Excerpt from THE OUTLANDER WAR… The Russians are Coming!

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It’s only been a few days since the release of The Outlander War: Book 3 of the FOREVER AVALON Series and I can’t be more excited. I am working diligently to set up some book signings and other events in the next few months, so please stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, here is an excerpt from my fantasy novel, where Russian military decided to invade the magical island to see for themselves what all the fuss is about, and they find themselves quite unwelcome. I hope this excerpt excites you to read The Outlander War, and remember, be kind to an independent author and leave a review! Good or bad, every one helps!

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“Begging your pardon, milord, but Captain McLoughlin requests your presence immediately. We’ve captured some Outlander spies.”

“Where at? Somewhere along the coast?” Bryan asked, as Stephanie got off
his lap.

“No, milord, here on Emmyr.”

Bryan jumped to his feet and followed Amelia, with Stephanie close behind, down to the main hall. Captain McLoughlin and other members of his Dragon Guard surrounded a group of five men, kneeling on the floor with their hands behind their heads. They were dressed in black combat gear with camouflage makeup covering their faces. They varied in height and weight, but all were in excellent physical condition. Bryan knew immediately they were Special Forces, but whose?

The Dragon Guard had spears and swords pointed at the captured men, watching them closely, especially with the Gil-Gamesh and Lady Stephanie present. Rhona walked over to brief Lord MoonDrake on their capture.

“We captured them near the northern ridge of Emmyr, milord,” she stated. “They ran into a group of dragons and when they realised their weapons wouldn’t penetrate a dragon’s hide, they ran toward Port Charles. That’s when we captured them.”

Bryan looked away from the soldiers and began to examine the cache of weapons and equipment Rhona confiscated from them while she continued her briefing. “The only thing I don’t know is how they arrived on Emmyr. They shouldn’t have been able to fly their damn machines past the magical barrier.”

The Gil-Gamesh spied something among the equipment that answered that question. It was a small oxygen tank attached to a hose, but the mask was missing. “Oh, they flew all right, just not in the way we’re used to,” he said. “They did a Halo jump.”

“Halo jump, Gil-Gamesh?” Amelia queried.

“High Altitude Low Opening… Halo,” he explained. “They flew near the island, high in the atmosphere and parachuted down to Emmyr. The mask is missing from his oxygen tank, probably because he had to rip it off as they got close to the island. The pressure valve likely failed once they crossed the magical barrier.

“Send some men further up the mountain, past where you captured them,” Bryan continued. “I’m sure you’ll find some more of them there; probably dead from asphyxiation, am I right?”

Bryan addressed his last remark toward the captured soldiers, but none of them spoke up. They said nothing, just continued to stare straight ahead. While Rhona sent Amelia to relay orders to one of their patrols as to where to search, Bryan picked up one of the weapons to examine the make and model. “An AK-74N…Russian made,” he said, as he took out the magazine and cleared the chamber, ejecting a single round. “Spetsnaz? Am I right, comrade?”

They continued to stay silent, which infuriated Rhona. “Answer the Gil-Gamesh!” she shouted. They remained quiet until one of the men spat on the ground at her feet. Rhona stormed at the man as she drew her sword. She grabbed him by the collar and lifted him in the air with ease, shocking the captured soldiers at her incredible feat of strength. She laid her sword under his chin and across his throat.

“I have killed men for less, dog,” she threatened. She saw fear in his face and watched his blood trickled down her blade, the tip of her sword puncturing his skin, but only just.

“Rhona,” Bryan said. It was all he needed to say. The Captain of the Dragon Guard never removed her gaze from the soldier and slowly lowered him until his feet touched the ground. Once she released him, Bryan stepped up next to Rhona.

“Spetsnaz?” he asked again but the man stayed silent.

“What is Spetsnaz, milord?” Rhona asked.

“Russian Special Forces,” he explained, “cold-blooded assassins as far as I’m concerned, and you don’t come armed to the teeth like this to gather intelligence. So, let’s find out what their mission really was.”

When Bryan said that, the Spetsnaz soldier braced himself, as if he expected to be tortured. “Oh, don’t worry, no one’s going to hurt you,” the Gil-Gamesh assured him. “Your cooperation is guaranteed to be painless.”

With that, the Gil-Gamesh reached out and touched him on his head. Instantaneously, images begin to flood his mind through the dragon sight—an innate ability he possessed that allowed him to see the past, present and even future of someone through touch. Images of the man as a young boy appeared. A father drinking heavily. A father beating the boy with a belt in a drunken tirade. The father being arrested for killing the boy’s mother. The boy being raised by the state. The boy attending a military academy. The boy  excelling in marksmanship and hand-to-hand combat, driven by rage.

As the images got more intense, Bryan concentrated so he could focus on recent events. He saw a briefing by high-level Russian officers being conducted, highlighted by satellite images of Avalon and its position in the Atlantic. Emmyr was pinpointed by the target circles around it. One officer held up a picture of Bryan, taken on the flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. He saw flashes of Russian Navy ships coming toward Avalon. He watched as the men loaded into a transport plane, wearing their full jump gear; as the back door of the plane opened, the men jumped out one by one. As they fell through the clouds, Avalon and Emmyr came into view. The soldier suddenly began to gasp for air. He ripped off his mask and took a deep breath just as he opened his chute, before landing hard on the mountainside.

Bryan let go of the Spetsnaz soldier; he had seen enough. The two men shared the images, but the soldier was dazed and confused by the exchange. He breathed heavy as his eyes grew large, unsure of what just happened to him. Bryan saw enough to know what they were doing on Emmyr.

He walked back over to their gear and started rummaging through their bags until he found what he was looking for: a targeting laser for long-range missiles.

“Son of a bitch,” he cursed, “they were going to light us up, paint Emmyr as a target for an enemy attack.”

“You mean laser-guided missiles, like the ones used in Iraq and Afghanistan?” Stephanie asked.

“Exactly, they must not have believed the reports that technology won’t work on Avalon. These men were an advanced team, to provide intelligence to the Russian Navy ships on their way here and, just in case the Russians aren’t happy with negotiations, target us for an attack.”

“How do you know this?” the Russian soldier asked, his thick accent coming through his English.

“Because I was once like you,” Bryan began. “I was a sailor serving my country proudly until fate brought me here to Avalon, but I’m also a knight. I’ve been fighting against the likes of you for all my life and if you think you can come to my home and threaten my people, you are sadly mistaken. Now, you’ll face Avalon justice.”

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available from Austin Macauley Publishing.

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