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Her Rightful Place: A Legends of Lasniniar Short

Her Rightful Place: A Legends of Lasniniar Short

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Arinmalia holds herself above the rest of her Wild Elf tribemates. With good reason.

Few can match her fighting and tracking skills. She needs no friends to watch her back, or distract her with their tiresome company. She prefers to walk the forest paths alone, with only her own thoughts as her companions.

Arinmalia knows in her heart a great destiny awaits her. Something beyond the modest village life of her tribe. She dreams of finding it. She hungers to make her tribemates understand.

She needs them to acknowledge her rightful place.

A stand-alone story from the sprawling history of the elves in the Legends of Lasniniar fantasy series. (Previously published as “Legends of Lasniniar: Her Rightful Place.” This adventure takes place before the World of Lasniniar novel Light Chasers.)

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Arinmalia paced, the snow crunching beneath the soles of her leather boots. She did her best to ignore the curious gaze of the young elf who watched her.

This is ridiculous. I have better things to do than look after some snot-nosed brat—even if she is my cousin.

She considered the child that had been left in her care with narrowed eyes. Lodariel was young, but she already carried her spear with a measure of competence. Her fiery red hair, green eyes, dusky skin, and stubborn chin were not unlike Arinmalia’s own, which only served to irritate Arinmalia further. 

She liked to think of herself as a unique creature among the Wild Elves. Lodariel’s resemblance to a younger version of herself tended to spoil that vision.

At least she isn’t a baby, but still! 

Why saddle me with any of the younglings at all? Doesn’t anyone realize I’m above this sort of thing? It’s not as if I care about their stupid feast anyway. 

And of all the children they could have left me with, why did it have to be her?

Lodariel remained silent for a few moments before speaking.

“You don’t want to watch me, do you?” she asked.

Arinmalia stopped her pacing to glare at her. “No, I don’t.”

“Why not? Don’t you like me?” Lodariel’s young voice took on an injured tone.

Arinmalia grunted. “Not particularly.”

Her words staggered Lodariel. “But I’m your cousin!”

“It makes no difference to me. Do not take it personally. I don’t like anyone.” Arinmalia shrugged.

“But why?

Arinmalia flicked her braids over her shoulder in annoyance. 

“It does not matter. You wouldn’t understand. No one ever does. Now why don’t you run along? Go play by yourself and leave me alone. You can tell your parents you were with me the whole time.”

Lodariel’s eyes rounded. “I can’t lie to my parents!”

Of course you can’t. That would make this too easy.

“Well, then maybe you should find someone else to watch you,” Arinmalia said, trying to keep her temper in check.

“There is no one else. Everyone is either helping with the feast, or too busy watching the little ones. You are the only elf who isn’t busy.”

You mean I’m the only one with the sense to stay away from the village while it’s swarming with an army of elves in feast preparation mode.

The feast was a celebration of the elves’ transformation from bodiless spirits of light into their current, physical incarnations several generations ago. 

Being an elf was all well and good, but Arinmalia found it—and her Wild Elf counterparts—rather boring. She knew there had to be something more to life on Ralvaniar. She found the complete ignorance of the other elves to such a fact baffling, but it reinforced her belief in her own uniqueness.

Arinmalia sighed. “Fine. You can sit on that stump and watch while I sharpen my spear.”

She jerked her chin in the direction of the stump and sat on a nearby rock after brushing it clear of snow. She drew a whetstone from her belt and began working the nicks out of her metal spearhead. 

Lodariel seemed to bite back a retort, but did as she was told. The two elves sat in silence for several moments, the scraping of the whetstone the only sound. Snowflakes drifted from between the naked, interlaced branches of the forest. Beyond the Wild Elf village, Melabeli was blissfully quiet.

Although Arinmalia tried to ignore her unwanted companion, she found herself watching Lodariel from beneath lowered lashes as she worked. The younger elf tilted her head to gaze between the branches at the dark, empty sky. She appeared calm, but Arinmalia could sense her mounting frustration. 

Lodariel lowered her chin and let out a long sigh of annoyance that emerged from her lips as a puff of steam in the cold air.

“Do you really expect me to sit here and watch you sharpen your spear until the feast starts?” she demanded.

“You don’t have to stay,” Arinmalia said without looking up. “I gave you a chance to leave, remember?”

“Now I know why you don’t have any friends,” Lodariel muttered.

Arinmalia’s head snapped up. “What was that?”

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