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Center of the World: A series of short gaslamp steampunk adventures books exploring a magic future world, #3

Center of the World: A series of short gaslamp steampunk adventures books exploring a magic future world, #3

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Center of the World: A series of short gaslamp steampunk adventures books exploring a magic future world, #3

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Lançado em:
May 31, 2016


Hero or Heathen?

No vessel has ever made it beyond the edge of the world. Until now.


After surviving a deadly storm that would have destroyed another ship, the Vibrius's return to the empire should have been triumphant. Instead, the navigator Lieutenant Metallo, is arrested by the church, accused of blasphemy. Lady Janali, the Vibrius's inventor and owner, refuses to leave Metallo to be tortured and killed.


To defend his innocence, Lady Janali must perform a dangerous task - breach the walls of the Holy City of Nacitas, where women are not allowed. As she fights for the life of her navigator and the right of science to make new discoveries, her own dogmas are tested and life threatened. How far will Janali go to prove the truth?


If you like steampunk with elements of fantasy, speculative science-fiction, and thrilling tales, then you'll love the fantastic serial adventures of the Endless Horizons Sagas, written in true homage to the pulp science-fiction classics. This episode is part of the monthly serial novellas that fold together into a larger epic adventure. A new adventure is released monthly.


Get your copy today and see for yourself what everyone is raving about! Don't forget to get the prior episodes.


What Others are Saying about the Endless Horizons Sagas

"Impossible Paradise is his second series and is off to a great start. Strong characters, a nicely textured world, good development of the coming conflict, and it is only the prologue. And with Leeland there is always a twist you don't see coming." - R. Greco on April 6, 2016


"There is plenty of action and a good start on the development of characters that I expect to see more of. It is an excellent lead-in to what I expect will be a great series!" - catselan on April 11, 2016

Lançado em:
May 31, 2016

Sobre o autor

Leeland Artra is a science fiction and fantasy junkie turned author. He's also a Navy-trained computer scientist, an experienced table-top gamer, and a "code janitor" working virtually in the big three clouds. So yes, his work is to clean bits of imaginary systems running on simulated machines in pretend computer centers. So making up entirely imaginary worlds and adventures is not that much of a stretch. By day, he helps keep people healthy and secure. By night, he takes readers on fantastic trips of the imagination through the worlds of his books. He lives in the Emerald City (Seattle) with his indulging incredible wife and never-ending inspiration inspiring son.

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Center of the World - Leeland Artra


Chapter 1


Hands on her hips, Janali stared out the window at the bright docks. Everything looked so calm, normal. Yet the table next to her held dangerously blasphemous navigation charts. She turned her back on the view to study Captain Reinvo leaning against the far wall of the officers’ lounge.

Janali considered the captain as he stared at the floor, lost in his own thoughts. She more than looked; she stared like she’d find the answers she needed if her eyes could bore a hole in his skull. He’d been out there with Metallo. He’d taken his own readings, copied Metallo’s charts. He knew something she did not.

He shifted, looking up. Seeing her staring at him, he flattened his back against the wall and met her gaze. Milady?

She blinked to soften her gaze. Captain. He’d worked for Janali’s mother at the time of her conception. He’d taken her to sea and taught her to sail. It was possible he was her father, especially when she considered the shape of his chin. But this was hardly the time for a heritage study. Captain, she repeated, if you did not sail the ship past the end of the world, then how do you explain these readings?

But, milady... He shook his head as though bewildered by the question. I can’t.

Janali slammed her hand down on the charts, thudding the table beneath and causing the captain to startle. You must! We must. Or Metallo is lost.

Milady, I can’t see another course. Metallo is proud of his skills, and Empresses help us, he made no mistake. The captain’s voice cracked, and his eyes glistened every time he spoke of Metallo. Metallo knows he’s not lying. I’ve known him his whole life. He’s as honest, pious, and steadfast an officer as your fleet might want. The church will not accept these charts, and Metallo will not admit to a mistake he did not make.

If he recants, they must release him.

Reinvo tilted his head and raised his eyebrow, making a grimace. She wasn’t sure if he was protesting the idea that Metallo would claim his charts plotting the course beyond the edge of the world and back were wrong, or that the church would release Metallo if he recanted.

She paced what space was available, avoiding looking at Reinvo.

He’s as good as dead, Reinvo muttered.

Janali threw her hands up. That doesn’t help. Let me think.

Lady, I’ve seen too many summers not to know what will happen. I shouldn’t have shown you these copies I made of the navigational charts. I have to destroy these, and you should never speak of them. Captain Reinvo reached for the charts on the table.

