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THE IRON QUEST Part III 

Adamastor

 

Adamastor is a legendary giant from mythology. He and his brothers rebelled against Zeus and were therefore struck down, scattered and reduced to promontories, islands and crags. He is quoted by Fernando Pessoa in the poem O Mostrengo, but his most memorable mention was by Luís de Camões in Lusíadas, as the giant of the Cape of Storms who raged in the form of a storm and sank the ships. In this epic work that tells the tragic maritime story of the 15th century, Adamastor represents the forces of nature and their opposition to the audacity of the Portuguese navigators commanded by Vasco da Gama.

Six centuries later, Adamastor is also revolting in this bay, where every day the Titanic gang boldly confronts the forces of nature, digging into the seabed to scrape together pieces of survival for their families. Adamastor no longer hurls storms at them as he did against Vasco da Gama's ships, but powerful waves and treacherous currents that throw them against the sharp edges of the wreckage, as if stubbornly defending the booty he once conquered in a boundless battle against Man.

But it's an inglorious war! Despite taking extraordinary risks that only enormous courage and camaraderie can overcome, the Titanic's gang goes on to conquer pieces of the half-sunk skeletons of the modern ships that lie here.

They have long since learned about the behavior and tactics of the giant Adamastor. They know that when the tide is low, he's asleep, and that's the time to get on their community bikes and cross the 4 km of beach to get to the furthest part of the bay, where they can still find some iron. Piled onto the body of the old motorcycle, they bring ragged clothes, gloves and old shoes. It's the only gear they have to protect them in yet another relentless fight against the giant that will soon awaken.

As they put on their gear, as if they were a soccer team in a surreal open-air locker room, it's a time to share happy stories with each other or simply to meditate once again on the challenges they will have to face once again in order to emerge victorious from this beach at the end of the day.

They know the shallows of this bay like the back of their hands and know where the precious rusty iron still exists. As if this were another of Adamastor's sly tactics, the waters of the bay are dark and make it impossible to see anything underwater. All the knowledge the gang possesses has been gained through countless dives, exploring the muddy bottoms with their hands.

Nothing here is done in isolation, everyone works as a team and shares individual knowledge and skills, even with the youngest member of the gang, Pedro who is only 15. They learned long ago that they could never defeat the giant alone, but even so Adamastor claimed for him fractures to his ribs and fingers and wounds that took months to heal.

They don't have blowtorches or heavy cutting tools, so they are incapable of separating large blocks from the debris that still resists the onslaught of Chinese companies, eager for material to feed their iron-processing furnaces for the construction industry. Despite this, they regularly climb the few skeletons that stubbornly remain above water, as if they were monuments to a kind of resilience to the forces of nature, to scavenge their entrails in search of pieces of rusty flesh that they can turn into food for their families.

Practically all the relics the gang can steal in Adamastor's kingdom are hidden under its waters and most of the time they have to be detached from their hulls by bending the pieces over and over again to break them. It doesn't take long for the gang's movements in this dangerous realm to wake up the mythical giant, who is ready to react by unleashing his wrath on the gang through ever stronger waves and currents. It's high tide time again.

It's time for the gang to rush to get the day's booty to the safety of the beach. The smaller pieces are transported individually in countless journeys, while the larger and heavier ones require a team effort. They are exhausted but have to overcome the three hundred meters that separate them from land in one last effort. Even though he sees the Men retreating, Adamastor doesn't give up and chases them down to the water's edge, throwing stronger and stronger waves at them in a last-ditch effort to prevent the audacious plundering of his kingdom.

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