17. Oil And Water
Maevyn began to pick up Orc-speech with a speed that appalled Leni. Her strange session with Hrahragh was only the beginning—after they had stopped each day, and Maevyn had done whatever work needed doing, she would sit on her heels, ready to abandon Leni at the earliest opportunity. Hrahragh ignored her while he tended matters of his own; after a time, though, he would give her a glare. "Why make eyes at me?" he would demand. "Come be useful." He would have her serve as a retriever for his daggers then, or set her to sharpening the instruments of his killing. And, offhandedly, he would teach her Orkish.
Kil was sky. Gur was stone. They were surrounded by wretched, horrid gith.
He did not let her throw a blade again. She did not care. Words, she knew instinctively, could be a weapon. The little girl was intent on learning all she could. It was not only from Hrahragh, though—as many as he gave her, he was still under his own limitations. Nothing daunted, Maevyn began looking elsewhere for answers.
First she seized on Grymawk: after their shared experience with the eagle he was not unfriendly and he liked to talk well enough. Simple two-word exchanges, however, proved difficult. Running lists of words, one against the other, and pairing those in the Common Tongue with their Orkish equivalents was not Grymawk's idea of good conversation. He soon told her to shut up and get lost.
Maevyn's interest in learning their tongue had not gone unnoticed by the rest of the Orcs, though. At this point an unexpected volunteer stepped forward: Mushog, another of the tall Uruk-hai. Surprisingly, he seemed happy to teach her anything she wanted. Even unprompted he would name things for her. Maevyn couldn't believe her luck! In her eagerness, she missed the wicked grin attending many of his answers…
"Ah, mir pau-at dagrishurr!" declared Maevyn when Leni passed her the drinking skin. It was a hot day and they had been walking for a while: she was looking forward to quenching her thirst.
The Elf girl, who had just taken a sip, choked and sputtered. The Orcs immediately before and behind them started laughing.
"What?" said Maevyn, confused. "What is it?"
"Maevyn, you just said…"
Leni bit her lip. "Never you mind. Just…it is better that you do not say it again."
"Nar, don't hold back," said Rukshash, still snorting with amusement. "Tell us more about how much you love goat-piss."
"…I didn't say that!" said Maevyn indignantly. They only laughed again and her face burned with the slow, horrible conviction that this was, in fact, exactly what she had said. But she had practiced that phrase, waiting for the opportunity to use 'water' in a sentence. How…?
"Mushog…" she realized under her breath.
"Yes?" He called drolly from several Orcs behind, hearing her easily with his pointed ears.
Maevyn gritted her teeth in a fierce scowl. "What's 'water'?" she asked Leni tersely.
The Elf girl said nothing.
"Water? Skai! Better to drink the goat-piss!" declared Rukshash. "Nar jut pau—poshak shafrenaum jut-ishi. I don't drink water, not when I can help it. Fish fuck in it."
"I like water well enough," said Grymawk. "Better in this heat than beer. On a day like this, beer just makes me thirstier."
At this a debate sprang up: water or beer on a warm sunny day? Unlike Grymawk, most of the regular Orcs were inclined towards beer, largely as a means of coping with the effects of daylight. "Beer makes you warmer," Shrah'rar summed it up nicely, "but you don't care as much." On the other hand the Uruk-hai, when they were up and doing, preferred something that would not muddle their senses. The conversation was effectively routed when Pryszrim volunteered that he liked milk.
There wasn't even laughter. There was just silence. At length, Grushak spoke up. "Just where the fuck have you been getting milk?" He had a mental image of Pryszrim sidling up, Shrah'rar-fashion, alongside an unsuspecting heifer.
"I find buckets of it sometimes when we're on a raid," said Pryszrim, encouraged by the fact that, for a change, they weren't laughing at him. This should, of course, have been a warning.
"Buckets. Of milk," Grushak repeated.
"It's good," he said defensively. "Especially when it's still frothy from the milking."
