I sat staring at the screen, my head in my hands. This shouldn’t have been that difficult. Really.
What Varian needed to do was keep going. Yeah, he was a little distracted by this pretty Highlander girl named Kearah, and yeah, his uncle had just had a fit of despair and stormed away, but there was a war going on! He needed to focus, pick up the pieces of Jokk’s botched leadership, and get moving.
“C’mon, you lump on a log,” I muttered. “Stop sitting there feeling sorry for yourself. Just get up and do something. Anything would be nice.”
I whirled my computer chair around to quickly I almost tipped it over. Standing at the door to my office was a medium-height, thin young man with curly black hair that was in need of a cut and bright blue eyes. I should have been scared—but I knew this guy.
Still, he was standing in my office. My office.
I blinked and slapped the side of my head. “Um…can I ask why you’re here? You’re supposed to be in there.” I pointed to the computer screen. “Prepping for the biggest battle of your life.”
Varian crossed his arms over his chest and stared at me. “You mean the only battle of my life?”
“Yeah. So, again—why are you here? You’ve got work to do.”
Varian made a half-snorting, half-laughing noise. “I’m not the only one here.”
My heart sank down to the tips of my purple-painted toenails. Oh no. “Who—who is here?”
He pushed the office door wide and stepped out of sight. “Come see.”
I got up and crossed the room, nearly tripping over pages of edits spread along the floor. Before I looked, I paused and put my head in my hands.
This was weird. Even to me. And I considered talking to my characters, even arguing with them out loud, normal. People usually gave me weird looks when I said that, looks that said, You should probably see a doctor for that.
But this was the first time that a character—no, more than one—characters had popped out of my head and visited me in person.
Well, it can’t be any worse than having them inside my head, can it?
I poked my head out of the living room. Kearah sat on my brown and red rug, her orange skirt spread in a circle around her, studying the paintings and other décor on the walls. Danilos sat on the couch, his feet swung up on the arm of the futon where Jokk sat. The two were glaring at each other.
Varian sat next to his uncle, his arms crossed and his face pulled into a weird, half-happy, half-pensive twist as he watched Kearah. His half-brother Jevran sat on the couch beside Danilos, eyes darting nervously from Varian to Danilos to Jokk—to the two dragon heads swaying inside the windows.
Dragon heads! What were my neighbors going to think?
Thankfully they were Fleet and Archflame, two of the nicer—and calmer—dragons. Fleet had a good sense of humor. And Archflame was a prophet, so surely nothing would go wrong with him around.
I hoped, anyway.
I moaned to myself, took a deep breath, and stepped into the room. Instantly every head swiveled to stare at me. And no one looked happy.
“Uh, hi, guys,” I said. “What’s up?”