Frodo, the Littlest Nazgûl
Chapter One: With a Side of Potatoes
Author's Note: This, my latest opus, is the story of an undersized freak trying to find his place in Middle-earth. While watching the 1978 animated 'Bakshi of the Rings', it is mentioned that if they don't get Frodo to Rivendell in time, he will become a wraith. One begins to wonder how threatening a three-foot-tall Ringwraith would be. And thus is born, this sort of stuff.
The riders bore down on the man in an unforgiving tempest of dust and black robes. The piercing screams stabbed at his senses as he stumbled on the rough terrain, desperately searching for a foothold as the riders circled around him. He had known the moment he had seen the black riders that there was no hope, but now as they tightened their circle around him, he felt doom wrap it's tendrils about him. They rode in close, until he could smell the foul breath of the infernal horses, and the leader directed his towards the man. Drawing the pale morgul blade, he held it before the man's face and let out another screech, sending the man to his knees in despair. The leader's blade was held aloft, ready to deliver the man's fate.
"Guys! Hey guys! Wait for me!" the high-pitched protest was followed by a series of groans from the riders. The man picked up his head to see a small black pony carrying a miniature black rider in oversized robes waving madly at the group of them.
"I thought you said you tied him to something," one of the riders groaned, glancing to another.
"Frodo, we're kind of busy. Why don't you go harass some squirrels or something?" the leader of the Nazgûl suggested, trying but not suceeding to hide his irritation.
"But I want to help!" Frodo whined, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Frodo, you're really wrecking the mood," Ringwraith number two told him flatly, motioning towards their victim who was now staring blankly at the group of wraiths.
"Yeah, get lost Frodo!" Wraith number seven piped up, glaring at Frodo from beneath the cowl.
Frodo's little black lip began quivering under his own hood and he turned the little pony about, spurring him forward as he called back to them, "I'll show you! I'll show all of you!" before promptly getting his oversized robes caught on a shrub and getting dragged off his pony.
The wraiths let their faces fall into their palms in exasperration as Frodo thrashed madly at the bush, screeching wildly at it.
"Will someone cut him out of the bloody bush?!" the Witch King demanded in aggravation.
"I can do it!" Frodo insisted, now upside down and fumbling with his sword, which ended up on the ground before he could make any use of it.
"This is not happening," the Witch King mumbled to himself as Frodo's pony returned to start chewing on his rider's oversized feet.
"Mushroom! Mushroom, stop it!" Frodo giggled, trying to shoo the dark pony away.
"He named it Mushroom?" Two groaned as he hopped off his horse and drew his sword.
"Sweet Elbereth," the Witch King wept as Frodo's violent thrashing managed to knock Two over, "just leave him." He finally decided, turning back towards the man, who had wisely taken the opportunity to vacate the little scene. "Oh, for the love of ... Sauron's going to kill me." With that he let out another screech and was gone from the clearing, the other Nazgûl close behind him, leaving Frodo still hanging upside down in the shrub.
"Okay guys! I get it! Very funny! Make Frodo think you've left him in a bush! Ha ha! You can come back now! ... Guys? ... GUYS? ... ... ... I'm telling Sauron!"
* * *
"So not only did you let Faramir escape, but you left Frodo in a shrub." Sauron, the Dark Lork, the Lord of the Rings, the Destroyer of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth was sufficiently peeved.
"Well, you see - " the Witch King began, but Sauron raised a hand to silence him.
"Frodo is smaller than you nine. You're going to have to look out for him," Sauron told them with an annoyed sigh.
"He just likes Frodo because he brought him the Ring," Seven whispered to the wraith next to him.
"What was that Seven?" Sauron demanded, turning the horned helmet towards the wraith in question, "Is there something you'd like to share with all the wraiths?"
"No Sauron," Seven said, shifting uncomfortably as the other wraiths snickered.
"Alright, get out of here," Sauron sighed, waving them away, "someone bring me some hobbits. I'm feeling peckish." Frodo squirmed visibly at this comment and Sauron winced slightly.
"Why don't you head down to the racks and pick out a few you don't like," Sauron suggested pleasantly.
Frodo nodded and started off towards the racks, thinking how happy Bilbo would have been to learn that the Sackville-Bagginses had been eaten, when he paused and glanced back at Sauron.
