Inspired by the scene with the Mouth of Sauron in the extended edition Return of the King, and by the character design comentary thereof. I do not own the characters, only the circumstances.Possible AU.
Voiceless and Sightless
Barad-dur had fallen silent. The half-completed tower stood motionless on the plains of Gorgoroth, and the only sound in Mordor was the roar of the mighty volcano. This was unusual, as there was always work being done on the tower, but not tonight. Something was different.
The pinnacle of the black tower had been the first thing to be completed. The twin points stood like old, rusty blades slicing upward into the still air, awaiting the arrival of their master. All of Barad-dur held its breath, until at last the air between the peaks ignited. The coiling flame arced between the twin spires until it coagulated into the shape of an eye, a massive, fiery eye with an endless void of shadow for its cat-slit pupil. The Eye of Sauron had opened at last, and construction continued as though it had never been stopped. But something was still amiss, something was still wrong.
Deep within the tower, in a massive stone room shielded from the sounds of Mordor, a tall, man-like form sat slumped upon a throne of black marble. His black robes and hair flowed into the shadows around him, accenting their darkness and the paleness of his skin. The dark, rusty iron crown upon his head seemed far to heavy for his frail neck. He seemed like a thin old man, withered by age. But this was no old man, for it was not in the Great Eye that the spirit of the Dark Lord resided. This fragile form was Sauron.
The false rumor that had said that the Lord of the Rings could not yet take physical form was just that: a false rumor. Sauron had managed to reform his body centuries ago, but he had yet to recover his former strength. And thus the body he resided in was frail, too weak to move, too weak to speak. His once muscular frame had withered down to little more than skin and bone, and his blacksmith's hands had become skeletal and spidery. His right hand, the hand upon which the One Ring had once rested, was bandaged tightly, as if in fear that the delicate and newly regenerated fingers would fall away and crumple into dust. But it was not his hand that was at fault: it was his eyes, cat-slit, milky, their fire long since extinguished, and lidless as the ethereal eye atop the tower.
Sauron had hoped that with the creation of the Great Eye his sight would be restored. But that was not the case, for his vision remained just as clouded despite the wider field of view. He wracked his brains for a reason, and the only reason he could deduce was that his physical eyes would not, could not close. His view of Middle Earth was mingled with the sight from his half-blind eyes, blurring his vision beyond recognition. And there was nothing in his weakened state he could do to change that.
It was then that Sauron heard the door to the chamber quietly open and close just as softly. He did not have to see the man to know who it was. He knew well those deliberate yet unsure steps. It was the gait of his closest, most trusted servant. It was the man he often thought of as a lieutenant. Sauron weakly shifted his eyes as his servant approached him, and let his gaze fall once more as the man kneeled at his side.
"Master…" Those words were uncertain but clear, as the man turned his face up towards his lord. Sauron looked weakly at his servant, and noticed that his eyes were now covered with a wide strip of gray cloth, no doubt to conceal the unsightly scars. Memories came flooding back to him then as he gazed upon his sightless servant: memories of when this man had first come to him, blinded by the cruelty of his brethren. Memories of how he had kneeled before his throne, beseeching him, the Dark Lord, for mercy and protection. Memories of how he had taken the man under his wing, and how he had made him his voice.
"What ails thee, my Master…?" Sauron's servant had always been tuned in to his emotions, ever since he had first opened his mind to the Dark Lord so that he might relay his orders. It was the only way he could be his master's voice. Their minds were nearly one, and Sauron had even at one point considered possessing the man, but had decided against it on account of his blindness.
On a reflex, Sauron opened his mouth to speak, but his cracked lips and limp tongue could form no words, and his swollen throat could force no sounds. He despaired at this weakness and this dependence on his servant. And the man felt his despair, but could do nothing to alleviate it. So, seething in sorrow and frustration, the Dark Lord opened his mind to his servant.
"My eyes…" Sauron spoke in the blind man's thoughts. "It is my eyes that ail me."
