Gothgolug.

author: azzy
beta: ej/asylumfarm
goft work for: Scribe_of_Mirrormere
warning: Graphic Depictions Of Violence, Rape/Non-Con, Alternate Universe – Canon Divergence, Canonical Character Death, dubcon
rating: M+
fandom: Silmarillion
pairring: Maglor/Sauron(Annatar)
Challenge: Ardor in August.

Authors note: First off I will say that this is part canon, and a huge part AU. And then I want to apologize to Scribe_of_Mirrormere for being such a shitty prompt filler, but I guess it’s okay since you said that this pairing had all bets off. I know fuck all about black speech, so I had to rely on the internet, and while my grammar might be wrong (I suck at elvish too) then Goth means ‘lord’ and Golug means ‘elf’, and I can’t find any rules for how you’d “create” a word as in the grammar, so I just stuck the words together.I know that Mordu was Númenorian and I also know that Celebrimbor did not forge the one ring, again – I call artistic license.

“Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage” – Ray Bradbury.

Maglor did not know how long he had been wandering. Days, decades, eons? He felt a shift in the air as something left this world, he was not exactly sure what it was, it felt like when his father’s energy had burned up. He stopped wandering, stared out over the sea for a long while, and then down at his scarred hand.

He had not deserved this fate! None of them had! The Valar had punished his bloodline with madness and death for standing against them. Maglor took a deep breath, maybe it was time to push back? Maybe Maedhros had been the warlord, but Maglor was Fëanor’s son as well. Grim determination furrowed Maglor’s once beautiful face. There was no more regret, no more sorrow. He had no more tears for the dead or his fate. There was only hate.

And so Maglor embarked on a new march, wandering without any real sense of direction towards something he didn’t know, he only knew that his feet knew the way, and that he needed to go there.

He stumbled and got on his feet again, his entire body screaming for rest. When had he last allowed himself the luxury of sleep? He moved through the lands as a ghost, keeping out of sight, constantly on the move.

When he got there he was surprised to find himself standing in front of large black gates, where was this place? Not one that he recognized. For the first time in years, Maglor just stood there staring, wondering how he was supposed to go about this. Did one just walk up there and knock?

The gates opened slowly surprisingly silent. A tall fair-haired elf came out, “Barad-dûr welcomes you”

Maglor opened his mouth to speak, but found his voice gone. He nodded and greeted the other elf silently.

“You look weary.” The elf said, “Come, my lord has been expecting you.”

Maglor had no explanation as to why he had come or why he had been drawn here, but now that he was here he might as well come in, he hesitated for a moment and decided that it felt right.

-*-

He was taken down long halls and winding stairs, Maglor wondered who the lord of this castle was, and what the purpose of this unexplainable urge to come here was, but he supposed that answers would come once he met the lord of these lands.

The fair-haired elf opened a door to a room, “Please my lord, take a rest and freshen up, I will have some food brought to you.”

Maglor nodded and smiled, it felt odd and alien to smile even if he knew that he had been a jester in his time. The door closed behind him, and Maglor stood alone in the room. To his surprise a bath was already waiting for him, so they had expected him at this hour? It was all very mysterious. Maglor decided that he was not about to look a gift-horse in the mouth and slowly took off his worn garments. He looked at them as they hit the floor. Once this tunic had been light blue, but now it was hardly recognizable at all. Had it really been that long? Had he really been trapped in a loop of madness for that many years? He shrugged it off and just got into the bath. Once submerged in the water he looked down himself, his arms and legs skeleton thin, it really had been that long. He frowned, the others had died gloriously, even his unfortunate older brother, and they had just left him to wither and die, maybe to cave in to madness and fling himself from the cliffs? For a split second, he wished he had flung himself off the cliffs long ago.

Getting out of the bath, his dark thoughts did not lessen; his hair was matted and impossibly long. So he gave up on combing it out, he would have to have it cut. So he went hunting for a pair of scissors or a knife.

There was a knock on the door, and the fair-haired elf from before entered again, he was carrying a plate of food, and clothes. “My lord thought you might need a set of new clothes.” The elf said as he gently placed the garments on the bed. “He will call upon you later.”

Maglor opened his mouth again, but only a weak croak came out, so he just nodded again. As the servant left, Maglor returned to his search but did not find anything. He gave in and decided to dress himself, the clothes were black with silver swirls on it. Beautiful tailor work, almost as pretty as what he had seen back at his father’s castle. He slipped into the garments, which were a perfect fit.

Eyeing the food, he wasn’t sure he should eat it; he would have preferred to know whose hospitality he was receiving first. But his stomach came to life at the scent of food, suddenly recalling what it was like to be full. Maglor poked it, and carefully tasted it, and before he knew it – he had emptied the plate.

-*-

Hours later Maglor found himself walking down what seemed to be a throne room of some sorts, he still did not know who the lord was, and it was not a castle he had heard of. There was a beautiful dark haired elf, who didn’t exactly look Noldorin to him, sitting on the throne. “Lord Maglor, welcome.” The elf said, “I am Annatar and these are my lands. You are a most awaited guests.”

Maglor cleared his throat, but still his voice refused to cooperate.

Annatar got up from his seat. “It has been ages since you used your voice my friend. Let it rest, and we can talk when it returns.” He walked down the steps from the throne and towards Maglor. “You are at Barad-dûr, and anything which is mine is yours for as long as you wish to stay.”

Maglor stared at the beautiful dark haired elf, mesmerized, and just nodded.

Annatar smile wide and friendly, “Magnificent.” He cheered.

-*-

Maglor’s days lost themselves in soft comfort, his voice had not really returned, it was a rough gravelly sound not at all what it once was. It did not sadden him, it angered him. He was sure the Valar were playing another cruel trick on him! Every time he looked at his burned hands, covered with thick scar tissue he was reminded of their cruelty.

The Lord of the castle had sent a barber to cut and groom Maglor’s ruined hair, to Maglor’s surprise it was a man not an elf who nervously shuffled into his quarters. The man bowed deeply and rambled off a bunch of things that Maglor didn’t understand.

Maglor just waved the nervous man over, waiting until the barber opened his satchel, arranging his tools. The man was skittish, but Maglor figured that the lack of communication had something to do with his nervousness. He started with studying Maglor’s sad tresses, he sighed, which made Maglor smile.

It was a little strange that Annatar had sent a human to do an elf’s job, how would this man-child know how to treat elven hair? Maglor decided that the Lord would know best, and maybe this man was truly gifted. Maglor closed his eyes and let the barber slowly attempt to undo the knots and cakes of felted hair.

He didn’t hear the door open, but he felt the hands in his hair halt. Maglor opened his eyes only to see Annatar stand there to his left. “My Lord?” Maglor croaked, hating his voice, the strained sound made him cringe.

“At ease, Maglor.” Annatar said with a soft smile. The man said something and Annatar nodded, he kneeled at Maglor’s side in the chair, placing a hand on top of Maglor’s on the armrest. “He cannot save your hair. And if he can’t no one can.”

“Oh.” Maglor bit his lip thinking, and then turned in his chair looking up at the barber, meeting the man’s steel blue eyes and nodded for him to proceed.

The man nodded back, and reached for the scissors.

When the barber was done, Annatar said something to him that made him bow deeply again, collect his tools and scurry out of the room. “Come.” Annatar said, “Let me.” Thin fingers buried themselves in what was left of Maglor’s hair. He expertly braided and pulled at Maglor’s hair until he stood back. “Now you look every bit what you are.” He beamed. “A Fëanorian prince.”

Maglor turned in his chair and looked up at Annatar puzzled, and then gingerly touched his braids with his hands. However, it had been decades since last, his hands remembered the design. He couldn’t help but to smile.

“Look.” Annatar opened a drawer and took out a mirror, handing it to Maglor.

