9. Chapter Nine
Over the next few weeks, something changed for Maglor. He had been alone with Sauron for so long, but now it was different. At first the dark lord seemed to have had enough of Legolas, and he left the other elf alone. Maglor was glad of it. He knew he could grow jealous of Legolas easily. Oh, it was a sick, twisted existence here – but there was no escape from it – and Maglor had given up long ago.
Despite this, Maglor was never able to be quite at peace with his situation. Sauron devised torments that kept him completely aware of what was being done to him. Sometimes he destroyed Maglor’s mind, only to watch while he healed. Maglor begged for Sauron to hurt him then, because awareness was the cruellest torture of all, but the dark lord just looked down on him with a kind of delight in his eyes, enjoying watching him plead. He was not kept alive for his own benefit, and sometimes he hungered for death, and begged for that. Seemingly everything he did pleased Sauron. It was as though he couldn’t help himself. It should be easy to hate him, but it wasn’t.
He was always there. However cruel and painful a Master he was, he never really left Maglor alone, not when it mattered. He thought back to the earliest days, when he first became Sauron’s prisoner, and he remembered the feelings he had then. Never alone. Legolas had just barely tasted it, but Maglor knew the feeling so well by now. The way that Sauron seemed to know when a limit had been reached. Sometimes it was almost as if he could have mercy. Oh, he could be comforting in his own way, and it became an encouragement to endurance. The need for it all to stop became twisted, turned into a need to endure whatever he subjected Maglor to. Limits were reached... and passed. Insanity never did come easily, but when it did Sauron was there with him. And he was there whenever Maglor came back to reality, holding him down, keeping him from the only escape there was. He would have taken it as a way out at times, in desperation, had Sauron not kept him from it. He was unforgiven anyway – what difference could it make?
The dark lord was capable of a sort of kindness at those times. Such tenderness, and how Maglor began to yearn for it. It was something Maglor desired more than death, but he could never beg for it, only earn it with his suffering. It was never much, and never quite enough, but Maglor would go through hell again and again just to experience his gentle kisses. To know that he had pleased Sauron so much was a reward beyond anything he could explain. It should be easy to love him, and it was.
The difference now was that when he would have been alone, he was with Legolas. He didn’t know if it was at the end of a day, or at the end of a week. Maglor had really stopped counting the days long ago, and now he measured his existence merely in periods of time. The young Prince held him while he cried, and listened to his maddened ramblings about being punished here for his crimes, and how much he both deserved and enjoyed it…
But then Sauron began to show an interest in Legolas. He took Legolas away time after time, leaving Maglor alone and by himself once more. He waited, with nothing to do but slip into reverie, for them to return. He wasn’t hurting the young Prince, that was certain, and really Legolas was obviously with child by now. Maglor didn’t think even Sauron would put his own child at risk. But still, there was something in his manner that suggested whatever happened to him wasn’t pleasant. Sauron had used him, that much was obvious. Maglor tried to encourage the young one to talk about it, but he was distant and silent, and soon Maglor gave up on him, saying that he was probably right not to confide in him. He didn’t trust Maglor, and really that was how it should be.
Soon he came to resent Legolas though. There was no acknowledgement of his existence anymore from the dark lord, and Maglor began to crave it. Jealousy took hold, and he began to ignore Legolas, concentrating instead on his own dreams. When he awoke he knew that Sauron had been with him, and somehow it made him shiver deliciously to know that Sauron had stolen from him in his sleep, even as he resented being cheated of his closeness.
Dreams. They were things that tried to speak to you, and Maglor’s dreams spoke to him. Often he dreamed of Sauron. The dark lord was never far from his thoughts in waking, and so it was in sleep. It was true that he had changed over the years… over the centuries. And his dreams contained a dark lord as cold and as terrible as reality. Truly, he had learned to enjoy his suffering. But when he awoke this time, it was to find the dark lord staring down at him with a question in his eyes.
