The Fourth Shantel

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Literature Text

Clutch: Machesri Clutch 5: Amon'Ra [mc21f] & Keisne [mc10m]

The Realm is bustling.  The white egg has been laid, and the spring festival is rapidly approaching.  On top of that, two clutches will be undergoing their Shantel soon.  Jarod, per usual, is nearly frantic.

*Where is Pierre?!* he cries, letting out a piercing "treeee!" to accent his distress.  Athena, who is nearby, reaches over to wrap her tail around his back.

*Calm down, dear,* she says, *you're making the parents nervous!*

Well, at least one of them looks nervous.  Keisne is hopping from foot to foot, watching the proceedings.  Amon'Ra, on the other hand, is her normal, composed self.  She watches her arriving children, going to greet each one.  Some, however, still haven't arrived.

"Well, at least you can walk on it..." A familiar voice says.  Turning, Jarod and Athena see Indyana.  She is escorting quite a posse.  Two heavily armored women, one carrying a child, a boy, and a heavily spined red arboreal dragon follow cautiously, eyeing the Realm with wonder and suspicion.  Up front, Indyana is helping along her bondmate Pierre, who has a nasty gash on his shoulder and is limping heavily.

*Pierre!*  Athena cries in alarm, and rushes to the young male's side.  *Thank goodness Clarinet isn't here!  If she saw you like that...*  Lowering her head, Athena croons softly at the wound, and it closes up.  When she is done, only a light mark on the skin remains.  *There,* she says, examining her work.  *Now, what happened?*

"A little misunderstanding," Indyana says.  Pierre, on the other hand, shoots the red arboreal female with the group a dirty look.

*Indeed,* he says.  *Now if you'll excuse me, I'm supposed to be preparing everyone for the Shantel.*  He walks off, still limping a bit, and muttering about 'crazy flighty females'.

*Daughter!*  Another voice calls, and Amon'Ra and Keisne move over to land in front of the spined shrape.  The shrape backs up slightly and gives them an amazed look.  Indyana smiles.

"I think we should let this group get acquainted."  Motioning to Athena, Indyana heads off to try to calm down Jarod, who is holding his head in his hands as two green terran shrapes wrestle playfully around the fountain.

"Come on, then!"  Indyana says, clapping her hands and shooing the two away from the fountain.  "No horseplay around the water!"  The two terrans stare at her.

*Horseplay?* One inquires of the other, and they both burst out laughing, making whinnying noises.

Meanwhile, two marine females lounge in the fountain, exchanging stories.  One especially delicate green arboreal shrape is sitting quietly and talking with a green marine shrape with no back ridges.  Eventually, Pierre comes back.  He still looks in bad humor, but he isn't limping any more.

*The Kailan is ready,* he informs the group.  Immediately, Jarod and Indyana begin rounding up the shrapes.  When everyone is lined up in front of the large boulder used for this occasion, the Kailan comes out of his cave.  He moves with great strength and determination, and instead of perching on the boulder as he usually does, he lands directly in front of the shrapes and examines them keenly.  Amon'Ra and Keisne exchange a surprised glance, but do not speak.  Finally, the Kailan seems satisfied and returns to perch on the boulder.

*Well, it seems we have quite a few good clutches to start of our year,* he says.  *A few of you have traveled great distances to be here today, and not without trials along the way.  However, you have all survived and are here today to become full Bishen.*  He pauses, then says, *Estrella, come forward.*

A healthy blue marine female slithers forward.  Off to the side, a familiar group is gathered--Talia, Bréyan, and their daughter Arianna are standing next to Amon'Ra and Keisne, proudly watching the proceedings.  Indyana turns to look at them and shakes her head.  It seems like just yesterday Talia was here with Keisne, a young girl with bright, excited eyes.

*You have grown to love the sea, Estrella, as has your bondmate.  I give to you this Friendship Ocarina.  Play it and creatures of the sea will help you in your journeys.  It also gives you the power to speak the language of anyone you may come across.*

The Kailan places the ocarina around Estrella's neck, and she steps back into line.  *Maleah, please come forward.*

A second blue marine female moves to stand before the Kailan.

*You are graceful and silent, true to your color.  To you I give this Cloud Stone.  It will enable you to create clouds that you can ride, and they will take you anywhere you wish to go.  This stone also gives you the breath weapon of Thundermist, a dark mist that creates the sound of thunder and frightens and throws enemies away.  Use this gift well.*

Maleah takes her Cloud Stone and moves back into line, looking quite happy.  The Kailan announces the next name. *Kashi, come forward.*

A green terran male with a light step trots forward.  Looking at him, the Kailan smiles.

