Dark and Kalin

Author: Tonia

Date: April 30, 1998 -


Editor's Note: The numbering of the chapters is provided as originally presented. Chapters 8 and 9 don't appear to be missing- the action is continuous between Chapter 7 and Chapter 10, so it appears to have been an error in the numbering of the installments.

Chapter 1: Dark

Dark wasn’t just an ordinary Norn. With his brown body and spiky hair he looked ordinary, but he wasn’t. He was a guard Norn. It was his duty to protect the Norns from the vicious Grendels away. Dark was very proud of his position. He even got his own Grendel-zapper, a mysterious gun that released a white cloud that sent Grendels back into their treehouse homes.

Dark had no real family. When he was a baby (or so he was told, how could he remember that far?) the other Norns had just found him wandering around the incubator, cold and hungry. He was an orphan. A female Norn named Astrid adopted him. Astrid had had only one child, a baby boy named Kalin, and Dark and Kalin grew to be fast friends.

When Dark was a child, though, Astrid passed away. Dark and Kalin were taken under the wing of a kindly old Norn named Bilbo. Bilbo’s children were all dead, so Bilbo grew very close to Kalin and Dark. Bilbo was a retired Norn guard, so he tried to raise Kalin and Dark to be Norn guards as well.

Dark adored Bilbo’s teachings and he quickly adapted to being a Norn guard-in-training. Kalin, however, despised the new trade, and refused to take any part in it. Bilbo strictly ordered Kalin to practice fighting with Dark, but Kalin shouted back, “I won’t! I’m not going to become a guard; I hate fighting and I don’t think Grendels are all that bad!”

Bilbo finally realized that Kalin was not a fighting Norn. Kalin was a peacemaker. He could shatter arguments like snapping his fingers. He had never, in his entire life, hit another Norn, and Bilbo knew that Kalin would never make a good guard if he could not bring himself to stike an enemy. Despite their differences, Dark and Kalin remained close.

Time went by, and Dark and Kalin grew up. Dark became an experienced guard. Kalin became a gardener and he spent his days planting beeclaneeth seeds.

One day it was Dark’s turn to be lookout guard at the windmill. Dark took his trusty Grendel-zapper and set off. To his astonishment, somebody had left a hootch glass at the beehives. He shrugged. He would never drink hootch. Why, just the other day, Aries, the Norn leader, had held another “Anti-alcohol in Albia” campaign.

The day slowly lulled by. The cable car, which prevented the Norns and Grendels from meeting, stayed put. This was very important. If the Grendels got a hold of the car, they would reach the beehives and harm Norns.

As the day passed, Dark got incredibly thirsty. The honey did not help either. It just made him thirstier. Finally he slowly picked up the hootch.

Dark glanced around. He felt incredibly nervous. “What’s wrong with me?” he scolded himself. “It’s not like I’m addicted to it or anything. I’m just going to take a little bit! I shouldn’t be afraid of this! In fact, I could drink this whole cup if I wanted to!”

As if to prove that, Dark threw up the glass and gulped the hootch down in one swig. All of it.

Dark checked himself. The way Aries talked, you’d think his brain would be warped by now. Dark grinned stupidly and hiccuped. There was nothing wrong with this hootch. It was GREAT! He staggered a little as he walked onto the lift and went into the cellars to gather more.

Monica, a pretty female Norn, was at the cellars gathering cheese. “Hiya Monica,” said Dark, swaying to and fro as he tried to regain his balance.

“Dark,” Monica asked in shock. “Are you drunk?!”

“Ah’m not drunk,” Dark answered with a foolish grin. He staggered over to the hootch shelf and grabbed a glass. He glugged it down, talking between gulps. “Ah’m just firsty! So hot out today, doncha know…”

“Aren’t you supposed to be on guard duty?” Monica asked suspiciously.

“Nothin’s gonna happen. Nothin's been happnin. It’s a dull day out!”

Dark answered hoarsely as he groped for another hootch glass.

“Hey, I think you’ve had enough of that,” said Monica as she snatched the hootch away from him. “Dark, I’m surprised in you. You know better then to drink hootch.”

Dark glared at her. “Gimme that!”

“No. You’ve had enough.”

Dark smacked Monica hard and grabbed the glass. Monica got up and said something, but Dark wasn’t listening. He was already going back up the lift.

When he finally reached the windmill again, he was exhausted. He tried to stand for a moment, but then fell flat on his face in the mover and began snoring.The bees curiously circled the Norn guard, who had foolishly fallen asleep while on guard duty. One of the bees landed on Dark's nose. As Dark swatted it off, he accidently smacked the lever.

"Crank Crank" went the mover as it swayed gently from side to side. Dark was heading straight out of Norn territory and into the Grendel trees!

COMING SOON! In "Dark and Kalin Chapter 2: Kalin" meet Dark's friendly step-brother Kalin!

Chapter 2: Kalin

Kalin was looking proudly at his beeclaneeth plants. “Yep, they’re coming in real good this year,” he said happily. He glanced down at the tiny Norn girl, Marie, below him.

“Can I help too, Unkie Kaly?” asked Marie, excitedly tugging at Kalin’s leg. “Can I?”

‘Unkie Kaly.’ Kalin chuckled. “Oh, I suppose so, Marie. Just as long as your parents know you’re here,” he said. He knew if he said ‘no,’ Marie would only pester him until he did agree. She was very stubborn.

Kalin smiled as Marie ran towards the temple to ask her parents. Marie was a very cute little bald Norn. For some reason, she liked Kalin incredibly, and followed him around, calling him ‘Unkie Kaly.’ When Marie was missing, her parents always knew where to look—Kalin. Kalin turned back to his beeclaneeth plants.

A few minutes later Kalin got up and looked around. Marie sure was taking a while. He didn’t see her near the temple. “That’s strange,” thought Kalin suspiciously.

Kalin was getting very worried. He ran to the temple, and then he saw her. She was at the submarine bay.

“Marie! Stop!” he shouted. Marie turned around.

Kalin shook her. “Marie, it’s very dangerous here! This is Grendel territory!” he yelled. “You could be killed! Not even grown-ups like me are allowed past the temple—especially not into the submarine bay! You know that!”

Marie looked like she was about to cry. “But I just wanted to get my ball,” she said. Near the ocean bounced a red and white striped rubber ball.

“We’ll get you a new ball,” Kalin said quietly. “But don’t go back there again—promise?”

“I promise,” said Marie, sniffing.

Kalin turned around and walked right into his friend Monica. She looked annoyed. Her blond hair was ruffled, as if she had been in a fight, and she had a bruise on her cheek.

“Monica, what happened? I mean,” began Kalin.

