3. Mordor, First Class
Packing peanuts and postal orcs. A different take on the Fellowship's quest… Movie-verse!
"You'll have to send us home tied up in a sack to stop us!" said the pernicious halfling, shoving aside his, Elrond Eärendilion's, perfectly pressed robes like so many curtains.
The halfling's cousin followed and they joined themselves to the seven heroic figures. What a bothersome bundle of decision-making. Why couldn't things be easy? Valar and Vaseline!
"Nine companions…" muttered he…"Nine sacks…" And the smile of Elrond Eärendilion curled from tapered ear to tapered ear.
The Gorgoroth post office was in an uproar. Ten hefty packages had arrived, postmarked and fully addressed. In a land where literacy was generally frowned upon with torture, they didn't have to deal with more than three parcels a day, and most of these they simply fed to the carrier trolls anyway because of the address' illegibleness. Now ten neatly addressed packages? This was too far. The clerk orcs bickered over who would sort the packages, leaving one dead and four with their eyes stamped shut.
Sorting was foregone. The clerk orcs began a new squabble over stamp prices and soon half, including the Chief, were dead. The largest remaining clerk claimed the title of Chief of Postage. Then the carrier trolls went on strike. This left the delivery job to the orc of littlest brawn. Cagny was his name.
He stepped gingerly through the main office's troll door and dragged his feet-claws toward the Chief's desk. "Ther big," he pointed out. The gate-like troll door slammed behind him.
"Don' care," said the new Chief of Postage.
The ten packages on the desk reached to the sky. Cagny lifted an elf-shaped one, found its weight too much, and released it so that it fell to the floor with a shatter.
"All firs' class to the Great Mountain's crack. Get movin'." The Chief demonstrated with a scimitar still clung by his predecessor's arm.
Cagny was faced with the problem of carrying ten packages larger than himself. After sulking for a day, he thought up the idea to tie them together and drag them along behind. It wasn't easy, bumping and scraping over the jagged and pitted plains of the Gorgoroth. He wept when he came to the Mountain, cursed the trolls whose job this really was, and proceeded step by torturous step. Somehow the packages felt heavier and heavier the further he ascended.
Finally, at last! The Crack. He pulled his burdens through the door and up to the sweltering chasm. He untied the smallest from the train. Cagny was not a clerk slave for a mere nothing; he could, in fact, decipher most letters. And the letters on this parcel said quite plainly, "Drop into Crack."
Cagny lifted it and held it over the fire. A rustling made him look behind and the little orc beheld a sight that made his heart stop. The packages started unpacking themselves, tearing paper, spitting out packing peanuts. Cagny squeaked, frozen with the small package held over his face, as if for protection.
A hairball and eight odd he-Men at last emerged from the wrappings: one sloppy, another old, one an evil Gondor maggot, one glittering dreadfully, and four shortlings.
"Thank you," said a funny shortling with a cleft chin. He took the package from Cagny's lifeless claws and chucked it into the fire. Whoops and hugs all around.
"Um. You checked It was still in there, yes?" the Hairball said to Cleft with an askance look.
"Well, we'll find out soon enough," said the old man.
They listened. There was a definite ker-plunk of a tower's foundation cracking. The remaining shortlings pulled bottles from their boxes.
Cagny interrupted, "Bur what's…"
"You're a hero, you know," said the old man to Cleft, who was not arguing.
"Bur…" said Cagny.
"Children will sing songs about you. Minstrels will vie to write the longest ballad," continued the old man, now patting Cleft's shoulder.
The sloppy man-creature noticed him. "How would you like to be Postmaster General of Mordor?"
Later, back west, Elrond Eärendilion read a letter postmarked in Gorgoroth and nodded in satisfaction.