Sauron stood atop the high peaks of the Ered Luin, alone upon the mountains that his former master Aule had crafted in millenia past. From his perch he saw all about the lands of Beleriand – the lands that he and his master had warred with the Eldar and Edain over for so long. Then he had seen Morgoth as messiah, the one true lord to whom the earth and all upon it was his right. After witnessing him dragged out from Angband, cowering within the bounds of the Valars’ chains, he was not so sure.
The fallen Maiar still resumed the fair form of an Elven Lord with which he had spoken to Eonwe in after the great battle. Why Sauron still took this shape was truly unknown even to him – however only the face of an Elf could convey the sadness, the conflict and doubt within his mind.
He had thought back to ancient times, when he and Eonwe regarded one another as like brothers, within the timeless Halls of Eru, when he answered only to the name Mairon. Strangely to him, he felt a longing nostalgia build up inside him thinking of such carefree times, when he was graced by the light of Iluvatar.
Sauron felt something bizarre upon his face, something he had never experienced before, or at least had not in so long a time ago he had forgotten the feeling of the sensation. He was – crying. A tear fell from his cheek onto the cold stone under him.
He wanted to go back to the light. The singular thought blocked out any doubt and any objecting voices in his head. He had been seduced by a lie – false truths woven to him by Melkor, the cursed Morgoth Bauglir. Regret and anger surged in him at the thought of his former master and how he had corrupted him. Truly now his mind was set. No matter how harsh the judgement of the Valar might be, it would be a necessary sacrifice to become part of their righteous fold once again.
With a newfound mindset and optimism, Sauron cleared his head and began to journey down from the Ered Luin.
Yet, as he turned and took his first few steps, he heard a cold, sinister and ancient voice from behind:
‘How fares thee, traveller?’
Sauron moved to see the speaker. Some feet away from him, a tall figure robed and cloaked in black stood amidst the craggy terrain of the mountain. His hood was flung back, revealing a pale face bearing the features of an Elf. Sauron could feel the aura of darkness about him. The sight of the figure in such a remote area shocked him, but the shock soon turned to anger.
‘Who are you? What do you want? Name yourself!’
The robed Elf was inanimate. ‘Pardon me, lord, I did not mean to surprise you. Yet, since you inquire, I am a humble Avari wanderer who has come to witness a certain spectacle in the lands below us. And my name, at least in the common tongue, is Dardarian.’
‘Dardarian,’ Sauron repeated. ‘It is not like any Elven name I have heard before.’
‘Ah, well it seems that you have been dealing for too long with Western Elves. I, however, come from the furthest east.’
‘And what "spectacle" have you come to witness, Avari?’
‘Do you not know? The land of Beleriand is about to be flooded forever. I would have thought a mighty Maiar such as yourself would have known such a thing would happen.’
Sauron was baffled by this strange character. ‘How do you know so much? How do you know about me?’
Dardarian chuckled slightly. ‘Why, the deeds of Sauron Gorthaur reach even the ears of the east, good lord.’
‘Do not call me by that name!’ Sauron retorted in anger. ‘For no longer will I answer to it. Too long have I been a slave to the tyrant of darkness under that title. I will go back into the light – and become Mairon once more.’
Dardarian smiled wryly. ‘Very well, Lord Mairon. Though I personally thought that "Sauron" had a better sound to it.’
Sauron was furious. Shouting in anger, he focused his will upon a great rock close to the strange Elf, shattering it into a plethora of fragments. As the dust from the blast cleared, Dardarian still remained motionless, seemingly unaffected by the potent sorcery.
‘You know, for a servant of the light, you do not have the best of tempers.’
The gaze of the Maiar was like the gleam of coldest ice. ‘Why are you here? What do you want with me?’
For the first time in his encounter, Dardarian took a step forward, his arms open in friendship. ‘For countless years I have walked this earth, lord. Too long, many would say. I have witnessed this earth since I awoke by the waters of Cuivienen with the first of my kind. I know of all things upon this world, for I have seen into other ones. I have tread the lost paths of the abyss from forgotten portals and seen the chaos of existence. And with my infinite knowledge, Sauron, I can say that by rejoining the light, you are making a grave mistake.’
Sauron was unimpressed by the Avari’s boasts. ‘The gravest mistake I ever made, little Elf, was turning from the light. And now I have the chance to amend that error.’
‘Nay, nay, good lord, now you have the chance to build yourself anew! But not as a docile servant-boy of the Valar – as a majestic and all powerful Lord of the Earth!’
‘NO! I have been tempted by such lies before, and I trusted in them. Yet these promises have borne no fruit. I will not make the same mistake again!’
‘But now you can now build your power base again, and learn from the mistakes of the past to become greater than Morgoth himself!’
The Maiar paused for a moment. What the Elf said could be true. With Morgoth gone, Sauron, as his rightful champion, could take his place…
‘No!’ he once again brushed such thoughts from his mind. ‘No. Even if I can become mightier than Morgoth, how can I stand against the might of the Valar? I have no choice but to join them.’
‘But you can defeat them. Morgoth failed because he was a blunt instrument – but you, Sauron, you have wit, you have guile. Instead of crushing your enemies, you can poise them to your own side!’
Sauron’s mind was in doubtful tumult. To go back to Valinor would be the rightful thing to do – but the temptation of power grappled his very soul. Though he knew it was wrong, he had craved for power all his life. And now it offered itself to him in massive quantity.
The conflict within himself made Sauron lucid. He stormed across the terrain, causing the ground to shake. Rocks toppled, stone cracked, the earth about Sauron seemed to quake in his rage. Finally, he stopped still. Everything seemed to settle about him. For hours, the Maiar stared blankly across the lands of Beleriand and at the approaching storm that would soon swallow them into the sea. Dardarian remained silent and patient, looking at the form of Sauron, his back turned to him. The ancient Avari knew what the outcome would be. It was destined.
Sauron finally broke from his silence. His mind was made up. Without a word, he began to walk up the mountain and thus cross to the other side. As smooth and silent as a serpent, Dardarian followed.
For a short moment, Sauron looked one last time at the lands below as they disappeared into the blue.
‘Do you have any suggestions to where I set up my new power base, Dardarian?’
‘Do not worry, lord. I know just the place…’
Sauron nodded grimly as the last of Beleriand vanished behind him. No matter, he thought. There were more lands to rule and more power to be had beyond. Soon all would tremble at the very mention of the new Dark Lord.