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The Turning of Angwë
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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10
The Footsteps of Doom

A/N: Lonnath is the name I gave to the town at the Havens of Sirion where Elwing and Eärendil lived. Details of my version of events there are in my story Stolen.


~~~

In the throne room of Angband, Morgoth sat in darkness and fumed. Everything he put his hands to was going wrong. It was easier to blame his underlings than accepting responsibility for his failures. Glaring at a spy who had returned from the frontiers, he received his report.

“My lord, I have bad news,” said the Orc, cowering before his master.

“What is it?” snarled Morgoth, leaning forward to terrify him more. It was the only thing he was going to succeed in that day.

“S-sir, there was a survivor from Doriath,” the Orc replied, trembling violently.

“Many survived the slaughter at Doriath!” Morgoth shouted.

The Orc went quiet, too frightened to say anything else.

“Is this a game to thee? Must I bring forth each answer from thee by force?” Morgoth roared.

“P-please, sir,” the Orc stammered, “I went out to spy on 'em and this is all I know. Dior had a daughter, Elwing, and she just married Eärendil son of Tuor. His mother is Idril daughter of Turgon of Gondolin. They have the Silmaril, sir.”

Morgoth sat back, considering this. Scions of two Elf kingdoms he had ordered the destruction of still lived and defied him. “Where do they live?” he asked in calmer tones.

“In Sirion, my lord, in the Havens. Lonnath,” replied the Orc, growing braver.

“Go,” said Morgoth, magnanimity spreading across his face and pouring out in his words. “Thou hast done well.” Scanning the room, the Dark Lord sought Artíre the Watcher. “Artíre,” he said to the rebel Maia, “I have work for thee.”

Obligingly, Artíre stepped forwards. “Dost thou desire the Kinslayers to work for thee again?” he asked.

“Indeed I do,” replied Morgoth, pleased with this servant who could anticipate his desires. “Tell them their jewel is in the hands of Elwing daughter of Dior. Remind them of their guilt, their shame and their Oath. Prod them where they are most tender, and lead them to Lonnath.”

Artíre bowed as he left the room.

Morgoth sat back and grinned. The Kinslayers had served him well before, though they were his enemies. Now in their desire to fulfill their Oath to their father to retrieve the Silmaril, they would serve Morgoth again by attacking Elwing. The irony tickled him, and his laughter rang out around the throne room.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sauron hastened to his master's side, carrying a bag of items to ease Morgoth's discomfort. Years of diminishing himself to make Balrogs and other monsters had weakened him, and his wounds no longer healed. The wounds he had received when Angband was last under siege had never healed, and he still walked with a limp. Furthermore, while he had previously had the ability to take on and shed his physical form at will, he was now trapped in his hurting body, and no spell of any devising could reverse his decline.

Entering Morgoth's private chambers, Sauron was distressed to see the pain his master was in. That could so easily happen to him if he was not careful. “Master, here I am,” he said, squeezing sincerity into every syllable.

Morgoth crouched in a corner, hugging his legs. His crown burned his head, but he would not take it off. The last person to suggest he should had been flayed alive. Sauron tried not to look at it while he knelt beside his lord. “I have flayed some Elves just this morn for thee,” he soothed. “Their skin is more robust than that of Men, and I have fresh blood and morsels of flesh here.”

“I thank thee, Sauron,” Morgoth replied. “My pain easeth when I hear thy footsteps echo in the corridors when thou comest unto me.”

“It is my pleasure to serve thee, master,” said Sauron, wincing as he applied the salve he had enspelled, bandaging his master's wounds with the skin he had taken from the Elves. “I wish there was a way to ease thy discomfort forever!”

“When my Silmaril is restored unto me,” Morgoth answered, “my healing will begin.”

Sauron did not reply to that, knowing the truth: touching the Silmarils burned the likes of Morgoth and his minions. Letting his master delude himself was an act of cruelty, but what could he do? He needed to have something to hope for, or he would slip into despair, and what would happen then? He was half mad as it was. The thought of preventing Morgoth from ever getting hold of the Silmaril was far from Sauron's mind, however. If it took root, and he followed his inclinations, they would all be finished. Was it not this kind of division that was destroying the Elves? Let them go down to dust and ashes with nothing to show for it! Greater beings than them would soon rule Middle-earth, and they would be forgotten.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In his workshop, Angwë was busy devising a new battering ram when Sauron entered. “Brother,” he said, “I bring tidings of great danger.”

“Hail, Sauron,” Angwë replied. “Your news is not new to me,” he shrugged. Must Sauron always interrupt him at crucial moments?

“What do you mean?” Sauron asked, putting a hand on Angwë's shoulder. “And look at me when I am speaking to you!”

Angwë turned around, flinging the ram onto the floor. “I will have to start again because of you, Sauron!” he roared. “Why have you come here to tell me what I already know?”

“What do you know?” asked Sauron. “How could you possibly know?”

“I know Eärendil son of Tuor sailed away with Elwing and the Silmaril to Valinor, and that the Valar are coming to make war on us. This is why I am making this,” he told him, pointing to the floor. “I have to start again, now. You should not interrupt me when I am at this stage!”

“How did you know this?” asked Sauron. “I only just found out myself!”

“I was outside, receiving a load of iron ore, when Artíre returned from his mission,” said Angwë. “He told me to get ready for war. The Elves are preparing to meet the Valar when they arrive with their host, then they will all attack us. We must prepare ourselves.”

“Did he say when?” asked Sauron, furious that the Watcher had told Angwë about this first.

“He knows not,” replied Angwë. “Nonetheless, forewarned is forearmed, so I am making siege engines and rams to assault their strongholds when they arrive. I do not think it would be wise to simply sit here and wait for them to besiege us again.”

“Then I shall leave you to get on with your work,” said Sauron, obviously trying to recover his sense of superiority.

Angwë snorted as he picked up the ram and broke it up to melt it. The Watcher's tidings troubled him, but he preferred to throw than to catch. When the Valar came to Middle-earth, he would be waiting for them.

It did not occur to him to even consider the implications for Celebdil, for his mountain was the last thing on his mind when his survival was at stake.

TBC...

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