*Ah, you are truly your father's son, young Kashi.  Through the toughest times, you were able to keep a positive outlook and flourish.  You have a love of nature and quiet that your father once shared.  Therefore, like your father, I give you a Spring Orb.  This orb allows you to create the season of spring around you and to inspire growth in all plants.  I know you will use it responsibly, just as your father has.*

Kashi takes his object, his chest puffed with pride... he is almost as proud as Keisne, who positively beams from the crowd.  *Kasidar, come forward,* the Kailan says.

A green terran male canters forward, skipping happily and nearly knocking over Kashi.  On the sidelines, Amon'Ra is chuckling and giving Keisne a look as though to say "yep, he's your son all right...".  The Kailan smiles too as Kasidar stops in front of the boulder, tilting his head up to stare at the Kailan with wide eyes.

*You to, Kasidar, I give this Luxis Cabochon.  It will light you way in the darkest of tunnels.  It also allows you to create powerful flashes of light to blind enemies.  May your work always be brightly lit and your walls always be sturdy, young one.*

Kasidar takes the gem, barely able to contain himself.  *Mom!  Dad!  Look!*  He projects as he jumps back into line... and knocks over Fyloron.  The two get tangled up for a few seconds until Kasidar rights himself.  *Sorry...* He murmurs, but most at the Realm are smiling genially.  The Kailan clears his throat and continues.

*Fyloron, come forward.*

The serpentine green marine shape moves fluidly to sit in front of the boulder.

*You, Fyloron, have the grace of your grandmother, as well as her affinity for water.  To you I give this Water Draw Stone.  It will allow you to draw up rivers from the earth and control the movement of water.  This can serve to protect and provide.  Use it wisely, however, as water can be a force of life as well as a force of destruction.*

Fyloron takes the smooth, carved stone from the Kailan and carries it carefully in his mouth back to the line.  Athena is grinning and nuzzling Jarod off to the side.  *Pyyon, come forward.*  The Kailan says.

A very light and delicate green arboreal female glides carefully over to land near the Kailan.  Next to him, she looks very small and a little nervous.  He smiles reassuringly to her before speaking.

"You, Pyyon, live a life up on the moutains of Elaria.  However, you never fail to be friendly to those you meet.  To you I give this Branch of Plenty.  It will ensure that your tables are always filled with enough food to share with your friends and family, even during the worst mountain winters.  It will also allow you to breath a mist of confusion at enemies.

Pyyon takes the small, crystalline branch in her mouth gently and floats back into the line.  Now only one more shrape remains--the spined red arboreal female from earlier.  *Gunnhild, come forward,* the Kailan intones.  The female shrape moves forward, getting more than a few stares from the surrounding crowd.  Behind her stand the warrior women and the children who had come with her.  The Kailan looks at her long and hard before announcing her gift.

*Gunnhild, you are one of the few Bishel Dragons of your generation who has seen the horrors of war and violence.  They have scarred your body, but never your spirit.  To you I give this Rift Cloud.  It will allow you to create powerful bursts of energy that can turn back even the most powerful of foes.  It also allows you to open rifts in reality and travel to any place you know well.  Use this object with great caution, as the abilities to harm others and alter the fabric of reality are a great responsibility.  I trust that you will use this object wisely and make our clan proud.*

Gunnhild takes the Rift Cloud, which floats serenely next to her as she returns to line.  Her mother, Amon'Ra, is glowing golden with pride while Taila and Keisne back off to avoid getting slightly scorched.

*Now, shrapes, you are full Bishen, ready to take your place in our clan.  You have all shown great skill, great courage, and great spirit through all your trials.  Many of you may leave and travel far from this place, but remember that the Realm is always your home, and no matter where you may wander, the connections of blood hold you to this place.  Now go, little free spirits.*  With that, the Kailan bows to the crowd, and the Shantel is officially over.

Immediately Amon'Ra and Keisne rush over to congratulate and fawn over their children.   Gunnhild looks pleasantly surprised when Pyyon and Fyloron gather around her to look at her object and show her theirs.  Even Pierre seems to have forgiven all as he joins in to mingle with the new Bishen.  Some of the bondmates begin talking to each other, and Jarod and Athena move off to examine the group from a distance.

*Well, you finally got what you wanted...* Jarod says to his mate, nuzzling her.

*What's that?* She asks, confused.

*An entire brigade of marine grandchildren,* he says, laughing.  *Those latent marine genes are coming back with a vengeance.  Notice there isn't a hybrid in the whole bunch...*  Athena smiles.

*I'm sure we'll get one eventually... we aren't too old to have another clutch you know.*  She smiles at Jarod, who shakes his head.

*Well, Pierre and Clarinet are expecting, and Naturail and Atlan's kids will be coming for their Shantel soon.* Athena admits.  *It seems we've enough of a new generation for the moment.*

*Some day, m'love,* Jarod says, watching as Pierre and Indyana lounge together in the sun and Keisne tries to stop Kashi and Kasidar from knocking over some carts of fruit.  *For now, why don't we just let them have the fun.*
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