The Smudged Thoughts’ studio is eerily quiet. Darkness curls around its edges, shrouding the room in a thick blanket that’s nearly suffocating. Feet rustle in the stands. Someone munches on popcorn in the darkness.
A voice near the very back mumbles a grumpy “are you sure we’re in the right place?” to its companion, who hushes him almost immediately.
The time is exactly midnight, and the anticipation of the crowd is palpable. They know why they have gathered. They know what is to come.
They do not know why the lights are off.
Suddenly, a light blinks into existence onstage … literally.
A giant, bloody red eyeball stares down at the crowd, somehow managing to scowl even though it is nothing more than an eyeball. In the steaming light of its iris, a lone figure stands at the center of the stage, his billowing white robes glinting almost dangerously in the light. His gleaming beard cascades to his chest in perfectly groomed strands, and his hand clutches a shining black staff with a pearly white stone at the tip. Everything about his outward appearance is cold and light, but there is a darkness within him that makes everyone in the room shudder.
Or perhaps it is the force of the eye glaring down at them.
“Ahem. Welcome one and all to the Fifth Annual Silmaril Awards Ceremony for the Most Nefarious Villain. Once again we have gathered here today to witness the most vile in villainy, though I must admit that after five years, it’s beginning to feel a bit tiresome. Perhaps this year we will make it out without any … unfortunate incidents…”
“AHEM! ‘SCUSE ME. YES, YOU, GET OUT OF MY WAY, MY GOOD SIR. THANK YOU.”
A short figure pushes her way towards the front of the stage, elbowing a whole host of orcs, goblins, and Elvin folk out of her way as she struggles to wriggle forward.
Saruman blinks and glances down, his expression cold as stone as it levels with the girl now scrambling up onto the stage, hopping once, twice, three times before finally managing to get a good grip and wriggle-worming her way onto the stage. Pushing herself into a sitting position, the girl shoots to her feet and grins, clutching a bright pink plastic staff in her hands like it’s the most treasured possession she owns.
“I brought you a present!”
Saruman’s gaze dips to the staff, and his lip curls beneath his magnificent beard in disgust. “And who, might I ask, is this bothersome worm?”
The girl looks slightly off-put at this term, but his scathing looks can do nothing to wane her enthusiasm. “I’m the owner of this studio, my good sir,” she answers brightly. “Call me a worm again and I’ll kick you out.”
“Anyway. Here. This is for you.” Kenzie hands Saruman the staff in her hands, but he still makes no move to accept it. Perhaps it is because his hands are already filled with his own ebony staff.
Or perhaps it is because the staff Kenzie offers is the color of a My Little Pony.
“I don’t believe I shall be taking that,” Saruman answers finally, breaking the awkward silence which has bubbled up between them.
“Oh no. You’re definitely going to want this,” Kenzie says with a nod. “In fact, do you have any other wooden objects on you? You should probably hand them over now… Sooner rather than later, in my experience…”
“I have no clue what you’re–“
“He’ll be coming soon… I can sense it. You should really take the staff,” Kenzie says, thrusting it forward into Saruman’s arms.
Saruman grimaces and flings the pink staff down, letting it clatter hollowly against the stage. “Foolish girl! I do not wish for your childish toys! Now, if you’ll excuse me, we shall continue the Awards Ceremony, which is the whole reason we are here, in case you have forgotten.”
Kenzie stares at the fallen platic staff for a moment before sucking in a deep breath. “On your own head be it, I guess,” she mutters.
“Excellent. Then let us begin.”
THE 2020 SILMARIL AWARDS: Most Nefarious Villain Awards Ceremony
“Our first villain, ranking in at an abysmally low 14 points–“
“Please don’t mock the contestants, Manny.”
“–is Brother.” Saruman squints down at the card in his hand and sneers. “Ah. I think I remember–“
“Last place AGAIN?!”
The childish squeal comes from Saruman’s staff, and he jumps, holding the ebony weapon out at arm’s length.
“Well, I tried warning you…” Kenzie says unhelpfully.
“No, no, this won’t do,” Saruman’s staff squeaks. “I definitely deserve to come in first place! I demand a recount!”
“We will do no such thing,” Saruman thunders. “The people have spoken, and you–foolish boy–are not this year’s Most Nefarious Villain. Perhaps next you you can–“
Before Saruman can finish his sentence, Brother interrupts him with a fierce, “RECOUNT!”
Black sparks shoot from his staff and crash into the audience, where screams erupt like popcorn.
“He tried to kill me!” a woman shouts from the front row, her crown now sitting askew atop her bulbously large head.
