The Circles - Book Eight - Chapter 23

The Circles - Book Eight - A Mordorian Bestiary
Chapter Twenty-three
In the Chambers of the Dark Lord
Written by Elfhild and Angmar

Alarm bells were going off all over the Tower, sending the thousands of men and orcs who dwelt there into a panic. No one in the higher levels knew what was happening in the bowels of the fortress, and as the alarms went off steadily in one level after another, the soldiers became even more nervous as they waited for this unknown threat to reach their own levels. An outrageous rumor got started that the Tower was under attack by wizards who had used their sorcery to turn all the animals against each other. As the rumor spread like wildfire, more and more details were added and then elaborated upon, until almost everyone in Barad-dûr was convinced that the White Council had reformed and was now attacking the fortress in an attempt to rescue Frodo Baggins, the Halfling who had been imprisoned for his crimes against Sauron.

"Lads, we must save the Prisoner!" one orc captain told his frightened men.

"But, sir, we have orders from Above to remain at our posts," an uncertain guard reminded him.

"You damn fool, do you question me? That's insubordination! I'll put a maggot hole in your belly for that!" he shouted, drawing his sword from its sheath and plunging it through the underling's stomach, the metal tip emerging from his back.

All was in chaos. The orcs pounded down the hall towards the Prisoner's cell. In the confusion, an archer unleashed an arrow, hitting the captain between the shoulder blades, killing him instantly. Convinced that elves had attacked the fortress, the leaderless orcs screamed and ran into each other before diving into the Prisoner's cell, where they barricaded the door with the meager furnishings of the room.

"Oh dear, oh dear," Frodo thought with dismay. "If the orcs are so frightened, what hideous abomination has driven them to take refuge in my cell?" He restrained the urge to race wildly about the room. Instead, he backed as far away from the orcs as he could and tried to think of more pleasant days. All that came to his mind was the golden, glowing circle of the Ring.


It had been another frustrating day for the Dark Lord. He had spent many long and monotonous hours staring into the Palantír, all His thought bent upon His enemies. While there were many from whom to choose, He had focused His attention upon those who vexed Him the most: Aragorn in the west, and Galadriel in the north. Unfortunately, He had been unable to espy either one of them, and their plots and schemes remained a mystery.

Isildur's Heir still possessed the Orthanc Stone; if he looked into it and beheld the Eye, his mind would be left vulnerable and open to influence. Bringing Aragorn under His sway would be quite the challenge for Sauron, for the Dúnadan possessed immense resolve and incredible strength of will, reminiscent of the Númenóreans of old. However, no matter how mighty the man, there was always some weakness which could be exploited.

Sauron frequently imagined the next confrontation He would have with the Crownless King, and the fair words which He would whisper in his mind. Compromises and offers of peace, if Aragorn would but surrender and swear allegiance to the true Lord of Middle-earth. Blood flowed freely upon the battlefield as soldiers by the score fell to the sword, but such horror and death could be prevented if Aragorn realized the error of his ways and cast aside his foolishness for wisdom. The ancient enmity between Sauron and the Men of the West could at last come to an end; old foes could become new friends, and together they would usher in a golden age of peace and prosperity under the benevolent gaze of the Watchful Eye.

Perhaps as penance for his warmongering and rebellion, Aragorn would employ the best architects of Gondor to design a great temple to honor the Lord of Middle-earth. All those who dared defy the might of Mordor would be consigned to the flames, and the sweet savor of the sacrifices would waft over the Mountains of Shadow to tickle Sauron's nostrils. Truly, there was no greater triumph than to be worshipped as a god by one's former enemies!

As for Galadriel…

The Lady of the Golden Wood remained uncaptured and unbroken, ever a thorn in Sauron's side. Though He had long suspected it, He now knew that she had been the bearer of Nenya, the Ring of Adamant. Where the Ring of Water was kept now, He knew not, but He knew with a certainty that no one was wearing it. Even without the Ring, Galadriel was still a formidable opponent, an enchantress who possessed great powers of magic, foresight, and wisdom. Her defeat was inevitable, however, even though He might have to leave His Tower to achieve it.

