Mordecai: You are one of the Branded. You are the child of beorc and laguz.
Stefan: I believe so, at least. My proof is this mark upon my forehead.
Stefan: You don't need to talk to me if you're afraid. Now that you know what I am, I make you uncomfortable, don't I?
Mordecai: I am unsure. A legend in Gallia speaks of the parentless. They are bad omens. When a parentless one comes into being, a century of destruction follows...
Stefan: Yes, that's it. The laguz do call us that. "Parentless," as if to deny our heritage. As if to deny that we are their kin. That's how the laguz treat us—as if we should never have been born. The beorc may tremble when they see the brands we bear, but at least they do not deny that we share blood. That is why so many of the Branded hate the laguz—because they have rejected our very existence.
Mordecai: But how? How is it that you came to be? Laguz and beorc are different. They cannot bear children. This is how Ashera has made our world... It is her law.
Stefan: I don't know. The laguz tribes cannot interbreed, I know that much. However, it seems possible, though rare, for a child to be born to beorc and laguz parents. But once the bloodlines have mingled, the trace of it can remain hidden for countless generations. Have I violated the goddess's laws? Have my parents? No. Whatever happened was done by some forgotten ancestor. My parents are beorc, as were their parents before them. I do not know who is responsible for what I am. But now, after many generations, their sin has appeared in me. I bear no guilt, but the badge of impurity is mine to wear.
Stefan: My laguz blood gives me great power. I thought about using my power to gain revenge against the people who scorned me, but I decided against it. I have found friends, people who live outside the normal worlds of the beorc and the laguz. People who bear the brand.
Mordecai: What did you want from me, Stefan? Why did you ask about Gallia?
Stefan: I was curious about Gallia's beast tribes. They looked different than those that live in Begnion. There are those among the Branded who think that a country willing to join hands with beorc... Might find a place for us as well. We thought we might at last find acceptance in Gallia and Crimea... Of course, it didn't work out that way...
Stefan: Well, I guess that's the end of our little "friendship" now, isn't it? I intend to stick around until this war is over, but I won't bother you anymore. I know how you laguz are about us.
Mordecai: No! I will not pretend that you are not among us. I will not pretend that I do not see what is in front of me!
Stefan: What will you do, Mordecai? Am I so wretched to you that you feel you must take direct action against me? You laguz are closer to nature than the beorc. Are you going to enforce the goddess's law? Is that it?
Mordecai: I have not met the goddess. But if her laws make you unwanted, then I will have nothing to do with her. You have taught me much, and I would not like to lose your friendship.
Stefan: Hm. You'd want nothing to do with the goddess? Funny, but for the first time in my life, I'm grateful to her.
Stefan: If someone like you can be so sincere a friend, then perhaps she's not to blame. Perhaps her laws aren't what we think.