Actions

Work Header

Terrible Alchemy

Work Text:

While Morgoth still stood, Sauron did not seek his own supremacy, but worked and schemed for another, desiring the triumph of Melkor, who in the beginning he had adored."

J .R.R. Tolkien, "Myths Transformed," Morgoth's Ring


 Amidst the darkness of Beleriand, there was a rustle. He comes! He comes! In dim corners, in spiders' tunnels, through wargs' howls, on bats' wings, the rumor spread. Melkor is freed from the captivity of Aman. Our lord and master returns! And wherever evil hid or slept in Middle-earth beneath the stars, it began to rouse itself, awakening for its master's return.

The news came to the dusty black gates of Angband on the wings of the vampire-harpies. "He comes!" they shrieked, wheeling again to roost on the heights of Thangorodrim. The lowly orcs understood what they meant at once. There was only one He . These orcs had never seen Him, but they had been taught to worship Him. They carried the message to the Maia of darkness in Angband's iron depths. Cowering and genuflecting before the darkness who had nurtured their kind and taught them His worship, they gibbered, "The vampires say - they said - He - He - He is free! Spider-mother Ungoliant helped him. She killed trees. He killed elves. He comes! He brings burning treasure. He comes !"

The figure of darkness stood. The lost ancestors of these orcs had named this dark being Gorthaur, the Torturer; and also Sauron, the Abhorred. "He comes," Sauron murmured. In an echo of Melkor's voice, he began to laugh. "He comes! Rejoice, you orcs. The God for whom you were bred will be among you soon. You Valaurakur, spin the flails of fire for His defense." Squeaks and roars spread through the depths as a shadowed carnival began. In the midst of it, Sauron glowed with dark rapture.

None in the halls of Angband dared question Sauron's word. In the absence of Melkor, this mighty Maia was their supreme ruler. None of them even dared to think of not following his orders. So it did not occur to any of them that Sauron might have kept the might of Angband and its hidden hosts for his own; might have been himself Dark Lord in perpetuity. Yet he prepared to surrender all his authority to Melkor the moment his master arrived. And as he did so, he thought of the hour when Melkor had become his master, and of the dark bond that had been wrought in the dawn of the world.


 In the dawn of the world, Sauron's lithe, fiery form flickered in disappointment as he stood by the side of his master, Aulë.

"You wish me to raise this ridge of mountains slowly? Why, Aulë? Did we not work to lay down the layers of stone clean and even? It will warp them." Sauron glanced at the massive, craggy presence of Aulë.

The Vala of earth and stone shook his great head. With a rolling voice, he declaimed, "Yea, we set the volcanoes to bring forth layers of stone as our first work. But that work did many things. It shaped ridges and valleys. It also laid down ash to make the soil rich for the plants to come. See! They are here, now." Aulë gestured grandly at the green of spring veiling the dark ground, random sprouts starting to gentle the stones. Lovingly, he said, "Thus my espoused Kementari comes to her hour, with this work to nourish and support her. And thus we raise new hills slowly, so that they arch in years, not days, to not undo the works of others."

Aulë looked with approval at the long foothill of stone that would, in time, curve into a gentle mountain range. "Bank your fires, and be at rest. Arda's foundation is made. If you wish it, these mountains may be yours to guard and shape. For me, now that our great works are done, I will do fine ones, spin cave crystals, stalagmites and stalactites. Then I will begin another work. For I, too, am impatient - for the Children of Arda." After these final words, Aulë departed. The stems of early plants sprang upright again after his slow progress, and fertile loess settled at their roots.

For some time, Sauron stood upon the plain. It was very peaceful, with a soft glow of light from the South. A few stars were visible overhead in the dark blue heart of the sky. A gentle wind ruffled the ferns and saplings sprouting on the plain. Sauron knew the intent of the place. In the fullness of slow time, there would be trees and silver ferns uplifted on the slopes of kindly mountains, the mountaintops catching the rain and channeling it to water the plains at their feet. It was an honorable demense. But it lacked the fire and urge to order that defined Sauron's very being.