"When it's still frothy..." The big Orc had a strange look on his face. Suddenly he snickered.
"What?" asked Pryszrim.
"Here now, how do you know that's milk?"
"He asked how you know it's milk," said Mushog. "I mean, if you're just randomly drinking out of strange buckets…."
"But what else would it be?" asked Pryszrim, scratching his head. Grins of malicious glee were passing amongst his fellows at this point. It fell to Nazluk, always delighted by the bearing of ill tidings, to suggest a different possibility. "Nar," said Pryzrim, shaking his head, "it was white just like milk, I swear it was." What Nazluk said couldn't possibly be true. Semen, after all, was black.
"You idiot," said Nazluk, "animal spunk is white! Isn't that right, Shrah'rar?"
Shrah'rar, skeptical, began, "Yes, but it's pretty easy to tell spunk apart from—" Nazluk glared at him and he quickly said, "Yes, white, just like milk."
Pryszrim was looking ill.
"Don't know what you're so upset about," Rukshash scoffed. "Garn, you were happy enough to drink it when you thought it was milk. They both come out of a cow…er, out of kine, at any rate."
Traumatized, the gullible Orc had begun to moan softly. They laughed and continued to torment him with false comfort, and with loud musings on why a farmer might keep horse or bull ejaculate in a bucket.
Maevyn, who understood little of what was being said, both because of her age and because the conversation moved in and out of Orkish, tried determinedly to follow the sense of it. All she knew was they were talking about something nastier than either goat urine or water. Eleluleniel, unfortunate enough to understand considerably more, walked close-mouthed and silent, her eyes fixed on the way ahead. Conversations such as this were a large part of why she did not want to teach Maevyn any of their speech—though it was true the Orcs were filthy in any tongue….
Around noon they came to a river. The Orcs were aware before they reached it, catching the scent of running water up ahead. Passing through the last of the trees that hid it from their sight, Bragdagash called a halt and they stopped and stood on the mossy embankment, gazing with varying degrees of interest upon the river slipping by before them. It was not overly broad, perhaps some ten yards across. Tree cover shaded either side, but sun shown brightly on the middle way and there the water glimmered greenly. It flowed so smoothly it looked utterly still.
Bragdagash picked up a stick and threw it out into the river. Marking where he began, he kept pace on the bank with the stick as it floated along, counting under his breath as he went: "Ash, shun, gakh…krak, djor…" Reaching ten, he decided that it had not traveled all that far. "Current's not bad," he said, strolling back to address the others. "We'll stop here for a bit, have us a little swim."
"Fuckin' all right!" Mushog crowed. "I haven't had a bath in ages!"
"Really? I hadn't noticed," his Chief commented dryly.
"D'you reckon there's pike in there?" Kurbag had stepped up to the edge and was peering down into the silty water.
"We'll find out soon enough," said Mushog, shedding his tunic. Hrahragh had already divested himself of loincloth and chain mail shirt and now strode purposefully into the water, quite nude. Mushog, fumbling with the lacing at the front of his breeches, grimaced in good-natured resentment at the other Uruk. There was something to be said for traveling light.
While the three Uruk-hai and one half-Uruk assayed the river, their fellows on the shore eyed it with distaste. Orcs hold no love for swimming, nor for bathing, nor, indeed, for anything involving their immersion in water. Most Orcs are not made for it, built as they are with squat dense bodies that make keeping afloat a challenge. Nor were such activities their custom when generation upon generation of cavern-bred Orcs had it pounded in to steer well clear of water.
For water there was aplenty in the hidden recesses of the world. Ageless bodies of brackish water stood in silent, dripping caverns. Underground trickles made their way through earth and loam till they came to carve their unhurried, inexorable passage through living stone; underground streams fed fathomless seas where cavefish swam, their eyes grown over with scales in blackness no eyes might hope to penetrate; also there were other things more slimy than fish. Orcs did not go lightly there, where strange shapes heaved themselves up over the edge of chiselled shorelines, and made wet glimmering paths on silent stone: paths that meandered and led back into the dark pools from whence they had come.