Monica ignored him and said angrily, “Kalin, do you know what your brother is doing?”

“Dark?” asked Kalin. “He was supposed to be guarding the mover, I think.”

“Yes,” answered Monica dryly. “But I saw him in the cellars. He was drunk, Kalin!”

“Dark?” asked Kalin, his jaw dropping. He shook his head. “You must be mistaken,” he said. “He’d never drink hootch.”

“Well he was,” she shouted back. “And he gave me this!” She pointed to her cheek.

“What are you talking about?” Kalin exclaimed. “He get get in big trouble for this! He was supposed to be guarding the mover!”

“I know. But instead, he was wandering around in the cellars, getting more hootch!” Monica replied in a voice of steel.

Kalin frowned. “Aries could remove him from the guard force for this,” he said, stroking his chin. “That would break Dark’s heart. Being a guard was his pride and joy.”

“Hmmph!” exclaimed Monica. “He must have not thought much of it if he was going to sneak downstairs on the job!” But she no longer looked angry.

“Yeah, but you know Dark. He doesn’t really have that many friends. Being a guard Norn was the only thing he had!”

“He has you,” Monica said softly, taking Kalin’s hand into hers. He looked up, and she smiled slightly; a short, sad smile. Kalin didn’t say so, but even with her hair all ruffled up, and her face scratched, she was very beautiful. Her eyes were the greenest he had ever seen. Then Monica looked down, and Kalin abrupty dropped her hand, his face reddening.

“Maybe you should tell Bilbo to cover for him. You could take Dark home, and when he is sober, then Aries can make judgement.” Monica said.

Kalin nodded, eager to change the subject.

Monica turned around and walked away. Kalin felt himself staring at her. She did not look back. Kalin shook himself and went off to find Marie again.

Chapter 3: Grendels

Dark woke up feeling himself being prodded with a stick.

“Mmm,” he yawned. He opened his eyes. And screamed. A hideous green head was right in his face!

Dark backed away. The shock of seeing a Grendel for the first time quickly made him sober again.

The Grendel punched Dark in the stomach. “Silence,” he ordered.

Some more Grendels appeared. “Gruah! What dis?” one of them asked gruffly.

The first Grendel poked Dark again. “It looks like Nell,” it said.

A murmur aroused from the crowd. One of the Grendels peered at Dark closely. “One of her kind,” he grunted. “But thiz got different fur color. And thiz is a male.”

“Shap we oger take bibble she kind to illper Galywag, Angles?” an adolescent Grendel asked, half in English, half in Grendlish. Dark could not understand what he was saying, and then from the Grendel’s guestures he realized they wanted to take him to Galywag, whoever that was.

The first Grendel, Angles, shook his head. “We do that layter,” he growled as he smacked the teenager Grendel. “Galywag and Nell are bibble discussing the coconut shortage on the island. We talk ‘bout this new creature tonight.”

The Grendels whispered with each other for a moment in their native tongue. Then Angles, who seemed to be the best at talking in English, walked up to the Dark.

“You,” he grunted. “Who you be?”

“Uh, Dark,” said Dark, swallowing his fear. He didn’t want to show any weakness to the Grendels.

Angles smiled, and the other Grendels seemed to be nodding in agreement. “Dat good name,” said Angles. “Dark is a nice, evil name.”

The Grendels talked a little more in Grendlish. Finally, they seemed to reach some kind of agreement. All the Grendels left except for a large female, who seemed to be in charge of guarding Dark.

Once all of the other Grendels had left, the female turned around.

“Mee Dorris,” she said slowly and with a strange accent. “Me foo Dark.”

Suddenly, and without warning, Doris reached her green, bony arm into the cable car. Dark tried to back away, but Doris touched him. She forced something into his hand. It was a moldy piece of cheese.

Dark jerked his head back in disgust, but then he saw Doris staring at him. She had given the cheese to him as a gift. Dark knew he needed all the friends he could get.

“Thanks,” he said quietly, and he meant it.

Doris laughed. It sounded terrible; more like a bubbly gurgle then a laugh. “Eeeet, now,” Doris ordered. Dark cringed.

“Eat? Now? But I’m not hungry…” he started.

Doris threw her body into the cable car and shrieked, “Eeet! NOW!” She punched him twice before backing out.

Dark shuddered. Doris seemed to like him okay, but a Grendel was a Grendel, and she was very violent. Slowly Dark ate the moldy cheese, concentrating on not gagging.

Doris smiled. “Dark eat? Yess.” She said approvingly.

Kalin and Marie were riding on a raft towards the cellar to get Dark. For a while Marie was silent, but before long she began tugging on Kalin’s leg again.

“You like Monica, don’t you Unkie Kaly?” asked Marie.

Kalin looked down. “Huh?” he asked, surprised. His face started getting hot. “Well I—Um...”

“I like Monica, too,” Marie answered.

Kalin didn’t know what to say to that, so he just smiled.

They arrived at the cellar. Kalin and Marie went up the lift and walked over to the windmill. Suddenly, Kalin’s eyes got very big.

“What’s wrong, Unkie Kaly?” asked Marie innocently.

“Dark! He’s gone!” Kalin gasped. “And so is the cable car!”

“So?” said Marie indifferently as she followed a bee around. “Dat means he’s at the waterfall or the lighthouse.”

“No, it doesn’t,” Kalin said sharply. He looked towards the Grendel territory. “You don’t understand. It means that he is with the Grendels, and they have the cable car now.” He was so shocked, he felt like someone else. This hadn’t happened since he and Dark were little kids. It happened to a little baby named Calissa. She was never seen again. Now it was happening to someone he cared about.

Marie turned around. “But the cable car is always over there…” she said. She gasped, and her tiny hands covered her mouth. “It’s gone! The Grendels have unkie Derk!”

“I’m afraid they do,” Said Kalin slowly as he slowly realized the meaning of what was happening. He felt frozen, as if this was all a bad dream, and in a minute he would wake up and everything would be okay. For a horrible moment, he just stood there gaping.

Marie woke him out of it. “We hafta warn everbody,” she declared. “We hafta tell Aries that the Grendels kin come over here! Aries will know what to do!”

“You’re right!” Kalin said quickly. He bent down to look at Marie in the face. “Then I guess you know what we have to do?” he questioned.

Marie wasn’t even looking at him. She grabbed his hand as she shouted, “Come on Unkie Kaly! We gotta get Aries!”

Part 4

Dark spent a terrible night in the cable car. If he so much as tapped on the glass, Doris would start shrieking and punching at him. He soon found out that she was much smarter then she looked.

