Sidekicks perform a useful role in many novels. Don Quixote had Sancho Panza. Frodo couldn’t have succeeded without Samwise Gamgee.

In The Dragon’s Bones series, Warrick has Barin.

​From the second scene of Wielding the Words and throughout the saga, this bear-like son of a smith provides comedy, crucial support, weapons, and earthy wisdom for his friend.

​Here is an example from Battling the Bones.

“The shield gleamed in the forge firelight. Barin molded into it everything his father taught him and everything he learned by his own toil up to that very moment of his life. To bore a hole through the new alloy proved difficult. But the thick leather belting he put through it felt as though it would hold against a dragon’s grasp. The convex surface shined his image back at him when he finished his last polishing motion.

“There now, laddie,” he wondered with a raised eyebrow and a smile, “You’re lookin’ especially handsome for the orphan son of an obscure village smith. Are you certain you’re not bein’ the master armorer of a great hero? With work this fine and a jaw line so noble, you’ll be heartthrobbin’ every lass who’ll be hearin’ the minstrel’s story of the travels of Lord Warrick, victor of whatever battle it is that’s distinguishin’ him last!”

“So you think Warrick has a battle he’ll win?” asked Fist from the doorway to Barin’s surprise.

If a bear could blush, Barin’s coloring would resemble it. He glared over at Fist and commented, “Now see what you be doin’, you big brute, you’ve caught me admirin’ my handiwork and my handsome face. I’ll not be forgivin’ you until you come and agree with me.”

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