"Hey, Argh and Nargh! Get your carcasses over here." The sergeant stared at them balefully. "Go to the road and keep a lookout for the horseboys. If you see them, hotfoot it back here. You understand?" The non-com unfolded a badly creased map and jabbed at it with his finger. "We are here; there is the road. Go due west. Just remember that that's the place where the sun sets."

"Yes, sergeant."

"It's a straight shot. There is no way that even you two can't manage to find your way back here."

"No, sergeant," Nargh replied while Argh, his brow furrowed in thought, tried to figure out the double negative.

As the two soldiers trudged away, the sergeant shook his head.


"I don't see this mountain on the map." Argh squinted doubtfully at the barren cliff face towering above them. He pulled an eel out of his wet boots and wrung out the hem of his chainmail shirt. With a sigh, the eel wiggled and flopped back into the stagnant water that lapped at the foot of the cliff. In the center of the pool, a soft splash broke the surface and echoed in a circle of ripples.

"Let me see that," Nargh muttered. "I knew we shouldn't have asked those Uruks for directions." As the orcs hunched over the map, a giant octopus started swimming purposefully toward them. When it was within a hundred feet of the shore, the monster craned its wobbly neck to stare at its prey. With a snort of disgust, it sank into the inky water and slunk away.

On the face of the cliff, the outline of a door was sketched in shimmering, silver lines. "Nice picture," Argh remarked.

"I see tasty, crunchy eels, my precious, but we cannot stop to fish. Not now, no, no, no. We must find the Precious. Nasty mineses of Moria, but we must go in, we must." A strange creature shambled past the two orcs and stood in front of the door. Running a hand through its spaghetti-like hair, it whispered, "Cantelope. No, no, that's not it, silly precious. Honeydew? No, wrong again…"

"So the category is things that are round. The moon?"

"Very small rocks?"

"Quiet, stupid orcses! We are thinking, thinking!" After mumbling to itself for several long minutes, the creature's huge hard-boiled eyes looked up. "Is it melon, my precious?" With a loud snap, the silver lines on the cliff darkened into black cracks, and the door slid open. "Yes, we guesses right!" After gavotting with mad joy, it scuttled into the black opening.

"C'mon!" The two orcs hurried inside, remembering to close the door behind them. The massive blocks of stone slid into place with a decisive thud.