5. A Missing Halfling and a Glass of Wine
"What'd you mean he's not here?!" Khamul screamed.
"It's your own fault!" Primela screamed back.
"Where's your damn nephew?" Khamul gave the Halfling a shake for good measure.
"He left! I don't know where he went! And good riddance to him!" Primela spat on the ground.
"Which direction?" Khamul hissed. She had a fuzzy feeling in her head and she wished it would go away. She'd had that feeling several times over the centuries and she couldn't figure out what caused it. Probably anger.
"I don't know!"
"Does anyone know?" Khamul shouted at the gathered crowd of Halflings. "Anyone want to speak up, or do I have to start cutting off heads?"
"I think he went north," one small farmer said. Another nodded. "He said something about going north."
"North. Well, that's a start. That's good. Did he, perchance, have a ring with him?" Khamul's voice was back at a reasonable volume, but her hand was clenched around her sword's hilt so tightly that the knuckles were white.
"Yes," someone said nervously. "A gold ring. He kept it hidden."
Khamul closed her eyes. "Was it plain? No jewels or anything?"
"It was a plain, gold ring."
The hand that clenched the sword's hilt clenched tighter. "That river near the village," Khamul hissed. "Is it, just maybe, the Anduin?"
"And did your nephew – Smeagol, was it? – first start acting strange after a fishing trip?"
"Yes," Primela said. "He went out fishing with his cousin, Deagol. The poor lad never came back, and Smeagol was all changed."
"I see," Khamul said. Her eyes were still closed. "Well, I am going to the north. And I better find this sorry bastard."
"What should we do if he comes back?" someone asked.
"Kill him," Khamul growled. Because that's sure what I'm going to do when I find him. Kill him and take the Ring. For myself.
The thought was so ludicrous Khamul almost laughed. She doubted very much that the Ring would work for her. It had one master, and he was currently whiling away the time in Dol Guldor right now.
"As always, I am honored to have such refined company at the dinner table," Sauron said. He toasted his guest with a glass of extremely fine red wine. "Particularly one of such high station."
"I suspect I'm one of the few elves who've been here who hasn't had to be restrained," Legolas said.
Sauron chuckled. "Well, quite," he said. "I must confess that I find it a bit strange that you – the son of King Thranduil – should show up on my doorstep."
"Well, you are in my father's realm." The words didn't quite roll off the tongue. Sauron picked them apart and found that the pause had occurred on 'father'. He committed it to memory.
"And I always welcome his son. Or, indeed, any elf," Sauron said.
"For the slaughterhouse, I suspect."
"Oh, the slaughterhouse is quite outdated, I assure you. If you truly wish to know, I prefer to have some nice chats with my guests."
"Call it what you like."'
"Do you want to know why I came to Dol Guldor?" Legolas asked.
"I must admit that I am curious," Sauron said.
"I found it strange that Sauron the Abhorred hasn't been found out yet. I was beginning to suspect my intuition and had to see for myself."
The pleasantries were at an end. Sauron's eyes went black and cold. He was the Necromancer of Dol Guldor. He was also one of the Nazgul, the Witch-King himself, perhaps. He was a mysterious force from the east. Perhaps another balrog from Moria. Whatever he was, he was definitely not Sauron.
"I do not know what you are talking about," Sauron said. "Perhaps you are mistaken." He smiled politely, but his teeth were sharp and seemed longer than before.
"I am not," Legolas said. He seemed different as well. Older than his few centuries. There was something about his eyes that profoundly disturbed Sauron. Very few things disturbed the Dark Lord, and none of them profoundly.
"I am not Sauron."
"Oh, but you are. You are the Lord of the Barad-dur, except that your tower is in ruins. How unfortunate."
"You are not Thranduil's son," Sauron said.
"I am Legolas."
"No, I said you are not Thranduil's son. I never said you were not Legolas."
"How can I be one but not the other?"
"You may be called Legolas, perhaps even named Legolas, but you are not the sickly child Thranduil took to Lorien to be miraculously healed."
