Annals of the Kings and Rulers of Lower Middle Earth
The legends, histories, and lore presented here in the following Appendix have been extensively abridged from the original sources, which include the "Police Gazette" of Twodor, the "Encyclopaedia Elvitica," and "The Reader's Digest Condensed History of Lower Middle Earth." Their principal purpose is to illustrate the War of the Ring and its origins, to attempt to fill up some of the many gaps in the main story, and to add to the already considerable cost of this book. The ancient legends of the First Age, in which Bimbós chief interest lay, are almost completely ignored, since they have little or nothing to do with the War of the Ring, and are also largely obscene and unprintable.
The First, or Sugar-Coated Age
Feenamint was the greatest of the Auld Elves in arts and lore, but was also the most stingy and unprincipled. He wrought the Three Baubles, the Sillibilli, and filled them with maple- sugar candy from the Two Trees, Lotsaluk and Telephon, that gave tooth decay to the land of the Velour, Apathetic Guardians of the World. The Baubles were coveted by Mortgage the Enema, who repossessed them after Feenamint defaulted on his student loans, and guarded them in his fell commercial bank of Thingamabob. Against the will of the Velour and the advice of his tax lawyers, Feenamint forsook the Blessed Realm and went into exile in Lower Middle Earth, leading with him a great part of his people, many of them co-signers of the bad loans and now themselves being harassed by Mortgage's collection agencies; for in his pride he purposed to recover the Baubles from Mortgage by force. Thereafter followed the foolish war of the Auld Elves and the Idioti against Thingamabob, in which they were all at last utterly defeated and forced to declare bankruptcy. The Idioti were three tribes of dim-witted Men who, after false promises of wealth and treasure to be won, became allies of the Auld Elves against the Enema.
There were three miscegenations of the Auld Elves and the Idioti: Lútheran and Boron, Tendril and Tumour, and Arwench and Arrowroot. By the last the long-sundered branches of the Half- Witted were reunited, and their respective genetic defects combined. Lútheran Canaveral was the daughter of King Thimble Greybobbin of Dramamine, but her mother was Mulligan of the people of the Velour. Boron was the son of Boraxo of the First Tribe of the Idioti.
While Lútheran distracted Mortgage with a provocative fan-dance, Boron wrested a sillibill from his Aluminium Crown. Though Boron and Lútheran were jailed for trespass and burglary, their daughter Wingding had in her keeping the sillibill pending a grand jury hearing. Tendril Collagenase was the daughter of Turnon, King of the hidden city of Gonadotropin. Tumour was the son of Humour of the House of Harbour, the Third Tribe of the Idioti and the most reviled in the wars with Mortgage. Aileron the Ancient Mariner was their son.
Aileron wedded Wingding, and absconding with the sillibill passed the Blockade of the Blessed Realm and came to the Uttermostest West, and bribing the sweet-toothed Velour with the sugary Bauble, obtained the help by which Mortgage and his bankers were put out of business. Aileron, as an important prosecution witness, was not permitted to return to Lower Middle Earth until Mortgage should be brought to trial; but in the meantime his ship bearing the sillibill was set to sail in the heavens as a brilliant marquee, displaying cloying messages of hope and salvation to the dwellers of Lower Middle Earth oppressed by the Enema and his fell servants. The sillibilli alone preserved the ancient flavour of the Two Trees of Valium before Mortgage made them into matchsticks; but the other two were eaten at the end of the First Age. Of these things, and much other irrelevant tripe concerning Elves and Men, is told in "The Sillibillion."
The First, or Sugar-Coated Age, ended with the Great Court Battle of Velour vs. Enema, in which the Lawyers of Valium broke Thingamabob and overthrew Mortgage. The debts of Feenamint and his kin were forgiven, and Mortgage was allowed to claim the losses as exemptions on his income tax. In the heat of the courtroom drama, the west-lands of Lower Middle Earth were laid waste, and the Sea drowned Boloneyland for ever. Then, most of the Auld Elves returned to the Uttermostest West and dwelt in welfare-state squalor within the sight of Valium, leaving the duped Idioti to fend for themselves in the flood-ravaged mortal lands.
The Second, or Brain-Damaged Age
The sons of Aileron the Ancient Mariner were Elroy and Orlon, the Paraplegi or Half-Witted. In them alone the line of hapless chieftains of the Idioti was preserved; and after the fall of Gilt-gonad, the dubious lineage of Auld-Elven Kings was also in Lower Middle Earth only represented by their inbred descendants.
