The Battle of the Round is a short story set in Peter Orullian’s Vault of Heaven universe. I stumbled upon this story without any prior knowledge or familiarity with Orullian’s work so I will be reviewing this story plainly for what it was and not how it connects with the series.
This is the tale of the last stand of mankind. The great evil, the inhuman Quietgiven, have taken the world and mankind stands for one last battle for the survival of their race. Within the army is a group of Sheason, an order of sorcerers who heal and protect the forces of Baellor, the last king. The Sheason are led by a man named Maral, and this is his story.
The Quietgiven are pushing in. The evil army hosts its own group of magic users and mankind is losing ground. Unlike the Sheason whom pull their power from the communal life force of their Sheason brethren and use it to heal and protect, the Quietgiven draw their magic from leaching the world and people around them. It seems apparent to Maral that the Quietgiven, in their use of magic, are far more powerful. This puts Maral in a difficult decision which leads to him having to make the ultimate choice. Should he order his Sheason to change their tactics and start to use the dark magic to save mankind, to be no better than the enemy, and to go against everything the order believes in? Or should he let mankind fall?
It is rare that an author can craft such a good story around a single choice as Peter Orullian did here. I felt the sense of diminished morale and doom that plagued the soldiers in Baellors army and the story really got me thinking what I would do if I were in Maral’s shoes. The best stories are the ones that make you feel something, and the way I felt when this story came to a beautiful and horrifying close was so very powerful. I can tell that Peter Orullian is a talented writer and I am eager to get to his other work.
About the Author: Peter Orullian has worked in marketing at Xbox for nearly a decade, most recently leading the Music and Entertainment marketing strategy for Xbox LIVE, and has toured as a featured vocalist internationally at major music festivals. He has published several short stories. The Unremembered is his first novel. He lives in Seattle.