Disclaimer: Tolkien's. All Tolkien's.

A/N: This is a good example of writing-when-inspiration-comes-to you; written on the back of a dunkin donuts napkin. I guess when you've got to write, you've got to write...

But of those unhappy ones who were ensnared by Melkor little is known of a certainty. For who of the living has descended into the pits of Utumno, or has explored the darkness of the councils of Melkor? Yet this is held true by the wise of Eressëa, that all those of the Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest of foes… And deep in their hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery.

- The Sil, chapter III: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor

None of the Living

I had never heard of this black pit before I saw it, but now hat I am here I feel that I know each dark corner by heart. There are no surprises here, nothing now that I have not experienced. If there was once a world outside this stronghold, and I was ever there, I cannot remember what it was like. Here there are chains, and I am sure that I have felt them all, one at a time, in each shadowy prison. Here the Hunter rules, and I have given up on defying him. When he says come, I do, enthralled to his will, and he shows me an elf, lying chained in the murky darkness. All I can think is that it is now he chained, not I; I will not deny my fear of the Hunter.

The Hunter speaks; He did this to you, he says, gesturing toward the elf before us. He lies, I know he does. I remember being this elf the one left chained in the darkness feeling only the beginnings of suffering.

No, I tell the Hunter, it was you. Sudden agony as one of his flaming hands grabs my arm, burning it, twisting it back. The Hunter has always burned with fire, and an aura of malice and pain that makes me try to back away from him. I no longer care for pride.

The sword – for he has taught me much of swords – pressed into my hand is cold, bitingly cold and crude, but I cannot make myself drop it. It was his fault, the Hunter reminds me again. There is nothing to stop you from avenging yourself. He spits at the elf, and I raise my sword to strike, though not to kill, for the Hunter has taught me much of causing pain. We will create a master race, he once told me, greater than the firstborn have ever been, or the followers ever shall be. And you – you shall be the mother of this race, shall you not? His words bit into me, taunting, and I glared at him, uncaring of what he might do to me.

I'll not be one of your twisted slaves, I hissed, and spat at him.

But he only laughed. You're twisting already, little elfling, he told me. Then more pain. I would not believe him, then – now I think I begin to understand.

The elf before me looks up, still an elf. There is something pained about him as he sees me, something I cannot comprehend. I want to tell them that there is nothing left to do, that we are lost, a distortion of our race – that the Hunter has the power here. Can he not see in looking at me that I am nothing that could ever be called an elf-girl, never again? This is my place, here with the Hunter. Do you remember nothing? the elf asks, voice pleading, nothing at all?

I shake my head.

He begs, Think of your lords. Finwë and Ingwë, Olwë and Elwë.

I am confused, angry; They did not save me. They will not save you, I snap.

Then remember the Awakening. I do, somehow, though it is far off and distant. In that world of light, and sound, of color and music. There was fear of the unknown, then; but now I have seen all that there is to fear. A blur of indigo skies and glistening waters is all that comes to mind when I think of awakening. A lake, and a dark shadow they called the Hunter.

Do you remember the treelight, off in the distance? Do you even remember your own name? he asks me.

And once again, I can only shake my head.

A tear is running down his cheek, though we both pretend not to notice. I knew you, he tells me. You were an elven girl, full of light, and your name was Lottëa. Tell me you remember…"

I do, I think, or I at least remember him, somewhere far detached from this dark world. He was my friend? I do not know anything of that life for certain, anymore. And I tell him so, even as I raise the sword, bring it gently down. There is surprise in his gaze, not pain. No use remembering, I tell him, Not anymore. We are already creatures of the Hunter.

He nods; he is beginning to understand.

The Hunter accepts us, even needs us, I state evenly. Do you think our people will ever give us as much? Look at me – tell me he has not twisted me beyond repair.

He can say no such thing, of course. There is no use denying it. But we must never stop hating the Hunter, he declares in just as level a tone.

I promise.