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Learning the Degrees of

Author: nancylea57
Title: Learning the Degrees of Darkness
Rating:  lightly pg-13
Beta: Larner
Theme: light and shadow
Elements: The trip through Moria
<Author's Notes:  For people like me who have trouble understanding and living within the "powers that be's" rule and guidlines, sometimes the nicest thing I call them is 'THEY'. (And sometimes iIjust loose my inner orc.)
Summary: Could all those orcs simply have overlooked the Fellowship for nearly four days?
Word count: 1720


Learning the Degrees of Darkness

In the gloom of Moria:

Goza lurked in the shadows and watched the fell creature.

How strange that such a thing as this is important enough to draw the attention of the Bosses; even stranger that the orders are NOT TO HINDER IT. If the leaders of my group feel I am too old and useless to keep as a soldier, what use is letting this meat escape uneaten; scrawny but capable of betraying the colonies whereabouts.


Yes, it is easy to see that I am far younger, stronger, and more intelligent than this creature; there must be something about this Thing that made it valuable to the Bosses. And if I could just figure out what and how to exploit it to my own advantage I will make those young toughs from Isengard regret that they have driven me from my nest and nestlings. Just because the Firethrower had raked my side with his whip didn’t mean I couldn’t survive. I have already gotten some revenge, squeezing the one for dinner last week proved sweet. Better still was leading those three directly into the Firethrower’s den. He had them roasted before they even saw him! Oh the blessed joy of their howls! Now if only I could work out how this Thing has value, before he figures out the gate is near.

Wait, the doors are opening, who would dare intrude on our sanctuary?  Thankfully it is night and not even a full moon; there are two mannish shapes and two tall glowing beings, one creature the size and shape of those dwarf skeletons and four youngsters? Well, they certainly have stirred the watcher in the water up; if it this doesn’t end soon someone will be coming down to see what’s happening. Should I sound the alarm, do I owe ‘THEM’ any allegiance after they allowed me to me banished for my injury? No, I’ll wait, if it looks like they are escaping undetected I’ll blow the alarm and try to collect some reward; if they are about to run into a scouting party, I will have to hide and hope ‘THEY’ don’t search too well. I will not die now; I will live long enough to see the last five Isengarders fail. Imagine the nerve of them, walking into a fully stocked hive and thinking that they could take over and run things. They don’t even think they answer to the Bosses! One of them will come soon and then we’ll see whose running things-- if they survive me until then.

At least I won’t have to choose who to follow; no one’s going out that door again. Now what will the Thing do, will he try to grab one of them for supper, or is he still full of those rats from earlier? Once I finish this hand and arm, I will need to see if I can find me an Isengarder nearby for menu planning. Great Eye but that noise he makes could drive me to murder him regardless of his supposed value. “Gullom, gullom, gullom……agggggh!”



Hours later:

Why are they sitting there? What are they doing? Oh damn, someone’s going to hear that and start looking for intruders, maybe I can lead them close enough that my nestlings will get to eat tonight, if I can just mislead the searchers for a short time.   Think, think…. There’s that tunnel over there just a short ways from here that twists and turns so badly that you hear yourself before you get to the end and it scares everyone who goes down it. Maybe ‘THEY’ are starting to figure out it leads to the Firethrower’s sleeping den. Okay, start making some noise and get the searchers moving in the wrong direction here, Goza; make your momma proud of your deceitfulness. Tip, tap, tom-my, tom-my, tap, tap. Now to catch up….they is still sitting here----agggggh!

The glowing one seems confused; I must get closer and see what I can find out. Just slip into this crack and creep along here and now into the fissure and up along the stairwell, now around this little outcrop and back over the lip on the trail ahead of them. Idiots, not even one of them sensed me, wait that fragile one thinks he’s seen something! Oh, good-- the glowing one is blaming it on the Thing, nice to know they can detect some dangers. Let’s see-- if I go up this tunnel and open the vent a little tiny bit, and I go back here and piss all over this tunnel’s opening and now just sit here in this crack above the middle one and when he gets close to it growl softly and glare at him. Just want to give him a light case of the chills-- nothing big; must not overdo it or he’ll sense me personally and not vague danger. Maybe I should slip back over to that second tunnel-- seems there’s something I need to do soon. That hand must have gotten riper than I thought. Oh, heartburn and tummy rumbles. I may be glad I opened that vent; that smells bad even to me!

More hours later:

Finally! Now just go straight up the tunnel and my little ones will be the first ones to smell you. ‘THEY’ gave me the furthest out nesting area because I wasn’t ‘strong and brave enough’ to warrant a protected den. Well, see; that just means that when someone stumbles into the nesting area and needs eating, mine will be the first fed. ‘THEY’ are about to learn that I’m not the dullest blade in the pack, hah!

