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Old 09-25-2006, 07:12 AM   #241
Anguirel
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Draco's Duel

"...Those Who Must Not Be Named." Bellatrix had intoned in a voice of awe. Her pseudo-nephew raised a quizzical eyebrow.

"What? You mean...the Ithryn Luin?"

Bellatrix's handsome, hooded eyes flashed. "Silence, child!"

"The Jadis routine doesn't work on me, Auntie," Dracomir pointed out. "Now what were we talking about?"

"Boy..." Bellatrix whispered in a feminine sort of growl, her wand bared.

"Morinehtar..." Dracomir suggested,

"Crucio! Blasted worm, only Mudbloods duck! Face me like a Malfoy!"

"...and Romestamo..."

"Their names must not be uttered!"

"What, you mean Alatar and Pallando?"

Tom let out this barb before sidestepping to the left. Slightly to the right of where he had stood, the corridor, struck by a red bolt from Bellatrix's wand, imploded.

"What are you doing, Draco? Anyone could hear you! Or, more to the point, this being a secondary reality and all, read you! Stop blurting out secrets!"

"I'm quitting while I'm ahead," Dracomir replied. "Say Sayonara to your Blue friends from me. I'm well out of their racket. Oh and...Tarantallegra."

The Lord Malfoidacil's hex struck Bellatrix on her pale brow. Helpless in the magic's temporary power, she began to tango with an imaginary dance partner. Tom blew her a kiss and ran for it. She wouldn't break free for a while, but when she did he had no wish to face her...or the wrath of the paymasters he had just turned his back on.

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Old 09-27-2006, 01:28 AM   #242
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After DracoToms departure Skittles spent a great deal of time pretending to be a hawk. This involved preening her feathers; swooping down upon small rodents, breaking their necks, and eating them; and flying. Flying in this case simply being running about with her arms extended.

Hissyfit yawned wide. Lord, I am so bored, she said. She had briefly enjoyed hunting rodents with Skittles, especially as she relished swallowing the small beings whole. To achieve this feat, she first chomped on the cranium to break up the skull and made it more palatable going down. But perhaps that is too much true-to-life detail, so let us merely say that she relished the rodents, but was now full and bored.

Its not yet nightfall, Skittles told her.

So?

We must wait till nightfall to reconvene with DracoTom and make our move.

Says who?

Says the aforementioned pale wizard, thats who.

Since when do you take orders from that freak?

Skittles stopped and lowered her arms. Thats a good question, she mused. I dont take orders from anyone! Besides Roggie and Alli, anyway! And occasionally Ms Martinet! And my parents! Also, the muffin man.

The muffin man?

Yes, the muffin man. Do you know the muffin man?

The one who lives on Drury Lane?

Yes. Anyway, I dont take orders from Malfelton. So theres no need to wait till night and reconvene.

Hissyfit flicked her tail and nodded. What shall we do?

Hunt wereducks, of course.

Wreck havoc? Cause mass hysteria?

If said wrecking and causing is done to wereducks, yes. Skittles turned on her heel and stalked off down the corridor. Come along, then, we have to round up the likely suspects and jump to conclusions and make vague statements and overuse conjunctives.

Hissyfit trotted off after her, ears perked up with anticipation.
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:40 PM   #243
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Anakron ignored

"What's this about lycanthropy?" Anakron asked the Minotaur, the Dwarf, and the Barrow Wight.

They walked away, and into the mountain. Anakron stared after them in disbelief. No one ignored the Grand Anakronist. It was simply unheard of. Or, perhaps it was better to say that no one ignored the Grand Anakronist for long. Not if he could help it. He stomped after them.

~*~

Many hours later, still following the threesome as they apparently had gotten themselves completely lost, without the aid of any anakronisms(!), Anakron saw the Dwarf accosted by a little man who was clearly in a blithering rage. The man accused the Dwarf of having killed his son. Next moment (or two), the Dwarf, followed quickly by the Minotaur and the Barrow Wight, fled right by him, again as if he was not even there. Most peculiar. Have I been rendered invisible by this staff? But Panakeia could see me. Anakron shrugged. The little man charged after them, apparently taking no notice of him either.

If nobody sees me, then why should I stay here?

Anakron began looking for an exit to Mount Zoom.

After a while he heard footsteps coming from ahead of him. He wondered who it might be, and if he would be noticed. He stopped and waited.
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Old 09-28-2006, 07:37 PM   #244
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Lola sat perched gracefully and precariously on the corner of her desk, long legs extended and one ungloved long-fingered hand reaching down to test the quality of the waxing job she'd had done on her recent mission. She'd just arrived back, stopping in the office to sort through the mail even before she'd taken off her thick fur coat. It had been her idea to have a contact placed in the staff of the "Sea of Nurn Day Spa", a skilled masseuse in fact. Alli'd given her a suspicious look when she'd received the proposal, but Lola's poker face was legend. She'd calmly explained that it was an unrivaled position to overhear the words of the rich and famous, and Alli, rolling her eyes, had given in. Lola rolled her shoulders luxuriously. Debriefing had taken an especially long time this week.

When the door opened unexpectedly, Lola didn't even look up, much less cover her extended leg. She deftly adjusted the tops of her hose and garters and looked up at the man facing her from under long, thick black lashes, platinum blond hair (with brand-new honey blond highlights) falling over her eyes with its usual perfection.
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Old 09-29-2006, 02:30 PM   #245
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Igor had been standing on the balcony staring out at the scenery for a long time, but the frequent stopping and starting caused by that unpredictable thing known as a save had affected even his stomach and he began to think that perhaps he should go inside and see if the negotiations had restarted yet. Of course, for that to happen everyone would have to be in the same room, and since it took most of a day to even find all the ambassadors let alone convince them to leave off what ever it was they were doing, that probably wasn't going to happen.

As he mused Igor felt the first few drops of rain hit his head, and looked up just in time to see the skies open and a deluge of water begin to fall. He reached for his trusty umbrella, which was always kept in a pocket somewhere, but found that it had inexplicably become a missing umbrella. Well, perhaps not quite so inexplicably he thought darkly, remembering the covetous looks a certain Gondorian negotiator had been gracing the item to recently.

Turning on his good heel Igor marched back inside, for once allowing his now wet feet to slap against the floor to show his annoyance. This whole arrangement was beginning to get to him, and he just wanted to find a way to take his mind off it for a bit. Perhaps finding a good book to read, though that was generally hard considering little of a good nature had ever been assigned to this land.

Again lost in his thoughts Igor failed to notice the man in front of him until a sharp knock on the head brought him back to the present. Pressing a hand to the slowly forming lump he glared at the staff which had delivered the blow, and then allowed his gaze to fall upon the person holding it.

"You don't have to hit me with things to get my attention you know." He said, forgoing the habitual lisp and hoping the Grand Anakronist would see the humour in his words and not turn him into anything ... unnatural.
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Old 09-29-2006, 05:57 PM   #246
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Down, down, down into the valley went Panakeia, all the while tripping over flowers of many bright and cheery colors. As she went down the slope, she began to think that she had found a place where she might be, if not happy - for what happiness was there without Anakron? - at least content.

She reached the bottom. No flowers were to be seen at the bottom of the basin.

"Where have all the flowers gone?" she cried.

"Young girls picked them, every one," came a sudden reply from a not-so-young girl, wearing a wreath of flowers in her hair.

Slowly, other garlanded people approached. A circle formed around Panakeia.

"When will they ever learn?" they sang.

"Uh. I don't know." Panakeia was suddenly nervous. She didn't like being surrounded, particularly after the cab driver's frightened reaction to the valley.

"Where are you going?" another asked.

"I don't know. There is no place I'm going, really."

"Come along then. Follow the Tambourine Man." A tambourine was readily found, and a song was played, and all went following, sweeping Panakeia up in the midst of the parade.

Last edited by Celuien; 10-04-2006 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:22 PM   #247
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It was Igor. "You don't have to hit me with things to get my attention you know."

Anakron stared at the loose-eyed man in consternation. "You can see me."

"Of course I can see you!" Igor picked himself up off the ground, reinserting a wayward eyeball, reattaching his right pinky, and lastly adjusting the fit of his left ear which had been hanging precariously by a bit of flesh. Anakron forced himself not to retch.

"Oh." Anakron was momentarily at a loss.

"What's the matter? Did your invisibility potion wear off or something?"

Anakron looked at Igor, agianst his will, afraid he'd see a tooth or nose dangling. The face, thankfully, was staying in place. Except for that dratted eye.

"No. That Dwarf, Minotaur, and Barrow Wight apparently couldn't see me, so I thought that maybe I had been rendered invisisble by some aspect of the anakronism dweomer. Apparently it is not so. But if that is the case, then I was visible to them the whole time and they simply ignored me." This had all been said only half in Igor's direction; Anakron had been speaking just as much to himself. Now he eyed Igor. "But you ignored me too, at first. Why!?" Anakron raised his staff threateningly, Sylvester yowling menacingly.
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Old 10-02-2006, 01:19 AM   #248
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Aha! cried Skittles, jumping out from the shadows. I smell a conspiracy. A connection. An evil alliance, of sorts. Now what business could the two of you have to discuss in a out-of-the-way, shadowy corridor?

Anakron and Igr gave her blank stares. What are you on about? asked the Grand Anarkonist, grandly.

There are Wereducks afoot. Or should I say, aweb? Skittles informed them. And Im on the lookout for suspicious behavior. Like odd fraternization between parties not given to regular fraternization. What, praytell my pretties, are you discussing in so cloistered an area?

Invisibility, supplied Igr.

Or, being ignored, Anakron put in.

Hissyfit sauntered up and sat down next to Skittles, taking a moment to smooth down the hairs on her chest before observing, They dont look very ducky to me.

Oh? Skittles raised an eyebrow. And what exactly do you consider as ducky?

Well, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, its a duck.

