• Flashback goes to a year or so after Beowulf has slain Grendel's Mother. He has already returned to his hometown and after being there for such a short time it is requested by his King to go and slay a monster in Modern day Iceland. The monsters name has yet to be set in stone, but the image is almost like a berserker very large super strong and surprisingly fast.
I think this scene should be cut. Begin the flashback with Beowulf and his men already on the boat. Everything in this scene can be explained with a single line, perhaps spoken by Beowulf to the woman when they're making their introductions.
I like this idea a lot. I wouldn't have Beowulf speak to the woman about this maybe one of his comrades.
• He heads off on this journey on the way his boat and men come across another boat of merchants with a woman on board. She immediately gains the attention of Beowulf because she is dressed like a warrior. He asks her where she is headed and she goes on to tell him of how she awoke on the boat without a memory of who she was. Her only memory is of a man telling her to defeat the "Berserker"(She doesn't even know what power the monster possesses she is only driven by the urge to find out more about her past.)
• Beowulf tells her that his mission was also to kill the beast, and that he aimed to do it alone, but would be willing to bring her along. She is set on defeating the beast before him. So now they have begun traveling together and out of mere curiosity of her warrior skills Beowulf challenges her to spar. (Now I have yet to decide whether or not they should tie during this battle. Or if she should barely win.)
I don't think Beowulf should invite her along, at least not at first. He should even dismiss her. Maybe she can stowaway on Beowulf's boat, and they'll encounter her after running into each other on their separate travels. Then they duel, develop a respect for each other, and then decide to travel together. Right now it reads as too friendly to me, and friendly = boring.
And I think Beowulf should win their first duel, but barely. She does well enough that he appreciates her prowess in battle. And it would give greater punch to her saving him from the beast later.
I like the idea of Beowulf winning just barely, and acknowledging her skills as a warrior. But I'm not so sure If I want him to dismiss her. Only because I want this battle with the first enemy to be one they encounter together...Maybe he could dismiss her and see her in Iceland, maybe she has beaten him there and has yet to encounter the beast, but is preparing? Then they could go together.
• They arrive to Iceland and are greeted and they are given time to rest and gather themselves, before told of the beast by the kings wife, because the King died trying to fight the beast only days before. (This is another part I'm unsure of. Would it be unrealistic at the time for this king to try and take on the beast after all his men have died trying.)
I'm not sure what the king's wife is for. We've established that the beast killed a bunch of men, and she seems to be here only to tell us what we already know. And why would the king go off to fight the beast when he's just sent Beowulf to do it for him?
The kings wife will greet them, accomadate them and all that. They heard of the beast and she is just used to give more details about the beast and all the chaos he has caused, like although Beowulf heard tales of Grendel, Hrothgar greeted him, gave him more information and the two devised a plan together. And as far as the King going off to battle I hadn't questioned that. Maybe his reasoning could be that he was unsure If Beowulf would come, or out of his drive to protect his people he tried to fight the beast. He was a viking, so this king has seen many battles, so he isn't incapable of defeating a enemy, that would just emphasize how monstrous this beast is. Maybe I'm thinking about this wrong though....
• They go back and Kill the Beast and killing the beast gives her a glimpse of her past as royalty.
What causes this glimpse, exactly? Does she have to be royalty? What does that add to the story?
Maybe the spirit of the beast, can trigger it. I'm not sure how to explain it but I can visualize how this scene would go...
• The story then goes back to him lying down and I haven't quite figured out how but I want to leave it with a cliffhanger, to lead into a tale about her story. Maybe Wiglaf knows information about the mysterious woman Beowulf fell in love with. I also want to leave the story with readers not knowing if he died.(I'm not sure if this would work much only because in the original poem he dies, so would it be to ridiculous for me to leave that cliffhanger in there?)
This is a good question. Do we need to show Beowulf dying? And on that note, does Beowulf need to have this flashback on his deathbed? Could the intro and epilogue take place during a different part of the poem, a part that's more thematically significant? Maybe right before he faces Grendel or the dragon?
Changing the beginning and where the flashback begins, would take away some of that drama, or would it not?