"I do not wish it," Sauron said, to the air. He seemed to spin, like a flame turning in on itself, then funneling down into the ground as a line of fire. Then he was gone.

But not vanished; gone below. He span down below the shell of earth-stone into the well of fire beneath Arda's skin. And there, he glowered. For Sauron felt diminished, not fulfilled, by the long work done and the stewardship he had been offered. Nurturing was less important to this spirit of fire than doing and ordering. Sauron's thought was bitter towards uxorious Aulë. Leave him to his dull pleasures, Sauron thought. He would have our work be undone into chaos, mountains marring perfect sediments, roots mazing the layers of soil, spangling rocks with crystals and ore-veins all anyhow. Let him be the seedbed of his wife Yavanna if that is all he wishes. Let him make bagatelles with Ulmo - Ulmo whose own realm of the seas is unquestioned, but who intrudes into Manwe's sky and Aulë's earth with his water. There is another.

Sauron had spoken with this Other, from time to time. The Other was close to Aulë in his nature, a strong spirit of fire and profound making, as powerful as Manwe. Their conversations had begun as debates, attempts to bring the Other to help in the great works in progress. The Other had laughed, claiming a greater vision and greater knowledge within the layers of his darkness. Sauron claimed to not be persuaded. Yet he could not stay away, returning and tempting the Other with bits of information about the doings of Aulë. The Other had lately spoken of things that shocked and excited Sauron, feeding Sauron's pride and curiosity. What would this Other think of the latest news?

Sauron spiraled North through the hidden rivers of fire to find out.

Even deep below Arda's surface, Sauron could sense a tumult there. Something was creating a spectacular disturbance. Fire roiled, drawn upwards, its flow jarred by vast shelves of hard stone thrusting back below. Afraid yet eager, Sauron wended his way above.

To emerge, Sauron did not need to leave the river of molten stone. The ground at the heart of the destruction was so riven that the lava flowed from a hundred earth-wounds. Sauron rose with it. As the lava pillowed and cooled in the open air, Sauron took form again and stood lightly on its blackening crust, looking about in wonder.

Here, the earth was blasted into glory. To one side, massive cliffs reared, towering slabs of stone shocking in their cracked nudity. Sauron was astonished to see Aulë's painstaking work of sediment so ravaged - and then thrilled to see all its sharp detail. The order and pattern was now revealed to awe everyone. He looked around more. At the cliffs' feet, the ground was pure and rocky, unveiled by plants. Ravines streaking out from the cliff bases steamed or spilled lava helplessly. There was, upon examination, an order to the destruction. Cliffs were being thrust up evenly, and the ground was subsiding into an even pit. The sky above was striped with clouds, some dark, some reddened by the broken earth's fire. But all this tumbled stone was but a frame for the presence of power at its heart.

In the center of this raped land was the Other, the Presence, the Darkness that had drawn Sauron: the rogue Vala, Melkor. Unlike Aulë, whose form was a vague and shifting massiveness, Melkor was clad in a definite, intriguing body. He stood upright on two clean limbs, and attached to the muscled body above, two additional, intelligent limbs were wielding tools. The pale surface of Melkor's unclad body was lit by the fires about. All Melkor's personality was concentrated in his face, framed in smoky locks and contorted with wrath.

In front of Melkor, another spirit like Sauron, a Maia of the earth's fire, was the object of his attention and dominance. Clad in a form of six limbs, arms, legs, and wings, the fire-spirit was turning its horned head and belching fire between shrieks. For he was in agony, in torment at Melkor's hand. The tools Melkor wielded against him were terrible. One of Melkor's hands held a massive spar of basalt-rock. The other had a flail of fire, and with it, Melkor belabored the hapless Maia.