A vision came to the Dark Lord's mind: He led a great host through the Black Gate northward over the plains of Rhovanion until at last the golden forest of Lothlórien loomed upon the western horizon. There, the Mordorian host would be joined by the forces of Dol Guldur led by Khamûl, and the combined might of the two armies would utterly crush the Galadhrim.

As flames consumed the forest and burned alive the wounded who were unable to flee, Sauron would seek out Galadriel in the smoldering ruins of Caras Galadhon and challenge her to a final confrontation. Surrounded by the bodies of slain elves and men, He would duel with her in song, vying against her magic with His sorcery. She would strive with all her might against Him, but in the end, He would be the victor, and she would fall just as had her brother Finrod Felagund in ancient days of yore.

And when she sank to her knees in defeat before Him, He would bear her away to his Tower. Should He throw her to His wolves as He had her brother, or perhaps force Himself upon her as Melkor did to the maidens who were brought to his lair? These fates seemed too ignoble for such a fierce foe. Perhaps He would seduce her instead, and in time she would become His willing and worshipful servant. This feat might take several hundred years, but He could be patient. He imagined her fawning before Him, begging for a pleasant word from His mouth, the slightest touch of His hand, a glance from His fiery eyes. He would deny her at first, of course, to prove that He had the mastery. Then at last, when she had utterly debased herself before Him, He would sweep her up in His arms and carry her to His bed, where He would reward her for her submission.

While His searches in the Palantir had proved useless that day, Sauron solaced Himself by imagining the inevitable victories He would have over each and every one of His foes. Perhaps His mind had lingered too long upon such matters, however. Just thinking about conquering the haughty Lady of Lórien had caused the fires to stir within His loins, and the evidence of His arousal rose up like a mighty mace ready for battle. He looked around the great hall to see if any of the servants were snickering at His predicament, but the orcs and men on duty stood silent and motionless at their stations, their mouths unmoving and their eyes resolutely staring into space. They were fortunate, for if any had shown even the slightest hint of amusement, death would have come as swift as the strike of lightning. Being a being of a higher order, Sauron frequently condemned mortals for their lack of control, and it would simply not do for anyone to see Him in such a state of distress.

Surreptitiously smoothing down the front of His robes, the Dark Lord rose from His throne and handed the now cloaked Palantír to a waiting attendant. He barely acknowledged the servants who respectfully bowed at His passing as He departed from the hall. Damn that Galadriel! She was the cause of all this! Cursing the wicked elven sorceress under His breath, Sauron hastily retired to His bedchambers, where He could indulge His darkest fantasies in peace.


In the torchlit great hall of Barad-dûr, the Lady of Lórien shone like a Silmaril set within the iron crown of the Dark Lord of old, the fading light of ancient Trees reflected in her unbound tresses of gold and silver. Sauron's eyes blazed from His obsidian face like simmering coals bursting into flame as she neared the throne, and He leaned forward, gazing with desire upon her ethereal beauty. How fair she was, like a star descended from the heavens to illuminate the deepest shadows with its dying embers before its light faded forever and it became one with the darkness.

"Hail, Galadriel, Lady of the Golden Wood!"

Her head held high with disdain, Galadriel halted before the throne, making no effort to show obeisance to the powerful Being seated there.

"Why hast Thou summoned me from the Houses of Lamentation?"

Sauron frowned at her lack of respect, but did not give voice to His irritation. While He could crush the elf's spirit of rebellion as easily as He could swat a troublesome fly, it amused Him to give His thralls a small measure of freedom. Though He desired to bring the wills of all living things under His dominion, He did not wish to be in the same position as His former master Aulë, whose creations could not function unless they were directly guided by the thought of their creator. Keeping the balance between free will and complete order was a delicate matter, but such was the struggle of One Who Mastered the Fates of Arda.

Sauron's reply was gentle, imploring, His ire hidden behind flattering words. "I summoned thee because I am desirous of thy fair company."

