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Void Walker: A Novel of Lasniniar (The World of Lasniniar Book 7)

Void Walker: A Novel of Lasniniar (The World of Lasniniar Book 7)

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Felara’s obsession with Iarion knows no bounds.

Barlo knows the Unborn woman would do anything if she thought it in his elf friend’s best interest. Absolutely anything. And Barlo can do no less.

With Lasniniar in chaos and Iarion named as the culprit, Felara comes to Barlo for help.

...Little does the dwarf realize just what his aid might cost him.

Journey beyond the World of Lasniniar and into the unknown in this seventh novel in the epic fantasy series.

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Barlo left the familiar packed dirt of Traitor’s Road, turning his back to the Jagged Mountains to head south into the Adar Daran. He had only set out from Dwarvenhome a few hours ago, but the day was already overcast and cool. His wildcat companion, Golhura, paced beside him, the tips of her tufted ears reaching above his waist on his short, dwarven frame. Her golden eyes peered intently into the fog bank that was rolling in from the grasslands as they stepped among the tall, withered blades. She ghosted ahead of him, her silver marked, gray pelt helping her blend in with her surroundings.

Barlo watched her go, his mind still on his trip to Dwarvenhome. Visits with his family had become awkward ever since he had become the first dwarf to be reborn—a fact no one outside the elves and a few select others were aware of, even though he had the same brown eyes, long, brown beard, and blocky features that made him the spitting image of his namesake and the dwarf he had been in his previous life. To make matters more complicated, he had been reborn as the son of Fidar, his youngest son from his first life. It was more than strange to have the tables turned in such a manner without anyone else being aware of it. Even though Barlo had since moved on to live among the elves in his new life, he still loved the dwarves he would always think of as his children, and he knew Narilga would have been happy to know he had taken the trouble to visit. He felt a familiar pang at the thought of his dead wife.

No use getting melancholy. She’s in the First Father’s Hall now with Sinstari to keep her company. She doesn’t even realize how much time has passed since we last saw each other.

Barlo had done his best to make the most of his visit to Dwarvenhome, but between the secret of his rebirth and the odd nature of his current role as the son and nephew of his former children, he had only managed to get through a few days before itching to return to Melaquenya so he could be reunited with Iarion. In many ways, the elf had become family to him, and with the anchor link that had formed between them since his rebirth, he found being separate from Iarion physically uncomfortable. Iarion had offered to accompany him on his journey, but Barlo knew he had been eager to return to Lodariel after all they had been through during their last adventure on the strange island of Belidaria. Besides, it would be good for the two of them to have some alone time before Barlo got back. His mind was still reeling from the last time he had walked in on them in the middle of their amorous activities...

He shuddered, banishing the images from his mind. He had enough to worry about with this strange fog rolling in. He saw Golhura’s outline just ahead of him. The wildcat had stopped, her entire body tensed in a crouch as she stared out into the tall grass, her ears flicking. Barlo reached for the ax at his belt, easing it loose as he crept forward. Lodariel and Iarion had trained Golhura from birth to protect him. He knew better than to ignore her warnings. A tingle settled across his flesh, making his chain mail jingle as he shivered. The air before him shimmered and a familiar figure appeared.

She was tall, and had elven features, but was far too pale to be confused with any elf. Her silver hair hung in a blunt cut that reached her chin. Her shifting, violet eyes sought Barlo’s in the fog.

“Felara,” Barlo said, allowing some of his annoyance to creep into his voice as he sheathed his ax. The weapon was useless against the likes of her. “What do you want? Iarion’s not with me, you know.”

Felara was one of the ancient spirits known as the Unborn, and she was obsessed with Barlo’s elven friend.

“I know that,” Felara said with an irritated wave. “I came here looking for you.”

“Me?” Barlo shook his head in surprise before narrowing his gaze. “What for?”

“I need your help, Barlo,” Felara said. She bit her lip.

