A moment later, the doors swung open. At the threshold stood a dark, grim faced man of middle years. He wore a tunic of deep red trimmed with bright thread and an arm ring of gold. A great sword hung at his hip. "Who comes to Heorot?" he demanded.
Theodora drew herself to stand as regally as any queen. Zorikh resisted the urge to go down on one knee, and the doorkeeper's haughtiness shrank somewhat. Before the man had time to recover, Theodora spoke in a strong, clear voice. "Tell the Lady of Heorot that Sigilind of the Mist is here to pay her honor. I would also speak to Hrothgar about the troubles of his people, and what aid I may render to the house of Scyld."
The dark man’s eyes widened as he drew back slightly, but he waited until he regained his composure before saying, "The Lady Sigilind." Once again, he stood stiffly, yet more attentive than he was when he had first addressed them. "These are dark days, and I apologize if my earlier words were less than gentle." He led them through a wide hall and into a large atrium. A mosaic floor depicted a lion hunt. Facing each other in the center were four cushioned benches, on which the steward bade them sit. Zorikh, who had been ready to be impressed, still couldn’t help but ooh and ah. "None who know of our troubles come to Heorot, and we turn away strangers, to spare them from our doom. Only Hrothgar's closest hearth companions will stay with him now. Those thanes of fickle worth have fled." As he spoke, Zorikh took in the rest of the place and saw the truth in his words. Potted plants hung from columns, but they had been allowed to turn brown and brittle. In one corner, a hastily scrubbed stain still showed the dark taint of old blood. "I will announce you to Wealtheow." The man spoke curtly and left the atrium.
Zorikh gazed upwards at the sky from his bench. "So which is your real name?" he said casually. He was determined not to talk about the bloodstain.
"I like Theodora, but my father named me Sigilind. When I became a Rifter, I chose to use the name my mother had wanted to give me, after my grandfather."
"Hmm. So your grandfather's name was Theodoric? That’s easy enough. Now what's all this stuff about the mist and you?"
Theodora leaned forward and dropped her voice to a whisper. "It's just something I started to do for dramatics really," she said. "I'd make my appearance at dawn, or at night when the fog is rolling in. Sometimes a little drama can get results. So, around these parts, they started naming me the Lady of the Mist. Who am I to stop them?"
Soft footfalls sounded in the hall behind them. Theodora and Zorikh turned as one and stood to honor the Lady of Heorot as she entered the atrium. She was younger than Zorikh had expected, a woman in her twenties, graceful and beautiful; with long red-gold hair and a lovely, delicate face. She wore a simple white tunic under a rich blue sleeveless gown pinned at the shoulders with silver brooches. "Welcome to Heorot Sigilind, daughter of Wilda, daughter of Theodoric. I wish I could welcome you at a happier time."
Theodora bowed, Zorikh followed her example. "I thank you, Wealtheow, Lady of Heorot, queen of the Scyldings. It would be a blessing to receive your welcome at a happier time. Yet your welcome, even during hard days is blessing enough. May I present my companion, Zorikh Lequidre, a fellow traveler."
Zorikh deepened his bow. "It's an honor to be welcomed by such a renowned and radiant lady."
Theodora shot him a somewhat surprised look. He had never been so easy or charming with the locals before. Wealtheow gave him a smile of warmth and amusement. "Well, I thank you good Zorikh. I hope that my welcome will seem as radiant when the sun rises again tomorrow, or will the doom that haunts us belittle that radiance in your eyes?"
"Never lady, would your radiance dwindle. Another morning would only add to it."
Wealtheow and Theodora exchanged glances. The queen's delight had deepened, and so had her smile. Theodora was nonplussed. "I will send for refreshment." Wealtheow announced. "Please be at ease until my return. I would welcome you into the hall, but it is a joyless place in the day. This is my favorite place in Heorot, and presently its happiest place. Even indoors, you can still see the sky." She left them then, to await her return.
Theodora took the opportunity to say, "Zorikh, I suggest you do not flirt with Hrothgar's queen."
"I wasn't flirting with her. I've just never met a queen before, I wanted to make a good impression. Yeah she’s young and pretty, and probably richer than chocolate mousse, but I wasn’t flirting."
"Hrothgar is a very dangerous man, Zorikh. And might I remind you that you have a girlfriend in Pennsylvania?"
They spent the afternoon with Wealtheow, who provided them with fine Gallic wine, fruit and cheese. The queen was pleasant and quite happy with their company. Their clothes interested her greatly, especially Zorikh's Stray Cats tee shirt. Tracing the band logo with a forefinger, she asked what was meant by the strange looking beast on his chest. Zorikh could only answer, "He’s a mascot for a band of musicians." He sought help from his companion, but Theodora only gave him a warning glance. He said as calmly as he could, "Sigilind's coat is an Armani! You should see how fine the stitching is. She's very proud of it!" He had no idea if this was true, he only knew that 'Armani' usually got results from rich people. Whatever Sigilind's coat really was, his ploy had worked. Wealtheow turned her attention to the long dark brown overcoat, though her eyes lingered on Zorikh a bit longer.
