Celebrations ring throughout the fortress of Angband. Cries of mirth bounce in warm cacophony about its corridors as their wide expanses throng with revellers. Sable banners flutter from the ceilings and amid them chirruping bats flit, scraps of meat grasped triumphantly in their tiny claws as they fly to their perches to glut themselves. Far beneath the flap of their membranous wings, braziers of oily flames stud the corridors like scorching rubies amongst the dark confluence of Angband's soldiery.

All are welcome, and all have come; from lowly infantry to decorated captains all carouse through the corridors, boasting their triumphs and gloating in their victories.

After years of planning, of schemes and spying and allegiances sworn with slippery tongues the war was won. The machinations of the Eldar and the Edain were stripped bare from their concealments and razed. Their enemies lay broken, scattered amongst the high fells or wandering leaderless through the wastes of the North. The leaguer of the sons of Fëanáro was usurped, the pathetic remnants of their house bereft of lordship. They would be hunted down like dogs.

At their victory, through fierce combat and the treachery of men, their master was pleased; and in such gracious reward he had ordered the cellars thrown open, the drums to pound; a revel the like of which Angband had not seen in millennia. So amid the corridors tangle strategists and soldiers alike, a mug of drink in each hand, telling over and over again their conquests and showing off their spoils. A splintered arrow fletched in white heron's feathers a young orc clasps in her hand, a notched blade of fluted steel is shoved proudly through a Maia's belt-loop, a bedraggled banner with an eight-rayed star just visible amongst the dark stains that bloom across its fabric flutters from a captain's back like a cape.

The soldiery pour through the corridors laid throughout the fortress like great branching arteries, and some manage to push through the crowd to the throne room and behold Angband's obsidian heart bedecked in all its glory. Its doors are thrown back, across the wide expanse of its floor lie rough-hewn wooden benches occupied by a motley array of captains and commanders. Creaking leather armour crushes against smouldering wing-blades, and beneath their feet the wolves play and snap in mock aggression. Spits of meat turn over open coal-pits, barrels of mead and dark liqueurs are dragged up from the cellars and freely broken open, slabs of malted bread are split and shared from great bronze platters laid across the tables.

But amid the bristling throng of orcs, between the looming bulks of the Valaraukar pale wisps flicker and stumble, their eyes downcast and full of pain. Laden platters of steaming meats are thrust into their chained hands, flagons of ale are ferried in such reluctant steps from the brew-masters and their barrels. Like lonely little ghosts they wander listlessly amongst the crowd, flinching as clawed hands grope for the mugs they carry, as mailed gloves glance over purpling bruises. And with each new service, with bowed head and despairing eyes their humiliation is reinforced. Slaps fall upon tender flesh, twisting pinches leave bloodied weals across pale arms, burns blister across cheekbones with the sizzle of flesh and choking moans of pain.

Looking down upon them all, clad in ebony finery, sits their master. His tawny eyes glitter as he surveys the hall, an indulgent half-smile curves over his lips as he watches his servants take their pleasures. The dais alone in the room is bare, unadorned but for the blackened spires of his throne.

Each blade-like slab of metal sinks through the body of an elven lord, his broken corpse impaled lengthwise along the throne's crest. Gore-stained spikes erupt down the elf's midline, punched through his throat, his chest, his stomach and his groin as his limbs dangle limply downwards; pinned there like some obscene battle-trophy with their master grinning below. Waves of dark hair tumble from beneath the elf's cloven helm, and as their master settles comfortably into the throne he reaches up and runs his hand through them.

With a luxuriant smile he winds the strands through his fingers, darkly admiring the ragged filigrees of gold ribbon tangled through the elf's mane. His left hand tightens around a flagon of bitter mead and he takes a long draught from it, savouring the bite as the alcohol prickles down his throat. Easily he sits on his throne, contenting himself to drink and toy with his new prize, watching over his servants' revels as his eyes coolly wander the hall, with a mild curiosity searching for his lieutenant among the crush.

And finally they find him. He sits amid a knot of the Valaraukar, his head tipped back as he laughs at a jest, his blond hair flowing loose about his shoulders. He leans back against a wall, his feet propped up on an adjacent bench, and laughs uproariously once more as a nearby captain launches into a bawdy song, leaping atop a nearby table with a clatter of dishes and belting out a tune rude enough to make even the most hardened of orcs blush until his companions good-humouredly drag him off.

