This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

SIGNED -- Battle for Peace (The Silent Champions #2)


A vast barbaric army is on the march. One hardened captain and his elite commandos are the kingdom’s last hope…

Captain Aravon fights to honor and avenge those who died under his command. Groomed for battle by his famous father, he’s proud to stand alongside his six special-ops officers against impossible odds. But as enemy forces surround his starving countrymen, a spy within his own ranks could turn Aravon’s mission into his final downfall.

Still scrambling to root out the traitor, he must recruit a rival warrior clan to join forces against the barbarian invaders. But when the infiltrator sabotages his plan of attack, the beleaguered captain fears his war-weary legionnaires will fall in another bloody massacre.

Outnumbered and under full assault, will Aravon taste vengeance or suffer crushing defeat?

Buy Battle for Peace to witness a band of brothers bring down an army today!


(Each paperback is hand-signed and personalized by me. Swag included!)

elite warriors
special forces unit
band of brothers
secret identity
Roman Legion

SIGNED -- Battle for Peace (The Silent Champions #2)

Look Inside

“In and out without a sound.” Captain Aravon spoke in a voice pitched low for the five figures crouched in the alleyway beside him. “No casualties.”

Lieutenant Colborn grunted—Aravon couldn’t tell if it signaled acknowledgement or disapproval, and the snarling greatwolf mask concealed the half-Fehlan soldier’s expression.

Noll, however, made no secret of his feelings. “We’re hunting a traitor, Captain.” The little scout’s words came out in a harsh whisper. “Seems to me a few bodies dropped would send a clear enough message about what happens to bastards who sell out the Princelands to the Eirdkilrs.”

“No.” Aravon’s tone brooked no argument. “We’ve no proof that Duke Leddan is, in fact, in league with our enemies, only suspicion. Until we’ve confirmed it, he’s still Duke of Oldcrest. Which means we go in using non-lethal weapons. Got it?”

Belthar and Skathi nodded. Colborn answered with another grunt, this one tinged with a hint of acquiescence. Zaharis shot Aravon the silent hand signal for “Understood.”

Aravon turned to Noll. “Are you clear on your orders, Noll?” He gritted his teeth, forced himself to remain calm. Noll, like most Legion scouts, had a stubborn, independent streak—the result of spending far too many days alone in the wilderness south of the Chain. That tenacity made him an invaluable weapon against the enemy, but an occasional thorn in a Commander’s side.

Finally, the scout shrugged. “Yes, Captain,” he signed. “But if he is the filthy traitor…” He needed no signals to complete his thought; his hand dropped to one of the three daggers tucked into his belt.

“If he is, the Duke will sort him out.” Aravon turned to Colborn and Skathi. “You know your parts to play?”
Colborn answered with a nod and, turning, slipped down the darkened alleyway. His part of the mission led him away from Ironcastle’s main avenue, off toward the eastern edge of nearby Ironcastle Keep.

Skathi unslung her horsebow and adjusted the strap of her black cloth-wrapped quiver. “Consider your backs watched.”

The Agrotora disappeared into the darkness, heading west. She paused only long enough to glance up and down the main avenue before darting across and into the shadows of an alleyway opposite them. She, too, would follow the circumference of the high stone wall ringing Duke Leddan’s fortress until she got into position.

Aravon noted the way Belthar’s eyes followed Skathi’s retreating figure. He owed Belthar a conversation the first chance he got, but time had been in short supply after the discovery of Silver Break Mine. The disappearance of an entire mining camp without so much as a trace took priority over Belthar’s quiet infatuation for Skathi. As long as it didn’t interfere with their mission, he’d have to let it slide one day more.
Swordsman, watch over us and guide our steps, Aravon prayed silently. He almost reached for the silver sword that had once hung around his neck, but stopped. He no longer wore the pendant. It had gone to the grave with Draian, the Mender slain in the battle for Bjornstadt.

A pang of sorrow twisted in his stomach at the memory of their healer’s pale, bloodstained face as they set fire to his bier. Draian’s death weighed heavy on him, as did the death of every soldier of Sixth Company that fell in the Eirdkilr ambush on the Eastmarch. It didn’t matter that casualties were a part of war—he’d vowed he would do everything in his power to protect the men under his command.

