1. The Judgment
SUMMARY: Sentenced into the Void for eternity, Melkor now plots his final revenge against the Valar. And as time counts towards the prophesied End, Melkor enters into one last alliance with an ancient entity: a self-serving ally in the distant past ... and an old enemy.
It was empty, and utterly dark. For all the tempest and discord he had wrought upon Eä, the Void, that primordial emptiness that first drew him into Darkness, seemed confoundingly serene. For it was without Being, as it had always been, or ever will be. Melkor sought to recall the age before Time, where once he walked alone its measureless wastes, seeking the creative power of Ilúvatar, so that he himself may create Being as his Maker had done. And now once more he is within the Void, and here, in its deepest and most forgotten wastes, distant beyond comprehension from Eä or the Timeless Halls, was he cast into eternal punishment.
Ages beyond count have passed since the Valar had shut him out of Eä, and yet still he remembered the bitter memory of defeat as clear as yesterday. Oh yes, there the Valar stood, arrayed in the fullness of their glory before their lofty thrones in Valmar. And it was then that Mandos, without pity or scorn, declared his Doom, as he, bound once more in the chain of Angainor, his neck bearing as a beaten collar his once mighty Iron Crown, was perforce to listen, and every word he remembered:
"Hear now, Melkor, the judgment of the Valar!" declared Mandos, his voice deep and terrible, for his voice was the Voice of the Will of the Valar, and the echo of his words resonated through the mighty halls of Valmar. "Knowest, Melkor, that the greatest care have the Valar taken in deciding your fate, for although your crimes are beyond healing or redress, still the Valar have sought the most just of penalties for your misdeeds."
Melkor did not speak. But he looked on the faces of the Valar that sat in majesty on their thrones, and he beheld the face of Manwë, stern and unmoving, and seeing this he realized that feigning peace would avail him no longer, for they knew him now.
But Mandos went on:
"On account of your deeds, specifically the murder of the Two Trees and the theft of the Silmarils, whose light you have sought to deprive the World, but most especially for the Marring of Arda and the defilement of Eru's Children, to which you have spilled their blood unjustly in your selfish wars, as well as for leading many of your kindred astray, that they may become your instruments against the will of Eru. It is for all these misdeeds, and many others beside, that the Valar henceforth sentences you to eternal banishment in the Void."
And Melkor, hearing the gravity of his fate, looked up at the face of Mandos, and his white-hot eyes blazed in defiant rage. But Mandos, dispassionate as ever, paid no heed.
"There in the Void you will stay," he said. "Within its enclosing darkness, you will dwell in your native form, naked as a spirit bereft of its house, for the body you have worn in Arda will be severed from it, and shall be destroyed, so that never again can you walk as a Power visible upon Arda, and Eä itself will be shut against you, so that your yourself can never return. There in the Void you will dwell for all the ages to come, that you may reflect on what you have done, and, perhaps, by the grace of Eru and the prayer of Nienna, you may as yet repent. But repentance or not, your punishment will hold, and shall do so until undone by the Valar, or till the World is ended. So speaketh the Valar."
Then Melkor sought to raise himself from his abasement, but the weight of Angainor was like the weight of the world, and the jagged collar on his neck bowed his shoulders to the ground, and he could not upright himself. But his will, still uncowed, fueled by malice borne upon ages, rose like a black cloud of hate, and before their resplendent glory he mustered his final spite. And Melkor laughed shrilly, saying: "So now! Have the Valar come to this? That they should be so sated in their bliss and self-righteousness that they, rather than speak their own mind, would instead pass judgment through the mouth of another? Indeed, who are the Valar to pass judgment on Melkor, I, who was here before all else?" And the echoes of his hatred sounded harshly across the hallowed halls, but still none of the Valar spoke.
"Now you seek to thrust me into the Void, hoping, perhaps, to keep me in eternal confinement. Fools!" Melkor screamed. "For even by shutting me there, you cannot alter the truth: that Arda, and all Eä, is mine. Even with my removal from their confines, my will shall continue to hold sway, for no power within the World or without can ever hope to remove that part of my essence that I have poured into Arda. But, seeing that you are all so keen into diminishing me, then by all means destroy this body, that you may see the truth of my words. And as for repentance: I need it not, for Melkor repents nothing. But sit now, and bask in your bliss and your glory for as long as they are there to relish! For none of you, not Mandos, not Tulkas, or Manwë even, could hope to hinder my return."
To this Manwë did not speak. But then Varda arose from her high throne, and the light of her eyes pierced the shadows he had cast upon himself, so that his veil was dispersed, and before her radiant gaze he was as naked as a spirit. "Great mercy have the Valar shown to you, for had we elected to abide by your methods, then verily you would have been subjected to the same torments you yourself had unjustly bestowed upon the Children of Eru. But the Valar are not wont to do so, lest we become like you. Mightiest you are among all of us, you say? Verily you were, but by seeking to possess Arda for yourself, you have dispersed your being, so that by your greed and malice you have diminished yourself, and your claims to preeminence have now become hollow. It is not for hatred of you that we cast you into the Everlasting Darkness, but for the love of Arda, that it may thus be spared from the poison of your malice. But hearken now, Melkor! For there in the Void, that measureless expanse whose undefinedness you have used to lead many of our kindred astray, there you can expend in your hate and in your tumults at your heart's content, and it will matter not, for Eä and Arda will bear them no longer."
And to this Melkor was put to shame, and he wished indeed that he had once more those great native powers he once possessed, for in ages forgetten when he had been Melkor, by whose power he had toppled mountains and spilled lakes into the basins of the earth, no chain, vault, or exile could have verily hoped to restrain him. But alas, it was not so! And the very truth of Varda's words struck his pride like lightning to a withered tree.
But now, looking into the eyes of the Valar, and realizing his diminished state, he saw no hope of undoing their judgment, be it by force or cunning.
But then Mandos, who had stood silently amidst all this, spoke thus: "The Void awaits you."
And to Melkor, it seemed as if some powerful unseen hands were holding him in place, far more than Tulkas had ever used to restrain him in ages past, and he could not break free. But his body felt as though it was being burned from within; and he remembered the Silmarils, those holy jewels of Fëanor, whose hallowed light had burned his hands beyond healing, and hatred choked his heart. Yet he could do nothing, for by the power that had left his being, no longer did he have the strength to free himself. And as his accursed flesh withered into ash, the chain and collar that clamped on his flesh clattered to the ground. But from the ashes of his remains his spirit rose like a black cloud, menacing and dreadful; menacing, but powerless, as it, too, was held fast by those unyielding hands. Seemingly now it sought to draw him away from the halls of Valmar, and to his vision it appeared as if the Valar and their abode began to recede. And still he continued to be pulled, so that now he saw the plains of Valinor and the shining domes of Valmar sparkle like jewels from a distant shore. In great speed did he now pass beyond the clouds of Ilmen; and in a fleeting rush his gaze beheld the streaking stars, until they became lines of many-coloured lights that passed beyond seeing. And still he went on, until at last he came upon the starless void, dark and silent; older than the oldest, for it was more ancient than he.
And then the memory ended.
So befell his great fall, from Lord of Arda down into exile beyond the Door of Night. But now Melkor opened his eyes, and still he saw nothing, as has been for ages beyond count since his defeat in the War of Wrath; for the Void is a realm where neither sight nor sound held meaning. But the heart of Melkor, ever black as the void about him, continued to burn like smoldering embers; cooled by a little, yet never wholly quenched. And he nursed this now, as he gathered his strength once more for a final uprising, until the coming of The End.
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.