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Tanis Half-Elven

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Tanis Half-Elven
is first introduced in the book Dragons of Autumn Twilight. They introduce him saying that he was half-elven, armed with a longbow and a sword. Also they mention that he was wearing leather.

As with the other protagonists of the trilogy, Tanis's first appearance was during a role-playing game session in which Tracy and Laura Hickman, Margaret Weis and Terry Phillips between others, set up the basic storyline of Dragonlance.[1] In the beginning, Margaret Weis had problems picturing the correct representation of Tanis. Tracy Hickman finally told her He's James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. After that explanation, Margaret had no more troubles while writing about Tanis.[2]

Character BackgroundEdit

Two accounts of Tanthalas Quisif Nan-pah's (Tanis' elven name) birth exist. Both agree that Tanis was born in Qualinost, in 249 A.C. The first account is the Chronicles Trilogy, which states that Tanis was a product of rape. According to these novels, Tanis's mother and her husband, brother to the Speaker of the Sun Solostaran, were the victims of a bandit raid, one of many such raids that occurred during the lawless and chaotic times after the Cataclysm. The bandits killed her husband, and left her for dead after raping her. She was brought back to Qualinost, and cared for by the Speaker of the Sun and his house - her husband's family. The experience shattered her, and left her apathetic towards living. She barely clung on to life so that she may give birth to her unborn child. Shortly after Tanis was born she gave up on living, which was anathema to the long lived elves to which life was precious. She only lived long enough to hold her newborn, described in the first chapter of Kindred Spirits. The violent nature of his conception, the nature of his birth, and the choice of his mother to die influenced the way the elves regarded Tanis and shaped his developmental years.

The second account of Tanis' origins came about later presented in The Inheritance series. His mother, Elansa Sungold, originally was kidnapped by Brand's brigands, however later fell in love with him, resulting in Tanis. At that time, Elansa was also married to the prince, and so the prince tried to "rescue" her from Brand. When she refused to leave, he tried to kill Brand, however, they both died. Pregnant with Brand's child, Elansa goes back to Qualinost pretending she was raped to protect her and Tanis.

It should be noted that this information coming from The Inheritance, was written by Nancy Varian Berberick with no indications that the original authors and creators of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman were involved. As with many novels and works written by people other than the original authors for Dragonlance, there are many inconsistencies and contradictions in this novel, and may undermine its credibility to some readers many of whom regard it as unreliable.

Early lifeEdit

Tanis is good at archery, although it cost him his pride to learn, as well as with the needle and thread. Tyresian
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taught him to be a mighty archer. He prefers moccasins to elf boots, and likes rare, exquisite bows. He collects them. His seal is an aspen leaf.

Tanis meets Flint when Flint comes to Qualinost to craft some pieces for the Speaker of the Sun. Tanis gets to know Flint because he accompanied Lauralanthalasa Kanan wherever she goes to get a toy from Flint along with the other elven children. Tanis never wanted anything. Twenty years later, Laurana asks for Tanis's hand in marriage. Tanis accepts, thinking that it's just childish behavior, and that she'll forget about him when she grows older, although other elves dislike Tanis because he's half-human. Laurana gives him a ring with seven small interlocking golden leaves designed on it. Later, Flint begins teaching Tanis blacksmithing, and Tanis makes his first knife. He has a horse at this time, by the name of Belthar.

Tanis is accused of murdering Eld Ailea. Unfortunately for him, the evidence is enough to convict and imprison him. Flint begins a search for evidence that can prevent this and succeeds, freeing Tanis, who then saves Gilthanas' life. Tanis goes back to the Tower and saves the other royalty from death by slaying Arelas Kanan, the speakers' youngest brother. Tanis goes with Flint to Solace, a town he adopts as his hometown, although he periodically returns to Qualinesti. Tanis becomes partners with Flint in blacksmithing, handling payments and getting Flint's affairs in order.

Tanis meets Tas when the light-fingered kender "acquires" a magic bracelet. The bracelet was made by Flint and is intended for Selana Sonluanaau. Together, they go to Castle Tantallon and are made prisoners of Balcombe, but are freed and retrieve the bracelet.

