Here is a preview of “The Scarlet Thread”:
The reverberant cracks and booms that peeled through the dawn sky were penetrating Bastion’s thick, bronze-plated armor, jolting his bones as he crouched just inside the tree line on the eastern edge of the Garden. In a hundred years he had never seen anything like this. “Captain!” His Signal Officer whispered a little too loudly. Greatly annoyed that he was not in the air yet, Bastion pulled his massive, bronze-plated tower shield and pilum from his back, one in each hand, and stretched his wings as he crouch-walked through the thick foliage to find out if the news that he had been waiting for had finally arrived. He was more than ready to start pounding back at the Demonic Horde that were offending him with their presence. As he approached the patrol camp, Hoplites in gleaning, silvery splint mail, shields, and swords drawn; crouched down on one knee with wings at the ready which gave the angels the appearance of being under the tension of a fully drawn bow, ready to let fly at a moment’s notice; quietly and gracefully parted the inner cordon to let their Captain through. The Signal Officer was reminded at Bastion’s approach of just how lucky he was to be in the Merkava Legion as he watched the Captain approach. Standing two heads taller than the Hoplites and built like an immovable mountain, his massive chest and shoulders sported the Ox emblem of their unit and he was the very reason that those individuals selected for Heavy Armor in the Host were now called “Bastions.” The problem was that there were so very few of them…
As Bastion neared the Command Post, his usually undaunted gait was suddenly slowed by who he saw. “Gabe!” Bastion’s eyes widened as he saw his friend’s lean, tight-fitting leather armor that was now stained with the yellow-red splatters of sulfur from helmet to boot. Gabriel was a Messenger. He was not built for combat, but for speed. Speed was everything. It got messages where they needed to go, and information was everything in war. The entire angelic combat strategy revolved around Messengers.
But they weren’t supposed to engage in open combat unless….
“Bastion.” Gabriel looked through the T-slit in his smooth, dark brown leather helmet with silver-grey eyes that conveyed a sense of urgency and sadness like never before. With a low but resolute voice, Gabriel looked Bastion straight in the eyes and said in a clear, powerful voice, “Orion Option.” Bastion immediately pointed to his Signal Officer, “Make it so Sigo! Soldiers! On me for leg one in 90 seconds!”
The Sigo ran to the edge of the clearing and got his first clear view of what was happening. The dome of patrols that the Host of angels had been holding strong for a century was cracking at too many points of impact. Everywhere he could see, large formations of demonic hoplites were escorting their heavies into seemingly random Host formations all along the dome’s perimeter. Each time the bodies of the forces met, there were dull popping sounds as thousands of warriors collided with their marks which was followed by the awesome booms when the Bastions collided with their demonic counterparts, the Fists. And the Fists were bigger. Much bigger. Everywhere a Fist unit hit, it broke through and caused havoc among the ranks. Thousands upon thousands were falling from the sky as the carnage raged. And now, the Sigo would pull all forces to him, sacrifice tens of thousands more who would be exposed as their units came to his aid, all to get Gabriel to the Rock. The Orion Option had never been attempted before.”