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Crux Magi

Crux Magi

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War has engulfed the Nexus.
Death and destruction are everywhere.
But Amanda has a plan.

The Nexus has fractured. Dynasties fight each other in a war that spans thousands of light-years.

Amanda and the Terran Foundation are at the heart of it.
The Dynasties want her help as they engage in brutal Magical warfare, but Amanda has other worries.

A distant colony has been attacked.
The invasion of the Crux has begun, just when the Nexus is at it’s most vulnerable.

In a bid to end the war, Amanda takes on a perilous mission.
But the consequences of this action could be catastrophic.

Urban Fantasy goes intergalactic in this Epic Space Fantasy that fans of Warhammer 40K, Star Wars and Dune are sure to love.

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Endless War
Sheridan, Velorum System, Terran Foundation, 250 Light-years from Sol

Dain stood on the rear ramp of the dropship as it banked and dropped towards the plascrete. He held onto one of the struts as they came in behind TFSF lines. They were on the outskirts of the city, and there was just a single forlorn squad left of the operation to take the airfield.
The Accord was fighting a losing battle on Sheridan, and with just one more push, they might be able to break their resolve and force them to retreat.
Dain hoped that taking this airfield might be part of that push.
As they dropped the last few metres, enemy fire struck the dropship's armour, with little effect at this range.
Dain ducked, but the armour held firm before they dropped out of sight.
~Trying to get yourself killed?~ Porsha asked.
Dain turned and looked back into the hold, where Porsha stood with the rest of his squad. His helmet withdrew, and he smiled at her. ~Why, would you miss me?~
Porsha raised her eyebrows. ~Perhaps a little.~
~I’ll take it.~
The intense fighting on Sheridan—a planet on the front lines of the Accord’s offensive against the Nexus—had served to tighten the bonds between his squadmates, including between himself and Porsha.
The dropship bumped down. Nearby, a man in TFSF armour with the markings of a sergeant stood waiting for them. His armour had seen better days, Dain noticed as he approached, flanked by two privates.
“I warned you to stay out of their sightlines, sir,” the sergeant remarked.
“I know, Sergeant,” Dain replied. “But I wanted to see the lay of the land. How’s it going?”
“Well, as you can see, they have us pinned down. We’ve tried to get over there, but so far, no luck.”
“Well, Sergeant Orin, let’s see what we can do to change that.”
“Yes sir,” he replied, glancing at Porsha. “You’re a Magus, right?”
“I am,” Porsha replied.
“We both are,” Dain added.
“I think there’s at least one Accord Magus in there, from what I can infer.”
“We’ll take that under advisement, Sergeant,” Dain answered, and turned to his squad. “Fan out. Get a lay of the land, we want options.”
Griff, Elva, and the others replied in the affirmative and moved out as Dain turned to Porsha. ~What do you think?~
~I think you’re enjoying ordering them around, aren’t you?~ she asked privately through their Mental Link.
Dain shrugged.
~Yeah, I thought so.~ Porsha turned to the nearby Sergeant and got his attention. “Are there any sewers around here?”
“There are, but they’ve been blown to bits between here and there,” he answered, pointing to the main building on the airbase where the Accord troops were holed up.
Porsha smiled. “Then we’ll just have to make our own tunnel.”
“Oh, good,” Dain cut in, “for a moment there, I thought you were going to force us to walk through shit.”
“If I need someone to walk through shit, trust me, you’ll be the first to know,” she replied.
Further investigation confirmed their suspicions that a tunnel was almost certainly going to be the only way over there for both squads, something that he knew Porsha could do easily enough. But they’d need to be discreet, and ideally, have a distraction while they worked.
“Alright guys, this is the plan. Porsha’s going to create a tunnel between here and there. I’m going with her to provide back up in case we encounter anything, but I need all you guys up here, laying down some covering fire as a distraction.”
“Do you think that’ll be enough?” Griff asked.
“Maybe, maybe not. Get inventive if you need to. Make some dummy runs to get over there. The key is to keep them from realising we’re going to pop up from beneath them.”
