Chapter 4: Lightning, Thunder, and Rainbows
That Cup later became part of many stories on Tu, but that's a story for another time.
However, many of the weapons of the Kaanho were made afterwards. Linfal had the knowledge to make such, but knowledge and skill, wisdom and artistry, are not the same. Astusya was the eldest of such artificiers. The first of the dark elves, who were also known as dwarves and gnomes, and mother of the elven race, she was the bride of Titaror the first elvenking, and mother to Gandichaun and Jequeror, among others. Created soon after the Kaanho first arrived on Tu, she was instructed by Linfal, but her artistry and power were her own.
She took Linfal's knowledge and instructed the young star-warriors who were born later, on how to make weapons and armor. Klaschi, the first born of Linfal and Angusin, was her most attentive pupil, and he eventually became at least equal to her. Yet she was the first and perhaps the greatest of the master craftsmen (women? Dwarves?).
She lives in a great palace built inside a cavern in Kaanrarho. When Tjisir was born, the first child born on Tu, Sagin's and Sashang's child, there was quite a celebration on Chialta. Tjisir grew swiftly and tall, and another Kaan-child was born a few weeks later, Hedene. Later Edonarter and some of the other Kaanho were born.
Hedene was concerned with growing things, and with that Astusya could do little. But Tjisir she could. He seemed to almost crackle with force. Indeed, with so much force that he seemed to glow with a whiter, hotter light than even Tuao, but it seemed to confine itself more. One had actually to touch it to feel pain, a tremendous shock. When he walked, or talked, the noise of his walking shook all Chialta, and his voice knocked down walls.
But he could not touch anyone, hold anyone, even his own mother, without inflicting pain on them. It made him lonely. He played with Hedene as a child, but as his power grew, the more the distance between them grew.
Angusin asked Astuya if she could think of anything to ease the young Kaan's loneliness. She thought and thought and finally set to work on the mightiest of all her works. Young Klaschi assisted her. Soon she had created a great double-bladed axe, and a dark whip.
"This axe," she rumbled, "is Cuchil the lightning, and this whip is Shango, the thunder. With it Tjisir will live a life worth living among the Kaanho."
That night, both Klaschi and Astuya came before the Kaanho. Young Edonarter was restless, yet everyone loved his infectious, gregarious spirit, so Klaschi brought out the first gift, on Chialta. "This is for the young Edonarter, greatest of hunters. It's made of a material I devised, with Astuya's supervision."
He brought out a bow, but it was a bow of many colors, with arrows in a quiver. The white ones brought painless death, the dark ones, an agonizing one. Edonarter was delighted with it. Yet sometimes, after a rainfall, the lands are too wet for good hunting, and Edonarter will laze around, and place his bow in the sky, and the sunlight will swell it, and men will call it the rainbow.
That same night, Astusya presented her gifts to Tjisir. He grasped the axe, and it began to glow and become blindingly white, yet he himself became the dark-haired bearded giant he truly was. He took the whip, and cracked it once, and it was louder than even his footsteps or voice. But when he spoke, his voice, though deep, was still manageable.
"By the Amonkaanho Cup...I...I'm like you. I think."
Angusin took off his armored gauntlet. Only Angusin could hold him since he had grown to his full power, because even the blazing power of Tjisir could not harm his armor. But now, Angusin deliberately held out his bare hand, and grasped Tjisir's hand. Tjisir, desperate for the touch of anyone, hugged Angusin like he would never let him go. "Almost-father who is better than my real father...never will I forget this. Never."
"It was my request, but it was Astuya's skill."
Tjisir turned to the dwarfqueen. "There are no words, Astuya, for what you have done for me. Ask me anything, and I will give it."
Astuya smiled. "I'll keep that in mind. But Tjisir, I must acquaint you with your new weapons. They must be used every so often, their power released. They drew on your power, and divert it to themselves, but there are limits. Every so often, you must release the energy within them." She indicated a lesser peak of Gameng, the mountain that Chialta was on. "Toss Cuchil, the axe, at yon mountain peak."
It flew from Tjisir's hand, thrown with his considerable strength, and went so fast and spun while flying that it was the first lighting bolt! Where it struck, the mountain peak was shattered! The Kaanho gazed in awe at the released power of Tjisir. Then the thunderwhip, Shango, moved on its own, reaching out its dark coil...wrapping itself around Cuchil, the axe.
"The two are linked, and will always call to the other, Tjisir."
Then the whip sprang back, bearing the axe with it, bringing it back to Tjisir's outstretched hand. As it snapped back, the thunderclap was heard again.
"The power is within you, Tjisir. These are merely cups in which the power is poured. When full of the power, only you will be able to hold them. Seperated from you, they would soon lose their power, and you would start to glow again, more and more. So I have made sure they will not go far. You see the thunderwhip, Shango, will always fetch the lightingaxe, Cuchil, for you. Now throw the whip away."
Tjisir tossed the whip away, but then the axe leaped out of his hand and intercepted it, and knocked it back at Tjisir. Then, one Tjisir grabbed the whip, the thunderwhip brought the axe back with another thunderclap.
Hedene looked at him, and thought how handsome he was now, shorn of the lightning sheen he had been sheathed in. Yet he was so used to not touching anyone, that he did not reach out to her, which she hoped for.
"Astuya, think long and hard of what I can do for you. But now, you as a mother may understand what I am about to do next."
Striding on clouds, another virtue of his, he descended them as a man would steps. Soon he was on the ground, by the sea. He whispered, "Mother..."
Out of the sea rose a mermaid's form, Sashang, Kaan of the sea. "Tjisir? Is that you?"
"Yes." He put the axe and whip in his belt. "Mother. I am no longer dangerous to you. Angusin shook hands with me, bare hand to bare hand. I hugged him...with no ill effects." He strode out into the surf.
She wanted to believe him, but she had been shocked many times by him...small shocks when she was nursing him, far greater shocks as he grew older. She hadn't dared to touch him for years. Gingerly, she reached out one hand to touch him...one finger touched his nose. Nothing. Then she reached out with the other hand, and ran it through his hair, caressed his face. Then she started to cry, and he started to cry, and in the surf mother and son, for the first time in years, were able to hug each other. There was no joy like their joy, that night.
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