Continued from Part I.
As the speck drew closer it became an ugly, angular shape, belching out black smoke. Nothing like the gentle sails that pulled the islander’s boats. They had never seen such a vessel before.
Like those on other islands now conquered, they did not know this was a steamship from a far-away empire. Like many before them, they did not recognise the black spikes that studded the vessel’s hull. They quickly learnt that these were guns that could knock down the town’s walls from a distance, set fire to homes and murder children.
A group of the island’s strongest stood on the beach to meet the little boats that were vomited from the sides of that unexpected devil. The strongest were brave, but they were hunters used to running after prey, butchers who knew only the guts of small animals, and fishermen whose virtue lay in patience. They stood, they fought, they fell. The modern men came ashore.
Matching, brightly-coloured clothes, with gaudy baubles, spiked boots and long, metal rifles that spat fire. Shiny blades cut down all who did not submit. The meek and the mild-mannered were herded into lines, chains tightened around their necks.
An old shepherd, grey yet sprightly, watched these happenings from a field outside the town. He remembered the stories of crisis his grandfather had told him, and he remembered what to do. He turned away from the sorrowful sights by the shore, and headed for the cave in the centre of the island.
To be continued…