Tanis meets Kitiara when he believes he is going to her rescue only to find she is toying with her assailants. He has a horse, this time under the name Dauntless. Tanis goes to Icereach in an effort to save her when he believes (wrongly) she may be mother to his unborn child. He meets Sturm in Solace, and Caramon and Raistlin Majere soon after.

Role in the War of the LanceEdit

In the first chapter of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Tanis meets up with the companions five years after they had split to find proof of the true gods. [3] He is their assumed leader. His leadership is not official and he makes no claim to it, but the others respect him as holding that position. Raistlin once claimed this is because Tanis listens to his feelings, and Sturm says that although he, Sturm, follows the Solamnic Knights Code "Est Sularus oth Mithas-My Honor is my Life", Tanis lives it. Tanis's unique personality and the fact that he combines strong stubborn decisions with the ability to listen to others advice makes him such an effective leader.

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On his way into the Inn, Tanis meets up with Flint and Tas. They encounter Fewmaster Toede, who sets his goblins upon them. They fight them off, but are disturbed at their peaceful town of Solace being controlled by the Highseekers and the goblin patrols. When they get to the Inn of the Last Home, the companions discuss things. In short, none have found any proof of the true gods. In addition, Kitiara has left a letter saying she will not be there. However, upon assembling in the Inn, they encounter Sturm, who has with him two barbarian plainspeople, Goldmoon and Riverwind. The woman, Goldmoon, carries a Blue Crystal Staff, which Toede had mentioned to Tanis. An old man there also tells a story of Huma Dragonbane and the White Stag. Goldmoon sings an enchanting song, which just about starts a riot. The companions, now joined by Goldmoon and Riverwind, leave the Inn under Tanis's guidance to prevent capture. They travel to Darken Wood, from there to Que-Shu, and then to Xak Tsaroth where they encounter Khisanth (Onyx), who guards the Disks of Mishakal. Khisanth was the first dragon Tanis ever sees, as well as the first black dragon introduced in the Chronicles Trilogy. Upon returning to Solace, Tanis and the others are captured by Toede and sent in slave caravans to Pax Tharkas. They escape and flee with a party of elves to Qualinesti. They are then sent on a raid of Pax Tharkas, by way of the Sla-Mori, to free the slaves there.

In the Sla-Mori, the companions encounter a great slug monster that melts Tanis's sword, when he was momentarily distacted by Laurana, who had followed them. Tanis was then given Wyrmslayer by Kith-Kanan, an ancient elven king. The companions enter Pax Tharkas and free the slaves. They do battle with Dragon Highlord Verminaard, who is slain by Tanis and Sturm.

Afterward, the companions recover the Hammer of Kharas and give it to the refugees, who trade it to the dwarves in exchange for safe haven in Thorbardin. Tanis leads the companions off to Tarsis, where the dragons attack. Tanis, Raistlin, Caramon, Tika, Goldmoon, and Riverwind split off with the others to go with Alhana Starbreeze, who forces them to go to Silvanesti with her to free Lorac from the dream and the dragon orb. Tanis loses Wyrmslayer at this point. They enter the dream and most of them die (only in the dream, they live in real life). Tanis lives because of his love of Laurana, and Raistlin because of his ambition. From here they head to Port Balifor and then to Flotsam. Here, Tanis disguises himself as a Dragonarmy officer and is discovered by Kitiara, who has become the Dragon Highlord of blue dragons. He briefly had a relationship with her, then fled Flotsam on the Perechon with the others and sank in the Maelstrom. He finds himself in the sunken city of Istar, where he meets sea elves, particularly Apoletta, and Zebulah, who is a human who can breathe underwater and lives with the sea elves. The companions are sent to Kalaman afterwards.

Tanis, Flint, Tas, Caramon, Tika, and Berem go to Neraka, to rescue Laurana who was tricked by Kitiara. Flint dies on the way there, suffering a heart attack. At Neraka, the remaining group is captured, but Tanis, seeing Kitiara enter into the city, takes a great risk and escapes from the guards, calling out for Kitiara's help. He falls into the charade of being her officer, and she accepts him up onto her dragon, however she does not see the others, so she believes Tanis is alone. He then makes an exchange for Laurana, offering himself. He tells Kitiara he will serve under her in Bakaris's stead. She accepts, and brings him to the meeting of the Dragon Highlord's to be presented to the Dark Queen.

