The Archer Mice of Middle-earth

by Varda


Dark Lord Management Consultancy Agency


The horse drawn landau clip-clopped briskly away
leaving the two charred mice on the steps of the great gloomy Georgian building
on Minas Merrion Square.

'Are you sure this is a good idea?' hissed Wormtail, his singed whiskers twitching as he looked up at the dark fanlight.

'We have no choice!' snapped Sarumouse, glaring at the passers-by who glanced in surprise at his shredded once-white robes.

'Thanks to you all our assets have gone up in smoke and I am now Sarumouse The Sooty.'

Wormtail sulked.

'We'll just have to throw ourselves on his mercy...'

'WHAT MERCY?' shrieked Wormtail.


Just then the intercom on the doorway crackled into life and a ghostly voice asked;

'Who disturbs the peace of the Dark Lord?'

Sarumouse cleared his throat and said nervously;


'No-one! I mean, we don't disturb his peace, we have an appointment...'

'Enter.....'


And the great Georgian door, its paint faded and
peeling, swung open to reveal a tiny wizened figure in a black frock-coat
who bowed and silently escorted the two mice up five steep flights of stairs.

'I'm knackered' said Wormtail.

'Sshh!' said Sarumouse as the minion turned a large
brass knob and opened a great door and ushered them into a high-ceilinged
room.


The wooden shutters were closed and the only light
came from a guttering candle and the screen of a laptop on which a dark shape
- but no more than a shape - was typing assiduously. As they entered the
typing stopped and the shape turned towards them.


The mice gasped in horror; under a tall iron crown
two red pinpricks of light regarded them steadily. A suit sat at the desk
but it there was no body in it.

'The Dark Suit!' said Sarumouse aghast. then a deep voice boomed from the shadowy shape.

'Welcome. I apologise for the poor lighting, a
small disagreement with the Electricity Supply Board regarding amounts due.
Please be seated...'


As the mice scrambled up onto the seats of two
splindly chairs their host tolled a bell and the door burst open and the
minion came in carrying a tray.


'Tea?' asked The Dark Lord.

'Er, yes...' said Wormtail

'Please...' said Sarumouse.


'Earl Grey or Orange Pekoe?' asked the shape. 'or
would you prefer Irish Breakfast Tea, my own favourite. I love the way it
burns holes in the carpet when you spill it....'


'Earl Grey..' chorused the two mice.

'Cucumber sandwich?' asked the shadow, and a plate
was lifted from the tray by an empty sleeve and hovered between the two mice.
As they hesitated the voice said;

'don't worry, they are not organic...'


and the shape laughed, a sound like the clatter of carving knives.

'I'll tell you why we've come....' gulped Sarumouse

'We have a problem with mice'

'Phone Rentokill' said the voice.

'No, no! ' said Sarumouse testily. 'Not ordinary common or garden mice, these are the Heroic Archer Mice of Dublin Four'

At that name the shape changed and grew, rising up in a dark cloud. The voice thundered at the mice;

'This tidbit is not for you!'

Wormtail choked on a mouthful of cucumber sandwich. Sarumouse sprang to his feet and cried;

'I was just wondering if you would consider a small loan to tide us over...'

The suit had risen to its invisible feet.

'..I'd be willing to mortgage The Tower of Isengasworks, what is left of it...'

'Re-mortgage!' hissed Wormtail at him.

The shape advanced upon the mice, drawing a large mace from a drawer in a filing cabinet.

'Run for it...' yelped Wormtail.


Back out on the pavement, trying to flag down a landau, Sarumouse said darkly;

'He's on to us, Grimouse. We will just have to march on the Mouseburg as planned. There is no time to lose....'


'Do you think..' asked Wormtail 'there was Endomice in those sandwiches..?'