Aravon’s heart pounded an impatient beat as he waited for Colborn and Skathi to reach their designated posts. He shifted his leather mask, his fingers playing over the details of a snarling greatwolf etched into the alchemically-hardened surface. Yet another reminder of Draian. He’d had to wear the Mender’s mask after an Eirdkilr sword had sheared through his own. Hrolf Hrungnir, the bastard who had killed every man of Sixth Company, had nearly killed him again. Though the leader of the Blodhundr lay dead, his body rotting six feet underground, Aravon would carry the memory of the Eirdkilr chieftain forever.

His left arm, shattered in the ambush, would never hold a Legion shield again. The still-healing wound on his face would scar. And the burden of guilt on his shoulders would never truly lighten.

A hand on his shoulder brought Aravon back to the moment. “Time, Captain,” Zaharis signed in the silent hand language of the Secret Keepers.

With a nod, Aravon turned to Noll. “Go!”

The little scout slipped off into the shadows without a sound. After a moment, Aravon followed, with Zaharis and Belthar close behind them.

The shadows of the alley provided ample cover for their stealthy approach on Ironcastle Keep, though more than once Aravon grimaced as something squelched beneath his boots. A noxious miasma of mingled stale urine, stagnant water, and rotting food hung thick and oppressive around him. The odors seeped through his thick leather mask and twisted his stomach.

His heart hammered as a crash sounded from just around the next corner. He paused at the intersection, glanced toward the source of the noise. His white-knuckled grip on his sword hilt relaxed as a gaunt, mange-covered hound dashed past, scared by the flowerpot it had knocked over.

Drawing in a deep breath, Aravon steeled his nerves and continued his stealthy trek through the alleys of Ironcastle. He had only a few hundred yards to cover before reaching his goal: the towering walls of Ironcastle Keep itself.

Like so many other cities in the Princelands, Ironcastle had sprung up around the fortress—built to keep out enemy Fehlan tribes during the early days of conquest, when the Princelands were just forming. Ironcastle Keep had been well-maintained, its stone walls high and strong, its gate manned at all hours of day and night. The city around it, however, had been built for the comfort and convenience of those living and working in the fortress and its vicinities. Over time, it had grown from a single fortress in hostile territory to one of the largest cities on Fehl.

Yet with growth came chaos. The broad Legion-built avenue was the only truly straight road in the city; most of Ironcastle was dominated by a mind-boggling maze of alleys, back lanes, and side streets. Plenty of hiding places for soldiers sneaking toward Ironcastle Keep on a mission to hunt a traitor.

Ironcastle, more than a hundred miles north of the Chain, hadn’t been attacked in more than three hundred years. Peace had lulled Duke Leddan’s troops into a security that bordered on complacent inattention. They marched the rounds and held the keep’s towers, doing their duties as Ironcastle’s established city guard. Though a handful were veterans who had guarded Oldcrest’s southernmost fortresses on the Chain, most were little better than adequately-trained militia. Those men trusted closed gates and high stone walls to keep out enemies—of which there were few.

Oldcrest had little industry, its primary commodities were grass, hay, and young men recruited into the Legion of Heroes. Duke Leddan wasn’t particularly admired, feared, or hated. His personal fortunes, insubstantial to begin with, had taken a hard hit in recent years due to a combination of poor investments, a dearth of military-age men, and heavy drought.

That made him the perfect suspect for what had happened at Silver Break Mine. A fraction of its haul—according to Duke Dyrund, “the richest silver mine discovered in more than a century”—would be ample incentive for the fiscally struggling Leddan to consider selling the secret of its location. A secret known only by the five Dukes on Prince Toran’s council, the Prince himself, and few others.

Aravon didn’t want to believe that Duke Leddan was the traitor—or that any Princelander would sell out to the Eirdkilrs—but Duke Dyrund had insisted he and his company pay Oldcrest’s ruler a visit to find out for certain.

As their steps led north, Aravon finally got his first glimpse of Ironcastle Keep. It certainly lives up to its reputation, he decided.

The keep’s walls, built during the days of battle, stood more than fifty feet tall and three feet thick. Battlements ringed its top, with a guard tower at the four corners of the perimeter. Earlier that day, Aravon had gotten a good look at the southern entrance—once sealed, with the portcullis down, not even a battering ram would get through those enormous iron-banded wooden gates. And none had. Over fifty years of battle, before the Legion pushed the Fehlan tribes farther south, no enemy had ever breached that wall.

Beyond the wall, Ironcastle Keep itself rose to nearly a hundred feet tall, with four turrets overlooking the keep’s interior and the city of Ironcastle itself. Pennants bearing the Duke of Oldcrest’s insignia—a snarling hunting hound rampant on a field of sable—waved and snapped in the evening breeze.

