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The Turning of Angwë
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Plans and prejudices

A/N: Any questions you may have about Sauron's feud with Artíre the Watcher or the incident in which Beren came to steal the Silmaril are answered in Artíre's Choice, Artíre's Revenge and Lords and Lordship. Basically, Sauron felt threatened by Artíre's neutral stance and forced him to take sides with Morgoth. The Watcher was annoyed about this...


The work in Angband continued apace as Morgoth and his forces prepared for the battles they would need to win if they were going to take over Middle-earth. Everyone worked hard, playing their parts and doing their duty for their lord, proud of what they had already achieved.

In his workshop near the main furnaces, Angwë brooded as he worked in his Dark form. 'I am estranged from the Valar, and only held in regard by creatures I despise. I have permitted myself to be made into a Balrog, but have I gained? Nothing! What a fool I have been! I have been deceived for too long. Well, if Morgoth will not give me my dues, I shall take what is mine whether he approves or not!'

Lifting his hammer up over his head, Angwë bashed the support strut he was making a bit too hard, and it broke. “This is my existence!” he roared. “Everything I put my hand to is either wrenched from my grasp, or I end up breaking it! Why can I keep nothing I make? Why must it always end in misery?” The Balrog threw his hammer down in disgust and stormed out of the workshop.

Orcs scurried away at his approach. They were accustomed to his moods, but he had been ferocious lately, flying into rages for no apparent reason. One of them went to fetch Sauron, hoping he would be able to calm Angwë down, or at least get to the bottom of his upset. The Balrog had killed a dozen of them in a single month, and they were in terror of him. Even the mention of his name made them shudder.

Angwë was sitting miserably on the slag heap near the main furnace when Sauron found him. “What ails you, brother?” he asked.

“Why should I tell you anything?” Angwë replied in a surly tone. “Are you not responsible for this?”

Sauron sat down beside his brother. “I have no idea what you mean, Angwë,” he soothed.

“You do not know?” asked Angwë, resentment hardening each syllable as he looked away from his brother, unwilling to make eye contact with him.

“Angwë,” said Sauron, sincerity shot through his words, “if I knew how to help you, I would. Are you not my brother?”

“Sauron,” Angwë replied, turning to look him in the eye, “you betrayed me!”

Sauron stood up and walked away, then stopped and turned. “How can you possibly say I have betrayed you?” he asked, clearly outraged.

“I gave up everything to serve Morgoth,” Angwë retorted, “in the hope of getting his help to drive the Dwarves out of my mountain Celebdil. So far I have received nothing even close to this. It has become Khazad-dûm, a great mine and realm of Dwarves. I want revenge on the hairy little beasts for their destruction of my caverns and chambers by their greedy mining!”

Picking up a piece of slag, Angwë flung it against the wall, where it shattered.

Remaining in his position, Sauron folded his arms and faced his brother. “Do you honestly believe I lied to you by persuading you to join us?” he asked. “We have been under siege by our enemies, beset on every side, and your one concern, all along, was for a big rock? Angwë, understand this: your concerns are merely for your vanity project, which you were only enabled to do because of our master's endeavours in wresting Middle-earth from those who would fetter us and make us thralls to the Elves and their friends. There are greater and more important things to consider than Celebdil and your feud with the Dwarves. I would remind you, brother, that the mithril you put in there in the making thereof is used by them to make weapons to attack us with. If I were to remind our lord of this, he might not be as favourable towards you as he has been so far.”

Angwë flared up, his whip sprouting from his left hand, his sword from the right as he stood to confront Sauron. “Are you threatening me, Sauron?” he asked, cracking his flaming whip.

“Yes indeed,” Sauron replied, his voice calm and cold. “If you persist in thinking only of yourself and not of the greater good, I shall have no other choice.”

“Is that so, brother mine?” Angwë roared, fury burning in his eyes as hot as the flames he was wreathed with. “Was the greater good on your mind, Sauron, when you tried to drag me into your feud with Artíre the Watcher?”

“Who are you to speak of the greater good, Angwë,” snarled Sauron, “when your selfish desire to stay neutral has left me diminished and our master humiliated? I was fighting for him. Where were you when our enemies came to plunder and destroy us? Artíre made a name for himself that day, but I have heard nothing of your deeds.”

“I played my part,” said Angwë, “but those of us with nothing to prove do not tend to make an impression, for we feel no need to draw attention to ourselves.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Sauron asked, irritation in his voice.

“It means I fought as fiercely as I was expected to, and therefore nobody noticed anything extraordinary about my conduct when the Eagles came,” the Balrog explained. The whip and sword melted away, retracting into his hands. “There is no profit in starting a feud with me, Sauron. One should be enough for you. What do you want of me?”

Sauron sighed. “Your rages are becoming more frequent and destructive. I understand you are frustrated because you have not yet received that which you desire, and have an idea that may win you some favour with our lord, if you are willing to consider it.”

