This week is book three of the Domains of the Chosen, Bloodlust: The Shield Maiden. I often look upon this book as a failure of kind. I failed to keep up the momentum from Domains of the Chosen #2 by naming it Warbound: The Shield Maiden on release. My plan was to signal that this book took place outside the arena, but all I did was confuse readers. Sales picked up after I changed the name, but it took two more books to recover.
This scene is from the middle of the book, and has been altered to cut spoilers.
The Spire Lady shook her head. “You are deluded Legate. You hold two of my people. You have no right to shelter them–”
The Legate raised his hand, swiftly, cutting the Kirifan woman off. Her Elites stirred, like angry bees. The Legate smiled and spoke. “I’m afraid that I do, Spire Lady [Click]kith. The laws of my people are quite clear in these matters. I must do my best to protect any citizens of the Empire who shelter with me. Your daughters-in-law became citizens of the Empire when they married the Chosen. I have a clear duty to shelter the citizens of the Domains, under the laws of my homeland. My hands are tied. They remain with us, unless you can convince them to return of their own free will.”
“Don’t be foolish Legate,” said the Spire Lady. “Look at what you are facing. You cannot possibly face the united armies of Kirif and survive. You are alone here, cut off from your people and surrounded by enemies. Make pragmatic choices and you might survive to return home. You gain nothing by keeping these [Click]ka.”
Lady [Click]kith spat the last word; the Legate laughed.
“If we are speaking frankly, perhaps we should invite the Deomen to this talk as well. After all, while you may be able to defeat us I will make sure to bloody the waters enough that the sharks come calling. The Deomen are watching. Your city is wounded Spire Lady; two citizens of Krass are not worth the hardship that will come if you face us.”
“Will your men die for these whores?” snarled the Spire Lady.
“No,” said the Legate. “They will kill for these women. They will drown this field in Kirifan blood to protect their citizens and their brothers and sisters in arms. They will fight to the last Legionnaire, if they must, having seen the viciousness with which you turn upon your allies. And as they fall, they will be comforted by the knowledge that if they do not return, then the Legions will seek out their lost brethren. My people will come here, in force. You cannot understand what this means, but remember that your husband saw our power and that is why he chose to ally with us. One Legion put flight to your greatest foes. This was an expedition of peace. What will you do when we come for war?”
Here we have a bit of a culture clash between a Kirifan noble and a Legion Commander. It takes place on the field as the Legion is withdrawing to seek safety.
The war altar flashed again, blasting men and spears into the air, followed moments later by a great concussive boom. A cry of dismay went up from the Kirifans in that section, and they wavered. Had they not been defending their homes they would have broken and run.
In the shadow of the Eastern spires the Kirifan Phalanx struggled against the Deomen horde. The scale of the battle was overwhelming and frantic, more like the shifting tides than the acts of men.
Headtaker finished a wounded Silver Mask with a dismissive kick, pausing to survey the field as the Phalanx pulled up and reformed behind her. The Kirifans communicated their battle orders with a series of fluid sounds that she could hear even over the din of battle. She saw the gap in their lines where she was needed most and ran toward it.
Their goal was to hold the Eastern Bridge. It was a grim effort. The immense War Altar had shattered the wall of eastern Kirif and was now turning its power against the armies holding the breach. Wherever it struck the brave Kirifan Hoplites were reduced to red ruin and chaos.
In the wake of each blast the Deomen surged forward. They did so now, howling gleefully, a dozen warped giants wearing Gold Masks at the forefront. Kirifan siege engines fired, glass globes spreading noxious fumes among the enemy. One of the crews, by fortune or by skill, shattered a globe of clear liquid on the face of a Gold Mask, melting both mask and face, sending the beast sprawling, drawing a cheer from the Kirifan lines. The Spireless, now armed as skirmishers or with discarded Deomen slings bombarded the Howlers from above as the lines closed.
This bit is from the first siege of Kirif, where Gavin and Sadira are drawn into a larger conflict, that will culminate in book 5.