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Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy

by Allain Atienza

Chapter 44

Wealtheow’s smile faded as she glanced behind Zorikh, who saw her grim expression and turned about. Twelve horsemen trotted down the gentle slope from Heorot, mail-clad and bearing spears and bows. Hrothgar, also armed, rode at the head of the column. With much impressive jingling and clattering, the mounted band made their way to Zorikh and the queen, and stopped a few paces away. Hrothgar surveyed the pair of them with his cold blue raptor’s stare before saying, “Good day my queen, how nice it is to find you showing our good guest the fairer sights of our realm.”

The queen bowed in greeting to her husband. Zorikh had been on one knee since he had sighted the king. “Does it not please you, my husband?” Wealtheow said with no warmth in her voice. “I wanted to show our good guest this grove, surely a symbol of your greatness.”

The king’s jaw worked furiously at Wealtheow’s words and he glared from her to Zorikh and back. “There will be proof enough of our greatness when we have Grendel’s head on a pole” Hrothgar said through clenched teeth. Zorikh saw the steel in the king’s eyes and hastily looked away. “How now Zorikh the Traveler?” Hrothgar called down to him, “There was word when I awoke that you had news from the Lady Sigilind.”

Zorikh told the king, who eyed him silently, that Grendel was found, and that Theodora was bringing the giant to Heorot to prove his innocence.

“And what if he is not innocent, what if the Lady Sigilind is mistaken?” the king demanded.

“Then Beowulf will see that Grendel harms no one,” Zorikh assured him. The king, however, looked no more pleased than when he had first arrived.

“Let us hope so,” was all Hrothgar said as he wheeled his horse and led his band back towards Heorot.

Wealtheow shaded her eyes as she watched the riders dwindle in the distance. “It seems that your news has spoiled the king’s hunt” she said with contempt. Even as she spoke, the mounted band split into two groups. One continued back towards Heorot while the second headed south, towards the shore. “Why did they part?” Wealtheow wondered aloud.

“The other bunch is probably going to check up on the ship.” Zorikh said, unconcerned. He had delivered Theodora’s message finally, and he could enjoy the rest of the day with the queen.

“I suppose so.” Wealtheow said with uncertainty.

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