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Writing Wednesday: The Storm Petrels

In today’s excerpt from The Reign of Dragons, we check in on another character, Varranor. He isn’t having a good day.

Varranor is Struggling

Varranor had been waiting his whole life for a chance to get out from under his older brother’s shadow and prove himself. Galenos promised that if he became duke of Kyratia, he would hand over control of the Storm Petrels to Varranor, and two years ago, he kept his promise at last. Since then, Varranor had learned the hard way that running a mercenary company was a lot more difficult than just being an officer in charge of his own unit, even though he had the advantage of a regular contract as Kyratia’s defense. It felt like there was always more work demanding his attention than hours of the day.

Like this hysteria over a so-called dragon attack. Yesterday, Orivan brought him the report from Fort Bourassa. Varranor didn’t think there was any real threat behind the attack. Wildfires were common during the dry, hot summers, and they could be dangerous if left unchecked, but he trusted Captain Lysimachos to get the blaze under control. At worst, they would lose some acres of wild forest.

But it was a good excuse to ask Galenos for more money, and Varranor was annoyed at his brother for leaving on his diplomatic mission. The duke had been putting him off for months without an audience to discuss the company’s finances and now he was gone to schmooze with another city leader. Orivan had promised to beg for help, so Varranor let him go. Let Orivan annoy Galenos instead of him.

A few hours after Orivan left, Tatiana had shown up with the same report. She said the duchess was worried about the dragon sighting and was asking for updates.

The only rider that annoyed him more than Orivan was Tatiana. Once, Varranor thought he might have a true companion in Orivan, but then he’d chosen that timid girl instead. Or so he’d thought. Now when he questioned both of them, they claimed that they had never been lovers. So why did he feel like Orivan had pulled away from him?

Not that Varranor had time to worry about anyone’s feelings. When he grew restless, he found comfort in the arms of the nearest willing person, then discarded them after his needs were taken care of. Despite Navera’s advice for him to settle down, he knew a warlord couldn’t afford to have deeper relationships.

So Varranor snapped at Tatiana and sent her back to the capital. “If the duchess wants to stay updated, you can go be her personal messenger. Tell her that I don’t know anything more about the duke than she does. We just have to wait for Orivan to find him and bring his reply.”

Tatiana flew away in fright, and Varranor went to drown his sorrows in wine.

The next day, when he awoke with a raging headache, he regretted his actions. He couldn’t go back to carousing like in his youth. He needed to get this situation under his control.


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