Igr has been known to waddle.

Igr wrinkled his forehead in confusion. Im sorry, are you talking to me?

Skittles ignored him, attending to Hissyfit, who replied, But he doesnt have any feathers.

That doesnt mean anything during the day.

I think, Anakron said to Igr, she is speaking to her cat. Sylvestor, who had been yowling before Skittles rudely interrupted, uttered an impatient bleat to remind everyone that he was still around and he was ready to put the whammy on somebody.

Hissyfit forgot her duck-assessment for a moment and looked at the staff, her tail fuzzing out like a woolly bear caterpillar. What is that? she hissed.

Skittles shrugged. Its a cat on a stick. You act like youve never seen one before.
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Old 10-02-2006, 01:39 AM   #249
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"Did you just see someone?" asked Tollin as they came to the lower floor, "only, I could have sworn I just..." he paused as Smilog was placing furniture against the door to the stairway while Palthwait hammered against it. "It doesnt matter." They marched away as blares of insults and obscenities rolled out from behind the door. Smilog looked around, trying to work out where they were, but most of Mount Doom was the same, Roggie had not really gone into decorating in a big way.

The Barrow Wight took out a long pipe and began blowing smoke all around as they passed several casinos. Suddenly they heard a great BOOM. "The door!" cried Smilog, "he's got through! Run!" and that is what they did. The sounds of thundering footsteps reverberated around the Mountain.

"You cursed creature!" boomed Palthwait, "I shall catch you and kill you in a thousand different ways! Then I'll do it again! Just for the fun of it!" Smilog dashed into one of the closed rooms and Tollin piled things against the door. Fortunately Palthwait went right past the room, still booming and stomping. The Dwarf breathed a sigh of relief and sat on the floor, surveying his surroundings. It was full of food.

"I say," said the Barrow Wight, "this must be some sort of store room. Jolly good! I could do with a snack!" he stepped forth and stamped accidentally on a large cockroach. This was incredibly fortunate as this cockroach was the physical manifestation of the last remaining Nazgl who, after nearly spending all his life force on getting a physical form again, planned to destroy the world in a strange and weird way. He'd now have to start all over again.

"I'd like some cake," said Tollin, they all ate their fill and put as much as they could into their packs before leaving the room. Smilog looked left and right to make sure they were not being perused. It was clear. So, they dashed back to where the door had been. There was now only a giant hole in the wall edged with ash smouldering embers and bits of feathers.

"Anakronisms." muttered Smilog, "He must be one of them. I hate them." They plodded up the stairs slowly and wearily, for the food they carried was heavy. At the top, Tollin spotted Igor and Skittles talking, or, as anyone who has been in a conversation with Skittles will tell you, it was more likely that Igor was simply listening.

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Old 10-02-2006, 06:08 AM   #250
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Used by now to Skittles and her madness Igor thought it best to answer Anakron's earlier question and let Skittles and her cat come to an agreement before they spoke with her again. In any case, whatever Skittles' current state of mind, Anakron was the one talking softly while carrying a big stick, and a stick that could do some very nasty things to you at that.

"I didn't mean to ignore you." He said, hoping his still rolling eye wouldn't be taken as sarcasm. "I was just in a bad mood and wasn't looking where I was going. It wasn't until that knock on the head that I even realised anything was there."

The Grand Anakronist was watching the interplay between Hissyfit and Sylvestor with interest, and Igor wasn't sure if he'd heard him so he continued.

"I was wondering when we were going to find out what was going on after all those noises last night. Alli did pop in for a second to say she'd explain but then she disappeared again before she could."

"What noises?" Anakron asked suddenly, turning to Igor with a confused look.

"What noises? The noises that kept us all up half the night. There were screams and howls and now it seems that everyone thinks it was werewolves."

"Wereducks." Came a voice.

"Sorry, or possibly wereducks." Igor added. "I don't suppose you know anything about all this?"
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Old 10-02-2006, 06:48 AM   #251
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The spy of Mordor entered the through the door. His eyes searched the room, in hope to find Alli. This was indeed where they had parted last he saw her, there had also been a certain Ms. Martinet present, but Frej had not paid much attention to her. Being personal selected by Alli meant that he reported to no one else and he liked it that way. It gave him a certain feeling of importance, what he loved even more was being in the presences of Alli.

He was taken by surprise when he saw Lola, she was quite hard to take ones eyes off to say the least. He normally had no problem being around beautiful woman, but never had he met one where it had been quite so outspoken.

Frej forced him self to take his eyes off her and stair directly above her head, it felt like he had stood like that for ages when he finally spoke. I need to see Alli at once He had planned on a more formal way of getting his message across, but for some reason his mouth did not obey.

As he waited for her to reply, his thoughts went back to his mission and why it was so important that he found Alli at once. In fact everything Alli had worked so hard to create (or destroy) could fall apart if he did not find her soon. He had been racing on a scooter he confiscated from an orc child all day. This could be regarded as a bad move, his height taken into consideration. . .The next time I am in a hurry, I will ride and Elk He thought to him self yes an Elk that is what I need, although they can be vicious, one of the once bit my sister, Of course that was on a trip to Lebenin, where she while swimming was attacked by the rare Saltwater-Elk and there isnt much saltwater around Mordor. In fact I should make an Elk-farm where my Elk can frolic and play with other Garters. . . . The sight of Lolas garters made Frej snap out of his Elk related thoughts and after a some intense staring his thoughts returned to Alli.

He could not take the silence from Lola anymore, this was to important to be delayed any further. He had to find Alli and it had to be now. He felt the desperation gather inside him and he lost control. Frej grasped the edge of the desk and screamed in an unnaturally high-pitched tone. By flames of Roggie, dont you understand what has happened? WE ARE ALL OUT OF TEA !
He released his hold of the desk and almost collapsed against the nearest wall.

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Old 10-02-2006, 07:08 AM   #252
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Lola Revisited

Finally recovering his vague sense of direction, Dracomir Apparated to the Lady Spymaster's office. Just because he could.

He found the door half open - someone had obviously just entered - and edged his way in behind them. He then recoiled, clutching his delicate shell-like ears, as a vast blond fellow bellowed something about tea.

Reeling from the effects of noise pollution, Tom threw out an arm to steady himself, and picked himself up against the desk. He then found that he was looking straight at Lola...who was apparently being winsome to the blond yodeller.

Dracomir coughed, swallowed, assumed a look of immense haughtiness and and regarded the pair icily.

"Nice to see things being carried on so professionally," he remarked. "Where's Ms Martinet? Or better still, Alli? Alli and I need to talk about...important matters on which the fate of Mordor depends. And which are not to do with tea."

He looked the stranger up and down. Fine, so he was bigger than him, had more muscles, but Tom's blond hair was much nicer, he was certain, than that bumpkin's locks. What could Lola see in him?

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Old 10-02-2006, 09:20 AM   #253
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Alli peeked through the hole in the curtains and whispered something that sounded an awful lot like "Aim, this is completely moronic! Let me out." But Aim insisted she stay still. There was a suspicious character in the hallway of the inn they had walked into, and Aim was eager to question him.

"Well, well, good evening sir" Aim sneered.

"Ah, it is that, lad, it is that. Why I've just been out for a lovely stroll round...."

"Blabbering about nothing already, are we?" Aim thundered, visibly shocking the stranger. "It's an act, an act I say! My, sir! How hairy you are!"

The man tugged his shaggy beard, alarmed.

"And what big nails you have!" he yelled, eyeing the man's unkempt hands.

"And what large teeth you have!" By this stage the man had marched off and out of the corridor, shaking his head all the while.

Alli stepped out from behind the curtain with a look of slight (or sheer) bafflement. "Are you going to do this to every buck-toothed joe we come across?" The question was clearly rhetorical; Aim guessed that Alli had other, more subtle, plans for wolf-hunting.

"This will not be as easy as that" she said quietly.

"Nevertheless, you shall need to hide. We need a place where no-one will think to look for you" replied Aim, with a small smile. He had obviously relished getting back into the swing of loud, obnoxious accusations.
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Old 10-02-2006, 09:50 AM   #254
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"I know... I know!" Alli cried in complete upset. "But where?"

She began to look around frantically, her always calm, always cool, always totally-hot-and-can-she-be-real-the-way-she-always-seems-in-control? attitude breaking a little. She realized that she was speaking loudly and rolled her eyes at herself, flicking her long, sleek black hair over a well-postured shoulder.

"Sorry." she added, not actually sorry. "Lost myself for a moment there."

She had long considered taking up smoking. Not for any particularly grand reason, but it always seemed like the truly intimidating people in movies and shows had a cigarette. No, she didn't want the average brand of nauseating smell and illness... but she always thought it might be a little bit cool to try out the image cast by her always carrying an unlit clove ciggie in her black gaunletted right hand. She looked down her arm, following the black leather until it met white silk until the silk was pressed to her skin by well-worked black leather wrist guards. Her slender fingers moved freely (she wiggled them absently to prove it). No... she didn't need a decoration. The world had to give her credit... she simply did not need spiced smoke to look cool.

She leaned against a wall, lifting her left foot behind her to lay flat against it. Always the epitome of serious nonchalance. She'd ditched the cape. She'd learned at some unspecified point within the last year or so that people were a lot more afraid of her when she stood confidently in street clothes than when she slipped through shadows in a deep cloak. It was warm and convenient, but when she really wanted The Image, her black overcoat was fitted to the waist, embelleshed subtly with black pearls (fifteen Dwarven smiths had died in search of the fiftieth... it would appear that Dwarves don't float well and, so, though they reached the pearls quite easily, they had lethal trouble getting back to the surface with them) and opals (from a few plundered hoards) and silver threading, and it took two handmaids to help her button it. It flaired impressively and billowed like only the cape of a truly evil supervillian can do. It would have looked vampiric on anybody else, but Alli's red lips, pale skin, and long black hair... well... okay, she admitted it. She looked completely vampiric. Really, that was the whole cool part of the image. People were terrified of vampires. They couldn't help it. Something to do with the prospect of everlasting life, probably. That glint in their dark eyes. Maybe the way 'w's always lost the second 'u' and ended up sounding like a 'v' instead. Whatever it was, when Alli wanted to impress, she dressed up like the living dead and made the whole corpse concept into a fashion statement.

