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Literature
Trials of Geia: Salvation Chapter 10
Leofflæd quietly strolled down the dimly lit hallway near the rear of The Capital Palace. With every step she took, her body tensed up for a moment, then relaxed only slightly. She hadn’t been to this part of the castle in Aspects-know how long. She would ask for directions, if only there where someone to ask who wasn’t dressed in the garb of the Praetorians.
Every time she looked to one of them, she felt uneasy. They were covered from head to toe in regal segmented Plate-mail. Beneath, they wore robes in the silvery violet of the Royal Court. They carried small shields and Gladii for use in close quarters combat. However, their most striking feature was their helmets. They wore a normal helm, with a mask resembling a snarling wolf affixed to their faces.
She knew that her just being in this area without permission could get her thrown back in the serf quarters. Even then, everyone was still suspicious of her after she poisoned Geuos, so they might even go so far as to
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Literature
Crucible in the Depths: Part 1
I jolted awake, a fearful shout escaping my lips. My body was dripping with sweat, tracing cold streams down my breasts and back. My hands were bleeding, and my brain throbbed painfully. I held my blanket tighter, chewing on the edge to stop myself from crying.
These nightmares had been happening for the past three weeks. Ever since we came to this accursed planet. My name is Aya Vdokhnov, Psy-Sargent of the Nova Riga 3rd Amphibious Armor Core. Me and my recon squad have been posted to the oceanic moon of Tallinn VI for the past four weeks. We have been suppressing the dangerous native tribes to make way for a Republic mining colony.
We have been fighting these abominable aliens called The Gorgons. From what we can tell, they appear to be of a psychically connected hive-mind. They are highly aggressive and use devastating hit and run tactics to devastate our army. I have witnessed what they can do to a recon unit first hand. The sights still haunt me.  
Amidst my sobbing, I felt s
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Literature
Trials of Geia: Salvation Chapter 9
Theresa, Canius, and Thaddeus all entered the war room, a wave of curiosity flooding across them. The cold stone walls were bathed in the warm light of a golden chandelier above the main table in the center of the large rectangular hall. Surrounding the Tactical Sanctum were four stone pillars, each had several sheaths attached, large enough to fit a Mithra blade. Beneath the sheaths were small tables to leave weapons. It was a strict tradition that no one bring weapons to the Tactical Sanctum; this was a place of strategy, not bloodshed. The table itself was rounded, almost 3 meters in diameter. There where no chairs. It was considered disgraceful amongst the Generals and Legoti to sit casually when discussing war. Nearly all of the table was taken up by a crystal lens, radiating with Celestial energy.
Geuos stood opposite the three generals, dressed in garb similar to that he wore at his coronation the previous day. A navy-blue great coat, proudly adorned with service metals. Along w
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Map of Geia by TheNovelLance13 Map of Geia :iconthenovellance13:TheNovelLance13 4 0
Literature
Trials of Geia: Salvation Chapter 8
Suddenly, Geuos regained consciousness. He was laying on a roughly constructed cot without his armor in one of the abandoned stores of Primus Street. To his left, sat a woman in the garb of a battlefield medic. To his right was Theresa, with a slightly relived look on her face.
She sighed. “Oh, thank Geia and her Aspects you’re well.” She said; Geuos could sense a wave of relief washing over her.
Geuos let out a tired moan as he propped himself up on his elbows.
“By Volarn’s virility.” He tiredly swore. “What happened? Why am I here?”
“I brought you to this field hospital.” She said plainly.
“After you brought down the Demon Lord, you nearly passed out from over exertion.”
Geuos slowly stretched his stiff joints, and rose from the thin straw cot. The shop appeared to be a general store before it was hastily converted into a field hospital. Geuos suspected the floorplan was about 10 by 15 meters. The door was seemin
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Literature
Thunder Lions: Initiation Part 2
The Chimera stopped gently in front of the downward slope that lead to the Underhive. As the exit ramp hissed open, the scouts stood and formed up on Brother Nostramus. They exited the transport tank, and gazed down into the dark slum.
They knew well what they had to do. A week ago, word from the local Adeptus Arbites reported seeing signs of Xenos infestation. Scout marines where called from the 6th company to purge Balguar III’s streets of this taint. Even as the galaxy tears itself apart, and the Despoiler assaults Cadia, The Thunder Lions answer the call of their people.
Nostramus pulled back the firing pin on his Storm Bolter. “Alright lads,” he called grimly. “Onward.”
Axton was the first to descend the slope, followed by Aron and Essex, forming a spear head in front of Nostramus. Joël and Wilhelm brought up the rear, ready to provide overwatch.
The Underhive was like an urban mausoleum. Rubbish and cracked concrete littered the dark streets. Th
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Literature
Trials Of Geia: Salvation Chapter 7
Geuos risked a glance up at the new foe that slowly emerged from the fog. The glow of its eyes began to dim as it breached the thick Miasma. It was clear from the size difference alone that this demon was an important figure; potentially the Demon Lord of this invasion. Its upper torso was like that of a man, with a layer of reptilian scales, and bat like wings poised behind its shoulders. Its head was vaguely human, with large ram horns curved above its brow. It strode onto the battlefield on reptilian legs, towering above the lesser demons that scurried around it.