Once she switched guard duty with Angles. Angles was much more strong then Doris, but unlike Doris, he didn’t watch Dark all the time, and tended to be thinking of other things. Once, when Angles was looking at the moon, Dark tried pushing the cable car lever. Angles heard the noise and whipped around and punched him so hard, Dark did not try it again.

Dark was covered with bruises and his leg was badly cut. He gritted his teeth and pressed his hand on the wound to prevent it from bleeding. Thank goodness for that dumb First Aid class Bilbo made me take, he thought to himself wryly. Still, he knew that he had already lost a great deal of blood, and he was beginning to feel a little dizzy. Dark concentrated on staying awake.

Presently Doris returned and Angles left. Doris gave Dark a bit of old Morning Glory plant to help keep him awake. Dark looked at her, and she was snickering.

He decided he hated her.

Around midnight, the other Grendels returned. They spoke in Grendlish with Doris for a little while. Then Angles came over to Dark.

“Git up,” he said in a gruff voice. “We see Galywag now.”

Dark glared at Angles, and tried to stand up. To his dismay he found that he could barely stand. The Grendels spoke to each other, and then quickly formered a circle and shoved him in the middle of it. They nudged him along roughly.

Although they only walked a short while, it seemed an eternity. Then Dark saw a male Grendel, slightly larger then the rest, sitting underneath a clock. Galywag. The moon shone on Galywag’s face. It was so hideous that Dark couldn’t help but back up a little. Despite his grotesque look, he did have an air of royalty about him. He could be no other but the great and mighty Grendel king.

Somebody else was sitting next to the Grendel leader, but Dark couldn’t tell whom. Suddenly, Angles kicked Dark forward. “Speek to Galywag, Dark,” he ordered. The Grendels all backed away.

“Um, sir, I mean, er, Galywag… look, I didn’t mean to come here. You can keep the cable car. But would you please let me go?"

Galywag shouted, “Silence, Norn! Be still,” in perfect English.

Dark was taken aghast. Such good English! His accent was perfect. It might have just been because it was dark outside, but he could swear that Galywag had a smug look on his face.

Galywag laughed deeply, but his eyes were cold. “Surprised that I know English? Well, this is not the first time I have seen one of your kind,” he sneered. “You are quite an intruiging creature, Dark. I have waited a long time for this moment.” He paused. “I just hope you don’t interfere with my plans for Nell,” he contemplated.

“Who’s Nell?” asked Dark.

Galywag punched Dark until he fell over. “I will do the talking, Norn!” Galywag yelled. He was about to punch him again, but he stopped, his arm in midair.

“No, no, this will never do,” he murmered. He sounded disappointed, and almost regretful. He looked sheepishly at Dark and said, “Sometimes my, let’ s say, ‘violent natures’, get the best of me.”

“What do you want with me?!” demanded Dark. His face got hot and his head spun, both with rage and with nausua. He glared defiantly at the Grendel king and said, “Are you going to kill me?”

Galywag picked up an Albian Carrot Beetle that was scurrying about before answering. “If I wanted to kill you,” he said cruelly, “I would have already done it!”

And before Dark’s eyes, he bit off the head of the beetle, spewing blood out of it’s wiggling body. Dark stared at him in amazement. His eyelids began to feel heavy, and the room spun, fading.

“Bring the restraining cage, Angles!”

Then everything went black.

Part 5

Kalin still couldn’t believe what was happening. And little Marie had such a talent for leadership! She herself had scurried down the lift, leaving him standing there, and it was she who said It to Aries.

Aries heard the news and quickly decided what they must do. All the Norns came to the Garden where they held a quick meeting. Aries yelled out orders— “Bilbo, you guard the temple! John, I want you at the cable-car/lookout post! Zelda, you guard the entrance to the Shee City from the mines! The rest of you come with me. We have to organize a rescue mission for Dark.”

Now Kalin was watching as Aries handed out Grendel-zappers. Aries handed Kalin one.

Kalin put his hands up. “No, no, not me,” he protested. “I don’t like guns.”

“I didn’t ask you if you liked them, Kalin,” said Aries as he dropped it into Kalin’s arms.

“Shouldn’t you give it to one of the guards?” Monica asked. “Bilbo doesn’ t have a gun!”

Aries shook his head. “I know something about Grendels, and my instincts tell me that they aren’t going to leave their territory for a while, because they will be taking care of Dark.”

Gordan, a nasty old Norn spoke up. “I don’t agree with Aries!” he exclaimed. “What does he know about Grendels? He’s still an adolescent for goodness sake!”

“I’m a young leader but I am still the leader.” Aries said to Gordan. “My father was the leader before me and my father’s father was the leader, too. I inherited it, and I think that I have proved that I can rule you all properly, despite my age!”

Gordan refused to back away. “Listen to him speak! He is only a child! How does he know what to do?”

Aries didn’t say anything and he turned away, angrily. Monica felt sorry for Aries. He was the best leader they had had in a long time, but because of his age, nobody gave him any credit.

Gordan followed Aries. “Walkin’ away on me, eh? There was a time I could have been king—when your father’s father was chosen. Not picking me was the biggest mistake Norns could make.”

Monica glared at Gordan. Then she saw Kalin put his hand firmly on the old Norn’s shoulder. “Now is not the time,” he said, but with a harshness that Monica had never heard in Kalin. It made her want to put her arms around him and ask if he was alright. She knew he was worried about Dark.

Day came. Dark woke up to find himself in a cage. His leg was tightly bound with some sort of crude bandage. It had certainly swollen up. He tried moving it, and to his dismay found it hurt far too much. He looked around, but the Grendels were not near him. He could hear them talking rough English in the distance.

Then he heard a voice. “Foo agam org,” it said in Grendlish. But it was not a Grendel’s voice. It was high and soft, like a girls’ voice.

Dark tried turning around. “Huh?” he asked. “Who’s there—OW!” Pain shot through his leg like a rocket. Irritated, he lay back down. He felt too sick to do much else but lay there, anyway.

Then a girl Norn stepped in front of him. Her white hair was wild and wavy and looked like it hadn’t been combed in a year. She looked pretty strong, and her fur was tanned a little bit darker then a Norn of her color should be. She was holding a coconut and a bottle of milk. Curiously, she peered through the bars and hurled a coconut slice at his face.

“Thanks, I guess,” Dark muttered, peeling the oozing coconut off of his cheek.

“Yaya,” said the girl.

“Coconut,” corrected Dark crossly.

“Caca?” she asked.

“Coconut,” Dark replied, a little more clearly this time.

“Co-co-nut,” repeated the girl slowly.

Dark picked up the slice and sucked the juice out. It reminded him how thirsty he was.

“Could I have something to drink?” he asked hopefully.

The Norn looked confused. Then she pointed to Dark. “Dork,” she said.