“Well?” Sauron demanded immediately. Maglor wondered what the question was for, but not for long. Legolas was gone. He looked around him at the empty bed, and then quickly back at Sauron.
“I don’t know!” He replied hastily, in shock, not wanting to arouse the dark lord’s impatient anger. Sauron’s eyes glittered coldly. Maglor really didn’t know where the Prince had gone. Oh, it was obvious that Legolas had attempted an escape. Maglor sighed inwardly, he wouldn’t make it, surely he wouldn’t. A part of him was sorry, he did care about the young Prince after all, but Maglor also knew that had he encouraged Legolas to tell him his plans, then he would never even have got so far as to leave. Maglor looked back at his Master helplessly. He had told Legolas not to trust him, and deep inside he already knew Sauron would make him sorry for it.
“You, don’t know?” Sauron sneered, so that Maglor trembled before him. He sounded almost as if he had been waiting for this moment, as though he had been expecting it. Realisation hit him. He knew! Of course he knew, what secrets had he ever been able to keep from Sauron?
“He didn’t tell me,” Maglor began, hoping it would be enough. “B-but you can find him again, can’t you? And bring him back…” He spoke quickly, too quickly, and Sauron seemed to look at him without really listening. Sauron could find him, there was no doubt at all in Maglor’s mind. But this was not about Legolas’ escape, not really.
“You have disappointed me.” Maglor felt his heart lurch at Sauron’s accusation, and he raised himself up in the bed until he was on his knees. His hands reached out to the dark lord, wanting to reassure him, to show that he hadn’t, that he wouldn’t, couldn’t ever do such a thing. But he stopped. He hadn’t been given permission to touch. He shook his head.
“No…” The denial was instinctive, and he felt it with all his heart and soul. Why then, he wondered, did it sound so faint and weak?
“I think it is time for a lesson, mûl nín.” Yes, Sauron knew, and there was going to be no escape from it. Maglor had no doubt that whatever his Master did, it would teach him never to hide the truth again, and his first reaction was panic.
“No! Please, I’m sorry!” And he was sorry. He felt as though he had betrayed the dark lord, and somehow it hurt to think and to feel it. It hurt even more to have him think it, and for a moment he hated Legolas, for coming between them in such a way.
“No. You are not sorry yet, but you will be, I can promise you that.” It was threatening, and seductive, and the inevitability stole Maglor’s need to escape. He sighed heavily, already feeling a strange kind of desire that he couldn’t really explain, even to himself. Sauron’s punishments were always cruel, but Maglor knew he deserved it, and he had missed the dark lord’s attention. Was that why he had done it? His warnings to the Prince had not been for Legolas at all, but for himself. After all, he had known really that it would come to this.
“Hîr nín,” he breathed reverentially, already grateful. He moved from the bed and knelt at Sauron’s feet. Why did it feel so right to kneel before him? It was as though he belonged here. He looked up and he knew the answer to his own question. Sauron looked down on him coldly, his dark perfection was almost regal. Maiar. He could be a King or a God, and to Maglor he was those things and more. How could he not worship such a flawless being?
“Hîr nín… Herdir… Please, forgive me…” He spoke the words over and over again like a litany, knowing they were of no use, as he rested his hands on the cold, stone floor, and dared to kiss his Master’s feet. Fear and arousal had been one and the same for him for so long, and he only moaned hungrily when he felt Sauron cruelly taking hold of his hair to pull him to his feet.
“Up!” he commanded. They looked at each other. Sauron knew. He would have no mercy. And Maglor was thankful for it even as he wanted to scream.
Sauron dragged him along corridors and through chambers by his hair. He strode too fast for Maglor, so that when he finally stopped, Maglor was crying helplessly at having his hair pulled so viciously. His face was wet with tears when Sauron came to stand behind him, and he realised he was looking into a full-length mirror.
