In the Prophet's Tent

Author: The Lauderdale

Nominator: Jael

2011 Award Category: Cross-Cultural: General - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mature Language/Themes,Sexual Content,Violence

Summary: An old Orc recalls an interlude, and an interesting woman, from his not-so-younger days. This is a slice of Mordor camp life in the time leading up to the War.

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 10

I have to hand it to The Lauderdale - I should have known there was a catch to this story, but I kept hoping, and the ride was quite entertaining. Her Snaga orc is a great character - he has his own voice, his own self-interested motives, and a certain curiosity that to me makes him a little different from other orcs. Most of the time, he does not act like a monster, which makes the climactic point of this story quite fascinating, for what it may say about him. It's incongruous with what we see, but seems utterly sincere, and even if this particular whore is just a very fine actress who knows how to manipulate people, the way she comes to judge him a monster seems unheralded and as if she hadn't been expecting to say that about him. The Lauderdale builds up the mystery of this woman very well, and sucks the reader in, right along with her orcish character, and she gives us an interesting mix of belief in the powers of this prophet and cynicism. But one thing you never see is fear from this character, which may go some way to saying why this camp soothsayer sees a monster in him - who isn't fearful? He's curious, but he doesn't seem afraid, which makes him interesting. Thanks very much, The Lauderdale - a fun little character piece that brings to life representatives of two cultures.

Author response: Dear Dwimordene: I liked how you and Raksha both commented on this fellow's curiosity. In my sense of him as a character beyond the context of this story, I've always thought of him as a real experience seeker, which is good for situations that one wouldn't normally expect an Orc to get into. And he does tend to have a fearless streak about him, though obviously he is capable enough of anger. Working within his POV, I tried not to give any definite proof of the prophet one way or another, but I think you're right: she really didn't expect to say that about him, and ultimately, even though she thought that he was the one who would avoid her afterward, it ended up being the other way around. Thank you for reviewing this story: your comments on people's stories are always so thoughtful, and I was excited and pleased to get your take on this one.

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 10

Well this was certainly original! Good character development of both mains, all the more enjoyable because they come from races/peoples not often concentrated on. Good pace, pikant dialogue (which is hardcore, but unsurprisingly so given the characters and their occupations), and great story development. Loved the camp politics. I also liked the glimpses into both characters' worlds and the stark contrast the author painted between Northern/Western & Southron prostitutes, which is completely believeable. In fact - whereas I disagree with her 'career' choice - I find that I am pleased to see that the woman and her peers are far from derided by the men of their camp. Makes a refreshing change from a man being desperate enough to pay for sex one minute and sneeringly calling the women a filthy whore when the deed is done, as if he is better than her. I found the whole idea of the Harad lady's (yes - I call her 'lady' because, despite her job, she strikes me as such, and I find that I have a great respect for her) gift really fascinating. I wonder if the gift is limited to men, though I suppose it must be if it's linked to her sexuality. Unless she caters to women, too, which might be a step too far even for the broad-minded Haradrim. But it certainly helps explain her marital status and career choice (at least partly). She would probably find it impossible to find a husband given what happens whenever she lays with a man. I really, really enjoyed this story. Much more than I thought I would, given the subject matter. It was intriguing, well-written, and the gradual build-up of tension was terrific. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through wondering what was going to happen, wondering if they would have sex, and whether the orc would learn his fate - and what that fate would be. But this is where I must admit to a little disappointment. After the entire build-up of their relationship, and knowing what would happen if the orc succumbed to his libido, to be denied the details of his fate was so ... frustrating. What did 'his' woman see? What could have made her think him more of a monster than what she must surely have already known of his kind, given that he was an orc of Mordor? I'd love to know. How about a sequel? Great work and very illuminating portrayal of enemy camp dynamics.

Author response: Dear Kara's Aunty: Thank you for taking the time to read this story, and for reviewing it in such depth. You focus a lot on the woman in the piece, and I like what you say about disagreeing with her profession while finding a respect for the lady herself. I wondered myself about the mechanics of her gift; writing from the Orc's POV kept me from exploring it in the kind of depth I might have done from the lady's POV, but I'm glad that you too found it an interesting point of speculation. You rightly point out the difficulties it would pose in the marriage department - as it is, she worries about just holding on to a decent gaming partner, never mind a serious romantic commitment. With regard to the ending, you are not the only person disappointed by the lack of explanation: my first reader told me she felt cheated. I have my theories about why the lady responded to the Orc in such a vehement way, though they may be rather pedestrian; for the prophecy itself, I'll admit that I was chary of putting anything too definite lest it spoiler something for this character down the road (which is the closest I can come to any promise of a sequel.) I also feared my attempt to compose a suitably fascinating riddle would fall flatter than nothing at all, and then it wouldn't just be the Orc rolling his eyes at so much ridiculous prophetic twaddle, but everybody else as well... In any case, thank you again for reviewing.

