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Excerpt from Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy, page 6, by Allain Atienza

Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy

By Allain Atienza

Page 6

They had decided to meet at a fast-order sushi restaurant of Stan's choosing on eighth street and sixth. Zorikh sat near the back of the place with his bowl of chicken cutlet udon noodle soup and slurped away. This made him feel better. Such is the magic of a good udon noodle soup, handed down from generations of udon masters. As he worked his chopsticks to get as many of the thick slippery noodles at each grab, he forgot, for a moment, that the folks at Griffin probably wanted him to make changes that he would no doubt find distasteful- chain mail bikinis and horned helmets and the like...hell with it...sluurrrp. He was happily fishing around for another slice of chicken cutlet when Stan's voice brought him back to the world.

"Zorikh, hey buddy. You got the soup?"

"Yeah." Zorikh peered the his broth glumly, regretful that the last slice of chicken had eluded him, for now at least. "so what's up?"

In an instant, Zorikh's sketches were out on the table surface. Stan daintily ate his tuna rolls as he arranged the drawings. "So how are you doing? Freaking Giants huh?" Stan said.

Zorikh shrugged as he brought the bowl to his lips and slurped; hell it was acceptable in Japan, wasn't it? "Well, everyone was saying the Ravens were better, I just didn't know how much."

Stan nodded. "Well what are you gonna do huh?" He directed Zorikh's attention to a large drawing of an elf warrior woman and a tall blond fighting man, "See, they love the characters, they love what you did with their personalities, but they just want a couple of small changes before you lay it out in oils."

Zorikh gazed down at his sketch. The elf warrior-lass stood defiantly with a longbow, a mail shirt peered out from under her dark blue cloak. Her companion wore a long mail hauberk, a conical helmet with a nasal and with two hands hefted a bearded axe. Stan continued, "They want less on the woman, like maybe a half shirt-"

"Or a mail bikini top." Zorikh barked sarcastically.

Stan's enthusiastic nods showed that he hadn't noted Zorikh's tone. "Something like that, and show her legs, give her a short skirt or a loincloth..."

"How about a freaking g-string?" Zorikh had begun to drum his fingers on the table. This time Stan noticed the darkening cloud in his client's stare.

"What's wrong?" Stan leaned forward and fixed Zorikh with what would have passed as a look of fatherly concern, had it not been for the quivering left eyebrow and the smear of wasabe on the corner of his mouth. Zorikh's face was a mask of disgust as he tried to translate his reactions into words. Taking this moment of silence as an opening, Stan continued. "Also, they wanted you to change the man a little." There was a beatific smile on Zorikh now. Stan knew from experience that he was looking into the eye of the hurricane. It was always this way with him. He had a talented client here, but Zorikh's rigidity, his unwillingness to compromise, what Zorikh called his integrity, usually kept the deals from going anywhere. "Zorikh, you're going to have to work with these guys. For shit's sake, you need to fatten up your resume. This is a real client with real money. You can't keep putting volunteer posters and web work on your..."

Zorikh interrupted him, stressing each slow word with a tap on the drawing. "What-about-the-man?"

The agent casually took up another piece of tuna rill, dipped it into his soy sauce, dabbed it onto his wasabe and popped it into his mouth. "They want horns on his helmet."

Zorikh leapt to his feet, pointed a long finger at his agent and let out a loud "A HA! A haaaaah!" Stan merely looked away, noticing the unappreciative stares of their fellow patrons. Zorikh seethed. "I..." he announced, "am going to get a honey iced tea. Do you want one?" Shrugging, Stan left it up to him.

When Zorikh returned, feeling no better, Stan was sharing the drawings with a new member of their little dining party. Zorikh snorted. He assumed that it was probably a Griffin Games staffer, here to support his agent's efforts.

What the third person turned out to be was a dark haired woman, perhaps about his age. Her long, coarse hair was gathered by crimson thread into a thick braid that hung past the middle of her back. She wore a large dark brown coat and a scratchy gray wool turtleneck sweater. She lounged in her chair so that he could clearly see her black leggings and rather clumsy looking brown winter boots. Stan beckoned him to it. "Zorikh," he gestured to the newcomer, "someone was just looking at your work. This is Theodora."

The woman smiled up at him and offered her hand. "Theodora Hayes." She said formally.

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RELATED LINKS
Japanese Restaurants outside Japan
Udon Noodle Soup
Chopsticks

Chain Mail Bikinis (fetish fashion)
Chain Mail Bikinis (fantasy fashion)
A story of a girl in a chain mail bikini

Horned Helmets
More "vikings" in "horned helmets" raiding a Spanish village in the 1990's
An Examination of Horned Helmets
Illustrations of barbarians in horned helmets:

  • 'Battleskar Ragingfury' by Bill White Jr.
  • 'Warrior' by Roberto Campus
  • 'The Viking Warrior' by Steven Berry
  • 'The Obligatory Conan/Barbarian Sketch' by Chris Dien
  • 'My Viking Dream Guy' by Tiffany A. Dierking
    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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