Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognisable characters in this story, and make no money from them. This story is purely a work of fanfiction, and written for fun. All rights belong to the Tolkien Estate.
Welcome to a Tolkien related AU Universe. This time, I am taking on characters from the Silmarillion. Namely Mairon/Sauron, exploring the idea he returned to Valinor to face the Valar after the War of Wrath. Instead of running away, and hiding on Middle Earth, to eventually cause the events of the LOTR Trilogy.
This Mercy-Verse collection of stories (I have several other related stories written) is inspired by AzureSkye23's amazing works that deal with similar ideas. I have used several of the same themes from those stories with permission, but this is not intended to be a copy of that Universe by any means. Specific ideas, when they are used, will be credited at the end of the relevant chapters.
Thank you for the inspiration and permission Skye, and I hope you enjoy this take on a Mairon-Redemption arc!
This story was edited by my good friend CoffeeRanger. The details she added are amazing, and blend so seamlessly with what I'd written, the first time I read them I felt like it was a new story! Thank you for your input my friend; though with my later editing you may find elements of this story somewhat changed from the drafts you saw.
The title of this story is Quenya for 'have mercy on' according to the Ambar-Eldaron Quenya-English dictionary.
Silence reigned in the Máhanaxar when Eönwë finished giving his statement. Finally, Manwë spoke.
"Thank you, Eönwë. You may leave us."
The Maia bowed to his lord, and left without a backward glance. The gathered Valar now turned their full attention to the figure kneeling in the middle of the Ring. His head was bowed so far, he all but cowered before them; awaiting their judgement.
After Morgoth's recent defeat, his chief lieutenant, Sauron, had sought out Eönwë. The Maia abjured all his evil deeds, and begged Manwë's herald for forgiveness. When told only the Valar had the power to forgive, or punish, him, the fallen Maia had a change of heart. He had fled, only to run into Oromë less than a day later. The Hunter had recognised him; the copper hair and golden eyes were hard to ignore. Oromë had immediately taken Sauron prisoner, bound him, and escorted him back to Valinor.
Not that it had been a hard job. Even when he'd first caught him, the Hunter had reported to the council earlier, the Maia had not put up a fight. Unlike Morgoth (who had begged, pleaded, kicked, screamed, and sworn at everyone in every language he knew, from the time he was captured, up until the moment he'd been thrown into the Void) Sauron had been silent since Oromë had told him he was under arrest. He hadn't even said anything when told they would return to the West. Where he would stand trial before all the Valar, for the evil deeds he'd done in Middle Earth.
He had offered minimal resistance to everything that had happened since as well. He had done what he was told, whilst keeping his head down. His subservient behaviour (while a welcome change from that of his former master), had nonetheless caused Oromë some lingering concern. Sauron's chosen lord had been defeated, and tossed into the Void, never to rise again until the remaking of the world. But, the Hunter still expected some form of resistance from Morgoth's second-in-command.
Or, at the very least, an escape attempt. Or an attempted seduction. Or an attempt to elicit sympathy or pity from someone. This Maia had earned quite a reputation for his way with words, even before he'd joined Morgoth. For this reason, the Hunter made sure he was the only one who had direct dealings with him on the journey back to Valinor.
Oromë had been ready to deal with whatever trouble Sauron tried to cause on their way. He had even wondered fleetingly, before setting off, if he should have killed him.
Now, looking down at the still figure, Oromë wondered what had stopped him from doing just that. Why the first thought he'd had when he'd seen this Maia, was to capture him, not kill him. Especially as he'd been out hunting down the remnants of Melkor's evil servants. He'd seen first-hand the death, destruction, ruin and heartache all actions perpetrated by the followers of Morgoth inevitably led to. There was no reason to think this Maia would be any different.
Before the Hunter could contemplate these troubling thoughts further, Manwë spoke.
"Lord Námo. List the charges."
The Judge of the Valar stood, regarding the Maia with a dispassionate gaze. The silence in the Ring deepened, taking on an almost oppressive feel, as everyone waited for their Doomsman to speak.
Sauron still did not raise his head. He kept his gaze fixed on the ground in front of him, long hair hiding his face from their view. He was facing Manwë; and, as Námo's throne was opposite the Elder King's, the Judge was at his back. While Sauron had to know he was there (Námo's presence was as subtle as a thunderstorm) a shudder went through his body when the Vala stood.
When Námo began speaking, Sauron hunched his shoulders even more, lowering his head, until it practically touched the ground. Námo's voice held no emotion, radiating nothing but power and authority, as he stated the facts.
And the Maia clearly did not like it.