At the end of the First Age, the Velour gave to the Half- Witted an irrevocable choice to which kindred they would belong. Orlon, greedily eyeing the immortality and smarts of the Auld Elves, chose to be of Elven-kind, and thus became a master of wisdom and interior decorating. To him therefore was granted the same grace as those Auld Elves who were still stranded in Lower Middle Earth: when at last fed up with mortal lands, they could board an ocean liner at the Grey Harbours and take a permanent vacation cruise around the tropical islands of Valium. But to the children of Orlon a choice was also appointed: either to come along on the cruise and keep their lecherous father away from the tempting native Elf-maidens, or if they stayed behind, to become mortal and be reduced to freak-show attractions and fairy-tale fodder. For Orlon, it was obvious which of these choices was fraught with sorrow.
Elroy chose to be of Man-kind and remain with the Idioti; he was not called Half-Witted for nothing. But a mediocre intelligence quotient was granted to him, many times that of lesser Idioti, though not very great compared to lesser Elves, Dwarves, or Blowfish. As a reward to the innocent inhabitants of Lower Middle Earth, who suffered greatly in the war against Mortgage, the Velour, Apathetic Guardians of the World, granted to the Idioti a land to dwell in, far removed from everywhere, so that their stupidities would trouble others no more. Most of the Idioti, therefore, were gladly deported over Sea, and guided by the Bouncing Ball of Aileron came to the great isle of Anomaly, westernmost of mortal lands. There they founded the decadent realm of Nevermór. But one command the Velour laid upon the Nevermórians, the "Ban of Valium": they were forbidden to sail west to attempt to set foot on the Enlightened Lands. For though a meagre span of intellect had been granted to them, in the beginning a third that of lesser Men, they must remain stupid, since the Velour were not permitted to take from them the Gift of Dullness (or the Doom of Men, as it was afterwards called).
Elroy was the first King of Nevermór, and was afterwards known by the Auld-Elven name Tsar-Minotaur. His descendants were mortal, weak-chinned, and feeble-minded. Later, when they somehow managed to become powerful, they begrudged the choice of their foolish forefather, desiring both the immortality and the interior decorating skills of the Auld Elves, and murmuring against the Ban. In this way began their petty rebellion, which allowed them to fall under the spells of the evil Sorhed, and brought about the Downfall of Nevermór, as is told in "The Aromabrêth."
These are the names of the Kings and Queens of Nevermór: Elroy Tsar-Minotaur, Tsar-Vacúum, Tsar-Almond-díng, Tsar-Enema, Tsar-Magnavox, Tsar-Alimóny, Tsarina-Ankylosaurus (the first Queen), Tsar-Anomaly, Tsar-Súdafed, Tsarina-Telephon (the second Queen), Tsar-Minastroney, Tsar-Carryout, Tsar-Maniac the Grotesque, Tsar-Telemetry, Tsarina-Vanílla (the third Queen), Tsar-Anacin, Tsar-Calamine. After Calamine the Kings took sceptre in names in the Nevermórian tongue: Czar-Medûlla Oblongat, Czar-Zômbie, Czar-Saltpôrk, Czar-Gûmball, Czar- Insûlin. Insûlin repented of the ways of the Kings and changed his name to Tsar-Planetteer, "The Wishful Thinker." His daughter should have been the fourth Queen, Tsarina-Múriel, but the King's nephew usurped the sceptre and became Czar-Pholderôl the Gorgon, last King of the Nevermórians.
The realm of Nevermór miraculously endured to the end of the Second Age; and until half the Age had passed, the Nevermórians were slothful and content. The first sign of the shadow that was to fall upon them appeared in the days of Tsar- Minastroney, the eleventh King. It was he who sent a great force of cannon-fodder to the aid of Gilt-gonad, last heir of the Kings of Feenamint's exiled kin, against the armies of Sorhed. He envied the Auld Elves, their immortality, their ability to count without using their fingers, their lavish and tastefully- decorated bungalows. Moreover, after Tsar-Minastroney the Kings became greedy of wealth and power. At first, the Nevermórians had come to Lower Middle Earth for remedial reading lessons from lesser Men afflicted by Sorhed; but now their havens became think-tanks, holding many bright brains in subjection. Tsar-Maniac the fifteenth King and his successors levied heavy tribute, and the barges of the Nevermórians returned laden with almanacs and encyclopaedias.