"Something on your mind, Frodo?" Sauron asked from his dark throne.
"Well ... I don't think the other wraiths like me," Frodo told him honestly.
"Come here, Frodo," Sauron sighed as the little halfling wraith approached his throne and Sauron pulled him up into his lap, "now what makes you think that?" he asked plaintiffly.
"They keep leaving me tied to things, and they won't wait for Mushroom and I. And they say I'm too little to slaughter Rohirrim," Frodo said, sniffling a little and blowing his nose on Sauron's cloak.
"Frodo, you can't let other people get you down. You just be the best little Ringwraith you can be, and a fig on everybody else," Sauron told him and Frodo gave him a little half-hearted nod, "do you think I would have forged the One Ring and nearly destroyed all of Middle-earth if I had listened to what other people said?" Frodo gave the Dark Lord a wide-eyed, curious look. "That's right, Frodo. My father wanted me to be a shoe maker. He said I'd never get anywhere with jewellery. But look at me now! I'm the Destroyer of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth, and he's stuffed in the games room. So you see Frodo? You just have to believe in yourself."
"Thanks Sauron!" Frodo chirped happily and gave him a hug before hopping onto the floor and running towards the dungeons, "I'll be the best Ringwraith ever! You'll see!" Frodo called after him and disappeared from the room.
"They're so cute when they're freshly corrupted," Sauron chuckled and resumed admiring his precious, precious ring.
* * *
Frodo picked his way slowly through the dungeons of Barad-dûr, poking captives here and there and darting out of the way of orcs, who still threatened to eat him despite his current position.
"Look Merry! It's Frodo Baggins!" someone croaked from behind Frodo as he wandered the halls, and he spun around to see Pippin Took chained to the wall.
"Pippin! Oh Pip! It's so good to see you!" Frodo called, charging the wall and hugging Pippin about the waist, "how've you been?"
"Um ... I've been better," Pippin said after a moment's consideration.
"But where's Merry?" Frodo asked, looking about wildly for his cousin.
"What, are you daft?" Pippin gave him a strange look, "he's right here." He motioned with his head toward what Frodo had taken for a bundle of dirty laundry, but now realized was, or had been (at one time or another), a hobbit. Pippin affected a squeaky voice and tried to tilt his head away from Frodo so he wouldn't see his lips moving, "Hullo Frodo! Where's my hug?"
"Um ... wraiths are only allowed one hug a day. Being creatures of evil, as we are," Frodo nodded, wondering if 'Merry' would buy that.
"Oh, maybe tomorrow then," 'Merry' said before Pippin resumed his normal tone, "I like your robes, Frodo! They're very wraithy!"
"Thanks! They're Seven's old robes, actually. They're a bit big. I keep getting caught on shrubs and things," he admitted somewhat sheepishly.
"You make a stupid wraith, Frodo!" 'Merry' said, though he remained unmoving, his head against his chest.
"Merry! Don't say such things! Frodo is out friend!" Pippin chastised his best friend.
"Frodo is a stupid wraith! And he smells!" 'Merry' yelled shrilly.
"Quiet Merry! Frodo is going to save us! You're going to take us home, aren't you Frodo?" Pippin asked wildly, staring at Frodo with a crazed look in his eyes.
"I ... have to be going," Frodo said quickly and took off down the hall at a run.
"You'll come back Frodo! I know you will!" Pippin screamed after him and followed the comment with cracked hysterical laughter.
"I think I'm going to avoid this hallway from now on," Frodo thought aloud, glancing back over his shoulder and nearly running into a rack in the process.
"Oh, sorry there," he apologized quickly to whoever was in the rack and started on his way again.
"That's alright. I hardly noticed, what with all the blinding pain I'm in," whoever was on the rack told him in what could almost pass for a pleasant tone. Frodo stopped in his tracks and turned around to see another farmiliar face; Lotho Sackville-Baggins.
"Lotho!" Frodo exclaimed, darting back to the rack, "you look well."
"You're just being polite," Lotho insisted, but sounded as if he believed Frodo anyway.
"No, I've just always wanted to see you like this," Frodo told him cheerfully before glancing down at his robes to make sure he looked appropriately evil and impressive.
