2. Author's Notes
Sauron's corruption by degrees of Ar-Pharazôn, King of Númenor — which sparked Ar-Pharazôn's assault on Aman and the resultant downfall of Númenor — is chillingly documented in the Akallabêth:
Then [Ar-Pharazôn] sent forth heralds, and he commanded Sauron to come before him and swear to him fealty.For JunoMagic's Alphabet Challenge in honor of International Literacy Day, 8 September 2008. Each drabble for this challenge was to both start AND end with the same letter.
And Sauron came.... For he perceived that the power and majesty of the Kings of the Sea surpassed all rumour of them...; and he saw not his time yet to work his will with the Dúnedain.
The Silmarillion, Akallabêth
Then behind locked doors Sauron spoke to the King..., saying:... '[His] name is Melkor, Lord of All, Giver of Freedom, and he shall make you stronger than they.'
Then Ar-Pharazôn the King turned back to the worship of the Dark, and of Melkor the Lord thereof, at first in secret, but ere long openly and in the face of his people; and they for the most part followed him.
And Sauron urged the King to cut down the White Tree, Nimloth the Fair, that grew in his courts, for it was a memorial of the Eldar and of the light of Valinor.
At the first the King would not assent to this.... But... Isildur... passed alone in disguise to... the place of the Tree, which... was watched day and night by guards in [Sauron's] service... Isildur... took from the Tree a fruit that hung upon it, and turned to go. But the guard was aroused, and he was assailed, and fought his way out, receiving many wounds; and he escaped, and because he was disguised it was not discovered who had laid hands on the Tree...
[After] the assault the King yielded to Sauron and felled the White Tree, and turned then wholly away from the allegiance of his fathers. But Sauron caused to be built upon the hill in the midst of the city of the Númenóreans, Armenelos the Golden, a mighty temple.... [There] was an altar of fire in the midst of the temple.... And the first fire upon the altar Sauron kindled with the hewn wood of Nimloth, and... men marvelled at the reek that went up from it....
Thereafter the fire and smoke went up without ceasing; for the power of Sauron daily increased, and in that temple..., men made sacrifice to Melkor that he should release them from Death.
Then Ar-Pharazôn, being besotted, and walking under the shadow of death, for his span was drawing towards its end, hearkened to Sauron; and he began to ponder in his heart how he might make war upon the Valar.
Then Ar-Pharazôn hardened his heart, and he went aboard his mighty ship, Alcarondas, Castle of the Sea. Many-oared it was and many-masted, golden and sable; and upon it the throne of Ar-Pharazôn was set. Then he did on his panoply and his crown, and let raise his standard, and he gave the signal for the raising of the anchors; and in that hour the trumpets of Númenor outrang the thunder....
And at last Ar-Pharazôn came even to Aman, the Blessed Realm, and the coasts of Valinor; and still all was silent, and doom hung by a thread. For Ar-Pharazôn wavered at the end, and almost he turned back. His heart misgave him when he looked upon the soundless shores and saw Taniquetil shining, whiter than snow, colder than death, silent, immutable, terrible as the shadow of the light of Ilúvatar. But pride was now his master, and at last he left his ship and strode upon the shore, claiming the land for his own, if none should do battle for it.