Geuos looked away for but a second, when he saw a Gladius rushing towards him in his peripheral vison. With snake-like reflexes, he brought up his Parma and blocked the undead warriors strike, and countered. The Sol Blade cleaved through the man’s arm like a hot knife through ice. The blade passed through the unarmored flesh, vaporizing the blood and tissue on contact. With the sickening snap of breaking bone and burn
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Geian Crux: Basic by TheNovelLance13 Geian Crux: Basic :iconthenovellance13:TheNovelLance13 1 0
Literature
Legends of Geia: Albus the White
Many centuries ago, when the Second Dynasty still ruled the Holy Terran Empire, when the Empire still lacked claim to the Meridian Dutchy. When the people held an interest in advancement, it occurred to few that the Great Northern Expanse was still mostly unexplored. Few, except a young explorer named Albus.
Albus was a young mercenary. Formerly a scout in the 11th Legion, he was seeking a new thrill after his military service. He lived in Undil, a city just beneath the Volarn Mountain range, North of Terra.  Very little was known what lied beyond the mountains, only the first few miles where mapped. All the stories of the explorers who came back told tales of horrifying beasts that stalked the land, and giant men with skin of leather who killed all that entered their territory.
However, Albus was not scared by these stories. In fact, he took it as a challenge. He thought he could finish mapping the Great Northern Expanse, and he would go down in history as a hero. “A champi
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Literature
Trials Of Geia: Salvation Chapter 6
 The scourge of the Dark God rained down from the twilight sky. Bolts of archaic energy lanced out from the Miasma storm, blasting apart the forward most barricades set up by the Urbanae Vigils. The watchmen were used to dealing with petty criminals and rioters, not the spiteful onslaught of the demonic. The fortifications were disintegrated in an instant. Some of the watchmen were vaporized along with their protection, though most were able to fall back just in time.
 The demons seemed to be reluctant when it came to using mass destruction spells on mortals. Some theories that spells like these not only destroy the target, but the targets soul as well. Considering that demons need to corrupt mortal souls to enter the Giea, it stands to reason that they would like to preserve as many souls as possible. However, no living mortal can say for certain.
 Once the cloud passed the wall, long tethers stretched down to the street; like the talons of Arkail himself digging into h
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Literature
Thunder Lions: Initiation Part 1
A familiar force shook the Thunderhawk as it descended through the atmosphere. The five figures where jostled hectically in their harnesses. Each did their best to maintain composure, the shock of reentry was the least of their worries.
“Landing pad in sight.” A deep, somber voice called over the intercom. “ETA five minutes, Clean slates.” The intercom buzzed off, replaced by the whistle of wind rushing past the gunship. “Clean slates.” Muttered one of the figures. “Was it so necessary he call us that.” One of the other figures turned his head toward the speaker. “If you haven’t noticed, Joël, we are still Neophytes.” Joël looked back at the fellow Neophyte. “True, Brother.” He said in clear annoyance. “I merely wish we were shown a tad bit of respect before a mission.”
The tallest of the five figures turned his head to face Joël. “Brother Nostramus owes us no respect, Scout J
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Literature
Trials Of Geia: Salvation Chapter 5
 Those last few hours before a battle are always the most critical. Geuos had collected his armor from his family’s shrine at their house, and put it on in record time. Over his new tunic, he affixed his half-plate Segmentata, Leofflæd assisted in attaching the individual segment around his waist and stomach. Upon his chest was affixed a steel breast plate, a proud status symbol in the Terran military. Having a breast plate to a Terran meant that you where deemed important enough to be worthy giving the best protection the blacksmiths had to offer. Just beneath the last segment, Geuos clicked shut the buckle on his balteus, with the baltea straps falling into place. He strapped on his boots, and finally, donned his helm.
 At his left hip, he wore The Sol Blade, his trusty and noble gladious. The sheath is all that contained the roaring enchanted flames of the blade. Geuos could sense them; the sword thirsted for demon Ichor. On his right hip, was his Mithra; A sacr
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Literature
Trials Of Geia: Salvation Chapter 4
 The light began to dissipate before Geuose’s eyes, being replaced by a new light. Rather than the bright, blinding, radiance; this light seemed more warm and familiar. His eyes began to adjust, seeing himself surrounded by this new orange light. He looked up, seeing a large mass of thick darkness hanging above him.
 His other senses began to come back to him slowly. He felt the familiar rough bark of wood beneath his naked body. He heard the familiar crackle and pop of flames burning. The distinct smell of smoke flood his nostrils, and he could taste something bitter in his mouth; funerary vinegar. Geuos could not believe where he was, he was in his own funerary pyre!
 Geuos quickly looked around. He was surrounded by the roaring flames; yet the strange thing was, he felt no pain. He moved his arm, his stiff elbow protesting against him with awkward rigidness. Even at a quick glance, he could see the flames were clinging to his flesh, yet he didn’t feel the
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Literature
Colonial Thanks
The blue sun hung low in the western horizon. It has been nearly two years since this new planet had been colonized. There were originally high tensions between the humans and this new alien species, however, the native people had finally accepted the presence of human colonists. Through skilled diplomacy and careful study of the native culture, the colonists managed to form a fair compact with the native government, allowing the colonist’s land to thrive, and to keep the peace with the aliens.
Today is the first-year anniversary of the signing of the treaty between the humans and the natives of this world, Siy-Clo. A great feast is to be held in its honor. Already, the kings of the main continent have been invited for this historic occasion. The city has spent the past three days, preparing the festivities and food for this magnificent event. Even you, an average, every day, colonist, are doing your part to prepare for the arrival of your alien benefactors.
