THE END OF DAYS
The universe was very old.
These many had learnt through faith in their gods or studies by science were an incontrovertible fact, immutable by existence itself. Time was the one constant in the universe. Laws of physics while incapable of changing could be made flexible, energy could be diverted and space was curved but time? Time knew no master, it functioned on a straight line, a linear passage that began and ended at two separate points.
In his time as Lord of Mordor and minion of Morgoth, Sauron had learnt many truths about the world that not even the Valar were aware. Truths that would make their belief in the assurance of their vaunted positions shake like the foundations of a demolished building. He knew that there were rules to which even Eru were bound, rules written by a power that no one could understand, save the creator himself. There was a cycle to things, a beginning and an end that had to be observed even though Eru was supreme in all things. It was a law he would not break and indeed had never broken, not since the first themes of the Ainur had been sung, since Ea had been crafted out of the void.
He had been confined in his prison of flesh, left helpless by a cruel trick of fate that left him trapped within a cage he knew he would never penetrate. His mind, dulled by the defeat at the hands of his enemies, had for a time slumbered in the void, trying desperately to reform the fragments of his powerful psyche. In time, his mind returned to its former self but this achievement did not alter the fact that he was confined within his physical body with no hope of escape. He lay trapped in this mire of limbo, not knowing anything of the world beyond, not able to affect it in anyway, a situation that was wholly unacceptable and yet inescapable.
He had one visitor during his first months in this private hell. The child who was representative of the soul that had become the bane of his existence and had always ensured to play a part in his downfall throughout the ages. She would come to his cage and look within, watching with her silent eyes, daring him to escape. He would scream of her and threaten her with torments she could not imagine but it frightened her little for he was a tiger with no teeth. She came to him regularly, watching and saying little during her brief visits.
After a time, he began to think that perhaps he would never escape from the confines of his mortal form, that he would be doomed to live within its casing for as long as the heart continue to beat inside David Saeran's chest. The possibility frustrated them him and filled him with black despair. He began to conceive that perhaps his time was done that the dreams of a glorious dark age was a dead to the world as he was. It was during the blackest moment of his despair that Sauron; former lord of Mordor remembered one vitally important thing. His mind may have been locked away from the physical world but Shadow world, which had provided him so much strength, was still open to him.
He found himself revisiting the realm he had not seen since the Third Age, the place that had been home to him when One Ring had been lost. Slowly, he used its dark power to nourish his own strength, though not enough to call attention to himself but he knew the Valar were ever watchful. In his outcast state, he planned how he might return, how he would vanquish his former master's brethren once and for all. The spells and wizardry required to accomplish such dark magic was within his knowledge but he lacked the real power to make any of it a reality.
He found himself wandering the pathways in the shadow realm, searching for a way to escape his unearthly confinement, to see what was beyond his injured shell. He found nothing. The Valar had been exceedingly thorough in ensuring that the dark dimension remained contained. Thus he was forced to find alternate means of escape and it was a matter of pure chance that he found a place where they had been recently, their power resonated through the cold, offering him a trail to follow. His mind moved carried by currents of force, patterns of energy that could not be measured by any science known to exist. He did not know how far he traveled in this nexus, only that it was very distant away from the waking world.
It could have been at the edge of all things or at the beginning of it. The place Sauron found himself had no name. It reeked of desolation and seemed like a void that was meant to house the greatest evils of all. The part of him that was David Saeran, thought hell might be an apt description even if there was no fire or brimstone. The most terrifying thing in the world is nothingness and when Sauron arrived in this place, with its plunging darkness, it was the first time in his existence that he felt real fear. The Void at least sat at the edge of Ea and though he had been trapped in it, he could still see Ea in the distance, offering comfort of what still existed.
In this place, there was nothing. He would have fled if he had not sensed a tendril of something familiar, clawing at him, beckoning to come forth. He had followed that tendril until its radiation had become a vast globe of power, filling the darkness with awesome fiery light. He saw it swirling about an orb of unimaginable power, orbiting like a lonely sun. He marveled at its energy, felt it whispering to him like a lover and as he approached, the wave of familiarity becoming stronger, more potent.
I knew you would find me.
The voice was soft and as disembodied as his own. He heard it through a great noise and realized that he was hearing it through flame. It took him a moment to realize that it was emanating from inside the orb, piercing the fiery layer to reach him.
Master,' the voice repeated itself. You forget your self.
"Forgive me," Sauron replied acidly. "I thought the Valar destroyed you.
They do not have the stomach for such finality but they have found a way to imprison me nonetheless.
The orb you see before you is the sum of my power, they have encased me a prison of created from my own essence. I cannot breach it.
"This is you Master?"
If he had eyes he would have gaped at overwhelming force before him. This was the sum of Melkor's unleashed power, the one not tainted by a physical body or held in check by the Valar. In this place, the Ainur were as they had been when Illuvutar dreamed the first themes of the Great Music and fashioned the children he would called the Valar from each note. In this place, Melkor was as close to his former glory as he could ever be, when he was capable of creating mountains and balrogs with a simple thought. All the darkness of the world had come to being when Melkor was at his most potent.
