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Persona Profile: Varlin

Writer: Estelle

Name: Varlin
Age: 37
Birthday: m5 d19
Rank: Holdless
Location: Elsewhere on Pern
Job: Bandit (deceased)

Physical Description of Persona:
Varlin is a dark-haired, fair-skinned man of medium height. He has blue eyes with a faint scar under the left along the cheekbone, and his nose is slightly crooked. Other scars, the evidence of life as a fighter, can be seen on his arms and body, but he generally keeps them covered.

Having made a living for himself discreetly dealing with "problems" in exchange for marks, he is in better condition than most of his fellow holdless. He is lightly but strongly built, and is able to keep clean and well-dressed enough to pass as a travelling holder or craftsman when he needs to. Growing up, he became good at hiding his real feelings and has learned to display an easy, open manner which encourages people to talk to him.

Emotional Description of Persona:
Under other circumstances, Varlin might have lived an ordinary life, but a loveless childhood and the events that led to him being made holdless have left him damaged, suspicious and unwilling to trust anyone. Despite everything, he has an inner core of determination to survive, against the odds. As a guard and later as a bandit, fighting became a way of protecting himself and suppressing painful memories.

He carries out his work dispassionately and efficiently, and has refrained from cheating or blackmailing those who hire him. This has helped him to survive longer than many others like him. Varlin has only ever cared about one person since childhood, a young woman who he helped to train as a fighter, but the precarious nature of holdless life has made him wary of revealing any attachment to her.

History of Persona:
Varlin was brought up in a minor hold, where his father was posted as a healer. His mother and younger sister died from a sudden illness when he was seven, while his father was travelling on craft business, and the man never forgave himself for his absence. He found spending time with his son hard to bear, as the boy reminded him of his loss, and refused to take him on as an apprentice once he was old enough to leave harper classes. Instead, Varlin joined the guards as a trainee.

Unfortunately the guard captain preferred drinking in the tavern to providing any kind of leadership. Discipline was poor, the young recruits received harsh treatment and some of the men turned to using their skills for nefarious purposes. More for protection than anything else, Varlin started to go around with two other men, both older than him, who had a scheme of visiting the local cotholders and threatening them into handing over marks and other valuables. Eventually, someone protested to the Lord Holder and the three were caught, tried and made holdless. Varlin was disowned by his father and has not seen him since.

Varlin's skills as a fighter enabled him to survive for Turns, moving from one gang to another, stealing and attacking traders and isolated cotholds. For a while, he found a place in a group which was sheltered by a poor cotholder woman. His fellow bandits found it amusing to train one of her daughters in their ways. Varlin joined in, but he took it more seriously than most. He could see that her ability to go unnoticed could be useful.

When the Pass began and life as a bandit became more difficult, Varlin began to make himself known as a man who could quietly carry out underhand tasks or remove inconvenient people for any holder willing to pay. The better rewards from this work enabled him to buy shelter and a measure of comfort. His latest assignment was from a group in Garnet Valley, who hired him to remove two people who knew too much about their crimes, a smith and a holdless thief. Varlin decided to pursue the thief himself, but handed the task of killing the smith on to the young woman he'd helped to train, Lusilk. He successfully found and dealt with his target, but returned to find his contact vanished, rumoured to be dead, the smith still alive and Lusilk missing. Fearing the damage to his reputation would leave him without a means of supporting himself, Varlin is determined to track her down and finish the job he was given.

Varlin caught up with Lusilk and Lorican at Barrier Lake Weyrhold, but was mortally wounded by Lusilk in the ensuing fight. Lusilk and Varlin finally confessed their love for each other before she gave him mercy.

Approved: January 2nd 2020
Last updated: September 27th 2020

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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are © Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2013, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author. The Dragonriders of Pern© is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.