The elves of Tiramoor had as the second in line to their kingship one Naluri, who despite reaching her majority had never grown beyond the stature of a child. Their erstwhile enemies, the dwarves of Marrowdun, meanwhile, had a princess who would have been first among her peers had tradition allowed for any but males to succeed to the Diamond Throne. Inacha, their princess, was of exceeding height for their kind, nearly two dwarven cubits tall. Indeed, were it not for her characteristically tough skin and close physical resemblance to her father, one might have mistaken her for a human.

It was a human, of the kingdom of Al-Urdin, who first had the idea of an exchange. After a particularly brutal skirmish between a group of Tiramoor rangers and Marrowdun prospectors, the Bey of Yiddah intervened, petitioning his uncle the Sultan to arrange an exchange of hostages for mutual peace and to increase understanding. Having hunted with Naluri and Inacha, the Bey suggested them as the hostages.

And so it was that the tallest of all the dwarves and the shortest of all the elves found themselves at the Al-Jazīrah, an island at the confluence of three great rivers traditionally used for negotiations. The notion was that, with the humans of Al-Urdin as mediators, the princesses would seal the peace between their squabbling peoples.

As fate would have it, they would never be exchanged.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!