He sips at a near-empty tankard of murky aniseed liqueur, its heat and cloying sweetness mingling pleasantly with the glow of the alcohol in his stomach, and he smiles gaily as another captain stands, a huge drinking-horn clenched in his fist as he calls for quiet amongst them. With a lurch of excitement, he realises that it is Gothmog who stands, and eagerly he leans forward, straining his ears above the general clamour of the hall to hear his friend speak. Rumours of his triumph, of the slaying of the Elven-king had sped around the fortress in the previous days, but keenly he had awaited hearing the saga in full and from its source.

A rough circle forms amid the mêlée of benches and Gothmog strides into the center, flexing his smouldering wings in anticipation, little rivulets of flame igniting in irregular crimson lattices along their tapered blades. The Balrog clears this throat dramatically, with an impatient roll of his eyes awaiting the slurred susurrus of 'shhh!'s to die down.

Amid the audience he shifts, leaning against the warm pauldron of the she-Valarauka next to him, a carefree smile on his face and the tankard cradled in his lap.

"Friends," Gothmog booms, his deep baritone like the scraping of boulders among the hills. "Rumours of my duel with the Elven-king I am sure that you have heard, in all their exaggerations and boasts. But now I shall tell you truly of a duel that will be the stuff of our legends here ever after!"

A rousing cheer rises from the circle of captains, and he raises his mug in toast with the rest of them, lamenting a little its emptiness before he leans once more against his neighbour.

"The Elven-king's guard lay dead at my feet, hewn asunder by my axe, until only he remained, a fell light in his eyes and a grimace upon his face. A sword he grasped, on his other arm a scorched shield hung, its glittering jewels marred with blackened ash and stains of ichor.

Grim was our meeting, this I do not deny, for it seemed that the Light blazed within him, and he fought as one possessed, fleet as the eel that wriggles from the net. His bright sword stung great rents through my armour, my parries slid with squeals of scraping metals against his…"

At this a chorus of hisses erupts from the audience. Their eyes glow balefully in the gloom, ignited to flares of indignant vermilion at this unexpected twist; that the Elven-king had fought well, could indeed hold his own against the mightiest of their ranks.

Gothmog waited for the outrage to fizzle out, taking a huge swig from his drinking horn, before continuing proudly: "He fought nobly, I am not so ungracious as to deny that. But come now, friends, learn what his nobility bought him in the end. For even as I swung forward my axe another of our Order crept up behind him, and cast round him a thong of fire. And oh how he screamed as the flames wrapped around his chest, pinioning his arms with tongues of fire; the very metal of his armour bubbled and sizzled. He stumbled, and he fell, convulsing on the floor before me as metal melted onto skin, and his banner fell crumpled beneath him. He shrieked as his skin burned, as it blistered, and bitterly he strove against that great whip coiled about him.

Would that I had left him there, to die in misery in the dirt as is befitting of his worthless kind. But for our great master's command: that the Elf-lords be slain and naught left to chance.

And at that thought I hefted my axe, and with a mighty cry swept it down upon his weeping head, and his helm cleft asunder beneath it with a burst of white flame. In the spray, in the reek of stinking blood he perished, and aloft I held my axe in triumph afore I strode forward, setting my foot upon his throat…"

With that Gothmog pauses dramatically, eyeing his captivated audience with a malicious smile before extending outwards his right foot, its cloven hoof crowned in a circlet of flames that crackle against the marble. He waits an instant longer, milking the moment for all it is worth, his compatriots near leaning forward in breathless anticipation until with a final flourish he twists his hoof in pantomime, bellowing: "And I ground his corpse into the dust!"

A mighty cheer bursts from the audience, howls of glee tear from wolfish throats; flinty yells mix with ululations in a mongrel clash of tongues.

"His banner I trod into the filthy mire of his blood! His body I would have cast to the wolves…"

With that his voice drops, and silkily he smiles, his fangs showing like slick, obsidian daggers. Slyly he inclines his head towards the throne, and the broken body impaled atop it.

"…But our victorious master," he smirks, "wished otherwise of the Elven-king."

