Tenth Nazgul Affair Cover

The spider attacks....

For Shelob was weakened by the wound from Sting and from hunger. Now she was made indolent from fresh feasting. She did not drag her unwilling food back to her lair, but deep into the foundations of Cirith Ungol instead. There she hid from Sun and Moon while feeding on any unwary creatures that were foolhardy enough to sleep in her parlor.

This night the light of fires had kept her from her repast. But now the flames drew back into the embers and the watcher’s head fell in sleep onto his breast.

Illya awakens. He sees Merry fallen asleep by the fire. He then hears the sound of something soft dragging itself through the night. An orbit of eyes in the doorway reflects the death of the fire. Illya yells, waking the others. Merry whirls a glowing branch into flame. Bergil leaps after Shelob, pricking her from the rear to draw her away from Illya. Bergil drops to the side. Shelob jumps at Merry. The hobbit throws the burning branch at her eyes. She lands in the embers, scattering them about the hall.

A false dawn grows in the East. Shapes and shadows feint and fade in the half light as Illya grabs up his U.N.C.L.E. special and waits for a clear shot. Finally the moment comes. Armor-piercing bullets tear through her eyes, ripping the bloated sacks of her body. This time Shelob is dead.

But as the three companions stagger from the stench of the hall into the first glow of true dawn. Bergil spots a high, silent-flying, black-winged shape.

Tenth Nazgul

by Bill Glass

Cover and interior illustrations by Dick Glass

Colors added 2009 by Richard Paul Glass

GoldenGlass Publications

The Tenth Nazgul Affair

Illya Kuryakin blinked through the darkness hanging over the north English moor and wondered where the THRUSH guard had moved to. This time, when the lightning arced between the gathering storm clouds, the Russian U.N.C.L.E. agent’s eyes caught and held the afterimage. He fired through the blackness, letting off a dozen shots from his U.N.C.L.E. special in a waist-high arc.

If the bullets had hit anyone, the thunder drowned out his screams.

Illya more sensed than heard the bullet snap by his ear. More guards must be moving out from the THRUSH mint over the hill to capture or kill him. Good.

The blond Russian dropped to the ground and wormed away from the spot where he had been standing. THRUSH had the advantage in this night fighting with those infra-red projectors and scopes mounted on their semi-automatics. And the thunder hid that humming/clicking sound made by the infra-red projectors so that Illya could not locate his pursuers by sound.

Another lightning flash revealed two more THRUSH agents moving over the hill. Knowing their nighttime advantage, the two had carelessly allowed themselves to be spotlighted against the dark sky. Illya squeezed off the rest of his clip.  Those two would not be that careless again. Ever.

Illya removed the empty clip from his gun and replaced it with a full clip drawn from one pocket in his black leather jacket. It took two seconds. He started to move back toward the Modified Land Rover supplied by U.N.C.L.E. London.  This was his last clip, and the ammunition box was under the front seat of the car.

A flash of lightning shattered the clouds into a billion raindrops.

Illya stood up and ran the rest of way.

The rain should even up the situation somewhat, he thought, moving around to the far side of the Rover before opening the rear door and sliding in. It should render their infra-red projectors ineffective, putting both them and me in the dark. He reached under the seat, dragged out the ammunition box, and crammed clips into all of his jacket pockets – he might need them. He sat, his U.N.C.L.E. special ready, peering into the darkness, waiting.

So far his diversionary tactics seemed quite successful. He only hoped that Napoleon was doing as well, infiltrating into the mint itself. He remembered what his teammate had asked after the briefing in Mr. Waverly’s office: “Why is it that I always get stuck with, ah, all the hard work?”

Illya brushed a dripping shock of blond hair out of his eyes and squeezed off another burst. A dreadful waste of ammunition, true; but it did keep the four THRUSH out there on their toes.

All the hard work, indeed. At least Napoleon could see whom he was shooting at. What was taking him so long?

A bullet swanged off the door in front of Illya. A burst pockmarked the rear, bulletproof window. They were closing in. Illya emptied his gun out the window, changed to a new clip, rolled into the front seat, and shot up the night on the other side of the Rover.

At first he thought that the lightning had struck close by. But the light on the far side of hill stayed, grew, and billowed upwards. Shouts pushed through the rain. The drops scattered the light from the fire into a red glow through which forms moved. Illya slipped from the Rover and followed like a dark wraith.

Shots came from ahead. Moving in a fast crouch around the side of the hill, Illya could see the four THRUSH agents. Three crouched, shooting at the man dodging away from the brightly burning building. The fourth man, watching behind for other U.N.C.L.E. agents, saw Illya and fired.

Illya jumped to the right, firing as he moved. The burst from the THRUSH gun bore past him into the rain.

The guard screamed as he fell, alerting the others. They scrambled up and ran around like cockroaches looking for something to crawl under. Cockroaches with machine guns. But they had no chance in the crossfire from two U.N.C.L.E. specials. In a moment all three were down.

I hope that Napoleon was using darts so we could take a prisoner. Just on general principles, Illya thought. Now to move whatever gold Napoleon’s recovered.

