The Corruption of Sauron - by Ed Little


Melkor's rebellion at the Music did not go unnoticed by the Ainur. Indeed many joined with him and others fell silent, in fear or uncertainty. After Eru humbled Melkor, his fate was set. For Melkor's pride had grown very great, knowing that he was the most powerful of all the Ainur. He felt it was his destiny to be recognized as their Lord, never understanding that title had already been claimed by Eru himself. Melkor, filled with envy, ambition, and distrust nonetheless was very wise, and bided his time. For Eru did not cause the vision of Arda from the Great Music to become reality immediately. During this time Melkor seduced many of the Ainur to his cause, mostly those who had joined him in his rebellion in the Music, promising power and stature to those who followed him.

"In my realm your might shall be great indeed, and even the Valar shall bend their knee to thee," he said, "For I shall require those who resisted to show deference to those who were first my faithful servants."

His arguments were very persuasive, and many of those who were of like mind swore their servitude to the greatest of the Valar. But very few possessed the power Melkor would have preferred. His lesser followers later became the Balrogs, the Lord of which Melkor named Gothmog. While many faithful Ainur were swayed, Melkor courted the defection of several more powerful servants as well. He would have preferred a Vala, but feared them for two reasons. First he feared having his plans revealed to Manwe, who would then doubtlessly plead with Eru to intervene. He also feared that having a Vala as his Captain might eventually lead to revolt, for he believed they were all of like mind to him in his lust for power. Secretly Melkor was looking for a servant strong enough to rule effectively in his own right, yet one from which Melkor need not fear a coup. This would require a Maia of great power, of whom there were few to choose from. In the end, Melkor tried to seduce the Maiar Osse, Olorin, and Sauron. But Melkor did not yet have a kingdom to rule, and he knew that if he did not somehow establish one his followers would leave him. So it was that when Arda was made reality by Eru, Melkor smiled in his heart.

"How fitting it should be that Eru create this thing for me! I shall rule this new kingdom and cause the others to yield to me. Let Eru have the rest; Arda is mine!"

Now Osse was the apprentice of Ulmo, Lord of Waters. He and his spouse Uinen had been given dominion over the coasts and shallower seas, but forbidden from the deeps, where only Ulmo would at times venture. So when Melkor could find Osse alone, he would tempt him, whispering in quiet tones to his ear:
"Does not Ulmo conceal the deeps from thee?" Melkor said, "He fears thy cunning and strength of mind. Were Osse Lord of the Deeps, all the Ainur would benefit from his knowledge and not just the Valar!"

For a long time Osse was in doubt. Melkor's argument challenged his pride, and part of him wished to see and be Master of The Deeps. He also knew that while he served Manwe and Eru he could never overcome Ulmo or be promoted beyond him, for Ulmo was a Vala of great majesty, one of the Aratar and high even of that order. Ulmo also was a true and faithful servant of Eru, having neither ambition nor malicious pride. He had set this limit upon Osse because he knew the limits of Osse's strength, and wished to not humble him. Ulmo had said:

"Osse, great is your pride and great is your strength, but do not test thyself beyond your limits. In the Deeps you would find yourself paralyzed with fear and with cold. Even if you were the greatest of the Maia, this would be so. Thy very heart would freeze."

Unfortunately this did little to cool the pride that Melkor had already challenged. So it was that when Melkor openly declared himself Lord of Arda, Osse rebelled with him. Melkor had promised Osse dominion of the sea under his reign, and so it was. Yet Osse did not immediately seek the deeps, for Ulmo's warning had given him doubt, and moreover he had a premonition that Eru would not idly allow Melkor's claim to Arda, and that the rebellion was doomed. But while Melkor struggled with Manwe for lordship of Arda, Osse did venture into the deeps of the Great Sea. Unfortunately it was as Ulmo had predicted. Osse found himself paralyzed with cold, darkness, pressure and fear. There he stayed for a long while, unable to escape from the trap he had set for himself. Melkor of course took notice that his greatest servant was lost, and his wrath and frustration were terrible. He knew that Osse was indeed lost and had not joined with the Valar, for that could not be concealed from him. So it was that when he withdrew for a time into the outer darkness, Melkor was again without a suitable Captain. He watched and waited for some time there, as is told in the Ainulindale. Finally he perceived Osse and his plight, but Melkor merely laughed.