“Dark,” he corrected.

“Nono,” the girl Norn said with a laugh. “Dork!”

“Dork?” Dark asked. Then he understood. “I’m not a dork!” He said with mock dignity. The two Norns laughed.

Then the girl Norn pointed to herself. “Nell.”

Suddenly, Dark remembered the story about the Norn baby, Calissa, who had been captured by the Grendels when she accidently got on the cable car. Aries’ father, Jalin, had been the leader then. He had talked with the Grendels, but they refused to free Calissa.

Dark had only been a little baby himself. He could barely remember Astrid talking about it. Now this strange adolescent Norn that lived with the Grendels—Calissa?

“You’re Calissa,” Dark said slowly, clutching the bars on the cage.

Suddenly the Norn’s smile faded away. She gave him a funny look, and her lips quivered, as if she was about to say something but decided not to. Nell turned away. Dark looked at her curiously. She glared, not at anything in particular, but as if she was remembering something sad or painful. Then she sighed, and the angry look intensified on her face.

“Aren’t you,” Dark asked softly.

Nell snapped out of it. “NONO!!!” she screamed, throwing the bottle of milk at his face. “Nell here!” She glared at him, then ran away into the trees. Dark watched her go, milk trinkling into his brown, spiky hair. He was surprised to find that he was not angry. Instead, he felt sorry for the strange Norn, whoever she was. Dark sighed and whiped some of the milk out of his hair.

Chapter 6: Plans of Trade

That night, Aries and some other Norns talked with the Grendels. “Will you please let Dark go?” Aries was asking. He held up some lemons and carrots. “We will give you this food,” he said, “If you free Dark.”

The Grendels laughed. Angles said in rough English, “No. We keep Dark for the Nell.”

Aries looked surprised. “Who is Nell?”

“Nell brown.” Angles pointed to Kalin. “Like him.”

“Calissa?” asked Bilbo in surprise.

“Who?” asked Kalin.

“That little Norn baby that got captured. You were living with your mother, then. Remember???”

“Oh! I thought she would be dead by now!” Kalin gasped.

Aries looked puzzled. “Huh? I never heard of this ‘Calissa.’”

“Oh, of course you wouldn’t know,” Bilbo said, turning around. “You weren’t born yet. You see, one day a Norn baby was at the beehives. Her father was the lookout guard. He let her into the mover, and it started. Before he could stop the mover she was it was too late. Her father called her, but she didn’t know how to work the mover. She ended up with the Grendels. Your father Jalin tried to get her back but it was far too late. Her name was Calissa. Nobody has ever seen her again.”

Angles punched Bilbo and the old Norn fell over. “Nell is staying HERE!” he shouted, his eyes red with rage.

Aries grabbed the Grendel’s arm before he could strike again. The Grendel was strong, but Aries was stronger. Angles tried to shove Aries off or twist his arm away, but to his shock he could not. Leadernorns were very strong, and Angles couldn’t punch the Norn because it was against regulations. Aries firmly held the Angles’ arm for a few moments, then suddenly let go.

“We came here to talk in peace,” Aries said gently but firmly. “There will be no fighting.”

Monica helped Bilbo up. “You know,” she said through clenched teeth to the Grendel. “You have a lot of nerve, pushing a Norn down like that at a peace meeting!”

Angles laughed terribly. A wicked, cold laugh. “I don’t care ‘bout that feeble old Norn. But Dark will make a good Grendel. We won’t trade for stupid plants. Grendels not need plant. Dey eat coconut. Coconuts are good.”

Aries shrugged. “Okay. What do you say about these?”

Aries held up a bunch of toys. A ball, a jack-in-the-box, a Norn doll and a spinning top.

Doris groaned. “Dum ‘Norn’ spend all time play,” she sneered. “Grendels smart. Not play like foolish Norn. Work survive. Grendels bibble thinking about how to kill Norn while Norn bibble playing. Norn not live long.” She prophesised.

“Hey!” exclaimed Monica.

Aries glared at Doris. “We are not ‘bibble’ playing all day,” he said. “We have to work, too. Is there anything we can get you that will make you free Dark?”

The Grendels all shook their heads and grinned their yellow teeth.

Angles stepped up. “We don’t want your junk,” he said. “Dark will make a good Grendel. Dark belongs here. Even his name sound evil.” He hissed. “What are you talking about?” Kalin demanded.

“You stoopid Norn,” Angles went on. “You didn’t think that Dark is not Norn like you, huh?”

“What are you talking about?” Kalin insisted. “I know he’s not my REAL brother!”

Monica looked worried. Kalin was glaring something terrible at the Grendels.

“You know, Kalin, maybe we oughta go,” she whispered as she tugged at his arm.

“Come on, Kalin,” Aries said. “We’ll find another way.”

“but, but,” sputtered Kalin.

“Come on,” Bilbo said to Kalin. He put his arm on Kalin’s shoulder. “Aries is right.”

“Very well,” sighed Kalin, and the Norns picked up their belongings and slowly walked away.

Kalin let Monica and Bilbo guide him to the lift to leave. But he did not stop looking at Angles, who’s eyes seemed to flash in the moonlight.


That morning, Dark woke up. His leg hurt and his head was still a little dizzy but he was feeling better. Nell was sitting beside the cage. “Oh, hi,” said Dark. He winced with pain as he tried to move.

Nell watched Dark without saying a word. She threw a coconut slice through the bars. It was supposed to be a guessture of kindness, although it didn’t work out very well for Dark. “Ow!” he exclaimed as it smacked his head.

“Ooh agam takium, Darkognim pah,” she said finally.

Dark shrugged to show her he didn’t understand. “I don’t speak Grendlish, Calissa.” he explained.

“Me Nell,” shouted Nell. Then she swung her arm and socked Dark in the jaw.

Dark’s jaw throbbed with pain. “I know,” he said. “You Nell. Uh-huh,” he agreed. “Man, you have a temper,” he added crossly.

Nell smiled.

Then she socked him again.

Suddenly, she stiffened. “Galywag agum!” she declared in the deep Grendel language.

Dark looked up. Sure enough, the Galywag was marching up to his cage, surrounded by a bunch of other Grendels including Doris and Angles.

Galywag and Nell rambled on in Grendlish. Dark struggled to understand, but he had fallen asleep during most of his high school classes on how to speak Grendlish. He could only make out a few words. Galywag’s expression constantly changed, so it was impossible to know what he was thinking. Nell raised an eyebrow once or twice during the conversation, but otherwise she just looked bored.

