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B2MEM Day 6
"It cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
TH: Riddles in the Dark, p. 244 Nook Edition
The Heart of Darkness
“Who was he, the Death Eater?” asked An’Sohrabi of his royal guest from Gondor. “Was he truly one of the gods?”
An’Elessar was shaking his head. “He was a lesser Power, intended from the first to be a servant of the Valar. He was no Vala himself, but a Maia. It is said that at first he served the one we have ever called Aulë, the Smith of the Valar, but that he betrayed his first lord and turned to follow after Morgoth instead. Morgoth, whom I have heard most often equated with Seti, was intended to be co-regent of Arda with his brother Manwë, whom we know as the Lord of the Winds. But it is said that Morgoth could not bear to be seen as anything but the greatest and most important of all beings within the Circles of Arda, and he betrayed all, and turned from cooperation to competition and then open warfare. Those of the Maiar who turned to follow after him were mostly twisted into evil shapes by his influence, but Sauron, who could take on a number of different shapes, did not remain in any one of them long enough to lose his true nature or to be caught forever in just one of them.
“You have heard that he spent time as a captive on the Star Isle from which my ancestors returned to Middle Earth where they founded Gondor and Arnor?”
The Farozi indicated he had indeed heard this.
The King of Gondor gave a single nod, continuing, “When he abased himself before Ar-Pharazôn, Sauron took upon himself a shape he favored, that of a being that resembled both Men and Elves and was fair to look upon, and that shape he appears to have maintained for the entire time he was upon the Isle of Númenor until the isle was destroyed at the Breaking of the World. That shape was destroyed, but his spirit, his ka, did not flee beyond the Bounds of Arda, but instead returned to Middle Earth. But he could no longer take unto himself a shape that was pleasing to the eyes of the Children of Ilúvatar. Precisely why he was most often described after that as the Lidless Eye we are not certain, except it is thought by some that he now was restricted mostly to the form of a shadow, and must have light behind for the shadow that was now the shape of his being to be seen at all. This would give him the appearance of being an eye with a slitted pupil similar to that of a cat or a goat.
“We know that the Nazgûl lost their physical integrity and became creatures of shadow, and must wrap themselves with clothing in order to present a shape discernible to living beings. That this was true also of their dread Master for most of this last Age of the Sun seems likely.”
“He wished for all of us to become corrupted,” An’Sohrabi noted, lifting his goblet so as to take a drink of wine.
Again the northerner nodded his agreement, holding his own goblet between his hands. “What his Ring sought to cause me to do would have destroyed my appreciation for my own integrity, and the others in our Fellowship have said the same.”
“At least you and I were not drawn there completely, not into the heart of darkness,” Sohrabi sighed, setting the goblet down on the wooden arm rest for his chair.
“I will admit that I was sometimes greatly challenged and tempted,” his guest said, looking down into the dark wine that remained in his cup, perhaps seeing a far darker place. “I have seen one of those whose nature was almost totally lost due to the Ring’s influence, and I have seen what It did to both Bilbo and to Frodo. Of course, being awake during that last year, It ravished Frodo’s spirit many times before It was at last destroyed. To call Frodo back—it was perhaps the most difficult of all such tasks I have ever entered into. He had to return through that darkness, and the taint of it was still upon him when he left us to return to his own place. I grieve that he must go to the Undying Lands in order to be cleansed of that darkness as he deserves—if it is possible even there.”
So saying, he sighed and drained his cup, placing it on the arm of his own chair. “I do not envy Frodo what It did to him, for he is one of the only two I have known who have looked with open eyes into the heart of Darkness in that manner. Sméagol was lost to it and became the creature Gollum, one that few could ever recognize as beginning as a Hobbit as were Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin. That Frodo survived at all was solely by the will of the Powers, but it cost him far too much for any individual to have suffered.”
“Then,” suggested the Farozi gently, “we shall pray that he has indeed passed through the darkness into the Light beyond. For darkness is perhaps needed for us to appreciate just how beautiful and precious Light is, do you not agree?”
An’Elessar’s smile seemed to reflect that very Light of which An’Sohrabi had been speaking into the center of the Farozi’s own heart.
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