You approach the town
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Literature
Trials Of Geia: Salvation Chapter 3
 Geuose’s consciousness slowly slipped back to him. Wherever he was, he wasn’t in the Capital Palace anymore. His sense of feeling slowly came back to him. He felt the strange sensation of sand shifting beneath him. He slowly opened his eyes, reviling the starry skies above.
He propped himself up on his elbows, casting his vision on an enormous sweeping desert before him. “This isn’t right.” Geuos thought to himself. He thought back to the Geian Codex. If he was dead, then his soul should have been pulled into the Celestial Sea, awaiting to be reborn.
He looked down at himself. He only now noticed that he was not only disrobed, but his body also seemed to be wreathed in some sort of glowing white energy. He brought his hand up to his face. He attempted to grab his own arm, but his hand passed cleanly through it. This filled him with fear.  
He got up to his feet and looked around in desperation, he saw nothing but the sandy expanse of this desert
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Literature
Trials Of Geia: Salvation Chapter 2
       Chapter 2
It was nearly an hour after the Rites of Mastery were performed, and everyone gathered in the palace ball room to enjoy the after celebration. Nobles and members of the court danced to the lively music, trying to keep up a joyous illusion.
Geuos sat amongst the other Generals of the remaining legions. They all congratulated him on his promotion, and wished him the best of luck, considering the enemy they faced. “Truly, you have thy hands full”, joked Canius, the General of the 6th Legion. “Aye, he does”, responded Thaddaeus of the 2nd Legion. “Yet I have nothing but confides that he shall deliver us from these forsaken beasts.” “Thank you, my friends”, Geuos said humbly. “My only regret is that I will not be serving in the thick of battle any longer.” Canius breathed a disappointed sigh, “you shall be missed, Geuos; though I’m sure your replacement shall lead the 3rd to glory ju
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Hey guys. Alright, I just need to come clean with you all. I need to tell you where I've been for the past month and a half and announce a change coming to this page.
Alright, so where have I been for the past month and a half. That mainly comes down to school and my job. At school, we're preparing for the SOL's and my graduations. With this, came a mass of brain-frying work. Needless to say, this has taken priority over my writing. Along with that, for as much as I love my job at Ripley's, I can't deny how much it cuts into my writing time.
Now, aside from that, I have a few things I need to say. One is that you might have noticed that I took down Part 2 and the Epilog for Crucible of The Depths. After looking back at it with a critical eye, I took my friends advice and took it down to iron out the major flaws. I should have it reposed sometime in June. 
I also have an announcement about my upload schedule. I recently spoke with my friend Writerscifi65, and he brought something interesting to my attention. He said that I needed to loosen up on my upload schedule and spend more time editing my work. Looking back on my work, I can definitely see where he's coming from. However, there are few things that annoy me more than an inconsistent upload schedule, and I didn't want to fall into that trap. As such, I will be going back to my old biweekly upload schedule.
Anyway, thank you for reading this journal entry, and I do hope that my next story will make up for this absence. 
Leofflæd quietly strolled down the dimly lit hallway near the rear of The Capital Palace. With every step she took, her body tensed up for a moment, then relaxed only slightly. She hadn’t been to this part of the castle in Aspects-know how long. She would ask for directions, if only there where someone to ask who wasn’t dressed in the garb of the Praetorians.
Every time she looked to one of them, she felt uneasy. They were covered from head to toe in regal segmented Plate-mail. Beneath, they wore robes in the silvery violet of the Royal Court. They carried small shields and Gladii for use in close quarters combat. However, their most striking feature was their helmets. They wore a normal helm, with a mask resembling a snarling wolf affixed to their faces.
She knew that her just being in this area without permission could get her thrown back in the serf quarters. Even then, everyone was still suspicious of her after she poisoned Geuos, so they might even go so far as to throw her in the dungeon.
She remembered when the guards came for her. She had just sat down for her lunch with the other serfs when suddenly, three Praetorians burst through the kitchen door. They told the serfs the Grand Marshal was dead, and that one of them was responsible. They ordered an immediate search of their work area. It didn’t take them long to find the vile of Fairy Blood she hid in the wine cabinet. The guards would have likely punished them all if Leofflæd didn’t admit to the crime. The lead Pretorian was outraged, and immediately raised his sword ready to kill her in one strike. However, before he got the chance, Leofflæd pleaded divine inspiration. As such, she was obligated to a holy trial to see if she spoke true or not. Thankfully, Geuose’s intervention proved she had good intentions. Even then, she treaded carefully, trying hard not to look suspicious.
After a few minutes, she heard the clatter of an armored figure approaching behind her.
“Halt, serf!” a gruff sounding man shouted behind her.
She felt her heart skip a beat. She slowly turned to find the Pretorian towering over her Halfling body.
“What business do you have here?” He asked, clearly having little patience.
Leofflæd was tongue-tied. She had an explanation planned but found herself unable to speak a single syllable.
“At ease, Guardian.” A mysterious and sharp voice said from the other side of the hall.
They both looked to see the slender form of General Canius approaching them. He was dressed in the navy-blue coat of the generals, with a black cloak draped over his shoulders. This was the signature garb of the Seventh Legion’s generals. His skin was noticeably paler then most of the other humans Leofflæd had seen, along with his hair being brown instead of black. However, the one thing that stood out about him most was the black outline of a tattoo just hidden under his long hair on the right side of his neck.
“General Canius!” the guard exclaimed in surprise, striking his breastplate in salute.
