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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Kildaran - Prologue


His name was Ibrahim. A simple man’s name. Unassuming. One that wasn’t immediately associated with the few surviving ‘high level’ jihadists battling the Great and Lesser Satans. A purer version of the Western ‘Abraham.’ A name that the people of the Book would know and be comforted by. Less threatening, and thus safer for travel than those who adopted the Prophet’s name as their own.
Or at least, that was the name he gave. He had come from nowhere, at the darkest depths of the struggle against the hated Russians, and rejuvenated them. He brought back their hope, he gave them a purpose, and provided them a plan, backed with his burning faith and cold planning. A faith that burned only a bit less brightly than his eyes, eyes which some said were those of a djinn.
Almost two hundred men crouched in the cold woods of Caucasian Russia, knee-deep in the persistent snows. The frozen winds of late winter easily penetrated their clothes, causing even the most devout mujahideen to shiver. Improvised explosive devices, mostly stolen Semtex studded with nails and set into a heavy metal bowl, lined the trees. On Ibrahim’s command they would unleash a lethal hail on the approaching convoy, whose lights were just visible in the distance. One of the mujahideen, battered by the winds, shifted to find any tiny amount of shelter, breaking a branch underfoot.
“Allah’s Beard, be quiet!” hissed Ibrahim. “If we fail because they hear you, Nazih -” The threat was left unfinished; Ibrahim didn’t have to elaborate. In the months of training that led to this day, he had been an unflinching taskmaster. Dozens of fighters had felt his wrath at their seemingly harmless mistakes. Three had been shot, calmly, casually, as an object lesson to the others. None of the men with him was eager to be next example.
Lesson learned.
The first truck neared their ill-concealed positions. Despite his exhortations, none were willing to completely conceal themselves in the deep snows. But the cover was sufficient to prevent the hopefully-unwary guards from noticing the force at a casual glance.
“Wait until they are all among the bombs,” he whispered to Hamzah, who held the trigger. The light from the vehicle’s own headlamps reflected back faintly on the long line of trucks - nearly thirty of them, large, worn vehicles of Soviet vintage, some still bearing the Red Army’s emblem on the sides. Three BTR-80 personnel carriers were distributed amongst the trucks. These were the only indications that this convoy was at all unusual.
The lead truck reached the last IED; Ibrahim shouted, “Now!”
With a furious roar, the devices were triggered along the road. The nails, directed by the bowls, shredded engines, tires, and men.
Horns blared, then died, as blood ran down the sides of the decimated trucks. The whole convoy came to a sudden, ragged halt. The tail of the convoy, maybe a half-dozen trucks, slammed on their brakes, panicked by the sudden hell unleashed before them.
Ineffectual, fear-induced gunfire peppered the cloth walls around the truck beds from the inside as the panicked drivers attempted to reverse their way out of the trap.
Rocket propelled grenades lashed out at the BTRs, smashing into, and through, their sides, turning the carriers into cauldrons of flame. The frozen Chechens reared up from their hides and began spraying the targets with their AKs in the typical mujahideen manner, contemptuously called ’pray and spray’ by the Satan’s dupes. The faithful knew, however, that Allah would guide their rounds to targets, and was it not written that they should submit to the will of Allah? Inshallah. As Allah wills.
A few surviving Russian soldiers leapt out of the trucks and began to return fire, causing many muj to drop into the snow for cover, but they were quickly silenced. Returning fire only drew attention from the Chechens, who then concentrated on their area. Even ‘pray-and-spray’ was effective when fifty men held down their triggers.
“Up, you dogs!” Ibrahim urged, kicking an unlucky Chechen who was slow to rise. “Stop cowering in the snow! We must collect our prizes, for the godless, cowardly Russian will surely have called for relief! Hurry!”
The rest of the men, leading mules and wagons, emerged from the trees well behind the ambush line and advanced on the butchered convoy. A few moved among the fallen soldiers, shooting each one, while the remainder wrestled with the crates each truck carried. They were all of a similar size, about two-and-a-half meters long, a meter tall and a meter-and-a-half wide.
Ibrahim had planned well; the IEDs had destroyed the trucks and killed many men, but their cargo, well-cushioned and packed for transport, had survived almost completely unscathed. The smallest group, equipped with devices emitting random-sounding “ticking“ noises, backed off quickly from three crates when the silver box began to scream. These few boxes were left behind.
Within twenty minutes of the first explosion, the cargo looted, their wounded bandaged and riding atop the precious cargo, the fedayeen faded back into the trackless forest.. Night would hide them from prying eyes, human and electronic, and the heavily-falling snow would bury signs of the ambush. Nature was cooperating. Inshallah.
The bright blue eyes of Kurt Schwenke gleamed in the night, like those of a djinn. Like a djinn, formless, with bodies of smoke, he and his men disappeared into the night. Yet the Chechens had forgotten one part of the tales of the djinn - be careful what you wish for.

The Kildaran - an introduction - READ FIRST

Back in 2006, John Ringo, one of my favorite authors, decided to purge a few of his personal demons and write a little series called The Paladin of Shadows.
The first book was GHOST. It introduced us to Mike Harmon, former SEAL and, at the opening of the book, History major at the University of Georgia.
The book is comprised of three stories, sequential but only vaguely linked, taking Mike from his retirement, to rescuing hostages in Syria, to stopping a nuclear bomb from entering the US, to stopping ANOTHER nuke in Paris (yes, France).
Pretty straightforward military fiction with, as I said above, some personal demons - well, maybe not demons. But certainly not mainstream MilFic.
Second book, KILDAR. This takes Mike to Georgia (the country, not the state) where he ends up buying a rather large farm, complete with tenants. The tenants are called the Keldara, and it turns out they are the last surviving members of the Varangian Guard (this part is real history, you can look it up). The Kildar is the name of the feudal noble who oversees - rules - the Keldara. Guess who's the new Kildar? Right. So he gets it in his head to train these Keldara as a militia - before he learns of their warrior background - since the valleys they live in tend to be raided by Chechens.
Third book - CHOOSERS OF THE SLAIN. This was actually the FIRST book I read, and it's the one that hooked me.
Fourth book - UNTO THE BREACH.
Fifth book - A DEEPER BLUE.

All these books came out in about a two year period. Then nothing.
More nothing.
Eventually I discover his web site,, and poke around.
Seems there are LOTS of people wondering when he might cook up another book in the series.

One night, I have an idea. I get out of bed, fire up the computer, and type.

Wow, was it rough. But it was a beginning.

Since then - that was September of 2010 - I've been working on my concept. I call it THE KILDARAN - as John established it, the Kildaran is the Kildar's woman/wife/concubine. And he even provided a character who WANTS to be the Kildaran.

Writing hasn't been easy, or steady. And there have been obstacles. Latest one, it seems that John has his own plans to come back to this series (eventually) and has his own ideas for the Kildaran, so what follows is simply Fan Fiction (at this point). Okay. I can accept that, he created the series. But I'm still going to write out my ideas.

I've gained a collaborator, and I've gained confidence. I also think that I have a way to get John to accept this story, not in place of his, but as a stepping-stone for his.


The following posts are simply going to be my chapters. I hope you enjoy them.