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The Reef: A Legends of Lasniniar Short (Direct Exclusive)

The Reef: A Legends of Lasniniar Short (Direct Exclusive)

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Valanandir longs for adventure. His aunt and uncle want him to remain with them as one of the fisherfolk—a safe, normal life for a Sea Elf.

But in a time before moon and sun, even everyday tasks can carry a certain element of risk.

…And adventure lurks in unexpected places.

Experience the beginning of Valanandir’s journey to becoming an elf of legend in this coming of age story from the Legends of Lasniniar fantasy series. (Previously published as “Legends of Lasniniar: The Reef.” This adventure takes place before the World of Lasniniar novel Light Chasers.)

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No matter how many times Valanandir saw it, the sight of the wind-tossed waves stretching across the western horizon into the endless darkness always fascinated him. What lay beyond their undulating crests? None of the Sea Elves knew.

He doubted any of the other elven tribes had ever even bothered to look across the sea from their homes on the mainland of Ralvaniar. They were too busy hiding beneath the trees, or within the earth. He gave a sniff of disdain and inhaled the salty air of the open ocean surrounding him. The bobbing of the waves were second nature to him—as soothing as a mother’s heartbeat to her unborn child. But he suspected a land elf would find the surges nauseating. He couldn’t imagine what it must be like to be cooped up under tree branches, or in tunnels, with no view of the open sky.

Not that the sky itself was much to look at. An endless void of darkness, it stretched as far as the eye could see. When he had been a child, his friend Numril had been frightened of it. The memory of it made him smile. Valanandir had been the only one who had been able to get Numril to confront his fear. The empty sky was nothing more than an unpainted canvas, filled with possibilities of what might lie beyond.

It was when shadows and lights soared overhead that there was reason to fear.

The glaurinu—the dragons—spent most of their time harassing the mainland elves. But that didn’t mean the Sea Elves were safe. Valanandir had seen ships attacked by sheets of flame from the safety of the shore. And as a child, he remembered being ushered by his aunt to hide in a cave along the coast when he had spotted an enormous shadow on the horizon. Even now, he could remember how his heart had pounded in his small chest, filled with a mixture of excitement and dread.

Despite his disdain for the Sea Elves’ mainland cousins (and the threat of dragons), Valanandir still longed to sail their coast and explore. He was already familiar with most of the nooks and crannies of Arindaria, the small isle that was Sea Elves’ home. He yearned to discover new places, and learn more of the world beyond Arindaria. The mainland seemed like a good place to start. And someday, perhaps the unknown west…

“Valanandir.”

Valanandir’s silver eyes blinked, his thoughts coming back to the present at the sound of the familiar, male voice speaking his name.

“Pay attention, lad,” his uncle chided. “You’ve got a bite.”

Sure enough, Valanandir felt a tug on his fishing line. He tightened his grip and strained to reel the catch in with practiced skill. The large fish bumped against the side of the fishing skiff on its way up from the deep. Valanandir leaned over the side to haul it in with both arms, and received a splash to the face for his trouble. He spat out a mouthful of saltwater and flung the fish inside the skiff. His uncle’s hand was already in motion. He rapped the struggling fish smartly on the head with the pommel of his knife while he maintained a grip on his own fishing line with his other hand. The large, silver-scaled fish instantly went still. Valanandir pulled his hook free from its mouth.

“That’s a fine one,” his uncle said with a nod of appreciation before returning his attention to his own line. “Good thing it didn’t get away.”

Valanandir swallowed, his face warming from the implied reprimand. His uncle was a quiet, kind elf. He had never so much as raised his voice at Valanandir. But Valanandir hated to disappoint him. He knew his aunt and uncle loved him dearly, but he always couldn’t help but feel he did disappoint them somehow.

“Sorry, Uncle. You are right. I wasn’t paying attention.”

Valanandir pushed his long, damp hair behind his pointed ears. It was like his uncle’s—a silver cascade. But where Valanandir’s uncle wore his in a single, practical plait, Valanandir’s was loose and wild, with the occasional beaded braid. The dusky-skinned faces of both elves were ruddy from hours spent on the water.

His uncle’s pale, blue-green eyes softened. “You recovered quickly though.” He gave Valanandir’s knee a comforting pat. “And just in time for us to head back for the day.”

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