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Excerpt from Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy, page 29, by Allain Atienza

Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy

By Allain Atienza

Page 29

It was the second dawn afterwards when the longship came. Theodora and Zorikh, dressed now in clothes borrowed from their hosts, had been scanning the horizon since first light. Zorikh was the first to see it, a long dark shape cresting the waves, its sail a bright gold speck in the sunrise. He watched, speechless as the beast-prowed ship came swiftly closer and finally slowed in the shallows. The deep yellow sail began to lower and oars were brought over the sides.

"Come Zorikh," Theodora jogged towards the shore. As he followed her, Zorikh kept his eyes on the moored ship and saw the shimmer of mail-clad bodies as men stirred upon it. The first of the mariners had debarked by the time the pair had reached the shore. "Beowulf!" Theodora cried out. The man, still up to his waist in the sea, looked up and shouted, wide eyed.

"Theodora! Aha! How are you girl?" He waded ashore and caught her up in a damp spinning embrace. Zorikh understood at once why Theodora had called him the Bear. He was a hulk of a man, slightly taller than Zorikh and as broad as an SUV. (The big kind that are impossible to park, not the little sporty ones) His blond hair was a wild halo about his broad, weather worn but handsome face. He wore a shirt of glittering mail and red loosely fitting trousers gathered at his lower legs by strips of yellow cloth. From a broad leather belt hung a magnificent sword with gold worked into the hilt. "You're actually wearing women's clothes!" Beowulf said as he set her down. "It's been too long since you've visited me!" He suddenly caught sight of Zorikh standing silently by. "Oho! And I see why I've been forsaken! You've replaced me!" He laughed deeply, squeezing Theodora a final time and holding a huge hand out to Zorikh, who took it disbelievingly. "You must be Theodora's new companion, I was told by the pale man that I'd be meeting you as well! My name is Beowulf."

"Zorikh Lequidre," Zorikh began but found that he had drawn a blank. "I'm ah, a big fan." Beowulf raised a quizzical eyebrow. "I mean, I'm a great admirer of your work."

The big man smiled. "I should say the same about you, friend. It's a good thing that you and Theodora are doing!" He patted Zorikh warmly on the upper arm, which caused Zorikh to move sideways an inch or two. "So, Theodora, what sort of trouble have you gotten me into? Ah, I see you've noticed my ship, Zorikh." He beamed proudly at the vessel as he scratched his beard. "She's not much to look at but she's the fastest hunk of wood in the sea."

Zorikh, who had been gawking alternately at Beowulf and the longship, nodded. "It's one of the coolest- I mean most amazing- things I've ever seen. Say, can I hop on board and help you unpack?"

Theodora smiled and said, "I'm sure old Bear here would appreciate the help."

"Yes I would," Beowulf said, a bit surprised. "That's uncommonly kind of you."

"It's my pleasure!" Zorikh, who had never boarded a longship, waded out to its lowest point and began to haul his soggy self up. Strong hands helped him aboard. When he finally got his feet on the deck he looked around like a child in a video arcade. The oars had been laid lengthwise next to the benches, which turned out to be stout wooden chests. Upon some of the chests rested various helmets or spears, or folded cloaks and packs of personal belongings. The center of the deck was recessed, forming a sort of long pit where wooden casks and barrels were stowed along with piles of gear- here was an open barrel of dried meat, there was a row of shields lying on top of one another, and elsewhere a bundle of spears lay lashed together at the hafts.

A dozen men, colorfully dressed and wearing bright shimmering mail, moved busily among all this, hoisting barrels onto their backs or moving equipment towards the sides of the ship. Zorikh introduced himself to the nearest man and asked what he could do to help.

"I'm Wyglaf" the sailor said in a friendly voice. He was a bit younger than Zorikh, with red hair and beard. "I reckon you can start with those casks, we need two. I'll go over the side and you can hand them to me." This Zorikh did, and afterwards he had the pleasure of helping unload the weapons. He studied as best he could each spear and shield he passed down to Wyglaf.

When Zorikh finally waded ashore, his work done, he heard Beowulf's deep voice raised in amused disbelief.

"So! You told Hrothgar I'd save his kingdom! Shame on you Theodora Haze, you're going to be the death of me yet."