"Lord of Waters indeed! He will run back to Ulmo at the first chance. Let him run! Osse is obviously not worthy to be a Prince in Melkor's realm!"
Now when Osse rebelled with Melkor, his spouse Uinen was grieved. She could not convince him to reverse himself, for his pride had not yet been humbled. But when he was lost she searched for him, hoping ever to reestablish their love. After searching the World over she was the first to conclude that Osse had been lost in the Deeps. She pleaded with Ulmo to search for him and rescue him, if he could. Ulmo resisted, saying:

"He would not heed my warning, and now he will resist any aid from me. His pride has led him to this trap. Instead I will place my blessing upon thee, that thou might withstand the terrors of the Deeps. From you alone will Osse accept aid, and perhaps this act will soften his heart."

So he blessed Uinen and she went forth into the Deeps. She perceived the terror but was not overcome by it. And so it was that finally she found Osse and brought him out of the Deep Waters. His heart was indeed softened and his pride humbled, and he repented from his rebellion and sued for forgiveness at Ulmo's feet.

Ulmo sent him forth from the World, to seek Eru's pardon. Eru has always had great love for his Children, and moreover he knew Osse was genuine in his pleas, for the horror of the Deeps was in his face. So Eru granted his reinstatment as Ulmo's apprentice. Osse was again given dominion over the coasts and shallow seas, and was grateful. His love for Uinen was never again in doubt, and they were happy together. But his pride had been hurt, and his shame and wrath caused him to often cause violence in the seas. He will at times without command from Ulmo cause great tumults in the waters and rage willfully with wind and sea. But Osse has remained faithful ever since his repentance, and never again has he dared to challenge Ulmo or the Deep Waters.

Melkor's next choice was Olorin. He was the wisest of all the Maiar, and possesed great skill at illusion, slight of hand, and enchantment. Melkor thought to put his power into Olorin, and make him into a terrible sorcerer. But Olorin was wiser even than Melkor had perceived, and rejected him.

"What power would you give to me, oh Melkor? The power to enslave thy servants and bend their wills into servitude? The power to command thy armies in this hopeless rebellion? Will you give me title as your Prince? Olorin! Prince of Arda!"

Then Olorin laughed, and continued: "Melkor, do you not know that you cannot bend the will of Eru? What we have seen in the Vision of the Music must be. I saw no realm for the mighty Melkor. Come back to the light before you spend thy power serving thy futile ambition! Eru would forgive you, if you asked. As for me, I have no desire for such power."

When Olorin finished Melkor was wrathful indeed, and drew himself up to a terrible height like a storm cloud, and when he spoke it was like thunder.

"I will not bend my knee to Eru in sniveling humility! I have committed no sin! The kingdom of Arda is rightfully mine, as the mightiest of the Valar. Eru himself has proclaimed it. When the Vision was taken away it was not yet complete, and I will indeed rule this world, sooner or later. Eru's pets will not have the stomach to resist me forever. For if I am not to rule this world, I will break it. When in my glory I will take pleasure in your thralldom, for thou hast dared to mock me."
Then Olorin was afraid, for in those days Melkor retained still most of his original power and majesty. But Melkor quickly drew away, and shrouded himself in black thought.