After asking Theodora's permission, Wealtheow held the supposed Armani up before her. "Why, it's like a cloak with sleeves!" Wealtheow said with wonder. She found one of the pockets and exclaimed how clever it was to include purses in a garment. Zorikh helpfully pointed out that there were pockets in the lining too. Theodora stiffened, her eyes going wide. "What a beautiful bracelet!" Wealtheow said as she discovered the Sadja.
"It belonged my mother." Theodora said quickly. "She was on her deathbed when she took it from her arm and placed it in my hand. She was the last soul to have ever worn it." Then she held her breath.
Wealtheow admired the Sadja for a second longer before replacing it in Theodora’s pocket. Her sympathy was plain. "It's beautiful" she said softly. "You were very dear to her, and she to you. It shows by the way you speak of her."
Theodora nodded. She seemed genuinely sad to Zorikh. "She was and still is." A faraway look crossed her face, but only for an instant. She immediately afterwards told Wealtheow, "She passed on in good age…a blessing in these times to be sure. I was fortunate to have spent so many years with her guidance."
Wealtheow was about to speak when the thudding of hooves reached them from over the walls. Deep, rough voices could be heard as well, along with the snorts and whinnies of their mounts. "It seems my lord husband has returned," Wealtheow said, "I beg your leave friends, to inform him of his guests. We will meet later." With a mix of relief and regret, Zorikh stood as the Queen of Heorot left their company.
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Ahead to the next page
To the Home Page of Zorikh Lequidre
The comic that started it all!
Silver Bangles and Barbarian Bracelets
Mediaeval Pewter Castings from the Wareham Forge
What is Heorot?
Ground Plan of Heorot Hall
The Heorot Herald
Heorot Mead Hall Homebrewing and Beer Recipes
Chris Moore Illustration - The Legacy of Heorot
The Marshal of the Central Region of the Eastern Kingdom of the SCA calls his website Heorot
Scyld Scefing and Sutton Hoo
Scyld Shef'sson and the epic poem, Beowulf
Pagan Profiles: Scyld
Scyld Computing Corporation
SLASHDOT News for Nerds discussion about the origin of the names of Scyld and the Beowulf cluster
An example of a roman mosaic
An older mosaic floor from Pompeii Mosaic Tile Flooring
Wealtheow as a representation of femininity
Grendel Retellings: Wealtheow (cat and mouse)
Supporting Characters of Beowulf
Pagan Profiles: Wealtheow
This same Wealtheow writes:"I Don't Break for Jerks"
The Grendel Board
"Awesome" chocolate mousse recipe
Three minute chocolate mousse
Canadian chocolate mousse wedding cake cooking lesson
Belgian chocolate Mousse
Mexican chocolate mousse
Epicurious bakery-style Irish Cream Chocolate Mousse Cake
White chocolate mousse cake
Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse
Kosher forPassover chocolate mousse pie
"Born To Rhône" Valrhona Chocolate Mousse
Mousse au Chocolate aux Noisettes et au Whiskey
Chocolate Mousse Napoleons
Indian eggless chocolat mousse cake
American Diabetes Association low-fat chocolate mousse
Oil, Water, and Chocolate Mousse
Mind Over Chocolate Mousse - An Interview with Swami Tejomayananda
Sweedish Chef's "Chocolate Moose"
The Chocolate Moose.com
Chocolate Moose For Any Occasion
The world's largest chocolate moose!
The Flirting Academy
The Ultimate Multimedia Guide to Dating, Flirting, Love, and Romance!
The Jellybean Flirting Guide
MyPal! Flirting Guide
The Angel of Flirting!
Flirting Classes, Outings, Success Flirting talks
Flirting in Indonesian
FLirt Links freebies!
Open Directory flirting links
Is the art of flirting dead?
Sexual Harassment vs. Flirting
Multilingual chat board: Is flirting OK?
History of Grapes and Wine
French wine tours
Consumption of red wine with meals reduces the susceptibility of human plasma and low-density lipoprotein to lipid peroxidation
French Toast: Here's To Our Gallic Cousins For Putting America In Its Place - a litttle essay on French "hypocracy" regarding "globalization" I found while researching the links for "Gallic wine." It really doesn't have anything at all to do with the Grendel Conspiracy, but I thought it made for interesting reading.
Rockabilly Hall of Fame Stray Cats page
Yesterdayland Stray Cats page
Stray Cats logo and interview
A History of Rock and Roll on Long Island
A complete Stray Cats discography
Rockabilly Rules Stray Cats Page
Anchorman's Stray Cats and related links
The Latest info on Brian Setzer
Black Cat Rockabilly Europe
Brian Setzers' Barber
"Stray Cat Strut"
Stray Cats & Feral Cats
Our Strict, Unbending Rules for Dealing with Stray Cats (author unknown)
Stray cats in Tuscany
Stray Cats in Japan
Amusing story about stray cats, Buddhist temples, and flying fish
Stray Cats Classic Mercury Cougar Club
Giorgio Armani biography and links
Armani profile and fashions
Giuseppe Armani/Florence Sculture d'Arte sculptures
Due South/Detective Armani fan club
Note: These links are for the edification and entertainment of our audience. No endorsement of any product, service, lifestyle, religion, or political agenda is implied, intended or should be inferred.
Special Watch This Space products catalog
The complete list of Grendel Conspiracy links, arranged alphabetically
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