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THE STORY OF THE SHADOWCLAN

 

Upon the plains of inner Mordor lies Yewfurt, an Orc stronghold known for the savage fierceness of the tribe that dwells there - the Orcs of the Shadowclan. Bearing the emblem of the Lidless Eye againt the background of a Dark Tower - the token worn by the legions of Barad-Dur itself - these fanatic servants of Sauron have a reputation for ruthless discipline and hard-drinking. Skilled at stealth and ambush, these hardened warriors are often sent to Ithilien to harry the Rangers of Gondor.

One moonless night, a dark messenger arrives at the gates of Yewfurt bearing an urgent summons. Immediately the Goths of Shadowclan gather the tribe before a roaring fire in the center of the hold where stands an enormous statue of the Dark Lord carved from volcanic rock. The slow beat of a drum is heard. Then the heavy tramp of iron-shod feet. Trolls come into view bearing a palanquin on which sits a shrouded hunched figure. All the orcs immediately kneel, a sense of dread spreading through their ranks as they realize what reclines upon the litter.

The drums beat wildly, then stop. All is quiet as the hunched figure slowly rises from his bone-carved chair. There is a slow hiss of intaken breadth. Then the figure raises a iron-gauntleted hand in salute.

"Hail Sauron!" the shrouded figure wheezes.

"HOOWAH!" comes the thunderous return shout of the Shadowclan warriors.

The WarGoth of the Shadowclan, without daring to look directly at the shrouded figure, then growls in a loud voice: "Uz bubhosh honored! Wat am da urdurz ub da Grate Aye?"

The shrouded figure is quiet for a long while. Then, the wheezing voice comes again. The words are in the High Black Speech, known to few outside Mordor.

"Gather thine strongest and to Angmar march," hisses the figure. "By Angmar shall ye be governed." With a ring of steel, the hooded shape draws a long pale sword and raises it high. "Spread the teachings of the Eye. Gather the chosen as you go. Slay all who resist."

"HOOWAH!" shout the orcs.

The orcs slowly relax as the shape of the Nazgul atop the troll-borne palanquin recedes into the distance beyond the gate.

"UKI!" shouts the Shadowclan WarGoth. "LATZ LINEUB! WEEZ HABIN A KLOMP RITE NUW TA SEE WHU AM BUBHOSH ENUFF FER DIZ MISHUN!" The WarGoth turned to another orc standing nearby. "Lat mak shure ta bring da cidur!" he commanded.

Three months later, the gate guards at Gramsfoot in Ettenmoors report the advance of a strange column from the east. Some of the newcomers are orcs bearing the token of Barad-Dur. Others, no less fierce-looking, wear the tokens of orc tribes from Dol Guldur in Mirkwood and Gundabad in the Misty Mountains. Wargs lope around the column while in the rear come several great spiders dragging their huge bulks. In the middle of the column a team of wretched goblins pulls a large cart piled high with oaken casks.

The WarGoth of Gramsfoot steps forward with a sneer and bars the path of the column as it reaches the gate. On his shield is the token of the Iron Crown of Angmar. "Hold here you rabble!" he bellows at the newcomers. "No one gets in without orders!"

The column halts. There is a loud snarl and an enormous Shadowclan Orc steps forward.

"Here am uz urdurz!" shouts the Shadowclan Wargoth. A huge battleaxe swings through the air and there is a flash of red light. The Gramsfoot commander falls with cloven head. The rest of the garrison grabs for their weapons and begins shouting. All-out battle seems imminent.

There is the sound of loud laughter. All halt and turn to see the Corruptor of Gramsfoot step forward. "Hold!" commands the servant of Angmar. The Gramsfoot garrison steps back in sullen obedience.

The Corruptor looks toward the Shadowclan Wargoth, a grin spreading across his evil features. "Welcome to Gramsfoot!" says the Corruptor in Black Speech. "What took you so long?"

The Shadowclan Wargoth gestures at the large cart behind him. "Cidur waggin am sluw," he shrugs.