The general approached them, a slight grin cracking across his smooth face. He looked down at Leofflæd in an almost friendly manner. As if to say, “Stand back, I can handle this.”
“You honestly take this half-woman for a credible threat.” He scoffed before sweeping Leofflæd off her feet with a swift but gentle kick.
Leofflæd landed flat on her rear, the only thing being hurt was her dignity.
"Look, she can bearly stand on her own two feet."
“I suppose not, general.” The Pretorian said, still slightly bewildered by Caius’s sudden appearance.
Canius leaned down, helping Leofflæd to her feet.
“Now, where exactly were you going?” He asked.
Leofflæd was still struggling to speak, but she eventually managed to say “To Geuos.”
Canius nodded at Leofflæd then looked back to the Praetorian.
“I’ll make you an offer.” He said, trying to balance sounding charitable with making a direct order. “I’ll escort her to Geuos, and you can go about your duty.”
The guard stood speechless for a moment, before finally saying “Of course, general. Thank you.”
Canius grabbed Leofflæd by the shoulder, motioning her to follow. Leofflæd followed as the Praetorian turned back to his patrol. She breathed a heavy sigh of relief, as she followed the general down the hallway.
"Thank you, mi'lord." She said, finally breaking her fit of speechlessness.
Canius looked over his shoulder at Leofflæd and grinned.
"Think nothing of it." he said casually. "There's no sense in letting that guard harass you when you've already been punished for your actions."  
“Did you really have to trip me though?” Leofflæd asked, slightly annoyed but more bewildered.
“I had to convince him that you weren’t a threat.” Canius responded. “You know how strict they can be.”
She shrugged it off and continued to follow Canius towards a more well-lit part of the hall network.
Eventually, they both found themselves at the huge doors to the palace cathedral. The hall that lead to the door, was a wide semi-circle, which was being patrolled by six Praetorians.
“Halt!” one of the guards called to both of them. “The Grand Marshal demanded not to be disturbed.”
“We mean to cause no trouble.” Canius said, before gesturing to Leofflæd. “The Marshal’s servant merely wishes to see him.”
The guard looked at the Halfling, a scowl forming behind his mask.
“The Marshal was expecting her.” He said. “You may wait in one of the pews.”
Leofflæd was just about to say her thanks, before the guard stepped forward, looming over her like a silver storm cloud.
“However, if you make even the slightest sound, I’ll throw you out myself.”
Leofflæd began frantically nodding as she stepped back behind Canius. He placed his hand on her head, guiding her over to the door.
Before Canius could even reach for the doors, two of the Praetorians slowly pushed them open. He nodded his thanks and entered the cathedral, with Leofflæd close by his side.
From Leofflæd’s perspective, the cathedral looked as if it were made for giants. It had a high ceiling, with small windows to let the light shine on the striking bright paint and decorations on the ceiling and pillars. However, the most striking part of the churches’ decor, where the ten massive statues of The Aspects lining the walkway. Each one was a prized treasure in its own right, carved not by mere chisel, but by finely concentrated Geomancy. Each statue must have been at least three meters tall, with detail so fine they looked as if they were alive.
Leofflæd was not overly religious, however, even she could tell at a glance each of the Aspect and their domain of nature.
The first was Timitress, Aspectess of the Forest. She was depicted as a thin, almost gaunt woman, with a bow and arrow raised towards the sky. She was dressed in a tight-fitting Gambassin and trousers, beneath a deerskin cloak around her shoulders. Her head was always covered by her hood, as few mortals were permitted to see her face. She was a mysterious character, often associated with isolation, but also inner peace.
Directly across from her was Hydrell, Aspectess Of The Ocean. Her upper body was that of a very attractive woman, with long, flowing hair, a kind face, and abnormally large breasts; fitting for a spirit of love and fertility. In her left hand, she held a long wooden staff. At the base, was a cobra's head carved in gold. The head split into two metal forks, creating the frame for a harp. Supposedly, each strum of the strings controls the tides of the sea. Her other hand was extended downwards as if she were inviting her followers to worship her. From the hips down, her legs were merged into a long, serpentine tail; reflecting the myth stating that she birthed the first Hydra as an equilibrium after birthing the Aquarian race.
Next in the line was Volarn, Aspect of the Mountains. As the spirit associated with wealth and prosperity, his statue depicted him reclining on his throne, his golden goblet raised high in cheer. His beard was long and well kept, proudly showing his age and status. He wore the robes of the old Terran Royals, from back when the Empire was just starting. His robes were of a simple style but were still regal and majestic, even in stone form.
Across from Volarn stood the statue of Atelus, Aspect of Rivers and Inland waters. Being the spirit of change and exploration, he was dressed in the garb of a Terran Adventurer. He bore a heavy robe with a chain-mail shirt under it. In his right hand, he held a hatchet, thrust in front of him, as if giving orders to advance into the unknown. In his left, he clenched a rolled up map in his fist. He also wore a cloth bycocket hat, with a small plum of Pheonix feathers on the left side; a sort of ironic nod to the famous myth where he transformed into a Pheniox to impress Timitress. Needless to say, it didn't end well for him.
Next to Atelus stood the statues of The Brothers of War, Ariden, and Ariclese. Ariden, Aspect of the Desert, stood in his savage, heavy plate-mail, his halberd thrust in a gesture of challenge towards his brother. He wore a helmet akin to the Praetorians, however, instead of a wolf, his mask resembled a savage, snarling tiger. He also wore the skin of a tiger on his breastplate like a coat of arms, and the skull of one on his left shoulder guard. It is said that he respects the tiger, as it is the only animal that can even remotely match his ferocity in combat.
