The Circles - Book Eight - Chapter 14

The Circles - Book Eight - A Mordorian Bestiary
Chapter Fourteen
Feast of Fools
Written by Angmar

His mood should have been better after the relaxing bath and massage, but Esarhaddon uHuzziya felt anything but pleased. His dusty, sweat-stained clothing had been taken by the servants, and he had been provided with an emerald green caftan sewn with tiny pearls and semi-precious stones, loose white pantaloons, and soft, curved leather slippers, but while the rich fabrics of the garments felt soothing to his skin, they had done nothing to soothe his sour temper. For one thing, he had been insulted by the blatant overtures of the servant who had offered himself along with the bath. Surely the young man was beautiful with his light skin, dark, kohl-rimmed eyes, and full, sensual red lips, but Esarhaddon had never been one to be tempted by the flesh of other males. While the servant had been hoping for a coin in exchange for his pleasures in bed, the slaver paid him to leave him alone instead.

Esarhaddon fumed to himself as he paced about the suite of rooms which had been allocated for his stay. True, the guest rooms had been lavishly appointed with fine furniture crafted for style and comfort and tapestries which depicted scenes of war and hunting. In the sitting room, he admired the two divans with cushions of crimson and gold, a fine table of rosewood inlaid with mother-of-pearl set between them. The niches in the wall held vases of fresh flowers which gave off an intoxicating aroma. A fine ebony bookcase contained a number of expensive leather-bound volumes, mostly histories and treatises on war, subjects which held little interest for him. Still, out of curiosity, he picked up one titled, "Wars of Middle-earth," and leafed through it before putting it back with a sigh. Not a single volume of any use to him. Somehow he felt offended.

Esarhaddon walked over to a latticed window which looked down onto a small garden in an enclosed courtyard. The garden was shaded by ornamental trees, and a fountain gurgled cooling water. Nothing, however, stirred in the courtyard, for it was the middle of the day, and the heat outside was blistering.

The slaver's attention was drawn to a statue which rested on a handsome teakwood table across the room, a new curiosity which he had never seen before. "The General seems to have redecorated his guest chambers since last I was here," Esarhaddon thought as he walked over to the table and picked up the cunningly wrought statue of pink marble. He frowned in bewilderment as he gazed at the likeness of a human baby nursing a giant ferret. "Oh, damn," he cursed to himself. "The General grows increasingly mad with each passing year!"

At one time, Favarti had been quite ordinary, just one more officer in the ranks of Mordor. His ambition, intelligence, and cunning, as well as his intense loyalty to Sauron, had facilitated his rise up through the ranks until he was rewarded with the command of the western fortress which guarded the Gap of Nurn. However, as the long days upon the mountain passed into years, the General began to display concerning changes in personality. While his competency as a commander remained intact, Favarti's life when he was off duty became increasingly dominated by strange obsessions, peculiar pastimes, odd habits, and eccentric companions. Many felt that the isolation and boredom of living upon the mountain had been too much for the General, and he had turned to absurdity for stimulation. Some theorized that he was suffering from some illness, or that he harbored a secret addiction to some sort of inebriant, perhaps opiates made from the sap of Morgul poppies. Yet others said that he had offended a Dolrujâtar witch, and she had cursed him with a spell of madness which was slowly driving him insane. Rumors abounded, for one could only speculate about the truth of the matter. Still, though, as long as Favarti maintained order in the fortress, the Lord of Mordor would permit him to remain in his position, no matter what oddities he possessed.

A knock on the door diverted Esarhaddon's attention from the bizarre statue. "Enter," he growled, half expecting the General himself to walk through the door, costumed as a ferret or something equally outlandish. The sour expression on his face turned to one of approval as a beautiful slave girl swayed gracefully into the room.

"Master, welcome to Lug Aanzaabr. It is hoped that you will enjoy your stay. I have brought refreshments for your enjoyment," the girl told him, her head bowed as she waited for instructions.