"Sauron Gorthaur. You stand accused of betraying your first lord, and providing information detrimental to our cause in secret to the enemy, whom you then joined. You stand accused of willingly aiding the fallen Vala Melkor, more commonly known as Morgoth, in his attempts to dominate and destroy Eä. In doing so, you went against the purpose of the Music, and openly rebelled against our creator. You are accused of committing many horrific crimes against both us, and the Children, while in Morgoth's service. These include torture, mutilation, and murder. You have also attained and wielded a power greater than was ever meant for those of your order to wield, and used it to do unspeakable evils."
"How do you answer these charges?"
Silence reigned once more, everyone waiting for Sauron to answer Námo. Yet, despite waiting a while, no answer was forthcoming.
Finally, Námo had had enough. "Speak!"
Watching Sauron as hard as he was, Manwë noted the Maia flinched when Námo projected that bit of extra authority into his voice. The chains around his thin wrists clanked, as he clasped his hands in his lap. His wrists weren't the only part of him that was thin, the King noted absently, waiting for the Maia to answer the charges.
Which took a while. Apart from that small movement, Sauron remained still and silent for a long time. Long after Námo commanded him to speak. Which was odd. From what Manwë remembered, this Maia had never been at a loss over things to say. Though, as far as the Elder King could remember, he'd never been confrontational either.
At least, he hadn't been back when he'd worked for Aulë.
Quite the opposite, from what the King remembered. This Maia was more likely to fade into the background, and avoid drawing attention to himself.
As these memoires surfaced, Manwë realised he did not actually remember much about who this Maia had been before he'd turned to the darkness. And who knew what that darkness had done to him.
"They are true." Sauron finally spoke. His voice was quiet – small – not what Manwë would have expected from Morgoth's chief lieutenant, and had a raspy quality to it. "All true, but for the 'willingly aided' him part. While I did aid him, not all of it was willingly done."
Ulmo sat up straight when he heard that. His eyes bored into the Maia.
"What do you mean, 'not all of it was willingly done'?"
Sauron still did not look up.
"I did do some things of my own accord; that much is true. And I joined him of my own free will, however ill-advised that decision turned out to be. Melkor could – he could be very persuasive when he wanted to be."
There was a hint of something in the Maia's voice as he said that, though his tone remained flat and emotionless. Manwë suddenly desired to see his eyes. Sauron had not raised his head even once since entering the Máhanaxar.
"Look at me." He commandment, not removing his gaze from the form of the Maia before him.
Sauron froze, causing all the Valar to sit up, and fasten their eyes on him. Their expressions ranged from curious to concerned to confused. Except for Námo. The Doomsman's expression was just blank. Even blanker then it had been when they'd sentenced Morgoth, which was saying something. After waiting a few moments, Manwë repeated the order, projecting more authority into his voice.
"Sauron. I said look at me."
While Manwë's words were calm and free from anger, Sauron still flinched at them. But, with the power that radiated off the Vala, he could not disobey a direct order like that. He was a Maia, albeit a fallen one. Their very nature demanded service and obedience to a Vala. Slowly, with obvious reluctance, Sauron raised his head, and looked at Manwë. Or rather, in his direction. His eyes remained scrunched closed.
Manwë frowned. "Open your eyes."
At his command, the Maia's eyes cracked open, revealing a flash of gold. Sauron immediately winced, closing them again. The Maia trembled as he took a deep, shuddering breath, before opening them a second time. This time, they remained open. Dull, golden orbs rose to meet Manwë's clear blue ones, though he continued to squint. The King frowned again as he observed this reaction.
"What is wrong?"
The Maia swallowed.
"The sunlight…it-it hurts."
Understanding dawned on everyone's faces. Morgoth had hated the sunlight with a passion, and sought to blot it out from his fortress. It made sense his chief lieutenant, who'd lived in his shadow for Ages, would also have a problem with it.
Though Sauron was here being judged, Manwë did not intend to torment him. Not before passing a sentence; that would be cruel and uncalled for. With a single thought, clouds formed above his head, blotting out the sun. Soon, a deep twilight engulfed the Máhanaxar. At the Maia's stupefied look, Manwë looked him in the eye.
"I want to read your eyes. That will not happen if you cannot open them, or look at me."
The Elder King was disappointed when Sauron's eyes went as blank and emotionless as his voice had been earlier. Manwë was sure he would find something there. Something to help explain things he'd said before.
Things that were not adding up.
Giving a mental sigh of frustration, Manwë held the Maia's dull golden gaze. His eyes were very dull, the Vala couldn't help noting with some concern. Dull and lifeless. There was no light in them, not even a flicker of the flame that burnt in his soul.
That burnt in all their souls.
"Sauron. You have admitted to joining Morgoth of your own free will. Yet, you also said you were not a willing participant in aiding him. Please explain what you mean."
