1. On Wings of Eagles
He looks out across his land, and he sees the great cloud, and he shudders.
An Eagle, thinks the King, it looks like an Eagle.
He has never seen a cloud quite like it- it blackens half the sky.
The wind whips his cloak against him as the storm approaches and a memory stirs in him, a memory of a youth long gone, a memory of a land where the only clouds were soft and white, where the only wind was sweet and gentle, where the only rain was warm and fleeting.
Lightning flickers within the cloud, and the memory is gone, drowned out by the ominous rumble of thunder. He shudders again, and turns away, as if he might blot it out with ignorance alone, turns away and into his palace once more.
Sauron is there, of course- he is always there.
He stands by the throne, a cup in his hand, concern upon his face.
"Does something trouble you, mighty King?"
He proffers the cup.
"This might help, my liege. It is of my own devising, and most efficacious in driving away even the most grievous of sorrows."
The liquid in the cup looks like tar, and the King sniffs it cautiously.
"Of your own devising, you say?"
"Certain herbs and spices as are found in my old kingdom, brewed and steeped with the purest waters of your majesty's Kingdom, nothing more. It soothes the greatest of hurts and smashes the greatest horrors, I find."
The King sniffs it again, and Sauron smiles.
"All misery flees at a single taste- all nightmares are shattered with a single mouthful."
The great Eagle in the clouds flickers in the King's mind's eye, and he shudders one final time before downing the entire cup in one mouthful. The liquid is bitter at first-
ash and blood and dirt and bile
-but its aftertaste is pure nectar; sweet as Autumn, sharp as Spring and warm as Summer. Lights explode behind his eyes as he swallows, and a soothing warmth floods through him from his head to his toes.
Sauron smiles beatifically.
"Does the draught please you, my King?"
He nods, stupefied, and Sauron's smile spreads ever wider.
"I shall have your servants bring you more, my King- after all, the smallfolk say a storm is coming of prodigious size and srength."
The King nods.
"Aye- I have seen it with mine own eyes- a storm out of the West, a storm such as we have never seen."
"What storm could ever fade the glory of Your Majesty?"
The King raises an eyebrow.
"A storm sent by the Lords of the West themselves!"
Sauron bows before him, abases himself- as is only right and proper.
"They can only send a storm, your majesty- rain and wind. You have swords and shields and stone- what are rain and wind against the mightiest King the world has ever known?"
The King considers this. Something in Sauron's words rings false, but he cannot fathom it, and the more he troubles himself in looking the less he wishes to find it.
"They plot against us, great King, but that is all they do, all they can do. They fear us- fear you, great King- and so they send storms to us. They are naught but sound and fury, signifying nothing."
The King nods, and Sauron continues.
"They strike first, but are blunted by your glory, your Majesty- the next blow shall be yours, and victory soon to follow!"
The King grins now, Sauron's words echoing in his ears, visions of glory dancing before his eyes.
"Soon indeed, Sauron. Send me more of your concoction- I fancy it shall make this storm seem little more fearsome than a spring shower!"
Sauron bows low.
"As you command, my King."
Ar-Pharazôn smiles as he watches the former Dark Lord perform his obeisance.
"I fancy that a message should be sent throughout the land to tell the people not to worry, Sauron- a message that the King of Númenor does not fear the self-titled Lords of the West, and that neither should even the most unworthy of his vassals!"
Sauron's smile matches that of the King.
"An excellent decision, great King."
Ar-Pharazôn takes his throne and cup-bearers attend him with more of Sauron's brew.
He drinks deeply, and if he wonders how they prepared it so perfectly so quickly the thought is borne away by his next mouthful.
The storm rumbles outside, borne on wings of eagles.
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.