"Aim!" she suddenly hissed. He looked at her. He'd been looking very intently at a piece of brick that may or may not have whispered to him a moment before.

"What?"

"I thought of a good place."

"Where?"

"Can't tell you... if any of my enemies are reading this... they'd learn..."

"Then how do we... um... narrate this?"

"Very carefully. Check this out: my idea is not to hide in a graveyard and pretend to anybody that comes along that I'm a ghost or zombie or something. My idea doesn't involved stage makeup. And it doesn't have anything to do with the idea that... um... I don't really know. But if we, wink wink, don't go hide out in a graveyard, I can finish this whole plan up with a fantastic rip off of scenes from so many different books and movies! I mean... The Phantom and Raoul in the graveyard... the jackal from The Omen... Just think of the impossibilities that could come from me, wink wink, not hiding out in a cemetary."

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Old 10-02-2006, 09:56 AM   #255
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Anakron was most intrigued by the obvious interest of Skittles's cat for Sylvester, atop his raised and threatening staff, but was not so distracted as to miss Igr's query.

"I did overhear the Dwarf, Minotaur and Barrow Wight discussing werewolves. When I asked them about it they did not so much as deign to fake having heard me. The nerve. Konvey."

Sylvester yowled. Hissyfit spat. Igr said "ouch", and rubbed his rolling eye.

Anakron did not know how he knew such things, but this most recent konveyance apparently had given Igr an astigmatISM. In the rolling eye.

"Ugh. I can't see," said Igr. "Leastways, not as clear as afore."

"You hind part of an ape," Skittles said, "that's your dead eye."

"Apparently no longer," Anakron murmured.

Igr got a weird look on his face. Well, it was actually a smile, but on Igr it looked weird. He started jumping up and down. "I can see! I can see! Badly."

Just then Hissyfit jumped onto Anakron's staff, hissing, and started clawing his way up toward Sylvester.

"Keep that Hithy cat away from me!" yelled Sylvester.

to be continued. Join us same place, same time, same day next week as we learn the fates of Sylvester and Hissyfit. Will Hissyfit become the new cat atop Anakron's staff? Will Sylvester start talking to nobody but Skittles? Will Skittles hit the Dwarf? Will the Dwarf run off a cliff? Join us next time to get the answers to all these questions and much much more in the exciting next episode of.... Crackes and feedback drown out the sound of the name of the show.

"Cut!" cried Sam Blather. "Must be some confounded feedback from the mountain. Everybody, from the top."

"Nooooooo!"

Anakron looked dourly at Blather and yelled, "Konvay!"

"Ahhhhh!" Blather was hit with a serious dose of asceticISM, changed his name to Diffay Runt Blather, and founded a monastery for former Mordorian teevee directors. Word was that it was a hit.

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Old 10-04-2006, 01:13 AM   #256
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"Wereducks, eh?" mused Tollin as they walked down the corridor towards the commotion, "that would explain a few things." exactly what he meant, he did not say, but he stroked his chin in deep thought. The Barrow Wight puffed on his pipe once more and began humming an old tune he had learned on the Downs. Smilog, on the other hand, merely grumbled to himself and stroked his beard, letting the crumbs and bits of wall fall out of it.

You! Dwarf!" Anakron called, turning to the dwarf, "You ignored me. Why?"

"I don't know," hummed the dwarf, "Skittles talks a lot of nonsense. Wereducks may be another one of her delusions." Anakron stared at the Dwarf, hardly believing his eyes and ears. "How can you be certain?"

Tollin bowed his head and replied, "Two reasons; first, those footprints we saw on the mountains side, they were webbed feet and too big for any normal duck. Secondly, the hole in the wall down there had feathers all over it."

"Palthwait is one of those blasted things?" coughed the Barrow Wight, sending smoke right into Anakron's face.

"I don't think so," continued Tollin, "in league, perhaps, but I don't think he is one." They walked on, nodding slightly to Skittles, not wishing to get caught up in her affairs again. Once bitten, twice cautious. Anakron was about to explode.

Anakron's teeth clenched and his brow lowered menacingly. "Do you not know who I am?" he grated.

"Why?" said Skittles, "have you forgotten?"

Anakron ignored her.

"Dwarf! Come back here!" he called. Smilog stopped and turned around. Anakron felt suddenly vindicated and said with a note of triumph, "So, you have been ignoring me!" He paused for effect, then in a growl said, "You will pay." Smilog began to walk back towards him Anakron nodded patiently. "Just answer my question." he paused as Smilog picked up a pipe from the floor.

"I thought I dropped something." he said, shaking his head again and returning to his little party.

"No wonder people assault him with such regularity!" said Anakron.

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Old 10-05-2006, 10:54 PM   #257
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Maika looked back in spite of herself, and turned into a pillar of salt. Er, she watched the raging werecreature, stunned yet altogether curious.

"Go, my lady!" cried Elrogorn, as though he had eyes at the back of his head. "This is not for kids!"

Maika was about to start on an icy response when she felt a strong grasp on her forearm forcing her away from the scene. It was Hyarmenw, whose face was rather pale but otherwise set. The urgency in his eyes, though it might be there because of the wereduck, brought the thought of their own quest back to her. She nodded at him and suffered herself to be led into the inn.

"Quack! Quack!"

Maika rolled her eyes. Banters - even animals weren't spared. How thoroughly worthy of an old-school action film. Whatever witty (or otherwise) retort Elrogorn had for that, the two ambassadors no longer heard, for when the door closed behind them they were engulfed by the pleasant noise of scattered conversations around them. Maika was still amazed, even though she had been to the place a few times in the past. Everyone seemed to know everyone else. Typical Mordorian diners never felt this...this homey.

She realised that Hyarmenw had let go of her arm and just begun to walk towards a vacant table in the distant corner of the room. She followed him, looking around, holding herself up importantly to disguise her interest.

"Maika!"

The Mordorian ambassador swung instinctively towards the table she had just passed. An old woman was ducking under it.

"How many times have I told you not to wander off when we're eating?"

I really should change my name, fumed Maika, picturing a mischievous little girl with food-stained clothes and pigtails.

"Meoooow."

Maika the cat got out from under the table and jumped suddenly onto the old woman's arched back, causing the poor woman to hit her head. Maika the human, on the other hand, pretended that sharing her name with an animal did not bother her the least. She resumed walking after Hyarmenw, got to the table after him, and sat down on the seat he indicated. He took the place in front of her.

"I figured you must be famished; we have had no short journey," he said.

Yes. I want a smoothie. "I'm fine," she replied, "let's just get down to business. We'll have to be back--"

"Lord Hyarmenw!"

Oh dear, Maika silently groaned. Don't tell me it's a guy addressing an aristocratic dog.

The two ambassadors turned and saw a happy-looking couple waving at them - or at Hyarmenw, rather; Maika had no idea who they were. So, Hyarmenw had already socialised with the people here! It might make their task a bit easier. She was glad to see that they were making their way towards their table, and Hyarmenw seemed equally grateful. He promptly offered the remaining seats when they arrived, the lady taking the seat beside Maika's.

"How wonderful to see you again," the Gondorian told the newcomers.

The couple smiled. "The pleasure is ours, my lord," said the man. "What brings you back to this place? And I see you have a new companion." He nodded towards Maika, still smiling. The lady with him also looked at her welcomingly. Not for long, Maika thought, and proceeded to introduce herself, but Hyarmenw beat her to it.

"This is Lady Maikaelwen, a Mordorian ambassador."

There was no change in their expressions. Was she seeing things? Did she really need a smoothie?

"Lady Maika, this is Aleksandur, and his betrothed, Friel. I met them the first time I had been here."

Maika was still in a detached state of disbelief and only managed to nod politely.

"You ask what brings me back here," continued Hyarmenw, addressing the couple. "Do you remember what I once told you, before we left?"

"I do, my lord. You have a daughter somewhere in these parts," said Aleksandur.

"Precisely. Maika here had consented to help me look for her, and suggested starting with this place. She is, you see, herself Gondorian-born."

"I would have guessed it," said Friel. "She certainly looks the part."

Maika maintained a poker face. But inside...inside...she was not sure what she thought, or felt, regarding the comment. "Perhaps you would like something to eat?" she offered instead, in order to divert the conversation from her.

The other three approved of this idea, to Maika's relief. Friel waved at an approaching young lady in an apron, who smiled at seeing her and hurried towards their table. As anyone in their position would, the two men turned around instinctively to see at whom Friel gestured...and Hyarmenw drew a sharp gasp.

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Old 10-06-2006, 07:16 PM   #258
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Anakron raised his Sylvestrian staff, much to the interest of Hissyfit, and said, "Konvay!" at the bliddy Dwarf who was suddenly beset by a bad but very suitable case (he was after all a Dwarf) of nepotISM.

Satisfied, Anakron turned away and watched the Minotaur and Barrow Wight, to see if they would incur his wrath.

"I say, old chap," rattled the boney Barrow Wight, "lot of rubbish about 'isms', what?"

"The dweomer does as it does," Anakron replied.

"Where's your girlfriend?" asked Skittles. "Did you hit her with fetishism? Hissyfit! Come here and leave Sylvester alone!" She watched the cat with apparent fascination. "I don't care if he keeps on lisping at you!" Anakron raised an eyebrow and consciously ignored the warmistress, distracting himself by the entertainment of the Dwarf who was apparently growing sons from his forehead.