Griff nodded. “Copy that.”
“Good, then let’s do this,” Dain ordered, and his men moved out to find their firing positions. ~Fire when ready,~ Dain ordered, as he stood beside Porsha waiting for the distraction to begin before they made their move.
Seconds later, gunfire split the atmosphere, and Porsha summoned her Magic. Immediately, a huge borehole appeared in the ground, angled down, and Porsha set off down it, striding as she walked, her hand raised as she focused on her Magic.
In Dain’s Aetheric Sight, he could see the Essentia she was moving through herself to fuel her Magic. Ahead of her, the rock and stone transformed into air at an impressive speed.
“Have you done this before?” Dain asked.
“Concentrating,” Porsha replied, continuing on.
“Oh, sorry.” He didn’t mean to distract her. They hadn’t gone far before Porsha’s tunnel intersected with a sewer pipe, and wastewater began to flow into the tunnel.
“Oh, yuk,” Dain commented as he shouldered his weapon and checked in each direction, his Aetheric Sight cutting through the darkness. They were alone, as far as he could tell.
~How’s it going up there?~ Dain Linked to Griff.
~So far so good. We’re drawing fire from them. I think we have their attention.~
~Excellent, keep it up. We’re making good progress.~
~Pleased to hear it, sir,~ Griff answered with a note of sarcasm in his reply. Dain let it go. Some of the squad were still a little disdainful towards him following his Epiphany. He’d gone from being the grunt of the squad to outranking everyone but Porsha.
They were more used to it now, but for a while, things had been difficult.
Porsha cut through a collapsed tunnel, and then another sewer pipe and some water mains, adding to the stream of water that now flowed along the bottom of the new tunnel.
“We’re coming up on the enemy position,” Porsha warned him.
“I see it,” Dain answered, his Aetheric Sight cutting through the layers of rock above him, giving him a sense of the building above. He could detect several life signs, as well.
~Griff, ready the squad, we’re nearly at the target.~
~Ready when you are. Just give the word.~
“Alright, we’re here,” Porsha called out, stopping as her Magic faded. “I’m ready to cut through, up into the building. Get the squad down here.”
~Griff, get down here. Leave only a token force to hold the position.~
~On our way,~ the squad leader called out.
The tunnel roof above them exploded.
Dain flung himself back and away as chunks of rock clunked off his armour. He landed in the rubble and rolled up into a crouch. He brought his weapon up as he looked up into the hole a short distance away. Two seconds passed, and he spotted movement. Dain squeezed the trigger and spat Essentia-infused, metallic death at the figure he saw through the hole. His rounds hit home, and the figure dropped. They returned fire wildly, their bullets slamming into the floor ahead of him.
Behind him, Dain could hear the sounds of distant footsteps. His squad was approaching. He scanned the rubble for any sign of Porsha. He couldn’t see her, but he could sense life under the rocks. ~Porsha, you alive under there?~
He waited, but there was no reply.
Damn it.
Bullets slammed into the rocks just next to him. Ducking right, Dain took a few steps forward and spotted another trooper. She squeezed a few off, hitting the edge of the hole more than anything else, kicking up dust. He backed up.
~Porsha? Are you there?~ he asked again.
Rocks shot up from the rubble and through the hole like speeding bullets. Dust exploded, followed by the yells and screams of people in pain in the building above. As the dust cleared, Dain spotted Porsha standing up from the pile of rubble.
~Well don’t just sit there, get over here,~ Porsha ordered him.
~Copy that,~ he replied and jumped up, picking his way over the rubble as Porsha floated up through the hole, carried through the air by her Magic. As she moved, gunfire rang out. Essentia flared, rocks were flung, and men screamed in pain.
Dain climbed to the highest part of the pile and jumped for the edge of the hole. He caught it and hauled himself up. Porsha stood nearby, and several prone, unmoving bodies lay strewn across the floor.
“Nice work,” Dain said.
“Thanks. Help them up will you?” She pointed down the hole.
Dain moved and helped their squad up through the hole.
“I thought there was a Magus up here?” he directed the question at Porsha.
“So did I, but he’s not here now,” she answered.
Dain grunted. “Let’s finish this.”
