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. "Would both of you mind not talking about me as if I weren't
here?" He frowned sternly, turning to the unabashed kender. "Tas, what
Flint meant was -" Tanis groped for words that might persuade the
"It doesn't matter," he sighed at last, seeing Tas's attentive,
childlike expression, curious yet uncomprehending.
"So, Tanis," Flint said, striving to change the subject, "you
haven't told us where you're going." Pulling a chunk of wood and his
whittling knife from the depth of the brown leather vest he insisted
on wearing in every type of weather, Flint leaned back and began
carving details into the miniature form of a half-finished duck.
Tanis stroked his clean-shaven chin and contemplated the fire's
blue flames. "I don't know... I thought I might wander toward the city
of Qualinost," he said ambiguously, his unblinking eyes burning.
Flint looked up and gave Tanis a meaningful stare. Tanis's entry
into the world had been more difficult than most. His mother, an elf
woman raped by a human, had died giving birth to Tanis. The half-breed
child was raised by his mother's brother. Though his uncle treated the
boy as one of his own, Tanis never felt truly welcome among humans or
elves. And as Tanis grew into manhood, his mixed heritage became even
more physically apparent; he was smaller than most humans and larger
than most elves.
It was then that he felt the attitude of his elven family
change. Everyone except Laurana, that is, whose girlish attentions
were not completely unwanted