It was Tsar-Maniac who was first demented enough to speak openly against the Ban, declaring that the intelligence of the Auld Elves was his by right. The shadow deepened, and the fear of eternal illiteracy darkened the already-dim minds of the people. The Nevermórians became divided: the Kings and their minions who were blacklisted by the Auld Elves and the Velour, and those few truly unfortunates who called themselves the Faithful. They lived mostly in the reform schools and insane asylums in the west of the land. The Kings, their mental sparks waning like dead fireflies, little by little became incapable of speaking the Elvish tongue, and at last, in desperation, the twentieth King took his royal name in Nevermórian form, calling himself Czar-Medûlla Oblongat, "Lord of the Brain-Stem." This seemed ill-omened to the Faithful, for hitherto they had given that title only to one of the Velour, or to their electroshock therapists. And indeed Czar-Medûlla Oblongat began to persecute the Faithful, lobotomising and sterilising those who spoke Elvish, Algebra, or any other language they could not understand; and the Auld Elves, reading the writing on the wall, severed all diplomatic ties, closed their embassies, and withdrew all their ambassadors from Nevermór.
Though these were the dark years for the Idioti of Nevermór, the rest of the peoples of Lower Middle Earth meanwhile were pretty well off, freed for the time being from the blunderings of the Idioti. In the beginning of the Age, many of the Auld Elves still remained, stranded by the breaking of Boloneyland in the overthrow of Mortgage; though after the building of the Grey Harbours and the rise of Sorhed, they accepted the pardoning of their debts by the Velour, and retired by the boatload to the tropical isles of Valium. At Limburg dwelt Gilt-gonad, who was acknowledged as the High King and Chief Interior Decorator of the Elves of the West. In Lornadoon dwelt Cellophane, disinherited kinsman of Thimble Greybobbin; his concubine was Gladwrapiel, sleaziest of Elven-women. Later some of the Elves went to Oregano, near to the paper- bag factories and Tupperware mills at the West-Gate of Andrea Doria. This they did because they learned that the Dwarves had discovered styrofoam in the mines of Nikon-zoom, valued beyond price for making goblets, ice coolers, and thermal underwear.
The queer friendship that grew up between the Dwarves of Doria and the Elven-smiths of Oregano was the closest that has ever been tolerated between the two belligerent races. Carashingbor was the inscrutable lord of Oregano and the most incompetent of their so-called craftsmen; a scandalous rumour had it that he was descended from Feenamint, though the horrified family of the latter and their lawyers strenuously denied it. It was Carashingbor who brutally wrested the secret of making magic rings from the Dwarves; and without regard to patent rights he forged the Twenty-One Rings of Power, including the Great One which Sorhed stole, and which later caused such weeping and gnashing of teeth in the lands of Lower Middle Earth. The tyrannies of the Nevermórians nonetheless continued to increase; but their minimal wits lessened even more as their fear of death and nursing homes grew. Tsar-Planetteer attempted to amend the evil; but it was too late, and there were Social Security riots and Grey Panther rebellions in Nevermór. When he died, his demented nephew, a well-known rabble-rouser and card- carrying Elf-hater, seized the Golden Rattle that was the sceptre of Nevermór, and became King Czar-Pholderôl the Gorgon. Czar-Pholderôl was the stupidest and most dull of all the Kings; yet no less than all the knowledge in the world was his desire. He had the gall to challenge Sorhed the Great for the supremacy in Lower Middle Earth, and at length he himself set sail with a great navy of rowboats, log rafts, and inner tubes; and suffering great losses on the trip he washed ashore at Lumbar. So pitiful was the might and armament of the puny Nevermórian flotilla that most of Sorhed's own servants died laughing; and with great effort Sorhed humbled himself, pretending to be afraid of the squeaking Nevermórian rubber duckies, and craving pardon. Then Czar-Pholderôl in the deficiency of his grey matter carried the evil schemer back to Nevermór; and soon Sorhed had bewitched the King and was running the country himself. All but the small remnant of the Faithful, still in their padded cells, did Sorhed turn back towards the darkness.
