A small group of marines were taken to another world to help prevent the emergence of a demon that is awakened by torturing a victim. There is a powerful wizard with them who cannot directly attack the enemy, but uses a flash of light in place of a flash grenade at some point in the story. The victim's soul is shielded by someone, to prevent the demon from being used by the "bad-guys", resulting in the demon being woken and uncontrolled. It's a short story I read sometime in the past ten years, probably in some sci fi anthology, but I don't remember it's name.

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    Except for the "Americans" part it sounds like something that Stross might have written.
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 20:38
  • @DavidW Thank you for your answer, but I looked over all his short story names, and perused most of them, and none of them are the story I was thinking about.
    – mdrs
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 23:35

1 Answer 1


It's "Sword Brother" by David Weber, published by Baen Books, set in the War God universe.

The wizard is Wencit of Rum, the only white wizard living. Thousands of years old, incredibly powerful, and self-limits his powers based on the ancient Strictures of Ottovar. "If I don't obey them, how can I hold others to account?"

The Carnadosans are the black wizards who are torturing a group of captured magi (in this universe, wizards are sorcery-based and mages are psychic) to gain power to summon a demon so they can ambush Bahzell, the champion of the War God. One of the captured magi is using his psychic abilities to shield the soul of the victim, and if he fails, it'll take them both.

Wencit, unable to use magic directly against the Carnadosans, summons some extradimensional help of his own, which turns out to be an APC with a small squad of American Marines. He can cast magic on the Marines to protect them, with their consent; in this way, he can lend Bahzell some extra firepower that the Carnadosans won't see coming.

The short story is included in some editions of Oath of Swords, the first book in the War God series.

  • Holy carp, really?! I had no idea this story existed, even though it clearly predates when I came back and finished the series. Nice!
    – DavidW
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 19:06
  • Thank you so much. I've been searching for this for years. I really appreciate your help.
    – mdrs
    Commented Dec 10, 2023 at 7:07

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