Finally Galywag walked over to the cage, yelling out orders. “You there! You guard the mover! Doris, move your fat hide and take care of the western lift! Angles, Bashm, I want you two to make sure that the submarine and boat to not go to the island. Sally and Trent, you guys get your sorry little selves over here and release this creature!” When the Grendels did not respond, Galywag shouted in Grendlish.

Two lazy looking Grendels sheepishly woke up from a nap and trotted over to the restraining cage, and Galywag’s stern watch. Nell stood close by, and she looked amused at all that was going on. Dark held his breath as Sally and Trent pushed the special lever that freed him from the cage. It worked, and he soon found himself standing on the ground.

“Why are you letting me go?” Dark said, his heart pounding. He look surprised, and, although he didn’t know it, defiant.

“I’m not,” said Galywag crossly.

Dark looked around for a moment, and hesitated. Then he bit his lip, turned, and ran. He ran as fast as he possibly could. Where he was running, he didn’t really know. If he could make it to the cable car, just maybe he could get on it…. But when he reached the cable car he saw that Doris was guarding it, smiling her idiotic smile. She held out her arms, to push him away.

Dark felt rage growing up inside of him. He let all of this rage go toward his arm, and he punched her in the jaw. As soon as he did so, relief flooded through him.

“Gruah!” Doris cried out in pain and anger. Just then Dark heard footsteps and turned around to see Galywag behind him.

“That was very good, Dark. Very, very good.” Galywag said. He sounded impressed.

Dark turned around to look at Doris, who was nursing her jaw and cursing him in Grendlish. Dark was surprised to see that she was actually hurt. Norns were usually not very strong, and could certainly not inflict very much damage. But Doris’ face was bruised and a small amount of blood was beginning to show around her lips. Dark gazed at his arm in shock. What had he done? He had never known he had such a capebility. But in spite of himself, Dark secretly felt pleased.

“Didn’t know you could do that, did you, Norn?” Galywag asked.

“No,” said Dark, still in disbelief. “I-I didn’t know that,”

“Welcome to the Grendel Trees, Dark.”

Chapter 7: Speak a li’l Nornish, will ya?

Kalin was napping in the middle of the day, the sun incredibly warm on his back. Kalin murmered in his sleep, “Well, I’d love to, but first I need to plant some carrot seeds, you see, and then the lemons need to be…zzzzzzzz…” Monica laughed. She was leaning against the building. She poked him and said, “Kalin, wake up!”

“ZzzzzSNK! Wha?” Kalin murmered as he slowly woke up. “Oh, hi Monica,” he said with a grin as he rubbed his eyes. He yawned and exclaimed, “Hey, what—is it noon already? I should have been working hours ago!”

“You sure do love to plant,” Monica noted. “You even dream about planting.”

“How did you know?” Kalin asked, surprised.

“You were sleeptalking again,” Monica informed him.

“I hate it when I do that,” Kalin grimaced. “I never know what I might say.”

“Nothing important,” Monica assured him. She grinned. “But you may as well get used to it—you’ve sleeptalk every single night.”

“And then when I wake up, I don’t even remember what I was dreaming about,” sighed Kalin.

“I always remember my dreams,” said Monica.

“Oh,” said Kalin. He sighed again.

“What’s wrong?” Monica asked.

“I can’t stop thinking about Dark,” Kalin said. “I try not to worry about it, but…”

“I thought you liked Grendels,” Monica said.

“I don’t like Grendels. I just don’t think that everybody should hate them and be so freaked about them. But I’m still worried about Dark. And what that Grendel said about him being evil! Dark may have an awful temper, but he’s nowhere near being evil.”

“Why did your mother name him Dark, anyway? It sounds so…cold.”

“You know,” Kalin said thoughtfully. “I don’t know.”

“Well, try and remember. Oh, my, I have to go! I hafta get to the waterfall and teach some little kids some stuff about the Shee.”

“Well, see you later,” Kalin said, waving.

“Bye Kalin!” Monica replied, flashing him her bright smile as she walked away.


For the rest of the day, Kalin pulled carrots out of the garden. When he saw that there was an overpopulation of Beeclaneeth plants, he picked the caterpillars out of the house and put them on the plants, where they began eating. Satisfied, he went into the house to finish reading his book.

Kalin pulled out his purple book and rested against the incubater. Suddenly, an Albian Carrot Beetle scurried across the floor, bouncing into Kalin and making him loose his page. When it saw Kalin’s annoyed look, it screamed and ran underneath the incubater.

“Now look what you made me do!” Kalin exclaimed. He smiled at the sight of the beetle and reached under the incubater to grab it. Man, nothing like kickin’ around the ole Albian Carrot Beetle on a sunny day. Kalin’s smile faded when he felt what he had grabbed—a green piece of egg shell.

“What’s that, Unkie Kaly?” asked a familier voice.

Kalin turned around. “Oh, hi Marie…. I didn’t hear you come in.” He turned back to the green speckled shell. “Some kind of egg,” he said, scratching his head. “But something about it seems… familier.”

He looked at it more closely. Somebody had scratched a letter onto the shell, but he couldn’t tell if it was a ‘D’ ‘O’ or ‘C’. There was something else, too, but it had faded too much to make out.”

“It’s just a green egg,” Marie said. “What’s so neat about dat?”

Kalin shrugged and put it on the table. He had a feeling he might want to look at it more closely, later.


Dark contemplated what had happened to him that morning. After getting over the surprise at what he had done to Doris, he longed for the chance to test his new found ability. He knew it was a savage, horrible thing to want to do, and he told himself that he had only punched Doris as a last result, and he didn’t want to have to fight anybody. But deep down inside, he knew that a part of him had enjoyed it, and if he got the chance, he would do it again without a second thought.


Nell pushed some leaves aside so she could walk through them. She was holding half of a juicy coconut; the island fruit that she had come to know and love. Then she saw Sally the Grendel waving at her. She was about to wave back when she stumbled over Dark, who was sitting quietly by himself. She tried to regain her balance and fell right on top of him.

“Gruah!” she exclaimed, and Dark said, “Ouch!” He turned around, rubbing his head and glaring. Nell climbed off and apologized in Grendlish. He just looked even more irritated.

Nell was beginning to feel exasperated herself. Who did this dumb guy think he was? She had done it on accident, and she had apologized, besides.

Dark said something in English, which was a language Nell was not familier with. The Grendels had only spoke it around Norns, and since this was the first Norn they had been around in years, Nell hadn’t heard the language enough to remember it. From Dark’s tone of voice, though, she could tell he was saying a rude remark.

Nell frowned and swore loudly in Grendlish.

Dark looked apologetic, and he said something in English. Nell blinked. Dark sighed and murmered something to himself in yet another language. But this language had a familier tingle to it. Nell felt like she had heard it every day of her life, and at the same time, never before. She struggled to remember where she had heard it.