"Put them on the table," he replied, studying the way the light from the doorway filtered through her diaphanous green gown, outlining her ample curves. "This could be promising," he thought as he placed the strange figurine back on the table and took a seat on the comfortable brocaded cushions on the divan. The girl's gown swished against her legs as she placed the contents of the tray upon the low table - a dish of chicken with vegetables, several varieties of cheese, freshly baked flatbread, a bowl of cucumbers in yogurt sauce, peaches and other fruit, and a ewer of wine. After the long, arduous climb up the mountain, Esarhaddon's stomach was rumbling, and he could not resist the generous quantities of food, probably consuming far more than he should have.

"Master," the girl told him in a soft, melodic voice, "the peaches just arrived from Nurn this morning. They should be fresh and juicy. I hope you find them pleasing to your taste."

As Esarhaddon dipped his flatbread into the bowl of chicken, he watched the girl, mesmerized by her voluptuous figure. His gaze was continuously drawn to the dark, shadowed vee hinted at through the gossamer folds of her gown. Had Favarti sent the girl to be the dessert after the meal? "There are many things which I find pleasing to the taste," he replied, his dark eyes narrowing into slits which flickered with undisguised lust.

A crimson blush colored the girl's skin. "Master, there are some things that taste far sweeter than even the most delectable fruit," she returned, her dark eyes gazing demurely at the floor.

"And I can guess what they might be," he chuckled as he bit into a juicy peach.

"Would Master like some wine?" she asked, her slender hand reaching for the crystal ewer.

"Water for necessity, wine for joy," he smiled as he pulled her down on his lap. The girl giggled as he fondled her breasts, his fingers stroking over the firm, dark nipples that strained against the sheer material. The wine was much sweeter than he preferred, but the girl was every bit as sweet as he had hoped.

"Drink deeply, Master," the girl purred as she pressed the lip of the wine goblet against his mouth.

The last thing Esarhaddon remembered was her dark, luminous eyes, which seemed to be smirking at him. Then all went dark.


The taste of apple was strong in his mouth, and he found he could not close his jaws. His tongue pushed against the enormous fruit which filled his mouth, but he discovered that it would not budge. Why was there an apple stuffed in his mouth? His mind was too befuddled to contemplate this mystifying question for very long. He tried to bite off a section of the fruit, but it was so firmly wedged in his mouth that he accomplished nothing more than piercing the skin, a burst of juice filling his mouth with more of the accursed taste of apple.

His eyelids felt heavy, as though they were held down with lead weights. Shaking his head to clear his vision, Esarhaddon finally forced one eye open. After he blinked his eye quickly, the chamber slowly came into focus. He was lying on his back on a very hard, painful bed with his arms stretched out behind his head. In fact, it felt more like an iron rod than a bed. The room was slowly turning around him, but then the realization dawned upon him that the room was not really spinning; he was. With an act of will, the slaver forced the other eye open, and to his horror, he discovered that he was completely nude and trussed like a wild boar on a spit!

A shock of terror jolted through Esarhaddon as he felt his body start to roll downwards. "This cannot be happening," he thought to himself. The wine had disoriented him, causing his mind to see bizarre visions of things that were not there. Yes, that was it; he was feeling the effects of the beguiling liquid. A wave of nausea swept over him, and it was difficult to think clearly. His head pounded, as though it were a drum and ten thousand balrogs were dancing on it.

Suddenly the nauseating sensation of spinning in the air increased, and as he discovered that he was descending, he tried to reach out his arms and catch his fall, but the chains prevented any movement. As he looked down, he could see the soft glow of coals in a brazier beneath him. Then as clarity finally began to fill his befuddled senses, he realized that he was chained hand and foot to a horizontal pole which rotated slowly over a glowing brazier. As he felt the warmth from the dull fire, all confusion was replaced by sheer, raw terror.

They were cooking him!

He felt an explosion of pain as a hand roughly grasped his testicles. When the offending hand gave them a quick, hard squeeze, he moaned and closed his eyes, writhing in agony. Damn! What kind of fiendish devilment was this? The pain in his testicles was intense, and he tried to move away from the tightly gripped hand, but the more he tried to escape, the fiercer the hand held on to his maligned bag of jewels. He felt he was close to fainting. What was the bastard trying to do to him? If he could get off this spit, he would slowly throttle his torturer!