“Now look,” he commanded, holding Maglor’s head in his hands, stopping him from turning away. Maglor caught the eye of Sauron’s reflection and he couldn’t look away. It was so strange to see himself like this. He wasn’t as tall as Sauron, and the mirror seemed to emphasise that fact. He still had to look up to keep eye contact with Sauron, and he saw his Master’s hands moving over him as well as feeling it.
“You claim you haven’t disappointed me,” Sauron said, brushing his fingers over Maglor nipples and ribs, making him shiver in fear. His hands could be cruel, and he could sense a kind of suppressed violence. Sauron could break him so easily – he knew that. Maglor drew in a breath to answer, but then Sauron continued.
“Then what are you sorry for?” he asked with a kind of frightening patience, anticipating Maglor’s denial. Maglor caught his breath when the dark lord lazily brushed the tip of one finger over his erection, and he began to tremble. He knew Sauron somewhat after all this time – and he knew that the dark lord was angry. Only the fear of feeling his anger stopped Maglor from falling. He felt dizzy and weak, and still he couldn’t look away from his dark eyes. The eyes that always seemed to see directly into his soul.
“I… I don’t – ” he stammered fearfully, not really knowing what to say. Sauron’s powerfully deep voice spoke over his.
“You have allowed Legolas to keep secrets, even from you, when you know that I expected him to confide in you. You have more than disappointed me.” Maglor began to tremble even more now. This was more than an accusation. He sounded like a judge announcing his crimes, and Maglor wondered fitfully what the sentence would be. But then Sauron suddenly changed tack.
“But you are mine, are you not?” he asked pleasantly, as he brushed Maglor’s long hair away from his neck, uncovering an ear which he kissed lightly.
“Yes, Herdir,” Maglor gasped, grateful for the opportunity to say that he belonged to Sauron. He almost didn’t know what was coming. He deliberately ignored it while there was still time, as the dark lord’s lips left his ear and moved over his neck, touching him so lightly it nearly tickled.
“So obviously, this is a mistake of my own,” he murmured thoughtfully. “Perhaps you simply do not fear me enough.” He looked up suddenly then, into the mirror and into Maglor’s eyes. His hands grabbed Maglor’s wrists and trapped them at his sides. And it really was going to happen! Maglor cried out inarticulately before the change even began. Watching desperately, looking at Sauron in the mirror. The black hair and dark eyes that always seemed to capture the light. His skin was not so pale at the moment, and Maglor continued to look, knowing already that it was too late, but willing him not to change now – not in front of him like this…
“Please,” he managed finally, and Sauron smiled at him coldly. He really couldn’t help but please the dark lord, with everything he said and did, but there was no compassion. Sauron leaned into his neck as if to torment him and inhaled deeply. His eyes seemed to gleam with an inner, yellow light for a second before the impression was gone. And Maglor knew that was something else. Something just as frightening.
“Watch,” Sauron commanded, and Maglor whimpered as it began.
His Master had told him to watch, and although there was nothing more Maglor wanted to do than close his eyes, he found himself unable to disobey. First to change was the skin, it seemed to lose the small amount of colour it had until it was white. And this was not the deathly white of a corpse, but the almost transparency of some sea creatures. It was skin that never saw the light of day. Next were the eyes. Sauron continued to look at him, and Maglor screamed out, as those eyes grew bigger, becoming inky black pools of darkness in his face. They were expressionless and dead, insectile eyes. His long, black hair seemed to lose its luxurious texture until it hung around his face limply like tattered rags. His hands grew into claws that encircled Maglor around the waist. He could only look on as all this happened, frozen in horror at the sight of the monster that Sauron had become.
He screamed again when it moved; he couldn’t seem to think of it as ‘him’ anymore. It was darting and furtive as it leaned in to him. He tried to move away instinctively when its lipless mouth lowered to his neck, and he cried out breathlessly in disgust and revulsion. Sauron’s teeth were still there and it gave the lower part of his face the appearance of a skull. The claws tightened around him as if to remind him where he was, and who he was with. Sauron’s voice was in his mind then, and he listened gratefully.