His breath caught in his throat as he witnessed his own mirror image look back at him, and for a second he thought it was his father staring back, the same fire in his dark eyes. He looked older, fine lines had become furrows, but apart from that he looked exactly as he recalled. A far cry from the wretched creature that had come to the gates. Maglor sucked in his breath, and looked up at Annatar with eyes wet from emotional turmoil. “Thank you.” He whispered.

“My dear Maglor, you are –“Annatar stopped and came to stand in front of Maglor, holding his brown eyes fixed to his. “Very special to me.” He smiled, “And you are as beautiful as the tales claimed.”

Maglor felt his cheeks heat up and he looked down at his hands in his lap. He didn’t know how to even respond to this praise.

Annatar sat down on the chair he had used when waiting for the barber, still staring intently at Maglor. He took the mirror from Maglor’s hands and placed it on the table. He then picked up Maglor’s hands in his, turning them over so the terrible burn scars were visible. “Even your hands are beautiful, though you might not see it.”

Maglor stared down at his hands frowning. To him they were the embodiment of his failure, of the Valar’s cruelty and of his father’s madness. Then up at Annatar, for his life he did not understand this elf’s interest in him, what made him so special? It had always been Maedhros who was special, even the lovers Maglor had; he suspected were because they could not capture Maedhros’ affection. He loved and hated his brother in one messed up feeling. He finally shook his head slowly.

“But they are.” Annatar said, lifting one of Maglor’s hands to his cheek holding it there, closing his eyes to empathize that the touch were pleasant. “They formed this world.”

“I failed.” Maglor just whispered hoarsely.

“The Silmarils are lost to the world, yes.” Annatar said, “But that was not your doing, or your brothers’. It was the Valar. They cursed you, and who is to know that they did not already know that you would never claim them again, the moment you set out from Aqualönde.”

Maglor looked pensive, and then nodded. He himself had too been thinking that this might be a possibility.

“You know in your heart of hearts that it is true.” Annatar said softly, kissing them scar tissue in Maglor’s palm.

Maglor wanted to take his hand back, but on the other side, he didn’t.

“You are so much more important than you think.” Annatar said, “You think yourself a second son, a child borne from greater souls. But you have your very own very important role to play. You molded the world in your days, you ruled when your brother was ill, and you ruled well. He did not give you enough credit for what you did! You are wise and ruthless – you are a king.” Annatar paused. “The other elves who participated in the slaughter of the elves of Aqualönde, they were forgiven by the Valar, and many of them have since sailed back to Valinor – Did you know this?”

Maglor shook his head slowly.

“They killed those elves just as much as you and your kin did. Why are they not kinslayers?” Annatar said, his voice soft and stern. “Why did the Valar’s curse only extend to you and your kin?”

“The oath.” Maglor whispered, watching as Annatar kept caressing his cheek with Maglor’s scarred hand.

“Anyone can swear an oath.” Annatar said, “Anyone can promise allegiance.” He kissed the fingertips of Maglor’s hand and smiled as he noted the slight shiver of the other elf. “You swore the oath to regain what was yours, the others swore you allegiance, and their deed was as foul as yours. Words might take you so far, but it was with swords and fire that you branded yourselves, and fell from the Valar’s grace.” He ran his fingers down over Maglor’s wrist, seeing the shiver again. “You want to know what I think?”

Maglor nodded.

“I think that the Valar made an example of you. Because they are afraid of you. They are afraid of anyone who spits them in the face, anyone who does not accept their supreme rule.” Annatar said. “Your brother gave the crown to that usurper Fingolfin, when it should have been yours.”

Maglor frowned, he had not wanted the crown, Maedhros had asked him if he wanted it, he had praised him for his abilities to run the kingdom. And Maglor had turned him down. Clearly that was not something that Annatar knew. “I am no king.” Maglor whispered with great effort.

“Oh but you are.” Annatar whispered back, finally letting go of Maglor’s hands. “And that is why I am so fortunate to count you among my friends. For we are friends are we not?”

Maglor nodded again, not wanting to offend his benefactor.

“Truth is that I am trying to unite these lands once more, like under your rule.” Annatar said as he leaned in to place his own hand softly on Maglor’s hollow cheek. “Your advise would make all the difference.”

Maglor looked down at his hands in his lap, trying to ignore the warm soft hand on his cheek.

“Don’t be shy.” Annatar said, lifting Maglor’s head with fingers under the elf’s chin. “You are brilliant, you are unique, and only you can do this, you Maglor! You can unite these lands in my name. Like you did for your brother.”

Maglor swallowed, but then gave Annatar a sad look, “No voice.” He whispered barely audible.

“It is of no concern. You will be given pen and paper.” Annatar whispered eagerly. “I know you must have wondered what I want in return for my hospitality. This is my offer, I wish for you to be my royal advisor, by entrusted, my right hand. I need you and your expertise my prince.”

For a moment Maglor just sat gob smacked, not sure how to respond, and Annatar saw the turmoil in the other elf’s eyes. “There are too many chieftains, elves, human, dwarf. My wish is to unite them under my banner before we have war.”

Maglor nodded, for he saw truth in that. “Yes.” He finally whispered.

Annatar leaned in and kissed Maglor’s forehead, “My instincts were right. Thank you Maglor, thank you.”

-*-

One morning Annatar was gone, Maglor was puzzled and a little frightened, but apparently the Lord of the castle had left instructions for the servants to follow Maglor’s rule in his absence. Maglor did best he could, but was still worried as to why the lord had gone without a word. Annatar’s personal servant, who was the elf that had met him by the gates so long ago, his name was Gargo, came to Maglor one late evening months after their lord had left. He was wearing nothing but a long pelt coat and offered Maglor his service.

“My lord has left me instructions that what is his is yours in his absence.” Gargo said softly as he stepped out of the pelt and stood naked in front of Maglor.

Maglor put down his pen on his desk and looked curiously up at the fair-haired elf. “No!” He said harshly, with a weakened voice, yet stronger than just months ago.

The fair-haired elf paled, and his stance went from flashy to insecure in seconds. “But my Lord…”

“No.” Maglor said, softer this time.

“Do…” The elf stepped hesitantly closer to the desk where Maglor sat. “Do I not please you?”

Maglor looked up at the naked elf, he was comely enough, and he nodded.

“Then I am afraid I do not understand my lord.” The elf said in a near whisper.

“Be gone.” Maglor waved his hand for the elf to leave.

Gargo took a deep breath, “Have you ever seen the Lord’s scrying pool?”

This made Maglor’s head snap up to look at the elf again, his bored expression gone. “No?”

“I can show you.” Gargo said wringing his hands.

“But?” Maglor said.

“Let me stay the night.” Gargo said, unable to look Maglor into his eyes.

Maglor bit the inner side of his cheek, he really wanted to see this scrying pool, but he did not want to share his bed with this sniffling servant. “No.” He finally said and shook his head.

Gargo twitched, covering himself up with his hands; he opted for one last attempt “Please my lord. Lord Annatar will be furious if – ” Gargo hunched over and stared at the floor between his feet. “I will show you the scrying pool, if you only keep it a secret that you did not wish for my company.”

Maglor rose a brow interested. “Alright.”

Gargo smiled and looked relieved. “Thank you, thank you my lord.” He hurried to pick up his fur coat and ran out of the room with a promise of being back really soon. And once he came back, he was dressed as normal. “Come.” He gestured for Maglor to follow.

They made their way down long corridors and narrow staircases until Gargo finally pushed a door open, exposing a bare room with a scrying pool in the middle. “Here my lord.” He said smiling as he gestured towards the small basin.

Maglor stepped inside and looked at the scrying pool curiously. He had no idea how it worked, he was a bard and a soldier – not a magician. “How does…” He asked hastily.

“You touch it,” Gargo said, “And then you simply speak to it and wait.”

