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[page 5] I am old beyond the count of Men. Few, even of the Immortals, have remained in the World through my entire span of existence. I came as a lieutenant to my Overlord, he that fell before the Immortals and their allies, and served in his stead until the Final Battle wherein the supremacy of Men was assured. The Men of that fargone day were a simple people; quick to anger, sudden with their laughter, knowing no guile or deceit. The Immortals, vain with the wisdom of their years, scorned them for their youth. But they grew in stature, gaining knowledge, and the passing of wisdom from generation to generation bid fair to match the age-long memory of the Immortals. Aware of this, the Immortals studied the minds of Men and wove webs of deceit to ensnare them. Whole nations fell under their lying spell. The Immortals posed as the saviors of Men and taught that I was the arch-enemy. To this day I appear as a figure of evil in their legends. This, then, was my fate, to win not as a friend, but as an enemy; even to die, in one sense at least, in the moment of final victory. But do not be deceived by false legends -- though great was my fall, yet in that fall I triumphed. As I have said, my Overlord was lost -- it was the first of a bitter series of defeats. For many lives of Men I remained in hiding while the Immortals gloried in their success. They bestowed upon their allies among men long life as a gift. But it was a gift of unsatisfied longing, and of jealousy, and of gnawing envy in their hearts. These Men grew strong on earth, haughty and overbearing to their brethren. With powers granted them by the Immortals, they went forth to conquer the lesser nations. The Immortals smiled to see Men at war with Men. I gathered forces among the lesser Men and raised up a realm, free from the meddling of the Immortals. Here I built the fortress that was to stand until the moment of victory. Some few, even of the Immortals, offered their aid to me, and in my pride I accepted. Under my teaching, they aided in the forging of new weapons for my people. But then, with the treachery characteristic of their race, they withdrew from me, and with their new learning built devices to be used against me. Alarmed at the result of my folly, I poured all of rey strength into the making of one Pawn of Power that was to far outweigh all their efforts, and in the end to lead them to defeat. War came, and I was successful, until they lured large forces of Men to fight against me, and I was forced to withdraw. The Immortals now became fearful of the power of Men, and laid plans to lessen it. A new war was incited, with vast armies of Men fiercely attacking my realm. The Immortals, not actively engaged, hoped to weaken both sides and thus regain their ascendency in the World. I sought to defeat this purpose by surrendering before a decisive battle was fought. Thus I became a prisoner in the hands of Men. Although a captive among them, I strove constantly to weaken the influence of the Immortals. Over the years I gradually succeeded, but the Immortals, seizing a chance to destroy both myself and their too powerful allies, without warning swept the land with terrible destruction. Of the Men, only a sorry remnant lived long enough to flee the wave of death. These went to other lands and arrogantly set themselves up as Lords over Men. I too escaped destruction, to the dismay of the Immortals. Knowing my danger, I hastened to build up strength. But war came too soon, and these same Men who had watched their kin die by the power of the Immortals, now stood with the Immortals, convinced of their righteousness. My defeat was inevitable. When they had won, they [page 6] stripped away my Power and convinced themselves that I had fallen forever. But my friends still fought on in my behalf. Too weak to force decisive battles, they waged small war, ever harrassing our enemy. Most important of all, they forced my Pawn of Power out of the hands of my foes. It was in this time of troubles that a new force appeared in the World. Creatures in the form of Men with the lives of Immortals. They came as Messengers to Men, spreading teaching and advice among them. "Be loyal to the Immortals!" was the substance of their teaching. "The Immortals are good and kind and your friends." And Men believed. By now the Immortals depended on Men for their defence in the wars which grew ever more bitter. In addition to the Immortals' wars, these Men now fought against each other in a series of civil wars and bickerings between petty kingdoms. Aided by this, I was able to gather strong forces, but ever did the curséd tongues of the Immortals gain them new allies. In spite of this, my Realm was reborn and put into readiness for the Final Battle that was to come. At this time, however, I dwelt apart, thus dividing their efforts against me and my Servants. Now came great battles throughout the World, but permanent advantage was not gained by either side. The Messengers caught me unawares in a minor engagement, and I was forced to withdraw, but this temporary setback caused no faltering in the continuing attacks against the Immortals. Centuries of war had weakened them. They retreated to hidden sanctuaries, and Men multiplied in the empty lands. Thus appeared the first results of my planning. I now moved my Pawn of Power into the World-arena. It had lain dormant these many years, not lost to sight as my enemies supposed. It was as a weapon sheathed, awaiting the predestined moment. Through unwitting intermediaries I moved it through the World. The chroniclers of later days, though noting a purpose in its movements, have never fathomed the truth. For such Powers are not moved in the World without the knowledge of their creator, unless powerful counter-forces are wielded. And such forces no longer existed. Did they not deny power over it? My first use of the Pawn was to prey on the mind of Curunir, leader of the Messengers. Under its influence, and that of his own greed, he dreamed of becoming the leading power of the World, victor over both myself and the Immortals. I saw the results of this and was content. However, not yet a traitor to his kind, Curunir led the Immortals and Messengers against me. Without struggle I withdrew to my realm, prepared for me now by my Servants, and the Final Battle drew near. The Pawn of Power was in motion, and all other moves were made to its tempo. As I had forseen, Curunir began to increase his power, hiding his activity from the Immortals. Incanus, his rival among the Messengers, now became interested in the Pawn. He knew it for what it was, but my purposes were beyond him. And so in ignorance he laid plans to bring it before the Immortals. Curunir labored in darkness and was unaware. And so the Pawn of Power went forth on the last journey, and in its passage drove the darkness of the Immortals from the World. The Immortals dared not wield it, so had their might dwindled. I spurred them to action with jesting feints toward the Pawn: little traps that never quite closed, marauding bands that missed their goal, [page 7] my Servants, never in enough strength. But the Immortals were ensnared in the web of false efforts and the Pawn passed through their strongholds and was gone. Again the Immortals conjured up armies of Men with the spell of their voices (it would not be again). But I reached out and drew Curunir to me. In a net of greed I caught him, and with greed I held him till his use was gone. For when the time was come, he went forth to do battle with ny @any@ enemies, dividing their forces until Incanus came to deal with him. But behind the screen of that battle the Pawn passed by, and it mattered not that Curunir's power was shattered. The Pawn might still have been seized by the Immortals' human allies, for their leader, seeing more clearly than his masters, desired to use it as a weapon against me. But my armies went out, and the confusion of war masked the Pawn. It went beyond the reach of the hands of Men. For the Pawn was now within the Realm of Mordor, and I heeded not the battles beyond my gates. What matter the loss of battles? I was foredoomed to defeat, but my hour of triumph came on. And upon that hour Incanus - Tharkûn - Olorin - Mithrandir - Gandalf -led the armies of my enemies to my borders. But the Pawn - the Ring - the One Ring that I had forged so long ago, was cast into the fires of Mount Doom, and the Elven-rings were drained of strength. For long ago they too were forged with power stolen from the original source. The One Ring had passed among them, and in that passing their power went out. And I died in Barad-dûr that day, but my spirit rose up from the crashing ruin; though I may not walk the World again, I saw that day mine enemies' doom. The Elves lingered but a little time in Middle-earth, then paesed over the seas to the West. The Wizards, their Messengers, fled with them, and thus was the World made free. And the Fourth Age was the Age of Men, and their dominion has not passed from the World. I, Sauron, have seen these things come to pass. George Heap