A roar of approval greets his words and the Balrog bows deeply, his great wings unfurling behind him with a flurry of sparks. He saunters back into the circle amid hordes of admirers and quickly the gap closes behind him, the benches haphazardly kicked back out as the captains resume their merriments.

As the Valarauka departs he flops back into his seat, staggering a little as someone presses a new tankard into his hand, his head spinning a little as a spicy scent hits his nostrils: some peppered liqueur of the Edain laid long to mature in his master's cellars. For a while he contents himself just to sit, enjoying the relaxed company of his friends as their voices wash over him. He sips at his drink, his eyes drift merrily shut as he thinks fondly upon their victory, hard-pressed for a moment though it was.

The Noldor certainly were incensed when they had dismembered that prisoner in front of them, he ponders. They were so very enraged that their front lines had nearly breached the fortress itself, and for a horrible moment it looked as if he and his master had greatly underestimated their foes in their wrath. But that worry did not grip them for long: the fickle sons of Men had played their hand well, and all had come to valiant fruition in the end.

Alcohol drags its numbing tendrils through him, it warm fuzziness lulls him down into drowsiness, and idly he wonders whether that elf they had de-limbed had been important.

Suddenly the captain against whom he has been leaning lunges forward, and so rudely bereft of a backrest he jerks back awake. His stomach muscles clench just a fraction of a second too slowly to stop him tipping backwards and with an uncoordinated sort of twist he hauls himself upright, looking bemusedly around to discover what has disturbed him so.

An orc stands before him and the captains, its helmet plumed in black crow's feathers, and as it sees him rise it bows, an ugly smirk carving across its broad face. Vaguely he acknowledges it, and with a series of clinks it unfurls the length of chain concealed in its hand before yanking on it savagely. A second later a bound elf stumbles miserably before him, an iron collar fastened about his neck, his chestnut locks roughly hewn behind his ears.

Straightening himself up on the bench he blinks at the orc, with minor difficulty wrestling his thoughts into coherence as his gaze shifts, and disdainfully he appraises the elf shoved to his knees before him. Thick ropes fasten the elf's hands behind his back, and his orcish master keeps a firm grip on the chain. A ring of greenish bruises adorns the elf's neck where the collar had bitten into his skin; a suiting trinket, he thinks it. His eyes wander briefly downwards, noting with no real importance the crimson droplets dotted down the front of the elf's tunic before he peers back up at the orc, his brow knotting in confusion.

"A present, my lord," the orc intones in a snarling dialect, its stumpy fangs squashed into a gruesome imitation of amicability.

He looks from orc to prisoner once more, only now catching the slightly unhinged glimmer in the elf's eyes, the too-rigid lock of his jaw darkened with oddly spaced bruises, bruises that look suspiciously like finger-marks. His eyebrow arcs, and he takes another mouthful of his drink, grimacing it burns its way down the back of his throat before replying hoarsely: "Oh? And what is he for, exactly?"

"A vocalist, my lord," the orc answers, a strange light creeping into its eyes. "Let us hear his pretty song."

For a moment he hesitates, unsure that he is fully grasping the situation, but with the ease that inebriation breeds he sighs, simply responding: "Very well."

He turns to the elf then, squinting disparagingly at him before he commands, "Come then, slave, sing for us. Amuse your new masters. Please us well, and your efforts shall not go unrewarded."

An approving murmur ripples through the ring of onlookers, and as a hush gradually falls he settles himself, looking at the elf expectantly. But the elf simply shakes his head, slowly at first but then more frantically.

The piteous, pleading look in his eyes is abruptly extinguished as an orcish boot smashes into his ribs. Sniggers echo through the group as the elf topples helplessly sideways, his shoulder slamming into the floor with a nauseating crunch and a wordless cry of pain. And as the elf moans understanding suddenly clicks within him, a rush of sadistic delight rips up from his stomach and capriciously he smiles as the elf is dragged back to his knees. A torrent of dark, glistening blood pours from his mouth as he chokes, little crimson bubbles blister over his lips as the air wheezes back into his lungs.