"Perhaps I changed," Legolas said.
Sauron smiled like a predator. "No one changes that much," he said. "You think you are powerful and mighty, ready to match wits with me. You are not."
Legolas's eyes flashed, but they were not the eyes of a young Sindar, but the eyes of a proud Noldo, one Sauron had known only too well.
"Ah, Feanor. I knew nothing could keep you from Arda."
"At last we know each other by our true names," the elf muttered.
"Yes, I suppose that is good. I can guess the tale of your return, but why?"
"To escape your master," Feanor said.
Sauron paled slightly and Feanor smirked. "So you were trapped with him then. I almost pity you."
"I escaped," Feanor said. "And found myself in this delightful new body."
"And you have come back to the cage? They liken me to a lesser Melkor, the elves do."
"I wanted to see if that was true. I don't think it is."
"What do you think then?"
"I think that you fear human realms, a human lord, and two withered old Maia."
Sauron frowned and the temperature in the room dropped. "Realms?" he asked. "There is Gondor, which I do not fear, but there is no other."
"Not yet," Feanor said with a nasty smile. "And you do fear it. There can be no secrets between us."
"You have foresight then. That is something you did not have before."
Feanor snorted. "If I did, I would've ignored it."
"And this human lord of which you spoke?"
"Arvedui's heir. He could grow up some day and claim both the thrones of Gondor and Arnor."
"Perhaps I find that thought unpleasant, but I do not fear it," Sauron said. He looked over at the reincarnated elf. "The body you wear is changing to look more like your old one," he commented.
"It took you long enough to notice," Feanor said. His eyes glittered. "Perhaps to see if the rumors were true wasn't the only reason I came here."
Sauron raised an eyebrow. "Indeed? I do remember in the days before the Silmarils spending some time with a Noldorian smith."
"And I with a fire-loving Maia."
"Ah, you malign me. I have no love of fire for its destruction, but for the emptiness it creates. Emptiness that begs to be filled."
Feanor's smile turned twisted. "The Void is devoid of fire, yet it is an empty place," he said. "A place you will see all too soon."
"That is where you are wrong," Sauron said. "I will never go to the Void. Never."
"If your precious Ring is destroyed, you will."
Sauron smiled back. "You think so, do you? Very well, continue to think that."
"Would you care to enlighten me?"
Feanor shrugged. "Very well then," he said. He stood up. "I will be on my way."
"I do not think so." Sauron moved quickly, and was soon standing next to Feanor. "I have no qualms about letting you go…for a price."
"As twisted as your master, aren't you?"
Sauron smiled and gently lifted a stray strand of hair from Feanor's face. "Beautiful," he commented.
"Perhaps I was overly hasty in rejecting you," Feanor murmured, pulling Sauron close. "Perhaps I should have given you a second chance after you sided with Him."
"Perhaps you were," Sauron said, leaning close. His lips parted slightly and his eyes almost closed, waiting to feel the softness of Feanor's mouth. The body might be different, but the soul was the same. It would taste like fire.
A searing, stabbing pain shot through his body like knives. Sauron gave a short shriek of agony and doubled over. He received two kicks to the chest as well as several to the head.
"I would never dream of bedding a servant of Morgoth," Feanor spat, kicking Sauron once more before turning and sprinting out of the halls.
He could not be killed, could not be hurt by mortal weapons, but Feanor was one of the Calaquendi, and the greatest elf who ever lived. The Dark Lord lay on the floor for a while, nursing his pains as well as the blow to his pride. Not to mention the betrayal. Although he should've seen that coming. Feanor would never resume their brief relationship.
Staggering to his feet, Sauron checked himself in a mirror. There was no blood, but quite a lot of bruising. It was healing as fast as it was appearing.
He considered sending out the wolves and alerting the spiders. On second thought, no, he wouldn't. Why bother? He would only let Feanor go…eventually. And he would be Sauron's soon enough. Oh yes. Soon. Sauron had the patience of a Vala, but the time was coming. Now all he needed was the Ring.
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.