TITLE: POSEIDON'S TRIDENT
Atlas was jolted awake by a violent shuddering of his wooden house, and the screams of terror from his wife. Around him, the walls shook brutally, and sections of the roof were falling in. He looked around wildly, seeking an answer to the madness, and looked out the window, finding the trees being unearthed, as if by an invisible giant shaking them out of the ground. A terrible creaking sound was heard, and Atlas looked up at the roof, the source of the noise. It gave once last creak, and fell in on the hut.
Adrenaline pumping, Atlas rolled off the small hay bed, and onto the floor. His wife shrieked, and attempted to move out of the way, but to no prevail. The heavy timber ceiling slammed down on her distraught body, crushing her instantly. She gave one last scream, and fell silent.
Then it was over.
Atlas swallowed, terror and grief welling up inside him. Suddenly, the wall behind him groaned, and fell in. Atlas tried to leapt out of the way, but was too slow. The wall crushed down on Atlas’s tall and muscular body, slamming him to the ground.
Head throbbing from a wooden plank to the head, Atlas heaved the wall off of him. His once golden beard was stained red by a cut on his chin. A similar cut sat on his forehead. As he sat amidst the rubble, he heard a tiny sob. Immediately, his ears pricked up. “Minos! Minos, where are you?” He called into the night.
“Father! Father!” His teenage son called out. A faint glimmer of hope surged, and he dug furiously through the ruins. He found a foot belonging to his son, and he dug around it, uncovering his son, miraculously alive.
“Minos!” Atlas shouted in happiness, grabbing his son, and holding him tight. “Are you injured?”
“No, father.” Minos sobbed.
In the distance, Atlas could hear a crowd wailing in distress.
“Come, Minos. We must join the others. We must make sure we save who we can.”
“What of mother?” Minos asked, voice shaking.
“She is… I was… she is with the Gods.”
Atlas left the wreckage, his son trailing silently behind him. He glanced at the beach, which was nearby, and gasped. He sprinted towards the ocean, stopping at the beginning of the sand. Water licked his toes, where there should have been a large sandy beach.
Atlas stared at the sight, dumbfounded, when the wailing returned. The great warrior took one last look, and moved away, heading towards the wailing. He walked in silence with his shocked son, quickly arriving in what was left of the city centre. Of the original 10 000 inhabitants of the city, fewer than 300 were left alive. When he arrived, the crowd gathered around him, begging him to take charge and help. Standing on a pile of rubble, he bellowed:
“People of this city! The Gods have sent a curse to us, for failing the capture of Athens. Many of us have been killed, and our houses destroyed. I have seen the curse from Poseidon!”
A few people stared at him quizzically.
‘The sea is rising!’
At that, people screamed. Mentally, Atlas cursed himself for being so stupid and thoughtless. However, when the screaming had subsided, he continued.
‘It will not be long before Athens, and all our other captured cities realise what is happening, and send their navies to punish us. I propose a plan: We will leave this island, and seek safety and shelter someplace I know, where no one will find us. It is large enough for us all to live, until we become strong enough to rise up once again.’ This time, the large crowd cheered, and Atlas smiled.
‘Who will come with me? I shall wait for all those who wish to accompany me until daybreak before leaving.’
‘Aye!’ One man yelled. ‘I shall accompany you, brave Atlas!’
‘And I,’ yelled another.
‘As shall I!’ a third called. Quickly more voices followed, until everyone had called out.
‘Very well.’ Atlas said. ‘I shall wait for everyone to arrive with their families and belongings. Livestock must remain however. Now, be off, and collect what you hold dear. Meet at the docks!’
As the sun slowly rose in the sky, its rays of light shone through the streets of Athens, revealing the aftermath of the previous nights battle. It had been a bloody battle. The Sea-Folk had barged through the Athenian Navy, and unloaded hoplites into the city. Many were killed, and even more wounded. But then, just when the Sea-Folk seemed on the verge of gaining yet another victory, the Navy mounted a surprise attack, distracting the enemy long enough for the navy to regroup and slay them.
Through the streets, guards picked up the dead bodies silently. Everyone moved slowly, mourning the dead.
Only one man ran through the streets, his old and slightly frail body moving with great speed. In his haste, he nearly knocked a soldier down.
‘Hey!’ The soldier called out. ‘Slow down Balynthisus!’
‘I can’t!’ yelled back Balynthisus. ‘I have to attend a war council.’ He continued to run through the stone streets.
He rounded a corner, and sped down the street, to the large hall. He bounded up the stairs, taking two at a time, and barged into the room, where several people were waiting.
He made his excuses, and took a seat.
An elderly man named Euselust sat on a stool in the centre of the room. Behind him sat another man, in his 30’s, and wearing armour, which had been dented and blood stained in the battle. Euselust stood, and began.
‘Gentlemen, as you know, we have come here to meet at this hour to discuss our victory over the Sea-Folk. Their navy is crippled, and their army destroyed. It will take them some while to recover.’
‘Kill them now!’ One man called out, and several other men cheered. Dipeu.
The hoplite standing behind Euselust stepped forward.