“Over here, Napoleon,” shouted Illya, waving his long-barreled U.N.C.L.E. gun over his head.

His world vanished in a timeless sheet of light.

Lightning strikes Illya


Section I  The Return of the Thing
Chapter1: The Departure of Illya
 2: Many Meetings
 3: The Palantir
 4: The Council of Aragorn
Section II  The Two Powers
 5: The Flight to the Fjord
 6: Shelob's Lair
 7: The Plateau of Gorgoroth
 8: The Black Gate Closes
Section III  The Fellowship of the Wing
 9: Out of the Frying Pan — Into the Fire
 10: The Road to Rhûn
 11: The Gathering of the Clouds
 12: A Conspiracy Unmasked
Section IV  The Habit—or—There and Back Again
 13: A Shot in the Dark
 14: The Departure of Sauron
 15: The Clouds Burst
 16: The Scouring of the Satrap
Appendix:  The History of History of The Tenth Nazgul Affair

Section I: The Return of the Thing

Solo and Waverly

Chapter 1

The Departure of Illya

Nothing, Mr. – uh – Solo?” Mr. Waverly asked, looking up from the report. The head of U.N.C.L.E.’s western hemisphere operations looked shocked as he repeated. “Nothing?”

“Ah, yes, sir,” Napoleon answered. “There were no traces found of Illya’s body after the lightning struck. Not even any bone ash or slag from the gun.”

Mr. Waverly looked as if he wanted to say something. Instead he placed a brown attaché case on the round table and revolved the table top until the case was before the top agent of Section II of U.N.C.L.E.’s Operation and Enforcement Section. The attaché case had what looked like a handcuff worked into its handle.

“Right now, Mr. Solo, we have a simple courier assignment for you. This case must be delivered to our Oslo office by this time tomorrow. With the time differential, you should leave immediately. The office there is compiling some data to return to us here. You may have to stay in Oslo for – uh – a few days.”

Good thing, Mr. Waverly thought, watching Napoleon Solo leave, for the lad to have some vacation. He should not be allowed to stay around the New York office and grieve. No sense taking a chance on impairing Mr. Solo’s efficiency by letting him become morbid over Mr. Kuryakin’s death.

Mr. Waverly started to pull out a standard U.N.C.L.E. next-of-kin notification form. He then crumpled it in disgust and brought out a sheet of his personal stationery. He stared at the blank paper for almost a minute before he realized that there was no one to whom he could write. He sat for the next hour alone with his cold pipe and his thoughts.

A Siamese cat walked across the telegram and folder lying on the desk in the Victorian-style sitting room. The balding man apologetically brushed the cat aside, picked up the folder, and read the card stapled to the front:

KURYAKIN, ILLYA NICKOVITCH was lettered across the top line. The man’s eyes skimmed across the statistics and comments typed on the standard form below the name.

“HEIGHT: 5’8”, WEIGHT: Ten Stone, HAIR COLOR: Blond, EYE COLOR: Blue-green, NATIONALITY: Russian, REMARKS: Kuryakin is an adept make-up artist; do not rely upon physical characteristics for identification [see attached photographs]. Kuryakin, possessing an almost eidetic memory, is also an accomplished linguist. He is conversant to varying degrees of fluency in Russian, German, French, English. Hungarian…”

The man passed over the list of languages and dialects, to the comment: “His father, apparently disturbed by certain of Stalin’s policies, instilled in young Kuryakin a distrust of the later ‘degenerate interpretations of Communism’ by more modern party leaders. So, while ideologically a Communist, Kuryakin owes little loyalty to his homeland or its allies.”

Opening the folder, he skip-read the covering thumbnail biographical sheet:

“Born 22 SEP 1933 in Stalingrad, U.S.S.R. … in the early part of NOV 1942, his father, Nickolai Ivanovitch Kuryakin, disappeared – presumed killed in the fighting. Early DEC 1942, his mother, Maria, died of tuberculosis complicated by malnutrition…FEB 1946, placed into State Orphanage, Stalingrad…. 1950-52, served in Siberia with Army of Soviet Socialist Republic… 4 JUN 53, accepted into  MVD… OCT 1956 sent to Budapest… 9 DEC 56, contacted U.N.C.L.E. … 3 JAN 57, accepted into U.N.C.L.E., smuggled to America… 1957-1960, undergoes U.N.C.L.E. training. [See Report #1794:63 U.N.C.L.E. TRAINING CURRICULAE AND ADVANCMENT SCHEDULE]… c. JUN 1961 received first Section II assignment from U.N.C.L.E. … 2 JUL 61, kills THRUSH agent V. M. Smith in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. … c. FEB 1962, teamed with Napoleon Solo [see File #II-13039] … For complete list and details of operations, see OPERATIONS: COMPLETE LIST AND DETAILS attached below.”

The man riffled through the thick sheaf, frowning when his eye caught the names of operations involving himself. He apparently took some satisfaction in stamping DECEASED across the cover card and laying the file to one side.