No, it did not pay to go swimming in the dark, and the Orcs liked water warmed by nasty noonday sun no better. Besides, generation upon generation of cavern-bred Orcs had developed their own brand of personal hygiene.
"Let's break out the oil then, boys," said Grushak. He looked at Maevyn and his eyes narrowed. "Oi, what are you about, eh?"
Maevyn had made a funny little squeak when the Uruk-hai began stripping down in front of her, and had immediately trained her eyes on the leafy branches overhead. "What?" she asked, still staring skyward.
He growled and cuffed the back of her head. "Knock it off," he said, "and put that crap down, and give me that pack you're wearing." Sullenly she began removing the various articles of equipage he had piled on her earlier; Grushak, grown impatient, yanked her to him and began pawing through the pack in question. She squirmed and stood taller, clearly unhappy with the strain on her armpits. He ignored this and rooted around until he found what he was searching for. Withdrawing the small clay vial of oil, he released Maevyn with a grunt.
She pulled away as quick as she was able, turning and glaring at Grushak. Then she looked around at the other Orcs and saw that they too were removing similar vials from their gear and withdrawing to comfortable places back in the heavier shade, where there would be no chance exposure to sunlight.
Out in the river, Kurbag had discovered some soap root growing wild along the bank. "Here," he called over to Mushog, "something to soap your dick with, and don't say I never did anything for you."
"Shit, I hold no truck with this lathering nonsense," said Mushog. "That's for those snagas up on the bank. Plain old water's good enough for me."
"'Snagas', is it?" came a voice from the shade. Rukshash jeered at Mushog: "Water's the stuff for you, eh? You're cocky now, friend, but just wait until one of those pike in there has a nibble on something near and dear to you."
"The only pike in this river is me," said Mushog with a predatory grin, and he knifed sideways into the water.
Rukshash laughed. "Did you hear that? You'd best be watching yer arse, Kurbag."
"Believe me, I am," muttered Kurbag. Sudsing his tough hide, he kept an eye on the faint eddies where Mushog had submerged. He had bathed in the Uruk's company before. Mushog pinched.
On the bank, Maevyn was cringing. The regular Orcs were also taking off their clothes but were not getting in the water—and some of them were completely naked. It was not a pretty sight, and there seemed to be nowhere safe for her to turn her eyes. Feeling insecure, she looked to Leni, but Leni was nowhere to be seen. Alarmed, she cast about for the Elf girl urgently, her frantic eyes passing over dark bodies in varying stages of undress before she realized that Leni must have taken the opportunity to quietly slip away. Feeling abandoned and betrayed, Maevyn hugged herself miserably. Her reluctant gaze wandered back to Grushak.
The big Orc had stripped to the waist. Focused on the task at hand and unmindful of anything else, he spilled some of the oil from his vial into one hand and began to smear it on his arm, working the greasy stuff thoroughly into his skin. He oiled the full length of his arm, from shoulder to elbow and the crook of his elbow, elbow to wrist and the back of his hand, and the underside of his arm as well. Maevyn stared all the while, wondering what he was doing. Then, taking up a curious curving metal implement, he positioned it at the top of his shoulder, and she gasped in horror as he slowly flayed the length of his arm.
Or seemed to. A broad gray peel curled up and over the top of the scraper, and Maevyn thought at first that he was taking his skin off. It wasn't the Orc's hide, though. It was a thick scum of grime and sweat and dead skin that he had scraped away, in a single unbroken shaving, from shoulder to elbow.
Oil there was as well as water in the deep places of the world, and it was this the Orcs had learned to use instead, smearing it on themselves and then scraping the loosened filth from their bodies.
"Ahhh...time enough it's been, and no mistake." Maevyn, still in shock, looked at Rukshash just as he dropped his trousers, and just in time to see something that she really had not wished to see. She closed her eyes and whimpered softly.