Dark must have seen the look on her face because he got up and repeated it, more slowly. Nell concentrated as hard as she could. Somewhere, something deep within her was recognizing that sentence.

Nothing. Nell simply could not remember. “Maybe I’ve never even heard it before,” she thought to herself. “Maybe I just think it’s familier.”

Feeling extremely frustrated, she sat down and scowled. Her head hurt from concentrating.

Dark sighed and muttered something else in the new language. This time, Nell wasn’t even listening. But suddenly the words sorted themselves out and his sentence was crystal clear to her. Dark had said, “Oh, I was hoping you would understand Nornish.”

Nell jumped up. She glanced at Dark, mouth wide open. He looked at her curiously and shrugged. But Nell was sure she had heard that language now. If she could listen in it, could she speak in it?

Nell closed her eyes, concentrating on what to say.

“Me am ga lorcum Nornish, Dark,” she said.

Dark raised an eyebrow. “What did you just say?” he persisted.

“I said, ‘I can speak in Nornish, Dark,’” Nell repeated.


That evening, Kalin showed Monica the egg shell. The two sat in front of the fireplace, and Monica tilted it so the light of the fire spread over the surface of the egg.

“This letter looks like somebody deliberately scratched it in,” she said at last. “But why would somebody want to label an egg? If you touch them too much, they go into hibernation.”

“I know,” agreed Kalin. “It’s strange.” He coughed.

“You okay?” Monica asked, genuinly concerned.

“Yeah, just tired,” Kalin said.

“Yeah, I can tell,” Monica said sourly. “You look like hell.”

“I feel like hell,” Kalin said jokingly.

“You ought to get some sleep,” Monica said seriously. “You’ve been working too hard lately.” She got up. “I’m beat. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Yeah, Aries is holding a meeting by the beehives at noon.”

“Sure. At the beehives at noon, sharp.”

“Great! See you then, Monica. ‘Night.”

Chapter 10: Tension!

Monica waited impatiently next to them beehives, tapping her foot. “Gosh, I wonder what is taking Kalin so long,” she muttered. She picked up a jar of honey and stared at it for a minute, wondering if she wanted to eat it or not.

Aries, who was at the juke box hangin’ with the other Norns, laughed. “You and Kalin have a thing going or what?”

“He’s my friend,” said Monica indignantly.

“Whatever you say,” said Aries. Then he burst out laughing.

“What’s so funny?!” Monica said angrily. But he did not get to reply, because suddenly Aries’ girlfriend Zoe appeared.

“Hi,” said Zoe cheerfully to Aries.

‘Zoe is punky looking, but she’s pretty,’ Monica mused to herself. Zoe had the face and slim body of a Horse Norn but her arms and legs were that of a Forest Norn. It was whispered that she had been born with the power of prophesy, but of course Monica did not believe that.

The prophet Norns had become less and less common until they dwindled into a legend. Now there had been no prophets for generations. Some, like Kalin, didn’t believe in prophets. Some, like Aries, did. And some, like Monica, didn’t know what to think anymore. But she decided it was in her best interest to ignore the rumors about Zoe.

“Zoe!” exclaimed Aries happily. “Come and meet Monica! She’s an old friend,” he explained.

“Hi, nice t’meet ya,” said Zoe, thrusting out a hand. Monica shook it, and found that her arm was bore three green bands. Monica stared at it.

“What?!” said Zoe suspiciously, yanking her hand away.

“I’m sorry,” said Monica politely. “It’s just that since you have not two green bands but three…. It’s very unusual. It’s the sign of a… a Norn prophetess.”

“I know what you’re thinking, so don’t ask,” said Zoe curtly.

Monica felt she had offended the Norn, somehow, so she said hastily, “Oh, I didn’t mean to assume… I mean, I’m sorry, I—“

“It’s okay,” said Zoe kindly. “I guess I did sound a little frosty. I just don’t like it when people keep asking me questions.”

Suddenly, the chugging of the lift told them that Kalin and Bilbo had arrived. The rims around their eyes informed them that they hadn’t got much sleep.

“So, I guess everyone’s here?” asked Aries.

“Yeah,” said Kalin groggily. He rubbed his eyes and then blinked several times, as if he were just waking up.

“Um, shall we begin?” asked Crystal, Marie’s mother.

“Yeah, I guess so,” said Aries. He looked at the crowd of Norns staring at him and felt as if butterflies were in his stomach. He had been the leadernorn for a long time now, but he still couldn’t get used to making speeches. A little nervously, he cleared his throat and began.

“As you all know, we’re hear to discuss what should be done about Dark,” he told the crowd. “And I want you to feel free to express your opinions, even if you think they are dumb…”

“I’ll tell y’all MY opinions,” snarled Gordan. “Who put that young’un Aries in charge of this rescue committee?”

“Mr. Everglade, please restrain yourself…” said Aries politely but firmly. “Hmmph,” muttered Gordan. “I think that’s what we’ve been doin’ wrong all this time now. The Grendels have been strutting around as if they owned the place. Sure, it started out with ‘em just stealing a carrot or two here an’ there, but then they started going TOO FAR.”

Gordan looked at the Norns staring at him and smiled slyly. “The big, ugly brutes started stealing Norns, that's what. Yeah, sure, they stopped doin’ that so much after th’ Big War, but NOW look. They’re at it again. First that little kid… whats her name… Calissa, and now Dark! We gotta DO something, I’m telling ya.”

“My gosh, he’s right,” said Treeton, Marie’s father.

“What do you think we should do?” asked another Norn.

Gordan frowned. “I think,” he sputtered. “That we gotta show them Grendels who’s boss!! I say, we all get together and attack the trees! We can rescue Dark and show those Grendels a thing or two! I mean, who do they think they are?! The Shee?!”

The Norns cheered. “Yeah, Gordan! Yeah!”

“Mr. Everglade,” said Aries plaintively, “I respect your opinion, but it’s not very well-thought. We Norns don’t know much about fighting, and the Grendels have an immediate advantage. Back when you fought in the Big War you had the Hand to guide you. We don’t have that anymore.”

“Well ain’t that special,” sneered Gordan. “A sissy-Norn. Pah! You don’t have any faith in your people!”

“I do too have faith!” objected Aries, standing up. “I just don’t think we’ re ready to fight!”

A murmer rose from the crowd. “Fight! Fight!” some of the Norns began to shout.

Then Kalin pushed his way into the crowd to stand by his friend. “Aries is right,” Kalin shouted, to be heard over the voices. “If we’re going to rescue Dark, we have to do it by other means. And think about it. We don’t really want to have another Big War, do we? This is the kind of thinking that started it. And look what we got from it! Half the Norn population dead, the remaining prophet Norns fleeing, and the Hand mysteriously vanishing. Do we really want that again?”

