Galene and the Nereus Glass

Submitted into Contest #97 in response to: Write a story that involves a magic window — or a window like no other.... view prompt


Fantasy Adventure Historical Fiction

Galene sat looking out the Nereus Glass. A sort of window to the surface world gifted to Nereus and his 50 daughters from Amnisos, a river god from the Island of Crete. This lens helped the Nereids to see the surface world above their beloved Aegean Sea. Nereus and Doris raised happy, loving daughters who protected sailors and fishermen on the temperamental sea.  

As evening drew in, Nereus enjoyed time with his wife Doris and his daughters along with his son-in-law Posideon. Galene left to take one final look through the glass. Sunset's reflection in the Aegean looked so magical, especially in the enchanted glass. She noticed a strange movement out of the corner of her eye. There it was, the spirit ship. Typically, this is a ship that had met its doom and had been cursed for one reason or another, usually because of the behavior of its captain. Galene knew rumors of this vessel would spread quickly among seafarers. The people would stop fishing on the water or bringing in goods from other parts of the world. Sailors have been known to die simply from fright after seeing a Spirit Ship.  

 She had seen this vessel many times before. The ship belonged to one of the most feared pirates on the sea. Dimitrios of Troy. While he had indeed finally paid for his treachery, how many others were forced to pay alongside him for something they had never done. It was a cruel fate. 

Galene hated to disturb her family, but it was necessary to watch this spirit ship carefully. She spoke to her mother first. Doris, mother to 50 daughters, an important sea goddess, left her family to speak to Galene.  

“Mother, I apologize for this interruption, but there is a Spirit Ship afloat. Galene said with meaning in her voice, "It is of Dimitrios of Troy." 

“Ah, the scoundrel finally got what he had coming to him. However, I take your meaning, we will have to keep a careful eye on this situation. I’ll speak to Nyx. I will ask for her help in this matter.” replied her mother.  

Nyx was a powerful goddess. As goddess of the night, even Zeus had a great appreciation for her abilities. However, Doris and Nyx had an excellent relationship. While one never sought Nyx without a little trepidation, she was willing to help right wrongs that had been done on earth. Protecting those traversing the Aegean from the horrors of a Spirit Ship did qualify as an urgent situation. 

Dimitrios of Troy was a terror on the sea. His cruelty was more than just legend. It was a fact. His crew consisted of just two loyal men, while the rest he kidnapped or blackmailed into service. As a plunderer, he delighted in taking other people's wealth and humiliating them. It was hard to escape Dimitrios' attention or the attention of his crew. He named his ship Siren. It seemed the perfect name for a ship that belonged to someone with such a dark soul.  

The Siren was now a Spirit Ship. It’s evil infecting the Aegean. Nereus and his family must find the man who would do the good deed thus freeing the innocent souls onboard, and sending Dimitros and his lackeys to the bottom of the sea forever. Never to escape. 


Galene and her sisters had set out to watch the Spirit Ship from a distance. Each of the 50 daughters had a special responsibility. Galene was the Nereid of calm seas. She was to be given in marriage to Imbrasos, river god or Potamoi of the Island of Samos in the Greek Aegean. He was the love of her life.  

Once again Galene stood at the Nereus Glass looking at the sunrise on the sea. The glass revealed the hues of gold, pink, red, orange together with the stunning blue of the water. It was so quiet this morning. Obviously word of the Spirit Ship had spread among the fishermen who would have had their nets cast out for their first catch of the day. Normally many fishing boats of all sizes bobbed along the sea's surface, capturing its bounty, while merchant ships carried goods from all over the world. This sunrise, however, brought only an eerie silence.  

Galene’s sisters had been summoned by their Father and Poseidon. Doris was off speaking with other water deities that There had been Spirit Ships on the Aegean before, but this one was definitely one of the more notable. Each of the daughters were well versed in their duties. Nereus simply wanted to encourage his daughters to be diligent. Malevolent souls like Dimitros would be willing to do anything to escape their fate. The real work would begin when Nyx brought darkness.  


Galene visited Imbrasos. The Island of Samos was busy with people preparing what they could to live while the Siren haunted the Sea. Galene held Imbrasos' hands as she explained to him that her father and mother had enlisted the assistance of Nyx and other water deities to keep the ship from causing fear among the islands.  