Sauron shrugged, a look of deep unease flashing through his eyes. His teeth were clenched together so hard, speaking was a struggle.
"I already told you. He could be very persuasive."
Irmo spoke. "You had already joined him by choice. Why did he need to persuade you to aid him further?"
Sauron tried tearing his gaze from Manwë to look in Irmo's direction (the Vala of Dreams and Desires was sitting to Námo's left), but the Elder King did not let him. Looking deep into the Maia's eyes, the Vala saw a flash of fear go through them at Irmo's question. Manwë gave another internal frown.
That fear was the first genuine emotion Sauron had shown since the trial had commenced. And it wasn't fear at his situation, like one might think. Something much darker in origin caused this fear.
That much, Manwë could tell.
Sauron licked his lips, forcibly relaxing his tensed jaw. "I might have joined him by choice, but that did not mean I agreed with everything he did. He-he did not take being questioned well. And was very good at enforcing his will."
Nienna's voice was gentle.
"Did he 'enforce his will' with you?"
Sauron's eyes were carefully blank, though his body tensed even more at the question.
"A few times."
Estë suddenly spoke up, for the first time since the council had begun.
"What forms did this 'enforcement' take?"
Manwë was not prepared for the sudden pain and despair that flashed through Sauron's eyes at the question. For a brief moment, he looked very young and vulnerable, and like he'd given up all hope.
Then, as quickly as it came, it was gone.
Sauron's eyes flickered as if he wished to look away from Manwë, even as his gaze returned to almost expressionless. "It – it took many forms." His eyes darkened for a moment, before returning to their almost blank state. "He always was creative." He finished in a very soft voice.
Manwë sensed they would not get any more information on that subject out of Sauron by mere questioning. It was obvious he was not going to give up the information they sought of his own free will. And the King was not ready to force the Maia just yet. Deciding they'd cross-examined Sauron enough about this for now, Manwë changed tactics.
"What punishment do you think is fitting your crimes? We are here to judge you, and pass a sentence."
Pure, raw panic entered Sauron's eyes at Manwë's words. Though his voice remained steady, there was a visible tremor in it when he next spoke.
"So, judge me."
Varda's voice was gentle. Sitting on Manwë's right, she too, had noticed the panic.
"You aren't going to plead for mercy, or beg us to be kind to you?" She tilted her head to the side, dark eyes searching the Maia's face every bit as deeply as her husband had.
Sauron flinched, hunching his shoulders in.
"No. No, I'll not plead. I know it won't do me any good. Begging and pleading only makes it worse. I knew, from the moment you caught me, such actions were useless. As for mercy…I don't deserve it, so I'll not ask."
Nienna's voice was also gentle, tinted with more sadness than usual.
"Why do you think that? We are not heartless monsters, child, that we would condemn you without hearing your plea."
Sauron did not answer, and the Valië did not compel him to. Instead, she turned her attention to Manwë, communicating with him via thought.
There is something not right here. He should not be so accepting of this. It is like…it is like he's given up all hope. That his very will to live has shattered, leaving nothing but despair in his soul.
Their eyes met, before Manwë looked at Námo. Nienna's throne was to his right. The Doomsman had been silent since laying out the original charges. Even though his face had remained hidden in the deep hood of his black robes, Manwë knew he hadn't missed anything that had happened. Linking him into his and Nienna's conversation, Manwë spoke to him.
Námo. What do you think?
The Judge lifted his head at the direct questions, revealing part of his face. His fully unmasked eyes rose to meet Manwë's. The Elder King gave a start at the depth of pain in them. He sometimes forgot why the other Vala preferred to mask his eyes, and obscure his face from view.
I agree with Nienna. He is hiding something from us. Something significant. We need to find out what it is, before we pass sentence. Our findings will affect the outcome.
Manwë's eyes widened. Nodding in understanding, he looked back at the Maia. Sauron had since gone back to staring at the ground in front of his knees.
Is he strong enough for us to do that right now? I have not touched his mind, but he seems exhausted. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. Even if he has committed great evil, and deserves punishment, he is still only a Maia. We can go on like this for hours, but his strength would soon give out…
Námo's voice was impassive, his eyes not leaving his King's face.
You pity him.
Manwë did not even think to deny it.
Nienna's mental voice was hard, as she addressed her brother.
And you don't?
Námo's eyes, still unmasked, flickered to looked at her.
You, of all people, know the answer to that, my sister. We are not so very different. But, my first duty is to Atar. I am here to do his will. Nothing more, nothing less.
Nienna, looking chastised, nodded in acceptance of his answer. She then looked back at Manwë.