Reviewed by: Lyra  ✧  Score: 10

This year I chose a few stories for my wish list that lie outside of my usual reading interests, thematically or character-wise. This is one of those stories and I'm glad I chose it! The Lauderdale manages to write about life in a Mordorian war camp in a way that shows that in the end, the bad guys - even the Orcs - are human too, in their way. The little observations about the differences between different groups of Orc and the notes on the cultures of different human supporters of Sauron help to make this point. The (reasonably graphic) Orc/human sex was narrated in some detail without being off-putting. And the two protagonists, a tough but sufficiently intelligent orc and a likewise tough but very clever Haradrin - or Southron, anyway - prophet, are not only believable but actually vaguely likeable! The story, set perhaps as a campfire story that an old Orc warrior would share with his buddies, is written in a down-to-earth and blunt style as befits the narrator, but also shows streaks of sly humour. Like the narrator's audience, I find myself wondering what it was that the prophetess saw and told him. I suspect I may have to investigate the other tales about The Lauderdale's Orcish OC Rukshash to find out more about him, as he refuses to tell more in this story...

Author response: Dear Lyra: If this lay outside of your usual reading interests, I am doubly glad you gave it a shot. I also appreciated your comment on the "reasonably graphic" sex scene: I thought it fair treatment in view of the subject matter and characters, but one still wonders how such scenes will come off. I was also glad you liked the humor - there's a sense of humor present in Tolkien's Orcs, even at their most unpleasant, that is part of their appeal for me. Finally, hearing that this story made you interested in the other two was very flattering, but I perfectly understand if you don't end up reading them. They are both novel-length, and Rukshash is not the main character, though he gets some good scenes in "Orc-brat." Thank you very much for your review!

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 10

I have not read any of the author's other stories set among orcs, so I may well be misreading this one. Orcs, of course, are a highly problematic invention of Tolkien's. They are intended to be alien and evil by nature, quite different from the Haradrim and Easterlings, who are on the Wrong side, but Men (that is, Hildor). However, when conversations between orcs are reported in the Lord of the Rings some of their motives seem entirely comprehensible and not all that different from human beings brutalized by their society and their environment, even possessed of an energy that has a kind of attraction. In this story, too, it seems at first that in the particular environment of a military camp such as this the difference between orcs and Haradrim is perhaps not so very great after all. The prophet, an outsider in Haradrim society, makes friends with a snaga orc. Or does she? There are plenty of reservations on both sides even to begin with. Then, at a crucial moment, she draws back and calls him a monster. We are not told what precisely she has perceived. Some other reviewers have criticized the fact that we are not told. But if she has in fact come up against the barrier that divides Men (however brutal) from orcs (even if relatively non-threatening), then perhaps we should not be told. A troubling story, but one that engages the attention and gives food for thought.

Author response: Dear Himring: I don't think you're misreading anything. I tried to leave this story fairly open in a number of regards. In conversation amongst themselves, Tolkien's Orcs, however malevolent, still come off as individual people, with thoughts and feelings, likes, dislikes and driving motivations of their own. Not just faceless monsters, in other words. It begs the question: Once allowance is made for the Orcs' own society and environment, and for those worst excesses of which regular human beings are capable, what baseline difference separates Orcs from us? For myself, I like reading about them and I enjoy writing them, but I'm not sure I want to know definitively - and whatever the prophet saw, she wasn't sharing. Thank you for taking the time to review. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about this story.

