"He calls for you at Barad-dûr. He says, 'Like calls to like.'"
"A trick," whispers Saruman. "Deception…"
"To what purpose? This world is his." Norgush's eyes hold contempt the wizard does not see.
"He calls for me in truth? He does not seek my death?"
"The retinue awaits, my Lord, which would take you to Mordor."
The slain Ruffians, Saruman asks. The quarantine? Misunderstandings, Norgush assures him. Perhaps the wizard believes; perhaps he only pretends, knowing resistance is futile. He draws himself up, tall as Men are tall, and fragile. "Then do you lead, Orc, and I will follow."
They skirt the dead man at the base of the stairs, robes hauled above the bony hips like a corpse-lover's leavings. "My Worm," the whitebeard murmurs. "Your master goes now, to his Master. There is something of you in me after all, Worm…" If it weren't for the sobriety of his voice, Norgush would take it for proper Orkish humor. The body is several days old and is less than intact.
The upper floor is feces and dusty furniture. On the lintel Saruman hangs back, blinking at the mass of Orcs beyond the splintered door. "Is this my retinue?" Silence follows. In the stillness an audible whisper as one small Orc asks his fellow what a retinue is.
"He's yours," says Norgush to a group of black Mordor Orcs, and Saruman's face falls at the fetters that they hold.
"Like calls to like…" he murmurs later.
"Oi Sharkû, you keep your mouth shut. Orders are we're to gag you if your tongue wags overmuch."
He is silent. The wagon jolts and shivers over the rough road leaving Hobbiton. Varicolored eyes of Orcs, Halfling eyes like stones. Jeers rising from the sea of eyes on the road that leads to Mordor.
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.