Stricken by the scene, Sauron shaped his form of inchoate fire to be more like the beings before him. Stature mirrored power for Maiar and Valar. Sauron was greater than the other Maia, but lesser than Melkor. Closer to having a settled body himself, he listened to the harsh words of Melkor's speech.

"So you would fly me, when you had sworn to me?" Melkor roared to the cowering Maia. "I would destroy you, did that not bring you release. I name you sexless!" A terrible blow of the basalt club smashed between the fire-spirit's legs, and the mountains rang with his - its - agony. "I name you quenched!" Melkor curled the flail about the spirit, and its terrible tendrils sucked the fire away from the flinching being, leeching its vitality so that it moaned and writhed in slime. "And I name you my thrall forever. Go and crawl in that substance I hate most, vile water! Be my spy and suffer for years uncounted before your fire is returned to you."

Terrible and proud, Melkor straightened. The shattered spirit groaned and shriveled, its limbs splitting into a multiplicity as its will weakened. It seemed that Melkor's deliberate gloating speeded this awful reshaping. With agonizing slowness, the remade creature began to slog across the terrible ground, on a long journey towards the distant sea.

Once there was no more to wrest away from his hapless servant, Melkor turned slowly to Sauron, giving the Maia his first look at the front of Melkor's form. In this hame, it was most evident that Melkor was of male kind.

Looking on his occasional informant, Melkor growled, "Come you to taunt me with more news?"

"Aulë says the great works of stone and fire are done," said Sauron. His voice was soft, and there was a canniness to that. Melkor drew in closer. "And that he is impatient for the Children of Arda."

Melkor's mirth cracked the cliffs. When he was done laughing, he sneered, "He is impatient! He wants the next pieces to toy with in our game. As do I. Small wonder." Melkor gestured at his own body. "This is the shape they will take. I have already claimed it for my own."

"It is fair," Sauron whispered.

Melkor's silent smile alone sent shards of rock tumbling.

Sauron repeated, "Aulë is done with the works of fire. He offered me a stewardship." With the courage of his power, he went on. "I refused it. He wastes himself and undoes what he has wrought, gaming at lesser works with the other, lesser Valar. I am for your service, if you will have me."

Melkor's handsome visage was twisted anew, this time by his amusement. "You have flared on the edge of your fate for a long time. Now you topple in. What makes you fall? You want more of what you have known? You hunger for true power? I will keep my promise to you in that. Or perhaps," said Melkor, stepping closer with a wide stride, "you like how I dealt with my lesser servant?"

Tired of holding back, Sauron flared, "All of it! I was nothing to Aulë, at the end of our labours. He would have chained me to the hills or let me dissolve into Varda's stars, whatever I wished."

With a pale hand, Melkor grasped Sauron's burning arm, without wince or pain, and looked down into his blazing eyes. "I am not so neglectful of my servants. Nor do I set aside my works as a toy when I am done with play. None love this Middle-earth as I do," declared Melkor, in a hint of what he might once have been. He showed his own ruin as he continued. "My love is so great that I would go beyond the Song of Illuvatar and its tellings, and shape Arda as I see it, to be stronger, better, purer in order unbroken. Can you live up to my vision?"

"That is why I am come," Sauron declared. Seeing the remaking around him, he had no doubt that Melkor could make his vision come to pass, and his resolve strengthened.

Melkor's dark gaze dominated Sauron's vision. After a seething silence, Melkor shouted, "You lie. You come because you are selfish. You would do as you please, use the things of Arda for your own will, and be revenged. And deep you hid it, nearly deceiving me." Tense and angry, Sauron tried to pull away, to no avail; there were none like Melkor. Yet Melkor was smiling anew. "Now I know you are truly as me. Long have I wanted you and your power for my own, Sauron. I must either have you or destroy you."

"You are canny and strong. But are you strong enough? Be remade as I would have you. Prove that you can endure me. Fulfill this and you shall share my dominion, and have a portion of all I command. Fail, and I will strip you of your power," Melkor boomed. All the force of Melkor's will was focused on Sauron during this, so much so that the lava seethed higher and the cliffs leaned closer.