A fell light burns behind his silver eyes as he watches the elf splutter; a sticky mixture of blood and saliva drools down the elf's chin as a ruined whine rips out of his newly tongue-less throat in what wretched mockery of a song he can give. The sniggers swell to merciless laughter at the noise and some savage mirth in him compels him to join. He grins as the elf subsides into sobs; racking, wet gasps of air sliding into him as mutely he whines once more, his eyes squeezed shut in abject degradation as their scorn rains down upon him.

The orc bows to a round of hearty applause, before tugging the elf roughly to his feet. The elf gags as the collar slams into his windpipe, and he sobs then all the harder, thick clots of blood dripping from his lips to splatter upon the marble as he is dragged away into the crowd once more. The pure despair written across the elf's face only fuels the dreadful laughter that bubbles up inside of him, and he revels in that perverse pleasure; seeing his enemies so used, so subjugated and humiliated and helpless before him.

And maybe a tiny, traitorous part of him knows that it is wrong, and for a horrible moment a note dangerously close to sympathy chimes inside of him; too well he knows what it means to be forced, what it is to be abused. But he stamps that feeling down hard, this was different, they were his enemies, and he takes a few gulps of his drink, trying to smooth away the unpleasant memories that lurk in the dark corners of his mind. In unconscious reflex he curls up a little on the bench, rubbing absently at his arms, his fingertips running over the whorls of scar tissue punctured into his skin, so horribly tangible beneath his shirt as memories of pain curl dimly within him. With a shudder he forces himself to stop, and seeking some form of distraction tasks himself with retrieving a new drink from the barrel-masters.

With admirable success he negotiates the thronging hall and procures for himself a large tumbler of the barrel-masters' finest whiskey, and contentedly he sips at it as he makes his way back to his seat. The confluence of the crowd presses him to the edge of the hall, and protectively he cradles his drink to his chest as the movements of the captains about him grow increasingly vigorous. Artfully he dodges a wing-blade swung accidentally towards him, but a few metres later he is slightly too slow to fully avoid the orc who swings about into him, and to save his drink from utter calamity he dives into a shadowy alcove to his left.

He licks the spilled dregs of whiskey from the side of his hand, and almost he is ready to brave the press of the hall once more when a slight sound from behind him gives him pause.

With much greater attention this time he peers into the shadows, and within them he spies two figures, one leaning closely over the other. For a moment he wavers; unsure if he is rudely interrupting a moment of intimacy, when suddenly the topmost figure turns and a scratchy voice sounds inside of his head.

hello Mairon

At the familiar sensation he shivers, and instantly then he knows to whom it is that he speaks. Eight round, gleaming eyes peer up at him from the gloom; they refract the light behind him into eerie, effervescent pinpricks as the figure shifts slightly, but still does not arise.

it is long since you have paid me a visit

A mournful chittering sound accompanies that statement, and as his eyes slowly adjust to the darkness a little more clearly he can see the scene before him. The creature leans over a prone body, and though the creature is humanoid in basic form, that is where human resemblance ends. Four thin, chitinous limbs clasp almost like a cuirass about the creature's torso, wrapping about the filmy strands of gauze that enshroud its entire body and leave only its face bare.

"Indeed," he says evenly, having finally gathered himself enough for a reply. "And I had not thought to see you here, old friend. Do you not find this company too brash for your tastes?"

The chittering sound comes again, accompanied by a faint, more earthly sounding moan, and the creature turns fully to look at him then. Some filter of light catches upon its face, and beneath its arachnid eyes he can see the two great mouthparts that complete its jaw, large curves of reinforced keratin that click and tap with an insectile motion that unsettles even him.

not so, Mairon the creature says, its thin voice flickering through his mind. there are always crevices where we might hide

Long years it had been since the creature had come before him, limping and bleeding as the bemused guards had brought it in. Silently the thing had stood there, its eight eyes had shivered in the light as black ichor had dripped from its side, and within himself he had found some strange pity for it. Noise disturbed it, he quickly discovered, and as it proved itself quick and apt in matters of memory and secrets, he had offered it a position within fortress' library as warden and keeper of the scrolls of lore that the denizens of Angband published or plundered. Only in the years after had he learned its heritage: a fugitive spawn of the Gloomweaver it was that had crawled before his chair, banished from its home in the shadowy vales of the South.

