The destruction of the One Ring did not destroy me. I diminished and lost most of my power, and so, I ceased to be a threat. It was tempting to stay on Middle-earth and bide my time until I grew in power. I have done it before. However, there are only so many times that one can try before truly knowing the empty, dry taste of defeat. After the downfall of Númenor, my punishment was to appear ugly and threatening to those who saw me; my fairness of form could never be used again to gain the trust of those who valued beauty above all else. Abandoning physical form altogether after the War of the Alliance, I retreated and bided my time, slowly increasing in strength and power. Some say that I became the All Seeing Eye sitting atop the tower looking down on the lands below, but this is far from reality. The slit pupil eye was a mere projection designed to state my return in the loudest of terms and to terrify. I could see through it, in my mind, and observed much of use. Once again, I embraced physical form.
My power swiftly departed as soon as the ring melted in the molten lava pool, in the throat of the central vent of Mount Doom. The volcano erupted with the additional power of the ring and the hobbits can only have escaped the immediate danger with the protection of the Valar. Once again I lost and this time forever. I have done what I can for Melkor. My weariness of separation from him defeats any will that I would otherwise have. I am not complete without his presence and so I fail, but this time it is different; I am past caring and want to go home.
Surely, he will know that I gave my best for him. Will he forgive my failure? I have little hope because he is neither possessed of a forgiving nature nor capable of one. Yet I must try. I call on the Valar in my desperation and misery, to take me away. I do not ask their forgiveness; there is no reason why I should. The Valar are good and I am evil. They need me to maintain balance. All I ask them for is my right.
This must be what death is like. No strength remains in my body once I decide not to stay. I lie helpless, and waiting, my fëa thin and without substance. Flames burn me but I do not feel them. Burn me, burn my body like that of a celebrated warrior on a flaming pyre. Release me from these physical bonds so that I can fly. So that my time here can end and I can go to whence I came.
My fëa lifts away from solidity and floats without direction; like a wisp of cloud away from the boundaries of Middle-earth. Never have I felt so light. It is a good feeling and as I drift, the need to think is lost. I am free.
If only I could have stayed floating without care. The spirit of retribution swiftly caught up with me and pulled me in for judgement. My formless fëa acquired an outer body that appeared exactly as my previous one when young and I stood before Manwë ready to accept his verdict. I did not plead my case nor argue any points. To do so would have been futile. Instead, I maintained what I considered a quiet dignity. Why feed them bread when I could give those who would judge me crumbs instead.
The sentence was to go through the Door of Night and live there for an indeterminate time. According to Manwë, I fulfilled Eru's song by bringing evil to Middle-earth but I always had the choice to resist doing so, and that was the reason for punishment.
My face displayed my contempt. "Do with me as you will, Manwë. I do not care anymore."Truly, I did not. If they had wanted to crush my fëa instead and destroy it, then they could. I would have let them; I am not afraid of non-existence. To send me through the Door of Night would take me back to the one I love. It would be more a reward than a punishment. Even if the Valar had chosen physically to punish me, they could not have broken me. I love pain. I savour every nuance of abuse, every torture, every deprivation and every humiliation. The Valar would have been too polite and correct to punish me properly by corporal means alone. With the intent of redeeming me, restraint would always stay their hand from inflicting too much. I know how they work: in-between bouts of unimaginable pain there would be long periods of self-reflection and examination where I would be required to demonstrate regret for past deeds; with any deviation or transgression severely dealt with. I will never turn away from evil. It is my love and it is my master. It rules my heart.
I smiled and wondered at the naivety of Manwë. Melkor and I would lead a disparate army through the Door and overrun them. The thought was too delicious and I had to maintain an iron control over my countenance so that they would not discern my train of thought. The waiting was pure torture, not the sort I enjoy and I grew impatient. There was much talk about my future whilst I stood waiting. I sighed heavily and told Manwë to get on with it. They could indulge in mere chatter in their own time.
"You may not enjoy the land beyond the Door of Night as much as you think, Sauron." Manwë gave me his sternest look but it was lost on me.
"Whether I do or not is academic. You have passed sentence. Have now the courage to carry it out." I glared at the leader of the Valar.
"Your sentence will be one of harsh endurance; there is no hope or comfort to be found beyond the Door. Nothing will be as you expect." Manwë gave a small smile in spite of his rising anger and I sighed as though bored. Rising from the crystal throne, he walked towards me. "If you had shown even the slightest indication of repentance your punishment would not have been so harsh." He seemed sad and resigned. I merely smirked.
"I cannot repent any of my actions, because even though I failed, I did what I could for a cause that I believe in. Who has the right to ask that I do so?" He walked away and I followed and the other Valar fell in behind.
Manwë walked to a bare wall with no decoration or covering. He stopped and waved his hand and the dark outline of a door appeared. A handle formed and Manwë turned it to the left and pulled on it to reveal a vast space beyond of unimaginable, sucking blackness. He motioned for me to walk through and so I did. I looked back but already the door was gone and blackness surrounded me. Putting my hand out, I could feel the form of the door even though I could not see it. The location would be handy to know when Melkor and I rode our armies out to defeat the Valar and subdue the population of Valinor. Committing it to memory, I smiled and walked forward, embracing the darkness.
This is the sequel to Summer Heat.
The first 12 chapters were beta'd by Sylc - the rest by me.
Disclaimer: I do not own the elves or their surroundings. The elves made me write this even though they belong to Tolkien; they are very naughty making me do this! I make no profit and have no intention of making any.
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