I called you here, my childe, my greatest disciple because only you have the strength to free me. Do this and we will rule as we have never ruled.
"How can I do that?" Sauron asked cautiously. His present situation was precarious enough without risking himself on some foolish venture for a creature he would again have to bow before like a supplicant.
The power must be drawn away from me, siphoned if you will so a breach can be formed. Through this weakening I will come forth. I summoned you here because your will was always greater than all others. You can do this Sauron, you can free me.
"How can I absorb this? " he asked, "I am not Valar."
My power does not recognize what master wields it, it only knows the instruction. The Ainur are little more than orbs of energy given life by sentience. My prison binds me and no matter how I try I cannot make the crossing. It must be weakened from beyond, to allow my sentience to escape. Once I am freed of it, I shall take what is mine.
"How interesting," Sauron said as his form approached the orb.
He had no skin but he could feel its heat, could feel its incredible power emanating like the blast from a hot furnace. It beckoned him, the full measure of Melkor's power, to do as his former master had asked. He thought of the First Age when he had truly known power, when he was Morgoth's fearsome lieutenant. The failures of the futures ages had seemed so distant then, so improbable. He thought he had risen above that, risen above the petty efforts of mortals lesser than he when he had returned to the world and yet he was still here, in this place about to become a servant again.
Not this time.
Sauron opened his senses, freed himself of all barriers and let the power that needed someone strong enough to take it, bleed into him, slow aching tendrils of amber snaking around his incorporeal self. The orb began to dim from its fiery, reddish glow, diminishing as more and more energy became drawn to his indomitable will, connecting to him because he simply wanted it enough. It found kinship with a mind that was at last equal to its awesome might.
That is it, my disciple,Melkor's voice said exuberantly. It is working!
It is indeed, Sauron thought but for all the different reasons.
The orb began to diminish and he could feel his own life force burgeoning, growing with a surge of power he had never dared to dream was possible. However, it did not come to him without price. If he had limbs, he would have felt each to be roasting alive, as if every cell in his non-existent body was imploding. He bore it bravely, refused to cry out as he absorbed every particle of energy that had been the crown of Melkor's power His mind began to open, doors swinging open, bringing clarity and understanding that made what came before seem limited and blinding. No more half measures, no more fear that the Valar would stop him. He had failed before because he lacked the power to carry out the ambitions of his intellect. Such was no longer the case.
What are you doing?Melkor demanded. You are drawing too much!
"No I am not," Sauron answered the wayward child of Eru, "I am drawing it all."
NO! It is mine! You will cease immediately!
"Or what?" Sauron challenged. "You still do not understand the elegance of the Valar's trap do you? They did not simply encase you in a shell of your own power, they disconnected you. You are separate from what you were. You cannot breach it because you are no longer connected to it but you have shown me how to absorb that excess energy and for that I am eternally grateful. So my former master, I will give you a reward and deliver you from this hell."
The orbs were shrinking like a dying star, its amber light fading away fast. In the core of his dwindling cell of energy, Melkor was finding the walls closing in on him.
You cannot do this! I am your master!
"My master?" Sauron hissed. "All you have ever been was a means to an end. You allowed me to escape the grasp of that provincial laborer Aule. For a time you amused me Lord Melkor," the title escaped him with content, "we shared the same passion for destruction but then you became obsessed with a jewel and were willing to throw it all away. I must confess I was myself ensnared by a bauble but no more, this time I will destroy them all and I will not be satisfied with just the elves and the weakling humans. The Valar will never chain me as they chained you. I will not make your mistakes and I will shown none any mercy."
You would not dare strike at the Valar! Eru would never stand for it!
"Eru? " Sauron laughed. "Where he has been all these years? You may be a dilettante but you are not a fool. Eru is off travelling the universe, recreating new Petrie dishes for his experiments on morality and evil. He has not cared about Arda since you decided to turn it into a demon's playground. Why do you think he banished the others from the Timeless Halls? He needed someone to manage this experiment while he went off to begin another. He will not interfere because he simply does not care."
You cannot have any more!
Melkor wailed helplessly through the darkness as the orb all but vanished around him and had reformed around the presence that was Sauron. It burned bright around his former servant; a glow so radiant that it almost threatened to penetrate the black nothingness that he was coming to realize would be his grave.
Sauron approached Melkor when he had taken all his power and looked upon the failed god whose ambition was never equal to his power, who could have it all but became obsessed with the Silmarils and ruined everything because of his need for it. Finally after so many aeons, Melkor would know who truly ruled his kingdom while he sat upon its throne like the figurehead that he was.
I underestimated you, the whimpering pathetic voice said.
"By quite a bit I imagine, " Sauron answered, "but do not underestimate me now. I said you will be rewarded and rewarded you shall be. "
The sentience that was Melkor cringed in fear. You cannot kill me, it said desperately. I am Ainur.
"You were Ainur," Sauron answered as he christened his newfound powers by an appropriate act of murder. "But now you are nothing."
Clenching a fist of energy around the tiny morsel of Melkor's remaining self, Sauron crushed all that was left of his master in a final scream of agony.
"And I," Sauron said as he turned his attention back to the world of flesh and blood, "am going to be everything."
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