"Oucht!" cried the Minotaur. "That hath to hurth!"
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Old 10-07-2006, 09:24 AM   #259
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Igor watched in amusement at the interaction between Anakron and Smilog, happily twirling his newly mended eye round and round in his head and seeing what he could see, though he quickly discovered that the inside of his eye socket was not something even he wished to see.

Spinning himself around rather than his eye he took in his surroundings, able to see them with double vision for the first time ever. Although, he mused, that could simply be from the concussion the staff had left him with.

Wincing he tuned back in to the conversation, belatedly realising that he was not the only one to have been ISMed today as he noted the small figures growing out of Smilog. It seemed that Anakron was in full konveyor mode and Igor wondered what he'd do to Skittles and Hissyfit if they didn't stop arguing behind him. AbsenteeISM perhaps.
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Old 10-08-2006, 01:49 PM   #260
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"What's that?" asked Tollin, pointing at Smilog's head where the head and shoulders of another form was now protruding. The Dwarf grunted and started to walk on. "What is it?" pressed the Minotaur.

"A helmet," said Smilog flatly. The Barrow Wight came up to him and whacked the extra head with his pipe. It did not react. Smilog now noticed it. "Good grief!" he exclaimed, "how long has that been there?" Tollin glanced back at Anakron who was laughing slightly. "I know who is to blame for this," Smilog continued as an arm began to grow, "Skittles. If there ever was a worker of myschief it was her!"

Anakron stopped laughing and scowled.

The Barrow Wight took a magnifying glass from the inside of his cloak and began examining the new body that was slowly coming out of Smilog's head. There was now all but the legs out, meaning that it was so heavy that the Dwarf had to sit down. "I say," said the Wight, "this is quite the odd thing, what - what?"

Thump. The body fell out and began squirming on the floor. It soon rose itself up and said, "Good evening gents'" it spun around and then exploded in a puff of smoke. The Barrow Wight said something inaudible. Smilog stood up and shook himself from head to tow. Stomping forth he approached Skittles with a face that would turn new milk. Skittles ignored him.

All of a sudden, the dwarf tripped over and landed flat on his face. As he did so, a boot fell off his foot and flew into the air, hitting a chandelier. A candle in it wobbled and fell down, hitting passing pidgin which had hopped into Mount Zoom out of curiosity. Squawking like a maniac, the Pidgin flew around in flames. Smilog got up and tried to hit the thing with his axe, yet it was too fast for him. Eventually he swung his axe with all his might and it connected with the flaming bird which was sent straight into Anakron's chest.

"A six!" cried The Barrow Wight, "jolly good show! Have you considered playing cricket?" Anakron stood still as the flames licked up his robe. He looked upon the Dwarf who was laughing with The Barrow Wight about the prospect of a cricket career. Finlay Anakron sighed and shook his staff at the Dwarf muttering some words.

Ten minuets later Smilog awoke in the middle of a quagmire. The stench of it nearly knocked him down with his nose held. In the distance, he could see the top of Mount Zoom, smoke still pouring from the top. Swearing, he got up and plodded in the general direction of the Mountain.
__

"Now that was uncalled for!" cried The Barrow Wight, "I know the little blighter can be a tad annoying and he did set you on fire and ignore you for no real reason and he did-" he considered his own words for a moment. "Well, perhaps it was called for then." Anakron nodded.

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Old 10-11-2006, 01:58 PM   #261
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As anyone in their position would, the two men turned around instinctively to see at whom Friel gestured...and Hyarmenw drew a sharp gasp.

"Morliniel!"

"Who?" Maika stopped looking at the stranger, who appeared to be in her later thirties.

"My wife," explained Hyarmenw. "She looks exactly like my wife."

"Well, that was easy," said Maika. "I guess we've found your daughter."

Hyarmenw shook his head. "She's too old. My daughter wouldn't be quite twenty."

"Oh, Bobawen isn't as old as she looks," said Friel. "She's not been here for quite twenty years. She was Assigned as a baby. We assume it's because of her accelerated growth. She looks closer to forty than the actual twenty that she is."

Hyarmenw looked a bit perplexed. He had always thought his daughter had been assigned for her name, nothing more. But there was no denying that this woman, this "Bobawen", was close kin to his dear Morliniel, bless her memory.

"Bobawen!" Friel called, as he mulled it all over, "come over here!"

But Bobawen had not quite reached the table when a loud POP rocked the tavern from outside. As everyone rushed to the doors to see what had happened, Elrogorn swaggered it, looking a little shaken. He was soaked from head to toe, and stank somewhat.

"What is all that?" Hyarmenw asked.

"This?" said Elrogorn, casually flicking some of the water off the end of his arm, and wiping his hair back out his eyes in a most dashing manner. "Dirty bathwater. Those Wereducks are full of them."

Through the door, Hyarmenw could see large pieces of yellow rubber scattered around the ground.

"I'm not so sure that was a Wereduck..." Aleksandur began, but Friel cut him off.

"Gondorians don't know anything about Wereducks, remember dear?"

"Well, it was a duck anyway, and it was threatening our lives," said Elrogorn nonchalantly. "And it's dead now. Now, good pubkeeper," he addressed the bar, "I'll have a pint of your finest brew."

Settling himself down at the table, Elrogorn took the pint from the pubkeeper and swiftly downed it in one long, manly, chug. Though the normal thing to do at that point would have been to let loose with a long, manly, belch, Elrogorn retained his dreamlike cool and did nothing of the sort.

Instead, he turned to Hyarmenw, pointed at Bobawen (who had still not been properly introduced) and asked.

"Tell me, good sir, who is this stunning youngish lady?"
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Old 10-18-2006, 11:43 AM   #262
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The slime filled land was not in the least bit pleasant. Smilog the Dwarf ground his teeth and plodded angrily through the marshes, grumbling and cursing as he went. His travel worn clothes were riddled with holes and stains from so many different places, he felt as if he had already walked the length and breadth of Middle Earth. But his eyes were fixed on Mount Zoom, it's smoke ridden summit grinning at him like a large grinning thing. He hated it.

As the undergrowth became large and unfriendly, he drew his axe and began mercilessly hacking the giant weeds. He let out a frustrated cry as some nettles got caught in his trousers. Swearing in Dwarvish, he hoped around, ripping the offending weed from the cotton of his trousers and cursing it further.

"Ho Hoom!" came a voice from somewhere, "Can't you see I'm trying to sleep."

"Buzz off!" shouted Smilog, in no mood for more weirdness, "can't you see I'm trying to get back to Mount Zoom?"

"How would I know that?" asked the voice.

"I could ask you the same question," feeling satisfied, Smilog stomped off through he undergrowth, hacking and slashing as he went. There was the sound of some squelching and sloshing from behind and Smilog finally stopped brooded, awaiting this new madness.

"Ho hoom," boomed the voice, "turn around and let me have a look at your face. I almost feel I dislike you, but let us not be hasty. Turn around."

"No thanks," said Smilog and he walked off again. There was a tremendous booming and crashing and the sound of large footsteps squelching and making all kinds of odd noises. Suddenly, huge, twig-like fingers covered in slime, gripped Smilog about the chest and lifted him up. He found himself looking into the most unlikely face he ever did hear tell of...

***

"I say," said The Barrow Wight as he and Tollin the Minotaur dashed away from Anakron in case he turned on them, "poor old Smilog. Should we go look for the little chap?" Tollin thought about it for a moment and then shook his head. The idea of angering Anakron at that time seemed most unwise, besides which, he found Smilog rather annoying, despite the fact he had saved him from the labyrinth.

Corridor after corridor passed them by until The Barrow Wight tripped over a mop that had been left on the floor, probably by a lazy cleaner. He noticed the door they were now outside of was slightly open. Putting his head back on, The Barrow Wight pulled Tollin into the room.

It was small and cold, icicles hung down from the ceiling and there was a snow-like substance on the ground. "How can this be?" asked Tollin, "we are inside a Volcano."

"A moving Volcano," pointed out The Barrow Wight, "This whole jolly things a mess. What's not to expect, old boy?" Tollin agreed and they began searching for anything of interest. It was Tollin who found something, a set of tracks leading all around the room. The tracks were made by webbed feet, but far too large to be normal ducks.

"What do you make from that?" asked Tollin, "There are at least three separate tracks here. It must be where the Were-Ducks congregate." They stood in that cold room, gazing at the tracks. They did not look that old and there was evidence that it was frequented quite often.

Slowly, The Barrow Wight lifted his head and gripped his sword hilt, "We had better get out of here, old boy."

"Not so fast!" cried a voice from behind.
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Old 10-19-2006, 04:07 AM   #263
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How many "Maikas" can fit in a post?

How, Maika wondered with an amazed sigh, all thoughts of Bobawen momentarily forgotten as she gazed at Elrogorn carefully so as not to be noticed, could anyone smell so foul, yet look so fair? She casually reached out and flicked the clump of hair standing on top of his head, at which Elrogorn the ever-alert flinched. He looked up at her questioningly.

"There was a piece of rub- wereduck on your hair," replied Maika matter-of-factly. Elrogorn thanked her with a dashing smile (Maika had to pinch herself to stop smiling back) and turned back to Hyarmenw, who now stood beside Bobawen.

"Elrogorn," the Gondorian said, "this is my dau"

"Wait."

All eyes swung towards Maika. "Hyarmenw," she continued, "I dont know, but this is all too anticlimactic."

Before he could protest, which with his disbelieving expression and open mouth it seemed he was about to do, Maika faced Aleksandur and Friel urgently. Do you know anyone else who could fit the bill?

Hyarmenw found his voice; the look on his face, if Maika had seen it, should have been enough to make her stop. "Maika"

"Yes," exclaimed Aleksandur triumphantly, "Maikas nineteen!" The Mordorian ambassador was about to respond, but Friel shook her head.

"No, my dear, Maikacoreions a boy."

"Right," sighed Maika, "anyone else?"

"Maika, thats enough!"

