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Writing Wednesday: Protect the City

In today’s excerpt from The Reign of Dragons, Galenos must prepare to leave his home city, Kyratia, to consult with an ally. But first, he has to make sure that everything will be safe while he’s gone. You may recognize the character who has become the captain of his guard from A Flight of Marewings.

Security Meeting

Galenos was the epicenter of a whirlwind of preparations for his trip. Two years ago, the trip to Petropouli would have taken him only a week to fly on his marewing, Nightshade, with nothing but a few other riders to watch his back and saddlebags full of provisions. But he didn’t know where Nightshade was, or if she even remembered him after that horrible night when she’d attacked him. Now, he would have to take the journey on foot, spending nearly a month to cross over the mountains that separated Kyratia from its neighbors. He needed a full entourage of porters, guards, clerks, and numerous other people to help make the official state visit go smoothly.

He’d gotten support from Seivon before, but having just one other ruler on his side wouldn’t be enough to stand against Riasa and Sympaia together. He had to figure out a way to sway more powerful people. He didn’t have much to offer in exchange for their support—his past as a successful Warlord had earned him animosity from other cities that he’d attacked in the service of his predecessor Duke Basileos, and there was no money leftover after Kyratia’s rebuilding to buy loyalty. But in one of his previous letters, Seivon had suggested they meet in person to build a larger alliance, and now was the time for their plans to finally come together.

There was too much work to do himself, so he sent Korinna to handle the servants’ side while he summoned the captain of the guard to his office.

The duke’s office had grown larger in the new palace to accommodate his growing responsibilities. He kept his utilitarian style as best he could, with simple wooden furnishings for his work desk, chair, and shelves full of documents, but other touches had crept in slowly. There were several couches arranged near the narrow windows, each piled with pillows, and tables full of refreshments stood nearby. Thick carpets protected the floor for his daughter’s first steps. Since the windows didn’t let in enough light, there were a range of lamps around the room. On the walls, along with the tactical maps displayed of Kyratia and the neighboring lands, Korinna tried to brighten up the space with a few tasteful paintings of landscapes.

The captain of the city guard was as new as the palace. After too many disagreements about how to handle security, the previous captain had retired, and Galenos chose a replacement he trusted from his old mercenary days. Yoren, a grizzled old war veteran who’d spent many years as a training sergeant in the Storm Petrels, had ended his contract at last and put on a new uniform with the city guard. He kept the guard running with the military efficiency that Galenos favored.

Yoren entered the office with a sharp salute. “Good afternoon, Yer Grace,” he said with his usual drawl. “I’ve prepared a list of guards you can trust for your trip.” He held out a piece of paper.


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