TITLE: The Stronghold Wars
GENRE: science fantasy
Aileana had been on her way to get rations when the first soldier approached her, his hands covered in swirling black tattoos, the cartilage of each ear pierced so evenly she was reminded of rivets on a trunk. Stories of rape and theft had already tarnished the novelty of martial law, and she warned him to back off.
“Aileana Katares? You’re to come with us,” his companion said. She couldn’t read his expression through the motley desert of scar tissue; more than anything, his head looked like a misshapen lump of wax.
“I’m not going anywhere with you.”
“Lord Malachi wants your help.”
That called to mind all the drug dealers and anarchists she’d prosecuted over the past seven years as a trial lawyer and did nothing to reassure her. But they had refused to take “go away” for an answer, and the moment she tried to get back in her car, Waxhead seized her around the waist. For the first time in her life, she was in a real fight. Thanks to years of martial arts training, she left both men sprawled on the asphalt.
Yet they were there when she reached the first security checkpoint. This time, both of them were carrying guns. This time, neither opened with conversation.