"Well, you look like a great pile of Nazgûl laundry. How did this come about?" Lotho asked as dryly as one can manage on the rack.
"It's a funny story actually - " Frodo began, but Lotho cut him off.
"It isn't a long story, is it?"
"My uncle Bilbo came upon the Master Ring some years ago in his travels," Frodo continued as if he hadn't heard Lotho, "and when he left the Shire, the Ring went to me. Gandalf informed me of the Ring's questionable history and wasn't I just tickled! So off I went to Rivendell to have it appraised of some such; Gandalf talks quite a lot, I don't think I quite caught it all. Anyway, the fellows - the other wraiths, I mean - just wouldn't leave us alone, and when we finally got to Weathertop, they gave me a bit of a poke, and it all went downhill from there. Fever, raspy breath, that sort of thing. The next thing I know they're inviting me back to Mordor and I'm thinking, 'Why not? Maybe this Sauron chap and I can have a word or two.' Needless to say it didn't end exactly as I'd hoped, but things turned out alright on my end anyway." Frodo shrugged as he finished and glanced to Lotho, wondering what he would think of the story.
Lotho was silent for several long moments before speaking, "You incredible idiot! I didn't think anyone could be stupider than that Took git down the way after listening to him argue with himself for hours on end, but congratulations!"
"What d'you mean by that?" Frodo asked in a hurt tone of voice, kicking absently at the ground.
"You just facilitated the downfall of all Middle-earth, you great empty-headed, undead doily!" Lotho screamed, infuriated by Frodo's stupidity.
"Yeah, Sauron's definitely going to be eating you," Frodo nodded before wandering off to find some orcs to unchain Lotho as the hobbit screamed.
* * *
"So, can we eat him yet?" Kurvanog-Kunol asked with a gruff curiousity.
"No, Sauron still likes him," Harimfoshrurim lamented, looking about as depressed as any orc can.
"He doesn't need both his legs though, does he?" Kurvanog asked hopefully.
"I'm not sure he could ride a horse with one leg," Harimfosh pointed out doubtfully.
"Hi guys," the topic of conversation chirped happily as he came upon the orcish guards.
"Ah! Shataz!" Harimfosh swore, startled by the halfling's sudden appearance.
"Shataz to you too," Frodo said politely, watching the orcs curiously as Kurvanog began snickering and Harimfosh elbowed him not-entirely-subtely.
"What so you need, shigoguurz little halfling?" Kurvanog asked, lapsing into Orcish as he eyed Frodo hungrily.
"Wait," Frodo said, producing a 'Black Tongue of Mordor to Common' dictionary and flipping through it, "I'm always looking for an excuse to use this ... ... ... did you just call me tasty?"
"... no, no. I said you have good taste. I like your robes," Kurvanog assured him nervously as Harimfosh rolled his eyes.
"Oh, thank you," Frodo said politely once again. The small group stood in awkward silence for a moment before one of the orcs cleared his throat, "Oh! Right!" Frodo said, flipping through his Orcish phrase book again, "Uh ... gru plumub." he said somewhat unsurely, pronouncing each word phonetically.
"What pidgeon?" Kurvanog asked in confusion.
"Wait, sorry," Frodo shook his head and pointed back towards the racks, "Lat rujat kurvanogan!"
The two orcs exchanged glances before Harimfosh spoke up, "You can do whatever you like to the prisoners, but we're not going to watch. I don't know what you halflings do for fun, but we're not like that."
Frodo looked distraught, "Ha shataz?"
Kurvanog's eyes widened and he looked to Harimfosh, who's face was currently in his hand, "you heard him! He told me to! He told me to!" he said, licking his lips as he advanced on the hobbit and suddenly lunged at Frodo, who took off down the hall screaming.
"I'm going on a break," Harimfosh mumbled to himself and wandered off down the hallway.
* * *
"Heeeeeelp meeeee!" Frodo screamed madly as he tore down the corridor in an absolute frenzy. He carreened around a corner at top speed and didn't see the other wraith until he had bowled him over.
"Seven! An orc is trying to eat me! Help!" Frodo squealed, clinging desperately to the other wraith.