Sauron was of old an apprentice of Aule, a true and faithful servant. Sauron was present at the Music of the Ainur, and did not participate in Melkor's rebellion, although he marvelled at it. Sauron desired apprenticeship with Aule from the beginning because he was a Maia with a great talent for craftmanship. Aule was the Master of this art, and Sauron desired to be Aule's equal if he could. Aule received him gladly, and instructed him in arts of skill and cunning. Sauron was indeed Aule's star pupil, quickly rising above his other apprentices. Moreover, Sauron was like in mind to Aule, desiring to make things new and unthought of by others, and delighted in praise.

Now during the First War, Melkor caused great fires in his violence, and these did much harm to the works of the other Valar. But Sauron saw the fires in amaze, and they inspired him. For he had a vision to marry the great fires of Melkor with the mountains of Aule. So it was that when Melkor had withdrawn for a while into the outer darkness, Sauron went away alone to create his vision. He did not ask for leave from Aule, because he wanted this work to be his alone. He desired to present the finished product to Aule as his crowning achievement, and expected great praise for his work. For Sauron was growing vain and proud, being Aule's greatest apprentice. So it was that Sauron went away to the south and east, and made his mountain of fire amidst a great plain. The Sindar later named it Orodruin, the Mountain of Blazing Fire. When it first burst forth in flame, Sauron was glad at his achievement, and straightaway went to Aule.

"Master, come with me to see what I have crafted, for it is a new thing to the earth!"

Aule was intrigued immediately, because he too desired to create new things, as has been told. But when they arrived the mountain had spewed such flame that much of the plain around it was scorched, and dark clouds had formed overhead. Sauron took little notice of this however, and quickly showed Aule all he could of the inner works and subtle designs of his mountain. Aule was impressed, but the damage done to the lands surrounding the mountain troubled him. Not so much for himself as for his spouse Yavanna. For she was queen of all things that grow in the earth, and he knew this mountain would grieve her.

"Well done, Sauron. You have indeed crafted a great new work, and I am pleased that you should be able to fashion such a thing. Yet take note of the lands around. Have a care that thy fires not consume them lest Yavanna be grieved! See the foul airs that accompany thy work. Manwe may frown at thee unless you can limit them! Do not let thy creation become a tool for Melkor."

Sauron was stung by Aule's words, although that was not Aule's intention. His bitterness grew the more he thought on Aule's words. Had he not done a thing that separated him from all other Maiar? Had he not crafted something even Aule had not conceived?

"I should be named amongst the Valar for this deed!" he thought, " Instead I am told to reduce my creation, no doubt in order to make it a more fitting work for a Maia. Since when do great craftsmen concern themselves over things other than their crafts? This work should be judged on it's own merit, not for it's impact. Is Ulmo condemned for the floods? Has Manwe not made the destructive storms?"

Sauron's mood became ever darker as he fumed over his perceived injustice. His jealousy for Aule's position grew, as did his contempt for the lesser apprentices. He no longer courted further instruction from Aule, and withdrew himself completely. Aule had not commanded that he unmake the mountain, however, nor had he forbidden that others should be made. So Sauron went where he would, making other mountains of fire. He reduced their fury, as Aule had commanded, although always grudgingly. Sauron would not change his first creation, however, for it held a dear place in his heart.

After a time Aule noted that Sauron no longer sought him for instruction, and was troubled. And while he yet hesitated as to what to do, Yavanna came to him.
"Thy servant Sauron has created mountains which belch forth fire, and have no life of themselves. Yet they take life with great ease and in great abundance in the plains and valleys around them. Can you not compel him to make no more of these things? They seem more like a creation of Melkor than of Aule. Do we not spend enough of our time undoing Melkor's hurts without having to undo our own?"

"Sauron is a craftsman of great skill. I fear I injured his pride when I related these same concerns to him. For I knew you would be grieved, and commanded that he make his mountains less destructive. Perhaps he has forgotten, in his eagerness. But you are mistaken to compare his works to that of Melkor. For Sauron is a faithful servant, and did not fashion these things out of malice. Nevertheless, I will speak with him."

