Thursday, 2 October 2014

Empress, Knight, Viking

On my way to work today, I saw a Roman empress, a sword-less knight, and a helmeted Viking. To say I was amused would understate the fact; I was that, a wry smile on my face as I passed them, but I was more perplexed as to why all of a sudden these three figures had appeared in 21st century suburbia. I walk this same route every Thursday and have never seen such a sight before.
The empress was lounging against a metal railing watching the cars speed by. I still can't decide whether her look was one of languish or of boredom. I imagine she might have been thinking, 'Not like the chariots in my day.' But perhaps she was daydreaming or simply waiting for her posse of hand-maidens to turn up... She didn't seem in the least bit concerned about being in a strange place, or that her white shift was picking up dirt from the painted yellow railing. I continued on my way leaving her in that struck pose with the sun glinting off the gold braid running though her coiled brown hair.
I crossed over the road at the lights and almost banged into a sword-less knight. He was horse-less too, but was bouncing along the path as if there were a great steed beneath him. A young smiling knight with a dried mud-splashed face and no weaponry, clad in a light chain-mail, which also covered his head, and long tan boots. The crest of his company emblazoned on his chest. He looked excited, as if he was on a lone jaunt somewhere, and not wishing to hold him up or exchange pleasantries I swiftly stepped aside, and then turned around to watch his two feet gallop off into the distance.
Startled by these two random events, I picked up my purposeful walk along the wide, winding footpath, dividing my gaze between the trees on my right and the steep drop down to the meandering, bubbling brook on my left. The horizon straight ahead for the time being seemed clear. I'd just passed the stump of a huge felled oak when I saw a helmeted Viking striding towards me, loosely swinging a battle axe in this right hand. I attempted to copy his fearless, brutish gait and charged forward to meet him, although I'm not entirely sure I was convincing. He certainly displayed no visible signs of being as perturbed by my long-limbed appearance... As we drew closer, I noticed he had the steely eyes of a seasoned warrior, which were fixed on a spot far beyond me. His concentrated focus creased his brow and made his battle axe swing in a choppier rhythm. He merely glanced at me and returned his full energy to tracking his true enemy who was obviously some weary miles ahead.
Despite this snub, the Viking left the strongest impression, so much so that I was tempted to give up the idea of going to work, to turn about and follow him. Perhaps it was his confident, manly strides or the hint of violence, although I think the axe was actually plastic, or because his horned helmet was scarily attractive. Helmeted Norse men were considered to be rich bronze gods and I can well believe that. He had infused the fresh morning air with courage, strength and power and I ravenously breathed this in as I walked in its lingering trail.
Upon reaching work I realised no other passers-by had seemed as bemused as I was. Why was that? Was this, after all, a regular occurrence?
I told my weird, time-warped story to a trusted colleague as if I was playing a car game where you have to repeat a shopping list of fantastical people and then add your own. She brushed my words off with a nonchalant shrug said, “Is that all? Well, that's unusual as it's Thursday, but on Tuesdays, you see all sorts.”