Upon what spare afternoons he once gleaned from his duties he would trek to the far library, he might while away the hours as it talked to him of knowledge and of scrolls; of Elven crafts, and lights and secret things that only spiders knew. The thing did not have a name that it could or would tell, and if it had a sex then it was a subtle enigma, and he did not feel the need to force that issue when it did not bother him in the slightest.

A clear moan echoes now from beneath the creature's bent form, and he peers a little more closely at the figure there. A thrill of revulsion runs through him at what he finds, for upon the floor limply lies an elf, his skin deathly pallid, his eyes wide and the pupils within them perilously dilated. But that is not what disturbs him so, for as he looks closer he notices that about the elf's lips there is the glimmer of silver wire.

A mute servant for a silent master, he thinks slowly, and he considers it fitting.

A neat row of stitches clasps the elf's lips shut, and close to his neck the creature bends. He steps a fraction to the side and his eyes widen in amazement as he notices the spindly, arachnid barb that pierces clean through the elf's oesophagus, the needle-like sting running from some concealed sheath within the creature's gauzy robes.

The creature's eyes shimmer, the elf below it shudders and then falls limp once more, and an utterly inhuman whimper bleeds from behind his sewn shut lips.

"What… what are you doing?" he whispers, leaning forward to look even more closely as morbid curiosity suddenly grips him.

feeding him

Indeed, he sees the slight well of fluid where the barb disappears into the elf's skin, faintly he can see the flutter of the muscles in the elf's throat move in an approximation of swallowing. Hastily then he steps back: many foul things he has seen in his long years but this before him now is profoundly unsettling, and swiftly he concurs that a lack of alcohol is not aiding his diplomacy. Quickly he downs the remainders of his whiskey, and he feels the blissful prickle of the drink as it burns down his throat and the numb sense of renewed inebriation that sloshes through him a moment later.

"Well," he begins uncertainly, his voice slurring a little as a wave of drunkenness sweeps over him. "I'll… I'll leave you to your night, shall I? It was nice seeing you…"

it was nice to see you too, Mairon The voice scratches within his head as he turns about and leaves the creature to its activities.

He staggers back into the light, his head spinning as suddenly the roar of the hall washes over him once more. However, he is quickly distracted from his disorientation as a burly she-orc hails him, elbowing her way through the throng to greet him, and to draw him affably towards her table. Two overflowing goblets of wine she holds in her clawed hands, one of which once offered he politely accepts.

It would not do to refuse one of his master's most esteemed strategists on the very eve of their victory, and he would not have it said that their lieutenant was discourteous in the least.

The hours pass in a pleasant blur of wine and laughter and idle talk, filling him with a lightness he had long thought forgotten as the pure ardour of drink and music flows so splendidly through him. Ever he talks amongst the Valaraukar captains with an increasingly drunken enthusiasm and they listen with fervour to match, downing copious gallons of brandy and spiced rums, little rills of flame bursting along their arms with each gulp. Tevildo he joins for a while, the great cat lapping from a bowl of whiskey-laced cream kept refreshed by a trembling elf-maid, and while he declines cream in the cat's company he helps himself most heartily to the whiskey, and pleasantly they converse for many minutes.

At some point, propping himself awkwardly up between two large racks of lamb he glances over to his master sitting solitary upon his great throne. With an indulgent little thrill he realizes that his master is staring at him, his golden eyes glimmering with faint humour at his current state and a wry smile curving gently across his handsome lips. Something stirs in the base of his stomach, something not entirely due to the flagon of wine he had perhaps unwisely been cajoled into chugging by a squadron of admiring orcs; its effects humming amiably inside of his skull as he feels the first trembles of desire wobble into life.

Intoxication nibbles away at his every inhibition but for a moment still he wavers. He pulls himself with some effort to his feet as the room spins dizzily before his eyes, but even as it shimmers into focus temptation swims with it; his master's lazy smile lingers ever in his mind. It is the softness of his lips, he thinks, or maybe the hot pant of his breath as they kissed, or the roll of his hips, the seductive purr of his voice as he whispered his name, as he commanded him to beg, the thrust of his master's length up inside him as he pinned him down and fucked him, every part of him set roiling, shrieking in pleasure -

Such salubrious thoughts flash through his mind, longing ripples up inside of him, and with a sly certainty then he makes his decision.