Rukshash glanced at the girl and snorted. "Here, what's your problem? Never seen a dick before?" He cackled at her obvious discomfort. Stepping out of his trousers, he eased down onto his haunches with a sigh, his bent legs sprawled before him. Being older, it was easier for him to start at the bottom and work his way to the top. He poured some oil into his hand and spat in it before rubbing the stuff together between his palms.
"Why do you do that, anyway?" rumbled Grushak.
"Makes it go further, of course." Rukshash ran the heels of his palms over his thighs, massaging the crude mixture into his leathery skin. "Besides, they say that there is nothing better than your own emissions to open up your pores. I'd jerk off first, but spit is quicker. Great Eye, but I have needed this…" He groaned and leaned forward, massaging his sore calves.
Maevyn, knowing that she was going to have to open her eyes sooner or later, opened them and was relieved to see nothing more disturbing than the old Orc's back and skinny shoulders. She looked around again, hoping to find that Leni had come back from wherever she'd gone off to, but the Elf girl had not returned.
Sighing, Maevyn sat down on a stray sleeping roll and watched the river, where the Uruk-hai were swimming, their brown bodies gleaming in the sun—save for Kurbag, with his dark gray skin. This had confused her till Leni made brief explanation of his half-breed status. Maevyn wondered how that worked out: which parent had been Orc, which Uruk. She wondered what girl Orcs might look like, and if they were as ugly as boys. She had never thought about it before, but of course girl Orcs must exist or where else would new Orcs come from? Just pop out of the ground? That would be stupid.
What the Orcs were doing was disgusting, but swimming looked nice. Maevyn could not swim—she had often waded and played in the stream near her home, but the stream had not been deep enough for more. She thought that it was something she would like trying, if it weren't for the big naked Uruk-hai in the water, nastying it up...
"Garn, where's that bloody Nazluk got off to, eh?" complained Rukshash. "I need him to do my back."
"I can do your back," said Grushak.
Rukshash turned his head and give him a disparaging look. "With those great mitts of yours?" he asked skeptically. "Friend, I will fight alongside of you against any foe, but your hands are not Nazluk's. Say what you will about that one, he has a clever touch.…" Rukshash trailed off as his eye fell on the bored child gazing at the river. "Here now!" he said suddenly, making her jump. "Girl! Scrape my back."
Maevyn gawked at him. "…no!" she managed, outraged.
"What do you mean, 'No'? You're not doing anything."
"I don't wanna." She could think of few things more disgusting than scraping an Orc's back.
Rukshash smiled a slow smile. "'Don't wanna,' eh?" he murmured softly. "Oi, Grushak!"
Maevyn's eyes widened. She looked quickly at the bigger Orc.
"Hmm?" Grushak was dislodging another strip of grime.
"This little snot here says she won't scrape my back."
He lifted his head, his yellow eyes locking on Maevyn. "Do what he says, Brat."
Maevyn started to fold her arms across her chest, but when Grushak made a partial movement toward her she sprang up and stalked over to Rukshash. Grushak subsided, returning to his own scraping but keeping an eye on the pair of them.
Rukshash cackled. "Hurrr, change your mind, eh? Thought you might. Now, let me see your hand." He caught her by the arm, his nails digging into her flesh. Maevyn gritted her teeth but endured his grip. Forcing her hand open, Rukshash studied her small palm, running one gnarled finger along the creases in it. "Aye, these will do," he said. "Soft hands."
"They're getting harder," she said, glaring. She was proud of the callous she had started to develop.
"Hah! You think so, eh?" He gave a dismissive snort. Then he took his vial of oil and dripped some on her hand, and spat on it too despite her protests. He continued to grip her wrist for a moment, leering at her. "Make it good," he said, "and I might just do something nice for you some day." He licked his lips. Maevyn stared at him, feeling sick. He chuckled and released her. Placing his hands on his knees he leaned forward, his back curved and anticipatory.
