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Prologue: Reunion in Maleril

    Maleril was a new village in western Flaim that laid in the fertile region that was once Shooting Star’s hunting ground. The villagers were Flaimians and Kanonians who had escaped Kanon during the Marmo wars. The village was young, but the people had settled into a comfortable lifestyle in the last fifteen years.

    This was one of Y’ezela’s first stops since parting with her mother, and she wasn’t looking forward to heading out on the road again alone. She was considering hiring a mercenary, but only if she could find on that didn’t creep her out and would work for little gold.

    The exotic half-elf bard had just finished the tale of Shooting Star’s slaying—a local favorite—and her cup was filling with silvers, coppers and gold coins. Y’ezela thanked whoever dropped her a coin, no matter what it was.

* * *

    Lanir walked through the streets of Maleril slowly as he took in the sights and sounds of the village. It was a fairly new settlement; ripe and growing. The half-elven ranger had hoped to find a small inn with good ale and a room for the night. He also wanted to get a look at the place and its people while he was passing through, perhaps by some chance someone might have seen an elf that matched the description of his mysterious father. If not, at least he’d enjoy a meal and a bed for the night. While he often relished the forests and woods, he did appreciate a warm bed and meal now and then.

    The young half-elf kept his hood on, as he’d grown accustomed to doing so, not that he didn’t mind having it down here and there, which caused many a maiden’s heart to flutter. But, now he only wished a good mug of ale and rest. It was then his sensitive ears caught the musical tones of an angelic voice, which drew him closer to one particular inn. Entering, Lanir spied a beautiful young female half-elf singing for coin; her voice seemed to bring the song alive. It was enough to make him swoon for a moment, but as the half-elf took a seat at a table near her he noticed, she looked familiar but he couldn’t place where he could’ve met her. He’d had little dealings with many elves, though there was something about her. After the young woman had finished her set, the quiet half-elf rose and approached, dropping a coin into her cup as he pulled his hood back and spoke. “That was a beautiful performance, your voice is captivating.”

    Y’ezela looked up to thank the young man, but she froze for a moment. At first, she noticed his beautiful elven features, then she realized he seemed very familiar. “Thank you,” she said with a gentle blush on her darkly freckled cheeks. She had to say something more to him, she couldn’t just let this familiar half-elf wander away. “I haven’t seen many others like you live nearby?” she asked quickly.

    Lanir smiled as he responded, looking at the young woman through light hazel eyes. “I’m afraid not, my homeland is Raiden. I was born and raised there. I’ve only recently been traveling throughout Lodoss seeing the sights, hiring myself out as a ranger here and there. You’re...very familiar...have you ever been in Raiden by chance?” Lanir smiled as he awaited her reply, still trying to place where he’d met her before, she was so familiar, it was on the tip of his tongue but he couldn’t place where they could’ve possibly met.

    “I’ve been all over Lodoss,” Y’ezela replied, studying Lanir more closely now. There was a boy she remembered, a half-elf like her with hazel eyes and blond hair. He was the son of another merchant. “Lannie?” she asked, her eyes starting to sparkle with excitement and recognition.

    Lanir’s eyes sparkled in puzzlement for a moment as he was taken aback. The only person that ever called him that was a playmate he’d known as a child in Raiden, a little half-elven girl who’d always pulled the quiet child out of his shell and made him laugh. Glancing over her for a moment, the half-elven ranger’s face lit with a smile as he studied her face closely then embraced her and spoke in a joyful tone. “Ez? It’s you?! Who would’ve thought? Hahahahaha! You’ve grown!”

    Y’ezela hopped to her feet and threw her arms around Lanir as he reached to embrace her. “Of course I’ve grown!” she chided. “And look at you! What are you doing out here?” She gave a small, private chuckle when she thought of just how handsome he’d grown up to be.

    Lanir hugged the beautiful half-elf and laughed, as he released her, taking a look at her he spoke in an overjoyed voice. “Haha, I’m traveling seeing the world, making my way as a Ranger for hire. And looking for any clues as to my father. I figured I wanted to know more about the man who stole my mother’s heart. From what I’ve heard from her, he’s a great man. Apparently, I look like him a bit...with the exception that my eyes aren’t green like the great forests as my mother puts it. But what of you Ez? I see your pretty voice has grown even more beautiful than ever. It’s so good to see you.”

    “Well, I’m going to try and make a living as a bard,” Y’ezela replied to Lanir with a grin. “Let’s get a table,” she said, then picked up her lute in one hand and took Lanir’s in the other as she led him to a table out of the way.

    Lanir smiled and sat as he glanced over at his childhood companion who’d grown into a most lovely young woman. Smiling, the half-elf leaned forward and spoke, “Alright then Ez, so you’ve been traveling around with that beautiful voice of yours. So tell me all about your adventures, I mean being a bard you’ve bound to have seen a lot of places and heard a lot of stories here and there. Then I can tell your some of my adventures and misadventures as a ranger.”

    The chance meeting of his old friend had made a cold world a lot warmer; being a half-elf wasn’t easy. At times he didn’t know where he fit, being too human to be an elf and too elven to be human. Still, he was elated to see Ez here and now, the coincidence was uncanny, but he wasn’t complaining.

