A teaser from my newest Domains novel, Bloodlust: The Sum of Hate.
“We know you did the right thing, Centurion Hephus,” said Legionnaire Bron. “Without you, the whole Legion would be buried in the mud at Fort Nerus now. That bastard Skavetz put words in our mouths to make you look bad. We stand with you, brother. I will set the record straight in my written statements.”
“Thank you, Legionnaire,” said Hephus, looking tired. “I am glad to hear that.”
“Avey, Ninth!” said Vintia loudly as their little cadre approached. Hephus and the others snapped to attention.
Hephus smiled as he saw them. “Vintia, Aelius, Teven, what about your other duties?”
Vintia laughed. “The Twins are well taken care of Hephus. They are currently being spoiled by my sister and some of our neighbours. You on the other hand look like you taken an extra tour of duty in the swamps of east Niyiki.”
“She’s right,” said Teven. “Now that this travesty is over, let us leave this place and seek out friendlier surroundings. I know a lovely little place just down the hill from the parade square that serves the best Sea of Sands spiced snake.”
Hephus actually smiled. “You know, that actually sounds like a truly exceptional idea, Legate. I love Sea of Sands cuisine.”
“I know,” said Teven. “And don’t worry about the grandstanding of Assemblyman Skavetz, Hephus. Legion Command has your back. They may even know of an amendment that will allow you to keep your rank, since it was acclaimed by the men in time of battle.”
“Teven, I don’t think–”
Hephus’s words were drowned out as they opened a door and a tide of noise washed over them. Vintia, who had expected this isolated exit to be clear of obstruction, was so shocked that she reached for her sword, even though it was not there. Outside the door, dozens of Iron Faction artificers waited, surrounded by a large, rowdy crowd of Nullifiers who were trying to push past them. Publius, the leader of the Iron Faction stood facing the door, dressed as if he had come straight from his workbench. The Nullifiers surged and roared as they caught sight of Hephus.
“THERE HE IS!”
“YOU KILLED OUR BOYS!”
“GIFTED SCUM, GIFTED SCUM!”
Drunk on the hateful rhetoric of the day, they shoved and spat and shouted. Then Vintia was glad of the phalanx of sturdy Iron Faction members in front of them, holding the most rabid members of the Nullifiers at bay. Any sign of joy died on Hephus’s face, as the members of the Ninth closed about him.
Publius stepped forward, offering his hand to Hephus.