The thick, calloused thumb stroked around the contours of Esarhaddon's private parts, as though measuring them for size. "I wish we'd cut off 'is stones before cooking 'im!" a thick, growling voice gleefully chortled. "They'd be good fried in batter with a few scallions thrown in for flavor... Maybe serve 'em with 'ard-boiled eggs. They say it makes your seed strong. Har har har!" Licking his lips, the speaker considered his choices as he rolled the slaver's family treasures in his hand.

"That goes to show what you know about it, Noodle," another voice huffed as he forcefully knocked Noodle's hand away and replaced it with his own. "We're cooking him whole for the feast!"

"But, Willie, don't you agree that 'e has big ones? Just look at the size of that!" Noodle shoved Willie away and squashed the slaver's cullions again, causing Esarhaddon to howl in silent pain. "Some of the biggest balls I ever saw in me life! 'E's built like a bull!"

"Big isn't everything, you idiot, and by the way, aren't you supposed to be turning the spit?" Willie growled, shoving Noodle back. "You're not doing anything but fondling 'is balls, you perverted debauchee!"

"Oh, I'm just tenderizing the meat!" Noodle burbled happily as his fat, stubby hand grabbed the slaver's large member and kneaded it like dough. Growling and puffing, Willie cracked Noodle on top the head with a basting spoon. As though it were a poisonous serpent, Noodle hastily dropped the slaver's member and danced around in pain, howling and squealing as he rubbed his smarting head.

"You fools! Quit quarreling over the main course, or I might have both of you for dessert! If you don't get back to work, you never will get the job done!" came a gruff, condemning voice. "No matter how you cook and serve him, he's so fat that there's plenty enough for everyone!" The voice sounded vaguely familiar, but Esarhaddon was in so much pain he could care less who the speaker was.

"Well, if you say so, Boss," Noodle whimpered, rubbing the lump which was rising on his head. "But I was turning the spit!"

"No, 'e wasn't, Boss! 'E was playing with the fat one's sausage!" Willie snickered. "You know ol' Noodle; 'e loves 'is bacon and eggs, 'e does."

"Silence, both of you! All you ever do is carp and grouse, and I grow weary of hearing you," the gruff-voiced one scolded. "What I want you to do is keep your hands off his balls and pizzle. Turn that spit, lickety split, until they roast and sizzle!"

"Yes, Boss, don't worry," Noodle sputtered as he gave the crank on the spit a sharp twist. "We'll 'ave 'im well cooked, nice and juicy, the meat fallin' off the bone!"

If his mouth were not plugged with the huge red apple, Esarhaddon would have threatened, begged, pled, cajoled, offered or promised anything, if only they would spare him. He would throw himself upon their mercy, but he fully realized that would be useless, for none of them had any mercy! There was no escape. Even if he had not been so tightly bound, he knew his efforts would have been futile; the effects of the drugged wine were still too strong, and all he could do was jerk and twist. He had been seduced by the beautiful slave girl who brought him refreshments, and now he was the refreshments for this unholy trio! What a fool he had been! After he had ordered the drugging of so many unfortunate victims, now he was the victim of someone more clever. Who was it? Not the girl, not these underlings. They were merely pawns.

General Favarti, the sly old bastard, had been the cause of his undoing!

He looked around the room, and saw that there were three monstrosities in the chamber with him. They were the largest orcs Esarhaddon had ever seen, if orcs they truly were. They looked to be trolls, or some bizarre chimera formed in the breeding pits of Barad-dûr. He surmised that the creatures could be mixed with Olog-hai, the terrible Mordorian trolls which could go abroad in daylight without turning into stone. The first one was an immense smiling brute who was dressed in a scarlet robe which flowed like a crimson waterfall over his innumerable rolls of fat. The elephantine apparition was perched upon a mound of cushions, his gargantuan form wreathed with the heavy haze of poppy smoke from his hookah. The smoke billowed and wavered, obscuring the creature like tattered mists of fog, until it seemed not real, but some hideous grotesque carved from stone, a glaring gargoyle to adorn one of the many towers of Barad-dûr.