Maglor grabbed the edges of the pool, and stared stiffly down into the mirror of the water. “My family.” He whispered, “I wish to see my family.” He waited for long minutes, and when he was just about to object to Gargo, claiming he was wrong. The mirror of the water shifted and showed him a dark haired elven man; he had a little newborn babe in his arm and a toddler at his feet. He looked happy which made Maglor smile, he was not sure who it was, but just kept staring. The water shifted and the same elf with the smiling brown eyes was standing at his anvil talking with someone, Maglor furrowed his brows straining his ears hoping to hear something, “Celebrimbor you have outdone yourself.” – “Celebrimbor” Maglor whispered, he had been but a child last he had seen him, and here he was adult! He had to blink rapidly not to cry. Celebrimbor was alive and had a family. The image shifted once more, it showed two elven lords marching to war, a vast army behind them, the vision honed in one elven lord, and it took a moment for Maglor to realize who it was, “Elrond! Look Gargo – it’s my son.” No sooner had he said it before the pool’s image erupted in fire, making Maglor stagger back and letting go of the pool, which was now calm again.

Maglor was shaken, but laughing softly. True to his word, he allowed Gargo to sleep next to him.

-*-

It took more than two decades before the lord of the castle returned; a giant feast was thrown in his honor. Maglor was seated to Annatar’s right, relieved that his lord was seemingly happy with his leadership during the Lord’s absence. Hours later when Maglor had retired from the feast there was a knock at his door. He had expected it to be Gargo to ask if he needed anything. But it was Annatar, still dressed in what he wore at the feast. “Maglor.” He said beaming. “This was a perfect feast, don’t you think?”

“Yes my lord.” Maglor said as he pulled the last braid from his hair. “I trust your travels went well?”

“Very well.” Annatar said, “Very well indeed.” His smile widened. “And to be honest I spent most the feast trying to find the words to express my gratitude for your service. You were a perfect choice.”

“My Lord?” Maglor asked.

Annatar sat down on the foot end corner of Maglor’s bed. “What you did for the continuous building, and lands were – perfect.”

“Thank you.” Maglor said with a weak smile.

“Now we only have two tasks to do before we harvest.” Annatar said sweetly. “First my friend, first we build an army.”

“And second?” Maglor asked.

Annatar’s smile widened. “Then we give the chieftains and minor lords an ultimatum. To join or be crushed.” He laughed softly, “You and I will rule these lands, we will rule the world.”

“You and I? I hardly think –“

“You do not give yourself enough credit.” Annatar said, “Come sit.” He patted the bed next to him, watching as Maglor came and sat next to him. “Finwë’s blood is singing in your veins. Fëanor’s fire is burning in your eyes. You will sit on the throne, and you will rule. And they will love you for it.” He paused and gently caressed Maglor’s cheek, “And so will I.”

Maglor’s heart skipped a beat, “I am most humbled my lord, but I –“

Annatar smiled again. “Changes are coming, and I have to know if you are by my side.”

“Of course I am by your side.” Maglor mumbled confused.

“Then give yourself to me.” Annatar whispered, leaning in to kiss Maglor’s cheek.

“Annat-“

“Lay back.” Annatar whispered, pushing Maglor back into the bed.

Somewhere in Maglor’s brain, this registered as wrong, but it took Annatar mere moments to have Maglor’s body singing his tune, his hands in forbidden places, teasing, stroking, caressing. Annatar’s whispering in his ear, he didn’t register the words his mind dazed.

-*-

That morning Maglor woke alone and he was happy for it. He wasn’t even sure last night had happened. But as he found some of the pearls that he knew Annatar had in his braids in his bed, he knew it had not been a dream. But should he pretend that nothing happened? Or should he confront Annatar? Whichever he would have decided, he never got the chance to think it through, for Gargo knocked on his door that very moment, telling that The Lord had asked for him at his quarters.

The very moment Maglor opened the door, strong arms scooped him up, and soft lips found his. “My love.” Annatar smiled gently, and all Maglor’s fear and doubts disappeared, it had been such a long time since anyone had looked at him like that, had wanted him like that. “You called for me?” Maglor answered, hesitantly wrapped an arm around Annatar’s waist.

“I did.” Annatar said kissing Maglor’s lips swiftly before letting him go. “We did not have a chance to talk last night.” He smiled bashfully.

Maglor found himself mirroring that smile as he sat down in the bright red chaise lounge. “What is on your mind my Lord?”

“Change is coming.” Annatar stated, turning to look at Maglor. “And I was not exactly truthful last night, for my travels was not truthfully fruitful, only few of the banners will rally under me, and my army is too small with only those numbers, so – “ He sighed and sat down next to Maglor, “I summoned all the free creatures I could, all for the greater good I assure you.”

“Creatures?” Maglor whispered in dawning terror.

“Yes.” Annatar said softly. “When Morgoth was destroyed his forces scattered, but they still linger. And if we want to have an army which can take on the –“

“Stop!” Maglor just reacted, closing Annatar’s mouth with his hand.

Annatar peeled Maglor’s hand off gently. “Believe me my love; they are but a means to an end.”

“You have not heard my brothers cries after he was retrieved from Thangorodrim, those creatures did terrible things to him. They cannot be trusted.” Maglor argued.

“I do not trust them.” Annatar said with a little smile, kissing Maglor’s lips softly, “But they will obey me.”

“What if they turn on you?” Maglor whispered.

“They will not.” Annatar said, capturing Maglor’s cheeks with his hands, kissing him deeper. “They will fear me.” He mumbled.

Maglor pushed his fear aside and gave in to Annatar’s gently advance. Not even when Annatar entered him did he question the decision, his thoughts was soft, warm and dizzy. His body greedily taking any pleasure that was bestowed on it. Years ago, he might have questioned this soft-clouded state in his mind, but he had been alone for so long with only his regret, sorrow and hate that he was willing to trade it in for company and flowery words.

-*-

Maglor fell into a soft routine; one could almost say he was happy for a while. Annatar was generous with his love, and over time Maglor forgot the world outside the castle walls, he would spend all his time either in Annatar’s arms or overseeing the finishing touches on Barad-dûr, which would be a magnificent fortress once it was done.

Then the first orcs started to arrive, and everything was turned upside down.

-*-

Annatar had been very unlike himself, silent, aloof and had not called upon Maglor for a while. Finally, Maglor made his way to Annatar’s office, only to find the door locked. He knocked, and called. “Are you there? Please talk to me.”

The door was opened and Annatar stood on the other side, he looked tired but smiled, “My love.” He said kissing Maglor, “Come I have good news.”

“You do?” Maglor curiously followed. “I have a special guest.”

“Who?” Maglor asked.

“We need to travel to see him, are you up for a ride?” Annatar asked, and then looked guilt ridden, “I have been a terrible lover for a time, I promise once this task is done, I will make time for us again.” He smiled. “I miss you my love.”

“And I miss you.” Maglor said.

“Come.” He took Maglor’s hand and hauled him out the room as an exited child. “I will explain once we are there.”

They went down and out to the stables and were waiting for two horses to be readied. “The fortress looks magnificent my love, you outdid yourself.”

Maglor beamed under the praise, but was still skittish and apprehensive as an orc handed him the reigns for his horse.

“It won’t hurt you.” Annatar chuckled, “You have no reason to fear it.”

“The horse or the orc?” Maglor asked drily as he got on the giant warhorse.

“Both.” Annatar laughed, “Come, follow me.” He spurred his horse, orcs and men alike jumped to the side not to be run down.

“I will trust you, but you cannot ask me to like them.” Maglor groused as they rode along to mount Doom. “They are filthy and wretched.”

“They are not.” Annatar said with an amused shake of his head, “They are just unfortunate. You do know they were just like us once, elves.”

“So the legend says.” Maglor admitted bitterly, “But I have a hard time believing it.”

“Believe it.” Annatar said with a knowing smile.

They rode up the mountainside’s path, and Maglor was more than puzzled, “You have a guest inside the mountain? That was a curious place.”

“Yes, well.” He stopped his horse and looked directly at Maglor. “He isn’t exactly my guest out of his own free will, so I had to capture him to make sure he would hold up his end of the bargain which we made.”

