You, for they have set themselves in their cherished places of leisure where they cannot be assailed. However, those here responsible for their unwitting duplicity in this unbelievable disaster should be summarily punished. Justice must be upheld."
The only comfort the Mouth could take from the debacle of Helm's Deep was the anticipation of the punishment that the Lord of the Nine would receive at the hands of his Master. Yet that would indeed be poor recompense for all his dashed hopes and dreams, the sure knowledge that he had once held that he would someday be Master of Orthnac.
Perhaps he would seek comfort with his mistress that night, if his Master did not object. Then he would rid himself of all responsibilities, all obligations. Shedding all the trappings of his high position, he would humble himself. Groveling before her upon the floor, he would beg her to humiliate him. Then after standing to his feet, he would allow her to strip him, bind him to the bedpost, and flail the flesh from his back. Tied between the posts, he would writhe in delight with each burning bite of the flail. He felt that it was beneficial to let go sometimes and revel in his own vileness. It would be both comforting and a way of purging himself from the guilt he was beginning to feel. He looked forward to the lashing... and what would come after.
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.