"Do not Thy Nazgûl and Thy orcs provide entertainment enough for Thee?" There was an edge to the lady's voice, sharp as a knife and just as cutting.

"I specified that I was desirous of fair company. Neither the Nazgûl nor the orcs fall under that description." The Dark Lord chuckled, a deep, rumbling sound. "Thou art the fairest elf in all of Middle-earth, however; it is said that the beauty of thy tresses inspired Fëanor in the creation of the Silmarils."

"If Thou art planning to request of me a strand of my hair, I will refuse Thee as I refused Fëanor."

"If I commanded thee, thou wouldst shave thy head bald and weave for Me a circlet of thy silken tresses in homage of the crown of Silmarils that once graced My Master's brow. But then I would miss gazing upon thee and beholding the light of Laurelin and Telperion interwoven in the strands of thy silvery golden hair."

Galadriel snorted with disgust. "Perhaps I shall shave my own head, and deny Thee the sight."

"Wilt thou always despise Me, Galadriel?" The Dark Lord's voice was tinged with hurt, and His mighty shoulders sagged despondently.

The Lady of Lórien stared at Sauron as though He were the biggest fool ever to blight the soil of Arda. "Thou hast been my foe for over three ages of the earth. The only reason why I do not strive against Thee now is because the Ring I wear is bound to Thy Ring, and Thou hast commanded me never to take it off." Her gaze fell upon the gleaming white stone upon her hand, its many facets glittering like a shard of ice, and she clenched her fist with suppressed rage.

"Thou shouldst be grateful to Me for sparing thy wretched life!" Sauron flung His arm out to the side in an extravagant gesture of magnanimity, the broad, sweeping motion symbolizing the greatness of His largess. "Not only did I allow thee to live, but I also permitted thee to retain the Ring of Adamant."

"So that Thou might bend my will to Thine," she spat out. "Why didst Thou not slay me as Thou did Celebrimbor?"

"Thou didst not betray Me," Sauron remarked matter-of-factly. "Thou hast always been Mine enemy. A foe I can respect, but not a false friend."

Galadriel cocked an eyebrow. "Thy reasoning is exceedingly strange, O Base Master of Treachery."

"Besides," His voice became husky with suggestion, "thou art too lovely to grace the cold halls of Mandos."

"I am immune to Thy flattery," Galadriel remarked with a haughty lift of her chin and a toss of her shimmering hair, but there was the faintest hint of softness in her voice which suggested that her immunity to flattery might not have been as strong as she wished.

"I am merely telling thee the truth." Sauron pressed His hand to His chest in a gesture of sincerity, the golden band upon His finger gleaming of its own accord as though it were newly cast from the forge. "When I first laid eyes upon thee in Ost-in-Edhil, I was captivated by thy beauty, intelligence, and grace. It grieved Me greatly when thou rejected My overtures of friendship, and tried to have Me banished from thy realm. I never desired thee as My enemy, although thou hast been a most formidable one, foiling my schemes and defying Me at every opportunity."

"It was a dreary day when Thy shadow ever darkened Eregion," Galadriel remarked bitterly. "I counselled Celebrimbor to be wary of Thee, but so enamored was he of Thy skill in crafting that he became blind to reason. Alas that he realized his folly too late!"

"Do not speak of that treacherous unfriend! The pain of his betrayal is still too great." Sauron fell silent for a moment, reflecting upon the sorrows of the past. "It always amazed Me that thou didst not consider him an enemy. After all, he usurped thy throne; it was in thy rights to suppress his rebellion with violence."

"Celeborn and I willingly abdicated our rule in Eregion for the sake of peace," Galadriel patiently explained, looking greatly put upon as though she were speaking with a simpleton. "Though it brought great sorrow to our hearts to relinquish control of the realm which we had helped establish, we deemed that a peaceful sundering was far better than bloodshed. When Celebrimbor later learned the truth of Thy identity and Thy objectives, he journeyed to Lórien to seek out my counsel, and I welcomed him with open arms, bearing no grudge against him."

