Wednesday Words: Si Vis Pacem…

lou hoffmann books square iconVIC (Very Important Character) Han Shieth…

…carries a whole spectrum of duties on his two-century-old shoulders. First and foremost, he’s the wizard Thurlock’s “shield man.” His role as Lucky’s confidant and guardian rank second in importance officially, but if push came to shove, he’d throw over the wizard to save his nephew. He’s the best horseman and trainer in the Sunlands—see Windrunner, Simmarhon, Sherah, and Zefrel. But he’s a military man too, the general of all the Sunlands armed forces. And when he’s in the world of Ethra, that  takes up most of his time.

Dragon’s Rise

Book four in The Sun Child Chronicles is titled Dragon’s Rise for reasons that have a lot to do with Han, but wait until later to find out why. Right now , I just want to share with you a short excerpt from that book, a little of Han’s inner workings as he prepares himself to prepare the Sunlands for war.

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Han had enough experience of life to tell him that no time of trouble such as the Sunlands was now experiencing was likely to end peacefully. With great luck, they might not have war. But it would be foolish to blindly trust to that slim chance.

Si vis pacem, para bellum,” he whispered.

Warrior Han An Earthborn, a Roman named Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus had written those words a long time ago, and Han never forgot them after reading them while he was in Earth with Thurlock. It meant, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” Like the military truisms in the writings of Earthborn Sun Tzu—in The Art of War—and the premises of the Sunlands’ own Laws of the Sword, the simple sentence stated a large truth in a nutshell. But Han didn’t think Renatus’s statement was true everywhere and always. Sometimes, building for war meant inviting attack. Still, he knew without a single doubt that when all the signs point to the need for a defense, it’s best to have one.

If he’d had any doubt that now was such a time, it vanished when he’d arrived home last night to find a copy of that very book of Renatus’s writings on his pillow with a bookmark at the relevant page. He’d smiled at the small gift, even though he understood the meaning of it was grim. It was one of the things Thurlock had always done for him through the long years they’d worked together: If they went separate ways for separate tasks, he gave Han something extra, something specific that he would need along the way. When he was to fight Isa’s thralls in Black Creek Ravine, it was flame arrows. And this time, the gift wasn’t so much the book as it was the boost to Han’s confidence in his own military mind.

That’s it for this week’s words.

Thank you so much for reading. Just a reminder: I’m still looking for alpha and beta readers (see the blog post just before this one)—contact me if interested.

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