Then he picked up and re-read the telegram:








“Irene,” Ward Baldwin called to his wife, “would you please put Mr. Kuryakin’s dossier in the morgue file for me?”

“It’s almost a shame he was killed,” she said taking the file into the adjoining room. “He was quite pleasant during his stay here while working on that D.A.G.G.E.R. business. What about Mr. Solo, dear?”

“The Council thinks it advisable that we kill Mr. Solo next we meet.”

“It should be much easier now,” she called back while sliding shut the “K” drawer of the morgue file, “should it not?”

Chapter 2

Many Meetings

Amid the fog...

The wind waved the cold grey veil of mist across Illya’s upturned face. His lips pursed. Small shivers rippled along his body. His right hand closed convulsively around the grip of his U.N.C.L.E. special.

Then, with a spasmodic jerk so sudden it hurt, he was standing, gun at the ready. His head buzzed. It seemed near dawn. He was surrounded by heavy mist. Where was Napoleon?

He had half turned around when he remembered the lightning. He remembered the cold paralysis he had not had time to feel. He remembered the light that almost had time to crawl up his optic nerve to his brain. He remembered thinking that death should have more of a feeling of sundering disintegration…

Voices came through the mist: “… someone outside the wall, Bergil.”

“Why so uneasy, Gandimir? None will menace Minas Tirith from the north. The destruction of the Dark Lord may not have brought instant peace; but Gondor and Arnor are quiet realms once again, thanks to Aragorn Telcontar, King Elessar.”

At any other time, Illya might have dropped to the ground, rolled aside, and quietly waited, ready to warn, injure or kill as the situation developed.  But a strange sense of out-of-place wrongness filled him. His instinctive reactions would not be suited for this misty morning’s meeting. So he stood, his U.N.C.L.E. special swinging tensely by his right thigh, and watched as two shapes came out through the shadow shape of a gate and solidified through the mist.

They carried swords and wore coats of mail. Over the mail lay green surcoats on which was woven a silver tree surmounted by seven silver stars. Their thighs were wrapped in leather. Mist condensed in rivulets along the polished silver gull wings on their helmets.

I hope I am not staring at them as foolishly as they are at me, Illya thought.

The shorter of the two began to slide his sword from its scabbard. Illya countered by vaguely allowing the barrel of his U.N.C.L.E. special to point at a spot midway between the two men. The taller soldier placed a restraining hand on his companion’s arm. “Wait, Gandimir.” Gandimir let the sword slide back, but kept his hand on the hilt. The other turned to Illya.

“Stranger, you approach from the north and resemble the fair horsemen of Rohan, but you come on foot and in strange clothes and you look prepared to fight us with that thing. You look like a man lost and full of questions, but first I have a few questions for you. Who are you and what is your business here?”

Illya somehow felt it best to be frank and honest.

“I am Illya Kuryakin, an agent of the U.N.C.L.E. – Uncle – The United Network Command for Law—”

    Illya realized for the first time that he was not thinking in English as he had grown accustomed during his decade with U.N.C.L.E. Neither the acronym nor any of its parts fit one another. The language felt different from any of the languages he knew

                                                                                                                        “—and Enforcement. As to what my business is here, I cannot answer, not knowing how I came here. Or, even, where I am.”

“An introduction as confusing as your appearance, Illya Kuryakin,” laughed the taller soldier. “I am Bergil son of Beregond, the Warder of Ramas Echor, the outwall of Minas Tirith. You are between the eastern end of the White Mountains and the wide Anduin who flows south to the sea. North are the green fields of Rohan. East lies the dark land Mordor, whose name is still not spoken too loudly or often in the lands of Middle Earth.”

Illya had always been confident in his ability to adjust to any situation – to evaluate it – then to equal or master it. But now he felt closer to despair and panic than he had been since that winter in Stalingrad when parents, ideals, and childhood had all been taken from him. Now his whole world and time were gone.

He struggled to keep what his friend Napoleon would call his cool. What had and what was happening was obviously impossible. But it was just as obviously happening. Illya stretched to accept it and gave himself a new goal: Get back to his own world.

His inner control somewhat restored, Illya turned his attention outward to the two soldiers. Gandimir was stage-whispering, “Trust him or not; at least take that weapon from him and find out what it is.”

Illya grinned. “This, gentlemen, is a custom-made weapon issued to Section II agents of the United Network Command. Basically it is an automatic .38 pistol with the following modifications: a wire skeleton stock, a barrel extension with silencer, and a special adaptor on the grip enabling the gun to handle a clip holding twenty rounds—”

                                                                        And I have a dozen or more clips still in my pockets, Illya thought, continuing the memorized training lecture hoping to put the soldiers in a similar state of confusion as he had.

                                   “—It fires anesthetic darts and incendiary, soft-nosed, or armor-piercing bullets. It is now loaded with the last mentioned. As to how it works…”

Illya was surprised how fast the swords rasped out of their sheaths.