Returning the challenge with Gladius and shield was Ariclese, Aspect of the Plains and Grasslands. As the Aspect of strategy and nobility, he resembled a Baron of The Empire. He was dressed in an elaborate breastplate, beneath a regal robe. He did not wear a helmet, preferring his face be shown in his depiction. His long hair reached down to his shoulders, reviling his pure, charismatic face.
Passed The Brothers of War, stood a statue of Novaous, Aspect of the Frozen Tundra. He was dressed in the long, somber robes of the Terran Urbanae Vigils, The Keepers of Justice. Fitting, as many believe it was he who inspired the harsh and uncompromising judicial system of The Empire.   His robes were hooded, only showing his long beard. Only those who he judged as guilty saw his face, which was said to bring an overwhelming sense of dread and guilt to those who committed a crime.  In his left hand, he held The Lustitiae Dictates; A codex of all the morals and traditions humans were expected to uphold. In his other hand, he held a Warhammer, a weapon fitting for his cold and judgmental demeanor.
Next was Archemus, Aspect of The Rainforests. As The Keeper of Secrets and Seeker of Knowledge, he spent most of his time isolated from the rest of the world. His body was thin and gaunt, loosely wrapped in a robe. However, his robe was covered entirely in scripture and famous records from Terran history. If it weren't for his divine status, you would be excused for thinking he was just a lowly hermit.
Next was Sirris, the four Aspects of the Sky. Sirris was unique, as she was separated into four avatars, one for each season. Her four avatars where all gathered around her, each dresses in a regal dress, with ornamentation to match their respective season. Aesta; Aspectess of Summer, Hiemus; Aspectess of Winter, Fonus; Aspectess of Spring, and Currus; Aspectess of Autumn, all small part of a greater whole. Sirris herself was dressed in fine, elegant robes, with a smoking pipe held in her mouth. It was said that she smoked from this pipe to keep herself calm, thus keeping the weather pleasant for the mortals. However, she was known for being of multiple extremes, almost to the point of being bipolar. When the weather was calm, her avatar at that time would be in a state of pure bliss, smoking away on her pipe as her followers graciously accepted her life-giving rain and calm winds. However, whenever her avatar was feeling anxious, she would bring down her full power on the land. Sending down hurricanes, blizzards, and droughts in her rage.
Finally was Halux, Aspect of the Horizon. Halux was the most alien-looking of the ten, with its body being divided down the middle. Its right side was consoled in a cloak of darkness, the left radiated with light. This was why there were so few details on the statue, as there was so little to be taken from its description. As the Aspect of The Horizon, it was his duty to guide the souls of the dead to the Celestial Sea where they would be reborn into their new life. It also played moderator between the Aspects, helping to keep the balance in nature. However, this duty was originally taken by two separate Aspects. Aurora, Aspect of Dawn and Avatar of Mithras, Creator God of the Sun; and Noctuous, Aspect of Dusk and Avatar of Kalos; Creator Goddess of the moon. However, after a previous demonic invasion, both were critically injured. The only way to keep them both alive was to merge them into a singular being, thus Hallux was born.
Canius and Leofflæd approached the main chapel of the church, where they found Geuos, knelt in prayer beneath the Geian Crux. He had replaced his Marshal’s great coat with a dark robe and prayer beads. His sword also rested on the floor next to him. Even in a church, he would not abandon his blade.  
Canius motioned Leofflæd to take a seat in one of the pews. She obliged, only taking her eye off Geuos for merely a second. Leofflæd looked at Geuose’s barely visible face. She could notice his face slightly twitching as if he were having a very vivid dream. She put her hand to her chin and wondered what he was seeing.    
   
Trials of Geia: Salvation Chapter 10
Leofflæd finds herself in a very hostile environment in search of Geuos.
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I jolted awake, a fearful shout escaping my lips. My body was dripping with sweat, tracing cold streams down my breasts and back. My hands were bleeding, and my brain throbbed painfully. I held my blanket tighter, chewing on the edge to stop myself from crying.
These nightmares had been happening for the past three weeks. Ever since we came to this accursed planet. My name is Aya Vdokhnov, Psy-Sargent of the Nova Riga 3rd Amphibious Armor Core. Me and my recon squad have been posted to the oceanic moon of Tallinn VI for the past four weeks. We have been suppressing the dangerous native tribes to make way for a Republic mining colony.
We have been fighting these abominable aliens called The Gorgons. From what we can tell, they appear to be of a psychically connected hive-mind. They are highly aggressive and use devastating hit and run tactics to devastate our army. I have witnessed what they can do to a recon unit first hand. The sights still haunt me.  
Amidst my sobbing, I felt something shifted in the bed, scooting closer to me. I felt a warm pair of arms gently embrace me, as a strong but feminine body pressed against my right side.
As my vision cleared, I saw the familiar face of Sek-Mah, Lieutenant of our squad, and my lover. Sek was a Lev-Ada, an old race of aliens that resembled humanoid sphinxes. Her face resembled that of a lioness, with a short snout, sharp ears, and a nearly hypnotic gaze that sank deeply into my soul. Her thin pelt was a shimmering silver, with a short mane of red, silky hair. Her body was akin to the mythical Amazons of Old Earth. A strong, muscular form, but still soft and feminine in all the right places.