The Norns settled down. Silently, they all drew back.

“All right, Aries, you win,” said Gordan. “But mark my words, you haven’t heard the end of this.”

“I assure you, we haven’t,” said Aries, clenching his fists and narrowing his eyes.


Dark and Nell spent a long afternoon chatting about their different lives. Nell told him about growing up with the Grendels, and Dark told her about being a Norn guard.

A sea of homesickness went over him when Dark told her about Kalin, and Bilbo, and Monica and Aries.

“You really want to go back, don’t you?” Nell asked.

“Nell, I don’t belong here,” Dark sighed. “I’m just waiting for Aries and the other Norns to think of something.”

“You can belong here,” coaxed Nell. “Galywag told me about when you punched Doris. You enjoyed it, didn’t you?”

“No!” snapped Dark, a little too quickly.

“You did,” acknowledged Nell.

“No, I didn’t,” protested Dark.

“Yes, you did!” Nell said. “You enjoyed it, Dark! And you want to do it again!”

“No!” shouted Dark. He jumped up.

“You can’t help it!” snapped Nell.

“What is that supposed to mean?” sputtered Dark. “I don’t suppose you go around thinking evil things, now do you?”

“I wouldn’t call them ‘evil,’” said Nell tensely, “If I were you. All Grendels have a instinct to kill, harm, distroy, whatever. Even I have it.”

“But we’re not Grendels!” wailed Dark.

“Oh for crying out loud, will you quit whining?!” yelled Nell. She ripped a loose piece of wood off of a branch and threw it at him. It hit the ground with a clatter. “How am I ever going to finish talking if you keep interrupting me?!”

Dark froze with surprise.

“I hate you,” said Nell. She looked like it, too.

“Now why in the world do you hate me just because I was stating the obvious?” said Dark indignantly.

“Of course we’re not Grendels, you idiot,” Nell muttered. “But after being around Grendels for all my life, well, I sort of act like one. As for you… well…”

“Well?!” snapped Dark.

“I can’t say,” said Nell, lowering her eyes.

“What do you mean you can’t say?!” shouted Dark.

“I CAN’T SAY.” She said it so ferociously that Dark decided not to ask her again.

“You really are a Grendel, aren’t you?” he said angrily. He felt betrayed, somehow, even though he had expected her to act something like this.

“I’m sorry, Dark,” said Nell quietly, and for the first time, she actually sounded like a Norn. "I really am." Tears glistened in her eyes. Dark was able to see past the Grendel Nell to see a very tired, very abused Calissa.

Then, a sort of connection came between them. They were both Norns trapped in a Grendel world… Dark by force, Nell by her past. Nell sensed it, too. Neither of them spoke, for fear of destroying this bond they had just created.

Dark looked at Nell. For the first time, he noticed how beautiful her eyes were. They were a darker violet then most Fox Norn eyes, and they shone like stones. Nell was unlike any other female Norn he had ever met. And, he liked her more then any other female Norn he had met. He felt himself edge a little closer. Nell didn't move away. Gently, he kissed her. And his heart filled with longing. Longing to let himself love Nell and longing for Nell to love him back. But he couldn’t ask her to betray her Grendel life to follow him. The fleeting idea of a life with her quickly disappeared. It was a stupid, false hope.

Nell hesitated, as if she were weighing a large decision. “Dark, maybe it’s better if we don’t see each other anymore,” she sniffled, turning around so she wouldn’t have to face him.

“I understand,” said Dark quietly.

Nell glanced at him for a minute, then ran away. She looked sad, Dark thought.

Chapter 11: The Fight at the Island

Time passed by slowly. Dark kept his eyes out open, always looking for a chance to escape. But no.

In the meantime, Dark began to feel more and more comfortable around the Grendels, and even chatted some in Grendlish, which he was learning more of each day. But he and Nell avoided each other.

One night, though, something was different. It was a full moon, and all the Grendels were anticipating something. Dark could feel the tension. Then, slowly and wordlessly, they all went down the lift and got onto the boat. Dark followed. Whatever was about to happen, it was important. Even Nell was there.

At last the boat paddled over to the shore. The Grendels all got out, including Galywag.

“Oogam Offum Gruah,” he said. ‘Time to fight.’

“Yar,” the Grendels agreed.

Doris kicked Dark in the shin. “Yar,” he said quickly.

All the Grendels stood quietly while the leader looked around them.

“What’s happening?” Dark whispered.

“Shut up!” said Doris in Grendlish. (That was one of the first things Dark learned in Grendlish.)

Nell shoved aside some Grendels to stand by Dark. “He’s picking out two Grendels to fight,” she whispered. “So far, Angles is the best fighter. Besides Galywag, I mean.”

“Oh,” said Dark.

Suddenly, Galywag stopped. “Dark and Angles,” he said.

“Me?!” croaked Dark. Doris grinned and pushed him ahead. Dark gulped and walked over to where Angles was standing confidently.

“Do, um, we get any weapons or anything?” asked Dark.

“No,” said Galywag.

“In the name of Shee!” swore Dark.

“Begin!” shouted Galywag.

Angles began walking closer to Dark, his red eyes flashing. Dark quickly calculated that Angles was bigger, stronger, and more experienced in this sort of thing then he was, and he should be dead in about… oh, about five minutes?

Dark took a step back. What should he do? What COULD he do? Try to punch him?

Dark licked his lips, and quickly jumped up and punched Angles in the arm. Angles didn’t even flinch. He grinned wildly. Oh, how he was enjoying this! Then, so quickly that Dark didn’t even see it coming, Angles punched him so hard he fell backwards.

“Ow!” he exclaimed. He jumped back up again, his face red. Angles laughed shrewdly and his arm shot out. Before Dark knew it, Angles was holding him up in the air! Seething with anger, Dark pounded the Grendel’s head.

Angles ignored the pounding and threw Dark against the coconut tree, laughing. The Grendels cheered.

Dark got back up again. Almost maddened with rage, he raced over to the Grendel and punched him. Angles wasn’t laughing now. “Gruah!” he exclaimed. He picked up Dark, hoisted him up into the air, and began to squeeze his neck.

Dark wriggled and squirmed but he couldn’t move. Angles only choked tighter. Coughing and gasping, Dark kicked the Grendel in the arm, knocking it to the right. Angles dropped him, only to grab him again by the leg. Dark swung quickly up and bit the Grendel’s hand.

Angles cried out and dropped Dark to the ground. “Gruah!” Dark cried out in pain. He was exhausted. But Angles looked like he could fight for quite a bit longer.