All talk ended abruptly.

"Meow?"

Everyone looked down at the floor to see feline Maika sitting on her hind legs, her tail neatly tucked around her feet. She was looking up at them with her head tilted to side, her large mismatched eyes (one blue and one brown) blinking curiously. The old woman materialised behind her, out of breath.

"Maika," she panted, "one more escapade and I promise Ill forfeit your desserts for a week. Come on now, theres a good kitty!"

With a final meow Maika turned, her tail swishing, and walked back to their own table. The old woman bowed slightly and whispered her apologies before following her cat. The tension surrounding the silenced group deflated a bit.

"Lady Maika," Hyarmenw finally ventured, in a tone more subdued than moments before, "there can be no mistake. Her resemblance to my dear wife is uncanny. What further proof is required?"

Maika shook her head, exhaling heavily. "When I told you this task wont be easy, I was speaking as a Mordorian. As someone who has lived here all her life, and knows very well that many things are not what they seem. Yes, she could be your daughter for all we know, but I didnt think you would be this easily convinced."

"Maika, I asked you to aid me in my search"

"And thats what Im doing!"

"and not to interfere." He looked at her sternly. "Theres a difference, my lady. Who better to know my daughter than I?"

Bowing her head, Maika sighed, resigned. "Yes, my lord. Im sorry. I was out of line."

She looked up and saw that Hyarmenw was taken aback. As she expected. She had never called him that before.

"Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go somewhere required of women when in a place like this."

Drawing to her full height, which honestly was not much, Maika walked resolutely away from the table towards the restroom.

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Old 10-21-2006, 08:31 AM   #264
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Everyone had fled, except for Skittles, her cat, and Igor. Anakron turned upon them, his staff raised. Skittles' cat hissed at the staff. The staff hissed back.

"Shut up, staff," Anakron said matter of factly.

"You can't say that matter of factly," the cat on the staff said back.

"Shut up anyway," Anakron growled.

"You should konvay DoggISM on yourself, you evil man you," said the cat on the staff.

Anakron rolled his eyes and ignored the cat.

"What are you staring at?" he demanded of Skittles. He was feeling ready to konvay the aitch ee double toothpicks out of anyone who crossed him, and was hoping Skittles would. Just for the fun of it. Evil was supposed to be fun, he thought, so he had decided to make the best of it.
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Old 10-27-2006, 11:02 AM   #265
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Sounds of singing, laughter, and rejoicing resounded in the depths of the Valley of the Hippies. Somewhere among the gathered celebrants, a woman sitting crosslegged on the ground in a flowing skirt, peasant blouse and Birkenstocks tied a wreath of wildflowers into her hair like a crown. She looked strangely like Panakeia. On second thought, it might have been noted that the resemblence wasn't strange at all. She was Panakeia.

She had been happy during her stay. It was true that she heard strange noises by night, and that in the morning there were large footprints outside where a herd of large animals trampled the ground. But no harm had come to her once, so Panakeia was content.

Across from her, a trio was trying to write a song.

How many weeks can a sandbox exist
Before it is filled up by fleas?
Yes, 'n' how many years must coffee exist
Before they learn to drink tea?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
Before he just gets dizzy?

The answer, I said, is hidden in the sand
The answer is hidden in the sand.


"Well, what do you think?"

Panakeia shook her head. "I don't know..."

"I know. We need something to protest. Can't write a good song without a protest."

A light bulb went off over Panakeia's head, or would have gone off had such a device been suspended in that position.

"I've got it! Let's go to Lndn. We'll have a protest against the establishment, the Blue Istari, the Grand Anakronist and everything!"

Cheers went up. There was a great movement of scurrying into battered buses and soon, a large party was Lndn bound.

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Old 10-30-2006, 11:26 AM   #266
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Smilog twisted and turned but the creature would not let go of him. It was tall, probably about nine foot in height, with long branch like growths poking out of him every couple of inches. From head to tow, he was covered in swamp slime. On each foot he had eight root-like tows that seemed to grip the ground like an old soggy sock. His legs were long trunk-like poles that seemed to have no bend or knee at all, but shot up straight into his torso. His large branch-like arms dripped with slime and frogspawn. The face was that of an old man with a long beard of leaves that hung down to the ground where small orc children had been caught and strangled and lost to the world eons ago.

"And what," said the creature, "might you be? A Dwarf? With an Axe?"

"No," grunted Smilog, "I'm an antelope with a pheasant." The creature's eyes widened and his mouth opened wide to reveal a black hole into nothingness, out of which came the most foul stench of rotten beans.

"You antelopes have changed," it said, but then shook itself, "wait a moment! You're lying to me aren't you?" he squeezed Smilog tightly until he became incredibly uncomfortable.

The Dwarf made vague nodding movements with his head until the creature seemed to be pleased with him. "So what," he asked, panting, "are you then? A troll with a skin problem?"

"Eh?" said the thing, "no. Not a troll. I'm an Ent, you see. A Swamp Ent, if you will, as you little folk seem bent on giving names to everything that is slightly different. Slimebeard is my name, Slimebeard will do. I look after this swamp. So, who are you and what are you about?"

Smilog did not reply immediately as he began to try and think about what it was he actually did. Besides making snide remarks at every advises meeting, he had done very little until the Mount Zoom adventure had begun. "I'm Smilog," he said at last, "I work for Roggie of Mordor. It's an awful job and I'm going to quit as soon as I get back to the mountain." Slimebeard seemed to shiver at the name of Roggie, all his leaves quivered and his eyes shut.

"You work for him?" he cried, "Well, maybe you can help me. You see, one of his assistants stole something from me and he keeps it in his office as a paperweight. It's an object of unimaginable power! It can destroy all of Middle Earth if it's not kept secret! Now with those blasted blue Wizards running around, who knows what will happen?"

"How do you know he's using it as a paperweight?" asked Smilog, momentarily ignoring the fate of Middle Earth.

"Well," said Slimebeard, before pausing again to think, "you see," he tried, but again he fell silent, "there's something about clouds involved. It doesnt matter! Just get that thing and throw it into the fire!"

"A little cliche isn't it?"

"Shut up!" Slime beard cast Smilog away towards the Mountain. Through he air he flew, hitting a family of ducks on their way to a holiday in Gondor. With a thump, the dwarf landed on the head of a Troll!

***

"Not so fast!" cried a voice from behind. Tollin turned around to see a tall, thin figure of a man, covered in cuts, bruises, seaweed and leeches. His clothes were rags and his face looked like it had been thrust down Roggie's own personal sewage system. And indeed, that was the case.

"Who the devil are you?" asked The Barrow Wight, drawing his ridiculously immaculate, golden hilted, jewel encrusted, rune covered sword. "Good gracious me, you look worse than Tom Bombadill after he's had a one too many light ales." The Barrow Wight had, on one occasion, invited old Bombadill to a party, there he had drunk too much and decided to roll around in the garden in the rain before jumping down a chimney he could not fit down and final smashing his head into an ironing board for five hours.

The man stepped over the threshold and tripped on an eggshell that was there for some reason and slammed into the floor with such force that three of his teeth fell out. "A cur-th on all egg-th!" he said. "I'm Andvari," he staggered to his feet, "I need-ss to find-ss that-ss Dwarf!"

"He's dead," said Tollin before receiving an elbow in the stomach from The Barrow Wight, "Or missing," he corrected himself, "I cant' remember which." The man's face became downcast and he seemed to have a tear in each eye. One fell to the ground where it met with some blood stains he had left earlier.

"We need-th to find him!" said Andvarri, "sss-so we can-ss find the gold!" The Barrow Wight laughed and placed his sword back in it's scabbard.

"By jove!" he cried, "that sounds like fun! Let's hop to it!"

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Old 11-02-2006, 10:21 AM   #267
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Tangoing on your own, Bellatrix was discovering, was a boring, frustrating, and painful activity. As she writhed under the effects of her tearaway nephew's hex, she found her limbs coerced constantly upward, her legs ripped into position, and sometimes her entire body floating upwards.

Worse still, a growing crowd of Orcish spectators milled about, leering at her fishnet stockings and occasionally attempting a few hapless dance moves themselves. Bellatrix's only consolation was planning what curses to perform on them once her arms were free.

Then they started singing, and she decided the time for magic was passed. She would take her Beretta pistol from her handbag, she decided, and riddle the lisping, yodelling, tittering, lewd yet vaguely hermaphrotitic hordes with bullet-holes.

As for young Dracomir, he would face the horsewhip.

Her ruminations were interrupted by an extremely bored sounding voice from one of those convenient darkened corners that spring up in previously straight corridors at the behest of the author.

"Imperio, imperio, imperio, imperio," it muttered. "Merlin's beard, there are thirty-one of these ludicrous dolts. This is going to take forever."

"Release me, whoever you are!" Bellatrix shrieked. "Then I'll handle this lot."

"Really?" the voice replied, and the figure of a man, cloaked and hooded in black and of medium height, stepped from the shadows, of course. "But, my dear Bellatrix, I was so enjoying your dancing..."

"Oh, very amusing!" Ms Lestrange shouted back. "I'm in absolute hysterics!"

The Mysterious Figure yawned obnoxiously and non-verbally countered the Tarentallegra curse. Without a moment's pause, Bellatrix produced her gun and emptied its barrel in all possible directions. Those Orcs who had been wounded limped off looking resentful but perfectly resigned; their companions had preceded them, scarpering at the first shot that alerted them, if not to death, then to dismemberment.

Now unimpeded, Bellatrix leapt in front of the stranger and threw back his hood...

"Impatient, Bellatrix," he reproached her calmly. Her face told a tale of annoyance and disappointment.

"Snape."

"You expected someone else?" the other answered coolly.

"It doesn't matter. Look, Snape, you must be working for the Blue Istari right now?"

"Must I? Well, I suppose it is the only way to pass the time," Snape answered lethargically.