She held me close as her short wolf-like tail wrapped around my waist. She gently raked her claws through my short black hair, hushing my moans of anguish.
“It’s okay, Aya” she whispered. “I’m right here, nothing can hurt you here.”
She was only partly right. Sek had seen my stressed and paranoid state in the recent weeks and allowed me to sleep in her quarters for the remainder of our posting. She seemed to think that trying to comfort me would be enough until we could get back to HQ, and I could go to a psychiatrist. However, not even her loving affection was enough to take my mind off the horrors I saw on this moon. I would wake up with bruises and cuts all over my body, my psychic powers making the pain I experienced in my dreams a reality.
That very morning, I woke up with massive cuts in my hands. The side effects of reliving nearly being eaten alive by one of the enthralled apex predators on this planet. The gigantic eel-like monster picked up my armor in its mouth and tried to crack it open to get to me. I was just barely able to hold its jaws open while two of our squad members fired countless laser shots into its exposed underbelly. The creature died just as my mechs arm motors shattered from the bite force. If only they had survived the battle, I would have thanked them personally.
I closed my fists tightly around the blankets, trying to stop the bleeding. I leaned into Sek’s warm embrace, nestling into her chest. We stayed there for several minutes, as she kissed me and whispered words of encouragement in my ear. I wish I had listened to her.
After those several minutes, a green static appeared on the far side of the room. It quickly condensed into the holographic image of Admiral Keeganov, one of the Overseers of this operation.
“Tention’.” He casually commanded.
Without hesitation, me and Sek jumped from our bed, snapping to a salute out of reflex.
“Sorry to bother you girls, but I have some news.”
The Admiral was a very casual man. He did not command with an iron fist like the rest of the officers in The United Soviet Star Republic’s military. He treated those under his command decently but expected better results in return. He continued speaking, not even flinching at the sight of our naked bodies.
“We have received word from our front-line forces that the enemy seems to be in full retreat in sector T-12.”
My heart lifted a little when the Admiral told us the news. The more loses these aliens took, the sooner we could leave.
“They are falling back to a new sector that our scanners seem unable to fully map. So, I’m sending your recon squad ahead to scout out this new area.”
My heart sank back into my stomach when he said that. Infiltrating enemy territory in our current state was practically suicide.  
“Your squad is to report to the front of the base for pickup in one hour.”
“But, sir…” I blurted out against my instincts.
“I’m sorry Aya.” He quickly responded. “High command has forced me to commence order 227.”
The Admiral lowered his head in remorse.
“You are just barely fit for combat. Therefore, you must fight.”
The Admiral quickly snapped a salute to both of us.
“Godspeed.” He said, as the hologram quickly dissipated.
If my heart could sink any further into the pit of my stomach, it would have.
Sek and I got Dressed, and she helped me dress my wound. I was using my powers to force the blood back into the cut, but I wasn’t strong enough to knit the tissue back together.
We both wore navy-blue dress coats, with a black skirt and black leather shoes. Sek wore a white half cape mantel over her right shoulder, showing her rank as Capitan of our squad. It was traditional garb of the Bal-Lio military, and she took great pride in maintaining her image. After applying my Crystal Trinity to my wrists and back of my neck, we were ready to join our squad at the mech hanger. My crystal trinity was a set of three silver bars, that pierced into my wrists and the back of my neck. They each contained small cord ports that allowed me to connect more directly with my mech.  
We slowly walked out of our section of the barracks, into the cool morning air of the bases artificial atmosphere. The base was situated on a terraformed island, forming an easy staging point for ships to send down supplies and troops to us. The island was about ten miles in diameter and played host to several barracks for amphibious infantry, a massive armory, several landing strips, and even a port for fully aquatic armored ships. We were heading from our barracks to the main mech deployment hanger, which was a relatively short walk. We spoke very little, respecting each other’s concerns.
When we reached the massive armor hanger. We entered without hesitation. The hanger was enormous. More than forty meters in length, and twenty meters tall. Many of the heavy war machines were suspended in anti-gravity lifts, held at least a meter off the ground. This allowed the mechanics to more easily work on the damaged parts, using the lift to maneuver around the chassis their heavy tools.    
We walked past many metal giants, their damaged forms resembling the worn statues of ancient gods. We passed a Bogatyr class super-heavy walker, two of its four legs were broken off, and its one remaining arm-mounted heavy torpedo launchers was clogged with a thick layer of crystallized salt. Next to it was a Rytíř class heavy mech. Most of its black and gold paint and armor was melted off its bulky, tank-like chassis, from the Gorgon’s Sulfuric Acid weapons.
Our mechs were on the far side of the hanger, undergoing final repairs. My squad piloted Cossack-class light mechs. They were the smallest of the mech classes, only about seven meters tall. Their chassis only vaguely resembled the human form. They had bird-like, double-jointed legs, and taloned feet, their torsos had a relatively small waist, with a bulky upper body. They had no proper head, unlike most the other mechs. Instead, they had a short, boxy extension, like the nose cone of a 1950’s space shuttle in the upper chest, which housed the main camera and sensor array.
