David Gemmell Wiki
David Gemmell Wiki

Varaconn was a Rigante tribesman from Three Streams.

A horse hunter by trade, Varaconn was the husband of Meria and father of Connavar, though he died in battle against the Sea Raiders a day after his son's birth.

Varaconn was also the cousin, close friend and sword brother of Ruathain, who became Connavar's adoptive father.



Varaconn was orphaned from a young age. When he was six, his father died from wounds sustained in a battle against the Pannones. A year later, his mother died of a severe illness which left her hollow-eyed and skeletal, coughing blood and phlegm.[1] Varaconn was thereafter raised by his unmarried uncle, who was a kind but reclusive elderly man. Varaconn took after his uncle's reclusive nature, and always found intimacy difficult. However, he did become close friends with his cousin Ruathain.[1] As he grew older, Varaconn developed an interest in horses. Unlike most young Rigante men, he hated violence, and was not skilled with sword or lance.[1]

Marriage to Meria[]

Several suitors, including Ruathain, had asked for the hand of Meria, the daughter of Cefir, in marriage, but she had rejected all of them. Varaconn – now eighteen years old – admired Meria but had not been one of the suitors as he considered her to be far above him. One day, however, Meria watched Varaconn as he gentled a mare. She spoke to him, hinting at her feelings towards him. Varaconn expressed his bewilderment at the fact that she had not accepted Ruathain's proposal; he cousin was a "wonderful man" and famous for his great bravery in battle. Meria walked away, upset.[1]

Later, Vanaconn approached Ruathain who told him that Meria was clearly in love with him. Despite himself having feelings for Meria, he told his friend to pluck up the courage to approach her father and propose. Vanaconn did so and the two were wed three weeks later at the Feast of Beltine.[1] What followed was what Varaconn considered the finest year of his life; he and Meria lived together in great joy, making a living catching and gentling ponies together in the meadows. The best of these were sold as cavalry mounts to the nobles in the service of Long Laird.[1]

The Sword in the Storm[]

A year later, when Varaconn was nineteen, Meria fell pregnant. Their son Connavar was born in the birthing hut of the village witch Vorna. Following Rigante tradition, Varaconn climbed the Elder Mountain while Meria was giving birth, seeking an omen which would give him his son's soul-name. A storm brewed in the sky as he reached the mountaintop. Varaconn cast his sword into the earth and watched as it was hit by lightning and shattered into shards. This was his omen, his son would be "Connavar, the Sword in the Storm".[1]


He was a fine, brave and noble man. For one moment only he…knew panic. Do not judge him harshly for that. When the battle was over I sat with him. His last words were of you and your mother. He wanted so much to see you grow.

Ruathain speaks to Connavar about his father's death, Sword in the Storm, Chapter Two

Five days before his son's birth, Varaconn had accidentally trampled and killed a raven thus breaking his geasa, which prophesied that he would die within a week of killing such a bird. Knowing that a battle was looming, this omen frightened Varaconn. He confided in Ruathain, who was now his sword brother, and the latter assured Varaconn that he would not die so long as he stayed close during the battle.[1]

Indeed, Varaconn was slain in battle the day after the birth of his son. Fending off an attack from the Sea Raiders, the Keltoi tribes had banded together to fight them off. Although the tribesmen were outnumbered, they fought bravely and won the battle. However, during a final charge by the defeated army, five raiders attacked Ruathain and Varaconn. His geasa fresh in his mind, Varaconn was struck by panic and made to flee, only to be mortally wounded from behind. When the battle was over and Varaconn was dying of his wounds, he spoke to Ruathain about taking care of Meria and Connavar.[2]

Four months after the battle, Ruathain married Meria, raising Connavar as his own son. The fact that his father had fled in the final moments of battle became a source of shame and resentment for the young Connavar. He saw his father as a coward, and swore that he himself would never flee from battle.[2]


Varaconn had blond hair, slender shoulders, and carried a soft-eyed expression. He wore a blue and green chequered cloak.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Sword in the Storm, Chapter One
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sword in the Storm, Chapter Two