As the powers of Maiar and Valar exceed those of the Children of Arda, so too is their love on a more epic scale. Melkor's demands fanned Sauron's hot spirit into hungry flames. "Anything," Sauron replied.

"Anything," Melkor repeated, with a hissing tone. He clamped onto both of Sauron's arms. "Then take on a form, of like kind to me."

Sauron's seething shape, that had been a four-limbed approximation of a walking being, contracted slightly and gained focus. In Melkor's grasp, Sauron bid farewell to the freedom of the earth's fire-rivers. He inhaled - for the first time, and with new mouth and lungs. Maleness was Sauron's nature as well, and the form he settled upon evoked the fair visions of the Children of Illuvatar, with strong, graceful lineaments and a long fall of hair. But no elf nor man would ever have Sauron's terrible, burning eyes, nor their slitted pupils, giving him an awful gaze beneath his well-turned brows. Those eyes closed, and Sauron's lips parted with wonder, as he felt the new link with Arda that this corporeality gave.

Melkor's terrible laugh rose again and ended in a howling cadence. "Anything! I demand all !" Releasing Sauron, he struck a hard blow that cast the Maia against one of the cliffs. Before Sauron could recover from a strike that would have split a mountain, the corrupted stone behind him warmed, changed, and flowed, capturing his wrists. With supernal senses, Sauron felt that Melkor's will was bound to every atom of the landscape around them. He had taken on this definite form only to be trapped.

Sauron did not perceive the deep fear in Melkor that led him to bind his powerful new vassal fast, fearing deceit or yet more rejection. He was struggling with his own terror at how deep a submission Melkor would demand of him. He had felt that terror long and deep, balancing his undeniable longing. So when Melkor roared, "The first of all is your punishment, Sauron. I would have wrest your fire from you long ago, were you not a useful spy even in your dithering," Sauron shrank in the bonds, but did not protest. His eyes closed again as the first blow fell.

Sauron learned why Melkor's first demand had bound him to a corporeal form. Fire had been his substance before. There had been no way for it to hurt him. There was a way, now, as Melkor flogged across his virgin chest and strapped his thighs with the flail of flame. Melkor smashed the club of basalt against a cliff in a shrapnel of shards. Taking up two of the longest, sharp as knives, he drove them through the palms of Sauron's hands."All that you might do with these hands now is mine. Say it!" Sauron obeyed, flexing his fingers around the agony, feeling his ichor drip.

Melkor rewarded him by coming closer, settling his taller body against Sauron. Then he placed a hand on Sauron's aching chest, pressing with a terrible crushing weight. "Every wish that flows through your center, your heart, is mine as well." Understanding, Sauron repeated the words. Melkor's next move was to lower his hand to cage and crush Sauron's phallus. "I do not name you sexless. Henceforth every desire you have, that too is mine and furthers my work. So it is for all my other servants." In the painful grip, Sauron's member, only a signifier of difference before, ached and stood.

Melkor could create nothing of his own. In frustration, he had turned to corrupting and reforming things that were. Before his will, earth was twisted, water evaporated or invaded, or beasts and Maiar given ghastly new shapes. With Sauron below him, he turned his will to corrupting desire itself. The deed of mating had expressed love and joy before, sometimes even fealty between beings of like gender. Yet even corruption took practice. The claiming of Sauron, bewildered, overpowered, half-fearful and half-desirous, was not wholly desire made evil. For Morgoth, even as his touch plundered, reminded Sauron of his terrible terms. "You offered me anything. This I will have." And again, fatefully, Sauron spoke his agreement aloud.

