Shadow Legion by J.E. Gurley
English | 2019 | Fantasy | ePUB | 556 Kb
Shadow Legion : Former Roman Legion Legate Gaius Marcus Linneus is reduced in rank to Centurion and banished by Emperor Marcus Aurelius to Tripolitania in Northern Africa. He finds his new command, a Shadow Legion, a reduced century of dishonored legionnaires, as much punishment as his dishonor. Castra-Augustus, a small fort in the southern Sahara, is under attack by an unseen enemy who takes soldiers at night, leaving only shredded clothing.
Gaius discovers an ancient city carved from solid rock half-buried by shifting sands. When Rashid, who claims to be a Berber salt merchant, arrives just after two more legionnaires disappear, Gaius questions him and learns the name of the ancient city – Hamad Rus, home of the Kashites who once lived East of Eden. Their long-time enemies, the Inyosh, the undead Children of Lilith, had driven the Kashites west into Northern Africa millennia earlier. Casting a spell to destroy the Inyosh, the Kashites had instead changed them into formless wraiths that killed to obtain blood for their god, Nergal. Now, the Inyosh have awakened.
“Flavius scowled. “I know the commander, Praefectus castorum Sunio Atticus.” He spit in the sand, a gesture of contempt made even more significant in such a dry land. “He would not have given you any more men. He is jealous of his position and does not welcome your arrival in Tripolitania.”
Gaius snorted. “Jealous! Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius Augustus personally banished me to this lost land with my tail between my legs. The sands of the Sahara are to be my grave. What does the Praefectus have to fear from me?”
Flavius sat up straight in the saddle and in a stern voice said, “You were once the finest Legate in the Third Legion; still are. It was not your fault your men failed you.”
Gaius noticed the sparkle of admiration in Flavius’ eyes and felt a raw wound open in his chest. It would be to dash his optio’s hopes early. He didn’t need a hero-blinded worshipper. “Yes, it was,” he countered sharply, his voice filled with the vile taste of somber memories. “They trusted me, and I did not question my orders though I believed it a foolhardy plan of attack. I allowed my men to walk into an ambush, slaughtered to save my honor.” He could not hide the rancor in his voice, the tone of self-recrimination that had grown stronger during the past four months of exile.
“They ran. Not you. You stood your ground, sword in hand, and faced your enemies. You were willing to die with honor.”