“He’s your prisoner?”

“Yes and no.”

“I do not understand.” Maglor said slowly getting off his horse, joining Annatar as he walked to cave entrance.

“I hired him to make something for me, he agreed to the terms. I would teach him all I knew about smithery and in turn he would create me the items which I asked for.” Annatar stopped at the cave entrance, “He did not hold up his end of the bargain. So I’m holding him here till he is finished.”

Maglor shrugged and walked inside the cave, but stopped as Annatar called for him.

“I must tell you something.” Annatar said and reached for Maglor’s hand. “The reason I did not tell you about this is because he is – “ Annatar took a deep breath, “He is your brother’s son.”

“Celebrimbor?” Maglor gasped, “You have my nephew chained up inside this damned mountain?”

“Well… Yes.”

“I have never…” Maglor frowned and snatched his hand back in anger.

“Please calm yourself, my love.” Annatar said softly, “He is well cared for, and I will let him go as soon as he finished this last trinket.

“But I saw him in the scrying pool, he has a family.” Maglor argued hotly, “You will return him to them the second he is done.”

“You used my scrying pool?” Annatar said surprised.

“Yes.” Maglor admitted, “I just wanted to see my family… and…”

“You have but to ask.” Annatar said with a smile, and kissed Maglor’s cheek. “You are aware that scrying pools show you possible outcomes, or what you need to see – they do not tell you the absolute truth.”

Maglor hung his head, “No.”

“Come.” Annatar said and guided Maglor inside the cave. They could hear the clang of a hammer against metal the moment they entered, and the extreme heat hit them like a wall. “Celebrimbor!” Annatar called, “I have someone to see you.”

Celebrimbor stopped hammering, and wiped the sweat from his brow. He frowned and stared at Maglor, “Grandfather? But how…”

It took Maglor a while to process what Celebrimbor said, “No, I’m not your grandfather – I am your uncle.”

Celebrimbor stared at Maglor trying to decide which uncle stood before him wearing Fëanor’s face. And when Annatar took a step forward, Celebrimbor took one back, the chains on his feet rattling.

“I mean no harm child.” Annatar said, “I just wished to see how far you have come with my ring.”

“’tis almost ready.” Celebrimbor said, fear laced his words.

“Celebrimbor, do you truly not remember me?” Maglor said, not sure how to react to the knowledge that his own flesh and blood had forgotten him. “Though my song has died, I linger here still as the last of the bloodline, besides you and your fam-“

“So when will it be done?” Annatar asked, interrupting Maglor.

“Very soon.” Celebrimbor said.

Annatar reached out for the cold ring in the water’s edge. “You have said that for the last month, and I can feel it’s power from here.” He said, “Are you trying to stall me child?”

“No.” Celebrimbor said with a slight twitch.

“See I believe that you are.” Annatar said, picking up the ring, closing his eyes as he let the power run through his system. “Ah yes, it is done.”

“Then let him go.” Maglor said from the side.

“Ah yes, I promised.” Annatar said dreamily. “There is but one problem, see he just forged the most powerful weapon in whole of middle earth, and we can’t have him running off telling our enemies about it.”

Maglor stared wide eyed at Annatar. “Surely you –“

“What would you advise me to do my love?” Annatar asked softly, his gaze fixed on Celebrimbor.

Maglor took a deep breath in the scorching air inside mount Doom. “What was your agreement exactly?”

“That I would forge him 16 rings.” Celebrimbor said softly.

“And you did, ever so masterfully.” Annatar said.

Celebrimbor looked at Maglor with the most pitiful expression, “I have fulfilled my end of the bargain, and beyond.”

“Enough.” Annatar yelled efficiently silencing both elves. “Maglor my beloved. You can see this as a token of my trust, or a gift if you will since I know how important family is to you.” He walked over to Maglor, “Here are your choices.”

“Please, you cannot –“ Maglor pleaded.

“Of course I can, my love.” Annatar said cheerfully. “Now you can chose to let him go, but we would have to be sure he cannot talk or write.”

Celebrimbor paled, but did not move.

“Or you can decide that he’s not worth it, and push him into the chasm.” Annatar said, seeing the horror on Maglor’s fine features. “But we cannot let him leave and give away our secrets.”

Maglor squared his shoulders and his mind raced like mad, “But if we release him at the right moment, his words might work in our favor my love.” He said, knowing it was a gamble, but he didn’t want to anger Annatar, but he also didn’t want his only living blood relative die or be maimed.

Annatar pondered for a little while. “There are truth in your words. Wise council indeed.” He smiled widely. “I knew I was right when I called for you to be my queen.” He cheered and kissed Maglor’s cheek. “Bring him then.”

Maglor looked at Celebrimbor; he felt like he ought to apologize, but then again he knew he had done all that was in his power to keep him safe. “Come then nephew.”

The shackles fell as if the magic in them died, and Celebrimbor could step out of them easily. “To where, uncle?”

“Home!” Annatar said at the cave entrance. “Barad-dûr.”

The ride home was mostly silent. “Will you have him in the dungeons?” Maglor suddenly asked, his arms around each side of Celebrimbor as when he was a child, sitting in front of him on the horse.

“What would you suggest?” Annatar said.

“The dungeons are a deplorable place, he have seen enough hardship, my lord.” Maglor said, “Could we perhaps keep him in the east tower?”

“We could.” Annatar said happily, “My greatest joy is making you smile.”

“Thank you my love.” Maglor said with a grateful smile.

-*-

One night in bed, Annatar rolled over and rested his head on Maglor’s chest. “I should have him forge our wedding bands.”

“We are both male.” Maglor chuckled, “Marriage would not be needed to secure our offspring.” He buried his fingers in Annatar’s hair, playing idly with the soft tresses.

“Still.” Annatar said softly. “If I asked you, would you marry me?”

“I would.” Maglor said with a little chuckle. “But I’m happy like this.”

“I always dreamed of a wedding.” Annatar admitted, “But I have never met anyone – like you.” He turned to look up at Maglor, “I will never love another.”

“Neither will I.” Maglor whispered back smiling. “But still I see no –“

“Hush.” Annatar sat up all exited. “Marry me, be my queen.”

“I will hardly be your queen, I cannot bear you children.” Maglor laughed, playfully hitting Annatar’s shoulder.

“I know a spell which could remedy that.” Annatar said darkly, with a cruel smile on his lips.

“No!” Maglor laughed it off as another of Annatar’s cruel jokes. “I think you would have to acquire yourself a brood mare if children is what you wish for.”

“I love you.” Annatar dived in and kissed Maglor tenderly. “So you will marry me?”

“Yes.” Maglor whispered back, not sure how he should hold in this much happiness, and wrapped his arms around Annatar, “I am yours. I will be your queen if you so wish.”

-*-

There was a wedding, and much to Maglor’s mortification there was orcs and men alike in the wedding party. His unease just seemed to amuse Annatar, and to top it off someone had made him a crown of thorny flowers. He had shrugged it off, and focused on the joy it brought him to give his beloved what he wished for, and Annatar seemed genuinely happy. He had never for just one second thought that this would be his fate as he had wandered the beaches slowly losing his mind.

-*-

Maglor had awoken to commotion out in the halls, and eventually Gargo had come to his chamber, “Are you awake my Lord?”

Maglor rubbed his eyes, “Yes.” He looked over his shoulder to see Annatar gone, not that it was alarming because he often was when Maglor rose. “What is all the commotion?”

Gargo closed the door. “War my lord.”

“War?” Maglor got out of bed, allowing Gargo to hand him his pants. “I have heard nothing of this.”

“The Dark Lord decided that we descend upon Eregion.” Gargo said hurriedly as he handed Maglor his shirt.

“The Dark Lord? And why Eregion?” Maglor was so confused.

“I am sure he will want to explain this to you himself.” Gargo said with a pained expression, “Now come, he is waiting for you in the war room.”