"You would have come on your own if he'd have called for your help!" she insisted.

"True," Beowulf said, "but I'm foolish. You at least, have the sense to keep me from getting myself hurt." His men laughed at this and agreed with him. "And he'd never have called me for help, so this is most undoubtedly your doing."

"Oh he would have called you all right," Zorikh said. He had apparently lost his initial shyness at meeting the Superman of the dark ages. "Don't underestimate how popular you've become!"

Beowulf gave Zorikh a shrewd glance. "So ho! You two have decided to take me on both flanks. She gives me the bad news and then you flatter me. A bit of the good Roman, bad Hun hmmm?"

Zorikh found that it was extremely easy to like Beowulf. He wasn't the grim warrior that Zorikh had expected from meeting Hrothgar's thanes. Granted, he was most likely a fearsome opponent, but he acted like a rock star, or at least a talk show host - funny, charming and irreverent. He was a man who was used to being liked and knew how to handle it.

"You know I didn't ask for your help on Hrothgar's behalf," Theodora hit the big man's shoulder. "I wanted you to help me to protect Grendel."

"Ah yes, gentle Grendel. Of course you have any help I can give, Theodora. From what you tell me, Grendel sounds like an interesting fellow." He hummed happily, absently wiping the wild boar crest of his helmet. "Oh, who was Hrothgar's father again?"

"Healfdane" Theodora said.

Beowulf nodded and gave Zorikh a wink. "They always like it when you know who their father is," he said with a grin.

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RELATED LINKS
Clothing our adventurers may have borrowed
Saxon industrial and work clothes

A famous Longship
The Viking Longship by John R. Hale (scroll down the page to see something about the origins of the longship)
Longship acrylic on canvas
Longship Mirage
A list of replica Longships
The Viking Navy - They build ships! Longship-related links
"You sank my Longship!"
The Longship Trading Company
Ed "Mac" Bain's Longship Troopers by John Rickards
The Long Ships Motel

All about chain mail
Chainmail Resource List
Illustrated "how-to" for making mail
Glenn K!'s Chain Mail Page
Mail patterns
Chain mail legginfs with feet
Chain Mail Supplies
Pictures of mail from museums
The many uses of chain mail!
The world's favorite chain mail!
What the USPS says about chain mail

Beowulf comes to Heorot
Beowulf, book III
Beowulf's Journey
The Electronic Beowulf
Readings from Beowulf
Beowulf and other Legends (Dueling Modems)
Essays on Beowulf
Resources for the Study of Beowulf
The Beowulf Bibliography
"The Illustrated Beowulf" by Jake, Starring:

President Bill Clinton
Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and Pope John Paul II
Cookie Monster
Michelle Pfeiffer
Boris Yeltsin
Godzilla
Hillary Clinton
The A-Team
David Letterman (the little guys in the castle)

The Beowulf Project
The Beowulf Underground
The Beowulf Genomics Initiative

Raised Eyebrow Web Studio
The Raised Eyebrow - A Sam Waterson Page
Spyder's Poetry Empire - Forum: One raised eyebrow in thought
Fluffybunny's experience with a "raised eyebrow"
Russian Web "eyebrow"

Video Arcade Game Collectors WebRing
The Game Room
Viedeo Arcade Preservation Society
Andy's Video Arcade Machine Collection
The video Arcade Buddha by Tony Barnstone

Beowulf and Wyglaf Slay the Dragon
A story of another Wiglaf

Reworked casks and kegs
Beaver Buckets: Authentic reproductions of casks and other containers
Casks Piled High!
Barrels, Casks & Coopers
Reworked casks and kegs
Modern wine "casks"
Cask Brewing Systems
Cask-Strength Limited
Wine Cask
Cask 'n Cleaver restaurants
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado"
Casks of Uncertainty
CASK: Creative Art Space for Kids

Bureau of Labor Statistics Career Information: Rock Star
Rock Star - the movie
More info about "Rock Star"
Rock Star Guitars
Rockstar Headquarters
Build a Rock Star!
Rock Star Club

About talk show hosts
Radio talk show hosts
Canceled talk show hosts
Placement services for talk show hosts

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.

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