As writers, we also favor certain characters.
In 'Laurence of Dragon Fame' due out later this month, the Immortal hero Einarr travels to Europe in the 13th century, born as Laurence Di Draco. His mission is to help his dragon half-father Zavat save dragons. But neither of these turned out to be my favorite character in the book.
Pietro D'Onore is Laurence's cousin. He's 22-years-old when Laurence at 12-years-old moves in. Pietro is a Teutonic knight, well-respected by the local people. He's also the rock of the D'Onore family. Everyone respects his judgement and he's the only one who can make his 18-year-old brother Taddeo obey.
Here are some excerpts on Pietro:
An elderly gentleman sat in front of the fire. His white curly hair, styled in a bowl shape, framed his round peach colored face, wistful brown eyes, and bushy eyebrows. To his right a proud knight sat, tall and muscular in full regalia except for headgear and gloves. He leaned forward with his elbow placed on one leg, his hand against his mouth. His dark brown wavy hair had been tied neatly behind his head. His piercing green eyes took in every movement the guests made, calculating their next step. To that knight’s side was a younger man whose unruly black curls resembled Laurence’s hair, but shorter. His grey eyes were cheerful, his skin tanned, and his mannerism affable.
Laurence turned to Jules again, but the stately knight walked to him and knelt on one leg. He lifted his young cousin’s chin and peered deep into his eyes before he spoke. “This is your home now. I’m to be your trainer. You will not rely on your servant. You’ll say what’s in your heart without concern.” The knight tapped Laurence’s chest. “Have I made myself clear?” With a nod to Laurence, he returned to his seat. “Again. What was your father like? Don’t look at the servant. I want your eyes on us.”
“Your guardian has taught you well. Few have such perfect form at your age. Nephew, you’re welcome into our home and we embrace you. These are my two sons. Next to me is my first-born, Pietro, already renowned and esteemed although he’s just 22-years-old. He’s a respected member of our Teutonic Order. He’s taken time from his busy schedule today to meet with you."
Dominic looked to Jules, but Pietro scrutinized his cousin.
“How do you know God has given you such a task?” Pietro’s brows furrowed.
“I feel it here.” Laurence tapped his heart. “And here.” He patted his stomach. “God calls to me.”
Pietro bowed his head to him. “Such is the way our God works. You’re devoted to God?”
Taddeo snorted. “But not obsessed like Pietro, I hope.”
Pietro walked over to his cousin and crouched in front of him. He grasped his shoulders and turned him to face him. “A man of God is never afraid of his own destiny. We’ll share adventures and I’ll train you, and you’ll grow into manhood surrounded by the love of family. Who will watch over you? I will. I’ll be there when you need me. Who knows? Someday I might need you. Maybe that’s why you’re to live with us. I expect my squire to act appropriately and this is not proper. Jules is your servant, not your father. Tell your servant goodbye and begin your training with me as God has deemed.”
Typical for knights at that time, Pietro is devoted to God, but moreso than anyone else. He is also celibate, which was common for knights in this century.
Taddeo rolled his eyes. “You’ll soon learn that only God matters to Pietro.”
“Nothing matters to you at all,” retorted Pietro. “At least I follow my beliefs. What do you follow?”
Taddeo shrugged. “Women and gold. What else?”
“He doesn’t live in our world; he lives in God’s. What’s to fear there?” said Taddeo.
“The women in the village we passed all ran to him,” replied Laurence.
“It’s a lost cause. He thinks women are delicate flowers admired from a distance. I don’t think he’s ever plucked one, if you know what I mean,” said Taddeo.
Pietro spoke up. “He does not and you won’t discuss that subject.”
Taddeo snickered. “See? He hears too well.”
Taddeo was correct. Pietro admired women from a distance - that is, until he fell in love - with Taddeo's wife:
Pietro and Laurence met the bride, Alcee who was a tiny girl with soft chestnut hair and a silky voice. She had a heart-shaped face, pouty lips, and her doe-like hazel eyes sparkled. Her cheek dimples stood out whenever she smiled. She was delicate, proper in every way, meticulous about her looks, her mannerisms were well-practiced, and she paid close attention to what others said. In other words, she was the perfect woman for Pietro and Pietro took notice.
When Pietro took her hand and their eyes met, she gasped and curtsied shyly. His formal demeanor melted. They had fallen in love with each other in that instant. Pietro, who maintained control in any situation, grasped his head as if he had developed a horrible headache.
Alcee swooned and Pietro bent down to catch her. He held her longer than necessary, their eyes locked on each other, his breaths loud and irregular. Alcee had trouble catching her breath. Her breasts heaved up and down in rhythm with her breaths. Pietro turned his attention to them. He looked her over yearningly from her bosom to her feet and up to her face. He turned vivid red, and his eyes opened wide, while his arm still clasped her around her waist.
The situation was awkward and Laurence whispered, “Release her.”