“Ha, that’s a good one,” Barlo said with a sarcastic chuckle. “I’ve seen you at work. I know what kind of powers you have. What do you need me for? What even makes you think I would help you? You’re the least trustworthy creature I’ve ever met.” Barlo crossed his arms. The fog rolled around them, surrounding them in a swirling wall of white.

Felara held out her hands. “I know you don’t trust me, but you know I’ve always taken care of Iarion to the best of my abilities. I saved him from my cousins. I even helped Lodariel find the Sea Elf princess on Belidaria.”

“You also tried to come between Iarion and Lodariel, and you were hardly ever around when we could have used you,” Barlo said in a flat voice. “You never do anything to help anyone unless it suits your own ends.”

Felara gave a grudging nod. “I suppose that’s fair. But that is only the nature of my kind.” She shrugged.

“And it warms my heart to hear you admit it,” Barlo said with a roll of his eyes. “But you still haven’t answered my question. Why do you think I would help you?” The fog pressed against Barlo’s face with a cool, soothing touch. He shook his head in an effort to clear it.

Felara looked away for a moment. “It’s Iarion.”

“What?”

The Unborn woman met his gaze. “Iarion needs our help. Please, I—I can’t do this on my own.” Her violet gaze turned pleading.

Golhura uttered a low growl, her tail lashing. Barlo frowned, trying to make sense of what he was hearing. His thoughts felt sluggish for some reason. He knew better than to trust Felara, but the one person she truly seemed to care about was Iarion. If his friend was in danger, Barlo couldn’t afford to ignore her warnings. He tried to use his anchor link to trace it back to the elf, but he couldn’t focus.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked, trying to hide his confusion.

“I need you to come with me,” Felara said in a compelling voice as she held his gaze.

Golhura launched herself at the Unborn woman, who gave a flick of her wrist. The wildcat dropped like a stone from midair, collapsing in a limp heap. Barlo rushed to her side.

“What in the First Father’s name are you doing?” he demanded, glaring up at Felara.

“I only knocked her unconscious,” Felara said. “Her attack would not have hurt me, but I have no time for games. This is important. If you don’t come with me right now, I don’t know what will happen to Iarion. Please, Barlo.”

Barlo looked from Golhura to Felara.

“What will happen to her?” He gestured to the wildcat. Aside from the rise and fall of her breathing, Golhura did not move.

Felara shrugged. “She will wake up eventually. She is more than capable of taking care of herself.”

Barlo shivered. He seemed to remember Felara saying those exact words about Iarion on more than one occasion.

“She can’t come with us?” he asked.

“She wouldn’t understand,” Felara said with a shake of her head. “She would only get in the way. I don’t want to be forced to hurt her.”

Barlo chomped at his beard, his thoughts traveling in bemused circles. Iarion was in danger. He latched onto that concept, a tide of concern rising within him. If Iarion was in danger, Barlo had to do whatever it took to help him. He knew the elf would do the same if their roles were reversed. He only wished he could think things through more clearly... Felara was no friend of his, and somewhere in the back of his mind, part of him was screaming out in warning. And Golhura had certainly made her opinion clear. But Iarion was in danger! The more he thought about it, the more his concern turned into panic.

“Will you come with me?” Felara asked, interrupting his broken train of thought. Her violet gaze was intent.

Barlo swallowed. Iarion was in danger...

He rose to his feet. “I will. We need to help Iarion.” As soon as he uttered the words, a weight seem to roll off his shoulders, easing some of his panic.

Felara gave him an encouraging smile. “I knew I could count on you. Come on. We’d better hurry.”

Barlo nodded. Felara took a few steps and beckoned for him to follow. Between the fog and his befuddled state, it was impossible to say which direction she was headed. He trotted to her side and she gave him an approving nod, reaching down to place a hand on his shoulder, making it tingle. He gave Golhura’s unconscious form one last look of regret before disappearing into the shimmering fog.

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