The Death of Gorlum
In the black woods at dawn the monster slept unseen in the rising mist, his claws daubed in blood of last night’s prey, his vast belly filled by the entrails of men. And so he slept unaware of the lad that now stalked him: young Varhael, prince of the valiant Norsemen whose dragon-headed vessel lay anchored by the moor, his comrades not knowing whence their chief had gone: so reckless and daring this warrior was, still untried in the arts of war, though many a wolf he had slain, so many bears he had pierced to death with the keen sword strapped naked at his side.
At length the monster stirred. Gorlum they called him: sired by an ogre, born to a hideous woman, hated and maligned till he waxed strong, mightier than any mortal men, and slew all his tormentors, Presently he heard the steps of Varhael and stirred. Straight to the upstart the monster flew, aiming for his throat, and missed, while the kid’s eager hand went for the haft of his blade, and drove with all his might, yet Gorlum did not stir, unfeeling even as blood rushed out of his bowels and drenched the cold ground. Thus did Varhael slay the monster.