Copyright © 2000
Robert G. Ferrell
So in cares of his times the son of Halfdead constantly brooded, nor
might any save a good meatloaf set aside his woe. He cast about him for a
way to escape his homeland and let others deal with the Royal tax auditors.
A thane of Egslacs, a fair man among the Geeks, read of the fame of
Rendall on the walls of the lav-hall; for a Geek he was pretty butch, and
not a bad hand with a pitchfork. He bade that a great punt be built for
him, wide of hull and flat of keel, so that he might pole his way to the
lands of the Dranes, where this slayer-of-furred things dwelt.
The wise among the Geeks urged him on, for he was the bravest of their
kind and smelled strongly of Brut; much offense did his kinsmen take at
his toilette. Of the best and bravest of the Geeks did he select his
war-band, strong of sinew but without skill in hygiene were they; warriors
all. One of them, sea-skilled, sought the land's edge, then long did they
search for their wooden haven. Not until they chanced upon a port did they
discover their goal, and loud were the jests at their expense from the
Men then did clamber onto the deck, bright armor shining in their minds,
but cast-off farm implements dangling from their wastrel limbs. Often did
they kiss the water's bosom from lack of basic seafaring skills. Yet did
the ocean's thanes take pity on them, and at last their puling forms
washed upon the shore of the Dranes.
A warrior, a man of lore, did meet them there, and sorely was he vexed
at their arrival.
"What are you, who come from the waves like so many grotesque
Their leader, a mighty Geekish warrior, did make answer for them.
"We come from Geekburg, and are vaguely attached to the house of Egslacs.
My father was a well-known guano merchant called by the name of Egshel, son of Baensprowt. He lived for
many seasons in Geekburg, then wandered off at a fair. We think he abides
in France now, selling corsets. But enough about us. We have come to see
the King of the Dranes, the Drane-Thane."
The border guard looked them over with humor and a certain nameless
"The Drane-lord speaks not to fishermen, but bids them bite the shields of
his enemies. Get you back to your doubtful homes, you smelly Geeks."
With that, the Dranish guard stomped off to his hall, paying no further
heed to the peeved Geeks.
"I am not pleased at this hospitality," said the Geek-thane, "Still, it
could have been worse...Let us not forget that Frankish lord with the rake
handles and pig fat."
"We were hoping you wouldn't mention that," replied his men, some of
whom were still sore.
Lost and still sea-ill did the Geekish band ply their way across the
lands of the Dranes until at last they came to a shining hall, whose
portals saw a steady stream of war-tried men, bravely striding. Boldly
did the Geeks enter that war-hall, and the Geek lord came soon before the
Dranish King, who was called Hearthrug. Then spoke the Geek, and a frog
did find lodgings within his voice-hall.
"Hail, Hearthrug," he squeaked, "I am Bagelwulf, kinsman to Egslacs, a
thane of the Geeks, and I have heard of the monster Rendall who darkens
your doorways and casts a murderous shadow over your lawn parties. Show
me this terror, that I and my Geek band may slay it, leaving the Drane
lands free of this fate."
Answer there came none for many minutes, for to a man the Drane host were
unable to speak. The hall echoed with laughter the like of which had not
been heard in many winters of boasting and mead-gifting. Indeed, there
had not been such a sound in that hall since Hearthrug was but a whelp,
and his brother Daekwede bit off his own finger while feasting.
Old Hearthrug tried to reply, but could not, and finally he gave the Geek
thane an encouraging clap on the back and pointed to a particularly dank
opening in a nearby cliff side. As the Geekish band trudged silently
toward their battle-date, Dranish mirth seemed to swell and fall behind
them like the tossing sea-foam. At last mighty Bagelwulf spoke.
"That went rather well, I think," he said, and peered into the hellish
darkness of the death-cavern.
What he saw therein gave new life to his bowels, and boldly Bagelwulf,
Thane of the Geeks, let slip his battle-whimper, for that is what Geeks do.