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In Which Catrina Wishes She Had Studied Her Latin

by on July 31, 2016

Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had escaped from the alien lizard starship and continued her travels through time. She now finds herself in ancient Rome, trapped in the Colosseum along with other innocent civilians, about to be sacrificed to a group of rampaging lions purely on account of religious differences….

The gate creaked open. Three lions, all fairly mangy and roaring up a storm, charged out. Catrina shrugged. She knew that the proper thing to do would be to preserve history, let the lions eat the Christians, and walk away. But, then again, she had already rewritten.history six ways from Sunday. What was one more twist in the fabric of time? “I have a feeling I’m going to regret asking that question,” Catrina said to herself. “Ah, well.”

She turned and unleashed the power of Mlrning, the Shovel of Thor. In an instant the three lions were three frozen lion-sicles. Stunned silence filled the Colosseum. “It is Minerva!”  someone called in Latin, and all around Romans in various lengths and colors of togas dropped to their knees.

“Oh, blast,” Catrina said. “Listen, people, I am not a god! Or a goddess either!”  Unfortunately, she said this in twelfth-century English, not first-century Latin. She was no longer on the alien starship with its convenient internal translation matrix. Catrina had never been very good with languages, and so her next idea would turn out to be a very bad one. She decided to attempt a communication in Latin.

Catrina searched in her mind for a Latin phrase she knew that might calm everyone down. Something bubbled up in her memory, and Catrina, wasting no time, yelled it out as loud as she could. The Colosseum had very good acoustics, and nearly everyone in the stadium heard her. This proved singularly unfortunate. What she meant to say was “Stay calm, everything is fine, you all are good people, and I am your friend.”  What she actually said was, “Sola populo bona est.”  This translates roughly to, “The only good people are dead people.”

Needless to say, the Roman crowd didn’t take very well to this. Some of them thought the godddess Minerva was threatening to slay them in her divine wrath, and they ran shrieking in fear. Others, noting her poor Latin grammar, decided that she must be some sort of foul witch. Many of this last group had weapons, and they promptly decided to use them. Arrows thwacked into the sand around Catrina’s boots.

“Right,” she said, “I tried diplomacy.”   She promptly unleashed a blast of icy power from the Shovel of Thor at everyone in the stands, freezing wave after wave of Romans. This included the current Emperor and his entire family, who had gone out for a day of relaxation and sport. Catrina gestured wildly for the Christians to run for the exits, which they frantically did. She started to join them. Just then, the Swirling Vortex of Imaginary Time appeared before Catrina had the chance to say, “Oh, no, not again.” The princess vanished from the Colosseum, leaving behind a Roman Empire with a sudden leadership vacuum. This would not end well.

Catrina’s knees scraped sand. At first she thought she was still in the Colosseum. Then a wave splashed around her, and she realized she was on a beach. “Oh, good,” said Catrina. “I’m about ready for a vaca-”

A bullet cracked past her head. She didn’t see where the shot came from, and she wouldn’t have the chance to learn, because a whole storm of bullets came zinging after it. Catrina dived for the sand, as explosions resounded over her head. She glanced back at the ocean, and saw countless gray metal ships swarming with men. She looked towards the land. More bullets blazed at her, from behind solid concrete fortifications bristling with barbed wire and chattering guns.

Catrina had no way of knowing that it was June 6, 1944, and that she had just crashed into D-Day. What she knew was that the guys on the beach were yelling angrily at her in German. Catrina didn’t have much more experience in German than she did in Latin, but what they were saying didn’t sound friendly to her. “Well,” she said resignedly, reaching for Mlrning, “here we go again.”

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. As always, thanks for reading!


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  1. Oh dear, that SWIT is causing her no end of troubles. And clearly she should have studied more languages in her princess training, what were they thinking?

    • I meant to type SVIT, but somehow SWIT has more of a ring to it. 😉

    • I know, right? They could’ve at least taught her Basic Elvish or something.

      • Yes exactly! Not that that would have helped in ancient Rome, I suppose, but she could have been confusing in a much prettier foreign language.

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