When he daily marched and drilled his men and saw the mix of lust and fear in their fresh eyes, Call thought of how few of them would return home with the glory they dreamed of. He fought back his own fear and weariness with the mantra of strength, and with memories of what he had managed to return from before. He had fought first ragged mountain men, tax evaders and heretics, their breath venomous as they died clutching rude trinkets. He had fought cougars and wolves and worse things when they took calves or human babies to kill or to raise. He had scaled cliffs to reach caverns and burned what he found there. He had chased slaves as they stole away, and once one had turned on him and buried into his shoulder a rifle ball that had been an unceasing pain there ever since.
-An excerpt from Pendulum of Smoke, David’s supernatural Civil War novel in progress.