*Don’t forget who I am, Maglor. Watch me, and fear me. Remember this is a lesson you asked for.*
His words calmed Maglor, despite their sinister meaning. And he relaxed a little in Sauron’s vice-like grip. But soon he was panting and petrified again when he saw the teeth. They seemed to grow from his upper jaw, and then suddenly Maglor was certain that they were not really teeth.
Out of all the punishments Sauron had visited on him, this was by far the worst. He had simply never been so terrified. He could hear a high-pitched wailing sound, and he was startled to find that it was coming from him. His mind screamed at him urgently – monster! But he couldn’t flee from it. Instead the words and orders of his Master whom he had obeyed for so long ensured that he couldn’t even try, that he couldn’t fight, and he couldn’t close his eyes. All he could do was watch helplessly, mortified, held in its cold grip, as it sank those terrible twin proboscises deeply into the skin of his neck.
He gasped; more from the shock of seeing it happen than the actual pain. And he was right about those things. They weren’t really teeth at all. He looked on in horrified fascination as his blood bubbled up inside them. They were transparent enough to show it, and then the swoon began. Was it possible to see and to know exactly what had hold of him, and yet still enjoy the feeling as it sucked and drank of his blood? Apparently so, because he sighed in pleasure.
*You can close your eyes now* came the voice into his mind, slightly amused as always, and as if commanded, Maglor’s eyes fluttered closed. Only Sauron’s magic kept him conscious, and he moaned at every deep, rhythmic pull at his neck. He fancied he could almost feel the demand on his heart before it was over, and the cold and the claws retreated.
Standing still, holding Maglor in his arms, Sauron licked his lips, tasting the last remains of his prisoner’s blood. He looked into the mirror, and again for a fleeting moment his eyes gleamed with a golden fire. Then it was gone. He smirked when he saw that Maglor still had his eyes closed. He looked as though he could have fainted, and that Sauron was holding him up. But that wasn’t the truth. He was very much aware of everything around him. Sauron could feel it in the way he shook and trembled.
“Now you fear me, don’t you?” he asked, not really needing to hear the answer, but knowing that Maglor had to say it to him nevertheless. Maglor’s fear was all around them, he could sense it all over him – so delicious! It was like a drug to him. His orcs and uruk-hai would never fear him like this; they simply didn’t have enough imagination.
“Yes!” Maglor replied instantly, his eyes flying open. He seemed to relax a little when the evidence of his senses was confirmed, and he realised that Sauron was back to himself again. Sauron waited, enjoying his elf’s trembling as it continued. It was irresistible not to play with him a little.
“Say you are sorry, then,” he suggested, feeling Maglor tense suddenly because he hadn’t thought of it first. Oh, he was so beautiful like this!
“I’m sorry, Hîr nín,” he breathed immediately, looking at Sauron for acceptance and forgiveness, his eyes wide. Inwardly Sauron smiled; this particular lesson would last for a while.
“Good.” He waited until he felt Maglor relaxing against him, leaning back into him as if he thought it was all over. Sauron almost laughed. “Now all that remains is your punishment,” he continued. No one else would have been able to tell what that sentence did to Maglor, but Sauron knew. He felt it in the way he jumped a little, heard it in the slight intake of breath, saw it by the way Maglor almost closed his eyes.
“Choose it for yourself, mûl nín,” he ordered then, watching Maglor in the mirror as he tried to think of a suitable punishment for what he had done.
“I could sing for you, Herdir,” he suggested eventually in a timid voice, as though singing were the last thing he wanted to do. It probably was. He was good at choosing his own punishment, which was probably why Sauron had him do it so often.
“Yes, I believe that is fitting,” Sauron said in agreement. “It will remind you of what you are, and what I expect.”
Herdir – Master
Hîr nín – my Lord
mûl nín – my slave