Melkor arose for a moment. His pale flesh was streaked with Sauron's ichor from the flail-wounds. The black smears only seemed to enhance this vision of power. Melkor took a moment to run a finger along one of the streaks of fluid, then lift the finger to his mouth, tasting Sauron's essence. Inspired by this, his member grew heavily swollen, rearing up as hard as the stone about. Where Melkor's form was smooth in its muscled countours, his phallus was heavy and crude, gnarled with cabling veins, its head swelling even as Melkor's face contorted in lustful wrath. With his stained hand, Melkor reached down and clasped his shaft about the base, very slowly, to ensure that Sauron's gaze followed his self-touch. Once he felt that Sauron was fearful enough, he flung himself against the bound form for an intimate assault.

Sauron perceived now why he had been bound. For not even his will to submit could still him against the agony. Melkor opened his wounds further with clawing hands and defiled him by sliding that massive phallus over him, marking him with a trail of hot ooze. Then he forced Sauron's lower limbs apart and jabbed.

When Sauron had crafted his form, he had not imagined this, nor made himself to take in such a member. Writhing in agony beyond will, he nearly cracked the bonds of stone. Melkor took pause. He, too, was learning, and he did not forget that he had remade a rebel earlier to cut the loss of a defection. So, to gain what he wanted, Melkor bent his head to Sauron's. Licking the ichor from Sauron's cheek, he whispered, breath hot, "It is pain. And it is power. It is me. Feel me. You will suffer in my service. Never forget that it is all for me. And I will never forget your suffering."

His seduction complete, Sauron spread and arched in consent. He was taken. Pierced by Melkor, his cry, too, shivered the stone.

The deed achieved, the terrible alchemy that had lured Sauron to Melkor was charged anew. Sauron's pain seemed to change in his new veins to a familiar fire. Being used for Melkor's lust was akin being crushed at Arda's burning core. Every atom of his being spun. In his submission, he knew that his power was not diminished, but was turned to all Melkor's bidding. The land about showed it. As they coupled, fissures seethed orgasmically, cliffs reared higher, and black smokes made the dreadful land into a true hellpit.

Neither of them perceived the destruction, rapt in their own respective powers. Melkor was snarling out his triumph in spearing Sauron's trapped being. Sauron had reached a state where he had let go of everything but being claimed by Melkor. With a shared and hideous shout, their awful bond was sealed.

Sealed so briefly; for with his mighty spending done, Melkor drew away. The bonds of stone retreated. Sauron repossessed his limbs. He twisted against the stone, dimmed, wounded, and marred with lustful filth. The ordeal had been so deep that it seemed he had always been Melkor's servant. He looked up at his master.

Melkor stood and towered over Sauron. And he showed both evil and power as he said, "You are above all others I have claimed." Sauron felt himself glow with gratitude, but stilled at Melkor's black gaze renewed. He knew he now had no secrets from the one who had claimed him.

Melkor reached down and drew Sauron to standing. "Yea, you will suffer in my service. But you will make sure that those who oppose me suffer as well. I felt that in you. You shall be the chief of those who wreak my will, and of all that I do, you shall have a part. We will reshape this earth, and then those who live upon it, even as I have claimed you. And at times, I may claim you again." With his free arm, Melkor lifted his hand and curled it into a fist. With a driving gesture, Melkor exerted his power unified with that of Sauron. The entire sintering valley cracked and began to subside deeper, taking them down together.


The memory complete, Sauron attended once more to the present, the mobs of Angband. With a nameless sense, he became aware of a heavy tension, a massive rage, a furious strength and darkness. Melkor had had the vision of Angband and its hordes of orcs. With his power freed in his master's absence, Sauron had brought Melkor's vision to pass. Would it be enough? Would this offering of fealty show that he was still the chief of those Melkor had claimed? And would he be claimed again? Or would Melkor's terrible fuelling wrath, transformed by captivity, seek to destroy him, as he had once threatened?

A dim thunder seemed to ring the earth, like gigantic footsteps approaching. Terrified creatures were fleeing into the depths, seeking refuge before the greatest evil of them all. Sauron roared some orders, then went to stand by a vast dark throne, crafted for the one of mighty stature whose limbs Sauron remembered well.

He comes?

Sauron could only hope.