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Lady Justice: A Legends of Lasniniar Short

Lady Justice: A Legends of Lasniniar Short

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In the world of Lasniniar, few chase after adventure quite like Iarion and Barlo.

The elf and dwarf duo enjoy the challenge of unraveling a difficult problem. Especially if it involves a journey and a battle to get the blood pumping.

But both friends remain cooped up at Dwarvenhome, bound by the ties of Barlo’s family.

...Until an intercepted message proves too intriguing to ignore.

A stand-alone fantasy story of Lasniniar’s favorite team of adventurers. (Previously published as “Legends of Lasniniar: Lady Justice.” This adventure takes place between the World of Lasniniar novels Storm Rider and Wave Runners.)

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“Your turn,” Iarion said, gesturing toward Barlo.

“Are you sure that’s the move you want to make?” Barlo asked his elf friend, trying to hide his consternation.

Iarion smiled, flicking one of his long, white braids over his shoulder. “I’m sure.”

Barlo suppressed a curse and forced himself to study the board while stroking his beard. He and Iarion were playing Mines and Caverns, a dwarven strategy game Barlo had taught Iarion only two days before to pass the time while he was visiting Dwarvenhome. Although Barlo had already lived an entire lifetime, he was still considered a young dwarf since he was barely in his twenties. As a result, his parents were cautious about letting him leave the underground city, which irked him. Iarion’s visit had been a welcome relief from the daily burden of trying to hide the secret of his previous life—until the elf started winning at Mines and Caverns, that is.

He must be cheating somehow...

Barlo was an expert player. Few in Dwarvenhome could match his skill, and no one wanted to face him in tournaments. He had beaten Iarion soundly at first, but the elf had improved with each game, picking up the elaborate rules quickly. Now he had Barlo’s Clan Chief cornered. Barlo furrowed his considerable brows and looked for a way out.

“Ah!” A smile spread across Barlo’s face.

Iarion had been fixated on trapping Barlo’s Clan Chief, but he had forgotten about his lesser pieces. Barlo picked up the bronze figurine that represented a miner. It was currently located in a cave of no consequence—except for the presence of a hidden tunnel. Barlo used the passage to move his miner into Iarion’s starsilver mine, his most precious commodity.

“The starsilver’s mine now,” Barlo said, hiding his relief. “I win. Again.

Iarion smacked his own forehead, rolling his golden-flecked, sapphire eyes. “How did I forget that secret passage?”

Barlo shrugged. “It’s a complicated game. You’re still playing it quite well.”

“You did a good job of distracting me with your Clan Chief,” Iarion said. “If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought you had forgotten about the secret tunnel as well.”

“Yes.” Barlo cleared his throat. “Well, I’ve had much more experience than you. I’m obviously going to be better at bluffing.”

“Do you think we can play again?” Iarion asked. “I really thought I was going to win this time.”

Barlo grasped for an excuse. Iarion’s loss had been too close for comfort. “I don’t know... We’ve played so many games today already—”

“Excuse me, Barlo?” a travel worn dwarf carrying a heavy load of packs said, approaching the small gallery off the main street where Barlo and Iarion were playing.

“Yes?” Barlo said, eager for the perfectly timed interruption.

“Have you seen your uncle?” the dwarf asked. “I need to speak with him.” Barlo’s uncle, Khalid, was the current Chief of Clans for Dwarvenhome.

“Probably in another council session,” Barlo said, suppressing a sour expression. “Why do you ask?”

“I’ve just come back from Belierumar. I went there to trade, but something’s afoot there. The outlying villages are all in an uproar. Seems people are going missing. Some are even being found dead. The city guards have tried to investigate, but the locals seem to want to keep the matter to themselves. They’ve become suspicious of any outsiders.” The dwarf sighed. “I wasn’t able to make a single trade! I don’t think it’s safe for anyone to visit the human city right now. I wanted to pass the information along to your uncle.”

“I see,” Barlo said in a bored-sounding voice. “Well, as I said, you’ll probably find him in the Meeting Hall.” He gave the trader a negligent wave. The other dwarf bobbed a nod of thanks and left.

Barlo waited until the trader was out of earshot before turning to speak to Iarion.

“So, what do you think?” He asked in a hushed voice. His brown eyes were alight with interest.

“About what?” Iarion asked, his eyes wide with false innocence. “You were speaking Dwarvish just now.”

Barlo snorted. “Don’t play coy with me. I know you understand Dwarvish well enough.”

“It sounds like the people of Belierumar are having some problems,” Iarion said with a shrug. “Nothing to do with us.”

“Oh, come on,” Barlo said. “I know you want to go investigate, just like I do. It’s Golaron and Silvaranwyn’s children who rule the city. Wouldn’t they want us to help?”

“I suppose,” Iarion said. “But we haven’t exactly been invited.”

Barlo shook his head. “The Ruling Family of Belierumar knows nothing of me being reborn. As far as they know, their adopted uncle is long dead. They’re not going to ask us to come.”

“It would probably be better not to be affiliated with the ruling city anyway,” Iarion mused. “It sounds like the villagers don’t even trust the city guards.”

“Aha! I knew you were interested.”

“But what about your parents?” Iarion asked. “They’ll never let you go.”

Barlo rolled his eyes. “That’s why they’ll never know we’re going. We’ll leave a note telling them we’re going camping in the Adar Daran for a few days to cure our boredom. They’ve had no problem with it before.”

“A note,” Iarion said in a flat voice.

“Well, I’m not going to lie to my parents’ faces!” Barlo protested. “I think we can both agree lying isn’t my strong suit. Besides, my mother is at the market right now, and my father is in his forge. It’s the perfect opportunity.”

“If your parents find out I took you all the way to Belierumar without their consent...”

“But they won’t!” Barlo slammed his hand on the table, disturbing the game board. “Come on, Iarion. It’s like I’m slowly suffocating in this place. I can’t tell anyone I’m capable of taking care of myself without giving away my secret, and no other dwarf is interested in acting as my chaperon as I wander about the countryside. Even that trader goes about his business as quickly as possible to get back here as soon as he can. The only time I get to go anywhere or do anything interesting is when you visit!”

Iarion shook his head in mock regret. “I’ve been a bad influence on you.”

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