Aule looked for Sauron for a long while, for Sauron did not wish to be found. But finally Aule came upon Sauron, who was busy at work and did not notice his approach.

"Hail Sauron! Long have you labored alone. I have looked for your company, but you have not come. Many more precious things would have been fashioned if thy hands had been at work in my smithies. What news?"

Sauron was at first startled by Aule's approach, and feared a greater reprimand. Aule's soft words disarmed him a little, but Sauron was still resentful.
"I have been busy fashioning my mountains, for they take much time to prepare," he said, "and I have designs for many to populate the earth. The smithies of Aule have enough hands without mine. I am more suited to a greater task."

"Perhaps you should have apprentices of your own to aid you," Aule suggested. Sauron considered for a moment, then shook his head. "They are not skilled enough. I do not wish for any of my mountains to be marred."

Now Aule noted Sauron's subtle change in temperment, and the troubling feeling grew inside him. "Do not become too proud of these mountains of fire, Sauron. In my mind they do you credit, but remember that we all are fashioning the earth for the sake of the Firstborn. There is no part of it that we may lay claim to. We do not create things to posses them, but to take joy in them and hope for the joy of the Firstborn. These mountains are not yours, any more than all gems and silver and gold are mine. Have you remembered thy promise to lessen their violence? Yavanna has come to me as I foresaw."

Now Sauron's suspicion was apparent. "Master, I have obeyed thy command and the mountains are indeed lessened. I can see no good reason to do so, however, and had thought that you would be of like mind. Should not a work be judged on it's own merit? Is the world not big enough for Yavanna's creations and mine to coexist? Will not the Firstborn have need of wood, to build places of abode? Or does Yavanna envision them living in the trees and sleeping on the ground? They will destroy her precious trees as well. Is the labor of all the Ainur to suffer for the sake of hers? And if she objects to my work, why does she not confront me herself? Is Aule to be her personal messenger?"

Sauron's voice had risen during this tirade, for he could hide his bitterness no longer. Aule was patient, however, and replied "You forget thyself, Sauron. It is not for you to know all things or see all things. As my apprentice it is enough for you to know my will. If you say the mountains are reduced, that is enough for me. As for Yavanna, she is concerned for her works as you are for yours. Do not invent cause for suspicion and resentment when there is none. Such a thing Melkor would do."

Then Aule asked Sauron to return soon to the smithies of his apprenticeship and resume his training, but Sauron was silent.

Soon thereafter, as has been told elsewhere, Aule crafted the two Great Lamps. These were set in high places to the north and the south, lighting all of middle-earth. They were a wonder to all the Ainur, and spoke highly of Aule's power as a craftsman. Sauron was amazed beyond all others, but his amazement quickly turned into bitter jealousy.

"Aule will no doubt receive high praise from Manwe and perhaps even Eru for these Lamps. Great they may be, but I have received no such praise for my mountains, which I constructed first. Is not Sauron also deserving of high praise? No! Rather the contemptuous criticism of a master craftsman who is not the master of his own house! Yavanna should have been the master and Aule the maid, as far as I can tell. She rules his heart, rather than he hers."

So it was that Sauron's bitterness grew with his ambition and wounded pride. Aule had hoped that his Lamps would draw Sauron to him, that his curiosity in them would beckon him and stimulate discussions between them. But sadly it had the opposite effect. Sauron was jealous, and had grown convinced that Yavanna wanted him humiliated. He had already begun to forget that Yavanna was a Vala of equal or greater stature than even Aule, and had lost any conception of love. Instead Sauron saw their relationship as between ruler and subject, and he afterward saw every relationship between all living things in the same manner.

