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In Service to the Empresses: A series of short gaslamp steampunk adventures books exploring a magic future world, #4

In Service to the Empresses: A series of short gaslamp steampunk adventures books exploring a magic future world, #4

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In Service to the Empresses: A series of short gaslamp steampunk adventures books exploring a magic future world, #4

95 página
1 hora
Lançado em:
Jul 1, 2016


Saint or Sinner?

In a world ruled by the church, Janali finds herself at the mercy of the inquisition. She has little chance of saving her crew from the church while under arrest for heresy. She must engineer her own escape and then convince the head of the church to pardon both her and her crew. If she fails, her crew, her family, and her own lives will be destroyed, wiped clean by the cleansing fires of the inquisition.


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 books.


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:
Jul 1, 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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In Service to the Empresses - Leeland Artra


Chapter 1


Potentate Asonic felt the smooth cool silk threads sliding over his skin as he adjusted the vestments under the scapular, getting both to rest correctly. A slight pressure between his shoulder blades reminded him that the silk robe’s hood was still under the scapular. He pulled the hood out, letting it fall over the top of the heavier cloth. The cool silk pressed into his back by the weight of the hood. For the uncounted time, he considered having the hood removed but dismissed the idea. Traditions were important to the peasants, and the hood was expected of a priest. In keeping the hood, he added a fraction more authority; not that he needed any more power over the commoners.

A final check in the polished silver mirror showed his hair was messy from putting the scapular on. A few drops of the expensive scented oils combed in with nothing less than a pure silver comb straightened his hair to fall just to his shoulders. He leaned in close, turning his head first right then left looking for any hints of grey in the light brown strands. Not a single strand showed, and he relaxed. He’d expected to start graying out years ago. Few men lived into their late forties while retaining perfect hair.

The final item to add to his robes of office was the heavy silver chain collar with the solid silver Perlustration amulet. The collar’s heavy weight felt right on his shoulders. Power was his birthright; although robbed of the opportunity to wield his birthright, he’d found even more power in the church.

There was a single rap on the door. It was firm with a slight ring of metal from a steel gauntleted hand. His personal guard signaled it was time to disembark.

Come, Asonic ordered.

Asonic heard the peculiar creak of a leather glove grasping the door handle. He reached across the small room, lifting his staff from its holder. The soft tingle of the Star Empresses’ powers flowed between his arm and the staff. His staff didn’t move, yet he felt as if it eagerly wiggled in his hand. Asonic knew of only one staff finer than his own, the staff made by the Star Empresses themselves and passed from Augur Optimus to Augur Optimus.

As the door opened, he pulled his shoulders back. Bringing the staff forward, he placed it so its symbol faced the door.

The expected, muscled Ayzebel guard in his purple-striped uniform almost met his gaze but quickly looked down, bowing with the motion. Your Eminence.

Has Wainli departed? he demanded. The guard twitched at the question, and a little scent of sweat wafted into the air.

As you instructed, the guard said, his voice hard and cold as steel.

Ayzebelian dedication to the warrior’s duty, drilled into them from birth, made them perfect guards. The church, in a more war-filled era, had secured an eternal contract with the entire Ayzebel nation for exclusive service.

Move aside, Asonic commanded, striding past the guard for the train’s exit.

Before he could step down onto the platform, a glint of purple stopped him cold. His eyes focused on the source of colors, and a tingle ran down his spine as he breathed in. Across the platform, on a side track, rested the gold and purple imperial train. His sister was here. He’d left her at the Vental palace and came straight here. Yet still, she had arrived before him. His blood boiled as he considered the long delays on the trip while the engineer had repaired the broken down church train, a train that should never have broken down.

Quaestum Balius, his second in command, waited on the platform, trying to keep his hands hanging straight down his sides as Asonic had taught him.

What is she doing here? Asonic demanded, his heart beating a strong staccato.

Balius jumped at the tone and followed Asonic’s eyes. The engine is not tended, he commented.

Asonic had already taken in the lack of activity around the imperial train, making Balius’s observation redundant.

The engineer had been incompetent. It was inexcusable for a common laborer to fail him so miserably. Stepping to the platform, he twisted towards the head of his train. In long strides, tapping his staff on the platform, he marched. His guards and Balius expected him to head for the city entrance and jogged to catch up.

Engineer! Asonic called, approaching the engineer’s cabin.

A platform worker was unloading a steel box from the coal car’s front locker. The boy was barely old enough to have left his house. He was most likely from one of the impoverished houses; the commoners often tossed boys out as soon as the law allowed.

Asonic pointed at the boy. Boy! Where’s your engineer?

The lad jumped. Working on the engine, Your Worship, he whimpered in a blur of words.

Fetch the yard manager, Asonic demanded, turning again to the front of his train. In his peripheral vision, the boy leapt down to the platform, landing in a dead run.

The engineer came into view as he marched to the nose of the train. She was kneeling with well-worn leather tool bags on a narrow platform high up on the machine. Her head was bent low, examining the machinery. Her hair was short enough he suspected she shaved it every few weeks.

Your incompetence is ended, he yelled up at her.

The engineer stiffened and looked under her arm back at him. Her eyes went so wide he considered the possibility they might fall out of their sockets. The woman scrambled to stand and bow.

Your Eminence, please see this. Still bowing, she held a hand out to indicate something behind her.

What’s wrong, Your Eminence? Quaestum Balius whispered from just behind.

This woman’s incompetence has delayed us too long. He let his anger seep into his voice.

Please, Your Eminence, we were sabotaged, the engineer pleaded, standing straight and continuing to point.

The mere idea of sabotaging a church train made him want to laugh. Not even the simplest of fools would try such a claim on him. Asonic considered the woman. Light glistened off of her brow, and her breathing was rapid. But not the rapid pace of someone afraid of being caught lying to the Perlustration.

He’d suffered through two long delays. The first had been acceptable. He already considered that the second delay, only a day after the first repair, had been caused by a rushed repair. If those delays had been purposeful, why had no one attacked the train? Bandits that could stop such a train would attack when it succeeded. Sabotage raised many questions.

He focused his eyes on the engineer. She shivered under his scrutiny.

You have proofs of this, woman? he

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