Imbrasos promised his help and felt that if necessary, he could request the guidance of Hera. Hera was born on the Island of Samos, on the banks of the River Imbrasos. While he knew he could count on her for help, he did not want to ask unless it was absolutely necessary.  

Galene hugged him and left to find the ship.  


Nyx drew an inky blackness across the sky. Undulating clouds obscured any light from the moon. This night's darkness was greater than even the dark of the ocean's depths. The people were quite properly frightened by what appeared to be a rapidly moving storm. Galene felt the fear all around her unfortunately this was the only way. The souls of the innocent men trapped aboard the ship would light the Siren. This light is discernible only by the deities of the sea. Dimitros was a man filled with hate and attracted men who were equally hateful. The light may be very faint indeed.  

At the right time, Aegaeon, the god storms of the Aegean, would stir up the waters so that Doris could find the one soul who would do the good deed for the innocents. This individual soul would be lifted from the ship by the Nereid Sao so that he could speak with Nereus. Galene would then calm the sea, Nyx would retreat, the sky and sea would return to normal.  


Nereus watched through the enchanted glass waiting for even the faintest light to show from the Siren. The innocents aboard the ship needed to be freed, but more importantly he wanted the sea to return to normal. There was something about the evil onboard the Siren that seemed to be infecting all life in and around the Aegean. He was also responsible for the well being of all creatures in the waters. Nereus watched Nyx bring the darkness in closer and closer until he could almost feel it around him though he was at the bottom of the sea. She blacked out all visible light until he finally spotted the Spirit Ship.    

Appallingly the light was not faint. It looked like a million small stars had crammed into the ship. Nereus wondered how many men had been pressed into service for Dimitrios at the time of the ship’s demise. He also wondered exactly what was onboard that was so important that it would require so many men. While this complicated matters for his wife, Doris, she was fully capable of finding the right man.     

Aegeon had begun to stir up the water. Nereus observed how the waves began to rock and how the sediment of the sea obscured the surface. He waited impatiently for Doris to return.


The waves were furious as the 50 daughters of Nereus fanned out across the sea to protect those ships and sailors from harm. Galene waited to see her mother leave the ship. Entering a Spirit Ship was never pleasant. To discern the right soul from among so many would be challenging. However, Doris was more than a goddess; she was also a mother. That mother’s heart would help lead her to the correct soul. Moments later Doris emerged from the ship light surrounding her. Whoever this man was, he led a life that pursued goodness.

 Aegeon stopped agitating the waves so that Galene could bring calm once again.  Meanwhile, Nereus greeted Doris and the man who was fated to help his fellow shipmates. 

A soul waiting its final fate was not fully disembodied especially when trapped on a Spirit Ship. This soul was barely more than a boy by the name of Sabastian. He had come from Lucania. His father owed a debt, which Dimitrios bought. Sebastian was the repayment. He appeared small and rather frail, and he was so far from home. Doris felt pity for him and for his family.  

Nereus addressed the boy, “What is your name?” 

Sebastian was afraid. He did not know how to address the god and goddess. “I am called Sebastian,” the reply was barely audible. 

“There’s no reason to be afraid. You must be confused. For that we apologize. You were chosen by the gods to help bring freedom to the innocent souls who lost their life aboard the Siren” said Doris gently. “You must be quite special. The light surrounding you suggests that you have a pure heart.” 

“Sebastian, Poseidon has chosen a good deed for you that will present a challenge but know that you will have guidance through your journey. You must go to find Persephone and ask her for the coins to pay for your fellow innocent shipmate's passage across the river Styx” said Nereus. 

The 50 daughters promised that they would help him cross the sea to the entrance to the River Styx. Galene felt a special obligation to keep the water calm for Sabastian. It was an awful situation for him to be in; sold to pay his father's debt, then dying because Dimitrios had attacked another merchant vessel.  


Doris and her daughters did what they could to help Sabastian across the Aegean. Doris led him the rest of the way to the fields where Persephone visited the nymphs. There in the field Sebastian was met by a laurel Daphnaie, a dryad. The Dryad were Nymphs belonging to particular types of trees. A Daphnaie belonged to a laurel tree.  

