Forever Soldiers: The Tyrus Chronicle - Book Four

War defines his past. Living haunts his present. Peace mocks his future.



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Forever Soldiers: The Tyrus Chronicle - Book Four

Months have passed since Tyrus ended a decade of war between Turine and Genesha by destroying the Geneshan’s sorcerous artifact. He had hoped that taking his family south would grant him the peace he desired, but even in the Southern Kingdoms war welcomes him instead.

Ava strikes a deal with the Southern Kingdom leaders to protect her brother, taking his place in their fight to protect their lands from invading forces. Having spent her adult life entrenched in battle, Ava doesn’t hold any illusions as to what awaits her. A new land, a new language, and new obstacles reinforce what she already knows—nothing in life is easy. Her men, an entire nation, and most of all, her family depends on her success.

Without a call of war to answer, Tyrus leads his group of settlers to their new town, taking on the role of mayor with the skills he has honed for more than a decade—assess, prioritize, plan, execute. When memories of the past begin to cloud his judgement, he is forced into a new kind of war. One he doesn’t know he can or wants to fight.

Once a soldier, forever a soldier.

Forever Soldiers is the final volume in The Tyrus Chronicle.



Forever Soldiers

Alone on a small rise that overlooked our camp in the humid lowlands of the Southern Kingdoms, I watched the sun dip below the horizon. A normal man would have seen the yellow sun against a blue sky and marveled at the newly forming shades of purple, pink, orange, and red. Some might have said a prayer of thanks to their gods for the destruction of the artifact that made such a sight common once again.

But not me. Despite my son’s best attempts, I was too pessimistic to really enjoy the simple things in life. And I never prayed.

My gaze paused on those reds, focusing especially on the deepest, darkest shades. Images of men under my command dying, bleeding out from chest and gut wounds seized hold of me. The haunting images threatened to consume me. I closed my eyes, willing the blasted memories away.

Calmed, I looked at the sunset once more.

The reds drew my attention again, but without the physical reaction. “What hell are we walking into now?”

For once, I hoped my instincts were mistaken. I made a fist to settle the shaking in my hand. It didn’t work. I thrust it into my pocket to hide the trembling. That was becoming a habit.

I hated to admit it, but I wasn’t sure how much more hell I could take.

“I guess however much is necessary,” I whispered.

We were too close to finally knowing peace for me to lose control. I refused to disappoint the thousand people who had stayed on with me, especially my friends and family. Nor would I allow myself to tarnish my wife’s memory in her homeland.

I looked away from the setting sun and turned my back to what had first drawn me to the top of the rise. Batna, the capital city of the Southern Kingdoms, stretched for miles in either direction. It overshadowed every other landmark around.

The massive walls looked to be well over eighty feet high. Compared to the remains of Hol’s walls months ago, everything about Batna appeared larger. Every one hundred feet, drum towers rose thirty feet above the walls. Several city buildings with sharp, slanting roofs dwarfed even those towers.

“Easy to find if you’re an invading army,” said Ira as he and Reuma came up beside me. “A blind man couldn’t miss it.”

I snorted, “I’d doubt the success of blind invaders.”

If there was one bright spot to what we had gone through in two wars with the Geneshans, it was that we never had to lay siege to some great stronghold like Batna. Even when we had attacked a Geneshan settlement, it was more town than city.

It was Ira’s turn to chuckle. He let out a long sigh. “Dekar would’ve loved to have seen this.”

“Definitely,” I agreed, putting a hand on his shoulder.

I let the silence linger rather than trying to make Ira feel better about losing his brother. I knew from personal experience that no matter the intention, I could say nothing that would fill the void that Dekar’s death had left. I also knew that though the pain had lessened during our journey south, it would never truly go away.

Gods, I missed Lasha.

“Can you imagine what it would take to assault something like that?” asked Reuma.

I could. There would be no surrounding a city of Batna’s size. Even focusing on the gates to prevent the city from resupplying would be difficult. The best chance for success would be a full-scale assault against one concentrated area and then hope for a little luck.

Phantom images of soldiers running full tilt with scaling ladders across their shoulders came to mind. Many carrying those ladders would be picked off by archers long before they even reached the base of the walls. Old injuries started aching as I imagined climbing those buckling ladders. My rear got to clenching when considering the odds of surviving long enough to reach the top. Siege towers and battering rams could help with the assault. However, the mangonels and ballista I assumed sat atop Batna’s drum towers would negate that strategy.

I was so relieved that none of it was real I almost said a prayer of thanks to Molak.

Almost. Real or not, I still hated that piece of dung.

“So long as the Southern Kingdoms have anything remotely close to a decent-sized force on those walls, I can’t imagine anyone breaking through. At least not without a blood bath,” I said.

My own words chilled me. From the look on Ira’s face, I guessed similar memories ran through his head.

“Let’s head back to camp,” I said finally. “We’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

It’d be nice if Batna’s walls could protect us from the horrors of war haunting us.

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