1. Employee Review
Angmar, the mighty First among the Nine, skulked out of Sauron's Chamber as if he had been kicked by a mûmak.
"You go next," Seventh of Nine urged Fourth.
"N-n-no; do not make me," Fourth whined.
"Such a crybaby," Third said with appropriate scorn. "Come, Second, shall we set the example?"
"This time, you may have the sole advantage;" Second replied, and stepped behind Third.
"Hsssst, what a lot of ninnies, one would think you were still Men!" Third spoke his contempt. Sixth and Fifth shivered, holding claw-like hands together in an attitude that looked wretchedly prayerful. Ninth hung back, with bent head; and Eighth had curled up in the corner, sucking his bony thumb. Fools!
Third smoothed his tattered cloak and strode into the dark chamber. There, he bowed low before the ebon throne of their Dread Lord.
The black shimmer that signified Sauron's living Presence emitted a disturbingly pleasant voice. "Ah, it's Third, is it not?"
"Yes, Dread Lord."
"Is it really true that while Sixth through Ninth were lost in the wild somewhere, you and the others managed to let my Ring slip from your grasp on that miserable hill?"
"We were opposed, Dread Lord."
"Ah…yes." Cold laughter emanated from the Presence. "You were opposed by four scared halflings and a lone Ranger. Are you a Ringwraith or a tax collector?"
Third would have liked to suggest that his Dread Lord face that particular lone Ranger all by his Dread Self. But then, his Dread Lord did not have to wear robes and mantles that could easily catch fire from a brand wielded rather fiercely by the vicious woodsman. And, as Third knew from over four thousand years' experience, to speak up at this juncture would have been unwise.
Too late! The Presence read his mind. Third quailed inwardly at the menace in his Dread Lord's chuckle. "I will indeed face that meddlesome Ranger one day. He and his accursed people shall be crushed, after I retake my Ring - which you failed to seize, even when the thieving Shire-rat practically handed it to you by putting it on his finger."
"Forgive your Servant, most Dread Lord;" Third asked, rather stiffly. He wondered if Angmar had weaseled out of the blame for the debacle; and what lies the ever-scheming First of the Nazgûl had told their master.
"Mmm. Not today, Third." The tone of his Dread Lord's voice turned soft now, almost purring, which surely promised merry hell to pay. "I think it is time for you to undertake a Positive Motivation Seminar."
Not that! The pride of the Nazgûl finally failed him. Third moaned: "I beg thee, Dark Master, no! Be merciful to thy minion." He dropped quickly to his knees, which creaked at the sudden pressure.
"Oh, Gothmog!" The Presence whistled. The chief of Barad-dûr Employee Relations, a tall Man wearing the gold-chased jet of the Black Númenoreans, bounded into the chamber and grinned toothily. "Escort Third of Nine to the White Room."
Sweet Darkness! "No. Please. Not the White Room! I shall hack off the heads of a hundred West-Men in your honor if you will spare me, Dread Lord!"
"Too late; Angmar already promised. Gothmog, take him."
"My pleasure to serve Thee, Lord of All."
No escape! Third rose and followed. Gothmog was a filthy bootlicking maggot! Third suddenly and shamefully realized that he would happily lick Sauron's boots to avoid punishment; that is, if the Dread Lord could actually wear boots. Alas, since the loss of his Ring, Sauron could not incarnate for more than a few hours, and brought out his damaged body only in pretense, feigning the guise of his own messenger, to see through fleshly eyes. Third never understood why their Dark Master bothered with a body at all. Sauron was more than powerful enough in his shadow form; and the rain need never bother him without bones to feel the damp.
The Man now led Third into the room with ghastly white walls, and chained him into a stone chair before the block where was inset their Lord's great black Seeing-Stone. Third's teeth chattered in anticipatory fear. Gothmog bore down on the palantír, which hummed to life, fire flashing in its depths. Third began to thrash in terror. He tried to turn his head away, but Gothmog seized Third by what was left of his neck, and forced him to stare into the Stone.
Unbearably cheerful sounds trilled out of the stone, battering Third's senses like the clatter of larks. He was undone! Third wailed out his misery as he heard the notes of incorruptible goodness in a distant song, captured and relayed by Morgoth-knew-what-truly-foul-devilry:
Hey dol! Merry dol! Ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! Hop along! Fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!
The verse, of course, was sung by Tom Bombadil; so J.R.R. Tolkien wrote it, as he wrote and the Mighty Nine and Sauron too. And of course, the Tolkien Estate owns them all. No profit is intended by this vignette, though it is hoped that the piece will generate a few giggles.
Gothmog's name is mentioned only once in LOTR. He is the lieutenant of Morgul, who takes command of the Witch-King's forces after the latter meets his end. Gothmog's race is never revealed, though it has been theorized that he was a Man.
No Ringwraiths were harmed in the making of this story.
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.