Now while Melkor brooded in the Darkness, he was thinking on who he could seduce to his cause as Lieutenant when Aule's Lamps first came to life. It has been said that all the Ainur were amazed, and this included Melkor. He also feared and hated the Lamps as all who conceive and conspire in darkness fear the light. It was during this time that he heard Sauron's reaction to Aule's creation. Now Melkor had not considered Sauron as a possible apprentice until then. But when he first gave thought to it, Melkor was sure he'd found the perfect answer. Darkness seeks darkness, liars seek liars, jealousy seeks the jealous, and the proud seek the proud. Such has it always been. So when Melkor heard the tone of Sauron's bitterness, he recognized it immediately. For this was the same bitterness and jealousy he still felt towards his own former Master that kept the fire of hate burning in Melkor's heart; a fire that burns still, though he can never again trouble this world. So straightaway Melkor descended again onto Middle-earth, quietly, in secret, in the form of a servant of Aule. He came directly to Sauron, who was brooding alone in his favorite place, Orodruin.

"Hail Sauron, greatest apprentice of Aule! Long have I admired your work from afar. It is unfitting for you to brood here, alone, when you should be praised in Almaren, as is your due for constructing the mountains of fire!"

But Melkor had misjudged Sauron's wisdom. For Sauron knew no apprentice of Aule who could discern the mists he had shrouded about himself. Sauron did not wish to be found, and moreover knew all of Aule's servants. Sauron knew the vision he saw before him to be an illusion, but assumed it was Yavanna or Aule come to mock him or court praise for the Lamps.

"Hail, stranger! Strange, that I know ye not, and strangest of all that you should find me here, in my place of solitude where no Maia could find. Why the disguise, Yavanna, do you fear me so much? Or perhaps it is my beloved Master come to brag on his latest creation?"

Then Melkor was at once humbled, impressed, and fearful. Humbled and impressed that Sauron had seen through his disguise, and fearful that Sauron may be too powerful to court safely. He had refrained from trying to seduce a Vala because he feared their power, as has been told already. Was Sauron to be feared as well? Such is it with all tyrants, seeking only the power to dominate all others, distrustful of wise or charismatic subjects. But Melkor reassured himself, thinking: "Am I not Melkor, the greatest of the Valar? Need I fear the power of Sauron, a Maia, great amongst that order as he may be?"

Then Melkor changed his appearance and drew himself to a great, terrible height, for he wished to cow Sauron, if he could. He spoke, saying: "Wise art thou Sauron, to see through my disguise! But have a care with thy toungue, for you speak with Melkor himself!"

Now Sauron was indeed afraid, for many reasons. Melkor was still impossibly powerful in those times, and terrible to behold. But beyond that, Sauron knew as soon as Melkor revealed himself why he had come. Indeed Sauron was wise to the attempted seduction of Osse and Olorin, and the more he drew away from Aule the more he expected Melkor to appear and make his offer. Nonetheless, the suddenness of it was intimidating, and moreover Sauron sensed something about Melkor. Sauron was wise enough to know dealing with Melkor was treacherous, but moreover he sensed a feeling of doom surrounded him. Sauron remembered the greatness of the Music and the surpassing majesty of Eru, and was hesitant to yield to Melkor immediately. He was still afraid, but strong enough not to succumb to his fear.

"Well met, Melkor! Your praise for my work is welcome indeed, if solitary. But why trouble a mere Maia during your reckless revolution? You have not the power to enslave me, nor do you dare try to destroy me or my works without revealing yourself. Not yet."

But Melkor smiled in his heart, for he perceived Sauron's fear and his insight.

"I am not here for my own cause, Sauron, but for yours. I have beheld from afar the way Aule has bent his will, his craft, and yeah his knee to that sniveling plant-lover Yavanna. I have seen your marvelous works scorned rather than praised, your stature squelched rather than advanced, and your name remain ambiguous rather than famous. It is unfitting, and now in order to put you in your `rightful place', Aule has created these Lamps, that you would be humbled. As for me, give me mountains of fire rather than pillars of light!"

Now Sauron's thought had changed from resistance to consideration, and it was reflected in his face. Normally Sauron would have been too clever to allow this, but Melkor's remarks hit too close to home. After a moment of silence, Sauron shook his head.