The Dryad greeted him cheerfully, dancing around his feet.  

“Hello,” she said. 

“Hello” answered Sabastian 

“I am Chara and you must be Sabastian,” she said. 

“Yes, how did you know,” answered Sabastian quizzically

“I am a Dryad. I know things! Lots of things,” she said. 

“Do you know where I can find Persephone,” he asked?

“Yes! But first you have to answer a riddle: There were five women sitting in a room. In the same room there was a basket with five apples in it. Each woman took an apple, but one apple still remained in the basket. How could this be,” asked Chara? 

“That is easy, the fifth woman did what my mama would do, she took the entire basket including the last apple,” answered Sabastian with a smile. 

“You are a smart one aren’t you? Persephone is in the next field over caring for the wheat; you will find her there wearing a crown of flowers,” with that Chara climbed back into her tree. 


Sebastian walked for what seemed like a long time looking for Persephone. The sun was beginning to set. He very much wanted to be on his way back to rescue his friends aboard the Siren. He wanted Dimitros to pay for his cruelty. He knew, however, that even if he was able to help his friends, he would never see his family again. There was no way he could say goodbye. He also had pity for Dimitrios and his cronies. They had no one to say goodbye to and they would spend eternity locked away from the underworld. 

The voice behind Sebastian called his name. It was a kind and gentle voice. He turned and there was a beautiful woman wearing a crown of flowers. With her long hair plaited with gold and her white dress flowing in the breeze, she made a striking impression.   

“Oh!” he exclaimed with awe in his voice. 

“I am Persephone. I understand you need my help,” the woman said. 

"My name is Sabastian. Yes, I need your help. Would it be possible for you to help me gather the obolos I need to help my friends cross the river Styx. The story is long, but there are 15 of us and we all need coins to pay the Ferryman," he said modestly. 

“Of course,” said Persephone “Go to the edge of the field, There you will find Bell Flowers growing among the rocks. Pick 15 flowers. In each flower you will find a coin. Put the flowers on the waters of the Aegean. This will signal to Nereus you have done your deed,” she continued.  

“Now little soul my mother Demeter will send an eagle to fly you to the sea so you may finish your task,” Persephone spoke so sweetly Sabastian did not want to leave her. 

As he was about to thank her, the eagle swept him up so high he could see the whole countryside to the edge of the Sea. It was a marvelous feeling being so free. 


The great bird left him on the shoreline where he placed the flowers, as instructed, in the surf. 

Galene and her sister Amphitrite came to meet him.  

“You have the coins, Sabastian," Galene asked? 

“Yes I have,” He answered. 

"Good," said Amphitrite, "let's get you to father so you can free your friends and restore order to the Sea."

Nereus was happy to see that Sabastian had fulfilled his part of the good deed. Doris told Sabastian she would go to the ship to place the coins on the dead.   

“What about me,” asked Sebastian. 

"Nereus smiled, You can now return home to your family due to your kindness and your commitment to your friends. You have been given a second chance at life by Demeter.”  

“You will be brought to the surface of the water. It is there you will find a sprig of laurel. The laurel twig will restore you to a living, breathing human. With this gold coin, you will easily be able to buy passage home.” instructed Nereus. 

Nereus was as good as his word. Sebastian found his way home to his family. They had no idea of his ordeal. They were simply overcome with happiness at his return. 

While the rest of the innocent men aboard the Siren were given safe passage to the underworld, Dimitrios and his two henchmen were locked away forever in Davy Jones' Locker.

The Aegean Sea returned to normal after the Oracle Themis revealed that the waters were free of the Spirit Ship. Galene enthusiastically resumed her nightly habit of looking out the Nereus Glass to view the colors of the sunset on the blue sea. Nothing could take that joy from her. Everything was as it should be. 


Marie Catherine put down her pen. She wished that she could write more about friendship and the boldness it requires. So rare are the friends who would take the chance that Sabastian did for his shipmates. While the Nereus Glass was not real, she did have a view on her world from her study window. It was beautiful to behold. 

June 12, 2021 03:43

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