Maglor walked along Gargo, bare feet on the cold stone, his hair in disarray. The door opened to the war room only to reveal a towering elf, clad in iron.

“My love.” The Dark Lord said, “You came, I take it you had a good night’s rest.”

“I…” Maglor couldn’t get any words over his lips, the elf sounded like Annatar, but bore no resemblance aside from that.

“Close the door.”

Gargo bowed and closed the door, leaving Maglor and Annatar alone in the war room.

“From this day hence you shall know me as Sauron – The Dark Lord of Mordor.” Annatar said, looking directly at Maglor.

Maglor opened his mouth to say something, but no words came.

“I have no more reason to be Annatar, but I’m still me.” Sauron said, slowly removing his deadly looking iron gloves to touch Maglor. “The world needed Annatar the gift giver, but now it needs the Dark Lord.”

Shaking his head in denial, Maglor’s mind quickly descended into black oblivion.

-*-

When he woke, Sauron was pacing the floor besides his bed. “Are you well my love?” He asked worried, “You fainted… I should perhaps have told you in a different way, but there was just never a right moment.”

“Sauron.” Was all Maglor could whisper.

“Once I was Mairon.” Sauron said softly, “If you prefer that name, you may use it.”

Maglor shook his head again, refusing to understand what was right in front of him, and much to his own horror, tears formed in his eyes.

“Don’t cry my love.” Sauron said, sitting down in bed next to Maglor, “This changes nothing for us. You are my Queen; you are my regent when I am away. And you are my heart.”

Maglor blinked the tears away and steeled himself, “Do you have any wishes for me to carry out in your absence?”

Sauron frowned, “I will forgive you this one time, Maglor.”

“I…” Maglor sighed deeply, “I simply have no words.”

Sauron smiled and cupped Maglor’s chin, kissing him first softly, then deeply as did he try and taste the distress. “I have a parting gift for you.” He mumbled as the kiss ended.

“Yes?” Maglor whispered, still trying to come to terms with the situation.

“Your own servant.” Sauron said with a smile, “I found him some time ago, I just didn’t know what to do with him yet, and suddenly I realized that he might be of some use to you.”

“What about Gargo?” Maglor asked, and to his frustration couldn’t control his nervous tic as Sauron kissed him once more.

“He will be around, but he has other duties.” Sauron said. “My love… Please let me give you this gift.”

Maglor’s strained expression eased out a little, and a little hesitant smile came to his lips. “Thank you.”

“Bring him in!” Sauron bellowed at the closed door. The door opened and a skinny brown haired elf was led in by Gargo. “He is a little on the shy side, but I am sure he will be of great help to you.” He nuzzled Maglor’s temple with his nose, inhaling the scent of his lover. “If he displeases you, he is yours to do with as you please, I will not hold it against you.”

Maglor closed his eyes, “Thank you my Lord, you are much too generous.”

“Now leave us be.” Sauron said at the servants who scurried out quickly. He then turned at Maglor, “I wish to taste you once more before I leave.” When Maglor moved backwards alarmed, Sauron grabbed his wrist hard. “Do you wish to add oath-breaker to your impressive repertoire? I am your husband, and you will obey me.”

Maglor let out a whimper, but that only seemed to fuel Sauron, “Maybe I really should use that spell and watch you grow heavy with my child.”

“No!” Maglor screeched, his voice thin and frightened. “Please don’t.”

Sauron laughed, “I was just scaring you, do you really think me so cruel that I would do something like that against your will?”

“No of course not, my Lord.” Maglor mumbled, visibly relieved.

Sauron stood from the bed and undid his impressive armor, standing in front of Maglor naked. Maglor mentally tried to tell himself that this was the same elf that he had made love to so many times, but the spell didn’t quite work.

-*-

Sauron’s voice carried through the fortress, words in black speech meant to be preparing his generals, but they made Maglor cringe. He would never get used to hearing that foul language; it pained his ears and soul. For one mad moment, he longed for his solitude at the ocean. At least his heartache would – would what? He had done this to himself, just as he had sworn his father’s oath. No one had held a dagger to his throat; he had chosen to trust Annatar, to believe the honey coated words. He had even wanted to believe that he had meant them as he had shed his mask. But the way Maglor’s body ached, bloody and bruised – did not speak of love, only of dominion. But the way his heart lurched in his chest spoke of love.

When the sun had set, the armies mostly done marching out, Gargo returned to Maglor’s bedside. “My King?” He whispered, “Is there anything you need?”

“No.” Maglor just mumbled.

“Very well.” Gargo whispered, “I will be back in the morning, hopefully you are better.” He paused, “Do you wish for me to call upon a healer?”

“No.” Maglor said again, he wanted to feel every tear and every bruise, it was penance for what he had done, what he had aided – What he had bestowed upon the world.

Gargo said nothing, he just lingered for a little while, worried for his king.

-*-

Weeks would pass before Maglor got out of bed, and it was a very confused Gargo that met him that morning. “My King!” He cheered, “You are up! Thank the Val-.. I am very happy to see you are well.”

Maglor smiled stiffly, “Can you bring me some food?” He asked.

“Of course my King… right away.” Gargo hurried out the door.

My king… That just sounded wrong, but that was what he was, right? He was king of Barad-dûr when Sauron was gone, but king? It still sat bad with him, it always had. He knew he couldn’t ask Gargo to stop calling him by title, yet he wish he could.

Gargo returned swiftly with a plate of food, “The kitchen welcomes you back, my King.” Gargo bowed again. He lingered yet again, nervous energy rolling off him in waves.

“What?” Maglor asked briskly.

“See I have this scroll to give you, orders from the Dark Lord, and… What about your slave? Will you see him now?” Gargo asked.

“Why?” Maglor asked, “I will do fine with you.”

“But my king.” Gargo looked away from Maglor, “The Dark Lord tasked me with being your advisor and translator, for you do not speak the language of these lands. I do.”

“You know the black tongue?”

“Indeed my King.” Gargo nodded smiling proudly.

“How?”

“I joined The Dark Lord when I was but a babe.” Gargo said.

Maglor looked down at his food, “You can send that servant in now.”

“Very well my King.” Gargo bowed and left, coming back soon after with the brown haired elf.

Maglor looked the elf over with a disgusted expression, not that the elf did something wrong, or was displeasing him, but because of what he represented. Sauron’s gift – You cannot gift a person to another person, the whole idea made Maglor sick. “I am Maglor.” He said, figuring that the elf already knew that. “What is your name?”

“My King?” The elf asked, his eyes darting all over.

“What. Is. Your. Name?”

“Gildor.” The elf said softly, still not sure if he should have answered that.

Maglor blinked and looked extra carefully at Gildor, “Do I know you?”

“Mayhap my King, but it matters not.” Gildor squirmed.

Maglor decided he wouldn’t torture the poor elf. “I wish that you bring food and wine to the prisoner in the tower, and then you can see about changing my bedsheets, they are putrid.”

“Yes my King.” Gildor said and all but sprinted out of the room.

Maglor blinked again, trying to understand what just happened. He looked up at Gargo who was still present.

“Can I suggest that you went to overlook the last build? It would do good for the minions to see you.” Gargo said, “I will of course accompany you if you wish. I am at your personal disposal, day or night.”

The mere thought of a touch as Gargo mentioned ‘night’, made bile rise in Maglor’s throat. But nonetheless knew he needed him on his side if he were to make it alive until Sauron came back. Weakness was not in their vocabulary.

-*-

Celebrimbor was more than surprised as the elf in the door was not the usual skittish slave, but the Lord of the lands himself. “Uncle.” He said cautiously his eyes trained on the tall elf.

“They call me Mordu the Gothgolug, did you know that?” Maglor said, his voice thin and tired.

“No I did not.” He licked his lips, “Are you deserving of that title Uncle?”

“Yes.” Maglor said listlessly as he walked over to the small peephole that let in sunlight to the cell. “Have they been treating you right? Like I ordered them to?”