At length, Czar-Pholderôl felt the waning of his days, and was besotted by the fear of death and constipation. And Sorhed lied to the idiotic King, declaring that everlasting life and regularity would belong to he who possessed the Enlightened Lands, and that the Ban was imposed only so that the Velour could monopolise the lucrative laxative market. Feeling the sluggishness of his bowels, he mustered again his armada and set sail westward, breaking the Ban of Valium, going up with war to wrest knowledge and well-formed stools from the Apathetic Guardians of the West. But when Czar-Pholderôl's Royal Seahorse floated onto the oil-slicked shores of Valium, the Velour panicked and called upon the U.N. for aid against the imperialist invaders. After an emergency meeting of the Security Council, peacekeeping forces were sent to secure the beaches, and the world was changed. A fell mushroom-shaped cloud appeared where Nevermór once lay, and the borders of Valium were closed forever to all immigrants. So ended the folly of Nevermór. The last leaders of the Faithful, Barbisol and his son Beltelephon, were luckily on weekend leave from the psychiatric ward when Czar-Pholderôl's fleet sailed west, and they escaped the Downfall in nine lifeboats, bearing the Seven Magic Wishing Balls or planetteeri, gifts of the Auld Elves to their pathetic house. Miraculously they survived the fallout cloud and came to the shores of Lower Middle Earth, where they founded the Nevermórian realm in exile, Twodor, and the great cities of Minas Troney, Omigoshgolli, and Chikken Noodul, not far from the confines of Fordor. For in their defective wisdom, they thought that Sorhed too had been destroyed in the Downfall.
But it was not so. Sorhed was indeed at Ground Zero when the Big Bang hit Nevermór; but his cunningly-wrought underground bomb shelter survived the strike, though severe radiation burns resulted in horrible disfigurement that numerous rounds of plastic surgery could not repair. He fled back to Fordor and reentered his fortress of Barnyard-dôr, black and hideous. But his anger was great when he learned that Barbisol, whom he hated even more than wobbly dentures, was brazenly founding a new country on his territory. Therefore, without careful planning, Sorhed made war upon the Exiles, hoping to scramble the eggs before the chicks could hatch, as it were. The Zazu Pits once more belched forth carcinogenic vapours, and telephones rang endlessly at the Barnyard-dôr. But Sorhed struck too soon, before his own empire was rebuilt, whereas the power of Gilt-gonad, thanks to many Elven-Rings, had increased during his absence in Nevermór. In the War-To-End-All-Wars-Until-The-Next-One, Sorhed was overthrown by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. At the Battle of Bryllopad, Sorhed was relieved of the One Ring he had stolen from the Elves, though in the taking both Gilt-gonad and Barbisol were slain, and the Ring was accidentally dropped into the River Anacin and lost. Bereft of the Ring and almost powerless, Sorhed and his Nine Nozdrûl slipped away through the Ngaio Marsh and hid in the ruins of Barnyard-dôr, which the Alliance had levelled. While Lower Middle Earth then had peace for a long while, Sorhed's malice was only subdued, and his revenge only postponed. So ended the Second, or Brain-Damaged Age.
The Third, or Sheet-Metal Age
These were the fading years of the Auld Elves. For long they were at peace, wielding their Magic Rings while Sorhed's power was broken and the One Ring was lost; but in their torpor they attempted nothing new, content to reread yesterday's newspapers, dress in last year's fashions, and otherwise dwell in the past. As part of a "Keep Lower Middle Earth Beautiful" public service campaign, the Dwarves hid their hulking, humpbacked selves in deep places, guarding their hoards of machine bolts and cotter pins; but when evil began to stir again, and the Dragons reappeared, one by one their ancient parts inventories were plundered, their munitions factories closed, and they became an unemployed people. The Mines of Doria long remained secure behind impregnable styrofoam Gates, but long exposure to asbestos and coal dust took its toll on the Dwarves, and their numbers dwindled until many of its vast work-houses and debtors' prisons became dark and empty. Surprisingly, both the wisdom and the life-span of the Nevermórians increased as they became mongrelised with lesser Men.
