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Excerpt from Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy, page 21, by Allain Atienza

Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy

By Allain Atienza

Page 21

THE BUTCHER

The inside of the farmhouse was smoky but cozy. It was a one room affair, with straw beds for the family of three, a simple table and a hearth that sent sooty smoke to linger in the air before being wafted away by stray breezes from the two windows. Zorikh had seen more houses further afield, and assumed that these were the abodes of the other farmers. Osa's wife, Guthild, was a small woman, delicately built, her elfin face framed by sandy brown braids. She greeted them both warmly and laughed loudly when she laid eyes on Theodora.

"Sigilind! Why get in here woman!" She was already sizing up Zorikh as she hugged Theodora fiercely. "Aha! And you've brought company back from the mist! Hello and welcome Siglind's friend from the mist!"

Osa moved to rescue Theodora from Guthild's embrace. "This is Zorikh, Sigilind's companion who's been to Gaul and Hunland and probably Rome as well!"

"Thank you good lady, for your welcome," Zorikh felt that he was getting better at this, "it's my honor to be under your roof."

Guthild served them a thick porridge in wooden bowls, which Zorikh thought satisfying but rather bland. What he did find interesting, however, was a sword displayed on one of the walls; with a wide, fullered blade, silver-worked hilt and pommel and a handle of bone. It was one of the most beautiful things that Zorikh had ever laid eyes on. Osa swelled at Zorikh's compliments. He had slain a Frisian raider five years ago and took the man's arms and weapons. As Osa told the story, Frithel nodded sagely and exclaimed during each pause that there was no finer warrior than his father.

"A foolish thing to do." Guthild scolded, though her eyes passed over her husband with admiration. "To attempt to split a swordsman's skull with a hayfork."

"So I stuck him instead!" Osa laughed, poking repeatedly with his spoon and wiping porridge from his beard. "And then I split his skull!"

Breakfast continued with the same good natured talk. After a few moments, Osa and Frithel left them to finish their morning work. Osa stubbornly refused any help from Zorikh, bidding him instead to finish his breakfast and enjoy Jutish hospitality. Theodora spoke with Guthild about her son, the farm, the state of Hrothgar's realm and of the Saxon settlements in general.

"After Mount Badon, both sides have kept mostly to themselves." Guthild told them. "Cerdic is still giving them trouble though, and the Butcher is still rampaging on our frontier. We slew Geraint of Dumnonia at Longborth a few years back, but the Butcher was there as well, and chased our fyrd all the way to the wagons. Things have been mostly silent for a few seasons now. Our chiefs have decided to wait and watch the Romans fight each other for a while."

They paused for a moment, allowing Zorikh to ask, "Excuse me ladies, who's this Butcher?"

Guthild pursed her lips with distaste. "Arthwyr Artorius, the Comes Brittaniarum. Artorius the Butcher, who's idea of warfare is to fall upon farmsteads and villages, kill off anyone he finds there and sell off the children overseas. His companions are no worse, fighting from horseback like Huns. I heard he's recruited Huns as well, he'd rather give this isle to those beasts than let us be."

Theodora laid an arm on Guthild to comfort her. "Guthild lost three brothers under Cerdic at Mount Badon. Survivors told us that Artur took their fyrd prisoner, then crucified them as a warning to all settlers."

"Holy dances-with-wolves." Zorikh sighed. He definitely didn't need to hear any of this. He was left with a mental picture of Richard Harris with too much eye makeup saying in his tortured voice, "Should we crucify them Jenny? Would...it...be...civilized?"

Guthild excused herself to fetch more wood from the pile. Theodora stared at Zorikh, trying to read his thoughts. "It's war Zorikh. Cerdic and Aelle have done things just as savage. Don't let Guthild shatter anything for you."

"Oh, it's really no big deal, I guess. I wasn't much of an Arthurian buff to begin with. But I've got friends that would be pretty upset. Yep."

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RELATED LINKS
Saxon Houses and Furniture
Early Anglo-Saxon Houses
A reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon farm

Lots o' Links about Ancient Rome

Did Iron-Age Scots put milk in their porridge?
Porridge anagrams
Highland Bears Porridge Recipe
Ways to make them eat porridge!
The Scots Kitchen - Porridge
Julegroed (Christmas Porridge) from Denmark
"Porridge" from the BBC
The Myth of Neural Porridge

Practical wooden bowls and spoons
Quietly elegant wooden bowls
Really nice wooden bowls
Hawaiian wooden bowls
Wooden bowls as art
Wooden bowl as social statement
Y'know, there's way too many websites selling wooden bowls...

1st - 6th Century Swords

Hayfork, California
A music festival in Hayfork, California
Interesting story about a new direction for logging in Hayfork, California
Wood Products from Hayfork, California
Bigfoot sighting near Hayfork, California
A town with a hayfork factory

Elegy for Geraint: Welsh Battle Poem, c.500

Questing for the historical Arthur, King of Britons
Some historical mentions of the Battle of Badon Hill
Combat During the Time of King Arthur
More Arthurian History Links

Cerdic
More about Cerdic

The Fyrd Army in Anglo-Saxon England
"Fyrd" as a title in Calontir

A message sent out by King Aelle of the Angles in A.D. 480.

Hinde Sight: Dances With Wolves
The "Enemy Mine" in "Dances with Wolves" by Denny Lin
The Nitpicker's "Dances With Wolves"

Richard Harris
Richard Harris fights to save a drinking club!

Note: These links are for the edification and entertainment or our audience. No endorsement of any product, service, lifestyle, religion, or political agenda is implied, intended or should be inferred.

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