Wait, where are the nests? They should be surrounded by hungry little yearling orclings. Who moved the nursery? Oh, Great Eye, please let the nestlings be all right; do not let the Isengarders have eaten them. No, the area is too clean. The nests have been moved-- if they had been destroyed ‘they’ would have left the bones and evidence lying about. No, someone has moved the entire nesting area for some reason. Maybe ‘THEY’ carried through with the plans to use that high dark area to keep the hatchlings in and wanted the yearlings closer so the nannies could do double duty. Nasty scum masters are always trying to get more work out of the ‘lower’ ranks.


Oh, oh! The dwarf-adult one has sounded the alarm by running in the halls! Now everyone will be out to try and get some meat. Better find a spot to sit this out and keep an eye out for Isengarders lurking in the background! You know they won’t be up front in the dangerous spots—no, they’ll hang back and take advantage of the blindside of some of their enemies in the ranks.

Wow! The Isengarders have cave trolls now! Where’d they get those? Now they will have to get down front to release their pets. Oops! One, no, two down they didn’t count on longbows in the hands of the intruders. Looks like everyone is so intent on the battle; let’s grab a leg joint or two.

Oh, great, here comes Firethrower. Vanish, Goza, vanish. And look no bodies left lying around either. No loyalties even in a hive. Die and be dinner! There’s my cut through to the second level and that bridge-y place, that’s where they have to go to get out, so if I get there first I can maybe get one of the young dwarves in the last fight. Hmm, tender young meat for a change. And besides that’s where the Isengarders prefer to sleep, ‘away from you morgul scum’. As if they smell any better than the rest of us!

Now cross the bridge, Goza. If they are any kind of civilized folk the bigger ones will send the little ones out in front with only one leading them and the rest will try to keep the orcs off their tails. All I has to do is slash the warrior and scoop up a tender dinner (or two if I can get the heavy one), and run like hell before the rest of the hive finishes off the group. I can be hiding and dining while ‘THEY’ fight over the scraps.

Oops, looks like they didn’t know about the broken stairways! Oh, goody-- the archer got another Isengarder. Well, that meat will age a little before they get down to it, but it won’t ripen before someone has it. Waste not, want not-- not in this hive. Somebody better take that archer out soon already he’s killed more than twice their count. And that’s just him, no telling what the others have accounted for.

The one with the shield just cut down the small Isengarder-- that leaves just one to go and I hope he’s mine! But right about now I’d let them finish it-- if they would just get over here and let me at the young ones!

 Someone needs to tell Firethrower that all that heat is bad for the foundations. He keeps baking things too crumb-l-l-lie. He’s going to bring the mountain down if he doesn’t cut back soon. There goes the stairs! Good jump and he stuck the landing; full ten points for that effort, Firethrower. Okay they are running full out little ones in the front on this last stretch to the bridge! Come a little closer now… yummy, yummy, yummy, tonight is a full tummy! Looky, looky-- the last Isengarder standing up to give the archer a better target! And they tasted so good, the ones I got to nibble on!

Gawk, what’s happening? Who’s squeezing me? How did Thing sneak up behind me, there are no cracks here for him to have slipped into, and how did he get the droppppppppppppppppp……….?

Nobody else is getting my precious, not this time! No, nasty girl orc, not this time! Didn’t know I knew you were there, did you?”

Six weeks of relative shadowed-ness, or so:

“What’s that?” he whispered. “Look over there on the cliff!”

Sam looked and breathed in sharply through his teeth. “Ssss!” he said. “That’s what it is. It’s that Gollum! .....” (Two Towers, “The Taming of Sméagol”)

About four DARK weeks later, roughly:

“Precious, Precious, Precious. My Precious! Oh, my Precious!”






( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 24th, 2009 01:31 am (UTC)
Heavens! You *really* got into your character's heads! Wow!

I love the "loyalties" of Goza--her nestlings are her priority, not "them".

Feb. 24th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
myself, i wonder what kind of a neighbor she might have been with a "normal" upbringing; from the moment she started talking to me she had the mother mode going and it just never stopped.
Feb. 24th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
I agree with Barbara--you truly show the thoughts of this female orc and her own priorities. I'm almost sorry Gollum got her--but then she WAS an orc, after all....

And the ending--shudders!
Feb. 24th, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
but if even maia and valar can go sour, surely there are orcs that go bad; meaning of course that they act nicely?

and its the same ending that pj and jrrt used so well, very hard to paraphrase!!!!!
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 24th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
i'm not sure care is the word for it; they decided that she wasn't worthy of staying in the feeding pool, because she wasn't producing as much as she once did so they sent her off to die and she just didn't go quietly into the night.
Feb. 25th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
This was very atmospheric.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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