"Look, everything's gone wrong. The boy, Felton, my supposed nephew, has quitted."

Snape laughed. "How touching. But self-deluding. It's difficult for a werewolf, however angelic looking, to just hand in their resignation papers."

"We need to talk, Snape, the Ithryn Luin and I. Take me to them."

Snape raised his exquisitely camp stage villainesque eyebrows. "If that is what you want, Bellatrix." He took her hand with decision, but a mocking smile adorned his mouth as they Disapparated.
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Old 11-03-2006, 09:56 PM   #268
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The pale yet flushed face of the young lady fronting Maika did not seem very happy as she attempted to tame her tangled locks with her left hand, just as Maika did with her right. It was a painful business; Maika could feel some hair strands being pulled from their roots, unable to withstand the force exerted in her annoyance. Out of nowhere Hyarmenw's voice drifted into her mind...

If I am to reintegrate you into Gondor, you must try to live without anakronisms, Lady Maika. As few as possible, preferably none.

She could not resist a scornful chuckle. Yeah, right. And this was what she got for following that advice, not to mention losing her palm pilot, and her cellphone, too. The last accidentally fell from her pocket when she went about arranging for the horses. Messy hair, no communication, no technology whatsoever. Was that the price she had to pay for wanting to be back where she thought she belonged?

The creaking of the door's hinge checked the angry tear on the verge of falling from Maika's eye. It was Friel. The ambassador whispered a greeting, which the woman cheerfully returned.

"I'm sure, my lady," Friel said as she stood beside Maika, staring at her own reflection, "that you were surprised to hear that I knew you were Gondorian."

She was, as a matter of fact, but she was not to betray just how much, and so just nodded. Evidently Friel took her silence as a hint to continue, which was exactly what Maika wanted her to do.

"It takes one to know one, my lady."

"Hyarmenw did not think of it."

"He lacks one thing that I have: a woman's instinct. It is rarely, if ever, wrong."

Maika stopped just as she was about to pull more of her own hair to look eyebrows knit at Friel's reflection. The said reflection looked softly, with an almost motherly expression, back at her.

"And I want to tell you that you have it, too. Heed it, act on it, my lady, before it's too late."

With that cryptic message and a smile she left Maika to her confused thoughts.

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Old 11-05-2006, 04:57 PM   #269
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Anakron had waited long enough. He threw up his hands, inadvertently knocking Hissyfit off his staff (which she had been climbing trying to get at Sylvester). Hissyfit .... hissed. And landed on all fours. And hissed again.

"Ack!" said Anakron eloquently. "She's dreaming up werewolf games in her head." He waved a dismissive hand at the catatonic (hee hee haa haa!) Skittles and stalked off in search of other prey.

Prey.

He stopped and turned around. "Just for ignoring me or going meowy in the head, whichever it is, and I do not rule out duck-lycanthropy as a water-tight (certainly not airtight as their feathers let it in) possibility, KONVAY!"

From all around the wind began to hiss and fulminate in what sounded not at all vaguely like "Isssssmmmmmm!" Skittles was apparently the vortex of something nasty that was about to happen. What would it be? Elempi scratched his brains. Which was somewhat painful as he had to cut open the cranium lid and lift gently. Ewww. Mold. How did that get in there. (chuck) Ahem! What was it that had vortexified Skittles? Hmism. Hmmism. Hmmhmmhmmmmmmmm-ismmmmm! Could it be something from the vast leaf-mold of sources Tolkien used to create his consciously-cathartic-in-the-revision, massive tome that certain folk seemed to wish to devour at least annually (what in Mordor was wrong with them?)?

"Stop it," Skittles said. "You are getting quite out of hand. Most inappropriate. You have strayed way too far from anything dimly Tolkienian. And source-hunting no less! Tolkien must be rotating in his grave. You really must stop that."

"Oh no!" Anakron screamed. "What have I done!" He clutched his head in horror, having created perhaps the most egregious monster Mordor could possibly contain, the worst Anakronism the Dweomer could possibly produce. "Tolkien FanaticISM! Auuuuugghh!" Anakron fled in anguish.

"What?" Skittles said. "What's the problem?"

Hissyfit hissed.

Sylvester lisped.

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Old 11-09-2006, 11:15 AM   #270
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On their way up the road to the as-yet-unspecified-wink-wink-location, Aim thought he detected a change in Alli's mood. She seemed quieter and more lost than usual. Maybe he was wrong but no matter he was going to press her on it even at the risk of making her less happy with him.

"You know Alli, we're probably all going to die at some stage. Think about the chances of me dying in the next minute. They're far greater than you want to admit. To the force in the world I am like a bit of parchment."

Two seconds later, and this really happened, not at all just to illustrate the point, two kids started bombarding him with quite large, white pebble-like objects which, had he thought about it, would have reminded him an awful lot of mint imperials. One caught him right on the knee just as he was putting that foot down, causing his leg to twist and the rest of his body to crumple in a heap on the ground. Climbing back up, with an exasperated grimace on his face, he showed her the pebble (maybe it was some sort of reptile egg) and said: "Look at the size of that! At any given moment you can be seriously damaged by a sort of......I don't even know what this thing is but think about what a person could do to you. Or a gorilla."

With laser precision, Aim hurled the object back whence it came, hitting one of the kids right on the head, knocking him to the ground. In all probability his death-blow.

Showing remarkable concern, Alli retorted: "You exaggerate things; and you also have no sense of scale..." Then she continued walking.

Following her, Aim said: "The point is that we're all going to be murdered one way or the other. Why don't we just laugh about it?"

"Because it's a lot easier to laugh when the wolves are content to leave you alone." Alli glared at her more fortunate companion.

There followed a long silence, until Aim said: "Maybe it's easier because I know my life is forfeit. Protecting you is the only thing that matters now, and in a funny way that gives me greater freedom than I've ever had in Mordor. I don't have another care in the world."

Alli stared at him, the slightest suggestion of a smile and the merest hint of a tear forming.

Aim smiled back. "Let's get some liqueor. We need an exagerrated sense of self-importance for what we're involved in." Being Mordor, they found a vendor within one minute.

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Old 11-09-2006, 12:16 PM   #271
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Humphrey the troll sat on a large boulder chewing an old shoe for no particular reason that he could think of. He was just about to get up and do something constructive, 'probably build a house for those ducks' he thought glancing over at a pond full of dead ducks. He breathed deep the mouldy and polluted air and coughed from the very depths of his heart. All of a sudden, a small bundle of clothes, flesh, bone and beard fell from the sky and landed on Humphrey's head.

Smilog's head swam, and, he soon realised, the rest of his body would probably benefit from the same action. The swamp water with its deceased birds floating everywhere, smelt like small room full of fat sweaty men and rotten haddock with no air conditioning. The dwarf gave a panicked cry as soon as his head popped over the surface of the swamp. Humphrey sat on the bank with his head in his hands, sulking.

"Now they're throwing dwarves at me," he muttered, "I don't like this place. First a mountain runs over my house, then a flaming bird lands in my hair," he scratched his burnt head*, "and now this! Makes you sick!" Smilog dragged himself out of the water, coughing and spluttering in an attempt to get his breath back. The troll looked at him vaguely but seemed to interested in his own affairs.

Smilog cautiously approached and said, "Excuse me?"

"What d' you want?" grunted Humphrey, "can't you see I'm busy?"

"Not really, no." admitted the Dwarf, taking a beak out of his beard, "I'm just wondering if you can tell me how to get to the Mountain." he pointed away towards Mount Zoom, its smouldering top belching forth more black smog than a thousand steam trains.

Humphrey sighed and stood up. "I suppose so." he groaned and then took hold of Smilog by the waste and began carrying him at an inhuman speed. Understandable, seeing as he was a troll, not a human.

"Let me go!" cried Smilog in terror, "Oh good grief!"

***

Andvarri led the Barrow Wight and Tollin through several passages in Mount Zoom, insisting that he knew exactly where he was going. Yet The Barrow Wight was not so sure, "We've been here five times in the last half an hour," he said as they passed Roggie's office. Tollin nodded in agreement.

The Barrow Wight pushed the door open curiously, saying, "I wonder if he has any drink left..." slowly he peered in and saw that it was temporarily empty. Grinning and letting some rotten face skin fall down to the floor, The Barrow Wight wandered in, clicking his heels with glee. With a smile that would curdle good mik, he set about relieving Roggie of as much wine as he could. "Blast it," he said at length, "I need a bottle opener."

"Will you hurry up-sss!" cried Tollin, "We're near thhe labyrintttthhhh! You knowsss what thatss doesss to me-sss!" The Barrow Wight waved him off and search on Roggies desk for anything that could help. A paper weight in the shape of a rhino head seemed like the idea ting. Placing the horn in the cork, he pulled it loose and began to drink heartily, although some of it seeped through his stomach and fell to the ground.

Staggering out, The Barrow Wight hiccupped and patted Tollin on the back and waved the paper weight in the air, saying, "I love you, rhino!" He then hit it deep in his robes and began to follow Andvarri down the corridor.


*It is a common misconception among many people that Trolls cannot grow hair. They can, but under Sauron they were not encouraged to as it weighed them down and he needed them to march quickly.
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Old 11-10-2006, 10:54 PM   #272
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Skittles watched Anakron flee. She felt a strong sense of satisfaction, for it meant (she had no doubt) that he was fleeing from her vast and impressive store of arcane Tolkien knowledge. Surely, he was intimidated by her and could not hold up under the pressure of her academically marvellous presence!

"So who's Tolkien?" asked Hissyfit.

"Who is Tolkien!" Skittles cried, alarmed that her companion knew so little of such a great subject. "Why, he is the man who created Middle-earth!"

"You mean, this Middle-earth?"

"Yes, this very Earth upon which we stand!"

"A man created the world?"

"Well, not exactly. See, it's a sub-creation."