Smoothly he sets aside his drink, his eyes lock brightly onto his master, who inclines his head slightly in response. One pointed incisor shows as teasingly his master bites his lip, and a hot flush of excitement courses through him at the sight. With as much delicacy as he can muster he begins to traverse the hall, benches and bodies both upright and fallen scattered haphazardly about like some crazed labyrinth. With pained caution he steps over a snoring orc, wincing a little in consternation as his leg wobbles perilously beneath him with the shift of his weight.

His surroundings blur and refocus as alcohol pounds its merry way through him with each footfall, and desperately he tries to keep himself on course as he picks his way to his master. A satisfying feeling of success rushes through him as cleanly he negotiates a throng of drunken orcs, he extricates himself from Langon's enthusiastic grasp as the herald pats him resoundedly on the back as he staggers his way past him with a jaunty smile.

So nearly he reaches the dais without mishap, he is so agonizingly close when a wolf darts out from beneath a nearby bench and licks amicably at his hand, its silver fur brushing against his legs as it seeks for a treat. But as the wolf winds through his legs his balance finally fails, and he tips unsteadily sideways with an embarrassed groan. In that split second of weightlessness he resigns himself to hitting the floor, praying only that somehow his master is not watching, that no one has just seen him make an utmost fool of himself.

But before he can hit the ground a set of pale hands catch him, with an ungraceful push they right him once more. He jerks in surprise, whirling around to discover his erstwhile saviour, gripping tightly to their wrist to steady himself as the hall dances before his eyes.

He blinks sharply as a young elf gazes back at him. A fearful glimmer shoots through the slave's watery green irises as he tries to scramble backwards; an expression of pure terror breaking over his face as he realizes just whom it is that holds him.

But his hand clamps tightly around the elf's wrist, above the rusted manacle that adorns it so prettily already, and he yanks the elf closer, inspecting him as one would livestock. He grins as the elf trembles in his grip. Something sadistic bubbles up within him, some dark facet of desire flares into life and he pulls the elf yet nearer to him, in one fluid movement twining his right hand through the elf's roughly shorn hair. And how he exults in the moan of pain that bleeds from the elf's lips, the little sound rolling over the red bruises blossomed across the pale skin there like crushed cherries across alabaster.

With a fierce rush of triumph he jams his knee into the elf's back, propelling him into staggering movement towards the steps of the dais. The elf writhes in his grip, twisting even as his fingers knot tighter through his hair, half dragging him up the steps before pulling him up short before their master who sits ponderously upon the throne. His master's gaze rests curiously upon them, and he takes one long draught from the mug of liquor in his hand, a fey light simmering in his eyes.

Standing before the throne he inclines his head respectfully, before thrusting the elf pointedly towards his master. But as the elf stumbles forward he pulls him up short once more, eliciting from him a short gasp of pain. He steps up quickly behind him, his right hand reaching around the elf's shoulders to grasp his neck from the front, the elf's pulse thudding beneath his fingertips. A surge of intoxicated confidence runs through him, and from over the elf's trembling shoulder he grins at his master, with a playful curl to his voice enquiring: "Do you like him, my lord?"

His master regards him for a second, his eyes then narrowing as they sweep over the elf before flicking back to him, and looking at him quizzically.

"Little one, I am not sure that I grasp your meaning…"

"Do you like him, my lord?" he insists coyly, imploring his master to see, to appreciate his present, to help him play his little game.

"He is pleasing enough, Mairon, though I fail to see…"

As his master speaks a queer crush of emotions wells up in him, and he tightens his grip around the elf's throat. He steps a little unsteadily around him to look his victim in the face, his silver eyes burning.

"Did you hear that, slave?" he whispers throatily, an evil smile curved across his lips. "My master thinks that you are fair…"

The elf remains silent, but beneath his fingertips his pulse hammers harder. He presses the elf closer to him, the tip of his nose ghosting over the curve of the elf's ear as duskily he whispers: "Do you think yourself deserving of our… attentions?"