"It is a terrible shame that thou wert compelled to leave the greatest realm of the Noldor after the fall of Beleriand, and flee like a beggar to a backwards forest kingdom inhabited by a primitive people." Sauron made a point not to mention that the reason why Galadriel left Eregion was because He had poisoned the hearts of Celebrimbor and the Gwaith-i-Mírdain against her. When attempting to seduce someone, it was seldom beneficial to reveal too much of the truth. "And even when the throne of Lórien came to thee by happenstance, thou refused to call thyself queen. How noble! How humble! But, in the deepest depths of thy heart, didst thou not always long for more... didst thou dream of a realm beyond thy sheltered woodland keep… where the glory of the Eldar did not diminish… but rose to ever greater heights?"

"I will concede that Thou tellest the truth, as much as Thy corrupt mind is capable of understanding," she replied stiffly. "The reason why I came to Middle-earth was because I desired a realm to rule, but as the long ages of the earth passed, I became less concerned with dominion and more with defying the Shadow."

"Whilst I am both flattered and saddened that thou dedicated thy life to resisting Me, complacency is a trap which causes us to trade our mission for mediocrity." Sauron looked upon her with pity, as though He were counseling a well-meaning but ill-advised friend to turn aside from making some grave mistake. "Our goals have never been all that different. We both desire to rule, to bring order to these wild lands of Middle-earth. Surely thou still possesseth this ambition! After all, whilst I was satisfied with being the servant of a much higher Power, thou desired to be a queen with a land of thine own."

The proud elf flinched, as though she had been stricken by a grievous blow. It was obvious that she had never considered the uncomfortable truth that at one time her hunger for power had been just as great as that of the Dark Lord. And perhaps it still was, though she was loath to admit it even to herself.

"How cruel Thou art, O Gorthaur, to speak to me of ruling kingdoms when Thou hast laid waste to my own land and made me a prisoner of Thy dungeons!"

Sauron held up His hand for silence. "Do not blame Me for thy sorrows, for it was by thine own vainglory that ruin came to Lórien. Thy punishment comes from thy defiance, but if thou learnest wisdom, I shall release thee, and give thee leave to rebuild thy land."

The Ring upon the Dark Lord's finger shone brighter than the sun in that gloomy and miserable chamber, and Galadriel felt her gaze drawn to its hypnotic power. "Thou art not known for Thy mercy, Sauron the Faithless and Accursed. What price would I pay for my freedom?"

A devious smile slowly spread across Sauron's face, and He licked His lips, a ravening wolf eyeing its prey. "Thou wouldst swear loyalty to Me, and become My vassal. Thou art a most worthy foe, but far better would it be for thee to be My ally than My adversary. Whilst the stiff-necked elves would never obey Me willingly, to thee they would gladly give their allegiance, and I would rule them through thee."

Galadriel pondered His words for a moment, her expression inscrutable. "So it is a puppet that Thou desirest, to command and bend to Thy will."

"Nay, not a puppet, but a trusted ally." Sauron's words were soft, seductive, curling like tendrils of smoke in her mind. "Daughter of the Noldor, thou art the greatest sorceress in all of Middle-earth, having learned secret arts of enchantment from thy tutor Melian. Whilst the Ring that thou weareth amplifies and sustains thy works, even bereft of Nenya, thou art as a force of nature, terrible in strength and awesome in magnificence. Shall we not join our powers together for the sake of this Middle-earth that we both love, I as its divinely appointed ruler, and thee as My greatest thane?"

"Thy greatest thane?" Galadriel suddenly laughed, a clear, tinkling sound like the bells of Valmar. "Why would I settle for being a mere servant, when I could be so much more?" Beneath all the elven dignity, there was a feral gleam in her eyes which glinted like a spark in the darkness.

"Dost thou seek to be My queen, as opposed to My thane?" The Dark Lord chuckled with amusement.

She drew closer to the throne, her hips swaying sensually from side to side, her movements cunning and calculated like a lioness on the prowl. Placing her hands upon the Dark Lord's knees, she leaned forward, her voice a throaty whisper in His ear. He could not help but stare at the valley between her breasts, revealed by the neck of her bodice when she bent down.

