“He’s up to something.” Saruman looked again at the invitation. The dark blue handwriting was that of a child’s. The cream parchment thick paper was crimped and gilded around the edges, and smelt of roses. In the corner, the sender had drawn a picture of a dog jumping on a trampoline, shouting “Wheeeee!”
“Dearest Ada Legolas,
I would like to invite you to my fancy dress tea party, to be held in the Hall of Queenly Delights at 3 pm next Friday. We will have lots of party food, including tomato ice-cream, cakes, jam tarts, trifle, pink lemonade, and lots of fun games. We will have the bestest time ever. The theme is ‘my favourite hero’.
With much love,
Your ever loving son Mel xxxxxx
PS. I am going to dress up as Glorfindel but with black hair.
“Really? What is he up to?” Sauron asked, as if seemingly so bored that he wished for death rather than spend a minute longer listening to Saruman musing about a stupid invitation. Already he had devoted half the morning to torturing himself about all the possible hidden meanings the innocent invitation could hold.
“He is taunting me. That is what he is doing!”
“Thus proving that even a child can successfully mock you, and with a degree of sophistication as well.” Sauron swiftly snatched the invitation from Saruman’s fingers. After peering closely at it for a couple of minutes, approximately one-hundred and ten seconds more than he needed to, and with the sole purpose of keeping Saruman in suspense, he announced, “This is a work of love. Had Mel actually meant to send this to you he would not have drawn the dog on the trampoline, nor would he have used scented paper. I am of the opinion that it got lost in the post and arrived here by accident. Ever since the eagles brought in postage rates their delivery service has gone to rack and ruin.” He made to give the invitation back. As he did so he artlessly let it fall, and the slight draught from a nearby, half open door wafted it into the fire.
“I wanted to keep that!” Saruman , looked into the flames, as if wishing the rapidly burning invitation could fly out and land at his feet.
“Never mind; an accident is an accident and nothing more. I have an idea. You could reply as Legolas and write that he would love to attend. You could even invent a favourite hero for him, the halfwit Tom Bombadil perhaps.” Sauron made out to titter, drawing Saruman into his seemingly infectious enthusiasm. “I could see Mel being very annoyed and throwing the most terrible tantrums when his ada does not attend, even though he has most definitely replied that he will.”
Saruman grinned. “Ah! The day brightens at last.”
“Not in here it doesn’t,” Sauron said swiftly, thinking himself terribly quick and amusing.
“Figuratively, of course.” Saruman took a piece of paper from the stationary cupboard and waved his hand over it. Beautiful red ink writing flowed onto the black surface, thanking Mel for the invitation and saying how delighted Legolas would be to go to the tea party.
Sauron said nothing. He just smiled; a sparkle of malice flickered in his warm blue-green eyes.
Saruman took the invitation to the postal pick up point on the roof of the highest tower in the bleak stronghold compound. Sauron watched from his window, bursting with glee. He hadn’t accompanied his minion, simply because the urge to push him off would have been irresistible.
For the first time in an age Saruman’s heart was filled with lightness. No matter what Sauron did to him, however he tortured him, or made his life miserable in any other way, he could not take away the absolute joy in his heart at upsetting the four year old elfling who had once stabbed him through the eye with an arrow.
Sauron grinned for all he was worth. He put his feet up on a stool by the fire and drank from his glass of wine. Then he smiled even wider.
“What?” Saruman asked, suspecting horribly that his moment of joy was not about to last.
“Mel would have sent his ada, Erestor, an invitation as well. Legolas already knows about the tea party. The invitation was a mere formality, a bit of indulgent fun for their four year old ion. Mel’s parents knew about the fancy dress tea party from the very start. They would be the ones paying for it, you damned fool!” Sauron’s crashing laughter echoed through the room, shaking the walls and furniture so hard that a glass fell off the table. "What elf writes with blood red ink onto black paper? You didn’t even attach a curse to the written words!”
Saruman looked crestfallen; he wanted to cry. Sauron laughed even harder. The wizard did not know who he hated more, the four year old who had outwitted him again, or so it seemed to him, or the Dark Lord, who delighted in tormenting him so. He turned away. One day he would get them both. Then they would see how stupid they were to cross him. Yes, one day he would get them both, and then they would be sorry!
You must login () to review.