Laurel (Laurent in the NES version) is a temporary playable character in IV.
Torneko finds him staying at the inn in Endor, finding that poetry doesn't pay particularly well and looking for work. In exchange for advance payment, he is willing to join Taloon for a few days at a time. He's useful in his ability to cast spells, which Taloon can't do himself. After Chapter 3, he is no longer recruitable.