Friday, April 19, 2013

"Fall of Jupiter" by Edward Lange (Novella)

Genre:  Historical Fantasy

Type of Short Story:  Novella

Summary:  In the twilight years of the Roman Empire, a fleet of trade ships goes missing in the uncharted waters of the Scandinavian north. In the wake of the tragedy, the Emperor of Rome dispatches five war ships, to find the missing traders. What they find instead is a watery wasteland, with horrors beyond their wildest nightmares.


“It could have been sea storms.” said Gaius, pacing up and down Dion’s cabin. They’d ordered the fleet to stop and sit tight. The trail of destruction running along the trade route had changed things.

Alec sat in a corner of the cabin, watching the officers with intense interest. Dion looked at his first mate.

“No. Sea storms sink ships, they don’t obliterate them.” he thought about the wreck floating just outside his ship. “Can any weapon do that?”

“Maybe, but it’d be very heavy. You wouldn’t be able to carry it or use it on a ship in the middle of the ocean.”

“Not on a Roman ship.”

“What other kind of ship is there?” said Gaius, frustrated.

“Before we came here, there were rumors of people who lived in this region. What if they have warships and weapons more powerful than ours?”

Gaius looked worried. Scandinavia had never been properly explored by the Romans. For all they knew, it was possible.

“Do we turn back?” there was a repressed eagerness in the first mate’s voice. Alec waited for the commander’s response with bated breath.

Dion thought about the ship wrecks. Then he thought about Rome. The people who’d seen them off at the port would be waiting when they got back. How their spirits would be crushed if their champions returned with nothing to show for their efforts.

“No, we keep on going. We find whoever or whatever got those trade ships. We measure the strength of their forces, and then make an appropriate plan of action. Tell the other ships to start their oars and follow the trail.”

All color drained from Alec’s face. Gaius hesitated for a moment, and then nodded. “Alright.” he said tersely before leaving to carry out his commander’s orders.

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