“I have not suffered, if that is what you ask me.” Celebrimbor said.

“Good.”

“How…” Celebrimbor paused and chose his words well. “How did this come to pass?”

“This?” Maglor asked, “Me here at Barad-dûr?”

“Yes.”

“I chose it.” Maglor said, his voice filled with dark sadness. “I let anger and loneliness fill my heart, so when a calling came I did not question it.” He rose to his toes and eased down again, looking over his shoulder at his nephew. “He fooled and betrayed you as well.”

“He did.” Celebrimbor said.

“Are you ashamed?” Maglor asked, finally coming away from the peephole and came to sit next to Celebrimbor. “Do you regret forging those rings?”

“I am, and I do.” Celebrimbor whispered. “I should have listened to Gil-Galad, to Elrond and Galadriel when they warned me, but I did not – Annatar’s magic was so…”

“Beautiful.” Maglor finished.

“Yes, beautiful and fantastic.” Celebrimbor smiled sadly. “And now the undoing of all of middle earth is on my shoulders.” He looked up at his uncle, “The curse did not only extend to his sons.”

Maglor just nodded. “He marched on Eregion, searching for the treasure he is sure that you hid.”

“No!” Celebrimbor stood up in a fit of rage, knocking over the small table in his cell. “No!”

“Yes.” Maglor stated flatly. “He will march to Ost-in-Edhil, and he will find and slay your family if they do not provide him with the information he wishes. He will probably kill them for sports even if they know and talk.”

“Why? Why do you come here to my prison and give me such terrible news?” Celebrimbor yelled, spit flying. “Are you that broken and cruel, uncle?”

Maglor looked up at Celebrimbor and smiled, for he saw the same fire him his nephew’s eyes, as Annatar had once seen in his. “Revenge.” Maglor said, “I want to see him burn.” He stood, towering over the much broader smith. “I want you to be my weapon. Can you do that Celebrimbor?”

“I can.” Celebrimbor said.

“Never give him the treasure that he seeks, for then we are all doomed.” Maglor grabbed his nephew’s shoulder and shook him lightly.

“I would die before I would tell him where the last three rings are.” Celebrimbor said solemnly, “I hid them well uncle.”

“Good,” Maglor said, embracing his nephew. “I curse the Valar with my every breath, for yours and for my fate.” And with that, he let go and kissed his nephew’s forehead. Walking down the windy stairs from the tower, he knew in his heart of hearts that he would never see Celebrimbor again, and knew how futile the quest he had steered him towards was, but their goal was the same, and Celebrimbor was not stupid. They both wanted revenge; they craved it with all the fire which was left in them.

Gildor would bring Celebrimbor the gear he needed, and leave the cell unlocked as Maglor told him to. The rest was up to Celebrimbor himself.

-*-

Gargo tore into Maglor’s quarters when the bells sounded. “You did this!” He yelled and pointed accusing at Maglor. “The Dark Lord will know.”

Maglor looked up from his papers, “What is amiss?”

“You know what!” Gargo argued. “With all due respect, Mordu Gothgolug – You are but my masters priced concubine, and this will not stand. Perfect pedigree or not!”

Maglor rose from his seat, to come around his desk to look down upon the shorter, angry elf. “I would like to know of which crime you accuse me of. And then I want a profound apology if you are fond of your head.”

“The smith.” Gargo said, “He is gone.”

“I see.” Maglor said, crossing his arms. “Where is your evidence that I did this crime?”

“You visited him.” Gargo said sourly, “And it is your slave which sees to him.”

“Gildor is my servant, not my slave.” Maglor corrected. “And I do believe he might fear your master, more than he fears me.”

“Very well.” Gargo said with a sly smile, “I am your advisor, and I advise you to order that we find out.”

Maglor blinked, “What do you mean?”

“Interrogate Gildor.” Gargo shrugged. “If he truly did not do it, and the order did not come from you – You have nothing to fear.”

“So you are willing to torture that poor lost soul, just to oust me as a traitor to the traitor?” Maglor yelled angrily, inwardly satisfied as he saw Gargo take a step back.

“Yes My King.” Gargo said a little more subdued than before.

“That is preposterous.” Maglor huffed.

“Is it?” Gargo said softly, “Do you wish to prove your innocence or not?” When Maglor did not answer right away, Gargo smiled, “This is Mordor justice.”

“I see.” Maglor sighed, keeping his poker face, knowing that if they put enough pressure on Gildor, he would of course fear death more than he feared his master. And then what? “Can we strike a deal?”

Gargo squinted his eyes suspiciously, “I don’t see why not. What do you propose?”

“That you can ask any one thing of me, if you in turn leave Gildor alone.” Maglor said, watching Gargo closely, hoping to see his answer on the lines of his face.

“Yes.” Gargo nodded, “You once kept a secret for me, and I can in turn keep one for you.”

Maglor frowned, “I need you to prevent any harm come to Gildor, not keep secrets.”

Gargo nodded again, “I will do my best.”

“So what is your price, snake?” Maglor asked with a sneer.

“You.”

“Me? –Surely you don’t…”

“Oh but I do.” Gargo said smiling, walking up to Maglor until they were chest to chest. “I want to taste what twisted my master’s head around. Surely it’s like is not found elsewhere.” He whispered.

The idea alone made Maglor sick, but he had his back against the wall, and a temporary alley was better than none, as he found himself wishing with all his might that Celebrimbor was successful. “Once?” He said, standing his ground, even if every fiber in him wanted to step away.

“Four times.” Gargo held up his hand, “Four for Gildor’s life, and another five for yours.”

“Nine.” Maglor let out a shaky breath, “We have a deal.”

Gargo smiled pleased with himself, and how easily he had played the pretty Fëanorian.

-*-

When Sauron returned, it was less glorious than when he had left Barad-dûr, he basically came riding like the Valar themselves were at his heels, only a handful of his men left. He was immediately brought to his quarters, and his wounds tended to.

Maglor hated himself for checking his reflection before venturing down to his husbands quarters, the butterflies in his stomach would not cease. Why was he so nervous? He was terribly conflicted as a part of him did not wish to visit his husband gravely wounded, but that he made it here alive meant that Celebrimbor did not succeed. He steeled himself before he pushed the door open, stepping purposely into his husbands bedchamber. It was dark and smelled foul. A soft hand stopped his path, Maglor turned to see who dared to block his path, it was one of the healers. “He is weak.” The healer said, “Barely alive.”

“But he will be well soon?” Maglor asked.

“In time, we hope.” The healer said.

Maglor nodded in understanding, his mind wandered to when Maedhros had been brought back from the cliff, his room had smelled of death, fear, piss and antiseptic. Much like now. He too had been near death, and broken beyond repair, body and soul. Surely, Sauron would not break from losing a battle.

He gingerly sat down and looked at Sauron sleeping a healing sleep. “Welcome home my love.” Maglor whispered, “You have been sorely missed.”

Sauron’s left eye cracked open, staring up at Maglor in the candle light. “My love.” Sauron breathed.

Maglor smiled, “Yes, yes I am here.” He kissed Sauron’s cheek softly. He would need another plan, he would have to – revise.

-*-

Sauron mended quick in body, but his mind was damaged, anger seeping from his pores as if he was not done with fighting, his very presence frightened Maglor even if he would never admit it. Sauron had not called for his person so Maglor did best he could to keep busy and hidden in the shadows. These days it was a very bad tiding indeed to be the focus of Sauron’s attention.

Gildor had been gone for a while which greatly troubled Maglor, but he had no reason to believe that Gargo would go back on his word, for he had not yet collected all his nine favors. It was a black clad lieutenant that collected Maglor, he was confused and demanded a reason for being dragged out like this, but his captor offered him no answer. To his horror they went down stairs and down corridors to the throne room where Sauron was pacing back and forth, looking madder than a bull. “Bring him here.” He pointed to the floor besides him.