Barbisol's descendants went about the business of organising the realm of Twodor, and as their wits slowly improved, they had fair success. These are the names of the Kings of Twodor: Barbisol the Buck-Toothed, Beltelephon the Senile, Nabisco the Incompetent, Melonhed, Cementrúk, Aileron the Inverted, Analog, Oscarmayer, Rómancandil I, Túrnabout, Anteater I, Saládati, Tarantella, Éarwax I, Carryout, Hormóndocil the Eunuch. Hormóndocil was the first childless King, and was succeeded by his brother, Anteater II the Gluttonous. Nembutal, Cholera, Rómancandil II, Volksicar, Edselcar, Castrati the Unsavoury. He was the second childless King, and was succeeded by his brother's son, Dilidali. Hormóndocil II, Minnihaha, Telegraf, Tóronto, Telegenic Lumbago, Nembutal II, Calamiti, Underhand, Éarwax II. He and his children perished in the Spotted Plague, and was succeeded by his cousin, Chlorinol. Chloride, Chlorox, Chloroplast the Green, who died mysteriously.
Here the line of the Kings was interrupted, with the disappearance of Chloroplast's son, Aeroplane, and the Stewardship of Twodor began, until an heir of Aeroplane should return. These are the names of the Ruling Stewards of Twodor: Paraffin the Climber, Paregóric, Hrududu, Barlicórn the Sodden, Húmid I, Túmid I, Harbour, Boraxo, Dudu, Benelux I, Carrion. In his time the Roi-Tanners swore oaths of fealty and non- aggression to Twodor. Hedless, Húmid II, Blaggard I, Orridbreth, Electrolux I, Gypsimoth, Boron, Barelgut, Blaggard II, Thórninside, Túmid II, Turnon, Electrolux II the Piker, Benelux II the Booby, last of the Ruling Stewards. After his suspicious "suicide", his son Farahslax would have succeeded him, but Farahslax died of complications from a head-bump received in the War of the Ring. After the coronation of King Arrowroot, the office of Steward was discontinued. These are the names of the Ranger Chieftains in Northern Exile at Ribroast: Aeroplane, Aerodróme, Aerodyne, Aeroflot, Arglebargle I, Arrowroot I, Arrowfrog, Arglebargle II, Arrowshirt I, Arrolflynn, Ardi-ar-ar, Arminávi, Arlidávison, Arrowhed, Arrowshirt II, Arrowroot II, True King of Twodor and Heir of Barbisol, restored.
When maybe a thousand years had passed, give or take a millenium, and the first chestnut blight had fallen on Plywood the Great, the Suzuki or Wizards appeared in Lower Middle Earth. It was afterwards alleged that they came out of the Uttermostest West, deported for unspecified high crimes and misdemeanours against the Velour (believed to be embezzlement of Elvish income tax revenues), and condemned to contest the growing power of Sorhed, and to find any who had enough intestinal fortitude to resist him; but they were forbidden to match his power with thermonuclear weapons, or to join forces with him in squashing hapless Elves and Men. Appropriately, they came in the shape of Men, with the general intellect of the Idioti. Though they were always old, and grew more stupid and senile with each passing year, they had command of many cunning devices of mayhem and mass destruction. Their true names were accidentally discovered by only a few (and these had a tendency to "disappear" soon after), but they used such names as were given to them, when printable. The two highest-ranking (both in stature and in smell) of the Magician's Union (of whom it is said there were five, but should have been six, and are now four, except in unpublished writings, in which there are seven) were called by the Auld Elves Córoner, "The Laxative of Death", and Misanthróp, "The Pinging Petrol", but by Men in the North Serutan and Goodgulf. Córoner journeyed often into the East, where he secretly plotted with Sorhed, but came at last to dwell in Isinglass, in the Nevermórian citadel of Eisentower. There he established an amusement park and tourist trap devoted to the idiotic cartoon character, Dickey Dragon; and with the enormous profits from his merchandising of Dickey Dragon paraphernalia, he began to muster a war-machine to rival that of Sorhed in Fordor.
Misanthróp, however, meddled mostly in the affairs of the Auld Elves and wandered aimlessly in the West, repeatedly run out of town before he could make himself any lasting abode. Of the history of the One Ring of Sorhed during the first part of the Third Age, little can be said for certain. At the Battle of Bryllopad at the end of the Second Age, Barbisol the Buck-Toothed and Gilt-gonad the Elven-King slew the foul mortal form in which Sorhed's spirit walked, but at the cost of their own lives. Aigotit, the plastic spear of Gilt-gonad, and Nostril, the pearl-handled toadsticker of Barbisol, both broke asunder when they smote Sorhed, and the sharp splinters embedded themselves under Gilt-gonad's impeccably manicured nails, killing him instantly. Himself mortally wounded by a mote in his eye, Barbisol cut the Ring from Sorhed's black hand with the hilt- shard of Nostril, and dying he fell with it into the fetid slime of the River Anacin. Barbisol's body and the shards of Nostril were recovered by Beltelephon the Senile his son, but the Ring was lost in the murky waters; and Beltelephon, true to his nickname, blithely gave no thought to dredging the river-bed.
