1. Employee Review - by Raksha
Angmar, the mighty First among the Nine, skulked out of the Presence as if he had been kicked. By a Mumak.
"Your turn now" Seventh told Fourth.
"N-n-no; do not make me." Fourth whined.
"Such a crybaby" Third said scornfully. "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 scornfully. Sixth and Fifth shivered, holding clawlike hands together in an attitude that looked disgustingly prayerful. Ninth hung back, with bowed head; and Eighth had curled up in the corner, sucking his bony thumb.
Third squared what remained of his shoulders and strode into the room of the Presence. There, he bowed low before the throne of their dread lord.
The black shimmer that bespoke 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 woods 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. "Opposed. By four witless halflings and a lone Ranger."
Third would have liked to suggest that his dread Lord face that particular lone Ranger. But then, his dread Lord did not have to wear robes and mantles that could catch fire from a brand wielded rather fiercely by that vicious West-Man. And to speak up would have been…unwise.
Too late! The Presence read his mind. Third quailed inwardly as his dread Lord chuckled again in an even more menacing tone. "I will indeed face that meddlesome Ranger one day. He and his accursed people shall all perish 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, what lies the First of the Nazgul had told their master.
"Mmm. Not today, Third." The tone of his dread Lord's voice was 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! Suddenly, the pride of centuries failed him. Third moaned. "Oh dread Lord, 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-dur Employee Relations, a large Orc, bounded into the chamber and grinned toothily. "Escort Third of Nine to the White Room."
Sweet Darkness! "No. Please. I shall hack off the heads of a hundred West-Men in your honor, dread Lord."
"Too late; Angmar already promised. Gothmog, take him."
No escape. Third heaved himself up, and followed the smiling Orc, his own teeth chattering in anticipated terror.
The Orc led Third into a room with ghastly white walls, and chained him into a stone chair. Gothmog then moved to the center of the room, where was mounted their Lord's great black Seeing-Stone. The Orc bore down on the palantir, which hummed to life, fire flashing in its depths. Third began to thrash in terror.
Unbearably cheerful sounds trilled out of the stone, assaulting Third's senses like the cacophony of birds. He was undone! Third wailed out his misery as he heard the notes of pure 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!
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.