“You have my attention,” Angwë replied, after a short pause. He was suspicious of Sauron's motives, since turning to him and Morgoth for help had got him nowhere nearer to reclaiming his mountain than his previous efforts had.

“If you could find a way to recover the stolen Silmaril from the Elves,” ventured Sauron, “I am sure Lord Morgoth would be pleased to oblige you with anything your heart desired. Including the return of Celebdil to your control.”

Angwë reached for the proffered lifeline, and seized it. “If I do this, he will give me my dues?” he asked hesitantly.

“He will be so grateful,” said Sauron, “I am sure he would find it hard to refuse you anything you asked of him.”

“Then I shall do it,” Angwë told him with conviction. It was no guarantee, but was close enough to one to be worthwhile. It was bad enough that Sauron was aware of his weakness, and Angwë wanted no-one else to know how jealous he was for his mountain. He would have to carry out his plan by himself.

Appearing to the Man in a dream, Angwë wore the guise of Húrin's friend Finrod as he told him to go to Nargothrond, which had been sacked by the forces of Morgoth, for there was something of interest there. “Go, Húrin,” Angwë told the Man, “for you were ever my friend, and I know how much you have suffered. I want to give you something that will benefit you, and it is waiting for you there, for none of Morgoth's people has touched it. They have no idea it is there.”

Húrin twitched in his sleep, mumbling incoherently. “What is it, Finrod? You have not told me what it is,” he replied.

“You will know it when you see it, my friend,” said Angwë, smiling benevolently. Why could Men not just accept what they were told? Must they always ask questions? Anxious to avoid more of them, he slipped out of the Man's mind. Morgoth had taught him long ago that the best way to get a Man or Elf to destroy himself was to pique his curiosity, then leave him to get on with the business of self-destruction with minimal interference.

The next day, Húrin left his camp at once and went to Nargothrond. There he found the Nauglamir, a famous necklace made by the Dwarves. Húrin knew at once that this was the item Finrod had promised him, and brought it to Thingol king of Doriath.

Regularly popping into Húrin's dreams, Angwë was delighted when Húrin left the Nauglamir at Doriath, for he knew the king also had the Silmaril, and would want to display it in the most suitable setting: the Nauglamir. While Angwë knew well that the Elf-smiths of Doriath were perfectly proficient, he also knew the pride of Elves was as great, if not greater, than the pride of Men. It seemed reasonable to Angwë to assume that Thingol would engage the makers of the fabulous necklace to add the Silmaril to it.

Though he could not reach Thingol in his dreams, Angwë could still reach the Dwarves in theirs. Prodding at their natural mistrust of strangers, he appeared to them as Khaghar Lord of Miners, and warned them to beware of the Elvenking of Doriath, who would steal what was rightfully theirs if he could. “Trust not the king of the Elves when he bargains with you, but take what is due you whether he permits it or not,” he told them. “There is a jewel, bright and beautiful, that he will withhold from you if he can. Do not let him keep it from you, for it is my gift to you, and you are entitled to it.”

The plan worked better than he could have imagined. The Dwarves turned against the Elves, and they attacked and killed Thingol in a dispute over payment for their work in mounting the Silmaril in the Nauglamir. Grinning with glee, the Balrog followed their progress in their dreams as they fled the scene of their crime. However, word came to Angwë later that Beren, the Man who had stolen the Silmaril from Morgoth's crown, fought and killed the Dwarves, then gave the jewel to his wife Lúthien, Thingol's daughter. Disappointed, his hopes dashed, Angwë rushed out of his workshop in a towering rage, flared up, and roared his fury all around the pits of Angband for a week.


Bowing as he entered Sauron's office, where the Deceiver was checking the records to ensure they were up to date, an Orc announced his presence. Morgoth's forces had been in many battles, and there had been some losses, including Dragons, Trolls and Balrogs. These were nigh impossible to replace, and Sauron knew Morgoth would need to be aware of the numbers of his hosts of Orcs and monsters before he considered going into battle again. “Yes?” he asked the Orc.

The Orc lifted his ugly head. “Sir, Lord Angwë is upset again,” he said diplomatically.

“What is wrong with him this time?” Sauron asked, irritation making him slam the sheaf of papers onto his desk.

“I do not know, sir,” replied the Orc, who seemed anxious to get out of there. He twitched and gasped, looking nervously around, wringing his gnarled hands.

“Very well,” sighed Sauron, “I shall attend to him.” This was ridiculous! Had he not offered his brother an opportunity to gain Morgoth's favour, and thereby regain his precious mountain? What was wrong with the Balrog this time? Seething with resentment at Angwë's apparent desire to embarrass him all over Middle-earth, Sauron followed the trail of destruction that was no doubt the result of Angwë's most recent tantrum. He found his brother inside the main chamber of Thangorodrim's highest peak, crouching on a ledge with his huge arms wrapped around his legs, still aflame with fury.