Suddenly, Dark had an idea. He jumped onto the coconut tree and shinnied up the trunk. When he reached the top he threw a coconut down onto the Grendel’ s head. Angles shouted, and then Dark threw another. And another. Then he jumped down from the tree and landed right on the Grendel’s head!

“Gruah!” exclaimed Angles. He tried to force the Norn off, but Dark held on as if his life depended on it. (His life DID depend on it.) In spite of himself, he was enjoying himself tremendously.

Suddenly, just as Dark had hoped he would, the Grendel fell backwards onto the paddle boat. It paddled backward. Dark scrambled up, praying that Angles wouldn’t try to throw him overboard.

Angles, his eyes redder then ever, punched Dark on the head. Dark whiped blood from his head and punched back, but he missed. The Grendel grinned and punched again.

Dark groaned. He jumped off of the boat and got onto the lift. Angles followed anxiously. Dark dodged when Angles tried to punch him again, smacking the lift button.

Frustrated, the Grendel tried again. His aim was true and knocked the exhausted Norn over, laughing. But Dark was not to be defeated. He reached over the side of the lift and grabbed a piece of Death Cap Mushroom. Then, quickly, he shoved the poison into the Grendels mouth, just before he passed out.

Angles didn’t seem to realize what had happened until he had already swallowed it. “Gruah!” he exclaimed. He looked around anxiously, and saw that a piece of the mushroom was missing—and he realized what he had swallowed.

By then, the other Grendels had arrived. Nell gasped. It was a pathetic sight. Dark was on the ground, pale as death. Angles was choking and vomiting onto the floor, his skin a very unhealthy green. Then he fell over, still choking, while other the Grendels started at him. He clutched at Nell. “Help me,” he pleaded.

Nell shook her head. “You killed him,” she hissed, shoving him back down. Then Angles fell over, unconcious.

Suddenly, Dark opened his eyes. “Is he dead yet?” he asked.

The Grendels cheered.


The following morning, Dark was sitting at the island, watching the surf spray onto the sand and recalling the events that had occurred that night. He burned with shame when he thought of how he had acted. A part of him justified his events, saying that he had fought only because he had to. But deep down inside, he knew he had enjoyed the thrill of the fight.

With a gentle paddling of the boat, Galywag joined him. “Dark, you fought very well last night.”

Dark glared and threw a pebble into the ocean. “I never want to have to do that again.”

“Do you?” asked Galywag. He pulled on Dark’s shoulders a little, forcing him to look him in eye. Galywag’s eyes seemed to pierce him, looking through him. Dark dropped his gaze. Galywag knew. He knew he had enjoyed it.

“Do you know why the Grendels had you fight Angles versus someone else?” asked Galywag.

“They were testing me,” said Dark bitterly. “But for what, I have no idea.”

“That’s what I’m telling you right now,” said Galywag, sighing deeply. The Grendel sat down and dipped his feet into the water. “Sit down, Dark, because this might take me a long time to explain.”

“I was born before the Big War," the Grendel began. "You’ve heard about that, haven’t you? Well, of course… Before the war Grendels and Norns shared the same areas, but afterwards Albia was split up into territories. During the war the Norn population dwindled to almost nothing, and the Grendels didn’t fare much better.

“Well, anyway, by the time war struck out I wasn’t quite nearly old enough to fight. But I was determined to do SOMETHING, and as I WAS the Grendel prince, the commander in chief dumped me on this island to care for the Norn hostages.

“The war lasted for a long time, and it got very boring guarding the Norn hostages. Every now and then somebody important would come down to question the Norns, but most of the time I was by myself with them. At first nobody really said anything, but after a little while I tried to talk with the Norns. That’s how bored I was.

“Most of the Norns hated Grendels and just shouted things like, ‘Leave me alone, demon!’ or, ‘your savagery will be your destruction, Grendel.’ But Lily, now, she was different. She was a very nice Norn, and when I started talking to the hostages she asked me what my name was and what I did and all that kind of stuff.

“Well, me and Lily started to talk a lot. In fact, we even left the other hostages in the catacombs just so we could sit in the sea-viewing glass dome and talk in private. If you haven’t already started guessing, we were by then deeply in love.

“Well, time passed pretty quickly, and the next thing I knew a treaty had been written and the few Norn hostages left were being shipped back to the new Norn boundaries. But Lily and I didn’t want to part. I asked my superiors if perhaps we could keep her with us. They said, ‘no,’ it was out of the question.

“But Lily and I pleaded and coaxed and finally they said she could stay temporarily. Lily, you see, was a good nurse, and now that Albian Jungle Disease had broken out, they would need her. They said she had to go as soon as things were under control, but she stayed for much longer. In the meantime, we fell even more in love and we married.

“It sounds kind of sick, doesn’t it? A Grendel marrying a Norn. It’s just not right. It’s like evil joining good. But we were too in love to care. Then we decided to have a child. Lily was unable to have children. That’s where Grendel Knowledge of Genetics comes in.

“Way back in the old, old days, when the Shee lived in the Shee City, they had a very superior and advanced knowledge of genetics. In secret, we Grendels learned that from them and passed it down from generation to generation. At first we only understood some of the basic concepts, but through each generation we improved our skill. We even kidnapped Norns to experiment on them. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Anyway, I used that knowledge to make a child for us. A Grenorn, if you will.

“But after awhile, Lily began to get restless and said she wanted to go back to the Norns, just for a visit. So I said good-bye to her, and she said she’d be back in a couple of days. But she never returned, and to this day, I do not know what happened.

“As for the egg? Lily left it with me, and it disappeared shortly after our parting. I thought somehow it had slipped into the ocean, because I could see a little bit of shell under some wood deep beneath the water. I told myself I wouldn’t have wanted to raise it without Lily, anyhow, even though I knew that wasn’t true.”

“Time went by, and I got over Lily and the egg. Being the heir of the Grendel throne, when my father got too old to rule, I became the king. I never married and I grew very old, much older then your Bilbo. That meant it was time for the crown prince or princess to step up and take the throne. But I had no heirs, right?

“Then I found out that Lily’s egg had never fallen into the ocean as I had at first thought! The baby had hatched and had been raised by Norns, totally oblivious to the fact that it was half normal Norn, half Grendel royalty.

The day would come when it would return to take it's rightful crown.”

"You mean...." began Dark, his eyes widening.

Galywag turned around suddenly and jumped up. He exclaimed majestically, “That Norn is YOU, Dark! You are the prince of the entire Grendel nation, and we have kept you so you may be crowned King!”

Part 10

Welcome To My Cool Web Site

Part 11

Welcome To My Cool Web Site