“Now, my dear woman, I can assure you that was not–“
“He tried to kill me!”
“If everyone could just remain calm…”
“He’s trying to destroy us!” a voice careens through the crowd. “I say we destroy him first!”
A series of enthusiastic shouts follow this declaration, closely followed by a much-too eager “I’ve got a guillotine in my car!” from the back row.
“Oh, for Mordor’s sake…” Saruman grumbles. “Begone from my staff, you ridiculous child!” he roars, shaking his staff towards the roof.
A hollow cackle dissolves into the air, and blessed silence fills the auditorium, save for the few chair-flung occupants, some of whom are now sobbing on the floor.
“There. That’s better,” Saruman says, plunking his staff back down. “Now let us continue.” His long fingers accept the next envelope from Kenzie, who mutters a soft, “I tried to warn you…” as he takes it from her.
Pointedly ignoring this, he rips open the next envelope and scowls down at the thin paper.
“In fourth place, with 26 points, is Lord Whitlock.”
A clap of thunder splits the roof, shaking the auditorium’s foundation to the very core. Someone screams.
One delirious man–Mad-Eye-Moody, perhaps–laughs wickedly.
No one knows why Mad-Eye-Moody is there, since he is decidedly not a villain, but no one dares question him. They are too off-put by the roving eyeball, which seems to be battling Sauron for “strangest crazy eye”
With the last ring of thunder, a figure appears on the stage beside Saruman, his tall, powerful frame nearly putting the wizard’s to shame.
Saruman straightens, a scowl dripping across his face. “Ah, yes. Another repeat from last year. Haven’t won yet, have we?”
“It is not my fault the people do not understand true villainy when it’s placed so clearly before them,” Lord Whitlock sneers. His fingers twitch at his sides, and runes flicker through the air beside him. “Perhaps I could show them, however…?”
“AHAHAHAHAHAHA-NO.” Kenzie flips the My-Little-Pony-pink staff through the air and cracks it down on the top of Lord Whitlock’s head, dissolving the runes. “We’re keeping all of that out of this year’s Silmaril Awards. I’d like to keep my studio intact this year, please. Burning up a forest is a little different than setting my studio ablaze.”
Lord Whitlock looks as though he’s about to argue, but Saruman cuts him off with an exasperated sigh.
“Oh, very well. Give me the next villain unworthy of this award, then.” Taking the offered envelope, Saruman slits it open, stares at it for a moment, and then calls out, “In third place, with 32 points, is The Nameless Evil Named Gnag The Nameless.
“Well, now,” Saruman says, flinging the index card to the ground. “That’s just excessive.”
“Out of my way, you filthy piece of meat!”
A creature claws his way to the front of the audience, the soft sound of hoofbeats clopping on the floor. Wriggling up onto the stage, Gnag puddles towards the center, forcing Lord Whitlock out of his way with a squint of his empty white eyes.
“I lost to that?” Lord Whitlock asks, his lip curling in disgust as Gnag the Nameless sidles up to Saruman. “What even is it?”
“A nameless evil, apparently…” Saruman drawls.
“I think ugly would be a good name for it.”
“How dare you, you nasty–“
“Boys, please!” Kenzie says, pounding the butt of her staff into the stage. “Stop arguing!” She shoves the next envelope into Saruman’s hands, distracting him from the strange little creature with the eerie white eyes. “We’re so close to announcing the winner, here…”
“Who will no doubt be unworthy of the title,” Lord Whitlock mutters.
Saruman looks as though he silently agrees, but opens the envelope easily enough. Clearing his throat, he calls out the next name in a dark, thundering tremble.
“In second place, with 37 points, is Captain Hook!”
For a moment, a deafening silence follows this announcement. Then–
Something huge crashes into the Smudged Thoughts studio, breaking through the wall and raining bits of plaster and pixie dust into the crowd. Everyone screams.
One man is crying.
Hook’s gargantuan pirate ship lands with a PLOOMPH! in the center of the stage, carving a massive dent in the middle of it. Saruman blinks at the wreckage, bits of wood splinters and plaster caught in his beard. A rope flings down from the deck, and a dark figure descends from the ship, his boots colliding with a hollow thunk against the stage as he sweeps a long, flourishing bow towards the plaster-ridden crowd. His ruffled red coat is a bloodstain against the darkness.
No one is amused.
A voice in the back row boos.
Someone throws a tomato.
It smacks Hook in the face, and he straightens, his lips carving into a snarl beneath his perfectly twirled mustache.
