T'was The Night Before Helm's Deep
1. T'was The Night Before Helm's Deep....
“Ahem.” The orc, mindless creation of evil, cleared its throat expectantly.
The hum of conversation in the huge vaulted chamber ceased. The employees of Barad-dûr Enterprises Inc. Interrogations Division (“minions” as a definition of employment status had been recently dropped as being likely to have a detrimental effect on staff morale and as being a symbol of rampant Second Age kitsch), turned their collective gaze to the curtain-draped dais. This was black (naturally), though there had been a brief flirtation a while back with flame red in celebration of the Fall of Gondolin - to go with the natty commemorative Elf-corpse medallions.
In the sudden silence, faint screams could be heard as the normal day, well night, swung into operation. A proud smile touched the twisted lips of the huge orc who stood at the lectern, a thick pile of parchments held in his hands and he sighed happily. At least one side of the Interrogations Division was functioning, albeit in training mode - on its own staff.
This fact, rather than any respect for their Masters (sorry, Line Managers), was what had got the attention of the assorted orcs, goblins, trolls and the occasional Easterling who was on the Accelerated Promotion Scheme, seated in the huge, dark, dank, shadow-filled, creepy, haunting (you get the general idea……), audience chamber.
And that was how it should be, thought the orc (whose ID badge proudly proclaimed his name and rank - GOBSPIT - SUPERVISOR). There was far too much democracy in the world these days. Abject fear and utter subjugation were what this place needed, like how it was in Morgoth’s Day.
He sighed again. Those were indeed the days. When the orcs were feared the length and breadth of the dinner hall and Elves were rather obligingly killing each other (sparking a rather unpleasant sniping session between the Elf Destruction Division and the Time and Motion Committee). That was when the Interrogation Division had risen to the dizzy heights of a Partnership Venture in conjunction with the Department For New, Interesting, and Hopefully Agonizingly Painful Tortures (the DFNIHAPT).
Naturally, the two departments had always had a close working relationship. A fond smile touched the warty lips as Gobspit recalled the capture and chaining to a ridiculously steep cliff of that pesky son of Fëanor, what was his name? Maedhros, that was it. Dizzy heights indeed, he thought proudly, but not as dizzy as that long-haired hippy with the attitude had gotten until he had been rescued. Gobspit frowned - that had caused a lot of Trouble. The Previous Boss had not been best pleased with the news that the "holier-than-thou-but-with-an-unfortunate-weakness-for-making-rash promises-just-like-his-father" Elf had been rescued. And to be fair to His Supreme Evilness, it had been pretty hard to believe.
Gobspit had been there when the news had been brought. The Previous Boss had already been a bit testy about the whole Silmarilgate Situation and had not reacted very well to being told that their prime victim had been spirited away off a sheer rock face by one of his cronies. Gobspit hadn’t believed the pathetic, “But Sire, there was this giant eagle…” rubbish either.
He winced involuntarily. It had taken centuries and ridiculous amounts of industrial strength acid to get the greasy smear that had been the messenger out of the lino.
Now Gobspit sighed inwardly; evil, as a profession, was so not respected these days and the Boss was getting twitchy. It wasn’t any fun like it used to be, he had whined to his senior staff just recently (the Mouth of Sauron had been at the dentists having bridge work done, so communication had been a little tricky). Nowadays, life was a lot more complicated than singing a bit off key, he had moaned. Granted, the whole rebellion of the Noldor thing had needed careful handling - but aside from that slight hiccup with Maedhros, there had been plenty for Morgoth to gloat over.
But what had he, Sauron, got to be happy about? First, the loss of his favourite piece of jewellery, all because of some grabby little Númenorean upstart and his father’s favourite shiny toothpick (not to mention being disembodied since the Second Age); then said piece of jewellery disappears for nigh on three thousand years and subsequently falls into the hands of some inarticulate water rat; and now (the Boss had been fit to roast a shish-kebab at a thousand paces by this time), it had been filched by a three foot six, dwarf-loving…hamster! (Gobspit was sure the Boss had meant ‘Hobbit’, but he wasn’t going to be the one to mention it.) This, and the total inability of the Black Flappy Robed Ones to find the bloody thing (though they still maintained that had been due to inclement weather) …..Well, he wanted results. Oh, and a new body. And rule over all Arda . And his free gift from ‘World Domination Weekly’. Now.
Still, Gobspit shook himself and cleared his throat, this wasn’t going to get the weekly staff meeting going. A new Initiative - in anticipation of the thousands of prisoners from Helm’s Deep the department hoped to be shortly receiving - was being launched.