"I hear halflings go nicely with Merlot," Seven yelled around the corner to Frodo's pursuer as he shoved the hobbit off of him and picked himself up, brushing off the dirt and gore of the floor.
"No Seven!" Frodo squealed once again, "help me!"
"Oh, right," Seven said, sounding mildly annoyed, "what d'you want me to do, Frodo?"
Frodo thought for a moment, eyes darting back and forth between the corridor and Seven's cowl. Suddenly, he snapped his fingers, "I've got it! I just need seventeen goats and an innertube. You can yodel, right?" Frodo looked at the wraith expectantly.
"And with a side of potatoes," Seven called around the corner before turning and walking off. Frodo screamed and resumed his mad race down the hallway as Kurvanog finally appeared around the corner.
He zig-zagged down the hallway and rounded another corner, leaving Kurvanog in the dust once again when he heard the voice.
"Frodo! Frodo!" he spun around to again find Lotho motioning him over with violent jerks of his head.
"I haven't got time, Lotho! I think I told an orc to eat me," Frodo wheezed uncomfortably.
"Oh, the irony is delicious," Lotho smirked maliciously.
"Could you not say 'delicious'?" Frodo whimpered a little.
"It's alright Frodo, I've got a brilliant plan. Quick! On the ground! Don't move!" Lotho told him quickly, snickering as Frodo fell to the ground, "Do you want to hear my plan now? I can't believe you actually - DOWN! For real this time!" Lotho yelled as Frodo began getting up, an annoyed look on his face. Frodo hit the dirt again and Lotho began cackling, "I could do this all day. Quick Frodo! Start slamming your head against the wall!"
"Just how stupid d-" Frodo began, but Lotho cut him off with another "DOWN!", and Frodo couldn't help but comply.
"Did you see half a Nazgûl come running past here?" Kurvanog asked as he jogged up to Lotho.
"I can't see much, sir. Blinding pain. You understand," Lotho said as pitifully as he could manage.
"Never mind," the orc spat, about to turn and resume looking for Frodo on his own when he noticed the bundle of Nazgûl robes that was Frodo, "what's that?" he asked suspiciously, eying the tangle.
"What's what, sir?" Lotho asked, trying to wrench his head around to see what the orc was talking about.
"Those robes," the orc told him impatiently, grunting a little.
"Oh! The robes!" Lotho nodded in understand, "part of our punishment, sir."
"Eh?" Kurvanog asked, arcing a brow in confusion.
"The wraiths like to streak, sir," Lotho lamented, "have you ever seen a naked Nazgûl, sir?"
The orc shook his head vigorously.
"Pray you never do, sir," Lotho told him and that was all the orc needed - he took off down the hallway and disappeared round another corner.
"Which wraith likes to streak?" Frodo demanded, popping back up to his feet, "It's Five, isn't it?" Frodo giggled uncontrollably at this thought and Lotho just stared at him for a very long moment.
"... yes, it's Five. Now unchain me, you incredible dolt. You owe me."
* * *
"I can take it from here," Frodo nodded to the orc who currently had the pair of halflings slung over his shoulders. He nodded and set the them down as Lotho glared at him.
"Does the phrase 'precious goods' mean anything to you?" Lotho demanded visciously. The orc growled at Lotho before wandering off.
"You stay here; I have to go make sure the way is clear," Frodo told Lotho with an authoritative nod.
"So you can set me loose in Mordor to be eaten by orcs instead of Sauron? You're going to have to do a bit better than that," Lotho informed him, placing his hands on his hips.
"Damn. So close," Frodo mumbled to himself before turning his attention to Lotho once again, "You wait here while I try to think of a plan."
"Just remember that only one of us is immortal!" Lotho yelled after him before ducking behind one of the Dark Lord's many ficus plants.
Frodo paced down the corridor, a distraught look beneath his cowl. He sighed and kicked at the ground in frustration, wondering if he would ever think of a way to get Lotho out of Mordor.
"Hey Frodo," one of the two approaching Ringwraiths said genially, "what's wrong, little buddy?"
"Oh, hey Four," Frodo sighed dejectedly.
"I'm Nine! Nine, damnit!" the wraith cursed as the other snickered, "Why can't anyone tell us apart?! I'm clearly much better looking than Four!"