Reviewed by: draylon  ✧  Score: 10

The main characters in this story are two of the archetypes who if you thought about it, you’d almost be certain to find lurking about on (for want of a better phrase) the darker edges of the Tolkien-verse; but as they are the also exactly the type of people that the Professor himself would rarely - or never - have wanted to consider in any level of detail, their very existence in Middle Earth tends to be overlooked by the majority of fan-fiction writers, who for some reason seem to prefer to focus on of a subject matter of a slightly less seedy sort. And this is a great pity, because ‘In the Prophet’s Tent’ stands as a textbook example of how original, entertaining and thought-provoking this kind of material can be in the right author’s hands. So, most unusually for a Lord-of-the-Rings inspired story, the main characters are its Orcish narrator and a female protagonist, who stands quite notably apart from any of the other women you might be likely to find yourself reading about in canon versions of Middle Earth because she’s a sex-worker, also a psychic and self-styled Prophet from Far Harad (or somewhere like that: the narrator himself seems to be none-too-sure, which is absolutely in-keeping, him merely being an ignorant Orc). It’s written by The Lauderdale, who in all of her excellent stories, delineates her Orcs (and non-Orcish characters) with an absolutely rock-steady hand, and this one my goodness, is justabout word-perfect throughout. The end result is a disturbing blend of engaging and occasional deeply unsettling elements: I found the reference near the end of the story, for example, to a hand being ‘softer than a little girl’s’ chilling in its context (and it’s a point into which I can only hope that I am reading overly much). Not that The Lauderdale doesn’t have fun with the story (on an attempted coitus interruptus: “dunno where she thought she was off to just then -”), but the humour, which is coarse, and dodgy and at times a little bit dark (“No I did not keep the tongue afterward. That would have been disgusting.”) is utterly appropriate for the subject material: because you can say what you like about Orcs, but they’ve never been known for being po-faced about very much. Following his de facto rescue of the Prophet from a Fate Worse Than Death at the hands of two Uruk-hai, our narrator strikes up a friendship of convenience with her, using the contact to gain privileged access to the Southron camp – mainly for the purposes of trading and profit. This of course is textbook Orc behaviour; these creatures being renowned for their self-interest / deviousness after all, and while our narrator is clearly out for everything he can get, in the story there still seem to be signs that over time the acquaintance begins to develop – certainly not into something romantic, or even a relationship based on either party liking the other especially much - but into a kind of convenient, if uneasy companionship. Barring death by misadventure / nasty accidents, Orcs may or may not live forever, but it’s certainly indicated in the story (by means of occasional asides in which our narrator addresses his audience of other Orcs directly) that he is no longer in the first flush of youth. So what do the Orc and the Prophet actually do under cover of her tent? Play a lot of board games together, would be the surprisingly tame answer to that. This being a story that features an Orc as a main character however, even something as seemingly innocuous as his and the Prophet’s initially platonic association turns out to be doomed to failure, of course. Sex is what gets in the way of it, again of course: the Prophet in her chosen line of business tends to receive little or no...‘repeat trade’ because as part of the service, she provides each of her customers with information on the manner of his forthcoming death. But as our narrator himself says – and it’s a nice reaffirmation of the inter-species-ist slurs on moral fibre that we occasionally hear from Orcs in the books - “men are cowards – I’d come back for a second go.” And eventually, having overcome his personal scruples (for he says he has never before resorted to paying for sex), the two come together - but during their union, the Prophet ‘sees’ much more than she would have cared to of him: “you are a monster,” she says. This sudden pronouncement comes a bit of a shock, given our narrator’s previously genial, almost-human facade (if it is a facade) and also due to its placement in the story (in mid-flow, during what could be considered to be a somewhat affecting Orc-Human sex scene, if you’re at all into that sort of thing). But if slightly jarring – as no doubt it’s intended to be - it is effective in bringing any reader who might otherwise have become caught up in the story to their senses, by acting as a neatly understated and timely reminder of the ugly truth of Orcish existence. In the story the Prophet doesn’t elaborate any further on what it is that has horrified her about her companion. Neither does the Orc, and while out of laziness, I’d probably have liked to have this point spelled out a little more explicitly, I think that given the structure of the story, together with the character of our narrator (despite recounting this episode from his history to an avid audience, he still seems to consider some of the deatils as being ‘that’s for me to know and I won’t be telling,’ which has nice kind of authentically Orcish perverseness to it), it was a wise move on the Lauderdale’s part to leave things like this. Not knowing the particulars of what the Prophet saw and later said to the Orc adds to the...what you might call - horrible mystique of his character, and I suppose of Orcs in general, a psychic connection with any of which would be unlikely to ever reveal anything edifying, useful or good. I very much liked the story as a whole. That’s a given. But what I particularly liked, to start off with, was the contrast made between the Gondorian / Dunlendings’ attitudes towards...workers in the adult industries....and the attitudes of their Southron compatriots, who obviously hold their female colleague(s) in some esteem, in spite of, or perhaps because of, their chosen profession. I thought that was a particularly nicely-delineated cultural difference. Having a bit of a (no doubt misguided) soft spot for Orcs I also liked the idea of these creatures continuing on after the war; setting up with a few like-minded brigands in nice remote cave somewhere is pretty much as good as it gets for an Orc, and it certainly seems that our narrator in his post-war life has achieved this modest ideal. I was also quite taken with our narrator. His character came across very well through the first-person narration – highlighted by his occasional asides to the (presumably) whippersnappers in his audience – and the Orc’s voice throughout was just superb – appropriately snarky and sarcastic and yet overlain with a subtle hint of, barely-there sense of, self-knowledge, perhaps (“perhaps I’d had a bit to drink as well,” he says, by way of accounting for his some of his contradictory behaviour). It’s clear from the story that he’s not stupid at any rate – and he’s nicely sceptical on the subject of prophecy too: “if I didn't like what I heard, it was my choice whether to believe her or not.” And the ending of the story is very nicely done indeed. Excluded from the Southron camp, our narrator resorts to effin’ and blinding at the Prophet the final time he sees her, waving his tackle (ahem) and “shouting (‘compliments’) after when I could go no further.” Appropriate and spot-on yobbishly Orcish behaviour. Inappropriately aggressive, impotent and a little bit pathetic. Just perfect.