For over two thousand years the Ring slept, perhaps under a rock, perhaps in a fish's gullet, until a most remarkable chance occurrence, the sort which has critical readers either screaming deus ex machina the minute they lay eyes on it, or else selling all their possessions and giving the proceeds to television evangelists. One day two young brothers named Sméagma and Déogma were walking along the River, looking for pop bottles they could return for deposit. Suddenly, the water bubbled and boiled, and a golden Ring leapt out of the River and flew right into Déogmás pocket. "What's that?" asked Sméagma. "A golden Ring," said Déogma. "Happy Birthday," said Sméagma. "It's not my birthday today," said Déogma. "O yes it is," said Sméagma, "and here's your present." Sméagma grabbed his brother by the throat and throttled him; he took the golden Ring from Déogmás pocket and threw his body into the River. After this brutal murder, Sméagmás family disowned him and sent him into exile in the Mealy Mountains, where he holed up in a deep, underground cavern beside a cold, black underground pond. As the Ring worked its deadly power on him, he began to lisp, making hideous nglmm! noises in his throat as he snarfed down raw fish from the pond. The Ring became his Precious, and he became Gotham; and long the two lay hidden in the evil darkness.
By the middle of the Third Age, that decadent people called by the Elves hoipolloi, or in their own tongue Hoggits, had completed its migration from the vales of Anacin across the Papier-Maché Mountains, and settling between the Gallowine and the Sea they founded their own fetid little country, appropriately called the Stye. At about this time, the evil Slumlord of Borax appeared in the North-Lands of Lower Middle Earth, and began to assail the Exiled Rangers and their paper kingdom at Ribroast. The other peoples of Oleodor were content to allow this as long as their own lands were spared; but when hordes of Dorcs riding ravening Werewolves appeared in the Stye and Oregano, their tune not surprisingly changed, and tens of poorly-armed, ill-trained Hoggits and loudly-dressed Elves came lumbering to the rescue. After the defeat of the Slumlord, who was actually the Lord of the Nozdrûl in disguise, and the dispersal of the remaining Rangers, the Hoggits withdrew from the politics of the Age, until the events of the War of the Ring dragged them out of their squalid holes and into the spotlight.
At about this time a fierce tribe of sheep-herding Men, the Roi-Tanners, descended from the Papier-Maché Mountains and invaded the grassy plains between Isinglass and Twodor. Ever seeking more pasture for their great merinos, and more lebensraum (as they called it) for themselves, they began to assail outlying Twodorian villages, pillaging towns and killing helpless women, children, and National Guardsmen. Alarmed by this militant expansionism, the tenth Ruling Steward of Twodor, Benelux I, undertook negotiations with the invaders in an attempt to secure the northern borders. After an historic summit hosted by Serutan at Eisentower, Benelux returned with an agreement signed by Varlet the Crafty, King of the Rubbermark, which the Steward proclaimed as representing "peace in our time." Upon the death of Benelux later that year, the Roi-Tanners crossed the treaty- border with a blitz of mounted sheepmen armed with fell dustmops, and relentlessly swept through Twodor unto the very Gates of Minas Troney. It is said that Serutan had at first secretly aided the Roi-Tanners in their efforts, greatly desiring the overthrow of Twodor, which had refused him tax abatements during the construction of his Dickey Dragon amusement park; but King Varlet, his early success giving him delusions of grandeur, unexpectedly sent part of his army to attack Isinglass itself, and Serutan was wroth.