The elf's jaw wavers, but still he does not respond. His eyes simply stare unfocusedly at the base of the throne. Subtly he switches his grip, sliding his hand down the elf's throat, his fingertips skating over his clavicles. He pushes back the ragged lapels of the elf's shirt to trail tender spirals across his sternum and finally he feels some reaction. The elf bucks in his grip, silently trying to push him away.

But to no avail, as he slides his grip lower, and looking across at his master lasciviously he breathes: "Do you not like us then, slave? Are we so beneath you? But we weary servants of Angband sometimes tire of shade and bitter toil…"

He pauses, one hissing breath draws seductively through his teeth, and naked lust unfurls within him as the elf whimpers in his grip: "…sometimes we longer for sweeter meats."

With that he leans mischievously forward, his argent eyes lingering on his master's face as slowly, sensuously he licks up the side of the elf's neck. He arcs the elf backwards in his grip like some perverse puppeteer, glorying in the bolts of arousal that claw up from the base of his stomach. The elf cringes, his eyes squeeze tightly shut, his breath comes in ragged little gasps as he desperately tries not to cry. This toying for him is a torture worse than pain; a violation, a debasement of the fëa, and all too well his captor knows it.

He leans back a fraction, regarding the elf with merciless eyes. His free hand reaches up to stroke across the elf's mouth, his thumb dragging hard against the elf's lower lip as cruelly he smiles once more, revelling in the tiny whine that emanates from his victim. With an explosive flash the sensation of power swamps through him, and he tightens his grip upon the elf's hair. This part of him, this sordid little part of him so long left dormant, so long forgotten under the sway of his master suddenly roars into life, and he remembers just how much he loves it. To be the dominant one, to be the possessor, the victor, his prey held so delicate and helpless in his hands.

But pride wars with duty within him, and for a moment then he falters. He will not so lightly abandon his master's touch to pursue his own pleasures, and certainly his master would never let him touch him so. But no matter what he gained, no matter whatever fleeting joy he might rip out of his victim it would not be the same, it would not be right. The catalyst for his desire was his master, it is always his master, and beneath everything else that stupid, awful, irresistible craving bleeds true.

Suddenly he snaps back into focus, he glaring with a feral intensity at the elf still gripped in his hands. A terrible light fills his silver eyes as he cocks his head in an unsettlingly bestial motion. With ferocious joy he watches as terror seeps back into those green irises, the elf shakes his head frantically, with every ounce of strength trying to throw himself backwards, away from his touch.

"No?" he whispers, the words hissing in burning puissance over his lips, "Is this a refusal, slave?"

Desperately the elf nods, and he snarls as frustration and anger and a million other pointless emotions seethe in his stomach. They writhe within him, and with a sudden growl he releases the elf, almost flinging him away. Before his prisoner can right himself he shoves hard against his chest, toppling the elf backwards down the steps of the dais to land with a clatter upon a tabletop, amid a score of plates and mugs that clang down to the floor.

Bitterly he chuckles as the air whistles out of the elf's lungs, his unprotected back slamming into the wooden table; spitefully he laughs as the chorus of jeers arises from the assembly of still-conscious orcs, as a clawed hand drags the elf from the tabletop and drops him hard to the floor with a strangled yelp. He sneers as a steel-capped boot smashes into the elf's solar-plexus, a vindictive delight set blazing in him as the elf retches, before he is hoisted up and shoved towards the barrel-masters once more, just another pathetic slave to crawl and toil and bleed for their pleasure.

With an acrid smirk he turns sharply on his heel, whirling back around to face his master. But even as he moves he feels his boot slide on a spilled drink, his heel slipping from beneath him and he teeters perilously atop the pinnacle of the dais. With a painful flash he realizes that the eyes of the court still focus on him, and he feels the colour rise in his cheeks as he bites down the urge to scream; anger and pride twisted to embarrassment in one cruel stroke of fate.

But before he can quite fall, his motor skills rallying in fierce battle with inebriation within him, his master darts forward from the throne and snatches him backwards by the wrist. He flinches in surprise a split second before collapsing in an undignified heap atop his master, sprawling across his lap as they sink back into the throne. He blinks confusedly for a moment, the odd angle at which he lies is extremely disorientating; his master's iridescent eyes hover above him, the edges of his irises blurring drunkenly into the raven sweep of his hair, into the tarnished mail of the elf impaled above them, into the clotted shadows hung about the ceiling like little shreds of night.