Extremely unhappy, Maevyn got behind Rukshash and stared at the terrain before her. Closing her eyes she took a deep breath, then opened them again. It hadn't gotten any prettier. His skin was like a toad's, rough and irregular, and he had a number of boils. A gang of vicious weal-like scars crisscrossed his back: the aftermath of a bad flogging, or more than one. The vertebrae of his spine jutted out as he hunkered further forward, making an impatient noise in his throat; the flesh at his sides folded in deep leathery creases. Rukshash had a paunch, but from behind he looked almost emaciated.
Gingerly she placed her hand against his back. It was hot and abrasive to the touch: gritty almost. She began to move her hand in a circle, working the oil into his hide as she had seen Grushak do. "Both hands if you please," came the mocking voice of Rukshash. Irritated, she rubbed her hands together, before, placing both against his back, she started to scrub harder. The Orc clucked disapproval: "Now now. Gentle is as gentle does." She grimaced and slowed her pace, returning to the circular motion she had made before, this time with both hands.
Rukshash didn't say anything for a while. Then he moaned. "Lower," he murmured, "go lower." Maevyn gave up on defiance. Kneeling on the ground behind him she leaned forward, continuing to rub the oil into his back. When she went lower she found a place at the small of his back where the muscles beneath were bunched and tight: instinctively she kneaded with the balls of her fingers and the heels of her hands until those tight muscles quivered and relaxed. Rukshash whimpered, sounding almost as if he were in pain. "Ohhhhhh…that's nice…." he said hoarsely.
Maevyn froze. With a clenched jaw she finished working the oil into his skin. "Done," she said abruptly. "I can go now, right?" She was getting up, not waiting for permission.
Rukshash swiveled to face her: "Not a chance." Picking up the scraper on the ground beside him, he extended it to her. She started to reach for it and he pulled it away, his good eye narrowing. Perhaps he had noticed the sudden gleam in her own eyes. "Have you used one of these before?" She stared at him in sullen silence. Watching her, he thwacked the implement against his hand. "It's blunt, see? Doesn't cut. Now, you could try to use it like a knife, and if you did it might even hurt me a little. Mostly, though, I would just be annoyed. You wouldn't want to annoy old Rukshash, would you?" Maevyn was stubbornly silent. At length she shook her head. Smirking a little, he handed the scraper to her.
Maevyn studied the implement briefly. The 'blade' of the scraper was of some black, dull-looking metal: curving, flat, set in a cracked wooden handle. It had edge enough to lift and scoop away excess oil and dirt. It was also, as Rukshash said, not something she could use as a weapon. Not after what he had said, anyway, when she knew that he was watching for her to do so. Laying the curve of the scraper against his back, she slid it down experimentally. A long shaving of gray scum curled up and over the back of her hand. Maevyn stopped what she was doing immediately to shake it off but it dangled like an obscene gray slug—gagging, she shook her hand until it fell away.
She jumped up and threw the scraper to the ground. "No! I'm not doing this any more!"
"Oh Gru-shak…." sang Rukshash in a lilting voice.
Behind Maevyn, she heard the big Orc growl a warning. Slowly she knelt again. Trembling a little in anger and disgust, she picked up the scraper.
Rukshash settled forward again with a warm chuckle. The scraper licked his back in a satisfying stroke, followed by a second just as good. His skin tingled a little as long-stifled pores were opened and began to breathe. Eyes half shut in a kind of floating bliss, Rukshash thought of Nazluk's clever hands. He thought with some amusement that, with a little practice, Grushak's brat could be even better than Nazluk.
When they stopped Nazluk had eased his pack off his shoulders with the rest of them, looking forward to a rest. The sight of the Uruk-hai taking to the water earned a snort of derision from him, particularly when he saw Kurbag heading in as well. Just about everything that Kurbag did annoyed him, really, but there was no denying that this swimming thing was particularly obnoxious.
He doesn't even have their skin; he has ours. He should barely be able to stand the sun, much less relish it!
Cupping and scooping, Kurbag poured a casual handful of water over one shoulder, spilling silver down the dark slope of his back. Nazluk's mouth went dry as dust. His fingers twitched at his sides.