The one called Willie was wearing a blood-stained butcher's apron over a dark brown tunic. Sharpening a wicked cleaver with a whetstone, he hummed softly to himself, the infuriating singsong noise interrupted every now and then by a deranged chuckle. The third of Esarhaddon's torturers, Noodle, was a feebleminded looking creature who was drooling slightly from the corner of his mouth. He was clad in a grimy gold brocade vest which barely covered his huge abdomen, and a pair of ill-fitting red trousers which hung lankly about his pudgy calves. Black wiry hair seemed to spring from every open space on the hirsute creature's body, curly and thick, almost like the wool of a sheep. The three looked like revelers at some demented costume party held in an insane asylum.

Dislodging his ponderous bulk from the opulent cushions like a bloated tick, the red robed giant waddled over to the cooking spit. As he rested his hand beneath the rolls of fat under his chin, he stared pensively at Esarhaddon. Taking a cooking prong from his belt, he prodded the slaver's buttocks. As a scream tried to force its way from Esarhaddon's mouth, he finally managed to bite through the apple and spit it out.

"Shut him up! It is not seemly that the food should be talking!" the red robed creature commanded. At that moment, Esarhaddon recognized the voice. It was Grat-Durgund, one of Favarti's cruelest henchmen! The very thought of the beast could bring terror to a strong warrior. Now his pig-like eyes were narrowed to slits as he gave Willie a sharp jab in his well-padded rump.

"We ain't got no more apples, Boss!" Willie whimpered, rubbing his buttocks.

"I don't care what you put in the bastard's mouth, just so you put something in there!" Grat-Durgund growled menacingly.

Noodle darted from the protective screen at the end of the spit and firmly clapped his yeasty smelling hand over Esarhaddon's mouth. "Well, Boss, Willie does 'ave a lemon, but 'e was planning to use it in 'is secret basting concoction!"

"Well, we'll just have to sacrifice the fruit to silence the brute," Grat-Durgund grumbled sourly. "Tie the strap in place; there's no time to waste!"

Esarhaddon set his jaws tight against the onslaught of the lemon, but Grat-Durgund gave him a vicious jab with the prong, and the slaver felt the scream rip from his throat. At the moment when his mouth opened, the lemon was slammed between his teeth and tied tight with a dirty strip of leather.

"'E bit me, Boss, 'e did!" Noodle whimpered. "The dirty whore's son! Me forefinger's bleeding!" Sobbing, the simpleminded giant sucked his injured finger.

"Stop blubbering like an imp, Noodle! Don't you have any dignity?" Grat-Durgund spat out viciously. "Sometimes the two of you make me wonder if we really are brothers! For all I know, the two of you were changelings put there by elves!"

"We're no elves!" Noodle protested as he resumed turning the spit. "We're all the spitting images of dear old dad!"

"That's right, Boss!" Willie wailed plaintively. "Such talk 'urts me deep in the gut! We're your brothers, born to the same sire and dam as you, and there's no denyin' it!" Wiping a nonexistent tear from his eye, he stared dolefully at Grat-Durgund and then began mixing apple juice, olive oil, mustard, honey, and pepper to create the basting sauce.

"I don't know if you are or not," came Grat-Durgund's scalding reply. "Now let's stop this endless flapping of tongues, and put our efforts to the work at hand."

"Aye, Boss! I was just getting ready to do that," Willie replied as he dipped the basting brush into the bowl.

Esarhaddon tried to squirm away as Willie began brushing the sticky concoction over his body. The indignities had no end, for Willie coated every inch of his body with the sticky mixture, including his private parts. The tickling sensation of the brush was maddening, and Esarhaddon bit down hard on the lemon, releasing the sour juice into his mouth. Unable to spit it out, the slaver was forced to swallow, gagging on the bitter liquid.

Of all the ways a man could die, Esarhaddon never thought that fate had slated him to choke on lemon juice while he was being roasted over a fire! As yet, the trolls had only been tormenting him, not subjecting him to the full fury of the brazier, but he was certain that before too long they would...

Next Chapter

Previous Chapter
Main Index