Disclaimer: All recognisable characters and places are the property of The Author, JRR Tolkien.
Mirrors in the Mind
"Yet many of the Quendi were filled with dread at [Oromë's] coming; and this was the doing of Melkor. For by after-knowledge the wise declare that Melkor, ever watchful, was first aware of the coming of the Quendi, and sent shadows and evil spirits to spy on them and waylay them. So it came to pass, some years ere the coming of Oromë, that if any of the Elves strayed far abroad, alone or few together, they would often vanish, and never return; and the Quendi said that the Hunter had caught them, and they were afraid."
– Of the Coming of the Elves, Quenta Silmarillion
A haunting melody echoed through the ancient chamber of crystal, and for a moment its sole inhabitant felt the burden of the long, long years, as memories of a time before the Darkness danced before him. The images woke the sorrow and longing within him, yet this only strengthened his voice.
Suddenly he heard a noise from one of the chambers in the outer north ring, and the song faltered. But he took up the melody once again when he learned it was only one of the fouler niri. He savoured the delight in his heart upon hearing the soaring notes of the song; it had been long indeed since he had known anything besides darkness and fear. So long he had wondered if he had only dreamt his past life in a world without the Shadow.
His eyes still darted to the various entrances to his chamber; a habit borne of centuries' worth of fear.
But the Master was gone.
He was free.
Nay, not free.He shook his head. Never free. For all His conviction of invulnerability, the Master always made sure his little prisoners could never really escape Him, once He had touched them. The Shadow had seeped into his soul, and he would never be free of its curse. The Master twisted all that was good and fair. The Master delighted in turning the gift of Ilûvatar into a doom. The Master wished to bend all beneath His will. What did not bend, he chained and twisted.
His hands went to the thin black collar around his neck. It burned to the touch, though his skin was unmarked. It had no clasp or hinges, for the Master had placed it there even as the metal glowed hot, melding the two ends as the elf had screamed at the pain. The Master hadn't expected him to survive, yet he had.
His hands traveled to his face, and felt the deep scars there. Not that he needed to feel them to know they were there; his reflection was on at least three crystal surfaces no matter where he was in his prison. The Master seemed pleased that he would have to see his deformed features for the rest of his existence.
But the Master never understood the endurance of life. He who had once been fair and mighty even amongst the fairest and mightiest had not bent. He rejected the Master utterly, heart and soul, though his body succumbed. The Master had wanted him to hate, had watched to see what could stir his ire. The fall of his city, and the death of his kin. Hate had entered his heart then, yet he managed to hide this, and in time he no longer hated even the Master.
So the Master imprisoned him, making use of his inane strength to guard His dark realm. He had been forgotten, only one of many amusements, fated to spend his days cut off from tree and star.
And now the Master was gone.
He had felt it, had known when the accursed fortress fell, and the wearying weight of fear upon his heart had lifted. He did not dare hope overmuch, however, for the Master had been cast out before, not too long ago. Yet His will had remained then, and His presence could still be felt in the very soil. Now, He was… gone.
Still he waited. And waited. The Master was not unknown to play with his 'pets', and he knew better than most the pain that came with false hopes.
Then he had begun to sing. First in his mind, then almost involuntarily his voice had taken up the song, something he had not done of his own free will since his capture
Nothing had happened.
He sang some more, growing ever louder, until he could hear echoes from the other chambers. He muttered the Master's name, then said it, then shouted it.
So he began to hope.
But evil chained him still.