“Why, you little–“
Blood-curdling screams awaken within the pirate ship, and one-by-one, the crew begins pouring down its wooden sides. Their screams awaken the crowd, and everyone jumps to their feet, suddenly restless.
Hook swivels on his heel, confusion stretched across his face as Smee falls with a plunk to the stage.
“Smee? What’s happening? Why have you abandoned your post?”
“There’s a creature on board, Cap’n!” Smee pants, pointing animatedly towards the ship, where, certainly enough, a creature has appeared, scaling the side of the ship with its wiry, spindly limbs.
“A–what the blazes is that?
The creature hits the stage, and it turns its wide, lamp-like eyes onto the crowd, a toothy grin stretching across its gaunt face.
“Smeagol has returned for the Silmarilses!” the creature beams, and proudly lifts a sharp metal bucket towards the sky. “Smeagol has brought presents, precious, yes!” With a gleeful laugh, Smeagol reaches into the bucket and begins pelting raw fish at the crowd, who is now very unamused with the proceedings.
A salmon smacks the Red Queen in the face, knocking her crown loose, and she jumps to her feet with a shrill, “OFF WITH ITS HEAD!”
Another fish hits a dementor, and an icy, bone-chilling cold sweeps through the room.
“GOLLUM! ENOUGH!” Saruman booms. Smeagol pauses mid-fish-fling, the perch hitting the stage with a dull, wet flop. “You were not invited to these proceedings. How did you get here?”
“Hitched a ride with the pirateses, we did!” Smeagol chirps. “Nasty pirateses. Cooks their fish, they do. Smeagol prefers them–“
“Raw and wriggling, yes, we know,” Saruman says dryly. “Very well. If you must stay, I suppose you can take a seat in the audience. Just try not to get in the way, won’t you?” Saruman holds a hand out towards Kenzie, fingers twitching for the final envelope. “It is now time to present the winner of this year’s Most Nefarious Villain award.” Taking the envelope, Saruman slices it open and unfolds the paper inside. He stares at it for a moment.
Bends down towards Kenzie.
“Are we sure about this?” he whispers.
Saruman swallows and straightens. “Very well. In first place, with a shocking 46 points, is none other than Lord Voldemort!”
A chilling silence sweeps through the room. A dark, cloaked figure apparates onto the stage, his pale, bare feet peeking out of the folds of robes that pillow beneath him. “Ah,” Voldemort says, his arms spreading wide to take in the awe-struck audience. “This is a most pleasant surprise.” His slitted eyes scan the room, tightening with suspicion, and his fingers twitch against the wand in his fist. “Where is that devil child?” he asks.
“Gone, I should presume,” Saruman answers flippantly. “He fled a while ago after possessing my staff. Anyway. As this year’s Most Nefarious Villain, it is my duty to present you with–“
A horrible, magnificent cackle erupts through the room, permeating from the gigantic pirate ship now lodged in the center of the stage. Voldemort’s skin–if at all possible–pales, and he takes a step back, eyes widening.
“He’s returned!” he hisses, wand raised at the ready. “The devil child is back! Fools! You brought a wooden ship into our midst!”
With a great shudder, the ship rises off the floor, grinding bits of wood and stage beneath its massive girth. Cannons burst from its sides, and with an explosive crack, cannonballs begin firing into the unsuspecting crowd, smashing into seats and floors and walls.
The room panics. Screams rent the air, and footsteps pound the floor as the crowd pushes for the emergency exits.
“Of course it’s made of wood, you idiot,” Captain Hook shouts back. “It’s a ship! What were we supposed to build it out of, iron?”
Voldemort scowls and raises his wand, his voice slithering through the stadium. “Accio crocodile.”
A great green blob soars through the open, ship-shaped cavity in the side of the studio, and Captain Hook screams, disappearing into the fray with Smee quick at his heels. The crocodile hits the stage and, with a toothy grin, begins to chase after Hook through the crowd, the gentle tick-tock-tick-tock-tick emnating from his gut quickly covered by the panic-induced screams of the now rioting audience.
“WAIT!” Saruman shouts over the ruckus of cannon-fire and shouting. “I command you all to stay in your seats! Voldemort has not been given the Silmaril yet!”
The pirate ship continues to rise, now swooping around the room and targeting the most frantic of the audience. Brother’s cackles sweep the room like a whirlwind.
“Oi, congratulations, Voldy!” Two boys now launch onto the stage, completely unperturbed by the laughing pirate ship of murder. “We knew you could do it.”
“Had to win something eventually,” says Fred.
“Couldn’t kill a kid properly–” says George.
“–or a baby–” adds Fred.
“–but you’ve still got some evil left in you.”
