The Chronicles of Alcinia Book VI
by Miriam Newman
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
Grandson of one of history’s greatest generals, Sergius is a warrior without equal. It has been easy for him to be a hero when he was expected to be. When he finds himself fighting for the freedom of his grandfather’s country and the heart of a woman, he must be a hero because he is.
The walls of the city were so dark, so immense, they stood out against the moonlit sky.
“How do you get over that?” he asked the commander who had issued the order to burn bodies.
“You don’t,” that one said, flashing him a smile in the dark. Sergius could see it by the light of hundreds of torches they had lit not only for themselves, but also for the Domidians. An intimidating display suggesting great numbers of troops was a mental game.
“You burn them,” the other man said.
Heavy horses kept for the purpose had dragged up land-borne versions of the hurlers Havacians traditionally used at sea. Like those, they had been fitted with flaming balls of pitch heated over immense bonfires. Omana had no shortage of wood and scores of teams had been busily hauling it from all over territory they now occupied, to feed the fires that would burn Xanthus. Even as he watched, the first fireballs flew.
“You’ll burn down the whole city!” Sergius protested.
“Yes,” his commander admitted. “People are going to die in there.”
It was a sound battle tactic, keeping his troops from being targeted by those on the walls, but directly contravened their orders to spare Omanis. Sergius’s entire mission would be jeopardized before he even had time to begin.
“If you burn their city, they will never work with us! King Yuri’s order was to spare them, not just their sheep.”
The commander shrugged. “My orders were to keep my men alive.”
It was a complete failure of imagination. Sergius felt his temper hit the top of his skull.
Believe it and make them believe it.
“You are relieved of your command,” he said.
The other man looked at him as if he had lost his mind. “On whose authority?”
“Mine,” Sergius said. “I am Sergius Magistri, cousin to King Yuri, and you are relieved.”
The commander hesitated.
“NOW!” Sergius bellowed. He beckoned imperiously to two Havacian troopers on either side of the commander. “Take him.”
Not waiting to see if they had obeyed, he spun his horse in a deliberate move he had learned from his father, forking him with one spur, making Arrow rear. It gave better visibility.
“Omanis!” he screamed. “Follow me or your people die.”
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Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals. You can see my books at www.miriamnewman.com.
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