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The Turning of Angw
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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3
Sacrifice

Angw, in his guise as Khaghar Lord of Miners, strove time and again to contact Adzarek through his dreams that night, to find out what progress he was making, and what his intentions were. Desperation could cause a person to do something foolish. There were times that he almost connected, but he was thwarted by an appalling pain that shot through him every time he touched the Dwarf's mind. Adzarek appeared to be badly injured, and could not speak to him as he had done before. He needed to be able to concentrate, in a trance-like state he could achieve in his dreams. Angw felt some responsibility for the Dwarf, and kept on trying. He found a secluded little grove and settled himself there for a while, attempting to compensate for Adzarek's present weakness. Finally, there was no need to try any more. The ghost of Adzarek appeared to him where he sat.

"What happened, little one?" he asked.

"I did as you bid me, my Lord Khaghar," the Dwarf replied.

"What did you do?" Angw asked him gently. This Child of Aul had died before his time. His master would be most upset. The soul of the Dwarf would of course go to Mandos, where Nmo would guide him to the Halls of Aul. There he would rest until he could be reincarnated. Angw could not bear to face his master with the news that he had been involved, however indirectly, with the demise of one of his creatures.

"I did as you bid me, my Lord, quavered Adzarek. I made the digging stop."

"And how did you do that, little one?" Angw asked gently. Shame spread through him like a wildfire, eating at his confidence. When Aul found out about this, Angw would have to answer to him. What would he say? That the mountain he had made was so important he had felt the need to drive a Dwarf to desperation to carry out his orders? Angw had never had authorization to give orders to the Dwarves. He was supposed to be their teacher, not their leader. Surely he would be punished for this!

"By breaking away the pillars and the timber props in the oldest mithril lode tunnel. My father Halin supervised the construction and placement of the props and pillars that prevented the roof collapsing. That one needed more than most because we had dug so much in that place, but there was little to hold the layers between the tunnels in place, and besides..." Adzarek trailed off.

"Are you telling me," Angw asked him, "that you caused a collapse in one of the tunnels, and it is this that has caused your death?"

"Yes, my Lord," said Adzarek.

"Why did you do this?" Angw asked patiently, though he knew perfectly well what the answer was. The Dwarf had felt there was no other option. Still, he wanted to hear Adzarek say it, to explain it in his own words. Perhaps what Angw really wanted was an excuse to give his master.

"I did not have a sign to show them, so I myself became the sign, my Lord. I thought that if my father could see how seriously I was taking the vision you sent me, he would believe that you did indeed send me a message," Adzarek explained.

"I never meant for this to happen," Angw wailed. How would apologising to this fellow solve the problem? He could not even go back to Aul and ask him to put the Dwarf's soul back into his battered body. Whatever would he do? Could there be a way to conceal the situation? Aul could not possibly know about it yet. If he could just keep the news quiet for a while - store the soul somewhere until it could perhaps go in a batch with the dead from a major accident or battle with the orcs, which were spreading south and west along the mountain range...

The reason that Adzarek's soul did not go straight to the halls of his fathers at Mandos was that there had been a psychic connection between himself and Angw at the time of his death. It was currently being held in a field of power that emanated from the Maia's aura and bound it to him. Some considerable concentration was required to maintain this state of things - if at any time Angw's concentration broke, Adzarek's soul would fly at once to the Halls of Mandos.

Angw sat back, still holding the Dwarf ghost in his will, and thought about the situation. Clearly, it could not continue. He simply could not carry the Dwarf ghost around in his will, waiting for the right time to release him. He certainly had no intention of hiding himself and waiting for the right time. Whatever would he do?

The voice that had asked that last question came unbidden to him. Sauron had followed him.

Angw was caught so entirely by surprise that his concentration broke and the soul flew free. Right into Sauron's hands. Sauron stood there, toying with the spirit, and smiled. As he held the Dwarf ghost, he showed him Angw as he usually appeared. Adzarek panicked. "Lord Khaghar! Lord Khaghar! Save me! Help! Where is Lord Khaghar? Who is this? And who are you?"

"Do not taunt him, Sauron!" Angw pleaded. "Let him go! See, he is terrified, and besides, I always thought your especial hatred was for Elves."

"It is," Sauron agreed, "but I am not being hateful to this Child of Aul."

"Then why are you showing him something he fears?" Angw demanded.

"I am not. I am showing him you, Angw. He sees you as you usually appear among us," Sauron smirked.

"Adzarek, listen to me," Angw told him, "do not be afraid. I am Khaghar, Lord of Miners."

"Lord of... ha ha ha!" Sauron laughed. He clutched the soul more tightly in his fist. "Lord of Miners! Oh, you have been busy, brother mine. So what is it you do for them, then, show them how to dig? Surely it is simply a matter of shoving a tool into some rock with great force. How much skill does that entail?"

"More than you would know! There are the weight-bearing capacities of different rock types to consider, breaking points..." Angw lectured.

"Do not bore me with the details, brother, I am weary of them already," Sauron scoffed. "What use is this fellow to you now that he is dead? And why do you cling to him so tightly? Are you afraid perhaps that Aul will find out? That, I believe, is your current predicament. However did it happen? Was it something to do with that little mountain of yours?"

Angw was furious. Sauron was working on his weakness like a maggot burrowing into infected flesh. Well, he was having none of it! Sauron, this matter is none of your concern! he told him, his voice firm.

"Lord Khaghar, Adzarek pleaded, please ask Sauron to release me. I will take responsibility for my death. It was my decision to knock the props down, after all."

Sauron laughed again. "Oh look, Khaghar - is it Khaghar now? He's praying to you. Come now and release him. This, I believe, will be his second sacrifice for you this night."

"I will take what is mine, the wages I have earned by my deeds," Angw said. "Let him go."

"Are you sure that is what you want, brother?" Sauron asked, feigning concern.

"I am sure," Angw replied quietly. At least he was not going to compound his error by allowing Sauron to capture this poor soul.

"It's just," Sauron turned slightly aside as if trying to make his mind up, "that I am not sure if I wish to relinquish him at this time."

"Let him go," Angw demanded, "right now, or there will be trouble."

"Oh really?" Sauron asked him. "What sort of trouble?"

"This sort of trouble," Angw said, pulling back his arm to strike a blow. Then something caught his eye.

For the past seven days, a new bright light had been shining in the sky. Ithil, it was called by the Elves, who were glad of the fact that it frightened the orcs. It arose in the East, and set in the West at regular intervals. The Dwarves were also pleased with this light since it helped to protect them as well, but they did not notice it much because they mostly lived underground. However, this new, brighter light had arrived, and it so surprised Sauron, he lost his concentration and Adzarek was released. At once his soul was snatched into the halls of his fathers at Mandos. Angw stood staring at the new light for a long time.

It was some time before he noticed that Sauron had fled. Due to his connection with Adzarek, he was aware that he had escaped, and was glad. He bathed himself in the light for a while, enjoying its warmth. Then he sat down again and thought. Adzarek had died because he had tried to obey him by attempting to stop the dwarves from digging in his mountain. He regretted this, but found that he still loved the thing he had made and desired to protect it, so he got up and went to see what was happening at Khazad-dm for himself.

While he was certain he would not be pleased by what he found there, nothing could have prepared him for what he saw when he finally arrived.

TBC...

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