Pietro stood straight and guided her up then removed his arm. He spoke formally to Alcee, “As the eldest brother of the D’Onores, allow me to welcome you.”
“Thank you.” She nodded politely to both Pietro and Laurence, and they bowed in return. She moved on to other guests, still flustered.
Laurence glanced around the crowded chapel where people were busy socializing. No one noticed the strange interaction except for Taddeo, who scowled at his brother.
Pietro turned pale and shuddered.
“Do you need a rest?” suggested Laurence.
“It’s impolite to leave. A glass of wine will help.”
“Wine?” Taddeo had sauntered over. “It will relax your rather stiff and formal personality, the cold and indifferent saintly knight. Imagine my surprise when—”
“We didn’t rest much in order to get to your wedding,” interrupted Laurence defending Pietro.
Taddeo ignored him and asked his brother. “She’s lovely, don’t you agree?”
“Indeed. You’re a lucky man.”
Pietro and Laurence both raised their glasses to Taddeo.
“I intend to take full advantage of her loveliness and often.”
“Don’t be crass,” chided Pietro.
“Why do you care, or is it because you do care?”
Pietro glared at his brother. “I have taken a vow of celibacy. I’d never dishonor our name. She started to faint and I stopped her from collapsing.”
“Of course. Chivalry.”
Pietro can't cope with being in love, so he leaves to fight in the Holy War. The family can't cope without Pietro, and Laurence is sent to fetch him. He does find Pietro, but Pietro's been wounded.
Pietro ran his hand nervously through his hair. “It wasn’t glorious at all. We were outnumbered at every conflict. I grew tired of the butchery and the slaughter of so many lives. Every night I was covered in blood. Our armor was heavy and too hot to wear. Many died from the heat alone. Cursed land. Why didn’t you leave me? Look at me. I’m no longer a man.”
The war changed Pietro and so his beliefs change too. Pietro guesses Laurence's secret and accepts it.
They arrived at the glade near dusk and Laurence had finished explaining about Taddeo’s last couple of days. Pietro remained thoughtful. After several minutes he spoke. “There’s much to be done and not just on the estate. Tomorrow I’ll have letters for you to deliver. Now tell me how you got that unusual horse of yours.”
“It’s not important.”
“It is to me. Talk.”
Laurence told him about the horse wandering through the trees.
“Do you remember when we threw you into the lake and the black dragon appeared?” asked Pietro.
Laurence sat perfectly still, looking ahead at nothing in particular.
“I think you do. Call to your horse, but not out loud.”
“Pietro…” Laurence faltered.
“Now, or I’ll never trust you again and I will banish you from my property forever. You shouldn’t have lied to me.”
“I’m already in the air.”
“I heard buzzing. Is he coming?”
Zavat landed in front of the cart, his wings spread out and his face within an inch from Pietro’s.
“Mio Dio, I was right. Your steed is the black dragon.” He made the sign of the cross.
“It’s not what you think.” Zavat grinned then sauntered away and settled on the ground.
“Are you blind, Laurence? Is there not a huge dragon in front of me? Slay it, great dragon hunter,” said Pietro sarcastically.
“Caught us in the act.” Zavat calmly crossed his forepaws.
Pietro tried to stand. “Help me out of the cart. I want to touch it.”
“Him,” corrected Zavat.
“What do you mean?” asked Pietro.
“I’m insulted to be called ‘it.’ I’m a male.”
“I beg your pardon, talking dragon. I want to touch him.” Pietro pointed at Zavat.
Laurence helped Pietro out of the cart and they walked to Zavat. Pietro reached towards him, but paused.
“I suppose you’re intelligent, so I must ask your permission.”
“Be my guest,” replied Zavat.
Pietro felt along Zavat’s scales and snout.
“Do you ride him?” Pietro asked.
“Yes.” Laurence patted hisis patér’s side and Zavat nudged him with his snout.
“You’re familiar with each other, aren’t you?” asked Pietro.
“More like a dearly beloved long lost relative.” Zavat snorted in amusement.
Laurence rolled his eyes.
“You killed my enemies and those strange birds and sprayed me with water?”
“Not me, but another.”
“He was remarkably like you.”
“Of course he was. All dragons look alike just like all humans do.”
At this Pietro chuckled. “Pardon my ignorance.”
“He isn’t as handsome as I am,” said Zavat. “You should have noticed that, plus he has a nasty temper and he wears his scars like they’re medals of Honor.”
“Well he should. So he’s fought many battles?”
“No more than I and I remain better looking.”
“You two will tell me the truth. Obviously you don’t kill your dearly beloved relatives, Laurence.”
There's much more to Pietro and through the years, he takes care of his family, but what about his love for his brother's wife? Well, I guess you'll have to wait for the book.
Favorite characters make the movie or the book so much more interesting, don't they?
Love, Honor, and Respect to all.