The Weasley twins grin, their hands held carefully behind their backs.
Saruman scowls, suspicion lacing his features. “What are you two doing here? Should you not be at the Mischievous Imp ceremony?”
“Nah, we already won that,” Fred says.
“Back in 2017.”
“Old news by now, really.”
“So this year we wanted to give Voldy here a present,” George grins.
“To remember the good old days by, and all that.”
“Now that he’s famous, he’s gonna go on and forget all about us, eh Fred?”
“And goodness knows we can’t have that.”
“Wait,” Voldemort says, taking a step back. “Whatever you have, I don’t want–“
As one, the Weasley twins reveal their hands, and–simultaneously–the objects within them. One twin holds a box of Breathe-Right nasal strips.
The other holds a Hogwarts toilet seat.
Fury crackles over Voldemort’s face, but Saruman speaks before he can form words.
“Idiot children. This disturbing, slimy, noseless man is the Most Nefarious Villain. He deserves your respect.”
“Deserves a night of breathing right, I should think.”
An annoyingly soft cough echoes from behind the group gathered on the stage. They turn to find a short, plump woman decked all out in pink watching them, a cold sneer playing across her toad-like face.
“I do believe there has been a mistake, my dear Saruman,” Dolores Umbridge says coldly, her voice sickeningly sweet. “How on earth could this … creature … possibly be the most nefarious villain? He couldn’t even kill Harry Potter when he was in a crib!”
“My dear woman,” Saruman answers with equal coldness. “You really must stop crashing these awards ceremonies. Clearly you are not wanted.”
Dolores’s face trembles with rage. “This is because of his threat last year, isn’t it? He threatened to destroy you all if you didn’t give him the Silmaril, and you all believed him! Cowards!” The woman swivels on her heel and aims a trembling, stumpy finger towards the last of the scattering crowd. “If the way to this award is through blackmail, then so be it! I shall turn you all into toads if I don’t get–“
A shimmering red dot appears on Umbridge’s forehead, almost as if by magic, and she splutters to a stop, eyes going cross-eyed.
“I don’t … what is this?!”
A voice flutters down from the back of the stands, soft and menacing all at once.
“Please do shut up. Your voice is rather annoying.”
Dolores’s eyes go wide. “How dare you! Who do you think you are, to be talking to the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic in such a way!”
Sauron’s eye flicks towards the back of the stands, illuminating the frame of a lone figure, his hands shoved into his suit pockets as he watches the proceedings. The auditorium is silent, empty now except for the few on the podium and the newcomer. Shadows cloak the stranger’s face, hiding him from view as he answers, the words taunting.
“Jim Moriarty … hiii.”
Silence follows this statement–no one willing (Kenzie quite unable) to speak–until finally Saruman breaks it, his own voice booming across the great expanse. “You are not part of this ceremony, I’m afraid. This is for literary fantasy characters. Not … wherever it is you hail from.”
Moriarty takes a step forward, shrugging as if this information is nothing new to him. “I’m not much for rules. They’re boring. That stone you’ve got in your pocket, though … now that I’m interested in.”
Gritting his teeth, Saruman pulls a glistening black orb from his pocket, the stone dangling from a thick black strap. The Silmaril radiates with power and darkness–the perfect present for the fantasy world’s most Nefarious Villain.
“This Silmaril belongs to Voldemort,” Saruman says. “And as the host for Most Nefarious Villain, it is my duty to present it to him and him alone.”
“Foolish muggle,” Voldemort hisses. “You think to come swooping in and steal that which I have worked my whole life for? I think not.” Voldemort raises his wand arm, and a flicker of sparks begin to burn at the tip. “Avada–“
“WAIT!” Kenzie rushes forward, throwing herself between Voldemort and Moriarty. “Now hang on just a second, here. Perhaps we can discuss this like civilized people.”
“You’re an imbecile,” Voldemort hisses.
“The term is fangirl, actually.”
“There is nothing to discuss,” Saruman says coldly. “The Silmaril belongs to Voldemort. It was he who was chosen. It is he who shall receive the award.” With a flourish, Saruman places the Silmaril around Voldemort’s neck. “I present to all gathered here today…” Saruman glances at the now-empty stands and sighs. “…to all who remain here today, this year’s Most Nefarious Villain!”
Five more red dots flicker to life on the stage, pinning down each of those still standing in the forehead. Voldemort sucks in an angry breath.
Kenzie silently squeals.
