Rough Cut

OK, adding that war scene in Azam? Far too much fun, and might be just filler, but it means I can write things like this added excerpt from God’s War:


Rhys heard a low whine start up from outside, too high for the muezzin. He cocked his head. He knew the sound, but couldn’t place it.

Anneke turned to look out the window, and Khos pushed himself away from the wall.

“Fucking incoming!” Nyx yelled, and before Rhys had time to understand what she was yelling about, he was on a pallet on the floor with Nyx on top of him.

A heavy thud and whump shook the whole house, and something rained against the unfiltered glass.

Anneke scrambled across the floor in front of him toward a gear bag stowed against the far wall. Nyx pulled herself off Rhys, and he realized his face was wet with her sweat. His whole body tingled. There was some bug in the air, something… He looked toward the window and saw centipedes crawling along the outside.

“Anneke!” Nyx said, and she had pulled off her burnous and pulled a duel-barreled acid rifle from one of the gear bags.

Anneke threw Rhys a scattergun.

Rhys shook his head. “I don’t –“

“They’re coming in ground!” Nyx said, her shoulder pressed against the gauzy window frame, one eye on the world outside.

“Ground?” Rhys said.

“Means Nasheenians are in the city,” Anneke said, scrambling past him, shotgun slung over her shoulder, sniper rifle in hand.

Khos said, “You see them?”

“I’ve got a scout in the alley,” Nyx said. “Cancel that. He’s waving his fucking squad through. Fuck.”

Khos pulled both pistols.

Rhys’s hands were shaking. He raised one arm, closed his eyes, looked for a swarm. Several responded. Four wild, and two locked and specialized. Whatever squad was coming down the alley, they had at least one magician with them.

“Don’t fire unless I call it,” Nyx said.

“Boss?” Anneke said.

“They’re Nasheenians. Don’t fire without my call.”

“Nyx – “ Khos said.

“Nyxnissa,” Rhys said, opening his eyes. He saw the sweat beading her forehead, her glistening bare arms. The gun was heavy, and as she stood against the window frame in her short tunic and knee-high trousers, baldric too tight, he saw the power in her arms, the muscle under her flesh. He had felt it when she pushed him to the floor, the weight of her.

She turned to them, outlined in the blue haze of the coming night, and in her face, the hard jaw and suddenly flat, fathomless eyes, he saw the woman who had burned at the front. He was suddenly breathless.

“I said you don’t fire without my call. Those are my boys,” Nyx said.


Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

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