    Y’ezela slid into the seat across from Lanir. She watched him with her striking green eyes almost flirtatiously—after all, he’d grown into a handsome young man. “Actually, I haven’t been traveling alone for very long, but I’ve been wandering all over Lodoss with my mom my entire life, but I started my musical training when I was fifteen,” Ez explained. “I’ve only been playing some of the popular songs, Parn and Deedlit, War of Heroes, Kardis’ Resurrection, I’m sure you’ve heard them. But I really want to find some adventurers so I can write my own songs.”

    Lanir smiled, Ez’s voice was beautiful he was sure that in time she’d become a great bard. Though the young half-elf female’s statement had given him a wonderful idea. Leaning closer he gave a slight smirk and then smiled as he spoke. “You know Ez, that gives me an idea. You’re well on your way to becoming a truly magnificent bard. How about this, every lovely young lady of talent and beauty needs someone to watch her back. How about I tag along with you, we can see more of Lodoss together and I can help with any rough rousers you might come across.’s always better to travel with a friend, and maybe along the way I’ll be able to find out any information as to my father. What do you say?”

    Y’ezela’s face lit up, he suggested just what she wanted. “Yes! Of course,” she replied. “So, you’re looking for your father? From what I remember, he did the same thing to your mother as my father did. Disappeared before we were born. It makes you wonder if all elven men are like that, or maybe just to human women.”

    Lanir nodded, Ez had a point. It seemed many a half-elf might have had either a father or a mother like that. Though he doubted that a mother would leave her child, more than likely it was the men who did so. Smiling at Ez, he spoke in reply. “So it would seem, though from what I’ve heard my mother tell of him, my father is really something. A good and noble man of regal bearing. Makes me wonder if the man was royalty or something. What of your father Ez, do you know anything about him?”

    “Well, my mother said he disappeared before she even knew she was pregnant. She said he was gorgeous, I got his eyes,” Y’ezela replied and batted her eyes, showing off her striking green eyes. “She called him a free spirit, he didn’t like staying in one place. Or staying with one person. I don’t think either of them expected to stay together very long, but she always said she didn’t need a man to rely on, even when I was born.”

    A barmaid came to their table and set down a pair of goblets in front of them. “It’s on the house. I really love your telling of the Fire Dragon Mountain battle, your voice just makes it seem so magical!” the maid praised Y’ezela.

    “Thank you! I do my best,” Ez smiled brightly to the maid. “Is this...your brother?” the maid asked apprehensively. “Half-brother, maybe?”

    Y’ezela blinked in surprise, but she probably just said that because they were both half-elves. They looked very different after all, Y’ezela was dark skinned with curly black hair and green eyes, while Lanir was fair with blond hair and hazel eyes. “, he’s just a friend,” Y’ezela replied.

    “Oh, dear, I’m sorry!” the maid blushed. “I just...well, you’re both half-elves. I’ve never seen many, and never two together. I thought maybe your mother was an elf and you had different fathers. You do both sorta look similar, in the shape of your face, I mean. You’re both so beautiful,” the maid blushed again, she was very talkative and it seemed her tongue had run away with her. “I...I suppose all elves are that beautiful. Um....pardon me,” she made a quick, shameful escape back into the kitchen.

    Lanir smiled and found himself blushing as well, it wasn’t often that he received such kind compliments from humans. As he watched the young woman head back towards the kitchen, he thought for a moment and studied his childhood friend’s face closely. She’d been correct, they did seem similar in many ways but the same father? While it was a possibility, Lanir wondered if there was anything to it. Lanir’s mother had spoken about his father being a very handsome man, and a nomadic spirit as well. But many elven men traveled frequently, with such long lives not many were ready to tie themselves down to a family quickly or to a place. Still, the thought still lingered in his mind. Leaning forward, he spoke with a smile on his face, staring gently into Ez’s eyes. “You know...there is some merit in what she says, what if we do have the same father? Wouldn’t that make us siblings? My mother said my father was very handsome as well, I take my looks after his; only I don’t have his eye color. I took my eye color from her, still it could be just coincidence.”

    That was something Y’ezela didn’t want to believe. She was attracted to Lanir, and if he were her brother, then that would just make her feel dirty. But she had to admit, he had a point. In that case, she wouldn’t make any moves until she learned more. Maybe she should join him in finding his father—their father? With a sigh, she replied, “I can’t say I know. It’s a possibility. How about we look for him? We can go back to visit our mothers maybe, and find out more before hand.”

    Lanir noticed Ez seemed a bit agitated as she replied to him. The ranger hadn’t expected her reaction to be a troubled one, still he had to admit it was a possibility. Lanir’s eyes softened and he spoke with a concerned voice as he’d hoped he hadn’t upset her. “I’m sorry, Ez, I wasn’t trying to imply that your father or mine was the sort around. I mean to say, while it’s a possibility I doubt it. Your idea to visit our families is a great one, I’m sure we’ll find out more about our fathers. Now you have to tell me all about your songs, that beautiful voice of yours is to die for.”

    Y’ezela shrugged. “I really don’t care about my father’s habits. I don’t know him,” she replied, then took a sip of her wine, then smiled at Lanir, ready to shift the conversation as well. She hoped he wasn’t her brother, now it would be wearing on her mind for the entire journey—until they found out the truth. “Well, when my mother and I were traveling, we had a bard with us. He inspired me to become what I am today...” Y’ezela went on to recount the tale of her becoming a bard.

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