"What do you propose, Melkor? That I align myself with you, and cast my lot with the damned? Though you be the greatest of all the Valar, there is One whose power you can never overcome. As the Valar are greater than the Maiar, so is Eru greater than the Valar, or even more so. Remember the Music! Even if Eru should not interfere with your revolution, the combined power of the Valar is too much even for you."

But Melkor was not wrathful, for he sensed Sauron's misgivings and bided his time, saying:

"Eru will not interfere with me on the matter of Arda, for there is much still for him to rule. As for the others, they have not overcome me yet and they will not, if thou were to become my apprentice. You are worthy to be named among the Valar, yet they will not allow it for jealousy or fear's sake. Aule is jealous of thy mountains and Yavanna fears thy power. Beware Yavanna! She will come to you soon, if I am not mistaken, and command you such as to a thrall to destroy thy works. For she sees thine as inferior and lesser to hers. Were you my lieutenant you would never be restricted on the making of thy mountains, and I shall put my power into thee. The Firstborn, when they come, will be thy servants, and my demons will likewise serve thee."

Then Melkor vanished from Sauron's perception, but not from Middle-earth, for he went straightaway to a place to the north he had already prepared as his stronghold, which was later called Utumno. Utumno at the height of its power was the most forbidding and terrible fortress ever to trouble the world. Even the Valar in Aman had no rival, for they gave little thought to prisons or fortresses, exept perhaps when they raised the mighty Pelori. Impossibly strong, high, and deep, there were terrible spells of sorcery laid upon its walls, so that the very air resonated with them. It cast its shadow on the highest mountains, yet it's cunning tunnels and passages were delved deep under the earth for miles abroad. For Melkor had been blessed by Eru in the beginning with some measure of power of all the other Valar - including Aule. The terror of that place no mortal would have approached, and few elves even of old. Angmar, the Hells of Iron, from whence Melkor wrought the majority of his evil upon Middle-earth in the First Age, was not the match of Utumno. It was indeed well that the Valar forever broke the gate of that mighty stronghold in later years, or the sorrows of Middle-earth would have been far greater. Not even the Elves spoke of it, for there were none who remembered first-hand what that place was like, and those who heard stories feared to recount the tales lest they re-awake some new evil. For the Valar did indeed break the gate, but they did not unroof all the evil places constructed there so long ago. But for now Melkor knew he had laid the seeds of dissent in Sauron's heart, and waited for the day Sauron would seek him.

Now when Melkor left him, Sauron was wrathful indeed. He feared to trust Melkor, but also he feared Yavanna and was increasingly jealous of Aule. His plight made him furious, and his mood was reflected by design or by fate throughout Middle-earth in his mountains. They belched forth an unusual amount of fire, flame, and smoke worldwide, although Sauron knew not. Aule saw this and was sorrowful, because he knew Sauron was angry and would not come, although he did not realize the peril his apprentice was in. But the increased destruction caused by Sauron's mountains caused Yavanna to grow angry. This was the height of the glory of Almaren, and yet Sauron, a rebellious Maiar in her mind, was defiling Middle-earth and destroying its living things and green in a vain attempt to rob her spouse of the credit his Lamps were due. In a rash decision to humble Sauron once and for all, Yavanna focused her powers of insight and immediately learned where Sauron was hiding. She went to him in wrath, and found him amongst the steams and vapors of his prized mountain, Orodruin.

