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No. 12: In the lap of Mordor, where the kittens lie.

In the lap of Mordor, where the kittens lie.

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Strip by: Ian Boreham

{A Black Rider stops on a woodland path. Four hobbits hide below the roots of a tree at the side of the path.}
Black Rider: ...SNIFF...SNIFF...SNIFF...

{The dismounted rider crouches beside the path, looming above Frodo, who, in a trance, is about to put on the One Ring.}
Black Rider: ...SNIFF...WHERE...MOGGINS?
Frodo: Uuuhhh...

{The rider reaches down beside the path and gathers up the little kitten he was looking for.}
Black Rider: ...FOUND YOU...LITTLE SCAMP...COME TO PAPA...GOOD MOGGY...

The author writes:

Poor misunderstood Nazgûl. The disappearance of Moggins had worried him sick (he was a shadow of his former self). He'd been timidly approaching people all over the land, whispering a plea regarding "...SHY MOGGINS...", and everybody overreacted with the whole "Shire...Baggins" thing.

Ever since the War of the Last Alliance, Sauron had been licking his wounds in hiding, which gave him the idea of becoming a cat breeder. It turned out he had finally found the One Thing he was good at, somewhat surprisingly, considering the awful results of his previous attempts at spawning things.

As a test, he gave one kitten to each of the nine Nazgûl, who absolutely loved them. (Moggins here, incidentally was named after Gothmog.) Sauron had hoped to deliver three beautiful kittens he had lined up for the elf-lords and seven for the dwarf-lords, hoping that they would make up for all the trouble he had caused earlier, and bring them all into Mordor (where his new chateau lies) for a reconciliation party, to bind them in friendship.

Unfortunately, he didn't get the chance, because, perhaps a little foolishly in hindsight, he took the kittens for a play up near Cirith Ungol, and we all know what cats will do when they see a spider...

And the rest, as they say, is mythopoeia.

The strip was drawn in Krita on a Microsoft SP3. I'm getting used to both of those, but there's still plenty to learn in Krita. I definitely need to start making my own brushes.