The day is here! Your votes have been gathered, and we can now present to you this year’s winner of the Least Competent Henchman Award!
It’s a cloudy day as henchmen from various tales arrive for the ceremony, this year to be presented outdoors where nothing much can be damaged or broken. Tables are set out, decorated with silky table cloths and fine silverware, bouquets of black roses for centerpieces. Celebratory cakes await in a row to be served afterwards. It’s a fancy occasion, much to Ugluk’s satisfaction, who was tired of henchmen being presented as violent buffoons and mischief makers who could do nothing but make a mess of things (even if that were true).
Today was a new day! He thought back to his recent webinar training series: How to Be a Proud Henchman. He would see to it that all villain henchmen were on their best behavior for this ceremony, and he would force the world to view them in a new light!
The audience takes their seats, now. There’s a lot of gripping and complaining and the swishing of expensive fabrics. Grima enters next, looking dapper with a top hat and bow tie; he’s escorting the nominees for this year’s Least Competent Henchman Award across the lawn. Dobby, Peter Pettigrew, General Khrak, Slarb, a grumpy dwarf, and a whole group of hopping Dufflepuds are led to the single long table placed before the front of the outdoors stage. All are dressed in suits, ties and cravats for the occasion, several looking extremely displeased by the confining garments.
Dobby shifts about on his chair, clapping his hands together, looking for once not so ragged but wearing a black suit. “Oh, Dobby so excited! Feel so privileged to be invited to such a grand ceremony!”
The grumpy unnamed dwarf to his right glares, and Dobby swallows nervously with a small laugh. He looks to the left hopping to find more pleasant company, only to meet Slarb: a lizard-man creature with a hideous expression.
“What are you sssstaring at, fat ears?” hisses Slarb.
Dobby yelps and clamps a hand over his mouth, focusing his attention straight ahead and on no one in particular.
Grima tries to make the Dufflepuds sit down. The dwarf-like creatures hop and holler about, yanking off their ties and casting them into the air. After several failed attempts, Grima brings out a bundle of restraining rope (kept backstage for emergency purposes) and spends a few minutes lassoing and tying down the hopping, single-footed creatures to their seats.
“Hey!” General Khrak slams a scaly fist on the table, making all the dinnerware rattle. “Where’s my ratbadger tail salad? I ordered ahead of time on my app!”
“Yes, yes, coming right away,” said Grima. He snaps his fingers, motioning to a serving goblin to bring over the food tray.
Dobby tries not to vomit after glancing at the salad of ratbadger tails being stabbed with a fork and munched on.
“Hmm…could use more salt,” complains Khrak. “Have the chef executed! They should know better than to come before my presence with such a bland-tasting dish.”
He turns to see Peter Pettigrew waving a hand of long fingernails, his buckteeth sticking out between a smile.
“Fancy seeing you here, eh? The both of us battling it out for first place. Heeheehee, what a fight it will be!”
Dobby swallows. “Dobby is pretty sure ’tis up to voters who wins–not an actual fight…”
Grima thumps on the microphone set up onstage, and the speakers squeal a horribly high sound that silences everyone. “Your attention, pleeease, ladies and gentlemen! We will now begin. May I introduce to you our most gracious host.” He sweeps off his top hat dramatically. “Ugluk, leader of the Uruk-hai!”
Ugluk comes onto the stage, tugging uncomfortably at his tight collar and cravat with a beefy finger. He takes out a sheet of paper from his suit pocket.
“We are gathered here today…” he begins.
The audience of henchmen and badies starts to chatter and grunt and argue, ignoring Ugluk’s words.
“Quiet!” Ugluk tries to say without letting anger take over. But as the audience keeps yakking and slapping tables and dropping silverware, his patience reaches an end.
“I SAID QUIEEET!”
The audience finally drops what they are doing, or talking about, and all eyes go to the stage.
“We are gathered here today to honor those who have been admirable workers for their lords and masters. Henchmen who deserve our notice and applause.”
Dobby looks about, feeling baffled, and whispers, “Dobby thought this award was for Least Competent Henchman. Isn’t that more a negative thing?”
“Ssssilence,” hisses Slarb.
“I will now read as follows fifth place and up to our henchman winner!” shouts Ugluk.
“Oh goodie goodie.” Peter rubs his ratty hands together in anticipation.
“Fifth places goes to…General Khrak!” reads Ugluk.
“WHAAAT?” Khrak stabs his knife utensil into the table with a thud, making the henchman dwarf jump in his seat and glare.
“Oi, watch where you’re stabbing!” The dwarf grabs his own knife up.
“Fourth place goes to…the White Witch’s dwarf!” bellows Ugluk.
The dwarf flings his knife up in the air with a growling huff. “Really? Why won’t you people ever use my name? White Witch this, White Witch that… I’m sick of it!”