Aravon scanned the keep’s turrets. Colborn and Noll had both assured him they’d be empty—no need to man them in time of peace—but he had to be certain. The wrong pair of eyes in the wrong place, and they’d be spotted before they ever got close to Duke Leddan.

Darkness met his eyes. A full minute passed and he caught no sign of movement in either the southern or western turrets. Satisfied, he turned back to the wall. A younger, less experienced man might have insisted that they’d never get into the fortress unseen. But, as Aravon knew all too well, every stronghold had its weaknesses.

The Legion of Heroes sharpened the tips of the logs that made up its palisade walls, yet Eirdkilr furs were thick enough to protect the barbarians clambering over the top. Wooden gates could be harnessed to teams of horses and torn from their hinges, or battered down beneath a heavy ram or the onslaught of the seven-foot-tall Eirdkilrs. Keeps like Ironcastle had solid gates of steel and metal built to withstand heavy siege, yet there was always a way in. Bribe a guard, slit the throats of an unwary patrol, or steal a uniform and stroll in through the front disguised as an Ironcastle regular.

Had they had more time, Aravon might have considered two of those three options. But they couldn’t spend days doing reconnaissance, scouting the castle’s layout, drinking with the guards, and setting up their mission. Duke Dyrund had made the urgency of their mission plain—they had to find out who the Princelander traitor was now, before they sold any more confidential information to the Eirdkilrs.

Tonight was the last night of the new moon, which gave them ample cover of darkness for their mission. Perfect for finding a non-lethal way of getting past Duke Leddan’s guards.

Aravon had little experience with this sort of thieves’ work, but fifteen years in the Legion had taught him the value of letting the men under his command play to their strengths. Aside from his impressive brawn, it turned out one of Belthar’s strengths was a surprisingly devious mind when it came to breaking into places. He’d formulated their plan of attack—with a few modifications from Noll and Zaharis—without hesitation. Aravon couldn’t help wondering where the hulking Belthar had obtained such skills; one more layer to the man he had yet to uncover.

Now, however, he trusted that Belthar, Noll, and Zaharis’ plan would work. He had no choice; none of the others had offered better alternatives.

A flash of movement from atop the keep’s outer wall caught Aravon’s eye. The hem of Colborn’s cloak caught a glint of firelight as he crested the parapet and slid into the guard tower. Aravon tensed in expectation of a shout of alarm, tightening his grip on his sword hilt. Yet, after long seconds, only silence reached him, and his fist relaxed.

He turned to Zaharis, who padded along beside him, and signed, “Seems your Sleeping Lily did its work.”

“I should be offended you doubted me, Captain,” the Secret Keeper signed back. “Then again, I was the one that said I wasn’t certain it would, so that’s on me.”

Aravon chuckled, but his rejoinder was cut short as a length of black rope dropped over the wall and Colborn’s masked face appeared in the guard tower’s window. The Lieutenant shot them the “All clear!” sign before ducking out of sight.

As planned, Noll went up the rope first, scaling the wall with the agility of a veteran sailor darting through a ship’s riggings. Zaharis’ speed put the scout’s to shame; he seemed to run up the wall, his hands moving in time with his feet.

Aravon’s ascent proved far less painless. His left arm had recovered strength enough to wield a spear, yet his elbow joint still pained him, twisted his muscles at an uncomfortable angle. The wounds he’d sustained in the battle for Bjornstadt had started to heal during their journey back to the Princelands, but five days was far from enough time for a bruised rib, pulled shoulder, and a slashed thigh to heal. The wound on his face throbbed with every hammering beat of his heart.

Gritting his teeth against the pain, he forced himself to keep climbing, one hand over the other. Our company’s only as strong as its weakest link, and I’ll be damned if that’s me.

Sweat soaked his undertunic and streamed from his forehead, stinging his eyes. The muscles of his forearms burned, his hands aching from gripping the rope. He was breathing hard, nearly gasping for air, by the time he reached the top of the stone wall and clambered onto the parapet.

He half-threw himself into the guard tower and pressed his back against the wall, sucking in great lungfuls of air. So much for stealthy!

Note from the Author:

I really appreciate that you’ve chosen to browse and buy your books directly here on my website.

By purchasing books from me, 100% of the proceeds go directly to the author to support my work.

- - - - -

I understand that shipping costs are noticeably higher than either of us would like. Shipping from Canada (where I live) is a bit costlier than shipping within or from the United States.

If you'd like a more affordable solution that doesn't involve so much personalization (or all the fancy swag), feel free to contact me and we can sort it out.

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review