Author response: Dear Draylon: I have delayed writing my various thank-yous, in part, because of this very review. I'll be honest - I was totally floored when I received it. I hadn’t even realized that this story was on your radar, but you delved into it to a degree that made my jaw drop. You know how much I enjoy your own Orc ficcery: "Captain of Mordor" and its sundry sequels and spin-offs (particularly the maddeningly close-to-finished "Orc in Ithilien") are some of my absolute favorites. So while I appreciated what you had to say about the prophet herself, it made sense that you tended to focus on the Orc character. You seemed to "get him" to a degree that made me wonder if you had crawled into my head, or, more disturbingly, into his; you even caught that line about the hand, "softer than a little girl's." How much concrete significance should we ascribe to that? I cannot say (and I mean that: I honestly don't know.) But was it meant to be oogy? Yes, definitely. I also liked your comment on his snotty remark about Men: all of Tolkien's races showed at least some hang-up or resentment regarding the others at some point, and Orcs were no exception. There's an article I read some time back, "Orcs, Wraiths, Wights" by Tom Shippey, in which he holds that Tolkien's Orcs have a definite moral value system, knowing what is "good" and readily criticizing those who don't abide by their standards, but failing to recognize when they themselves are in the wrong. He uses the example of Shagrat and Gorbag talking disparagingly about the warrior companion who seemingly abandoned Frodo ("just left him dying: regular elvish trick"), and then laughing a few minutes later about that hysterical time they left old Ufthak in Shelob's larder. Shippey's thought is that Orcs persist in wrongdoing, not because of some inverted “Opposite Day” morality, but because of self-centeredness - which is, of course, a regular human failing as well. It all gets back to that supposed divide between Orcs and Men, and how real it isn't. Or, how real it is - because I just cannot commit one way or another. I have to smile when you said that a psychic connection with Orcs would be "unlikely to ever reveal anything edifying, useful or good." Tolkien couldn't have stated it better. And I'm rambling at this point, so I'll finish by saying that your description of his final salute to the prophet made me laugh. "Inappropriately aggressive, impotent and a little bit pathetic" has it dead to rights. Thank you for your highly detailed and very handsome review.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213  ✧  Score: 10

There are certain authors to whom I gravitate when I hanker for a particular theme, and if I want orcs, then it's The Lauderdale all the way. Having written orcs for a good long while now, Laud has their voices and culture down pat. Such is the case for [In the Prophet's Tent]. The protagonist, who gives the account of his affair with the Southron whore who is a prophet, who sees Men's deaths, is orcish through and through, showing the worst behavior of humankind yet poignancy, too. That combination gives him a kind of pathos. The uneasy mix of cultures — orcish and Mannish Southron — is wonderfully realized in the story. I appreciated the protagonist's observation that the Southrons protected (and even honored) their prostitutes far more than the Westerners. There's also a brutal sensuality conveyed in the story: the scents, sights and sounds of a war camp just this close to chaos. The protagonist's narration is great: I can practically hear him narrate his tale to other orc cronies. I love the notion that an orc would pepper his language with words like ['enigmatic rigmarole"] along with his more salty tone. I also got a chuckle out of the narrator's delicate sensibilities, that is, he did not keep the tongue that he cut out of another orc's mouth, because that would be disgusting. So once again, The Laud serves me up an excellent dish of orc-talk, which inevitably keeps me coming back for more.