In association with the DFNIHAPT, they were going to shake up this war. No more screw-ups, no more failures, and absolutely no more Sundays off. The Deputy Vice-Chairman was coming to announce it personally.
Better get on with it. The Deputy Vice-Chairman, Head Black Flappy Robed One (only one down from the Boss in terms of sheer unpleasantness, and affectionately known in the Department as ‘Grumpy-Britches’), had a short temper and a tendency to cover anyone within range in projectile spittle. Gobspit shuddered, even he had his limits.
“Right,” he said in what he hoped was an impressive, carrying snarl. There were a few sniggers at the back.
He tried again. “Shut up you lot. Those who are caught not being properly respectful will be sent to the back of the queue for operating the thumbscrews if, when,” he said impressively, “we get our hands on that thrice-damned Ranger and his mates. Only those who have submitted the most imaginative memos on Pretty-Boy Elf and Hairy Ferret Torture will be considered for the position of rack operator.”
Gobspit drew himself up, quivering in dislike and injured pride (more sniggers), “And as for the interrogation of that….uncouth rabble-rouser, Aragorn, I will be personally….” (Gobspit had been at Amon Hen and was still rather bitter that he had been sacked by Saruman for being unable to tell one hamster (Hobbit!) from another.) He stopped as a chill pervaded his immediate vicinity. Gulping, he turned.
The figure which had entered the room was the Epitomy of Evil, The Supreme Servant of the Dark Forces and he was accompanied by an Aura of Blackness. A foul stench emanated from him and Gobspit winced again. Personal hygiene was not something anybody ever wanted to bring up with a Nazgûl.
He bowed deeply as a black-gloved hand waved him contemptuously aside.
The Dark-Robed Horror turned to face the now impressively attentive audience and hissed menacingly, “Unaccussssstomed ass I am to public ssspeaking…”
Nobody moved as the assembled servants of evil tried desperately to hold back hysterical laughter. Since the debacle at the Ford of Bruinen, where the demand, “Give up the halfling, She-Elf,” had been met with a reply in the somewhat damp negative (another spectacular success), the Witchking had been taking lessons in eloquence. Speculation was still rife in the halls of Barad-Dûr about exactly what the Boss had said when he caught his most favoured servant - in flagrante, one might say - with a battered and ancient copy of, “Speeches and How to Hold an Army in the Palm of Your Perfect Hand,” by G. Galad, co-authored by H. Plantagenet the Fifth.
Oblivious to the titters at the back of the room (or possibly still with water-logged hearing), the Vision of Awfulness continued.
“Now,” it hissed again with controlled menace (the result of centuries of dedicated practice), “Listen well. For the Dark Lord will tolerate no failure……”
Gobspit rolled his eyes. Talk about melodramatic. “You’re a fine one to talk mate, couldn’t find a hobbit with your eyes shut,” he thought very privately as he stared at the floor. It was going to be a long morning….There had been an unsubstantiated rumour that things were Not Going Well and that always made Grumpy Britches, well, grumpy.
Still, at least Gobspit had been reassured by the memo which had said that no members of the Interrogations Division would be sent to the Front. No Sirree. No way, no how. The Boss himself had given a one hundred per-cent, cast iron guarantee that nobody who was not already there would be sent. Nope. Definitely not. Said so in their contracts, which would of course, be honoured to the letter.
Several weeks later, at the Front, Gobspit lay in a pool of his own body fluids and looked up through fading vision. The spear currently lodged in his throat was a bit of a distraction and made speaking a trifle difficult, but he managed what he hoped was an appropriately enthusiastic groan of agony as he squinted at the scene before him.
Grumpy-Britches was looming, tall and menacing, before a Human warrior. The helm of her secrecy had fallen from her and her bright hair, released from its bonds, gleamed with pale gold on her shoulders…..and blew rather irritatingly into her mouth. With a long-suffering sigh, she spat it out and bravely stared down her foe.
The Witch-king bent above her like a cloud and his eyes glittered. Gobspit grinned (he loved this sort of thing, helpless maiden, mashed to a pulp). Then suddenly, unbelievably, the Nazgûl stumbled forward. (“Trust him to stub his toe at a time like this," Gobspit thought). The great shoulders bowed and the crown rolled away with a clang. With an embarrassingly girly shriek, the Evil passed away.
“Oh sod it,” muttered Gobspit with his last breath, “Useless bugger. No living man may hinder…I know she’s well built, but honestly…”
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.