At the meeting, it is revealed that Toede is dead, slain by the kender in their homeland. Prior to the meeting, Kit told Tanis the plan to free Laurana; he would be presented before the Queen and ask her for a favor in the form of escorting Laurana to the prison, however he would sneak her out to the gates and free her. However, when Tanis kneels before the Dark Queen, he is so overwhelmed he cannot speak, and she commands him to present his sword before Ariakas, a part of the plan he did not know of. Kitiara insisted on him going, and on the way there Tanis convinces himself (barely) to kill Ariakas. However, he discovers a magical shield in the way; Raistlin, is present and breaks the shield, allowing Tanis to plunge the sword through Ariakas and kill him. Tanis then makes a grab for the Crown of Power which Ariakas wore; Soth attempts to take it as well. During the struggle, horns blare, creating silence all round the chamber. Kitiara calls to Tanis, telling him to bring her the crown and ordering Lord Soth to escort him to her. Kit allows him to free Laurana, but Laurana refuses to go with him, saying she owed him her life, not her soul. Laurana pushes him off the ledge. Afterward, a huge fight breaks out, and eventually Kitiara gains the Crown while Tanis and Laurana escape.

"Evil turns upon itself"

After the WarEdit

In approximately the year 353 AC, Tanis takes Laurana as his bride and she bears a son, Gilthas. Laurana and Tanis have a castle near Solanthus. Tanis becomes a widely known and popular figure on Ansalon. So heroic was he in the War of the Lance he is proclaimed by the Knights of Solamnia an honorary Knight of the Rose, a rank normal knights must strive for years to obtain. He is presented with a breastplate by the Knights as well. The Medallion of Kharas and a green silk sash, from the mountain dwarves and Wildrunners, respectively, is also awarded to him.

Tanis is summoned to Palanthas some three years after his marriage and is told of Raistlin Majere's plan to destroy Takhisis and take her place as head god of evil. In addition, he receives the news of Kitiara's planned attack on Palanthas. Tasslehoff Burrfoot travels to an alternate time line and sees Lord Soth killing Tanis in battle. Luckily, Tasslehoff intervenes and saved Tanis from Soth by convincing him not to fight. Tanis instead enters the Tower of High Sorcery along with Caramon and is able to save Dalamar from Kitiara, who is, at the time, mortally wounded. Kit pledges her love to Tanis here, and asks him, in her words, to "keep him away". Lord Soth appears soon after. Tanis allows him to take Kitiara's body and finally breaks away from her, in heart and soul.

Tanis and Laurana then become emissaries between Qualinesti, Silvanesti, and the Knights of Solamnia. Their intent is to forge an alliance between them, a united front that would stand strong for years. At this time, Sturm's son, Steel, has gone to the side of evil, and Caramon requests Tanis's help in bringing him back to their side. They manage to bring to Steel to the High Clerist's Tower, but he will not leave the Knights of Takhisis. Tanis then attempts to tell the people of this order of knights, but few believe him. Tanis later returns to Qualinesti in an effort to save his son from the elves, who have made his son the next Speaker of the Suns. He does not manage to achieve that, but he does manage the rescue of Alhana Starbreeze. Tanis is then forbidden to return to Qualinesti.

The Chaos WarEdit

Tanis is still continuing his struggle to unite the nations when the Chaos War descends upon Krynn. He journeys to the High Clerist's Tower and defends it from the Knights of Takhisis and the Tarmaks. He saves Steel Brightblade's life there, upholding the promise he made to the spirit of Sturm Brightblade. An unknown Tarmak kills Tanis by stabbing him in the back with a sword. The exact date is unknown, around summer, 383AC. Tanis is buried in the Tomb of the Last Heroes in Solace.

