New release: “The Heretic” in Trouble in the Wind

Today is the day! The most awesome collection of alt-history ground warfare stories called Trouble in the Wind is out from Chris Kennedy Publishing. I’m honored to share space with such a great group of writers.

Here is an excerpt from my alt-history story about Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, one of the most iconic figures in history.

“France will be lost by a woman and shall thereafter be restored by a virgin.” — Marie d’Avignon

It is a terrible thing to know one’s future. To know that one cannot avoid it. To know that even if I could, I would not.


I do not walk my path alone. God has sent me counsel. It is for love of God that I take each inevitable step, knowing where it will lead: to victory; to pain; to lives lost. But also to freedom—not for me, but for France.


In my mind’s eye, I see them making the sign they will hold up as they escort me. I cannot read, but I know what they will call me: superstitious; a liar; a seducer of the people; blasphemer; presumptuous, cruel, and braggart; idolater and apostate; invoker of devils.


Heretic.


Even knowing how it will end, I march towards this future of my own free will. I walked the path knowing that I would take an arrow. I walk it again, knowing it will end in fire.


I know it will be worse than anything I can imagine. Worse than the beatings, the arrow to my chest, the wound to my thigh. I know that they will draw it out. There will be no quick release, no snap of the neck as the rope catches my fall.


No mercy.


Only fire.


They will make me live my own Hell because deep in their hearts they know my soul is destined for Heaven.


Do not call me brave. Save that for those who overcome fear. I fear not, for God is with me.

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