"I don't understand. How does a man create or sub-create the Earth?"

Skittles shook her head, still apalled at Hissyfit's ignorance. "He wrote it in a story, or rather, a series of stories. Or rather, he invented the world and then wrote stories about it. Or something like that. It's been a while since I read them. I'm mainly bluffing my way through this."

Hissyfit looked at her with extreme skeptism. "So, we're in a story? How can we be in a story and also be able to read the story?"

"Well..." Skittles paused, furrowing her brow. She decided that she had no idea how to answer that question, and so dodged the point. "We're not actually in Tolkien's story, we're in a fanfiction."

"What's fanfiction?"

"Argh!" cried Skittles. She had a feeling this was going to be a very long conversation.

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Old 11-11-2006, 02:36 PM   #273
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Anakron chuckled to himself. He was really feeling pretty good. He'd finally gotten Skittle with a good one. And what an act he'd put on. He was surprised some kind of dweomerlike shepherd's hook hadn't appeared out of nowhere and hooked him around the middle and dragged him off stage, wherever that might be.

A shepherd's hook suddenly appeared around his waist and dragged him off stage. He hadn't realized that he had been on stage. And really he wasn't, but it sounded good and fit the description if not the reality. Dragged by a hook with an unknown dragger on the other end of it, Anakron watched the world go by, with all of its SchISMatic orcs, trolls, humans, and dwarves. Lndn's black taxis never looked so .... black. Not to mention beyond reach.

There went Lola sauntering down the sidewalk, Dracomir and another fascinated boy positively drooling, vying for her attention. Beyond reach. Anakron suddenly knew that he was being dragged somewhere .... beyond reach! Horrors! Where would he be taken to? He could do nothing but get dragged on his ..... but maybe he could do something to stop it! Call down a konveyance! Raise his staff and twirl it like a baton! Hiss at it! Bite Sylvester in the tail! He was beginning to feel a little pained in the ..... as the plot would have it, he suddenly came to a stop. The hook came away from his waist. He never did see who it had been, dragging him all the way from nowhere to herewhere. Wherever here was! Lndn somewhere, he presumed. Funny. That sounded positively English. He practiced it. "Lndn, I presume?" He grinned stupidly. A passing student sniggered at him. He rounded on her and yelled, "Konvay!" She turned into a PrISM. He grinned. How interesting.

"ImprISMed in your own PrISM, my dear. Do you like it in there?"

She was silent. Of course. She could not move. Could not breathe. PrISMs don't breathe, they just reflect light and scatter it in all colors of the rainbow. Except that there was no rainbow because it was constantly overcast in Lndn.

"I daresay I'm becoming evil," Anakron said in a sudden moment of interior navel-gazing. "It rather becomes you, my dear fellow. As does this city."

He started walking, leaving the new PrISM behind, lifeless. When (and I do mean when) anyone looked at him wrong he konveyed, causing all manner of uncomfortable ISMs: sollipsism; fanaticism; fetishism ... the list was endless in content and variety. What fun.
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:39 AM   #274
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Not that he hated the Troll or anything like that. Nor did Smilog really have any particular hating of swampland. But having his head dragged through the latter by the former was not an experience he did not enjoy very much. The troll's thick arms gripped Smilogs legs with the strength of a thousand snakes and two oxes. "Put me down!" he begged whenever his head was lifted up for long enough for him to do more than breathe.

The troll skipped and hopped through the marshes towards Mount Zoom with such speed that Smilog assumed that the rushing winds were blocking out his cries. The troll sung an odd song to himself, the words to which Smilog could not catch, nor did he really want to.

Miserable and weary, Smilog was set down on the side of the mountain after about an hour of travel. The Troll belched loudly and then patted him on the head, saying, "Now, off you go. If anything else happens today, then I shall hold you to account."

"I'll keep that in mind," said the Dwarf.

All of a sudden, the mountain roared and the top burst into flames with such violence that all the creatures for miles around drew their gaze towards it. A great lump of rock flew straight out of the crater and soared through the air. Smilog looked down at the Troll, about whom, a large shadow was appearing and getting larger. With a roll of the eyes, the troll said, "What are you looking a-" before the boulder fell upon him. Squashing him to jelly.

"Ah," remarked Smilog, "I wonder if he's okay." but then an even more important thought entered his mind, "What if there are more boulders?" swiftly, he gathered himself up and trotted up the mountain towards Sauron's road as fast as he could.

***

"All I shaying isss-" spluttered the Barrow Wight, "Thiss wrawl wassn't ere last year!"

"You weren't here last year." pointed out Tollin, his morning star dragging along the now ruined carpet. The Barrow Wight made vague waves and slurred more than Tollin ever did while in the Labyrinths. Andvarri's eyes darted all around the place, looking for some kind of clue.

"Come along you two," he demanded, "we need to find something that will-" he was cut off by the rumbling of the mountain. A section of the floor fell though, right under Andvarri's feet. With a howl, the man disappeared through the floor and landed on a casino card table, which also broke. A roulette wheel flew off it's axel and struck a chandelier which fell onto bench, catapulting a cake into the face of an old, fat, Orc who ran into a wall, knocking a painting off the wall.

"How dare you!" cried an Orc in a tuxedo, "that was my best painting!"

"How dare yourself!" came a cry from the other end of the room and soon there was nothing but a mad melee of fighting Mordorians.

Tollin peered down at the mess and then hummed to himself before walking off down the corridor, followed, slowly and clumsily, by The Barrow Wight. A door to the left appeared to be very interesting, for it had 'keep out' signs in every language available. "Should we investigate?" said Tollin, looking sideways at The Barrow Wight who was singing a song about 'that old room with a broom'.

"In that old- what?" stuttered the Wight, "oh. Yes, yes. Jolly good. We'd better find out how long we'd have to wait." he coughed and shook himself, "ah, sorry about that, old bean. Now, yes. A door with a 'keep out' sign is interesting enough, but with so many, why I might say it was the most interesting thing for a while."

"Agreed." laughed Tollin, before pushing open the door. There before them was a long staircase that went down, down into the dark.

"Gosh," said The Barrow Wight.

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Old 11-19-2006, 09:55 AM   #275
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Alli skipped. In a billowing cloak and a lot of black, with heavy eyeliner and long black hair, the spymaster of the king, close personal friend of the monotheistic diety of the universe, and extremely drunken consort of a Hunter that may or may not have been faithful (or sober) in their time apart... skipped.

Aim didn't skip: he was having a bit of trouble with his average walking ability. But he caught her when she tripped and she kissed him on the cheek and they sang songs about their adventure. Alli's voice, with a charming amount of slur, danced over words even as the cobblestones met her feet with alarming speed: each step seemed to come sooner than the last, resulting in a half stumble per each one or two second interval.

As we walk along (along)
We something something
And the wolves will come and eat us all!

And something talk around... something...
We'll fight them with swords!
And they won't eat us
Any
More!!!

And Aim began to sing also, and their voices blended a bit like oil and vinegar, not clashingly, but certainly not all that well. And he sang:

We're going to the graveyard
To hide Alli from werewolves--

And she interrupted him with a hiccup and said "Aim! Don't tell them where I'm hiding! They'll find me!"

And they disappeared for a moment into a dark alley and when they reemerged, Aim had what may or may not have been lipstick smeared on his cheek, and Alli was giggling.

"I'll protect, you darling!" he cried, and she clung to his arm happily, with the thought that her death was imminent a mere afterthought of the situation, made rather amusing by the potency of her most recent liquid meal.

They reached the graveyard, and in all likelihood, the entirety of Mordor watched them go in through the front gate, and Alli perched on a headstone.

The weather turned mysteriously dark and creepy with a certain excellent sense of occasion. Lightening struck and Alli immediately sobered up, if not in actuality, than in thought.

"Oh dear... It is entirely possible that this will be my last night in this world."

Aim put his arm around her and tried to draw his sword with a flourish. He dropped it. He mumbled something. In the distance, they heard a howl.

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Old 11-20-2006, 07:32 PM   #276
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Marmalade skies over Lndn greeted the arrival of several brightly colored buses near the famed Mars Built Arch. A close observer might have noted that the skies were gray rather than marmalade, but the Werehippies found it far more poetic to assign a different hue to the sky. For the Werehippies were the arrivals heralded by the buses adding to the usual queues of vehicles near the Arch, and since it was their arrival, they reserved the right to name the atmosphere as they chose.

They poured out of the buses to the sound of excited conversation. A protest! They hadn't known such a thing to have taken place in years. Or at least in one year, since the battle between A Slan and Anakron had taken place. A new protest was long overdue, though the slogans hadn't changed. Indeed, since Anakron was again (in part) the subject of the current protest, many of the same signs appeared again. But new signs had been added, mostly at Panakeia's urging, to cry out against the Blue Istari.

And what of Panakeia? She appeared near the head of the group with an oddly determined face. RadicalISM agreed with her, surprisingly enough. Indeed, whether she was aware of the full import of the fact or not, she seemed to have joined the Werehippies...in every way.

They came to Speakeasy Corner and Panakeia climbed up on a soapbox.

"What do we want?" she cried.

"No Istari!"

"When do we want it?"

"Now!"

The chant grew louder. Werehippies at the edges of the group handed out flowers. Many joined the crowd, shouting with the Werehippies gleefully. Panakeia grinned smugly. This demonstration was sure to draw some attention. She hoped it would be soon. The bushes in the park were somehow making her hungry.

Last edited by Celuien; 11-22-2006 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:32 PM   #277
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What was this racket in the heart of Lndn? Anakron stopped to have a look.

It was a crowd colorfully and anakronistically dressed in garb that was known in those provinces of Mordor as kounter kultural. Anakron wondered who did the kounting, and what it had to do with kultures. He listened more closely to the raucous noise they were making. It was some kind of protest, apparently.

"What do we want?" cried the leader.

"No Istari!"

"When do we want it?"