Lip curling suddenly, contemptuously, the Orc turned away from the river, reaching into his pack for the oil he kept there. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a slender figure slipping quietly into the trees. No one else appeared to notice. Nazluk's eyes narrowed and he very nearly barked an order for her to stop. Then he smiled unpleasantly. No. He had already removed his boots, and his tread was light enough when he meant it to be. No, he would follow her. He wanted to see where she was going, and what she was about.
She walked and was glad of solitude, of unmolested movement as she passed through soft tree-murmur. There were no coarse words, no cruel hands, only the quiet doings of wood-life: distant birdsong, small rustlings in the undergrowth, the faint sound of the river slipping by through the trees to her left, just out of sight. The Orcs did not bathe often—when they did, she always took the first opportunity to put some distance between herself and them. It was safer that way, so that the combination of their nakedness and her presence did not give them any ideas. It also afforded her a chance to bathe on her own, if she could find a place nearby.
She was lucky and came upon just what she was hoping for: a creek, a little tributary of the river, not too far from where she started walking. It was knee-deep and quite clear, not like the silty water of the river, and she could see the smooth stones of the creek-bed as if through glass. Eleluleniel knelt. Sliding her hand into the water, she lifted a palmful and brought it to her mouth, and held it behind her lips, and tasted how good it was after weeks of water from musty drinking skins or, when she was truly desperate, heavily diluted Orc-draught.
Still kneeling, she bent and splashed water over her face, once, twice, thrice. The water was cool and good on her skin and she was glad to feel the dirt lift away, allowing her pores to breathe. She sloshed it over her bare arms until they were smooth and white, and looked at her pale skin wistfully. It wasn't often that she was able to wash herself in this fashion, and it was long since she had been able to take any great care of her body and appearance. She wished that she might step into the creek and crouch low, immersing to her shoulders, washing herself all over. But getting her clothes soaked and staying in them was folly, while removing them altogether was an even more troubling prospect. There were still Orcs nearby.
She compromised, stepping out of her battered shoes and into the creek, seating herself on the mossy edge. With tightened lips she inched down lower: closing her eyes, she dashed water between her inner thighs until she felt clean. Then she sat back again, drawing the folds of her ragged dress down over her thighs, and was content to remain thus for a time, her eyes still closed. Somewhere in the trees a woodlark sang, its unearthly trill making her smile. She sat feeling the cool suck of the water around her legs and sighed for the simple pleasure of it.
It wasn't often she was able to wash. She was grateful for what she had. She even hummed for a little while but stopped, feeling as if this were too much, as though she indulged in luxury.
After a time she thought of Maevyn and felt guilty. She really hadn't forgotten the other girl, but had wanted some time to herself—away, too, from Maevyn's increasing strangeness and roughness. It distressed her to see Maevyn becoming thus…yet, it was not good to leave her alone long in the company of the Orcs who made her so.
Eleluleniel rose, not without regret, and stepped up onto the bank. She stood a moment, feeling the air cool on her wet legs, before slipping into her shoes. Turning the way she had come, she froze as she saw an all-too-familiar figure leaning against a tree, arms folded across his chest.
"By the Dark Lord. What is that reek?
She stared at him, feeling helplessly, horribly cheated. Disappointment left her undone. Her interlude beside the creek was utterly spoilt; the peace, the solitude of her brief escape, the quiet beauty of her surroundings—they had never been real. He had obviously been there and watching for some time.
"Trying to wash him off, Elf? I can still smell him on you," the Orc said, his eyes glittering with malice.
She didn't say anything.
"Oh yes, his musk is all over you. Almost strong enough to cover up your own woodsy green scent, Elf. But not enough, oh no, not quite strong enough for that."
"What do you want, Nazluk?" Eleluleniel asked quietly, though she knew that saying anything would provoke him.
