Hygelac watched from a window in his high-place hall as Beowulf sparred against a soldier. His nephew had only celebrated his twelfth winter a few days ago. Already, he was proving to be a mightier warrior than half of his men. Hygelac held pride for him. His son, Heardred, was strong as well, but that was to be expected. Heardred had twenty winters, and he had been training to become a soldier for twelve of those. Heardred was wise in his young age, but Beowulf was much stronger.
Beowulf's muscled arms bulged as he gripped his sparring sword. The soldier stood opposite him. They were at a standoff. Finally, the soldier leapt towards Beowulf, his sword held high. The younger merely stepped to the side. The soldier was ready for this. He swung his sword around, but Beowulf parried the blow. Beowulf circled around the soldier and swiped at the soldier's tunic. The belt severed, and the soldier's trousers fell to the ground.
The soldier looked at his fallen trousers in horror, Beowulf howling in laughter. He dropped his sword and pulled his trousers back up and stalked to his quarters, grumbling the entire way. Hygelac could not hear what the soldier was saying, but he knew there would not be pleasant words. The Geat-king let out a few chuckles himself. While that trick may have been childish, Beowulf was a fine war-prince.
Hygelac watched as Heardred stepped up to Beowulf. While Hygelac could not hear what was being said, he knew that Heardred was scolding the boy for acting like a child. Beowulf bowed his head and took it. The king knew that being as mighty as his nephew was could not be easy. He knew that Beowulf's strength would draw jealousy from the other soldiers. Beowulf had the strength of fifteen men in each arm. His strength would grow in his winters.
Beowulf then entered the hall. His tunic and hair were dusty from the spar, but he was smiling. Heardred had obviously given praise after the scolding.
"Uncle, did you see?" the child asked. His eyes sparkled in delight. "That soldier stood no chance against me! He shall have to be better than that!"
"Yes, child," Hygelac answered. "I saw. You bring joy to my eyes. You will be a mighty asset to our nation."
"What about Heardred?"
"Heardred is my son. He is very wise and is a war-prince like you. But you are as strong as he is wise. One day, he will become king. Then after him, you shall be king. Do not fret, my nephew."
Beowulf nodded, satisfied with the answer. He then turned and walked out of the hall. He was more than likely trying to find something to eat.
O, my nephew. I can tell many things will be in store for you. You will face dangers that many will run from. May God protect you in your wanderings..