"Now!"

Anakron grinned. He could appreciate their sentiment. However, he was evil, and therefore he had work to do, and it had to do with this crowd. He raised his staff.

"Konvey!"

All of a sudden, as if by the power of a very dweomer, various members of the crowd started hawking their wares, which happened to be booze, hand-wrapped smokes, pills of various assortments, and other such paraphernalia.

"I recognize this," Anakron said to himself. "HedonISM."

But something had caught his attention. That leader's voice sounded oddly familiar. He took a closer look, wondering if it were some orc like Lgnt getting himself into unnecessary trouble, or a over-educated Troll that was off its interdisciplinary rocker. It was a woman.

No. It's not her, is it?

Anakron made his way through the milling crowd, and had to refuse a toke, a bleeve, an assortment of colorful little pills, and a stocked pipe of questionable contents, on his way to the soapbox.

Oh ye gods. It was her. What in Middle Earth was she doing with these hedonISTic were-hippies, protesting against the ---- oh. ---- against the Istari. Anakron understood. Can't she get it through her head that I'm evil and provoking the Blue Istari is not going to do her any good?

"Panakeia, me love, I am going to have to konvey an ISM upon you," he muttered.

He had made it to the front of the crowd. She was grinning smugly. Oh, yes, she knew exactly what she was doing. He should have known.

"Hello there, Panakeia," he said just loud enough in a moment's lull, and raised his staff.
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Old 11-25-2006, 08:22 AM   #278
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"No Istari!"

"Hello, Panakeia."

Hello Panakeia? That wasn't part of the chant. Who dared to interrupt? Panakeia turned to glare at the intruder and recognized Anakron hovering next to her. His staff was raised.

Knowing that Anakron couldn't possibly have come to join the protest, Panakeia ignored him.

"What do we want?" she shouted.

The crowd boomed, "No Istari!"

"When do we...what do you want?" Anakron was tapping her on the shoulder. Interrupting again. Panakeia decided to find out why so that the protest could continue.

"What is this all about?" he asked.

"We're protesting the Blue Istari, of course."

"It won't do you any good, you know. I'm evil. Irritating the Istari with this protest won't change that."

Panakeia smirked at Anakron and put her arms akimbo, nearly burning a hole in her dress with a lit cigarette that had mysterious appeared betwixt her fingers. That was Anakron's doing, no doubt.

"You really think that this is all about you, don't you? How typical. You think a woman couldn't possibly do something on her own without the motive of getting a man. Egotistical male chauvinist behavior."

Anakron groaned at the effect of his latest ISM konveyance. Radical feminISM.

"Let me tell you something, oh Mister High and Mighty Grand Anakronist. This has nothing to do with you. I don't need you or your approval. You are such a square." She held her index fingers in front of her face and traced the shape in the air. As Anakron suddenly gaped, she took a puff on her cigarette and blew the smoke in his face. Panakeia gagged on the fumes, then put her hands back on her hips and stared at Anakron with more smug self-satisfaction than ever.

A call came from someone in the crowd. "White-all! March on White-all! Down with the Istari! Down with the Anakronist! March!"

The werehippies scattered to the park exits and waved their signs in the air. "No Istari! No Istari!" As the protesters moved away, Panakeia turned to follow, deliberately ignoring her former flame.

Last edited by Celuien; 11-26-2006 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 11-28-2006, 05:10 PM   #279
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"Ah, where were we?" Elrogorn proceeded to say to Hyarmenw.

"I was just introducing my daughter to you," said Hyarmenw.

"You were?" said Elrogorn, with a puzzled look. "I could swear that was a couple of months ago."

"No, it was just now," said Hyarmenw icily.

"Really?"

"Really."

"Anyway, let's get on with this," continued Elrogorn. "You were introducing to your daughter... who is a clone?"

"Yes, I was introducing you to Bobawen, my daughter," nodded Hyarmenw, then he paused. "A kloen? What is a kloen?"

Bobawen, Friel, Aleksandur, and Maika all looked at Elrogorn expectantly. Maika looked, Hyarmenw thought (wondering why he was noticing) a bit smug. Elrogorn blushed a very attractive shade of pink.

"That, ah, would be... restricted information. Secret Elven information."

"The Elves have been an ineffective and mostly missing force in Middle-Earth for centuries," said Hyarmenw coldly. "Explain what a kloen is, please."

"Well, they're very anakronistic," began Elrogorn. "They're basically copies of people, grown in laboratories. They were created for the Clone Wars, and generally grow old at twice the rate of normal humans. I assumed the connection was obvious, considering Lady Bobawen's fast rate of growth."

"Copies... of... people..." Hyarmenw's jaw was somewhat agape. "Then... that means..."

"That Bobawen is not your daughter, but a copy of your wife," said Maika, with an exasperated roll of her eyes. "Told you so." Hyarmenw's back stiffened, and his jaw found his stiff upper lip.

"Perhaps you did, Lady Maika, but it is unseemly to point it out." Maika own jaw met her upper lip as she cut off a sharp responce.

"Well, what now, then?" she asked, after a couple moments.

"We flee," replied Elrogorn.

"Flee?" Hyarmenw gave the half-Elf a querelous look. "Why?"

"Can't you hear them?" Elrogorn paused, then gave one of his dazzling, self-effacingly humble smiles. "Sorry, I forget that you don't have near-perfect hearing. There is an army of HobbyISTs on the march."

"What's so dangerous about a hobbyIST?" asked Maika, perplexed. "HobbyISM is pretty harmless."

"Not if your hobby is pillaging, and all that nasty stuff that goes with it," said Elrogorn, with another dashing (though it was of a witty nature this time) smile. "I guess you could also call them followers of Anarchism ."

"I'm fairly sure those aren't real -ISMs," said Maika frowning. "I don't think you'll find either word in a dictionary."

"We can debate anakronisms at a later point," interjected Hyarmenw firmly. "Preferably a point when I am not present-- or you, if you know what's good for you." He looked at Maika disapprovingly.

"Good idea," said Elrogorn. "Follow me, I know a secret passage."

"How clich," said Maika with a shake of her head. Hyarmenw arched a disapproving eyebrow.

"This is Mordor, milady," said Elrogorn, pulling a the rug off the floor with a debonair flourish, and revealing a trap door with a heavy iron ring.

"There's only one thing we need to worry about," Elrogorn mentioned five minutes later, as he, Hyarmenw, and Maika were down the tunnel, the darkness alleviated only by a flickering torch.

"Oh?" Hyarmenw asked.

"This tunnel was built by the wereducks, and may still be used by them."

"And you tell us that NOW?" Hyarmenw was rather displeased.

"It does look like," said Elrogorn absent-mindedly. "Oh look! Feathers!"
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Old 11-29-2006, 03:21 AM   #280
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The Main entrance to Mount Doom Palace and Casino was located at the foot of Sauron's Road and was fortunately still there after all the zooming about the mountain had been doing. It was twenty foot tall, painted orange, decorated with sequins (most of which had fallen off now) and made of solid steel. Smilog pushed it open and wandered in to that accursed mountain. In the entrance foyer, he saw a long table with a mini palantir, hundreds of papers and a large assortment of quills. Behind this table sat an old fat orc woman with purple lipstick poorly applied to her massive face.

"Hello" ventured Smilog, "... Miss?"

"It's Mrs!" replied the creature, grunting like a pig that has just been kicked in the stomach and then faced into a small box. Interestingly enough, Smilog had once done this and so knew exactly what it sounded like. "You're Smilog the Dwarf?" she said at last, he nodded. "Well, there is a package for you over there. It's been here for a while."

Smilog wandered across the absolutely ruined room, cups, saucers and dust coated the floor, bits of the ceiling were everywhere but on the ceiling. There in the corner of the room was a huge shape, not really a package, more a skip. The Dwarf cocked his head on one side and examined the shape. From inside came the quiet sound of weeping and someone blowing their nose. Smilog took hold of a small chair that was still standing to his left and used it to stand on, he looked into the skip and saw a quite unexpected sight.

"Father?" he said, filled with puzzlement, "You told me you were dead."

"Oh, not dead," said the old dwarf, covered in warts and filth, "just sad. So very sad."

"Yes," observed Smilog, "that's quite a fundamental difference isn't it? You know, being dead isn't quite the same as being a bit sad, isn't it?" The old dwarf blew his nose into his beard. "Look, what are you doing in that skip? And where are your trousers?"

***

The stairs went deep. Too deep, Tollin thought. They had been walking for about an hour now and had not come anywhere near the end of this staircase. The Barrow Wight let a corpse light shine from his withered hand (He never explained how he did this) as the tunnel was exceedingly dark. Step after step took them down further and further. Tollin was sure they were not in The Mountain anymore.

Finally, they fell to the ground as the stairs came to a sudden stop. To their left, Tollin spotted a small torch attached to the wall, The Barrow Wight handed him a tinder box. The tiny blaze seemed to light up the a good section of the room. The red glow revealed an endless hall, stretching off into the distance, left, right and forwards. Endless stacks of clothes on pegs were hung all about the place, going on into infinity and filling the air with the smell of cheap washing up powder.

"Gosh," said The Barrow Wight, "This must be Sauron's wardrobe. I thought it was just a legend... Well, less a legend, more a joke." Tollin examined the nearest stack and saw that it was full of cheesy T-Shirts with phrases like 'Eye am the greatest' and 'Eye see you' written on.

"Ah!" said a voice from deep in the room, "but can you escape the wardrobe of Sauron alive?"

"Yes." said Tollin, "the stairs are just behind us." There was a long pause and only the slight sound of dripping water could be heard far off in the distance like a ticking clock gone wrong.

"Shut up!" it said at last, "We shall see how smart you are when you meet... The watcher in the washer!" All of a sudden, a thousand snake-like tentacles flew out of the piles of clothes all around. They were all guided by some one force and made their swift way towards the odd duo.
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