"Sauron! You have overstepped thy bounds this time. Your master hath created a wonderous thing of beauty, yet you do not join in his praise in Almaren. Why dost thou hide here, amidst thy foul airs and fumes? Why hast thou caused the entire world to erupt in flame, as from a jealous and undisciplined child? I command you, as Vala to Maia, to cease these eruptions and this destruction at once! Come back to Almaren, and resume thy apprenticeship with your master, Aule. There is much yet to create, much yet for you to learn, and much yet for you to teach to the other servants. Leave this darkness and fire, for with it will come destruction."
Yavanna had come forth in a wrathful mood, and as a Vala of great might and majesty, indeed one of the Arantar she put on a form at once huge and piercingly bright. Her voice resounded the walls of Sauron's halls and to him it seemed as if the earth itself shook. Sauron was caught off guard and the presence of Yavanna in this form was terrible to him, and he was humbled and not a little afraid. Yet even as she spoke Yavanna grew softer and diminished, for she perceived the trouble in Sauron's heart and was pitiful. For a moment the world was quiet as Sauron considered, but before he could decide Melkor himself appeared.

This was a surprise to both of the others, as was Melkor's intent. He was still the greatest of the Valar and was aware of Yavanna's mind from when she first tried to discover where Sauron was. Melkor had sensed her probing even deep in the confines of Utumno. And when she put forth her power to cow Sauron he at once knew where she was and that his prophecy had come true. Melkor saw his chance.

"Do you see, Sauron? Is it not as I foresaw? Here before you stands thy true master, commanding you as her thrall. She has revealed herself at last. Did you think it was Aule you once served? Nay, for Aule is not the master even of his own house. Who could be, when shared with such a jealous and willful queen? Yavanna the spiteful. Yavanna the crazed! Yavanna the Green!" Thus Melkor mocked Yavanna and tempted Sauron again.

Yavanna was for a moment quiet, for her mind was working quickly. Melkor had not been seen for many long years, and to show himself again thusly could only mean that he felt sufficiently strong to challenge the Valar outright again, and that meant war. She did not fear for herself, for the Valar do not know fear, and Melkor could scarcely cause her any harm. But she knew the coming war would cause great destruction to the world, and that troubled her deeply. She wished to at once depart and report to Manwe and the others what she now knew, but the issue of Sauron was still to be decided.

"Well met indeed, Melkor," she said. "Have you come back to repent from your rebellion and help to sooth the hurts you have inflicted upon this world, or do you still pursue destruction? I daresay a heart as cold and black as thine will never change. Go back! Go back to your home in the Void or we shall bind you and cast you there ourselves! And now it seems you desire another apprentice. How desperate you must be! Twice already you have failed and still you seek for a prince to rule the darkness with you. You will not find him here. There are none who covet the same ruthless ambition to dominate as you. What weakness are you hiding that you need another to make up for?"

"There is no weakness." Melkor said plainly, and he meant it. Even as he said so he put into Sauron's mind a vision of Utumno: guarded by his demons, the balrogs, and teeming with legions of fell beasts. And Sauron was enthralled by the surpassing craftsmanship required to construct such a fortress, and instinctively desired to inspect all of its subtleties. And Sauron perceived also the power of Melkor, which resonated and bound the fortress together. For he had cast his sorcery into that place. Yet there was something more, another powerful force that Sauron could not at once recognize. It was somehow familiar, yet elusive. Then he understood. For in this vision he saw himself on a throne. Might was in his hand and he wore a crown of fear. His own power wove itself into Melkor's and together none could withstand it.

Yavanna was aware of the vision, although she could not see it herself. "Sauron, I know not what lies Melkor has spoken to you, but heed them not! For lies and half-truths are all that can be spoken with a forked tongue. Melkor lies even to himself, for he cannot help it, being the Master of lies and the Father of lies. I suppose he has promised you a throne and a kingdom, but have a care. If you choose to rebel against Manwe and Eru along with Melkor, your fate will be no different than his. That ruinous path has but one destination - oblivion. What will you rule then? And what will you rule now, since Melkor does not share power? Step back from the brink! You know not your peril!"

