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Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy

by Allain Atienza

Chapter 38

Heorot hall hovered before him in the pale morning fog.

Zorikh had been eager to strike out on his own part of the adventure, yet now that Fara had departed and Heorot was before him once more, he was unsure of what to do next. He knocked on the great oak doors with a tentative hand.

There was no answer. He knocked again, louder this time with still no results. He decided not to enter on his own; he was sure the door was locked, and one doesn’t go sneaking into a house full of swordsmen uninvited. Content instead to wait out the morning upon the palisade, he climbed the sloping turf and looked over the wooden wall.

The mist still clung to the lowlands, Grendel’s forest was merely a dark green mass floating in the white haze. To the south, the sea sparkled in the morning light and on the farmsteads folk were preparing for a day’s work on the fields. Zorikh peered to the north and knew that another kingdom lay that way, though he didn’t know where exactly, and another after that, possibly a British territory. It didn’t matter; wherever it was, it would be cloaked in morning fog, with farmers finishing their breakfasts and bands of warriors asleep in the halls. It was the same to the west- kings and chieftains, warriors and common folk spread throughout the landscape of the isle. Perhaps somewhere in the direction he was facing, Arthur, the legend-to-be, was stirring in his camp and readying his men for their legendary struggle. It was all here before him, not in a book or a movie, but all about him. He was in history. “I’ve got the best job in the world,” he sighed.

“You are Sigilind’s champion, are you not?” called out a voice below him.

It was Bass the falconer. “Yes sir,” answered Zorikh, “but I’m no champion, just a traveler.” He strode down the earth bank - not purposely, one can only stride or stumble down steep stuff, and now was not a good time to stumble- to join the gray haired man, who squinted skeptically at him.

“Hmm,” Bass said, “didn’t recognize you with the cloak. Where’s the lady?”

“The lady will arrive later in the day. I’m here to tell the great lord that she’s found Grendel. She’s bringing him to Heorot.” Zorikh saw the question in the older man’s eyes. “Grendel isn’t the murderer, but there’s time enough for proof when the lady gets here. Is Hrothgar about?”

“The King,” Bass stressed the word as if to remind Zorikh who Hrothgar was, “is in the great hall with the guests from Hygelac’s court.” The falconer lowered his voice, “They came yesterday morning, just as Lady Sigilind said!”

“I’ve never known her to be wrong,” Zorikh sad truthfully. “Is there any way I can see the king? I have word from the lady.”

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