"What do I want?" A quiver passed through Nazluk's body. He took one step towards her, then another. "You want to know what I want?" Six steps closed the gap between them. She stiffened, but he did not touch her, circling behind her instead. "I think you can guess what I want." She could feel his hot breath on the back of her neck. His voice was husky with excitement.
Her blood went cold in her veins. "Your strength is greater than mine," she heard herself say distantly. "There is nothing stopping you."
"That's not quite true though, is it?" he whispered. "There's our…precious…Kurbag…"
"Kurbag. He has never stopped any of you from taking me."
Behind her, Nazluk gave a harsh bark of laughter. "Take you? Where do you think I want to take you, Elf? Think I want to have you here under the trees, in these shaded day-lit hours, in this summer air that we are breathing?" His thumbs grazed her collarbone as his hands slid over her shoulders. "Far rather than my cock," he said dreamily, drawing her against him, "in the hot recesses of your body—" his hands shifted to encircle her neck, "—would I sink my hungry knife in your soft innards. I would press it—" his calloused fingers kneaded her smooth skin, "—into your belly to the hilt." In a hoarse whisper: "And deeper!" His grip tightened briefly, then loosened, and his hands chafed her throat gently. "I would rather bury my blade in you than my cock. I would rather hear your squeaking stop, than hear it accompany my grunting. Take you, little Elf?" He laughed again darkly. "I want to kill you, not fuck you."
Eleluleniel felt sick. She closed her eyes, trying to will her heart to beat more slowly as it fluttered frantically in her chest. The Orc continued to hold her against him. She heard his slow inhalation and shivered as he exhaled.
"Ahhh." He chuckled softly in her ear. "Frightened? Dear little fool. Didn't you hear what I said? There's Kurbag, and Great Eye knows why, but that one has some kind of fixation on you and he's bigger than I am. Killing you outright might prove detrimental to my health, and I don't like to risk that. Maim you, maybe?" A jagged claw scraped her cheek, making her flinch. Nazluk's breathing was ragged. "Pretty little Elf. Perhaps if you weren't so pretty. He might not like you so much if you weren't so pretty…." His hand dropped to cup her right breast. The gesture was coldly nonsexual, which made it somehow more disturbing. "If I ripped your tit off, now…that wouldn't be pretty…." His hand flexed and she could feel his talons pricking.
She was trembling uncontrollably now, and when he released her abruptly she fell. He walked around to stand in front of her, and she stared at the ground, her hands clutching at loose soil and loam. She could feel the aura of hostility he emitted, radiating like waves of heat from his body: a hateful savagery he was keeping barely under control.
"With my luck the scars would only make him hornier," he muttered. She looked up to find his eyes fixed on her but unseeing, his ugly Orkish features twisted with a deep disgust that made them even uglier.
Somehow, that blank gaze inspired a foolhardy courage in her. "Kill me, then," she whispered. There was silence. Nazluk's sour eyes refocused on her. "Kill me," she said again, more firmly. "You want to. Use your knife. Slit my throat." Her voice rasped oddly in her ears. "Look you. I will not struggle." She pushed herself shakily to her knees, squeezing her eyes shut and craning her head back to offer easier access.
Stillness. A heavy snort. She opened her eyes to see him shaking his head slowly, a humorless half-smile on his thin lips. "Little liar. Lie to yourself if you must, but don't lie to me. If you really wanted to die, you'd be dead by now." He turned and walked away.
Mir pau-at dagrishurr. "It is good to drink goat-piss."
Nar jut pau—poshak shafrenaum jut-ishi. "I don't drink water—fish fuck in it." Credit goes to W. C. Fields: I only made it Orkish.
Ash, shun, gakh…krak, djor… "One, two, three…five, six…"
…also there were other things more slimy than fish. "There are strange things living in the pools and lakes in the hearts of mountains: fish whose fathers swam in, goodness only knows how many years ago...also there are other things more slimy than fish. Even in the tunnels and caves the goblins have made for themselves there are other things living unbeknown to them that have sneaked in from outside to lie up in the dark." J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.