Then Sauron considered while the will of Yavanna and Melkor stove in that place. Finally he spoke. "It seems I am to choose between two evils: thralldom and repentance on one hand, and ruination on the other. And yet I do not think so. Yavanna, you have always resented my cunning, and sabotaged my efforts. You will not now by direct force cause me to abandon my work or return as a repentant servant to Aule's smithies. I have committed no sin! As for ruination, that is yet to be determined. For I have seen a vision of power that has yet to be measured, and may never be, unless one can measure the infinite."

"There is only One who has that power, and his name is not Melkor", said Yavanna. "Sauron, you must come with me. Come at once and all will be forgiven. Aule has no use for thralls, but a loyal and strong apprentice may find happiness and contentment in his halls."

But Yavanna's words no longer held sway over Sauron. He had grown too proud and resentful to accept pardon. "Ever have you conspired against me as Aule's counsel, resented my work unfairly and used your position as spouse of my master to subjugate me. Neither has Aule ever been my ally. No more! You may consider yourself the master of your house as the greater Vala, but I see a petty and jealous queen, unwilling to bend her will to her lord's. You are a plant-loving fanatic who cannot accept that Eru plans to bring forth sentient life unto this world; life that will bear no allegiance toward or have any love for you!"

"They will have neither allegiance or love for you, being their enemy. You have chosen oblivion, then. So be it."

At that moment Yavanna vanished, for she realized that Sauron was grown willful and proud, and was lost. She was troubled by many things, not least that somehow she had driven Sauron to treason. Such is the infectious nature of half-truths. She knew Aule would be at once angry at her and saddened for Sauron. Yet that would have to wait. Melkor was come! War was at hand!

After Yavanna vanished Sauron, too, was troubled. Her final words had an effect on him of a pronounced doom. He had little time to consider, though. For Melkor spoke: "Sauron, who is thy master?" So it was that Sauron bent his knee and worshipped Melkor. Sauron, whom the elves later named Gorthaur the Cruel, would not bend it for Aule or even Manwe, and chose destruction instead of contrition and humility. In that very place where ages later he would create his most precious trifle - and ages after that meet his final end, he set his fate. Yavanna's words proved to be his doom, even if he did mange to delay the inevitable by 2 ages of the world. And yet is was not at the hands of the Valar, or elves, or even men that Sauron was destroyed, and that is the truth that torments him even now in oblivion. And Sauron forever hated Yavanna above all others, for it was she that he perceived had contrived all of his woes. He had been seduced by the lies and half-truths of Melkor, and could not or would not veer from the path he had chosen.

Even so, Sauron was not yet as wholly evil as his master. Once Melkor proclaimed himself openly again and made war on the Valar, Sauron was called upon. Melkor understood all too well the torment that occupied Sauron's mind. He therefore called upon his newest and most terrible servant to a special deed, before there was time to reconsider.

"Here I have brought you and for no small task. Sauron! I require of you this deed as a token of thy faithfulness and fealty. I have fulfilled my oath: to put my power into you, and give you jurisdiction over my lesser servants. Now you must prove your faith just so: sever your ties with thy former master and destroy his most precious creations!"

So it was that Melkor demanded Sauron to overthrow Aule's lamps. And for his part Melkor had not lied: for he did indeed fuse his power into Sauron, but also his all-consuming lust to dominate. Yet Sauron was loathe to do the deed; he still admired craftsmanship for its own sake and as yet there was no such craftsmanship in all the earth. Nevertheless Sauron's fear of Melkor and hatred of Yavanna held sway. And so it was that Sauron, servant of Melkor threw down the lamps of Aule, and in so doing forever forsook the lordship of the Valar. This he did, despite being thereafter reproachful of himself for such a deed. And Sauron never quite forgave Melkor in his heart for the fact that he himself was forever judged, forever hated by the Valar, and also the elves, and men. So he perceived it, yet it was not so. For as it is told elsewhere Sauron had his chance again to repent, after his master was utterly defeated and Thangorodrim thrown down. But by then his heart had turned to stone, or ice, and he was wholly evil, so that he could no more repent than a dead man could rise up and walk.

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