Feris’s usual omnipresent smile disappeared for a moment. “People like things that fit neatly,” she said. “The edor make people around here, and even back east, awfully mad because they don’t fit. Most don’t look like orcs, most don’t look like elves, some can even pass for humans. They’re a living mirror, reflecting the fact back at folks that a lot of their feelings are wrong.

Eggebrecht, fascinated, tapped his chin.

“Ask an elf or an orc why they are the best of the sapient races, and they’ll babble at you for an hour. But if the edor can do things just as well or better than any orc, any elf, that means those people are wrong. They’re not better. And if they’re not better, that means nobody’s better. That gets the humans, dwarves, and halflings in a twist. Even the other half-and-halves don’t stick up for the edor, because they are too busy living with being mirrors themselves.”

“How do the settlers in the wilds react to seeing an edor?” Eggebrecht asked, curious. “I know that the half-breeds elsewhere certainly get an askance look, as if the unfortunate circumstances of their birth are any of their own doing.”

Feris shrugged. “They’re been killed on sight. And boy, does that make the wild folk mad. Mad enough that it’s not a good idea to run into them. Ever.”

“I am beginning to think,” Eggebrecht said, “that I made the right call, bringing you along, Miss Clutterbucker.”

“Wheel,” Feris said, suddenly all smiles again. “The name’s Miss Wheel.”

Eggebrecht immediately began reconsidering his statement a moment prior. “You introduced yourself as Feris Clutterbucker to the sheriff,” he said, confused.

“Exactly,” Feris said airily. “And I’m introducing myself to you as Ms. Wheel. I trust you can keep that straight, Dr. Eggebrecht.”

“As you wish,” Eggebrecht said with a long face. “Come on, I have a few more government dollars we can spend for supplies before we head north.”

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