“Angwë, what ails you this time?” asked Sauron, approaching his brother with caution. It was best to keep one's distance from an angry Balrog.

Angwë snorted and said nothing.

“Angwë, if you do not tell me, how can I help you?” Sauron asked, inching closer, but making sure of the exits. If his brother attacked him, he might not be able to recover.

Sauron was still weak after his diminishing when Beren came to steal the Silmaril. A Maia could not die as other creatures did, but if they were embodied and their body was destroyed, they could be diminished. This had happened to Sauron, who could not afford to have it happen again. Fear gripped his heart as he moved closer to his brother. Sauron was much more afraid of what Morgoth could do to him, and was anxious to calm Angwë down before their master could ask questions about Angwë's conduct and the reasons for his rages.

The Balrog sat and stewed for a while, then said, “Sauron, why have you come here? Do you wish to torment me further? Are you not satisfied with having made a fool of me?”

Moving closer, Sauron replied, “I do not understand, brother. Why are you accusing me thus?”

“Did you not say, brother,” Angwë snarled, “that if I recovered the Silmaril for our master, he would be delighted and would find it hard to refuse me my mountain?”

Sauron stopped dead in his tracks. He knew the story of the attack on Doriath, and had been quick to capitalize on it, urging Morgoth to take what advantage he could of the situation. Had Angwë been responsible for this? “Angwë,” he said, afraid of what the answer might be, “tell me what you did.”

The Balrog sat in silence for a while as his flames died down and went out. The whip and sword had long retreated into his hands. He had been feeding on the energy of the volcano to remain aflame. “I am so frustrated I know not where to begin,” he confessed. Sighing, he continued, “I persuaded Húrin to go to Nargothrond, for I knew there was a treasure he could offer to the Elvenking Thingol of Doriath, who had fostered his son. I knew what Thingol would do with it.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Sauron, intrigued. How did Angwë persuade anyone to do anything for him? Did his brother have an ability he had not spoken of? Could this be useful to their master?

Angwë fell silent. Clearly he believed he had already said too much. His surly attitude filled the chamber, making Sauron twitch with discomfort.

“Angwë, will you not tell me what the treasure was? Surely the Silmaril was not housed at Nargothrond?” Sauron questioned.

“The Silmaril was at Doriath, you fool!” Angwë snapped. “I know what you want, Sauron, and I will give it to you – a chance to report me to Morgoth and have me imprisoned or sent on a mission I am bound to fail to humiliate me. Then he will have the excuse he requires not to give me what he promised me. Oh wait – have you not done that already?”

Sauron's curiosity overcame his fear. Angwë had calmed down, his fury abating to irritation. A few harsh words could not harm him, so he went to sit beside his brother. “Angwë, tell me what happened,” he insisted.

The Balrog sighed. “I sent our former guest to Doriath with the Nauglamir, a necklace made by the Dwarves. I knew Thingol would ask them to set the Silmaril in it. I entered their dreams as Khaghar and told them to beware of Thingol, that he would withhold the Silmaril from them. It worked. They went to Doriath and slew Thingol, stealing the Silmaril, which they claimed was theirs.”

“You can enter people's dreams?” asked Sauron. “Why did you not tell us about this?” If Angwë was withholding this information, what else was he hiding?

“You already knew!” snapped Angwë.

“I knew you could do it before you were transformed,” replied Sauron. “I had no idea you retained the ability. Did you enter Húrin's dreams?”

“Yes,” Angwë sighed. “It was possible because enspelling anyone creates a connection to them. I could enter the dreams of the Dwarves because I had aided Aulë in their making. I entered the Man's dreams and told him to go to Nargothrond. He chose to go to Doriath himself, and by entering his dreams, I was able to discover what he was doing. He thought I was his friend Finrod.”

“And your plan failed,” said Sauron, drawing the obvious conclusion, “because Beren, who brought Huan here to diminish me so he could steal the Silmaril, attacked the Dwarves and took the jewel from them. I presume he gave it to that Elf-maid of his.”

“That he did,” agreed Angwë. “Now it is beyond our reach, for I cannot enter the dreams of anyone who could get near to it. When Morgoth finds out, he will be furious.”

“I think not,” replied Sauron, a grin spreading across his face. A plan was forming in his mind. “There are others who desire the jewel, Angwë. I think we ought to let them know that it is in the hands of Thingol's daughter, and that the protective spells that used to encompass Doriath are no longer in force because Melian the Maia, wife of Thingol, was so terribly distressed by her husband's death she fled to Valinor. She was the one who kept us out with her magic, and now she is gone, we can enter at will. Now we have not the strength to go openly against them, but I am sure you are aware of the principle that the enemy of our enemy is our friend.”

“But Sauron,” said Angwë, hope raising the tone of his voice, “the Noldor Elves who might attack them hate us too. Would they not prefer to side with them now and deal with the issue of the Silmaril later?”

Sauron's grin spread wider as he looked his brother in the eye. “Not if I have anything to do with it.”



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