He looked for a target. The mist had lifted so that it hung as a red-tinged ceiling above their heads. A short distant away a fifteen foot high stone wall curved away to the left and right. His eyes settled on a reddish stone surrounded by smaller grey stones. He raised the gun, sighted, and squeezed.


The rock had a crater in it that Bergil could rest his fist in.

The two soldiers were impressed. Gandimir looked sorry that he had brought up the subject at all and was determined not to say any more, not another word. Bergil stepped forward, doing his best to smile.

“Friend Illya, I think you would like to see King Elessar to tell him your story. However to show your good faith, I think it would be best if you relinquished your weapon into my care. The King would be less sympathetic to your cause if you entered his presence armed.”

Illya flicked on the safety and handed over his U.N.C.L.E. special. “Even in my world. Bergil, the wishes of kings are still respected.”

Bergil turned to his companion. “Gandimir, you should be able to hold the gate until the Morning Watch arrives. I will take Illya Kuryakin before King Elessar, and will have need of your horse. I shall turn him over to the Watch to be returned to you when they come. Come with me, Illya.”

Bergil led and Gandimir followed Illya through the gate. There, Bergil handed the gun to Gandimir and went to a walled shelter to the left of the gate. Gandimir tried firing the gun at the wall as he had seen Illya do. Nothing happened. He looked at Illya with more than a touch of fear.

Bergil led two horses, one grey, one burnt sienna, out of the shelter. He gave the reins of the brown to Illya. “This is Gandimir’s horse, Harod. Ride him with skill and confidence and he will bear you well.” He himself swung up into the saddle of the grey with an all too casual motion calculated to impress. “This is Felarof, named after the Father of Horses. He is strong-willed and swift as a mearh of Rohan who, as a royal horse, will allow himself to be ridden only by kings.”

Illya could see Bergil placed high value on both the horse and himself. With an exaggerated air of competence, Illya mounted Harod. He quieted the nervous horse, leaning forward and whispering a few low words in Arabic while caressing the horse’s neck.

Illya turned to Bergil who had retrieved the gun from the nervous Gandimir. “You also seem to be a good horseman, Illya Kuryakin,” Bergil said. The two men smiled at one another.

“I am many things, Bergil son of Beregond.”

The two cantered side by side along the road from the Wall to the Great Gate. The mist was well above them now and thinning to translucency. Green fields and small huts flanked the road. Ahead, still obscured by the mists, rose the dark shapes of the mountains. The dew-embossed grass was beginning to ripple over the roots of the mountains when Illya noticed the low, stark, naked mound of black earth.

Bergil noticed his charge’s interest. “These are the Fields of Pelannor. Here, twenty-three years ago was fought the siege of Minas Tirith. There—” he pointed at the dead mound, “—the Nazgul King slew Théoden, King of the Mark; and was in turn slain by Théoden’s sister-daughter Eowyn and the Halfling Prince who had taken service as the Rohan’s King’s squire.

“And there—” Bergil pointed toward a spot southward, near a turn in the river, “—Rohan’s new king, Eomer, and Gondor’s returned king met in friendship against our foes as Aragorn himself had promised: ‘Though the hosts of Mordor lay between us.’ I wager the King will wish he had had a few weapons such as yours at the time he fought here.”

Illya rode on in silence wondering what great conflict had brought kings here to fight and die.

The mist was absorbed by the morning sky. The sun cast everything into sharp three-dimensional reality. Where there had been dark shapes, now appeared mountains in white silhouette against the cobalt sky. Whiter than the Ered Nimras was the city carved and built out from those mountains. Seven-leveled and seven-walled, it rose like a mountain pruned by a hard race of men into a place to live. It reminded Illya of medieval fortress towns he had seen in Italy, but harsher, stronger, as if its people had more to fear than warring princes confined to secular greed.

“Minas Tirith.”

On the seventh level stood a defiant tower of silver and pearl. More than a hundred feet it rose clean to the sky. From its battlements flew the flag of tree and stars, with a crown.

“That is the Tower of Ecthelion, our goal. There Aragorn Telcontar holds court.”

The Great Gate to Minas Tirith was on the eastern face of the wall surrounding the city proper. An eastern thrusting ridge of stone divided all of its levels, save the first, into two halves, so the route to the seventh level swung south and north, each time passing through a narrow arched tunnel pushed through a natural barrier.

Finally Bergil led Illya out of the last of the shadows and reined in before the seventh gate. Bergil dismounted to greet the black-surcoated guard who stepped forward.  While his escort discussed the disposition of the horses, Illya swung off Harod’s back and looked through the high arch with its royal visage keystone. Bergil swept by, caught Illya’s arm and led him across the white flagging of the courtyard.

The Russian was fascinated by a small grass park with a fountain in the center of the paving stones. By the fountain grew an adolescent tree, silver-leaved and green, with a crown of white blossoms ruffled by the morning breeze. The tree seemed odd amid the ancient architecture surrounding it.

Two more black-cloaked guards swung open the tower doors. Bergil and Illya brushed through and down a long passageway. Bergil slipped inside the tall polished metal door at the passage’s end. Interminable minutes passed. Illya and the guard of the door stared at one another. Finally Bergil opened the door.