As Minas Troney was about to fall, Serutan intervened, and he gave Carrion son of Benelux a magic weapon with which to defeat the Roi-Tanners. Standing on the wall of the Seventh Level, Carrion pointed a gleaming tube into the air, the name "Anthrax" graven in proud Elf-runes upon its polished mahogany stock. A cloud of white smoke came from the tube and settled upon the army of Roi-Tan. One by one, the powerful black merinos upon which the Men of Roi-Tan rode gasped, staggered, and collapsed to the earth; soon all had succumbed. King Varlet was smothered under the weight and stench of his dying steed, and the rest of the Roi-Tanners retreated in a rout. Churl the Dumb, son of Varlet and now King of the Rubbermark, returned bearing a white flag of truce, desiring peace and a return to prewar borders; and before Carrion the Steward he swore the famous Oath of Churl, pledging fealty to Twodor and promising to never ever attack them again, "Cross my heart and hope to die, lightning strike me if I lie." It is recorded that a severe thunderstorm blew up a few hours later and immediately thereafter Bozo son of Churl was crowned King.
These are the names of the Kings and Queens of Roi-Tan: Churl the Dumb, Bozo the Clown, Alpo the Old Geezer, Fléa the Itchy, Fléapowder, Goldbrik, Déorjamb, Kilogram, Heimie Hammerhead. His sons Hómwork and Halitosis died in the Long Hard Winter, and he was succeeded by Fréaloader his sister's son. Butthed the Loafer, Wallawalla, Flúke, Flúkliver, Fungus, Thingamabob, Théatre, Éorlobe. His daughter Éorache became the first Queen and was wedded to King Arrowroot of Twodor, but died mysteriously without children. Éorwax, son of Éordrum, Éorlobe's brother, succeeded to the throne of the Rubbermark. It came to pass that, in the Middle of the Third Age, Fergus Fewmet was again King of the Dwarves of Andrea Doria, being the sixth of that infamous name since the First Age.
The power of Sorhed, servant of fell Mortgage, was growing again like a malignant tumour in the world, and all manner of plagues and evils were abroad, though the Dwarves blithely maintained that everything was hunky-dory. The Dwarves delved deep at that time, seeking beneath Barâzinbred for styrofoam, the metal that was yearly losing its value as the Elves of Oregano flooded the market with cheap imitations imported from Fordor. One day, while idly hammering away at the walls of a deep, dark shaft (using their heads, not their hammers--a common form of Dwarvish "entertainment"), they aroused from its beauty sleep a terror that, fleeing from Thingamabob, had lain hidden at the foundations of the earth since the victory of the Lawyers of Valium: a Ballhog of Mortgage. Fergus VI was slam-dunked by it, and the year after Nimrod I, his flat-headed (from too much "entertainment") son. The glory of Doria passed, such as it was, and its people were evicted and deported far away. Most of those who were deported ended up in the North, and Thróbak I, Nimrod's son, came to Erbivor, the Ruminating Mountain, near the eastern eaves of Plywood, and there became King-Under-The-Mountain.
In Erbivor he found the great sheet- metal jewel, the Arkenweld, Gall-Bladder of the Mountain, and he and his folk prospered, envied by the Men who dwelt nearby at Escargot-Upon-The-Puny-Pond. For they made not only things of wonder and beauty, like refrigerators and filing cabinets, but also weapons and armour of great worth: swords of sharpest aluminium, helms of sturdiest plexiglas, jock straps of gleamingest tinfoil. Thus the Dwarves lived in disgusting plenty for many generations, free of Dorcs and Sorhed's income tax, and there was gluttony and vice in Erbivor. Unfortunately, the rumour of this wealth spread abroad and reached the avaricious ears of the Dragons, including Smog the Carcinogenic, greatest toxic waste dumper and environmental polluter of his day. Eager to exploit the pristine lands for strip mining and low-rent public housing developments, Smog without warning attacked the King, Thórax great-grandson of Thróbak. He descended on the Mountain, spewing cyclamates, detergent phosphates, and DDT into the Dwarves' water supplies. It was not long before the Dwarves swelled up with tumours and all their realm was destroyed; but Smog entered the Great Hall and lay there content upon a bed of asbestos.
From the sack of Erbivor many of Thórax's kin escaped, having lived off secret hoards of organically-grown vegetables, distilled water, and mega-doses of vitamin C; and last of all from the halls by a secret laundry chute came crafty old Thórax himself and his retarded son Thróbak II. The Dwarves wandered away south, poor and homeless, with only meagre Social Security checks to sustain them. The bitter loss of his kingdom darkened Thórax's thoughts as he brooded over his anvil; for now the Dwarves turned to blacksmithing to earn their bread (though it is said that a few bright individuals who took up plumbing instead made a fortune on the Roto-Rooter circuit). At last unable to endure his poverty, the old King-In-Exile took it into his head to reopen the styrofoam mines of Andrea Doria, and proposed to lead his people thence. Remembering that the mines were now full of Dorcs, not to mention the Ballhog (or "Fewmet's Foe" as it was whisperingly known), the Dwarves refused to follow, all except Nérd, the King's faithful jester and psychoanalyst. Undaunted by this vote of no confidence, Thórax abdicated his throne to his son and left with the sniveling Nérd, and when last seen the hapless pair were on the highroad to the East-Gate of Doria.
