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Here, let me tell you of the time Hrothgar, king of Denmark, built a hall in his castle. When it was complete, he named it Heorot. Heorot was a hall where the people in the palace ate supper and then slept when it was time for bed. Nearby there lived a beast who lurked in the dark. He was called Grendel, and was grand and gruesome.

Grendel abhorred Heorot no one knows why ; one night he went to the hall, broke through a wall, and found many men to feast on. Grendel growled ferocious and loud, and his red eyes glared in the dark. The noise awoke all who slept in the hall and the knights were poised for battle. But the beast Grendel showed his horrible teeth and grabbed the first knight he found and gnashed him with one big bite.

The monster roared and everyone ran, leaving Grendel loudly laughing as he went back to his lair where he soundly slept. The monster managed to raid Heorot for eleven years. Finally it became clear King Hrothgar needed help killing the beast in battle, because his warriors were dying one by one in this gruesome Grendel War. The Danes prayed to the gods to keep the monster from preying on them.

Their prayers were answered when a ship sailed to their shores. Beowulf announced himself to Hrothgar, and the King welcomed him with open arms. Hrothgar fed his guest a feast in his hall, and Beowulf announced he planned to fight Grendel with his fists. As I have heard the story, you both challenged each other and the sea for seven nights, swimming as far out as you could, beating the cold and angry waves, but in the end your friend won the race, you fell behind humiliated.

But you have heard wrong. For five days and nights we swam shoulder to shoulder against those cold and angry waves. I was pulled under by a sea-monster. Armed with a sword, I killed the sea-monster and eight others after it. It was a hard fight under water with those terrible beasts, and I was weakened but I swam to the surface and made it to the other shore. Not since my fight with the sea-monsters have my people perished at the mouths of them. I lost, but I was honored, not humiliated. When the feast was over, it was bedtime for the brave Beowulf. He laid in bed awake, waiting for Grendel to strike.

Grendel stormed through the stone wall, grabbed a startled soldier with his cruel claws and bit him to the bone. The monster moved toward Beowulf, and lifted him out of bed. But before the beast could open its mouth, Beowulf put Grendel in an arm lock no man or beast had ever witnessed, and the monster let out a horrible howl. The two tumbled about the hall until the sound of the scream from the loser lifted everyone out of their beds. The monster had been manacled from a man stronger than him, and the beast ran recklessly back to his den to die.

Beowulf picked the arm off the floor, evidence of the fight, and stood among his men victorious. The next day word got around that the beast had been beaten by Beowulf. The damaged wall in the hall was repaired, and Hrothgar gave Beowulf gifts for his courage. That night as they settled in for sleep, it felt great to not worry about Grendel again.

The Earth-Born ban further trips to the mainland, but the Star Born make an attempt to return on a quest for answers and vengeance. Cadmann Weyland the colony's hero from the Grendel War stows away on the return trip, accidentally killing one of the Star-Born during an altercation. The colony holds a tribunal , which finds Cadmann not guilty; this increases tension between the generations of colonists.

Aaron Tragon takes advantage of this to further his own goals. Instead of challenging the decision, he shows the tribunal unshakable evidence of an approaching danger. Tau Ceti 's sunspot cycle is 50 years, not 11 like Earth's. Because of it, Avalon is entering a period of agitated weather and its lifeforms will react to it in ways the colony has never before seen. If the colony is to survive, trips to the mainland to study Avalon's life are essential — trips such as the one an Earth-Born killed a Star-Born to prevent.

Over the objections of senior colonists, missions to the mainland resume. Tragon has humiliated the Earth-Born and established himself as leader of the Star-Born.

Beowulf: Facts About the Anglo-Saxon Story

Months later the yellow storm has not been seen again and the Grendels although more numerous and varied are only a dangerous predator, not a demonic horde. There is much to learn; the danger seems controllable until a rainstorm permits six Grendels to reach a snowy mountaintop where a study is taking place. The snow permits them to supercharge without dying, and they will not stop to eat their dead; these Grendels "cooperate". Although the team is able to drive them off with only one casualty, they are shaken.

The Grendels, although dangerous, had always been predictable; now they are changing. Aaron Tragon behaves more erratically, convinced that the source of his powers is his origin as a Bottle Baby. He hopes to use artificial wombs to sire hundreds of children breeding them like horses , and begins worshipping the Grendels. On Camelot Cadmann is disturbed and withdrawn, reflecting on events on the mainland. A small group of Star-Born, trapped in a snowstorm, killed five Grendels with only one casualty, Stu Ellington, a bottle baby.