“Such a shame, really. I hate getting my hands dirty…”
“PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!” With a flick of her wand, Dolores Umbridge blasts Moriarty with the full-body-bind curse, and he falls backward, frozen in time and space. The red dots speckling their faces hesitate for a moment, and then disappear, clearly unsure what to do now that their main conductor is gone.
“Hm!” Dolores says, wiping her wand off on her bright pink coat before pocketing it again. “Serves him right.”
Kenzie stares, open-mouthed, at the spot where Moriarty once stood. For a moment, it seems as though she’s utterly beyond words, but then, finally, she manages to squeak out a soft “…I’m gonna miss him.”
Before she can fully comprehend just how very much, however, an enormous crash booms out in the hallways, followed by an excited, “Oh look, Mr. Bear! A ticking crocodile!”
Kenzie’s face pales, and she grabs the plastic pink staff, whacking the gathered fantasy characters off the stage hurriedly as more voices and shouts clutter the surrounding halls.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thus concludes the 2020 Silmaril Awards for Most Nefarious Villain! Thank you all so much for coming. I do hope you enjoyed the ceremony!”
“Peter, what is that?”
“I think it’s a flying pirate ship…”
“Flying? Glasses, that ship is LAUGHING.”
“Eheh… Everything is totally under control!” Kenzie assures the now-concerned wizards and witch as they scoot off the edge of the platform. “Perfectly fine.”
A second crash, louder this time, followed by a large ka-boom! as a cannonball tears through the side of the building.
“Mr. Bear, do you think there’s a pocket watch inside there?”
“Adaline, do NOT get any closer to that croco–ADALINE!”
Kenzie’s plastered grin falters, and she mimes towards the camera crew, slicing a finger over her throat for them to cut the video feed. “Cut–CUT!
GET OUT OF MY STUDIO!”
…the Smudged Thoughts studio is eerily quiet, a stark mirror to the way it was before the ceremony. It has only been a matter of minutes since the others left, but the air seems colder–thinner–than it had only moments before.
Jim Moriarty lies frozen on the floor, his body face-up, eyes roving aimlessly along the ceiling.
Silently, two figures loom over him, watching curiously as the witch’s full body bind leaves him paralyzed. For a moment, neither of them talk, letting the silence trickle between them companionably. But then, very softly, five words slither across the studio.
“…can I eat him now?”
– the other ceremonies –
Make sure to check out the awards ceremonies for the nine other categories!
Sept. 14 … Most Epic Heroine
Sept. 15 … Strangest Character
Sept. 16 … Most Mischievous Imp
Sept. 17 … Least Competent Henchman
Sept. 18 … Most Epic Hero
Sept. 21 … Most Silver Tongue
Sept. 22 … Most Magnificent Dragon
Sept. 23 … Most Nefarious Villain (you are here!)
Sept. 24 … Most Faithful Friend
Sept 25 … Wisest Counselor
– the giveaway –
And don’t forget to check out this year’s giveaway! There are so many prizes, so there will be a ton of winners. (high chances=more fun, right? XD) Unfortunately, I’m horrible at embedding links right now, so please click the link down below to enter!
talk to me, peasants!
All right! And that, my friends, was the Awards Ceremony for Most Nefarious Villain!!! Honestly, I’m a little sad that it’s finally over? These past few weeks have seen some of the most fun blog posts I’ve had the privilege to write in a long, long time. And not only that, but the fact that I got to play with the villains STILL has me squealing.
(I do apologize for the appearance of some *cough* non-literary fantasy characters, but in my defense … um … *has no defense*)
Ahem. Anyway! Thank you all so much for coming to the 2020 awards ceremony for the Most Nefarious Villain! It has been my absolute pleasure to be a part of the grand Silmaril Awards this year, and I certainly hope I did this most villainous category justice! Before you leave, however, make sure to scroll back up and enter the giveaway, because GUYS. There are some FANTASTIC prizes in there, oh my goodness! And also make sure to check out the other category winners! The posts for the last few will start going live on the days they’re published, so make sure to follow the blogs so you don’t miss out on anything!
As far as conversation questions go…
Did your favorite nefarious villain win? (personally, I’m a little shocked, but hey. he was bound to win eventually. XD) Who is your favorite villain of all time, fantasy book character or not? And, most importantly…
DID ANYONE RECOGNIZE THE CAMEO IN THAT FINAL LITTLE BLIP OF A SCENE?
My friend, Phoebe, recently got me hooked on a particular fandom, and now I’m obsessed. (also 10/10 may have added that in just for her. love you, pheebs. XD)
Let’s talk about ALL OF THE VILLAINOUS THINGS! down in the comments below! And as always, until next time…
*flings cookies in the air and disappears*