Ogilvy had to keep running. Maybe nothing was chasing him, but he just had to keep going. He needed to tell someone, warn them. It wasn't human whatever it was. The so called 'falling star' wasn't a meteorite or anything harmless. Ogilvy shuddered at the thought, it was alive. He had noticed with a start that some of the grey clinker, the ashy incrustation that covered the meteorite, fell off the circular edge of the end. It dropped off in flakes and rained down upon the sand1. All he wanted to do was forget, but he had to tell someone.
Ogilvy met a waggoner and tried to make him understand, but the tale he told and his appearance were so wild—his hat had fallen off in the pit—that the man simply drove on2. Maybe when he caught his breath he wouldn't sound so crazy rambling on about something inhuman falling from the sky. Who was he kidding? This was one of the times that people would have to see it to believe it. Laughing it off was just too easy for them to do.
A few more attempts that either ended in more laughter or them awkwardly backing away landed Ogilvy in the local bar. It was only ten in the morning, but some of the better known drunks were happy to order a few drinks at this time of day. This was stupid. While these people had a better chance of believing him, they would be in no position to help. Most of them would happily order another round.
That's when Ogilvy spotted him. Sitting solitary at a small table sat an enormous figure. He looked from another time. There was no cloth that covered his body, only armor with golden designs embedded in the cavities of metal. Ogilvy approached slowly, the man had a mug of beer at the table while inspecting his sword and bow. There was no one else like him alive. In his day, he was the mightiest man on highborn and powerful3.
Ogilvy hesitated, this was a bad idea. He was sweating from having run around town, but he needed someone to believe him, if not help him with whatever creature had invaded near his farmland.
"Excuse me sir." Ogilvy thought of reaching his arm out, possibly touching his shoulder, but the sharp blade next to the man caused him to hold fast.
The man turned slowly looking to Ogilvy, thankfully he grabbed his beer rather than one of his weapons, "Yes?"
"Sir, I am Ogilvy, I was wondering if you would hear me out on something I saw this morning?"
The man smiled, "A story? Of course! What's a mead hall without stories of valor? Come, sit!"
Ogilvy hobbled around the table grabbing the seat furthest away careful not to disturb any of the instruments of death that lay on the table. His hands shook as he pressed them hard against the tabletop.
The man bellowed, "So tell me, what tale you have for me?"
"I-I, well," Ogilvy's voice cracked, but he forced himself to continue, "I ventured out onto my lands today and found something in a crater. Something—" Ogilvy had to find the right words or this man would pass him off as the rest had, "a creature."
"A creature!" Slamming down his beer, the man grabbed sword and rose to his feet, "This is no story is it? You are in need of assistance?"
"Y-yes sir if you wish to come see it"
"Yes, just let me finish my mead."
"Your what?" Maybe this man wasn't the only soul in the world that would believe Ogilvy, but the only one drunk enough to.
"My mead!" Tipping the glass in Ogilvy's direction, the man indicated his beer as he began drinking the remainder.
This was a bad idea. Dealing with the drunks in town was bad enough, but Ogilvy just unknowingly asked for the help of one wielding a sword. He had to get out of there, "Thank you for your offer sir, I just don't find it necessary." Ogilvy backed away slowly as others had from his story, but was caught by further bellows.
"Nonsense! I am Beowulf. I am Hygelac's kinsman, one of his hall-troop. When I was younger I had great triumphs4. I will face your monster and I will slay it for you." Beowulf slammed the mug back onto the table grabbed the remainder of his weapons and lead the way out of the pub.
Ogilvy tried to convince him otherwise, "Sir this is no longer necessary. I just needed someone to hear me out. Not to slay anything."
Exiting the pub the two men felt the midday sun hit their faces, "No need to be modest. This creature is nothing you should take lightly. You need someone with experience, someone with bravery. And please, there will be no fee for my kindness to you. I do this for the honor of glory of ridding this world from another demon. Show me where this creature lies."
There was no way Ogilvy was getting out of this mess. This crazed drunk was going to end up falling on his own sword trying to fight a meteorite. That's all it was right? No big deal?
Maybe not, but leaving it be was better than letting this lunatic fight with it. But what choice did he have?
"Describe the beast to me?" Beowulf asked marching down the country road towards the crater where Ogilvy first came upon the creature.
"What do you mean?"
"Well I mean how tall, how strong?"
"I-I'm not sure. I only saw it for a second."
"Well anything will do. How high? Thirty, forty feet? Do you think it could kill man in a single blow?"
Ogilvy almost laughed at this stranger's determination. Beowulf looked ecstatic at the promise of an evil creature that powerful. Luckily for both of them, Beowulf wouldn't have to face anything near as frightening, "No sir. It was small—"
Beowulf cut him off, "Small as in a monster the size of a horse or that of a home?"
"No sir. Smaller. It was in a small capsule trying to escape. I didn't see it, but I knew something was there."
Beowulf stopped dead, "You're telling me that I am to fight a creature smaller than myself, with strength that is probably significantly less than I?"
Ogilvy grimaced. When Beowulf was focused on the monster he had a better chance of not being a target of his rage. Then he remembered the great heat the emanated from the capsule, "Yes. But the amount of heat this beast gives off is astounding." Ogilvy was finally finding his stride. He jumped out in front of Beowulf attempting to be as theatrical as possible throwing his arms into the air, "As I neared it, I nearly burned both my arms off. It took a swipe at me with its great heat and that is when I ran to find a man as great as you!"
Beowulf smiled at Ogilvy, "Very well! You have found me. Together we will defeat this creature and save this land from the demons that reside among us."
Another ten minutes passed of silence. With each step, Ogilvy became more and more nervous as Beowulf seemed to prepare himself mentally and physically.
"There, see the smoke?" Ogilvy extended a hand pointing into the field where tiny puffs of smoke were still visible.
"Yes, thank you good sir." Beowulf took a step forward, then turned back, "You have been a great help and I do not even know your name."
"Well Ogilvy, if you wish for fame and fortune come with me. And together we will send this demon back to hell where it belongs. I will lead the way."
Hesitating for a moment Ogilvy found the strength he needed to accompany Beowulf. It was stupid, but something he felt he would regret if he didn't.
Reaching the pit Ogilvy was horrified. The top of the capsule had completely unscrewed itself. Partially buried by lose dirt at the bottom of the crater the hollow opening was completely uncovered. Whatever resided in the capsule was long gone.
Ogilvy stood awestruck, but Beowulf didn't flinch. Removing his sword from his belt, he lunged forward violently slashing at the metal container, "Die beast, leave us and this world!"
Beowulf leaped from the pit, sweating, "You were correct. The heat is almost unbearable. The glow is unearthly, you were right to call me, it's demonic."
Finally breaking from his trance, Ogilvy regained his footing on reality, "No Beowulf, the creature is gone. It escaped."
"Nonsense! Don't abandon me Ogilvy!" He leaped back into the pit and once again returned to slashing at the red hot metal capsule.
It was futile trying to get Beowulf to listen. If he wanted to spend his afternoon assaulting a metal capsule with a sword straight out of the middle ages, that was his problem. There would be no fame and fortune attached to this. Ogilvy silently backed away slowly from the pit and walked back home, all the while hearing shouts of triumph and struggle coming from a drunken fool assaulting a hollow metal container.