‘The Very Strange Adventures of a Travelling Knight’ – Pt 2 ‘A Meeting with a Giantess’
And so he found himself, our bold knight Phillip, thrown into a tree by a chatty goblin, having been told to look for a book of memories which might save the world. It’s fair to say that this was not the day he had been expecting when he set out from the familiar, dreary surroundings of the castle.
The interior of the tree, as far as he could make out through the narrow slit in his metal visor, was dark and lined on all sides with lights in regular square patterns. And it was very, very big. Impossibly big. Phillip seemed to have been flying through the blackness for at least five minutes, long enough to wonder if this was all a dream and to try and fail to wake himself up before something interrupted his thoughts.
The ground, when it found him, seemed to come from the side and knocked the breath from his body, making his armour ring like a cacophony of alarm bells. For a while he lay quite still, eyes closed waiting for this bizarre new world to settle itself down around him. ‘I must be on the forest floor’ he thought. ‘This was just a magic trick and I’ll find myself back where I started from, with that stupid, leering goblin making fun of me’
But even through his armour, he could tell that the ground beneath him was far too even for a forest floor. It seemed smooth and firm. He was inside somewhere. And wherever it was, they clearly knew how to make floors. Did goblins have palaces? It seemed the general sort of thing they would do but then the goblin he had met hadn’t struck him as the palatial sort.
He knew that eventually needed to open his eyes and then he needed to stand up. After that, he could work things out and start to make a plan. There had to be a plan. He couldn’t just lay here feeling frightened. That however was easier said than done when the darkness behind his eyes was suddenly so comforting and his armour so heavy. But as Phillip was to discover, he could be brave and determined when he needed to be. He opened his eyes and what he saw through the gap in his helmet made him cry out in a combination of disbelief and terror.
Above him, far, far above was a vast, domed bronze ceiling. He could see countless tiny wooden doors running in perfectly even rows around the dome. Light seeped from the edges of the doorways, illuminating the dome with a brightness that could almost be heard. Huge white marble columns reached up to the ceiling from the floor around him and in these too there were wooden doors. In the exact centre of the dome was a golden carving of a tree, only the trees roots and branches could not be told apart so it was hard to tell whether it had an up or a down.
Phillip felt tiny. For the first time in his life, he was aware of a world that was considerably bigger than he ever would be. And right now, he didn’t like it one little bit.
He heard a grinding noise. The scrape of wood on stone. And then the shaking began. The ground vibrated with a heavy tread and Phillip vibrated along with it and with the jerky rhythm of his own terror.
A woman’s voice began to sing, like a chorus of birds suddenly joined in harmony.
‘And whatever will be will be
And whatever we see we’ll see’
The figure of a giant blue woman loomed over Phillip. She was at least three times his size. Her face was gentle, wise and infinitely humorous. Her hair, a paper blue was piled high in a regal, crown-like manner. Her purple eyes appeared to gleam as she looked down at the metal clad figure laying on the floor.
Phillip wanted to run, but the weight of his armour held him to the floor. At the time when he had it made, heavy, ornate armour had seemed an appropriate way to demonstrate his general splendour to the world. Right now he would have settled for a pair of short trousers and a head start.
The giantess heavy footfalls had stopped. She was wearing a long, vaguely indecent gown of shimmering silver. She stroked her chin with the long nailed, slender fingers of one hand.
‘Fe fi…’ she began and then cut herself off. ‘No that’s not right is it? That comes later. Much later and after you’
Unlike her singing voice, her speaking voice was deep and reverberated all around them.
‘So what have we here? A young hero? Sent by a goblin, yes?’
Phillip couldn’t think of anything clever or defiant to say so he simply answered ‘Yes’
The giantess face was suddenly serious.
‘Well that’s good. The world needs that book. Those memories could save them all’
He was surprised by how sad she sounded.
‘Save them from what?’ he asked, hoping it sounded demanding rather than pleading. He was fairly sure he must sound about six years old.
Her look was so withering that Phillip wished he had an extra layer of armour to protect himself from it.
The giantess sighed a heavy sigh that filled the air.
‘No, I suppose there’s no reason you would know. Not yet anyways. But soon you will. Really I should send you straight to speak to the lion to explain what you need to do, but I think there are a few things you should see first’
And without another word, the blue giantess reached down, gripped the knight beneath the arms and launched him into the air.
Somehow, impossibly Phillip found himself falling upwards. Towards the gleaming dome and towards one single door in the multitude that was opening itself to welcome him.
As it slammed behind him, Phillip heard the colossal woman begin to sing again.
‘Whatever will be, will be…’
Damian Mark Whittle