Maglor kept silent and just let the black lieutenant toss him like a ragdoll to the spot.

“Celebrimbor nearly killed me.” Sauron started, “But he was not as smart as he thought, and he was captured, and eventually killed.” Sauron looked at Maglor’s paling face, “We used his broken body, and his severed head as banners till the flesh fell off the bones.”

“I am sorry –“ Maglor started but was silenced by a brutal back hand from Sauron, blood erupted in his mouth, and he spat out the coppery saliva.

“What was he doing in Eregion?” Sauron stared directly at Maglor. “Do not lie to me, Fëanorian.”

Maglor stared wide eyed at Sauron, it was not the first time he had feared for his life, or had faced a madman, but it didn’t lessen his fright, if anything it heightened it because he knew this could change fast. He tried to come up with something to say, but truth was he didn’t know who had told Sauron, so he had no idea which story to give. He saw Gargo sit down between the onlookers, looking worse for the wear, beaten and listless. They had gotten to him first! And still no sight of Gildor.

“I did.” Maglor finally said, flinching as he expected another blow.

“Did you now?” Sauron just said, “See a little bird told me it was that slave of yours.”

“Acting on my order.” Maglor said in a mere whisper.

“I trusted you.” Sauron growled, grabbing Maglor’s robe pulling him tight. “I left you in charge, and you betrayed me.”

Maglor closed his eyes expecting a dagger in his side, but when it didn’t come he opened his eyes again, staring at Sauron, and for a brief moment he thought he saw genuine raw hurt in the pale eyes. “I thought he would run in the other direction.” Maglor gasped as Sauron lifted him off the floor, dangling by his neck and robe alone. “Please.” He croaked, clawing at Sauron’s ironclad hand. “We agreed!”

“Who! Who agreed?” Sauron shook Maglor violently.

“You and I” Maglor said, but his voice was nothing more than a hoarse whisper as he gasped for breath.

Sauron sat him down again none to gently. “Speak.”

“When we brought him.” Maglor coughed, rubbing his neck. “We agreed to use him as a pawn when it was most prudent.”

Sauron looked interested, but did not interrupt.

“I thought with your big campaign in Eregion, he might run and hide in Gondor – spread the word of your power, and – “

“You are not that stupid.” Sauron struck Maglor once more, “Lie to me once more and I will leave you as an ornament on the outer walls of the black gate.”

“Mercy!” Maglor dropped to his knees, “It is the truth, I visited him and spoke with him. Told him that his family was already dead. There was nothing for him in Eregion. How was I to know that –“

“Enough!” Sauron bellowed.

“Please my King! I swear!” Maglor held his arms up over his head to protect himself from further blows. “I did not know his thirst for revenge would be stronger than his will to live.”

When Sauron did not answer or move, Maglor made the mistake of looking up, only to have Sauron kick him so he skidded over the floor and split his lip, blood dripping on his robe.

“Grab him.” Sauron pointed at Gargo, “Bring him here.”

Gargo was tossed next to Maglor, screaming as he landed on his broken arm.

“One of you are lying.” Sauron stated flatly.

“He is but covering for the slave my King.” Gargo said quickly, his voice full of fear. “Please forgive him his misguided nobility.” Maglor didn’t even look at Gargo, but just listened and watched as the other elf crawled to his master’s feet. “Lord Mordu is fond of his slave, a fellow kin in a strange land.” Gargo said, curling up at Sauron’s feet, groveling at his boots desperately.

Sauron ignored Gargo at his feet, and stared directly at Maglor, who looked obediently away. “Is this true?”

Maglor’s mouth was dry, his heart hammering in his chest. Should he insist on his truth, then it would most likely mean the death of not only Gildor but Gargo as well. So he nodded, he cursed himself as he did so – and promised himself he would find some way to save Gildor for what seemed his certain fate by now.

“Why would you lie to save a slave?” Sauron asked, his voice soft.

“He was my responsibility.” Maglor said, spitting blood on the stone floor.

Sauron frowned, “Take him to the dungeons till I decide what to do.” He nodded at the two black Númenorians standing behind Maglor. “And this one too.” He kicked off Gargo.

Maglor did not fight the Nümenorians, his head reeled with not only the heavy blows, but the knowledge of that he had led Celebrimbor to his death, he was no different from Fëanor. He had manipulated his kin to fight his battle.

-*-

Time in the dungeons passed slowly, and sometimes it seemed it did not pass at all. Maglor just sat and watched feet stomp by topside – outside his window, or listen to the prisoner’s mad ramble. But he refused to weep over his fate; he would not give in to madness once more. The music had left him and madness his only companion, but he still had the written word, and so he started to write, he would use a tiny stone to carve words into the stone wall, and when they were covered, he would continue with the floor. And as that space ran out, he would use his own skin.

Finally, after what had seemed ages his cell door was opened, a grimy Easterling would haul him out and to Maglor’s surprise out of the dungeon. Once outside Maglor took a deep breath, compared to the dungeon this was fresh air. A second later, he panicked! What if Sauron had decided to hang him from the gate as he said he would? But the Easterling took him inside the fortress and upstairs.

He was led into his old chambers which stood as he had left them, even the paperwork he had accidently knocked over as the black lieutenant had collected him, was still there. A thick layer of dust covered every surface and for the first time Maglor wondered how long he had been locked away. The Númenorian let go and turned to leave.

“What am I supposed to do?” Maglor asked him in black speech.

“Take a bath Mordu.” The Númenorian answered as he left.

Maglor walked slowly into the adorning bathroom, someone had filled a bath for him. He looked down himself and his skin was caked in filth, and infection had taken root in the words carved into his skin. He shrugged what was left of the robe off, and carefully got into the water. He could have cried, not from the sting on his skin, but the soft comfort that was a bath, scented with what he thought was lilies. He closed his eyes and smiled, he had done it! He had gotten out of the dungeon, and now it was time to do as he had planned in those endless nights in the pit. He cared not about his life, but he would not expire here, he would escape and go west, maybe someone would take pity on a lone wanderer.

He had loved Annatar, he truly had. Even if he had always known the lingering madness just skin deep under the surface, he had loved him. And he had spoken truth when he had said he would love no one else. But Sauron was not Annatar, they were one and the same person by claim, but there was nothing else. Sauron was cruel, and a tyrant. Maglor knew that he would only become worse; he would step into Morgoth’s footsteps and destroy the world before he would give up.

His door opened and a healer came in. “Let me clean and dress your wounds my Lord.” He said.

Maglor got out of the bath and let the healer work. “Where is Sauron? Where is the King?”

The healer looked up at Maglor, “He is mending.” He said.

“Mending?” Maglor asked, “Was he wounded?”

“He was, but I know not why.” The healer said, “He will not let us see him.”

“Strange.” Maglor mumbled.

A large Númenorian man came through the door and bowed, “My Lord.” He said, “I bear word from the Dark Lord, King of men and Lord of the world.”

Maglor studied the Númenorian for a while, and then nodded for him to proceed.

“The King wishes for you to join him by the scrying pool.” The Númenorian said.

“I will be there.” Maglor said, “Dismissed.”

The Númenorian left, and the healer almost fell backwards as Maglor stood suddenly. “Enough.” He growled, he stalked to his drawer and took out a knife, swiftly cutting it as short as he could without cutting his scalp. No barbers in the world could save his looks now.

He grabbed a robe and left the room barefoot. Onlookers must have thought he had lost his mind; he looked like a flailing lunatic as he made his way down to the bowels of the fortress, and the scrying pool. Maglor took a deep breath, grabbed each side of the basin, and waited. “My king?” He asked, “You wished to see me?”

An image came to life in the water edge. Maglor gasped, it was the soft lips and the grey eyes he knew, “Annatar.” He whispered, “My love.”

“Maglor.” Annatar said. “The Valar themselves are afraid, they wounded me gravely.”

Maglor just smiled at the face he had missed for so long. “Where are you?”

