Metal Ogres

A knight ran across the length of the capital city of Essex fully clad in armour to the king’s palace. The townsfolk thought that he had gone raving mad, and when the king heard the knight’s story, he thought the same.

“Is this really true? Can I trust you on this?”

“I swear upon the pride of my blade, your majesty. There is a metal tower guarded by ogres made of the shiniest steel, out in the country.”

The king stroked his beard, and looked off in the distance, over the bowed head of the knight in front of him. He sat like that for a while before deciding that there was no harm in investigating the matter.

“Okay, Sir Henry. You can take a squadron of ten soldiers with you to the place. Investigate, find more about these ogre’s of steel guarding the metal tower, and report directly to me.”

Sir Henry raised his head, thanked the king with another gracious bow, turned, and left.

He went straight to the army barracks, where he gathered a group of ten horsemen to accompany him to the metal tower. The soldiers were to be paid handsomely, so they did not complain about following Sir Henry in his lunacy.

They started towards the tower in the evening, and the townsfolk glanced apprehensively at the mad Sir Henry and his equally mad troops. The tower was far away, so they rode through the rest of the evening, and rested at a village.

At the village inn, the soldiers quizzed Sir Henry about the metal tower and metal ogres, more in jest than in curiosity.

“Sir Henry is the tower black and scary like in those old storybooks, or -“

“Or is the tower Ivory and gleaming as the bard says about the kingdom of heaven?”

Sir Henry did not object to the questions, however be their nature, for he knew that the soldiers would soon see the truth for themselves. “It is neither dark as the night, nor white like ivory. It is made of metal that shines more brightly than any silver.”

The soldiers looked at each other and suppressed their giggles. They didn’t want to upset the knight, so they kept away from him and enjoyed their own company.

In the morning, they resumed their journey to the countryside, Sir Henry leading and the ten horsemen in tow. By the afternoon they could see a gleaming tower near the woods. Sir Henry smiled to himself for he knew the soldiers did not think of him as a lunatic now.

By the evening, they reached the tower. It was as the knight had said, made of a metal that shone more brightly than any silver. And there were ogres, four of them, guarding all four directions, they too were made of the shiny metal that covered the tower. Their heads were big and boxlike, their bodies much the same, like a cupboard and their hands and legs were snake-like tubes that ended in feet like steel boxes and hands like steel clamps.

The soldiers stared at the ogres with their mouths open. They had never seen anything like it. Now, they understood why Sir Henry had run the whole length of town for they wanted to flee too. But, Sir Henry was brave, he approached the ogre guarding the north gate, and stood in front of it with his sword unsheathed.

“Who are you? And what do you want from the kingdom of Essex?”

“Please tell the password to unlock facility.”

“Password? What password?”

“If you’ve forgotten the password please tell the code for retinal scanning. The code has been delivered to your registered E-mail id.”

“What? E-mail? What is this sorcery you speak of you filthy ogre?”

The ogre did not say anything, and Sir Henry tried walking past it. The snake-like hand of the metal ogre stopped him.

“No entry without authorisation. Trespassers will not be shown any mercy. This is a top-secret facility.”

“Top-secret, my arse,” Sir Henry said and swung his blade at the ogre. The ogre caught it and snapped it in half. A flap on its closet-like body opened, and a tube protruded out of it. There was a bang, and Sir Henry fell backwards. Blood gushed from his chest. Some of the soldiers came and rescued him. The ogre did not do anything.

“Inform … inform the king. Go back … this … is … war,” he said and spoke no more.

The soldiers hauled his body on one of the horses, gave the metal ogres one terrifying look, and rode back to the castle of the king of Essex.

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