by Stephanie Valis
Episode 01 (cont.): It wasn't me, I swear!
“Nope.” Deiter shrugged absently.
“Do you know who that is?” Deiter gestured lazily to a short young woman with brilliant scarlet hair and sharply pointed ears. He wondered if she’d been travelling for a long time considering the tattered condition of the robes she wore. They seemed oddly familiar to Deiter, though he couldn’t quite place them. “She looks like an elf.”
“She probably is an elf judging by those ears.” Sam shrugged. “I’ve no idea, just some traveller coming through more than likely.”
Deiter pushed himself off the bar, careful to avoid the nets as he stood and hunched. He strode to the elf’s table, towering over both furniture and occupant as he took the seat across from her without asking.
“Hi.” Deiter stuck his hand across the table and smiled, showing his fangs in a way that he thought was friendly but that everyone but his Ugha typically found intimidating or down right weird. “My name’s Deiter, what’s yours?”
The elf woman’s bright green eyes bounced up and down as she studied him without speaking. Deiter’s hand and his smile didn’t waver; he was used to that reaction too. Eventually she held out her hand and grasped his lightly for a quick shake. Deiter’s smile widened and he pumped her arm enthusiastically. One of her bright red eyebrows rose as his handshake seemed to travel all the way up her arm and into the rest of her body, making it look like he was shaking her as well. She pulled her hand back before it could get ugly and eyed him again.
“My name is T’zielle.” Her voice was soft but clear as she spoke. She rubbed her hand with a slight frown at him. “Are you an orc?”
“Half-orc.” Deiter straightened proudly with a nod. “Are you an elf?”
“Isn’t that obvious?” T’zielle’s smile was a little condescending, but Deiter never seemed to notice that, no matter whose face it was happening on. A smile was a smile to him.
“You could be a half-elf.” Deiter pointed out, the seriousness of his expression indicating that this was something he had considered carefully. “I don’t like to assume things about people.”
“Fair enough.” T’zielle’s expression turned thoughtful as she studied him. “I’m a little surprised that the townsfolk haven’t run you off considering your heritage.”
“Why would they do that? I grew up in Tinisville.” Deiter grinned, his face seeming to stretch into one big smile filled with teeth. “My dads have a little place just outside of town but we come here all the time. When I was little we used to go to Collegium all the time to visit my grandparents on my Papa’s side.”
“Wait, you’ve been to Collegium? You?” T’zielle’s eyebrows shot toward her hairline. Deiter was rather impressed that she could get them to go that high. It made her look like she had no forehead.
“Yeah, why? I’ve been there loads of times with my dads.” Deiter shrugged, people always seemed surprised by something or other about him. He wondered why they thought his life was so very odd.
“I’m surprised that they didn’t r—” T’zielle’s response was drowned out by the loud, horrified murmur that went through the crowd already gathered in the tavern as the door opened to admit a stranger creature than Deiter.