What are you thinking, my King? Do you plan to throw this one into the Void, like the Vala he chose to follow? Or, will you show him mercy? Mercy he does not believe he deserves?
Manwë's thoughts were conflicted.
He has done enough evil to warrant the Void, or eternal imprisonment. Yet, we gave Melkor a second chance after he committed deeds of greater evil. Though he rejected it, that was his choice to make. It needn't have ended like it did. Like any loyal Maia, Sauron followed his lord's orders. And he did abjure of his evil before Eönwë. It's just…
Manwë trailed off, unsure how to voice his tangled emotions. Námo did it for him, with surprising simplicity.
You don't want to condemn a Maia to the same fate as an unrepentant Vala, without offering them a second chance first. Even one who has admitted to doing great evil, and believes himself undeserving of mercy.
Manwë's mental voice was full of pain.
Before we left to come to Eä, Atar told us to love and protect the Maiar whom came with us. Like he loved and protected all of us for so long. I am very concerned with what Sauron said about not doing everything willingly; we know Melkor did not hesitate to get the job done by any means he felt necessary. And Sauron's current physical appearance does not help me feel at ease. He has obviously suffered recent abuse, even before Oromë found him. If there is even the slightest chance we can redeem him from the darkness he has lived in for so long…
Nienna finished the thought.
You want to take it.
The rest of the Valar realised Námo, Nienna and Manwë were having a private conversation. They waited, with varying degrees of patience, until one of them decided to share. Once a decision was reached, Manwë looked up, and addressed them all. He continued speaking mentally, so the kneeling Maia would not hear them. Sauron had to know what was happening above him, but gave no outward sign that would give away how he was feeling about any of it.
We have agreed Sauron deserves a second chance to do good, if his repentance before Eönwë was indeed sincere. But, we have also agreed he is hiding something from us. We wish to examine his memories, to ensure our mercy is not misplaced, before formally passing judgement. Does anyone have any objections?
Surprisingly, it was Nessa who spoke first. The Dancer looked troubled.
I think that is a good idea. I, for one, am curious why he ran from Eönwë after repenting, and asking for a second chance. Eönwë said he seemed sincere, and, even if he was scared, why run away from a chance at forgiveness?
Tulkas raised an eyebrow at his wife.
It was just a chance. He has done great evil. Maybe he was frightened of the punishment? We threw Morgoth into the Void for his evil deeds.
This was said with not a small bit of relish, though the Wrestler did not mean it to sound like it did. It was just the way he was; everyone knew that. Still, that did not stop Nienna from scowling across at him. Her mental voice was sharp.
This is not the same thing at all. Don't forget, Morgoth was first offered a second chance after doing great evil.
The momentary joy left Tulkas's eyes at that memory. Despite his enemy having finally being defeated, he had not forgotten any details of the path that had led there. But, Nienna was not finished speaking.
Though he did reject it, and turned back to the darkness. I will admit, he deceived me with his display of repentance. I thought him sincere, and let pity and mercy cloud my judgement. But, I do not detect deception in this Maia. Just…fear. And despair. And something else that I do not have a name for…
Irmo raised his head, looking at his sister.
You can feel it as well?
It was Manwë who answered.
We all can. So, everyone agrees the best course of action is to examine his memories, and base our judgement on what they reveal?
Everyone but Aulë agreed, with varying levels of conviction. Aulë had said nothing since before the start of the trail. Manwë now looked to the Smith with a raised eyebrow.
Aulë. Do you wish to add anything before we begin?
Aulë's eyes flickered in Manwë's direction, before they returned to the hunched form of the Maia whom had once served him.
No. I defer to your decisions in this matter, my King.
Manwë nodded in understanding, standing up to address the Maia.
For anyone who is like 'what the hell does that all mean?' all you need to know for now is Morgoth (Sauron's previous master who caused all the world's problems during the First Age), using his servants (of which Sauron was chief) to carry out his evil agenda. While he stayed in his dark fortress, being all evil and mysterious in typical I-am-an-evil-overlord fashion.
What? Sauron had to learn it from someone.
Morgoth is bigger, badder, and nastier in every way then Sauron. He was the one who created orcs, dragons, trolls, balrogs, and all the rest of it. He was the most powerful of the Ainur (the gods of Tolkien's world), and also the most mentally unbalanced. Most of which can be blamed on his Daddy Issues.
Yep, it's that ridiculous. The Silmarillion should be re-named "A History of Melkor's Daddy Issues".
Anyways, there are four more chapters of this story to go, though I am not sure when they'll be posted. I do, however, know that leaving Reviews will speed up the process.
Please don't anger Melkor (who is seething in the Void, planning what method of torture to use in his next flashback scene) by not leaving one. I dread to think what his reaction would be to being ignored yet again...