“King Elessar has been awake all this past night looking into the palantir. A threat to the two realms has appeared in the East, and he has been seeking aid through the seeing stone. He thinks you may be that help come to Gondor. Follow me; the King waits.”

Light dropped through the high windows into the long hall. No wall hangings absorbed the light as it splashed across the tall, monolithic pillars of black marble and warmed the somber statues of former kings who watched from between the high columns. Footsteps echoed off the walls to be lost on their way to the dark ceiling.

First Illya noticed the low black stone chair on which sat a middle-aged warrior. Across his knees lay the U.N.C.L.E. special. In his right hand he held a white, golden-knobbed staff. Then Illya looked at that marble canopied dais behind the stone chair. Under the canopy was the high throne. On the throne sat a man.

On the man’s weary head was a crown of silver with pearl wings, with seven diamonds set in a circlet, and with a flame red jewel at its summit. The man’s forearms rested on his knees. His hands cradled a dark, crystal sphere. He looked deep into the stone at the glow in its elusive heart.

The warrior rose from the stone chair at the foot of the dais and stopped Bergil with the knob of his staff. Illya walked forward, up the step, onto the dais. The King’s face turned upward. The eyes of Illya Kuryakin, Section II agent for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement met the eyes of Aragorn Telcontar, King Elessar of Arnor and Gondor.

Chapter 3

The Palantir

Illya and Aragorn

The face was that of a man in his forties; the eyes of a man twice that age. The eyes examined Illya’s clothes, his poise, his face, and seemed to bore into his mind.

[Shifting to Outline Mode]

Illya is questioned by Aragorn. Asked just what it was he did in his own world, Illya replies with a brief history of THRUSH and the U.N.C.L.E-THRUSH conflict (for those readers who don’t know from U.N.C.L.E.). The explanation is in simplistic terms that Illya feels the King will understand. [See David McDaniel’s THE DAGGER AFFAIR, 1965, pp. 87-91.]

It seems a century ago in the great western nation of England, one called The Professor[1] arose to turn his genius to spreading a net of evil across the nation and the neighboring eastern lands. The Professor was to turn his attention to the new world across the western seas when one rose to oppose him. Through sheer will power, the other thwarted The Professor’s schemes. Finally the two met in mortal combat and, by the narrowest margin, The Professor was thrown down.

But the lieutenants of evil he had created lived on after him. They set up THRUSH to enslave the world. Many conflicts at the turn of the century hid THRUSH’s early activities as it quietly grew in strength and extended its power. Only a few men realized that a metanational force threatened the world. They too recruited and worked in secret, planning a great counter-strategy network to preserve law and order. After the second global conflict, these men came into the open as U.N.C.L.E. Twenty years of secret conflict has served only to create a balance of power. U.N.C.L.E., which had the disadvantage of starting on the defensive, is slowly tipping the scales of history its way. Illya is a soldier in this behind-the-scenes war, hidden from the majority of the peoples of the world.

Aragorn understands all too enthusiastically for Illya’s taste. Aragorn is sure Illya is the one sent by the Valar to help the Two Kingdoms, to save all that is fair in Middle Earth from falling into unrelieved darkness. Illya, who is looking for help himself, is put off by this. He doesn’t know what Aragorn is talking about when he says that Illya is like the hobbits were in the War of the Ring. (The parallel being Illya’s innocence [in Middle Earth terms], his inner strength, and the fact that he is an uncalculated factor in the struggle.)

Aragorn hands Illya the palantir.

[Shifting out of Outline Mode]

“The unexpected weight drew Illya’s eyes down into the stone. It seems as if the great hall around him was dissolving into sheets of upward rushing blue. An elusive spark pulled Illya deeper into the stone, falling ahead of him through matrices of blue-, indigo-, and violet crystal until it struck bottom, splashing outward in a spray of light, of lines that fell back upon themselves to form a face.

The face was old and exhausted beyond age and belief. It belonged to a race that could have been gods had it not chosen to accept the responsibility of the agencies of the younger races that followed it; the youngest of all – the one blessed by death – that knew itself as men.

“Illya passed through the merging grey-blue eyes with the ease of light slipping into water. Something in Illya twisted, became a bubble of Olorin’s thought. A bubble on whose surface was playing a charade of history, a drama of emotions – of hope and despair – that is usually fettered in dead details.”

[Shifting back to Outline Mode]

What follows is a running synopsis of LotR told from Gandalf’s point of view. Simultaneously with the flow of information from Gandalf to Illya, some of Illya’s memories leak the other way. Interleaved with the Ring synopsis is a story of Illya’s childhood:

Starting with the repeated cry of AWAKE! FEAR! FIRE! FOES! AWAKE! we cut to July 1941 and a village less than 100 miles from Stalingrad awaiting the Germans. Illya’s father goes off to Stalingrad. The Germans come. Winter comes. Illya’s mother dies and Gandalf dies in the LotR narrative. Illya tries to trek across the Russian winter country in search of his father. The Russians are beginning to break through into Stalingrad. Illya, hungry, wrapped in a greatcoat taken from a dead German, and, fatigued, faints in the snow. [2] As the eagles find the hobbits and a peasant family finds the half-dead Illya, telling him that the Russians are chasing the Germans away, Illya slumps unconscious to the floor of the great throne hall in Minas Tirith.

