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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 35

the following chapter was found in a stone grain container hidden in a cave near the North Sea. It may be the continuation of the story of the Amazing Grendel Conspiracy, or it may be a hoax, or re-interpretation. Without confirmation by the author, it shall be considered "Apocrypha."

It was Theodora who finally brought them back to the business at hand. "You haven't yet agreed to come to Heorot," she said casually as she backstroked.

Grendel hesitated before answering.

"I… have duties here, Theodora," he began but was interrupted by a woman's voice.

"You seem to have pressing duties elsewhere, my son. Surely I can fend for myself, without your protection for a day or two. Or have you forgotten that I have lived for years without you to champion me?"

Standing at ease on the shore, close to where Zorikh had last seen the swan, was a woman. Sleek, slender and stunningly beautiful, her white-gold hair hung freely past the low shoulder-hem of her soft snow-white gown.

Smiling, Theodora swam to greet her with a wet hug. The woman in white didn't seem to mind a bit. "Fara! I was wondering when you'd turn up! How are you?" Despite Theodora's damp embrace, the woman was perfectly unruffled. Her hair and gown were still covergirl quality, and the only change in her was the appearance of flattering spots of blush on her fair cheeks.

Not wanting to miss meeting Grendel's mother, Zorikh, who had crouched neck-deep in the water ever since the strange woman's sudden appearance, now edged forward. Grendel met him at the shore and clapped him soundly on the shoulder.

"Mother, this is Zorikh. A companion of Theodora's and a friend to me. Zorikh, this is my mother Fara." Grendel inclined his head to the woman in white, who leaned forward and offered a perfect hand to Zorikh.

Zorikh hazarded to emerge to his waist, took her hand and said, "It's very nice to meet you my lady." Zorikh scratched his head and allowed himself to get a good long look at her. She wasn't merely beautiful, but inhumanly so. Zorikh had never seen anyone so perfect. So this was Grendel's legendary mother. "I must say I'm pleasantly surprised."

Grendel's mother raised one perfect eyebrow. "Surprised? Surely, Zorikh, you can't be surprised that Grendel has a mother?" Zorikh looked at the water's surface as if to think on this.

"Uh, well…I knew that Grendel had…has a mother, but I honestly didn't expect someone like you!"

Theodora fidgeted nervously, but Fara showed no sign of being pleased or insulted by Zorikh's words. Instead, the lady in white fixed Zorikh with an unblinking, slightly sideways stare and cocked her head curiously towards him. "And so you mean to say that you were expecting something?"

Zorikh didn't need to see Theodora's warning glance to say, "No, no. I was just not expecting someone as enchanting."

Fara smiled sweetly and bowed at his compliment. "What a nice thing to say," she said and to Zorikh's surprise, graced him with a soft kiss to his forehead. Then pulling a stray strand of silky white-gold hair from her face with a slender finger, she turned to Grendel and looked him squarely in the eyes as only a mother can. "And now, Grendel my son, I heard in my travels that you're being hunted by the men from Heorot."

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