The mech had two shoulders, both ending in adapter ports for arm mounted weapons. A Cossack could be equipped with a multitude of weapons. From Thermal Blades, M-42 Anti-Armor guns, even a miniature Topol SS-27 Tactical Nuke Launchers. Although, due to our enemies being underwater, this has limited our options. Three out of our five members use a combination of a grasping claw with an underslung Thermal Blade, and an anti-infantry Photo-Carbine. The forth was our dedicated heavy support. It used a Photon-Carbine but also carried a torpedo rail-gun for dealing with the massive apex predators the Gorgons made large use of. My mech was rather uniquely armed. It welded two grasping claws, with a ring of psychically conductive crystal around the wrists and in the palms. This allowed me to channel my powers through the mech itself.
We approached the war machines, my stomach feeling ready to burst out of my body. As we approached, we saw the remaining members of our squad. We used to be a full squad of ten. However, after several poorly planned maneuvers, we lost five of our comrades and their mechs. Two of them were good friends.
The first we saw was Manon, one of the few French members we had in our core. She always seemed to keep her distance from use, spending her downtime drawing these beautiful yet grim pictures. She mostly handled fire support, providing suppressing fire against the swarming Gorgons. She was followed by Jaxon. Jax was a bit of an oddity, from the former American territories. He was overly friendly, almost childlike in his behavior and interests. He was the last of our forward scouts. Silvia was already by her mech, impatiently waiting for the order to get in. I thought she seemed like a pleasant girl if a bit wild. She was the pilot of the heavy Cossack. She used her torpedoes to blast apart enemy fortifications and keep the predators at bay.      
We joined our squad, just as the command to enter our mechs was broadcast through our ear coms.
“Attention, First Recon Squad.” Called Admiral Keeganov. “Ready your mechs and prepare to embark.”
I cringed as he gave the order. As everyone went to their mechs, Sek stopped herself. She turned and gave me a hug.
“It’s going to be okay, Aya.” She whispered. “We can do this. You can do this.”
“I’ll try.” I said, forcing a giggle and returning the hug.
I approached my mech. Its armor bore the navy-blue and white of our core. On its left shoulder, it bore a red and blue shield with a white orthodox cross on it, the symbol of our planet’s military. On its right shoulder, it bore a gold and red Byzantine Aquila, with a lightning bolt striking behind it. The symbol of the Byzantine Order, the official organization that trained psychic soldiers.
I wanted so badly to run away as I entered the anti-gravity field. However, I knew that the second I showed fear in the face of my duty, I would disgrace our entire unit, and Sek would have to kill. I knew she would never kill me, and so she would be dishonorably discharged. I would never let that happen.
I floated up to my mechs upper back, my body slightly tingling with the nice sensation of weightlessness. A hatch slowly opened in the mechs upper back, just barely big enough for me to fit through. I was able to pull myself inside, finding myself in the familiar, cramped cock-pit of my mech.
I quickly slipped into my command chair, the artificial leather doing little to comfort me. Before me, was a control panel, with two joysticks, a keyboard, and two extendable wires on the sides beneath a blank screen. On either side of me where my rear and side view screens. Finally, just at my feet, where to control pedals, that controlled my mechs movement.
I took both wires and plugged them into the ports on my wrists. I felt a sharp pain for a moment, akin to a needle. Thankfully, it quickly faded.
Just as I plugged myself in, my mech slowly came online. The dim interior lights came on, showing the bleak, cramp interior of the war machine. The control panel slid within reach. The screens flickered to life, showing a real-time projection of the outside world. Finally, I felt the shackles extend from my chair and coldly clamp around my ankles. They were installed in most mechs, partly to keep the pilot from blacking out if your mech falls over, but also to keep them from abandoning it mid-battle.
The final step, I always hated. I reached around my chair to find a third cord on the back of the headrest. I pulled it around, to take a quick look at it. The jack was noticeably longer and thinner than the two in my wrists, with a twin-pronged point. I took a deep breath, but still cringed to my core. I lifted my hair and brought the jack to the back of my neck. I took one more deeper breath and started counting.
“One… Two…” I thought to myself, as I brought the jack closer to the port. “Three!” I said out loud, jamming the jack into my neck.
I felt a sharp pain for a moment as my nervous system and the computer of the mech began to merge. The most accurate way I could describe the experience is like going comatose for ten seconds. I was unable to move at all. I felt electric pulses running up and down my spine as my brain began to switch its priorities away from my organs and more towards my reflexes and my sixth sense. My breathing suddenly stopped, my eyes stung from not being able to blink, my hands ached from the cuts being stimulated. Every time we went into battle, I had to endure this ten seconds of hell.
When I got feeling back in my body, I lurched forward, grasping the arms of my chair. I began gasping for air, as I could finally breath again. I rubbed my eyes with my fingertips, wiping the tears away from my cheeks.
“Aya, you okay?” a voice asked over the mech’s com system.
I looked up to see the concerned face of Sek in a small window near the bottom right of the screen main.
“Ya,” I said, unable to hide the pain. “I’m fine.”
I looked into her beautiful bronze eyes. Sek was really the only reason I got out of bed every morning. I loved her more than my own agonizing life, and I would gladly give my life for her. I was even hoping that after our mandatory service, we could go into the workforce together, maybe even get married.
She nodded, clearly concerned about me. She blew me a kiss, as the window left the screen.
I waited a few seconds, as the anti-grav field slowly lowered my mech to the ground. I grasped both joysticks. Each stick controlled an arm, with five small buttons, allowing me to control the individual claws. I brought up the claws to my viewing range, pressing each button to test the joints. They worked good enough. I began to concentrate on my anger, letting my anger slowly build in my hands. The crystals on my mechs wrists began to glow a dark red. In a fraction of a second, an iridescent energy blade formed around the mech's closed fist. It was about the equivalent length of a long-knife and sparked with flickering energy emissions. I quickly dispersed the blade, finishing my systems check.  