Dobby reaches to tap his shoulder. “Pardon, but what is dwarf’s real name?” he asks.
“Third place goes to…Slarb!”
“Third? Third?! They dare disssgrace me with such a lowly place asss third?” Slarb shouts.
General Khrak turns his rage on his fellow lizard-man. “This lowly creature gets a higher number than me?” He attacks Slarb with the knife utensil, who in turn blocks with his plate like a shield and parries with his own knife.
“Hahahaaa, I alwaysss knew I was better than you!” Slarb gurgles an evil laugh.
“Second place goes to…Peter Pettigrew!” shouts Ugluk above the annoying ruckus.
“Oh, marvelous, marvelous!” Peter claps his hands together, then continues nibbling at a platter full of cheeses. “It seems I’ve done quite well in my henchman role, getting so close to first place and all!”
Dobby’s ears tilt. No one but him seems to understand that winning first place in an award that mentions the word “Least” in the title is a bad thing.
But wait, only first place was left! And Dobby and the Dufflepuds hadn’t been mentioned yet!
Winning first place may be a bad thing, but to win first at something did feel like an achievement of sorts, even if it really wasn’t.
“And now, for the winner!” growls Ugluk loudly to the crowd. “First place goes to…” He pauses. Blinks. Reads it again. Makes an expression with his face that reads something like: “How on Middle Earth could this happen?”
Ugluk clears his throat. “First place is…the Dufflepuds from The Chronicles of Narnia!”
The only cheers to be heard were those of the gleeful laughs of the Dufflepuds, still tied to their chairs.
Dobby’s ears droop slowly. “Dobby…wasn’t mentioned? Not in one single place?”
As the crowd chatters and the fancy medallion award is brought out, Dobby’s sadness turns to anger and grows.
“Why was Dobby not mentioned in awards ceremony?” he shouts at the stage.
Ugluk regards him with a frown, then looks over the list in his thick hand. “There is no Dobby on the list. You were not one of the five nominees.”
“Wasn’t…wasn’t on the list?” Dobby’s hands make fists. “You brought Dobby out here, filling Dobby full of hope of winning special (if stupid) award, when it was all a lie?” he exclaims. “Wicked, wicked creatures! Dobby show you not to trick a house elf. Dobby is angry!” He pulls out a wand. “So very, very angry!!!”
With a zap of magic, every celebratory cake on the tables floats up and then smashes into faces: Ugluk’s face, Slarb’s face, and even Khrak’s (Peter scurries and hides under the table). The Dufflepuds are also set loose and they bound and hop about: crashing onto tables, flinging silverware and beverages, starting a food fight the likes of which had not been seen since the beginning of time.
“Order! I said, order!!!” Ugluk roars from the stage in vain.
Plates become shields, knives and forks become mighty swords and spears. Dufflepud boots thunk many a head into unconsciousness, and Dobby’s magic splatters the food and cake galore. No table is left un-turned, and the tent shading the audience from the sun is shredded into ribbons by Slarb and General Khrak’s fury. The stage becomes such a slippery mess with cake icing and thrown punch bowls that Ugluk trips and falls.
Peter is enjoying all of the food crumbs on the ground, crawling about through the chaos.
Grima watches it all from the safety of the shadows backstage. “Oh my… Well, this is why we planned this to be outdoors. Perhaps I should slip away…”
Ugluk rises from the stage, cake icing in his eye and all down the front of his expensive black suit. This was the final straw. Ceremony or no ceremony, as a proud henchman he would punish this insolence!
With a roar, Ugluk grabs up his massive, jagged blade and lunges into the crowd, swinging and bashing this way and that, plates of spaghetti sent flying.
“Where’s the Halfling! I mean, Dobby! Where’s the Dobby!” growls Ugluk.
A pie lifts and flings into Ugluk’s face. “Dobby is right here,” says Dobby with a smirk, standing on a fallen chair.
Ugluk roars and swings his blade, only to be countered by chair legs and other objects tossed his way by Dobby’s wand.
Meanwhile, Grima sneaks away from the ceremony mess, the Least Competent Henchman award grasped in his hands like a fine treasure. “Let them clean up their own mess and get scolded by their masters, heheheh. I wonder what fine price I can fetch for this lovely Silmaril? Or, better still, what power it might contain that I can use?”
He chortles and giggles to himself as he swiftly leaves the ceremony premises behind…
And there we have it, folks! Remember never to get on Dobby’s bad side. And always host your local villain and henchmen events outdoors, for obvious reasons. Don’t forget tomorrow is the Most Epic Hero Award over at The Geek Blog. And you can find links throughout the week to all this year’s awards at: The Silmaril Awards.
Enter the fantastic fantasy-themed giveaway while there’s still time! One prize per winner (and there are a lot of prizes)! Here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6c7e337d23/
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