1. All About Names
Lúthien was evil, Melkor had decided, and that simply was not fair. He almost admired her, in a peculiar sort of way. Her plan had been awfully crafty and carried out in the most superbly devious and underhanded way. Yes, he almost admired her, and he was going to kill her in the most excruciating way imaginable when he caught her. He would, too. Just you wait. "Just you wait," he told Sauron.
Melkor's minion had eventually come crawling back to him (in very sorry condition, too) after his thrashing by that horrible little tramp and her vicious mongrel. That almost made Melkor feel a tiny bit better. The wine Sauron had brought, indeed, the very wine they were now hobnobbing over in Melkor's hall, made him feel quite a bit better.
"It's not just the Silmaril, it's my reputation," Melkor proclaimed. "I am the 'Black Enemy.' I don't get beaten by girls!"
"And dogs," Sauron added, brooding over his bucket of wine. "Don't forget the pack of dogs. Hounded me right into the Taur-nu-Fuin, they did. I would have come right back, of course, and reported to you straight away, but . . ."
"My minions said there was only one," Melkor interrupted, his slurred voice shaded with mockery.
Sauron shrugged his ragged shoulders. "They probably only noticed the Lord of Mutts. Orcs are stupid. I throw a few of the slugs over the battlements periodically. It helps motivate them."
"I've tried that myself," Melkor revealed. "Worked marvels, and I thought it was rather fun. Gothmog begged me for months to let him do it, too, the little blighter."
Sauron nodded in appreciation.
Continuing between slurps, Melkor shivered. "I met Huan in Valinor once. Drooled far more than any dog has a right. But it's horrible, I say, horrible!" he declared, waving his tankard around for emphasis.
"Humiliating," Sauron agreed. "Once we rule middle-earth, we should ban all hounds. Wolves, only, allowed."
"This Lúthien business... It really won't do at all, old boy. It's just not fair." Melkor added glumly. "I was just starting to get a really ghastly reputation, you know. Called the 'Black Enemy' now, and all that."
Melkor gestured and a nameless minion scurried over and refilled their stoups. Once that matter had been attended to, he tapped the table thoughtfully. "It's all in the name, I say. Flattering as 'Morgoth' is, I've been letting these filthy little Elves get away with far too much. 'Black Enemy' was just a start. I need something more terrifying, something . . . eviler."
"You're very evil right now," Sauron hastened to reassure him.
Melkor shook his head sadly. "Thanks awfully. It's quite proper of you, but really no good. I'm not evil enough, old chap. I'm losing my touch. I hear that obnoxious Maedhros has even formed some sort of league. Ever since the day that girl outclassed me . . ." Melkor sniffled.
"Never trust a girl," Sauron advised. "They are always evil. Sure, they look cute and helpless, but as soon as they get you off your guard it's 'Give me your tower and get out of my sight, you miserable wretch.'"
"I need to raise the bar," Melkor continued, waving his hands and slopping wine on the table. "I need to make a name for myself, and not let those maddening little Firstborn vermin do it!"
"You could always go back to letting your minions call you 'He who arises in might,'" Sauron suggested.
"No good," Melkor replied. He took a long pull at his tankard. "It may be a mighty fine starter, but it's time for me to move on."
"There is 'Bauglir,'" Sauron proposed.
"It simply won't do, you know," Melkor asserted. "'The Constrainer' is not nearly fearsome enough. I need something . . . something . . . something rather like 'Gorthaur.' A fine name, that."
Sauron nodded over his wine. "You flatter me, master."
Melkor waved his hand dismissively in the air. "I've always liked that name, 'Terrible Dread.' That's what I need."
"I say, you can have it," Sauron offered. "I've always wanted to call myself 'The Great Eye,' anyway."
Melkor considered this for a moment, but then slowly shook his head and took another long pull at his tankard. "Simply won't do, old fellow. Doesn't quite fit, and I just can't think of one that's good enough."
"There's 'The Abhorred,'" Sauron suggested.
Melkor shook his head again as he refilled his tankard. "'Sauron' seems decent enough, but it doesn't have a nice ring to it."
"I say, that is important! I've always thought it was a bit off," Sauron agreed, making a mental note of this. "At least it's better than when I was Aulëndil."
Melkor sniggered rudely into his wine. "Hah! I can't believe he fell for that!"
Sauron sniggered back. "I was his 'Devotee'! Aulë was always so gullible. I remember when you smashed his lamps. I loved that!""Oh! Oh! Illuin! Ormal! Whatever shall I do?" Melkor said, pretending to be horrified.
The two dark lords tittered and shared a sneering moment.
"'Dread Enforcer!'" Sauron roared suddenly. All the nameless minions in the hall jumped.
"A smashing idea, but it really wouldn't work," Melkor replied despondently. "I've seen Gothmog jumping up and down, begging to stomp just one more prisoner, ple-e-ease, and I simply can't take him seriously these days."
"What about 'Black Master?'" Sauron asked.
Melkor shook his bowed head and summoned a minion to bring over the final crates of wine. "Too similar to 'Black Enemy,'" he sniffed. "That detestable Maedhros and his endless bratty brothers would whine about plagiarism. I should have chained his head to the cliff."
"Wouldn't plagiarism be evil?" Sauron inquired curiously.
"Well . . . ye-es . . . but it would hurt my feelings!" Melkor declared. "I do not plagiarize. My evil is always original. I am the first and greatest dark lord!"
"Of course, master," Sauron answered obsequiously.
"My name mustn't be too different, mind you," Melkor pronounced, "But it will be the symbol of a new reign of darkness."
"It is time for a change of pace," Sauron agreed.
"I need something original, old fellow," Melkor continued, pounding the table.
"Originality is next to evil," Sauron acceded.
"Something to restore my reputation," Melkor asserted, shaking his finger at Sauron.
"I fear our reputations were damaged," Sauron acquiesced, nodding.
"Something to instantly strike fear into the hearts of all who hear it," Melkor proclaimed, his eyes beginning to glow red as an idea took shape in his mind.
"Fear is a dark lord's specialty," Sauron concurred.
"Something like . . . Morgor . . . ," Melkor murmured, his voice beginning to quiver with his rising excitement.
"That one's really good!" Sauron applauded. "There's something about that name I like!"
Melkor rose to his feet and threw out his hand. The empty tankard in it went flying across the room and struck his favorite gong.
"From henceforth," he decreed, "I am Melkoth, the dark and evil lord of doom!"
There was a long silence.
"DOOM, I say!" Melkor bellowed. "Look scared, you maggots!"
Sauron and the nameless minions looked very scared indeed.
The next afternoon, Melkor woke up under the table in a puddle of werewolf drool with a hangover. His minions cowered pleasingly as he tossed a screaming few over the battlements, which cheered him up a little bit. Sauron was stumbling around, looking very green and muttering nonsense about "eyes", which cheered him up a little bit more. The problem was that none of this really helped. He simply could not for the life of him shake the feeling that he had said something incredibly stupid right before he passed out.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.