Author response: Dear Pandë: I grinned when I got this review, so I'm embarrassed to be so late about replying. I've always appreciated your kind words about my Orcs (and their orc-talk): reading your good opinion of them makes me feel like I am doing something right. I'm also glad that you enjoyed this particular fellow's narrative voice, and his sundry contradictions. You said that he had a kind of pathos, which is nice to hear - he recounts his time with this woman in some depth, which seems to imply that he remembers her for more than just the weird prophecy or one great lay. Re: the setting, even though I wouldn't want to be anywhere within a mile of this particular war camp or others like it, they must have been fascinating in terms of camp dynamics. Whatever else we think of Sauron, he drew a diverse admixture of followers (willing and unwilling alike), and it would surely have been a strange and fecund milieu for cultural exchange. Thank you for reviewing this.

Reviewed by: DrummerWench  ✧  Score: 8

The Lauderdale's tales of Orcs show clearly that they are just as "human" as Men, Elves, Hobbits, and Dwarves (did I leave anybody out?). Her Orc OMC is well-rounded, believable, even puzzlingly appealing. That's her genius--taking characters that are by all rights repellant, and making us feel sympathy, understanding and respect for them, showing us their humanity by getting under their skins. This short story follows the encounters of an Orc with denizens of an encampment during the Ring War--with other Orcs, soldiers of Men, and one Southron whore. The Lauderdale builds the tension gradually, developing the characters and situations with skill, pulling us into the story and into caring about this Orc and this whore. The ending is at once enigmatic, thought-provoking, and satisfying, even though we don't learn all the answers regarding the Prophet's seeings. This is such a well-written, well-conceived tale, with consistent characters and natural dialogue and style. It's done from the Orc's POV, and in his voice, seamless and thorough. Great job!

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 7

Dear Laud, this kind of story wouldn’t normally be my first choice, certainly not for entertainment, but I will say that I read it, well, not with pleasure but to my profit. I very much liked the tone of the narrator and the way he half-addressed an audience. I also liked the very vivid impression we get of camp life from the few details you sprinkle in, and the main character’s pragmatic attitude. When i read the books I used to picture teh orcs pretty much like animals, but of course that is not right, because according to Tolkien they have language and trade and probably some kind of culture. I particularly liked it that the orc and the woman played board games together. The woman is a mystery indeed, and while I was waiting with baited breath to find out what she told him in the end, I think you did well not to reveal it and to maintain the enigmatic air of the whole piece. Very well done.

Author response: Dear Virtuella: What a gift you gave us this year with your wonderful reviews. I was delighted to discover them when the MEFAs were over, and thrilled that you had reviewed my story as well. Thank you. It was kind of you to take the time to read and review a story that, as you said, wouldn't normally be your first choice. I appreciated your observation that Tolkien's Orcs do have language and trade (I will throw in technological savvy, writing, and song as other oddments of their - mostly unpleasant - culture.) I was also happy that you liked the part about the two characters playing board games, and that you approved of the non-reveal at the end.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 6

Very few people can get inside the head of an Orc the way The Lauderdale can. An Orc's mind is not a terribly sunny place to be; but it is interesting to see their emotions naked and raw from their own points of view. This story is something of a clash of cultures, between the brutal world of the Orcs and the difficult world of a Southron prostitute and self-proclaimed prophetess. An odd sort of friendship results when the narrator saves the prostitute from a gang-rape by orcs; but it does not last. The ambiguity works in this story; since the characters were unlikely to ever really be more than temporary acquaintances; Orcs use others, they do not seem to befriend anyone for friendship's sake. Still, I liked seeing the Orc as someone who could be curious about other people who are not of his own kind.