“Agreed,” Porsha replied and led the group through the room and out into a corridor. There were panicked shouts up ahead, marking the direction of the enemy troopers. The group followed, moving carefully up the hallway and checking side rooms, but the voices were ahead of them.
The corridor branched to their right ahead, the voices were coming from that direction. In Dain’s Aetheric Sight, he filtered the view to pick up sonic vibrations and spotted them coming from that right turn ahead.
~On the right, you see it?~ Porsha asked.
~Got it,~ Dain confirmed as Porsha’s Magic flared.
~I’ve got two guards just around the corner,~ she stated and looked back to him. ~Ready to take them out?~
Dain nodded and pointed to Jaik and Lana behind him. ~You two, up. Two targets beyond that corner, then take point. Porsha and I will follow, Griff and Elva follow us in, Braydi and Lexi bring up the rear.~
Everyone confirmed their understanding and reshuffled. After a count of three, Jaik and Lana ducked out and shot the two guards, putting a burst of almost-silent bullets into them. Dain was right behind them as the two on-point moved into the room.
Gunfire sounded as they entered the room. Dain moved for cover with Porsha, making sure to spread out away from their squad. Leaning out, Dain spotted several guards in the large room. There were a couple of gantries above, and the enemy troopers were spread throughout the room. Dain fired on one, knocking him back with his Essentia-infused ammunition.
Beside him, Porsha boosted her Aegis. ~Cover me,~ she said.
Dain nodded as Porsha stood and strode out into the room, drawing fire that pinged off her Aegis. Dain popped up, along with the rest of the squad—who were inside the room by now—and fired back.
In Dain’s Aetheric Sight, another glowing figure stepped out to meet Porsha. The enemy Magus attacked her right away.
Lightning flew across the room and slammed into her Aegis as Dain focused on the Accord troopers and picked off two more in quick succession. Porsha retaliated, sending a devastating particle beam at the Accord Magus that tore at his Aegis. The Essentia in her attack hit the Accord Magus hard, making him stumble back. In a break in enemy fire, Dain aimed his weapon at the Magus and fired.
Porsha lashed out.
Lightning arced across the room from the Accord Magus and smashed into Dain’s Aegis. He hit the floor with a thud that sent pain across his back. With a grunt, he rolled over and picked himself up.
~Are you okay?~ Porsha asked.
~Fine, don’t worry about me,~ Dain replied as he took a breath. His ribs ached. He took two more seconds to recover and refocus, then he popped up in time to see Porsha destroy the man’s Aegis and then fry him with a lightning bolt. To his right, Jaik and Lana broke from cover and advanced into the room. Dain spotted another soldier and took him out with a quick burst of fire, while his squad did likewise.
Five seconds later, the room fell silent.
Dain broke cover and moved into the room, his weapon ready, but no one else showed themselves.
~Sweep the building,~ Dain ordered his squad. ~Let’s make sure we got them all.~
They moved out as Dain stepped up to Porsha. “Are you okay?”
“Fine,” she replied without emotion. She was gazing down at the dead Magus at her feet. “Such a waste.”
Dain nodded. “I know. It’s madness.”
“We’d best report in,” Porsha suggested.
“Let’s finish our sweep of the building first,” Dain suggested.
It didn’t take long to discover that the rest of the building was empty. They reported it back to the sergeant before reporting in to Commander Graz. Dain listened in to the Link.
~The Airbase is secure, sir,~ Porsha said.
~Excellent news,~ Graz replied. ~This planet is basically safe now. The Accord is in retreat.~
~Good to hear,~ Porsha replied.
~If you say so, Knight. The war isn’t going quite so well elsewhere. We have reports that the Accord is rolling through Templar Knight Space and Dimande Dynasty space. The Terran Foundation might be holding its own for the time being, but not everyone is so lucky.~
~I’m sorry to hear that, sir.~
~Make sure everything is secure over there and wait for new orders. Graz out.~
The Link cut off, and Porsha looked over at Dain, raising her eyebrows.
“The Templars and the Dimande?” Dain asked.
Porsha nodded. “Both are in bad positions. The Dimande is cut off, on the other side of Accord territory, and the Templars are right in no-man’s land between the Larzentus and Arcturus Dynasties.”
“Shit,” Dain replied.

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