FamilyEdit

Tanis is a half-elf. In his childhood (the first forty or fifty years of his life) he is raised in the court of the Speaker of the Sun, along with Gilthanas, Porthios, and Laurana. Gilthanas was once like a brother to him, but years of separation and several events have led to a separation between them. They are not openly hostile to each other, but they are far from brothers now. He leaves Qualinesti fifty years prior to the War of the Lance because he does not agree with the elves on various subjects. He is married to the princess of the Qualinesti Laurana Kanan (eventually disgusted with Kitiara after what she's done and deciding Laurana was the better choice) and father to Gilthas Pathfinder who takes over as elf king and led the elves to rebel in the fifth age against their human captors. Solastaran Kanan, Speaker of the Sun in the War of the Lance, is legally his uncle and, once marrying Laurana, a father-in-law. Gilthanas and Porthios are his brothers-in-law. Alhana Starbreeze, by marriage to Porthios, is his sister-in-law. Silvanoshei, son of Porthios and Alhana, is technically his nephew.

Cael Ironstaff once claimed to be the son of Tanis, who Cael claimed had had relations with one of the sea elves. This is unconfirmed, though Caelthas once had a red beard similar to Tanis's.

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Appearance and traitsEdit

He is about six feet in height, with a medium-large frame. He has tan skin, green eyes, and a red beard. His long hair is of the same color. He has deep, brooding eyes. Tanis is usually calm and honest. He seldom lies, only when imperative to his survival. Caramon Majere respects him greatly. Tanis has never completed the elven rite of adulthood. The languages he can speak are Camptalk, Qualinesti and Silvanesti elven, a little dwarven, and even goblin. Of course, he also speaks Common. His red beard is a cause, initially, of enmity between he and Gilthanas Kanan, who claims Tanis is "flaunting his human heritage".

Tanis is a half-elf, a curse and a blessing. He can grow his beard and hide his ears in order to pass off as human, or shave and allow his ears to be seen to pass as an elf. However, those elves that know the truth about him call him "half-breed" and believe him to be less. A few elves don't care, among them Laurana. Humans who know of the half-elf heritage (few outside of the companions) seem to care much less than elves. Tanis states, "According to humans, half an elf is but part of a whole being. Half a man is a cripple."[4]

Role amongst the companionsEdit

Tanis is extremely skilled at fighting. However, he has taken on the elven state of mind that killing is wrong. He detests fighting, but whereas the elves are blinded by their theory that life, no matter what the circumstance is, should be preserved, Tanis has the sense enough to know that there are times when killing is needed, such as the battle with Verminaard. Also, Laurana, his bride, seems to have taken on a state of mind similar to Tanis, even though she is a pure-blooded elf. This may have emerged from the sudden shock that she was given after she chased Tanis into the Sla-Mori. She went from elf-maiden to warrior in a matter of hours. Gilthanas, Tanis's cousin to some extent, seems also to have this state of mind, as does Porthios.

Tanis is commonly mistaken for a ranger due to his lightly armored appearance and weapons of choice, though second edition Dragonlance game materials list him as a fighter (as his constitution score does not meet the ranger's minimum). He is an accomplished swordsman and a skilled archer. A notable weapon of his, the Wyrmslayer, was given to him by the dead Elven King Kith-Kanan. Tanis is a brilliant leader and tactician. His human companions often looked to him for advice, making him the reluctant leader of the group which became the Heroes of the Lance.

Dragonlance MovieEdit

American television and film actor, Michael Rosenbaum is the voice of Tanis in the animated Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight film.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Weis, Margaret [January 1998]. “Foreword”, The Soulforge, foreword by Tracy Hickman., 5th edition, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1314-2.
  2. Margaret Weis; Tracy Hickman [November 1999]. “Book 1, chapter 6, Night in a cave. Dissension. Tanis decides.”, The Annotated Chronicles, 1st edition, Wizards of the Coast, 74. ISBN 0-7869-1870-5. Retrieved on 2006-07-01.
  3. Weis, Margaret [April 1984]. “2”, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Tracy Hickman., Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1574-9.
  4. Weis, Margaret [April 1984]. “7”, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Tracy Hickman., Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1574-9.
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