4. His Master's Voice
It was the home of some hobbit bigwig once, named Lotho, though what became of him no one knows. It's the stuff of idle chatter among the Orcs who guard. No one in, no one out, and if they see whiskers one is to fetch Norgush and the rest are to cover their ears.
"'Cause he's a wizard, that's what, and if he speaks you'll go to him."
"Phew, we serve the Eye. I'm not afraid of some dirty little wizard."
"Then you're a fool. He may not seem much, but he's a wizard still and has a Voice."
"If he's a wizard why should he come out? Garn. He's probably doing well enough, the old bugger, magicking in his victuals and his drink…"
Worm, says Master. I am hungry, Worm.
There is no food, Master.
But there is food, isn't there. Clever Worm. I heard you, Worm, not an hour ago. Killed the old rat, didn't you, and you were after him so long. Aren't you ashamed, Worm. Worm…did you keep none to share? None for your poor old Master?
The rats are mine. You said they were.
I wasn't hungry then. Worm. Dear Worm. I am so hungry now…
Worm, says Master. Worm, I am hungry.
There is nothing, Master.
Not even rats, Worm? Not even beetles? What do your crawling kind feed on, Worm? Do you swallow the dust and the air?
Worm? Where did you bury Lotho, Worm? In the garden or the cellar…?
Even his Master's Voice has left him, become the querulous tones of a frightened old man. Gríma goes down to the cellar, his face wet with tears. He plants the blade in the earth that he packed down so carefully, leans in and sobs, and starts to dig.
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.