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Mum's the Word: A Legends of Lasniniar Short

Mum's the Word: A Legends of Lasniniar Short

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A dwarf and an elf. As friendships in Lasniniar go, most people find Barlo and Iarion an odd pairing.

Wherever the unlikely duo travel, adventure follows close behind. Barlo and Iarion fall in and out of trouble on a regular basis. But even as they perform heroic deeds, they find time to bicker and banter.

The straightforward journey Barlo plans for them now should prove no problem—a piece of cake.

...Or so he thinks.

A stand-alone misadventure story from the Legends of Lasniniar fantasy series. (Previously published as “Legends of Lasniniar: Mum’s the Word.” This adventure takes place between the prologue and first chapter of the World of Lasniniar novel Storm Rider.)

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Barlo hoisted his pack and steeled himself before entering Melaquenya. Even though Lady Iadrawyn had made it abundantly clear he was welcome within the Light Elves’ wood, some of her subjects tended to forget the fact. Although many still remembered how he and the rest of the dwarves had stood with the elves and humans against Saviadro and his dark army, most younger Light Elves had never seen another dwarf besides Barlo, and the older ones clung to the unwitting betrayal the dwarves had dealt their people thousands of years ago.

He could feel their gazes on him as he passed, watching, and considering. Those who had fought in the war gave him friendly waves of greeting, but he wondered how long it would be before they, too, fell back on the ancient prejudices of their insular ways. It made him uneasy to think about it. 

He wished he had Sinstari with him. He missed the wildcat’s familiar presence, but Sinstari had caught the scent of a lone female wandering near the Jagged Mountains, and had abandoned Barlo for something more interesting than a simple jaunt across the Adar Daran. Even though Barlo had cursed his wildcat companion for a faithless beast, he had encountered no problems on his way to Melaquenya, and foresaw a straightfoward return.

If not for his friendship with Iarion, Barlo would have had little to do with Melaquenya or its inhabitants. In fact, he was hoping to spend less time in the Light Elves’ wood going forward if everything went according to plan. His only potential stumbling block was Eransinta, Iarion’s overbearing, overprotective mother.

I suppose I can’t blame her for being a little clingy. She and Iarion did used to be twins, after all.

Barlo shook his head. Elven relations were so confusing. Light Elves were reborn with the memories of their previous lives. Iarion and Barlo had become close friends during Iarion’s previous lifetime, but in the life before that, he had been Alfialys, Eransinta’s twin brother. Saviadro had murdered him, and Eransinta went mad with grief, spending thousands of years wandering Melaquenya, searching for her twin’s lost soul. Now that Iarion had been reborn as her son, she seemed to have regained most of her sanity, but she was a little irrational where Iarion was concerned.

In the fifteen years since Iarion had been reborn, Eransinta had refused to let him leave Melaquenya. That meant if Barlo ever wanted to see Iarion, he had to spend time in the Light Elves’ domain. Barlo had tried to make the best of the situation. He visited as often as he could, and even brought Narilga with him on occasion. His wife didn’t leave Dwarvenhome often, but Iarion was a close friend of the family.

Barlo knew Eransinta’s restriction chafed at Iarion as well. In his previous life, Iarion had wandered most of Lasniniar on his own. He was unsuited to being pinned down in one place. He was already a competent warrior and more than capable of taking care of himself. If Eransinta didn’t let him out of the nest soon, he might just run away. Barlo wouldn’t put it past him. Perhaps that would make a good argument when he confronted Iarion’s mother...

Barlo caught a glimpse of a white and gold blur barreling toward him from the corner of his eye. Before he could think to move aside, it slammed into him, knocking him from his feet. He landed in a heap on the soft grass. Some of the elves walking the forest paths nearby gave him disapproving looks. Barlo glanced up to see Iarion rising to his feet, dusting off his breeches. He took in Barlo’s accusing glare with a laugh, tossing his white braids over his shoulder.

“You weren’t paying attention,” he said, his voice stern and mocking at the same time.

Barlo rose with a grunt, glaring up at him. Even though the elf was several hundred years his junior, Iarion was still a foot taller than Barlo.

“You should have more respect for your elders,” Barlo grumbled. He smoothed his long, brown beard and lifted his pack back onto his shoulders.

“And you should be watching where you’re going. You can’t just tromp along with your head down like that.” Iarion’s golden-flecked sapphire eyes sparkled.

“Why you little—”

“Look, Father, Barlo is here!” Iarion draped his arm across Barlo’s shoulders as an older elf with white hair and golden skin to match Iarion’s stepped out of the trees.

Barlo casually brought the heel of his boot down on Iarion’s toes as payback for the tromping comment and gave Curuadil a smile. He hadn’t even heard the other elf approach. Clearly, Iarion had, with those overly clever pointed ears of his. Iarion’s father raised an eyebrow and shook his head with a tolerant smile.

“I am glad you are here, Barlo,” he said. “Iarion has talked of nothing but your upcoming visit for days.”

Barlo gave Curuadil a measuring look. “Maybe the lad needs to get out more.”

“Perhaps,” Curuadil said, becoming serious. “But certain elves might not agree. After all, the world is a dangerous place.”

Barlo snorted. “Iarion can handle himself well enough.”

“I am convinced of Iarion’s competence.”

But his mother was not. Curuadil’s unspoken message was clear. Still, it seemed Barlo might have an ally in Iarion’s father.

“What if he had a trusted companion to watch over him?” Barlo asked. “Someone who could keep him safe?”

“That would certainly merit consideration,” Curuadil said with a grave nod.

“Um, hello?” Iarion gave them both an exasperated wave. “I’m right here, you know.”

Barlo reached up to give him a pat on the back. “Not now, Iarion. The grownups are talking.” Iarion shot him a murderous look, and Barlo had to struggle to keep the smirk from his face.

“Now,” Barlo said, “why don’t we discuss this with your lovely wife? I’m sure she’ll be wise enough to see the merit in a perfectly reasonable plan.”

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