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Excerpt from Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy, page 34, by Allain Atienza

Z Lequidre and the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy

By Allain Atienza

Page 34

Swans, Laundry and Water Fights

It surprised Zorikh what a difference a trimmed beard made on Grendel. The man was still unnervingly huge, but his face seemed gentler, possibly because one could see more of it. "You need to get the grime off of you before we got to Heorot," Theodora said firmly. "And I assume you have garments made from cloth?"

"I'm a hermit, Theodora, not a savage," he said indignantly. "Of course I have some tunics somewhere."

They followed Grendel outside and over the hill. The far side opened up onto a small lake surrounded by the soft green of the spring woodland.

"Hmmm," Zorikh said to no one in particular, "that sure is something. Remind me to come back here with my sketchbook. How cool would it be if that swan were still here." He pointed at a snow-white swan circling majestically overhead. Curiously, Grendel gave the bird a polite nod, then trudged to the shore and unceremoniously began to strip off his furs.

"You know you two could do with a bath as well," said Grendel, "Unless you'd like to have supper caked with mud." Under all his bulky clothes, Grendel was a trim man, not what Zorikh expected at all. He was fit and strongly built with broad shoulders, but his muscles were long and lean and his waist was slender for such a tall man. Leaving his furs on the shore, Grendel ran into the lake and dove in.

Zorikh watched as the big man surfaced and dived again, sending large ripples through the once still surface of the lake, then looked up to watch the swan cant its wings and descend gently towards the water. Behind him, Theodora said, "I heartily agree. We're all quite filthy. Give me your clothes Zorikh, and I'll wash those as well."

When Zorikh turned, he saw to his embarrassment that Theodora had also disrobed. and was thigh deep in the dark water with her muddy clothes in her arms. He couldn't help notice that her slender body was firm and shapely, and looked milky in contrast to her long dark hair. She faced him expectantly. "I'm not washing your clothes if you stay in them, Zorikh," she sad flatly.

The swan had landed and drifted a few yards away, it's head turned sideways towards them, seeming to watch them with one shiny black eye. Zorikh had a nagging feeling that the big bird had come to spy on them, and felt an uncharacteristic streak of shyness, and some embarrassment as well. This came from decades of watching Loony Tunes.

Sesame Street and the Muppet Show didn't help either.

"Please, I'm getting a bit chilly." Theodora said, her hand still outstretched for his clothes.

"Hell, when a chick says strip..." Zorikh mumbled and began peeling off his tunic and breeches. When he was done, he handed them as casually as he could to Theodora, who took them without a word and waded out to a smooth rock that jutted from the lake surface. With nothing left to do, Zorikh plunged into the cool water and came up a few yards from shore.

When Grendel had floated happily for a moment he said, "Why can't folk settle their differences with swimming contests? Chieftains would be named Odda the Otter or Horsa the Fish-Swift. I'll wager that once they got into the water, they'd forget their differences." He had swum out to the rock where Theodora was scrubbing, singing:

"Odda the Otter, giver of gifts
Greatest of chiefs of the swift swimming Saxons
That strong-armed stroker of raging rivers
Splashed the fish-swift Horsa's head!"

Then with a mighty stroke of both arms, Grendel sent a wave of water splashing over the unsuspecting Theodora, who screamed with surprise.

"Great hairy lout!" she laughed, diving in and splashing him back and flailing at him with Zorikh's damp tunic.

Zorikh tread water and watched as Theodora indulged herself in a short but spirited water fight with the legendary Grendel, the infamous scourge of Heorot. It was amusing to see the huge man fall back before Theodora's attack and finally cry for a truce, much like non-giant men do in water fights with women. Zorikh couldn't help but laugh. It comforted him for some reason that the let-the-gal-win-the-water fight rule still applied to gigantic legendary folks.

The laughter continued for a delicious carefree moment and for a short while Zorikh forgot that there were Frisians out there looking to kill them or that a local warlord and his warriors were bent on Grendel's destruction, or that somewhere a rogue Rifter was making unknown plans for unknown reasons. For the present, he felt only that he was an everyday sort of guy, swimming in a lake with a run-of-the-mill giant and an attractive naked woman. The feeling didn't last, of course, and soon the blessed denial melted away, and he was once again with Grendel from that dusty old poem and Theodora of the Mist.

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To the Home Page of Zorikh Lequidre
The comic that started it all!

All About Beards!
Beard Trimmers!

Saxon Tunic Making Guide
The "But I don't know how to make garb" guide to Norman Tunics
19th Century Children's Tunic
Bore on Boy's Tunics and Skirted Garments
Keeping a Sketchbook
Sketchbook Ideas
"Sketchbook" Webcomic
The Cyber Sketchbook
The Cartoon Sketchbook of an American WWII Fighter Pilot Killed in Action
The Sketchbook Company
Sketchbook Animation

White Swan Online Macrame & Beading Class
Whiote Swan (Mute Swan)
White SwanGallery
White Swan Music
White Swan Bed and Breakfast
White Swan Guest House
White Swan Hotel
White Swan Hotel, China
White Swan Inn
White Swan Tavern
White Swan Restaurant, Public Bar, and Hotel, Scotter, Nr. Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England
Tournament Company of the White Swan
White Swan Ministries
White Swan Auto Rental
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.

(Links coming soon)


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