She leapt across the space and slapped her hand down on the charts. Meeting Reinvo eye to eye, she shouted, You made the greatest discovery in history! I don’t care if these appear to contradict the church scrolls. I’m tired of being scared of the church.

Before the Perlustration arrived, I thought we'd keep this a secret. I knew you’d want to know all this. If you had more time, it might have been dealt with, quietly with measured steps. Now... well now, we’ll be lucky if they don’t come back for the entire crew. Worry about yourself. Please, forget this. His blue-green eyes under the bushy brows begged her to drop it.

You expected something like this would happen, didn’t you?

He shook his head. Lady, how could I know this would happen?

She pointed at the charts. You made these. Why?

Because... well... He rubbed the back of his neck as his face slowly tightened. I thought I might have to make a show of destroying the actual charts if Father Baenali got too far out of line.

Like running to the Perlustration with a witness. His face fell, and she regretted pointing out he’d let the priest off the ship. She moved closer and touched his shoulder. "Captain, you’ve done nothing wrong. In fact, you’ve accomplished a miracle. You’ve brought the Vibrius and crew home safe."

This close, his ever-present soft, sweet cigar scent she’d loved her whole childhood filled her nose. She exhaled, pushing aside the memories of him entertaining her with kid’s games and pretend pirate adventures on the family lake as a child. She needed to think. Metallo is my crewman. This is my ship. You were sailing under my orders. And that means Metallo is my responsibility. I will save him. I have to. She moved the charts further away from him. And these are my charts.

Until we dock, I’m in command. Reinvo pointed out the window at the docks with his bearded chin.

You wouldn’t dare, Janali said, her gut tightening. She kept her hand protectively on the charts.

Reinvo let out a deep sigh. If I thought that’d stop you, I would. But I know better. You’ve been unstoppable your whole life.

She tapped the charts. These might save Metallo. I have to prove or disprove these. In either case, I have to provide a clear non-blasphemous explanation. Let me figure out how to do this. That will extract Metallo from the church’s grasp.

She didn’t tell the captain that such a proof would also remove some shackles from the science institutes and universities in Crelna. Her main goal was freeing Metallo, but if she freed science, even a little, all the better.

This must be explained. I need time to devise a proper investigation.

You have a plan then?

Not yet. I said I needed time.

Only there wasn’t time. If Metallo didn’t recant, he’d be burned alive for heresy. By the time he recanted, he’d be a twisted cripple. Neither of those fates seemed fair, but at least they’d know what happened to him. The church might issue a decree of nullity and strike his existence from the imperial records. What happened to such individuals, no one knew, and this everyone feared above all else. Such people were doomed to the void by virtue of having no record of their deeds to prove their worthiness of entering the Star Empresses’ sky domains.

Can you ask the palace for help? Captain Reinvo ventured to ask.

Instead of answering, she picked up her half-full cup of cold java, taking all the remaining bitter liquid into her mouth. The dark chilly fluid gave her an excuse to keep quiet for a bit longer. She tilted her head back, letting it slip down her throat as her lips puckered to the flavor. In the white porcelain cup, a few brown drops beaded on the flat bottom looking like a miniature map of the world. Her mind filling in the continent details of their coin-shaped world of Terra.

I could try the palace. Empress Alsenna is supportive of scientific research. There is a reasonable explanation, she said, tilting the cup letting Reinvo study it.

His eyes traced the same patterns in her cup before he answered. Empresses know I’d be glad to hear it. His voice normally deep and clear, used to giving commands, sounded tired and lost to her.

You know, I’ve studied every experiment ever done to prove Terra is flat. She tilted the cup back towards her to see the flat bottom again, the map illusion fading slightly as the liquid slowly pulled together. I’ve even applied my new scientific methods to them, recreating the best experiments with superior instruments. I didn’t make a mistake, and there was nothing wrong with my experiments or equipment. Terra is flat, circular, and 24,000 miles wide. Exactly as written in the Scrolls of Life and taught to everyone in the church schools.

Captain Reinvo nodded. And until this incident, I would have thrown anyone that said otherwise off my ship. But, ma’am, I swear to the Empresses we’ve been where Lieutenant Metallo calculated. Where no ship has the right to claim it has been. I, too, took navigational measurements. Though not as precise, I cannot be over a thousand miles off course. Your mother would have ended my ship’s master contract before you were born if I couldn’t navigate on my own.

She topped off her cup from the beaker left out. It had gone cold as well. Throwing her head

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