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The Bearded Ones: A Legends of Lasniniar Short

The Bearded Ones: A Legends of Lasniniar Short

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The sky to the north of the Light Elves’ wood remains empty. Only a chain of mountains marks the horizon.

Iadrawyn keeps watch from the cover of the ancient trees and waits. The forest hums with life around her.

The world beyond remains a mystery to the elves. What kind of dangers and potential allies roam outside their borders?

Iadrawyn looks to the sky and waits for answers.

A stand-alone story of the elves’ exploration of their new home in the Legends of Lasniniar fantasy series. (Previously published as “Legends of Lasniniar: The Bearded Ones.” This adventure takes place between the World of Lasniniar novels Light Chasers and Kinslayer.)

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Iadrawyn leaned against a smooth, golden flecked tree trunk on the northern border of Melaquenya, her arms resting on her knees. Although the tree was large and ancient, she could sense the hum of life coursing through it. The lands of Middle Lasniniar lay before her, a sprawling plain of tall, undulating grassland, broken by a chain of mountains to the north, whose distant peaks rose high into the clouds. An errant breeze lifted the golden strands of her long hair, setting them dancing about her face. Her green gaze swept across the sky, searching. She stifled a twinge of disappointment when she didn’t see what she had been looking for.

Iadrawyn sighed. She knew she should be enjoying some time to herself. She had certainly had little enough of it since the elves had made the crossing from Ralvaniar after its destruction. In addition to her usual duties as Lady of the Light Elves, she had also given birth to Curuadil a few months ago. She delighted in her newborn son, but she had been grateful when his much elder sister, Andirlynia, had offered to watch him for the afternoon. So much time had passed since her daughter’s birth, she had forgotten how tiring a baby could be. She slept when Curuadil slept, and when he was awake, it seemed he always needed feeding, burping, changing, or bathing.

“Here you are,” Valanandir said, as he appeared through the trees, his long, white hair still damp from bathing. She smiled up at her mate. “You should be relaxing.” He settled beside her, and she nestled against him.

“I know,” she said. “I am waiting for Malarin to return.”

“She’s gone to try to make contact with those strange bearded people again, hasn’t she?” Valanandir asked, sounding amused.

“I know they sound funny, but I think they are important. We are new to this continent. We cannot afford to remain isolated.”

“There are no drakhalu here,” Valanandir said as he stroked her golden-skinned arm. “We left them behind on Ralvaniar.”

She shuddered at the memory of the blood-drinking demons. “I know that. But we are still strangers here. We do not know what dangerous creatures live in these lands. For all we know, there might be something worse than drakhalu out there. We need to learn more about our neighbors and forge alliances where we can... I thought you would understand that.”

“Of course, I do. What you say makes complete strategic sense. I think I’ve just fallen into the same state of complacency as everyone else. We are all so happy to be here and alive after everything we have gone through. I had considered sending out emissary explorers at some point, but I thought to wait until we are more established here. Have you sensed something?”

Iadrawyn’s brow furrowed. “Nothing definitive—just a restless intuition. I only know that these short, bearded people Malarin has found intrigue me. When I commune with the Quenya, I get the feeling the fate of the elves is tied to them somehow.”

“Well, Malarin should be back soon,” Valanandir said. “She has been gone for a few days now. I’m sure she is doing her best to make a connection with them.”

Iadrawyn spotted an approaching form on the northern horizon as he spoke, moving against the wind. It grew larger as it drew nearer, revealing the familiar outline of their dragon friend, her silver, gold, and blue scales gleaming in the sun. Iadrawyn and Valanandir scrambled to their feet. The dragon circled before descending, her enormous wings stirring up a small hurricane of grass and leaves before she touched the ground.

“Hello there!” Malarin’s powerful voice boomed as she looked down at them with her pale blue eyes. “Decided to wait for me, did you?”

“How did it go?” Iadrawyn asked.

“Well, those bearded ones aren’t exactly friendly,” Malarin said, folding her forelegs neatly before her, like an enormous cat. “They seem to like staying underground, like Earth Elves. They come out from time to time to look for food though. I don’t imagine they find much under the mountains, other than bugs and fungus.” She gave a sniff of disdain.

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