"Thy eyes, my Master?" the servant asked of him, not quite grasping what it was that troubled Sauron.
"My eyes…" the Dark Lord repeated in the man's mind as he flooded his thoughts with images of the way he now viewed Middle Earth, clouded, glazed, and no better than when he could only see with his corporal eyes. At once his servant understood the reason for his frustration, having himself the experience of being robbed of one's sight. But there was still naught he could do.
"And what would thee command me to do, my Master?" Sauron felt like keening in despair, but could not. He did not know what to do, so how could he expect his servant to know. The Great Eye atop his tower, which he had hoped would show him the location of his precious Ring, was useless. He wanted to weep, but would not permit himself. It was then as his head rolled on his shoulders to rest against the back of the throne, that his eyes fell once more on the cloth covering his servant's eyes.
The answer struck him in an instant as he gazed down at his blind lieutenant. The problem lay not in the Great ethereal Eye, but in his own, failing, corporal eyes. If he were sightless in body, the Great Eye's gaze would be unobstructed and clear. The solution had been before him and he had been too close to see. Resolve swelling, Sauron weakly raised his bandaged right hand to his servant's face.
"My eyes…" Sauron repeated yet again in the man's mind, as his hand reached for the blindfold. But before the crippled fingers could even touch the cloth they fell away, thankfully caught in his servant's own hands.
"What is it thee desires, my Master?" the blind lieutenant asked of his lord as he tenderly, if not cautiously lowered Sauron's hand back to the armrest of the throne.
"You must… cover my eyes…" No sooner had Sauron's words reached his servant's mind then a confused look spread across his half-covered face.
"Cover thy eyes, my Master?" Sauron understood the confusion, his mind was complicated. Nevertheless he pressed onward.
"Do you dare disobey my orders?" It was a sure way of getting the job done, and the man's look of confusion changed to one of compliance.
"Nay, I do not, my Master." And without another word, his servant rose from his kneeling positing. He paused once he was upright, his head turned downward, clenching his hands and flexing his fingers as if in dilemma. But he soon decided, and moved a hand to Sauron's shoulder, gingerly touching it, and then moved it upward to lightly brush against his chiseled cheekbone.
His bearings gathered, Sauron's blind servant reached up to the back of his own head, to the knot that held his blindfold in place. Slowly and hesitantly he worked at the tie, with his fingers shaking slightly as he did so, until it came undone. Then with the same methodical slowness he moved the cloth from his face, revealing horrid scars and eyelids sunk into empty sockets. And with much trepidation he stepped towards his master, and carefully place the blindfold over his face.
Darkness descended on Sauron's vision, but as soon as the knot had been tied his mind became flooded with images clearer than even before the Ring had been taken from him. All of Middle Earth now filled his sights, no longer clouded, as if a gauzy veil had been removed from his eyes. Or Eye rather, as all he saw now was what the Great Eye atop Barad-dur saw. His assumption had been right, and the hint of a smile graced his cracked lips.
And he could see his blind lieutenant still standing before him, seemingly vulnerable with his scars uncovered. It was in that moment that Sauron felt a twinge of pity for his servant. Then man had served him faithfully as his mouthpiece for many years, and all he asked for in return was protection from those who had blinded him. It seemed a fit time to reward him properly for his loyalty.
In an instant, the blind man's missing eyes seemed to function again; he could see the chamber, he could see Sauron, he could even see himself. He felt that his eyes had been restored, but no, he realized as he reached his trembling hands up to his face, the sockets were still empty. Sauron was his eyes now, and their mental link was fortified, as was his already unwavering loyalties. And Sauron's weak smile broadened as he felt his servant's mind fill with relief and joy. Neither had felt so alive in ages, and their emotions fueled each other's. Sauron the Great had returned at last, and was ready to begin his war anew; and his lieutenant, fueled by his master's strength was ready to face the world in the further service of him. And though the Dark Lord may have been voiceless and though his servant may have been sightless, but they were both very much alive.