"Um ... I have a problem guys," Frodo said, deciding it wise to change the subject, "can I get your advice?"
"Sure Frodo, what's the problem?" Eight asked as Nine continued to swear.
"Well, I've got this ... um ... friend. And he's got this other friend who stopped my friend from getting eaten. And now this friend wants my friend to get him out of Mordor. But my friend isn't sure how to get his friend out without getting caught," Frodo told them evasively.
"Not talking about your plot to sneak that halfling behind the ficus plant out of Mordor might help," Eight suggested with a shrug.
"What? No, you misunderstood me. My friend is trying to sneak someone out. This has nothing to do with the hobbit behind the ficus plant. Pay him no mind," Frodo told them.
"I would beat him with a large stick for even considering it. Treacherous dog." Nine told him violently.
"Here he goes with the stick again," Eight grumbled in annoyance, rolling his eyes.
"Do not underestimate the power of a large stick," Nine protested, glaring at Eight.
"You can't solve every problem you have with a stick, you know," Eight told him dryly.
"You want to test that theory?" Nine asked between gritted teeth as Frodo backed away.
"Thanks guys!" he yelled nervously before once again racing off down the hallway, leaving the two wraiths yelling vehemently at one another.
"Now what am I going to do?" Frodo sighed, discouraged, before shaking himself a little, "no, who's the smartest person I know?" he asked himself, furrowing his little brow before the answer came to him - it was so simple! "Sauron!" He raced down to Sauron's throne room and burst into the room.
"Sauron! Sauron, I need your help!" he told his dark master as he charged the throne.
"Frodo I'd really love to help you, but I've got my hands full at the moment. Gondor is falling today and I've got to be down there any minute. Saruman and I are roasting marshmellows on Denethor's pyre ... if I can just find them ... Shagrat! Did you eat my marshmellows again?!" Sauron demanded in a booming voice that shook all of Barad-dûr.
"But-" Frodo began before Sauron cut him off.
"I'm sorry, Frodo. We'll talk when I get back. Why don't you see if One can help you?" Sauron suggested, getting up and checking beneath the cushion of his throne for the marshmellows.
"He's probably busy getting sloshed," Frodo pouted before an idea suddenly occurred to him and he began jumping up and down excitedly, "thanks Sauron!" Frodo called boisterously as he ran from the throne room.
"Sure Frodo," Sauron said absently, scratching the horned helm in confusion, "Damn. They were the rainbow coloured kind too."
* * *
"Why do I have to be the bottom?" Lotho demanded from within Frodo's oversized robes, glancing up at the hobbit pearched unsteadily on his shoulders.
"Because of the striking resemblance, now be quiet," Frodo hissed, giving Lotho as much of a kick in the head as he could manage.
"Why did I agree to do this?" Lotho mumbled to himself as he started off down the hallway, Frodo lurching on his shoulders.
They made it successfully down two hallways before running into Eight and Nine, who were still arguing about Nine's large stick theory.
"Hi One," Eight said after a moment of watching the wraith teeter uncertainly.
"Hullo fellow regularly sized Ringwraiths," Frodo said in a deep tone of voice that garnered a groan from Lotho. Eight and Nine exchanged glances as Frodo chuckled nervously.
"Upset stomach," he explained, giving the area a good, hard smack with his fist. Unfortunately, that turned out to be Lotho's nose.
"OW!" Lotho protested loudly and the wraiths exhanged glances once again.
"Must be something I ate," Frodo explained with another fit of nervous laughter, "well, I've got things to kill. Bye chaps." With that he waved quickly, spurring Lotho on, who managed to run into a wall before the pair righted themselves and took off.
"At least he's laying off tonight. I hate it when he's drunk," Eight said and Nine nodded in agreement.
"I wouldn't want to have to break out the large stick to sober him up," Nine told him, much to Eight's aggravation.
"Now you're just bloody well trying to rile me up!" he yelled, and the fight began anew.
Author's Note: So there's chapter one! Will Frodo and Lotho get out of Mordor? Will Sauron find his marshmellows? Will Eight ever get the large stick theory? Tune in next week to find out, same hobbitime, same hobbitchannel!