“Hiding.” Annatar said. “If they knew how weak I am, the armies would revolt.”

“I see.” Maglor whispered, “Can I see you?”

“No.” Annatar paused, “You cut your hair short like the Númenorians.”

“Yes.” Maglor smiled, emotional tears choking in his chest. “Have you forgiven me my love? Is that why you brought me out from that terrible place?”

“I wanted to end you for your betrayal.” Annatar said, his eyes sad. “But I found that you are the only living thing that I cannot kill, for doing so would be to kill myself.”

Maglor didn’t know how to respond, a part of him wanted to hate Annatar for leaving him down underground for countless years, alone with his own madness.

“You will rule in my stead, Gargo will be your face and your voice, but he will take orders from you alone.” Annatar said.

“Yes my love.” Maglor said smiling at the mirror.

“Elves and men are marching upon us. And you will close the gates and let them lay siege.” Annatar said, “Wait for me.”

“I will.” Maglor said as the mirror image faded. He felt his heart would break; he missed the time before Sauron’s war, the time where he and Annatar would dream of a united world under one banner, a war to end all war. He knew that Annatar was Sauron, but they felt like separate entities completely. Choosing to believe that Annatar was real and Sauron was the mask.

-*-

Maglor spent many nights in the war room, overlooking the advance and siege of the last alliance. Spies told him that Elrond was there, and so was the Elven high king. In the back of his mind he recalled the love he had held for Elrond and his twin, how he had slept with a twin in each arm, how they had bickered, and fought, how much patience he had had, teaching them to write, and keeping them out of Maedhros’ office. He had loved them as had they been his own flesh and blood, and his heart had broken as they had been forced to send them away. And Erenion, he recalled the feast, he recalled the babe. All this drowned in his urge to have Annatar back, maybe if he won this war for Sauron, he would no longer need to wear that mask of cruelty and hate, maybe he would become the elf he had loved again? Maybe they could be happy. There was nothing Maglor wanted more than to feel that happiness again. Neither Gargo or the warlords questioned his sanity, as he demanded the gates closed and that the armies regroup within Mordor.

None of them questioned it when Maglor kept his hair short, or when he adorned himself in black armor. He had become what they had all hoped for; He had become Mordu the Gothgolug.

Maglor did not even recognize his own reflection anymore, the pretty son of Fëanor was gone, his haunted gaze was forgotten, all there was left now was mad fire. The same fire that had destroyed his father now burned in Maglor’s veins. He was in every aspect the ghost ruler of Barad-dûr.

-*-

“You are beautiful.” Annatar said, smiling from the waters mirror.

Maglor smiled lovingly back, “When are you coming back to me?” He asked softly.

“Soon.” Annatar said, “Soon my love.” He paused and the image flickered, “Now tell me of the siege.”

“Your armies stand ready; Orcs, Haradrim, Númenorians, Easterlings… them all.” Maglor said, “We are waiting for you to command us.”

“I love you.” Annatar said.

“I know, and I love you.” Maglor said, his black metal gloves grabbing harder at the rims of the basin.

-*-

When the Dark Lord returned it was not as Maglor had wished, but still he rejoiced. Sauron stood before him in all his might, but all Maglor heard was the voice of his beloved.

As the gates finally opened and Sauron’s armies came rushing out, Maglor rode next to Sauron, and on his horse, they were almost the same height. Behind them, the Nazgûl would keep a watchful eye, like were they bodyguards. A black helmet obscured Maglor’s face. He could see the elven army, and he recalled wars from long ago, he hesitated and his horse whinnied in response to his sudden nervousness. Sauron turned his head and looked down at Maglor. “Mordu, you will seek and find their king. Slay him at all cost.”

“Yes my king.” Maglor responded, his horse sidestepping.

“Go!”

Maglor spurred his horse and the creature ran straight into the ongoing battle, it’s addled brain didn’t register pain or fear, unlike it’s rider. Maglor knew his mission, but he still hesitated for a split second before cutting down an attacking elf in golden armor. They were once his kin, but no more. They had not loved him; they had feared him and ousted him. And now he was here to return the fire to them.

He felt the wind in his back as Sauron wielded his mace, and this only spurred both him and the horse to fight harder. Somewhere inside him, a voice whispered that he had cursed war and bloodshed; he had hated it as a young elf, all the death and destruction that had taken place around him. And yet another voice whispered that they all were dead men, and the fire sang in his blood. He would see the world burn; he wanted to hear the Valar’s screams as he slaughtered their children.

Gil-Galad saw him too late, too caught up in fighting for his life. Maglor got off his horse, and his feet took the ground with the heavy sound of doom. His grip around his blood-soaked swords tightened. “You are no king.” He said in black speech, and as the Elven king turned around to face this new foe, Maglor smiled cruelly. “You are but a feeble child.” He lashed out with his sword.

They fought for a long time, and several times Maglor thought he would deliver the deathblow, but Gil-Galad avoided his blade. “Die!” Maglor bellowed in frustration.

Gil-Galad was panting getting tired. “You fight like no Orc.” He panted, and with a well-aimed strike, he cast Maglor’s helmet. Words stuck in Gil-Galad’s throat, the broken creature under the helmet was no orc, but an elf, and it was no young elf either. “Who are you?” He screamed, as he attacked once more with more vigor than before, angry at this creature that was the prime symbol of Sauron’s corruption.

Maglor did not answer, he twirled around and by a lucky stroke, he grabbed Gil-Galad by the throat, the Elven king raised his sword, but Maglor effortlessly knocked it out of his hand. “Now you die, little king.” He growled, foam at the corners of his mouth. His entire body singing with bloodlust.

Gil-Galad clawed at Maglor’s armor, but Maglor just continued to squeeze, all his hate for what his cousin had done to him and his brothers, how he had manipulated Maedhros lit up his eyes, and with a grim expression snapped the elven kings neck with a sound that was drowned out by battle. Maglor heard a scream and turned around, seeing Elrond. And for a moment, he just stood there and watched as Elrond, deadly and beautiful in his bloody golden armor came rushing at him. He couldn’t kill his own son, could he?

That decision was taken from him as he heard a loud roar, and suddenly he was lifted from the ground by an explosion of fire, knocking his head on the ground, passing out from the impact.

-*-

Maglor had awoken to a battlefield littered with dead, and Barad-dûr in flames. For a while, he just stood and stared at the flames. His blood no longer sung with battle fever, but his heart felt like it would burst in his chest, everything he had been fighting for was crumbling in front of his very eyes. He slowly walked over and dead elves, orcs and men. In the distance he heard the sound of hoofs, he had expected it to be someone who was searching for wounded at the battlefield, but as the horse came closer he could tell that it was his own warhorse, it’s eyes wide opened in wild mania. He held up his hand to touch it’s head, and it stomped in the ground. He swung himself up on its back, his entire body bruised and torn, his head felt dizzy and woolen. He urged the horse to move and it slowly trotted east, Maglor had no clue what to do, so he let the horse decide.

It didn’t take him long to find scattered groups of black Númenorians and Haradrim. He settled with them while his body mended.

The first time he heard Sauron speak in his mind, he cried. He just sat there and cried like a child, tears of happiness. It had almost been too much, his nose had bled and his head had been throbbing. But he had spoken, he had heard it. All was not lost, and true to his devotion, he would slowly start rallying those loyal to him. Without a scrying pool he could not answer his beloved, nor could he see him. All he had to do was to find the ring that Celebrimbor had forged at mount doom, and he could hold his beloved again.

Many years later as he rode out the black gates to meet the supposed heir of Isildur, the elven princeling and the old wizard, his features were not even recognizable any longer, he was nameless for he himself had forgotten it, yet his beloved had asked him to negotiate with the opposing army and their would be ruler, and so he looked upon them, amused that they would be a threat, his hands held on to the mithril shirt he would present them. “Is there any in this rout with authority to treat with me? Or indeed with wit to understand me?”

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