Kender Adolescence

by Kipper Snifferdoo

by Vallenie Honeythorn

The middle years for most races is a time of “Coming of Age” and kender are no different. From thirteen to nineteen, the teen years are a time when a kenderkin becomes a true kender and learns the skills that will help him or her during their long and adventure filled years of wanderlust. It's at this time that young kender begin to seek out weapons masters, hunters, and newly arrived adventuring kender, that can teach them how to live off the land, wield a hoopak or whippik without harming themselves, and inform them of places to visit when they embark on the greatest adventure of their young lives.

Survival skills are taught through forages out into the surrounding forests and wilderness. Games such as the Graystone Scavenger Hunt or Wild Goatsucker chases are all in fun, but also teach a kender the importance of stealth and even a bit of patience. The kender teachers of these survival skills are known as “Game Keepers”. These expert woodskender are usually known for their hunting prowess. Every kender community can boast of at least one Game Keeper. The title actually came from the young kender that are taught by these woodsman, because the Game Keepers know all the best games to play in the woods.

Kender moots also become more important for young kender at this time in their life. These often held community gatherings are a time for adolescent kender to show off the skills they have been learning to the younger kenderkin and the mature kender of the community. Many moots boast games and fun contests. For teenage kender this means an opportunity to become Kender King of the Hill, or target shooting with newly crafted hoopaks, or tree races.

Kender also experience feelings of infatuation for each other. These young courtships most often bloom during kender moots in their middle teens to late teens. A young kendermaid will lift a pouch from a young kender she likes and play keep away, or a young kender may sneak up behind a young kendermaid and attach a lock of his topknot to her mimicking the adult custom of wearing a braid of a lovers hair. If the young kendermaid likes the kender she will pretend not to notice and continue to flaunt the sign that they are taken. This romantic time is also the time of kender marriage vows. The young and infatuated kenderkin often exchange vows before they head their separate ways down the path to adventure and excitement. It is kender tradition to exchange with the person you intend to marry an item of your own, not one you just found, but one with lasting and sentimental value to you. It is with the exchange of these promises and gifts that the kender couple head their separate ways, each knowing that the other will always have that little something special to remind them of their love.

Many races find kender intolerable, but they have never met mischief until they have encountered a kender adolescent. It’s hard for many races to believe, but adult kender in wanderlust have outgrown most childish behaviors. But it’s not easy for a young kender to spend his or her time being told when the best time to go to bed is, or where they should be and at what time. Kender are fiercely independent and adolescent kender can be down right rude. They may be one of the friendliest, amiable and endearing races on the face of Krynn, but they don’t like authority. If they think the idea to do something is their own they will be willing to do anything, but if they get the notion that they are being ordered you can forget about it being done.

A kender gains an insatiable need for adventure around this time in anticipation of the day that they will leave to see the world. Some kender communities have rituals where they send off kender that feel the “call of the road”. On Windsong the 21st, Spring Dawning, the kender community has a festivity called “The Wanderer’s Celebration”. It begins in the early morning and lasts until late in the evening. During the festival, the parents of all the kender who have left on wanderlust since the previous celebration gather together in front of everyone and one at a time give the name of their mischevious little adventurer and what he or she has planned to do during their wanderlust. Then, when everyone is finished, the parents lead the congregation in the singing of the wonderfully merry trail song, "The Path Less Taken". Then commences a great feast, with the breaking of a loaf of trailbread by the parents of the first kender of the year to leave on adventure signaling its start. Then come fireworks and drink, and with that inexorably come tales of when parents were themselves young kender, in search of excitement and danger.

Most kender just pickup whenever the wind whispers to them that it’s time to go, and after a quick call on their close friends and relatives they announce their descion, pack their pouches and are on their way. A few lucky kender have their parents (who are no doubt already on wanderlust) come back to the village or city they were raised in and take them with them on wanderlust. Once that young kender has taken his or her first steps on wanderlust. They are considered to be a full grown kender


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