Several weeks went by without any word; and then one day King Thróbak received a large package C.O.D., postmarked from Doria. Greedily thinking it a birthday present from his departed father, he paid the postage due and opened it, discovering rather that it WAS his departed father, departed into several parts, as it were. But of the jester there was no sign. After seven days of catatonic silence, during which a stunned nation held tearful vigil, Thróbak II stood up, tore his beard, and spoke these famous words: "Klaatu barada nikto!" which in the secret tongue of the Dwarves means either "This cannot be borne!" or something unprintable. But instead of going to war against the Dorcs of Andrea Doria, a plan which had considerable popular support at the time, the batty Thróbak marched straight to Sorhed's nearby embassy at Dol Barbie, and standing on the front steps demanded compensation. A courteous secretary, four feet tall, dressed in black leotards and bearing a striking resemblance to Nérd, politely ushered the fuming King through the door; and of the fate of Thróbak II no tale tells. Now Thórninside Oatenquaker son of Thróbak became the heir of Fergus Fewmet; but a King without a Kingdom is not indeed a King, and Thórninside was an heir without hope. He led the remnant of the Dwarves into Oleodor, and there they dug new mines in the Airhed Looni, the Magenta Mountains. Of iron were most of the things they forged in those days, though some were of paper, but they prospered after a fashion, and both birthrate and per capita income slowly increased. Now they had fair homes in the mountains (nothing to brag about in "Better Caves and Caverns," but dry at least) and large inventories of fenders and trunk-lids, but in their songs they spoke ever of the Ruminating Mountain.
It is elsewhere told in "Valley of the Trolls" how Thórninside's chance meeting with Goodgulf Greyteeth led to the Quest of Erbivor, at the end of which the exiled Dwarves (with grudging help from the Elves of Plywood and the Men of Escargot) slew Smog the Dragon and reestablished the Kingdom-Under-The- Mountain. In this Quest, Thórninside Oatenquaker and many other Dwarves were slain, and the Throne of Fergus Fewmet was claimed by Thórninside's no-account cousin Dráin from the Junkyard Hills. Bimbo Bugger, a Hoggit of the Stye, was an unwilling participant in this business; yet it was his blundering fortune to recover Sorhed's One Ring from its hiding place in the Papier- Maché Mountains, making possible the much-heralded and soon-to- be-a-TV-movie War of the Ring, in which Sorhed and the fell host of Fordor were finally defeated, and evil purged at last from Lower Middle Earth, or so they say.
After the fall of Sorhed, the remaining Auld Elves finally decided that they had had enough of mortal lands, and they began a great exodus to the Grey Harbours, with the purpose of taking ship and leaving Lower Middle Earth for ever. With them went Orlon Half-Witted, whose daughter Arwench decided to remain as the concubine of King Arrowroot; the Lady Gladwrapiel, newly divorced from Cellophane after her magic Birdbath revealed some choice indiscretions with the milkman; and Goodgulf Greyteeth, the statute of limitations on his Valiumnar transgressions having run out. The Ring-Bearers, Bimbo and Frito Bugger, were also permitted to take the one-way trip to the Uttermostest West, even though they were mortals. It is said that this grace was a reward from the Velour for their service against Sorhed (though it is recorded that several chests marked with the Elf-rune "$" were presented by the Hoggits to Cardbórd the Ship-Worm, Captain of the Harbours, before their departure). The host of Auld Elves boarded the grey ocean liner, its name "Lusitania" proclaimed in proud Elf-runes upon the pointed prow, and away it drifted, vanishing into the West. With it went the last living memory, feeble though it was, of the First Age in Lower Middle Earth, and a merciful end was come to the dominion of the Auld Elves, though the end was just beginning for the moronic descendants of the Idioti. So ended the Third, or Sheet-Metal Age; and with it, these tales come to their end.