Author response: Dear Raksha: Thank you for taking the time to read and review this story. It is indeed an odd sort of friendship, existing within an anomalous and narrow window that is, inevitably, broken. If it hadn't been that night in the tent, I suppose it would have happened in some other more unpleasant way. I liked how you and Dwimordene commented on this fellow's curiosity. I've always seen that as a fairly strong part of who he is. I'm also glad that you felt the ambiguity worked, since I've had readers feel different ways about it. All in all, thank you for your very kind review.

Reviewed by: Jael  ✧  Score: 6

I'm glad this very interesting story was brought to my attention. Authors with an affinity for the 'bad guys' of the Tolkien universe, in this case, Orcs and the Haradrim, are relatively rare. Authors who write them as well as The Lauderdale are even rarer. The prose in this story is engaging and excellent, bringing the protagonist character to life, along with the camp of the 'other guys'. He feels very real to me, and so does the enigmatic woman he befriends and interacts with. I'm not sure if this counts as a spoiler, but the ending is very ambiguous, leaving us with a mystery. Just why is this unnamed orc-protagonist a 'monster'? I'd really like to know. All in all, this is an excellent story, and it left me wanting to seek out the rest of this author's work. Try it! I'm sure you'll feel the same way.

Author response: Dear Jael: I've said it before, but I'll say it again: thank you very much for nominating this story. It was so fun watching it compete this year, I just really appreciate it. So far as the mystery goes, I suppose it's manifold. That is a terribly coy and unspecific answer, I know, and is based in part on my suspicion that a more definite answer would be less interesting. But I do have my own theories. Thank you again for nominating this story, and thank you for your review.

Reviewed by: Ragnelle  ✧  Score: 6

Lauderdale manages to make me want to read about orcs. Even though I find them disgusting at times. And nasty. And all the other reasons that make them such good bad guys to use. And she manages to do this while keeping them nasty and at times disgusting. Even though her main character is not likeable in the traditional sense - he is an orc - she makes me want to learn more about him. Or at least hear his story. Lauderdale also manages to tell the story in all those unsaid worlds, the gaps and hints that we must fill out, and that makes the story come alive. She makes me wonder what the prophet saw in the orc when she befriended him - if befriended is the right word - and what she saw that made her reject him. And precisely because the author does not tell us, is the story so intriguing.

Author response: Dear Ragnelle: I'm glad this makes you want to read about Orcs. I too find them disgusting and nasty - and somehow all the more interesting for it, at least when combined with their basic intelligence and vitality. Whether friendship is the right word for this strange relationship or not (and the Orc would probably say no, but how far can we trust him with regard to matters of friendship and the heart?) I enjoyed writing the two together. And I'm glad that you found those things that were unsaid added to the story rather than detracting from it. Thank you for your review.

Reviewed by: elfscribe  ✧  Score: 5

It's a difficult task to write a repellent villain in such a way that the reader is still engaged with the character and may even find some sympathy for him. In a number of her stories, Lauderdale has done just that and succeeds beautifully in depicting orcs and their rough culture. The voice of her main character here is very strong, wonderfully rendered, and very definitely a crude orc, although he's not as bad as his fellows as he has some sense of honor, or maybe just practicality. He develops a strange friendship with a prostitute who can predict when a man will die -- which is a great idea for a plot and kept me riveted, wanting to know what would happen.

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina  ✧  Score: 4

I'm not a real big fan of orc fic (or orcs in general) but The Lauderdale does a superb job of giving them a culture and making them believable individuals. The story was interesting, the characters well developed and believable, and the writing style easy to follow. I can't say I 'enjoyed' the story, but it did hold my interest and gives the reader some things to ponder. It definitely gives a whole other side to the story.

Author response: Dear NiRi: Thank you for giving this story a chance, Orc aspect and all. I really appreciated your review, and your comment on the characters.

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard  ✧  Score: 4

I’m not big on stories about Orcs, or at least I thought I wasn’t until I read this. Lauderdale manages to create a fully developed, fascinating character in an orc who develops a brief relationship with a prostitute and self-proclaimed prophetess in one of the war camps of Sauron. Both characters are well written but the Orc’s speech pattern is spot on and very believable. I found myself enjoying every twist and turn of this story. Very well done.

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf  ✧  Score: 2

Makes me want to read more of your work. The working relationship of the Haradrim and the Orcs is an interesting topic. You give hints to the culture of both orc and Haradrim.

Author response: Dear Sevilodorf: Thank you for reviewing. I'm glad that you found the topic interesting!