[For background, see Alexander Werth’s 1964 Russia at War 1914-1945, Part Five deals with the Battle of Stalingrad. Of particular interest are pages 484-89 of the chapter “Stalingrad Close-ups” in the Avon edition.]

1.  Professor, with its implication of knowledge of and mastery of natural law comes across as warlock or male witch. Back

2. Illya’s failure to reach his father was due largely to lack of preparations. The guilt he felt was one of the reasons he became determined to master any situation he might find himself in. It was a memory he keeps to himself. Back

Chapter 4

The Council of Aragorn

Illya wakes in an apartment in the citadel. Bergil, who has been detailed to guard and guide Illya, tells him that the King is holding council, waiting only on Illya’s presence to start.

Aragorn, Faramir, Eomer, and old Beregond are the chief personages present at the council. Meriadoc Brandybuck, present in Minas Tirith on a visit with the King, is not told of the council. The King does not want the news that he is about to reveal to get back to the Shire. It might make Samwise feel that the entire Quest with Frodo had been meaningless.

Beregond is the first to speak. He tells how, not many days before, along the road from Minas Tirith to Osgiliath, rode a warder of Ithilien lashed to his horse. The man was dead from torture and morgul-blade wounds. Burnt into the skin of his beast was a message, a challenge.

Beregond brought the body to Faramir, who sent a messenger to Rohan, to Edoras and King Eomer. Faramir and Beregond brought the body to Minas Tirith. Eomer galloped into the city the following night.

The challenge is to Aragorn. In mocking tones, it recalled the Challenge of the Witch King to Earnur that resulted in that King’s death and the start of the rule of Stewards in the South. This, too, was a challenge to single combat between King Elessar Telcontar and the one who signs himself The Dark Wraith. The combat to take place “by the inland sea” the following March on the anniversary of the supposed downfall of the Dark Lord, Sauron.

Illya sees the note as some kind of scare propaganda but is disturbed by its implications. The King is all for going to the combat. The others advise against it; Faramir having no desire to re-establish the rule of the Stewards. Illya suggests a scouting expedition to discover just what is happening and to discover the identity of The Dark Wraith.

After much discussion, the idea is approved. Illya and Bergil are to ride off into the East, discover the nature of the threat, and report back to Minas Tirith by January. [It is now October, the close of Indian summer.] Since it is assumed that the threat lies in Mordor and that the sea mentioned is dark Núrnen, hid deep within two files of guardian mountains deep within the slaggy guts of Mordor, Bergil and Illya will be, in part, re-tracing the steps of Frodo and Sam’s Quest.

Two mornings later, the two men from Gondor ride northward on the road. As the day grows old, they near Osgiliath. and fog begins to cover them. They set up a damp, grey camp on the island. As they fix dinner, they hear the furtive cloppings of a horse whose rider is sneaking close to their trail. Illya crouches out of sight with his U.N.C.L.E. special ready. Bergil pretends to be a simple King’s messenger.

As the figure on horseback draws near, he hails Illya and calls Bergil by name. It is Meriadoc, who laughs at the two men’s fear of him, remembering back when he frightened Frodo, Sam, and Farmer Maggot. He has heard about the Quest and wants to see Mordor for himself. He is welcomed into the company.

Section II: The Two Powers

Chapter 5

The Flight to the Fjord

Meanwhile Napoleon Solo is over the Pole on his way to Oslo as an U.N.C.L.E. courier. He has the window seat. Seated next to him is an old man who has fallen asleep. Napoleon can’t sleep; Illya’s death still gnaws at his mind. Besides, he has to go to the john, but doesn’t want to wake the old man who earlier showed a remarkable tendency to run off at the mouth with a candor and monotony that Solo does not want to start again. Finally he gives in. The old man wakes and mutters indelicate comments at Solo’s back as he goes down the aisle. Napoleon keeps his cool by thinking to himself: After all, I am a secret agent. I could be going there to send a secret message that would save the world.

Making sure that Napoleon has entered the john, the old man seems to fall back to sleep. Actually he sends an electronic signal that discharges the gas pellet he had previously planted in the head. The gas gives Napoleon the symptoms of a stroke. The old man then informs THRUSH Central NW Europe that Phase One of the Oslo courier intercept and capture is complete.

He then requests a few guards be added to the ambulance and doctors waiting at the airport just in case. The plan had netted a bonus –quite the feather in the cap of the Oslo Satrapy—Napoleon Solo.

Chapter 6

Shelob's Lair

Illya shoots Shelob

The small company sets out early the next day toward Mordor. At the close of the second day, they come to Cirith Ungol and the Mordor end of the Morgul vale. It is a landmark, a sight, and perhaps a clue can be found to the new activities of The Dark Wraith. The decision is made to camp in Cirith Ungol for the night.

