Damnatio ad bestias, de woorden galmden nog in mijn hoofd. Mijn straf, mijn verdoemenis, het lot dat zich tegen me keerde. De Lotsgodinnen waren wreed om me deze straf toe te kennen, om te sterven in dezelfde arena waar ik zo vaak als overwinnaar was gekroond. Ze gunden me geen kans om glorieus te sterven, om nog één keer mijn kunsten te vertonen en te mogen schitteren in naam van mijn volk. Ze gooiden me, gestript van wapens, voor de wilde dieren. Om te dienen voor het vermaak van de duizenden toeschouwers, en als offer voor Lua, de gemalin van de almachtige Saturnus.
The seas were high, the storm roamed the waters and chased us until we couldn’t see anything besides the spraying foam and the waves that were trying to swallow us whole. We didn’t stand a change, we could only pray to the mighty gods up high and beg the monsters roaming bellow. We tried to convince them that we weren’t tasty at all, that we all tasted like month-old herrings, like old ropes, and that landlubbers were much nicer to eat.
Fragments of journals were found much later. They tell us the tale of captain Pedro. A Spaniard, a pirate, a corsair under the command of the King of France. Roaming the seas, plundering ships, wreaking havoc on the orders of a foreign king. It seems he was a feared and skilled fighter, a respected captain, and most of all an interesting man. While a Spaniard by birth, he worked for the French, and several of his sailors seemed to be of Dutch and French descent. And for some peculiar yet unknown reason his most well-known nickname seemed to be ‘The Flamingo’.
The storms weren’t new. Although they scared the little ones, Ása knew they had been around for years. The sea always warned them in advance so they could herd the sheep together, barricade the doors to the sheds, and bring in enough firewood to last while they rode it out yet again.
But it was frightening none the less. Being locked in, waiting for something far beyond their control to pass on. Sometimes Ása wondered if even the gods were able to tame such monstrous winds. She never said that out loud, she knew better than to question the immortal deities. So while her mother prayed, and her father fixed his nets, she told stories to the scared children. It was her job to keep them busy at times like these, and she had taken it upon herself to learn all the stories their people had ever told. Her father sometimes joked that if something were to happen to her, all of their history would be lost, as she was the only one who knew all their tales and myths. Ása laughed when he said that, claiming nothing would happen to her as her only other job was to herd their three sheep. Who would harm her on their fields? On their small island? She couldn’t imagine anything happening to their peaceful lives.
Ása heard the wind slam into the house, and heard a door bang. Her father got up to lock it again. One of her nephews looked up at Ása, fear in his eyes. His parents were in the house next door. So close and yet so far away during this one moment.
“Ása,” the little boy asked, she could hear the tears in his voice. “The house won’t be blown away, right?” Other children looked at her now as well. Ása smiled.
“Of course it won’t,” she said. “The house is mostly underground, and wind can’t go underground. Right?” The boy nodded. That sounded reasonable. “Now come on, dad caught fish today, let’s help him clean it.”