The Grendels were intelligent enough to take advantage of the snowstorm to overcome the heat generated during supercharging, and cooperated to hunt the Star-Born. In contrast, when the Earth-Born first encountered the Grendels they lost ten colonists while driving off one gravely wounded monster. What was mortal danger to the Earth-Born is a momentary threat to the Star-Born.

This reveals a further dichotomy between Earth-Born and Star-Born: to the Earth-Born the mainland is no man's land , but to the Star-Born it is a challenge. The Star-Born see a parallel between the Earth-Born and the Grendels: both seem willing to kill their offspring for their benefit. Aaron's quest for power causes Cadmann to investigate Aaron's background and psychology. He discovers that most "Bottle Babies" have a need for purpose, and bond strongly to their families as a result.

Aaron did not bond with his family; he seems instead to have bonded to colonization at the exclusion of all other ties. He seems to be exhibiting megalomania.

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On the mainland, the Grendels are evolving. Some develop the ability to resist their instinct to hunt and kill mindlessly. One, in particular, refuses to kill her own offspring; instead she establishes a family, with unknown effects on Grendel development.

BEOWULF: A Retelling With Children In Mind

One is disturbing: another life-form a pollinater similar to an Earth bee which uses a Grendel supercharger. There is also a glorious one; for the first time, a human and a Grendel meet and neither tries to kill the other.


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The battle-proven yet impaired elders preach a dogma of zealous caution which might have once tried their own patience; the brilliant and arrogant Star-Born deem it cowardice and tyranny. Adding to the strain are those who made the journey to Avalon as cargo: the "Bottle Babies", embryos grown in artificial wombs. They were raised collectively, lacking the family ties of their fellow Star-Born, and feel less obliged to obey.

Aaron Tragon perhaps the most intelligent of them is more than just rebellious; he may be insane. As conflict brews between generations on the island of Camelot, on the mainland a dangerous question has been answered. The Grendels nearly drove the colony into extinction, but what preys on the Grendels is even worse. Two of the colony's best and brightest die in a horrifying, inexplicable fashion: a storm of yellow sand which has left nothing but naked bones soaked with Grendel supercharger, and a baby wrapped in a blue blanket. The Earth-Born ban further trips to the mainland, but the Star Born make an attempt to return on a quest for answers and vengeance.

Cadmann Weyland the colony's hero from the Grendel War stows away on the return trip, accidentally killing one of the Star-Born during an altercation. The colony holds a tribunal , which finds Cadmann not guilty; this increases tension between the generations of colonists. Aaron Tragon takes advantage of this to further his own goals.

A Brief Summary of Beowulf

Instead of challenging the decision, he shows the tribunal unshakable evidence of an approaching danger. Tau Ceti 's sunspot cycle is 50 years, not 11 like Earth's. Because of it, Avalon is entering a period of agitated weather and its lifeforms will react to it in ways the colony has never before seen.

If the colony is to survive, trips to the mainland to study Avalon's life are essential — trips such as the one an Earth-Born killed a Star-Born to prevent. Over the objections of senior colonists, missions to the mainland resume. Tragon has humiliated the Earth-Born and established himself as leader of the Star-Born. Months later the yellow storm has not been seen again and the Grendels although more numerous and varied are only a dangerous predator, not a demonic horde.

There is much to learn; the danger seems controllable until a rainstorm permits six Grendels to reach a snowy mountaintop where a study is taking place. The snow permits them to supercharge without dying, and they will not stop to eat their dead; these Grendels "cooperate".


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  • Although the team is able to drive them off with only one casualty, they are shaken. The Grendels, although dangerous, had always been predictable; now they are changing.

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    Aaron Tragon behaves more erratically, convinced that the source of his powers is his origin as a Bottle Baby. He hopes to use artificial wombs to sire hundreds of children breeding them like horses , and begins worshipping the Grendels. On Camelot Cadmann is disturbed and withdrawn, reflecting on events on the mainland.

    A small group of Star-Born, trapped in a snowstorm, killed five Grendels with only one casualty, Stu Ellington, a bottle baby.


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    • The Grendels were intelligent enough to take advantage of the snowstorm to overcome the heat generated during supercharging, and cooperated to hunt the Star-Born. In contrast, when the Earth-Born first encountered the Grendels they lost ten colonists while driving off one gravely wounded monster. What was mortal danger to the Earth-Born is a momentary threat to the Star-Born. This reveals a further dichotomy between Earth-Born and Star-Born: to the Earth-Born the mainland is no man's land , but to the Star-Born it is a challenge.

      The Star-Born see a parallel between the Earth-Born and the Grendels: both seem willing to kill their offspring for their benefit. Aaron's quest for power causes Cadmann to investigate Aaron's background and psychology. He discovers that most "Bottle Babies" have a need for purpose, and bond strongly to their families as a result.