The tremblings that caused cave-ins throughout the circuitous crypts of Shelob’s domain no more killed her than did the near thrust of Sting. She was a durable evil: she who in ages past had escaped the drowning of the elf lands. She dwelt and swelled in the darkness across the centuries feeding on orcs and men brought from nearby Cirith Ungol. But then Mount Doom had loosed its fires and the land trembled and the Dark Lord was thrown down at his moment of triumph – no more food was thrown into Shelob’s lair.

Finally, desperate, she who hated the sun and moon ventured forth one overcast, moonless night in search of food. She was attracted to the tower where some scattered chaff of Sauron’s forces had encamped. Two, the lucky ones, died. The others were paralyzed with the spider’s venom and kept to assuage later hunger. One fled to the roof where he starved in fearful madness.

For Shelob was weakened by the wound from Sting and from hunger. Now she was made indolent from fresh feasting. She did not drag her unwilling food back to her lair, but deep into the foundations of Cirith Ungol instead. There she hid from Sun and Moon while feeding on any unwary creatures that were foolhardy enough to sleep in her parlor.

This night the light of fires had kept her from her repast. But now the flames drew back into the embers and the watcher’s head fell in sleep onto his breast.

Illya awakens. He sees Merry fallen asleep by the fire. He then hears the sound of something soft dragging itself through the night. An orbit of eyes in the doorway reflects the death of the fire. Illya yells, waking the others. Merry whirls a glowing branch into flame. Bergil leaps after Shelob, pricking her from the rear to draw her away from Illya. Bergil drops to the side. Shelob jumps at Merry. The hobbit throws the burning branch at her eyes. She lands in the embers, scattering them about the hall.

A false dawn grows in the East. Shapes and shadows feint and fade in the half light as Illya grabs up his U.N.C.L.E. special and waits for a clear shot. Finally the moment comes. Armor-piercing bullets tear through her eyes, ripping the bloated sacks of her body. This time Shelob is dead.

But as the three companions stagger from the stench of the hall into the first glow of true dawn. Bergil spots a high, silent-flying, black-winged shape.

Chapter 7

The Plateau of Gorgoroth

Illya, Bergil, and Merry press on into Mordor, heading southeast across the plateau of Gorgoroth and past the corpse of Mount Doom. As they trek across the lava flows – the mix-mastered geology of Mordor – they notice the silent, high-flying shapes pacing them day by day. It seems too easy, too pat for Illya. Because the last threat came from Mordor, it was assumed that “the inland sea” in the challenge referred to the Sea of Núrnen in Mordor. Yet it could also refer to the Sea of Rhûn  to the northeast of Mordor. The message had been intentionally misleading. Once any advance force was sent out, a second, more clearly worded message would draw the unguarded King into The Dark Wraith’s trap. Illya decides that his party is being deliberately herded southward, away from their real goal.

Chapter 8

The Black Gate Closes

The three walk about face and head north, hoping to leave through the now shattered Black Gate.  They find a large force of men and orcs (alerted by the high flyers) waiting for them. Illya’s discourteous guerrilla tactics and his U.N.C.L.E. special give the walkers a slight edge. The battle is finished hand-to-hand. The walkers carry the day. They find about the neck of the horde’s leader a brass collar on which is crudely embossed a circle with the words: One Ring to rule them all!

Section III: The Fellowship of the Wing

Chapter 9

Out of the Frying Pan—Into the Fire

Meanwhile, back in Oslo, Napoleon Solo – after escaping from the airport – is staying occupied by eluding the THRUSH people trying to kill him. He is, at the end of the chapter, overcome by superior minds and captured.

Chapter 10

The Road to Rhûn

Meriadoc is sent back to tell Aragorn what information has been gleaned to this point. Illya and Bergil don the accoutrements of two of the slain orc soldiers, then continue northward to the Sea of Rhûn . They meet another band of marauding orcs. Blending themselves into the group, they slay the orcs one-by-one during a long night’s march and then question the one survivor.

Chapter 11

The Gathering of the Clouds

Illya and Bergil force the surviving orc to take them directly to the camp of The Dark Wraith. They come upon the western shore of the Sea of Rhûn . They see on the eastern edge of the Sea high cliffs dropping almost directly to the shore. Using the telescopic sight of his U.N.C.L.E. special, Illya scans the far shore. At the top of the cliffs are great A-frames from which hang heavy weights. Next to the A-frames are winch structures for winding the weights back up to the top of the cliffs. Leading back from the A-frames are long, slotted fames. On the ramps are dragon-like gliders which could be gravity launched from the cliffs to catch the updrafts from the Sea.

Chapter 12

A Conspiracy Unmasked

In trying to get to the gliders, Illya and Bergil are captured. They are taken before The Dark Wraith.

