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Old 07-29-2003, 09:12 PM   #27
The Saucepan Man
Corpus Cacophonous
 
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: A green and pleasant land
Posts: 8,467
The Saucepan Man has been trapped in the Barrow!
The Eye

As the sun hesitantly peeped out from behind a cloud, bathing the crumbling cavities of Minus Teeth in a reddish-orange glow redolent of its erstwhile combustion, the ambience of the Land of Shadowy Deals changed not one jot. For it was a land of perpetual twilight. Remorselessly, a thick black and stomach-churningly noxious cloud of smoke poured out from Odouruin spreading across the dread realm and creating a gloomy pall that choked out all but the faintest of light. It was, in short, a typical day in Mordough.

A cruel wind howled down from the remote, disinterested peaks of the Ephel Dűwot, plummeting down the mountainous crags like some suicidal Warg gratuitously dragging a hapless would-be King over a precipitous chasm. Finding itself at the foot of the mountain range and pausing momentarily to recover its composure, it proceeded to sweep across the poisoned wasteland of the Plateau of Gorgonbreath before reaching the eyesore that was the Tower Block of Barát-Höm. Then, whistling gleefully as it went, it spiralled haphazardously up the frightful citadel, past the forbidding towers and minarets populated by countless accursed executive assistants, administrators and middle-managers, until finally it petered out from sheer exhaustion atop the shuddersome skyscraper. There, suspended between two baleful towers, a single nostril hung ominously below the gloomy mantle of smog, red and enflamed, flaring and sniffling and smelling the foetid air, ceaselessly searching for the scent of rent Ent.

And there too a small, hunched figure struggled in the merciless gale frantically trying to bring under control an arrangement of metal rods attached to the top of the Dark Tower Block. The figure was swathed from head to foot in a large and ill-fitting black cloak, hooded to conceal its head, and its feet were clad with two misshapen and equally ill-fitting boots. As the figure toiled to manoeuvre the infernal device, a frightful disembodied voice, reminiscent of a thousand well-manicured fingernails scraping down a hundred blackboards, could be heard above the howling wind.

“Left a bit … no, too much … right … right a tad more … no, too far again … down a bit. That’s it! Right there!”

The pitiful figure carefully removed his gnarled, stumpy hands from the contraption and turned towards the steps leading down into the dark interior of his Master’s fearful residence. The ghastly voice rang out once more.

“Now, Soregum, return to my office. For there is work to be done.”

Soregum, for that was the unfortunate fellow’s name, groaned inwardly. Having spent the last hour struggling to fix the reception on his Master’s Satel-antir, he had hoped for a quiet moment to himself. He had been looking forward to charging his pipe with some Old Toothrot, smuggled in only yesterday from the Mire, and to feasting on the insanely sugary sweetmeats that he had picked up on his last errand to Minus Teeth. He paused and allowed himself a moment’s pleasure at the misfortune that had so recently befallen that city and its accursed dentists, before the misery of his current predicament once more intruded rudely upon his thoughts. And not for the first time, he found himself wishing that he was once again back in his ...

“Soregum! Where are you, you lazy, good-for-nothing toerag?”

The ghastly voice shattered his reverie and, carefully piecing it back together again for future reference, and hitching up his cloak so as to avoid any unwanted mishaps, he headed down the steps.

*********************************

As Soregum approached his Master’s Chamber, the ludicrous sound of singing and whistling reached his ears.

Some things in death are bad,
They can really make you sad,
Other things just make you maim and kill.
When your body turns to gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle,
And this’ll give your dead heart quite a thrill.

And …

Always look on the bright side of death.
Always look on the light side of death.


Rounding the corner, Soregum almost bumped into the three Nazgűl who were the source of the incongruous melody. Waving cheerfully at him as he passed, Brrrobert, Geeeeeorge and Ssssam continued with their song, swaying in unison as they draped their ghostly arms over one another’s shoulders.

If you’re sad your flesh is rotten,
Then there’s something you’ve forgotten,
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
Although you are decayed,
Don’t be bitter wraiths.
Lifeless lips can whistle. That’s the thing.

And …

Always look on the bright side of death.
Always look on the right side of death.

For when you are deceased
Mounted on a fell beast,
You must always face the wraith world with a smile.
Forget about your Ring,
Just flash a deathly grin.
Enjoy your lifeless life in proper style.

And …

Always look on the bright side of death.
As you knock them out with your Black Breath.