I used the keyboard to turn the waist joint of my armor, bringing the rest of the mechs into view of the main camera. Silvia had already finished her system check and was moving towards the exit followed by Jax. Manon and Sek were just finishing up. I hesitated but moved towards Sek’s mech. Her mech was distinguishable from the rest as it had the war flag of the New USSR on it's right shoulder. A golden gear with the hammer, sickle and a sword crossing over it.    
Her mech began moving to follow the rest of our squad, I followed just behind her. The machines moved so nimbly, their double-jointed legs providing great balance to its otherwise top-heavy body. They were still heavy armored war machines though. With every step, the clawed feet collided to the ground with a satisfying boom.
We joined up outside into the front lot, forming a lopsided double-file line. We waited several minutes, only the occasional bit of inter-squad chatter keeping me company. Suddenly, the familiar shape of an Ipabog heavy shuttle came into view. Its bulky fuselage descending by use of anti-gravity thrusters.
The pilot’s voice suddenly arrived in our speakers. “First Recon Squad. This is Transport Graf- 34. ready for pick up.”
“Roger that, Graf-34,” Sek said. “Moving to embark.”
The ship slowly turned to face away from us as it reached ground-level. It’s landing gear extended as it touched down. The ships rear section opened to revile a large holding area, easily big enough for about ten Cossack-class mechs.
My squad somberly entered the transport shuttle, like lost souls entering the gates of hell. I hesitated. I wanted so badly to just turn and run, but I had nowhere to run to. I had no choice. I followed my squad into the darkness.  
Crucible in the Depths: Part 1
Aya is a typical psychic soldier in the United Soviet Star Republic. However, after her squad gets posted to the oceanic moon of Tallinn VI, half of her squad is lost, leaving her with a case of acute PTSD. After four weeks of consent hell, she has nearly lost her mind. Will she make it off this accursed world. Only time will tell.
Part 1-2

I would like to thank the always awesomewritingscifi65 Writingscifi65 for suggesting I write something out of my comfort zone. 
(Keep an eye open for some references to him and his friends.)
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I thank all those who voted for next weeks story. While I am slightly disappointed by the small turn-out (only one vote), I am happy that I got any votes at all.
Anyway, according to the vote, I will be writing something different than what I usually write. writingscifi65 has recommended that I "Write something outside of your comfort zone. You want to prove you have the chops to be a writer, do a Super Hero story, or something Sci-Fi or Western." This challenge has already given me some ideas. I'm thinking of combining one of his suggestion (Most likely Super Hero), along with a genre that I don't write in very often (I'm thinking something like horror or urban fantasy.) 
I will do my best to meet your expectation. However, this will take time. As such, Chapter 10 of Trials of Geia will be temporarily postponed. It will also be slightly later then I would like, considering my computer will be undergoing maintenance tomorrow (I am writing this to you before I unplug it.) I hope to have this out by (at the earliest) the 19th.
Thank you for reading, and feel free to give some suggestions if you are interested.   
As my Core membership draws to a (temporary) close, I want to make this last week something interesting. I want you to pick the next story for me to write. Select a theme from the poll, and leave a comment on any specifics for the story.
Hey guys. Alright, I just need to come clean with you all. I need to tell you where I've been for the past month and a half and announce a change coming to this page.
Alright, so where have I been for the past month and a half. That mainly comes down to school and my job. At school, we're preparing for the SOL's and my graduations. With this, came a mass of brain-frying work. Needless to say, this has taken priority over my writing. Along with that, for as much as I love my job at Ripley's, I can't deny how much it cuts into my writing time.
Now, aside from that, I have a few things I need to say. One is that you might have noticed that I took down Part 2 and the Epilog for Crucible of The Depths. After looking back at it with a critical eye, I took my friends advice and took it down to iron out the major flaws. I should have it reposed sometime in June. 
I also have an announcement about my upload schedule. I recently spoke with my friend Writerscifi65, and he brought something interesting to my attention. He said that I needed to loosen up on my upload schedule and spend more time editing my work. Looking back on my work, I can definitely see where he's coming from. However, there are few things that annoy me more than an inconsistent upload schedule, and I didn't want to fall into that trap. As such, I will be going back to my old biweekly upload schedule.
Anyway, thank you for reading this journal entry, and I do hope that my next story will make up for this absence. 

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Runshin Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Professional Digital Artist
150816 - Thank You-2 by Runshin  
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TheNovelLance13 Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome, good sir.
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wolfmoon25 Featured By Owner May 3, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for faving the 'Lore of Sendrith: Deities of Good' piece! There is PLENTY of more Sendrith-related and other content for your viewing pleasure! :)
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TheNovelLance13 Featured By Owner May 4, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Looking forward to it. Always loved reading about mythology.
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JoseMiguelBatistajr Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for favoring Imperator Tormenta: Neon Knights by JoseMiguelBatistajr :)
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TheNovelLance13 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
No problem, man. I only just started looking at your work, and I like what I see. Keep up the good work.
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Khornath Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the llama ~ appreciate it !
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TheNovelLance13 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
No problem, man. Keep up the good work.
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WildGirl91 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks for :+devwatch:! :hug:
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Will-Reierson Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017   Writer
Thank's for the watch, good sir :D

Hopefully my ramblings don't get too annoying.
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