The Dark Wraith's story: As Barad-Dur fell and Mordor shook, one lone orc soldier was separated from his band.  For days he wandered, eating plants and what carrion meat he could find. He stumbled across one of the lava flows from Mount Doom. There he found a melted lozenge of gold: The One Ring! The Ring whose sole purpose is to protect itself. The Ring which drained the power from all other rings into itself in an effort to survive, and almost succeeded. Not knowing why, the orc dug out the melted lump and hung it on a chain about his neck.

 The Ring forced the orc to travel out of Mordor into the wooded northeast where the orc could survive. The Ring drew enough power from the life-force of the orc to draw back to itself the weak and impotent shadow of Sauron. For years now, Sauron had grown stronger within his co-opted orc host. He has planned and built. Had the dragons still lived, he could have still won The War. Now he is ready to unleash his new secret weapon of Air Power and bring the lands of the West under his domination.

Section IV: The Habit—or—There and Back Again.

Chapter 13

A Shot in the Dark

Napoleon Solo awakens in a basement storage room with a gun-wielding woman standing over him. She has two large toughs with her. Solo is very tied up and very weak from both drugs and physical punishment. He is most completely trapped by THRUSH His witty sayings and masculine charm avail him nothing. There is no way he can be rescued. The woman has him kneel in front of her. The sound of a shot fills the room.

Chapter 14

The Departure of Sauron

The imprinting of Middle Earth history on Illya's mind in Minas Tirith was more than it seemed; he has been possessed by Gandalf. Gandalf’s spirit rises out from Illya as Sauron’s shade rises out from the orc. As the embodiments of Good and Evil battle pyrotechnically, the gliders are launched. Gandalf wins, dispersing Sauron. Illya concludes his hand-to-hand combat with the orc. Gandalf orders Illya to take the ring. The Russian is innocent in Middle Earth and will not be harmed by the short exposure.

Chapter 15

The Clouds Burst

Now all Illya has to do is take the one remaining glider Bergil prevented from being launched and fly it to keep The Dark Wraith’s Air Force from reaching the West. Some he shoots down, but he is wasting shells. He maneuvers the rest of the gliders into the rising thunderheads. But Illya himself flies too close and is trapped within the storm. Whirled down toward certain death, he passes once more through a blast of white lightning.

Chapter 16

The Scouring of the Satrap

Illya awakens behind a crate in the shadows of the basement in Oslo. He reorients himself. He watches the gold lump of The Ring turn to lead in our reality as he listens to the exchange between Solo and the THRUSH agents. As the female THRUSH head is about to execute Solo, Illya rises from behind the crate and fires. Solo faints.

Solo awakened and focused on Illya's face hanging above him.

“You were dead, you know,” Napoleon said accusingly. Illya had no answer to this.

“Where the hell have you been?”

“There and back again.”

Solo digests that for a moment, realizing that he would never know more. “Don’t make a habit of it,” he sighs and lapses back into unconsciousness.


The Tenth Nazgul Affair history

The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society had been having weekly meetings since 1934. The meetings started with members bringing a set number of one or more copied pages (usually mimeographed) to collate and staple into that week’s issue of their APA [Amateur Press Alliance or Association] L magazine. At the time this was written they were meeting at the Silverlake Playground every Thursday night at 8:00 PM.

This tale would have started during the 9th week into what would have been called...

ODTAA cover
[Proposed cover by Dick Glass 1968 — colored by Richard Paul Glass 2009] [Being What?pub # 3h reverse]

...if brother Bill had not changed his APA L masthead [in hopes of taking ODTAA {"One Damn Thing After Another"} Vol. 3 private] for the fall semester of 1966 into:

What Am I Doing Here? By Bill Glass

#9: 18 AUG 1966 — Being What?pub #3i

The Tenth Nazgul Affair

Act One: The Return of the Thing

Chapter 1: The Departure of Illya

Chapter 2: Many Meetings

#10: 25 AUG 1966 — Being What?pub 3j

Chapter 2: Many Meetings [continued]

#11: 01 SEP 1966 — Being What?pub 3k

Chapter 2: Many Meetings [continued]

The Phantom Tollbooth By Bill Glass
... and on the 30th floor ledge he robbed a squirrel
02 FEB 1968 — Being What?pub 5l

"ODTAA Vol. 3 lives again! Really... I've cut four more stencils on 10TH NAZGUL. I've copped out, however, and am only doing up notes/synopsis of the unwritten chapters. If you wait until I write them, you will never see the thing. Sometimes in the next few months, maybe. Still open for contributions."

         The Tenth Nazgul Affair appeared on pages 29-44 of The Best Of APA-L but not in ODTAA Vol. 3.

FOR "Write me a story about Illya Kuryakin in Middle Earth."
— Diana Wigon

Summer 1966


Richard admits to giving into the temptation of editing William's 43-year-old text during its digital transcription into this 21st Century format.

Dick Glass: 1966-68 covers & illustrations – Richard Paul Glass 2009 colors & transcription

William Baker Glass:  Transcription proofread and approved — 21 SEP 09

[Lee Gold:  Word file proofread one more time - May, 2018]