Shaking his head sadly at the state of modern minions, Soregum entered his Master’s Office, the last strains of the Nazgűl’s dire ditty fading into the gloom as he shut the door behind him.

Always look on the bright side of death.
Always look on the bright side of death ...


Surveying the dismal chamber, Soregum spotted the familiar shape of his Master sitting, as always, with his back to the door in his plush, black leather, executive armchair. Môgul was facing the great glowing orb of his Satel-antir and gently stroking a small, white, furry creature which combined the least attractive features of a lemming and a hyena and which perched poisonously on his lap, or whatever it was that was serving him as a lap at that moment. Môgul was habitually swathed in a dark mist and so it was as ever difficult to discern his features with any precision, a matter of some relief to Soregum since Môgul had embraced his re-discovered metamorphic potential with zeal and was not averse to assuming some quite grotesque and alarming guises.

“Ah, Soregum. At last. You know Greedhog.” His Master’s Voice rasped within his head in a fashion that would have been comparable to a needle scratching across the face of a gramophone record, had such things existed.

A shadowy arm (or was it a tentacle) gestured in the general direction of the sallow-faced Korprat-Loyer with whom Môgul was currently in conference. Soregum shuddered. He didn’t care much for Loyers.

“We are almost done.” Then, addressing the servile legal adviser, Môgul continued, “So it is accomplished.”

“Yesss Master,” Greedhog hissed obsequiously. “Our agentsss in what is left of the Cssitibank have finalised the loan proposal.”

“And the old fool fell for our little ploy?”

“Oh yesss. Naming our Denturian construction company AAA Aaardvark & Sons worked a treat. As anticipated, the witless Proctor picked out the first name that he came across in the Cel-antir Directory. They are on their way as we ssspeak. Their appointment with the Proctor is at two-thirty. And when the bridgework is done and their outrageously over-sized invoice comes in, he will have no option but to accept the loan that our agentsss have offered him. With Grundor’s finances the way they are, it will only be a matter of time before he defaultsss.”

“Enabling us to call in our fixed charge over the city. Excellent. Minus Teeth will soon be ours.” And with this, Môgul let out his trademark villainous laugh, although its effect was somewhat spoilt by the apparent absence of anything resembling a mouth within his latest incarnation. “You have done well, Greedhog. But leave us now.”

As Greedhog withdrew smugly into the shadows, Môgul waved another indeterminate appendage over the Satel-antir and images immediately appeared within it. Soregum could make out the fair figure of a golden haired Elf shieldmaiden carrying with seemingly inordinate care a simple wooden bow. And there were others too. A warrior with a noble, albeit it somewhat bleary-eyed, countenance, who appeared to be glaring in exasperation at his sword. Another man, with unfeasibly luxuriant flowing hair, who Soregum recognised as the son of the aforementioned witless Proctor. A mysterious figure clad in black-hooded robes with burning red eyes who appeared vaguely familiar to Soregum, although he could not quite place him. A bespectacled fellow with a bad haircut and an outfit to match. A crafty-looking Dwarf sat atop a Dragon who was quite clearly of ancient and imperial lineage. An Elf, or was he a Half-Elf, sporting a silvery-brown hairbow, whose words were apparently causing the company some discomfort. But it was the young maid who particularly piqued Soregum’s interest. Although her lineage was unclear, he nevertheless found her to be to be astonishingly cute and pretty. As he gawped in wonder at her large round blue eyes and long reddish-golden curls, the abyssmally abrasive voice once again shook him from his reverie

“Behold the Gorilla-ship!”

“Er, Gallow-ship, sire,” he ventured.

“Silence!” screeched the toe-curling voice. “They carry fragments of the Ent that was Broken, Soregum. And they will lead us to that which remains.”

“Um. Indeed they will, Oh Mightiest of the Mighty Ones.” Soregum calculated (correctly) that flattery would mask his complete ignorance of whatever it was that his Master was getting at.

“Find the best Goblin Trackers in Mordough and summon them here. I want them on the tail of the Gorilla-ship by this time tomorrow.”

“Gallow-ship, sire.”

“What?”

“Er, yes. Immediately, my Magnificently Malevolent Master. I’m right on it.”

Breathing a sigh of relief, Soregum turned to leave.

“One more thing, Soregum. You will accompany them.”

His heart sank.
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Last edited by The Saucepan Man; 03-02-2004 at 07:37 PM.
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