"Perhaps I desire Thee as my thane."

Sauron felt the thrill of sudden danger, and His fist instinctively clenched around the One Ring to protect the precious band from harm. He knew she would take the Ring if she could, claim Its power for herself and attempt to usurp His rightful position as Lord of Middle-earth. She would have Him kneeling in chains before her, begging for mercy at her feet, lest she deliver the death blow to His earthly body and send His houseless spirit shrieking into the wilderness. Yet despite His rising paranoia, Sauron felt Himself becoming strangely aroused. As though He feared that the mere touch might burn His flesh, He reached out a tentative hand and touched Galadriel's hair. The silken strands fell through His blackened fingers like a sunlit waterfall cascading over columns of basalt.

"Beneath the brilliance of the light which surrounds thee, there is a darkness blacker than the Void and just as abysmal." The Dark Lord sucked in a breath of air through clenched teeth, trying to master the fires which His adversary was kindling within Him. "I sensed it each time thou sought Me out in thought. The darkness calls out to Me, Galadriel, like a lodestone seeking iron."

"I have desired Thee since Eregion, Annatar," Galadriel purred as her hands caressed over the Dark Lord's mighty chest, feeling His muscles through the sable robes which He wore. "But Thy attention was given to Celebrimbor, and Celebrimbor alone."

"He was the greatest craftsman of that age of the earth, his skill surpassed only by that of Fëanor. How I admired the brilliance of his mind, so much like My own! But do not speak of the betrayer! Far better would it be for us to think of the future instead of dwelling upon the past." He cupped the elf's face in His palm, the pad of His thumb stroking over the softness of her cheek.

"Whilst I do not possess the skill of Celebrimbor, I do have an interest in the forge, and the myriad crafts that one can make with one's hands." Clasping the Dark Lord's hand within her own, she brought His fingers to her lips, pressing kisses upon each digit. The Ring burnt hot against her tender flesh, but she did not flinch from its searing heat. "Perhaps Thou couldst make me Thy pupil and impart unto me a small portion of Thy infinite knowledge?"

Sauron's fiery eyes shone with eagerness as He gazed upon the Lady of Lórien. "If thou wishest to become My pupil, gladly would I teach thee."

"I would like that very much," Galadriel purred seductively, her voice a velvety caress. Gathering up the sides of her long white skirt, she threw one graceful, muscular leg over the Dark Lord's immense thighs as though she were mounting a horse. She lowered herself to rest upon His lap, her long legs dangling upon either side of His thighs. As her lips came down upon His, she yanked open His robe, her greedy hands touching His searing hot flesh. Deepening the kiss with His tongue, Sauron wove His taloned fingers through Galadriel's magnificent tresses and pulled her closer. His mouth pressed fiery kisses over her cheek and down her neck, His fangs nipping at her sensitive skin as His hands roamed over her body, traversing the contours of her curves.

Lifting His head, Sauron brought His mouth to her ear, His fangs grazing over the tender flesh of the lobe. "I can teach thee other things as well," He murmured as He explored the tantalizing region between her spread thighs, feeling the dew that had gathered there and listening with satisfaction to her moans of pleasure. "Such as how to please thy Master… in both the forge, and the bedchamber."


The Dark Lord's obscene fantasies of corrupting the greatest elf in Middle-earth were abruptly interrupted by the sound of alarm bells echoing through the hall outside His luxurious bedchamber. "By Melkor's black balls!" He cursed as He rose from the bed, wrapping the sheet about His throbbing loins. "What is the meaning of this?"

Muttering irritably to Himself, Sauron stormed over to the huge jewel-encrusted door and flung it aside.

The scream of horror which wrenched itself from His throat reverberated through the entire Tower, shaking it from its uttermost peak to the roots of its very foundation.

Like the terrible wave which consumed Númenor of old, a great flood of rodents surged into Sauron's bedchamber, the furry deluge sweeping over the Dark Lord and knocking Him to the floor.


Rats everywhere!

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