And just for a second he breathes it in: their proximity, their closeness melding in jarring harmony with the dregs of frustration still swirling in the pit of his stomach. But with them comes a fresh wave of intoxication buzzing inside his skull, it all meshes together in a confusing tangle of sensations within him until with a piercing jolt of clarity he realizes where he is. Coldly he realizes what he is doing, as his master stares down at him lying so improperly in his lap. Fumblingly he tries to gather himself, embarrassment shrieks through him as he unhooks his leg from where it curls over the arm of the throne. His hands scrabble against his master's thighs for purchase so that he can sit up, he can apologize; shame and worry stabbing through him like a sudden knife through his innards.

After what seems like a lifetime he reaches a semi-balanced sitting position, perched gingerly upon his master's thigh, his cheeks flushed crimson. He makes to move away, his hair falls in a straggly mess about his shoulders, but he scarcely moves an inch before his master winds his arm across his lower back, pinning him in place. He looks up in confusion, forcing himself to meet his master's eyes despite the dread of what he might find there. He braces himself for whatever awful consequences his impropriety would wreak, but to his surprise he feels his master lean forward, pressing his forehead gently against his own.

His master's eyelashes flutter against his eyelids, sending legions of shivers crawling across his skin, and he dares not move; uncertainty and pleasure catching in equal measure within him.

And every hope he that has ever held within him comes crashing into brilliant fruition as his master lifts his chin, his hands moving to cradle the back of his head as his lips press against his own. His master kisses him firmly, deeply, his fingers twining through the blond streams of his hair as his master parts his lips, their tongues writhing together in slow, brutal passion. Their breath mingles in what tender little gasps he can manage as his master's lips crush dizzyingly against his own, and after what might have been seconds or centuries or millennia, a whooping cheer explodes from the crowd. Every mug in the hall still capable of being lifted rises in cheerful, drunken toast to their lords, a clamour of encouraging calls and applause bounces from the marble walls.

After a disbelieving moment he blushes. True joy unfurls in his chest, it prickles along the insides of his ribs as he pushes all the harder against his master, reaching up in turn to grasp the side of his neck, kissing him with every ounce of passion he has within him, every shred of his frustration and fear and sorrow and longing brought to bear into one perfect, aching action. So hard he wishes that it could never end, that it would never end, but at last he feels his master withdraw. Their hands soften their grips upon each other, fervid lust transmutes now to fond caresses, to sensuous little strokes that sent thrills of arousal rippling through him.

Gently his master looks at him, something akin to tenderness set glittering in his eyes like crucibles of molten gold. But beneath their façade a dare glimmers, a fantastical, roguish air shines there that nearly stops the breath in his lungs. His master stoops, and an instant later he moans in delight as a constellation of little kisses trail up his neck, his head tosses back in sheer elation.

"Come, little one," his master purrs, and he almost squeaks in excitement as his master's lips touch some tender place along his jaw. He catches himself at the very last instant in an attempt to maintain a modicum of dignity, denying every instinct that screams at him just to collapse into his master's arms.

"The night is ours. Let us go,"his master murmurs, guiding him to his feet as he stands also, rearranging the crumpled folds of his robes. He feels his master's fingers knit through his own, and meekly he gives him one little squeeze, with a rush of delight hearing his master's tiny snort of laughter, gentle and teasing.

"Gentlemen," his master announces suddenly, his rich voice addressing what remnants of his court remained conscious enough to hear him. "Ladies. Exalted, valiant beings. My lieutenant and I take our leave of the festivities. We leave you to your celebrations. Long may they last."

A rousing cheer meets his master's words, and he smiles a little, looking out over the sea of drunken faces staring gaily back up at him. His master tugs at his hand and quickly they slide through the debris of the hall, his master steering his rather unsteady footsteps through the tangled mess. At the doors his master pauses, turning back to him suddenly, his eyes gleaming as a devious, stunning smile curves across his face.

And in return he smiles back up at him, squeezing his master's hand once more in encouragement, in permission even. Softly then his master chuckles, and pulls him swiftly forwards as together they retire to his master's chambers and whatever the night's pleasures should bring.