2. Chapter Two: The Lover
What is it that you look at, from your windows that see into the void? Do you listen for my voice, or for someone else's? My voice is what you will hear, if you listen at all, for there are none here but myself; so I have none to talk to but you. Nienna, would you shed a tear for me? If not, mourn at least for the one that loved me.
In a glade I met her, a whisper in the air. She had a form I found pleasant, though she seemed weak and overly burdened. I announced my presence to her, and she looked up to me with a feeling that utterly surprised me - delight. She had run from my creatures, hid from my servants, yet she feared me not. Did she not know who I was? Had the terrors of the night driven her insane? I approached her.
'Know that I am Melkor, Lord of Arda.' Now she trembled visibly.
'I am a butterfly drawn to the flame, a moth lured by the heat. My name is Anna.'
'Which flame do you seek, little Gift?'
'Yours, my lord. For I love you.'
'Then let me take you home with me.' I would never have thought to call Utumno 'home', but she obviously could think of it as one. I gave her the same food I ate myself, and we drank mead from the same cup. I was intrigued by her, and by the feeling she called love. Soon the mead fogged her head, and I found ways to enjoy her love. I know not if she enjoyed it, that first time, but I think she did. I played her like an instrument, bending instead of breaking, using tension to make music. I think I have never before and never after received such a gift.
I soon grew bored of her, following me like a shadow, asking questions about everything she saw. It came to my head that she might be a spy sent by my enemies, so I found it wiser to capture her in a set of rooms. These were good rooms, they had been built for me, and the door opened to my bedroom. I visited her quite often, and it seemed to me she anticipated my visits with desire: always, when I entered her presence, her hair was aflame and her clothing shone, but as I made to leave, she clung to me as a desperate wraith.
I soon understood she was little pleasure and less use that way. Things would have to change. I had not commanded her once, I had not had her call me master. Instead, she still called me 'love'. I knew it was time to use that love for a purpose.
'Anna. I have come to demand you the price for what you have received for me.'
'What price is that, my love? Have I not already given you myself?'
'I command that you must give me a son.'
'But, my love, we are ainur both, and the ainur cannot breed: the number of the souls of our kind is finite.'
'You must find a way, or die.'
'I will try, my love, my lord.' Still she named me her love, despite the doom I had put on her.
I soon noticed the change in Anna. She grew more beautiful and burning, as her stomach grew. But as I touched her womb with my mind, I met no soul there. I asked her about this.
'Our baby will be born soul-less, but born he will be.'
'No-one can live without a soul.'
'I will give him my soul in my milk.'
'You will die for him?' I had not planned for this.
'For you, my love, that you could have what you desire. Our son shall live on for me.'
'I hope our son is as faithful to me as you have been... my love.' She kissed me for that, and I realised it might be the last time anyone ever kissed me with love.
The boy was born in the middle of a storm, and Anna wished I would be present when he came to the world. I lifted him from his mother's womb, and he did not cry. Anna put him on her breast, and he drank. Anna grew pale and silent. In her last breath she spoke:
'I love you, my son, and I would name you Sauron.' Then she was dead. The child now began to cry. Anna's corpse turned into ashes, and the child lay in a bed full of ash and bellowed its little lungs inside out. Slowly I picked my son up.
I gave him to my servants to clothe, feed and raise. Sauron had indeed inherited his mother's unquestioning faith in me. He worshipped me as soon as he learned to speak. He grew fast, from the toddler that played at my feet to an active boy running around and shouting, to a man-child trying to lift a sword too heavy for his years. He had a passion for weapons, and their use seemed to come to him naturally, without teaching. This put me on my guard; I feared he would use those blades and those skilled hands against me. But when he looked at me his eyes held no secrets. The only thing I found strange about him was his disinterest towards the female spirits who served us.
'Sauron son of Melkor. Approach.' My voice thundered across the hall, and he walked to me in a formal pace. He was armoured from head to toe, with a black cloak over it all, a heavy broadsword hanging from his belt, and numerous other weapons doubtless concealed around his armour. He was a handsome sight, and my heart swelled of pride.
'We are about to go to war.'
'I know, master.' That was his name for me, and it pleased my ears. 'We will crush the valar with our first blow, make a swift retreat and a successful defence. Any questions?'
'How are we going to crush them?'
'We will break their precious torches, Illuin and Ormal that pain my eyes.' He laughed then, and I with him. How sure we were of our victory, how carelessly we planned our defences, how little we questioned our plan's wisdom. Would that I could live those times yet again! Much would be different.
Break the lamps we did. And our escape was well hid...
Am I turning into a poet? Eru be merciful - but he isn't, not for me. I trust you tell no-one of my embarrassment, Nienna dear, for you are not one fond of laughter. As I said, our escape was covered by the fire that spread from the broken orbs and the havoc it caused. We returned to Utumno victorious and proud. Middle-Earth was ours; the valar ran from us and dwelt in the West. My might grew and my servants gathered strength, but one they always held in respect beside me was Sauron. He was a glorious one, bold in battle, wise in tactics, handsome to look at, a tall warrior cloaked in starless night, with a voice like the heart of a volcano. As I prepared for a possible attack from the West, he suggested that I build a fortress in the western part of Middle-Earth. I did so, named it Angamando, and appointed Sauron as its commander. I saw in his deep blue eyes that he dared to be displeased with my order; he would have preferred to stay close to me. But I had made my decision, and I think I was so adamant because I actually feared him a bit those days.
Then came the new stars in the skies, and I realised times were changing. I had sent my minions to search the lands, and so I was the first to learn of the Quendi. I saw the fragile, innocent beings held potential, so I invited them to join my forces. Some came, and I soon saw their souls were almost incapable of following me. So I practically extinguished the fires that shone inside them, which left the bodies, alive, completely in my power with little more mind than animals. That was the best result I could have hoped for, and I began the slow shaping of the Orcs.
How this must burden you with horror, silent Nienna! Virgin Nienna! Yet I cannot pity you unless you pity me first. It is I who am prisoned in darkness and you who live in freedom and peace. Speak to me, if you wish me silent. Can you not see how it pains me not having anyone speaking to me? I think you can. So drop this burden of silence and let me hear your voice once more!
You know of the war and the humiliation that became my share as Tulkas imprisoned me, and you know also that for all their prowess the valar and their servants could not capture Sauron. I thought my tale would end there and then, but I actually found a spark of comfort in the thought that my son would follow my footsteps.