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CHAPTER VII: Sun, Sea, Sand & Shanzi

1/16/13 by greatwh1teshark

CHAPTER VII:
Sun, Sea, Sand & Shanzi

Two years have past since the night Mako and Izal discovered the baby Zach on the beach and in that time, the infant boy had grew to become a toddler. He was now a toddler with a full head of blond curly hair that was forever messy and had hardened blue eyes that was full of strength and determination.
As time progressed man and bird had learned that the sleeping baby was quite a lively character. Noisy, talkative in a baby way, speaking a language of gurgling and cooing. He always wore a cheeky, mischievous grin and was forever getting into mischief. Whenever left unattended little Zach would waste no time in escaping from the house or where ever else he was on the Island. His tutors couldn't look away for even a second because a second was all it took for Zach to crawl away, putting as much distance between him and his minders as he possibly could.
Originally he would only make 10 feet before he was caught, but as he got bigger and stronger, he would get even further. On a number of occasions, Mako and Izal would have to search the entire Island just to try and find Zach, all because he would crawl and crawl, sometimes he would be found down on the volcano's slope and other times Zach would be found playing on Dead Man's Beach. Then there were the times that he was found amongst the Nogmal trees, he was a child who brought his two carers a lot of stress and worry.
Most recently Zach had taken to climbing, climbing up anything he saw, it didn't matter if it was Mako's legs, a table, a stool or even climbing onto Izal's back, wanting to go for a ride. On some days he even attempted to climb Mako's house, but his most favourite thing to climb was the Nogmal trees. He would get great joy out of scaling his way up the large living objects and he had no fear of it doing so either, which was only natural.
Where he originally comes from, Mantos Island, the people of Mantos were well known as people of the trees. Even though they were surrounded by water and were notorious fisherman, as well as highly experienced free-divers, the people of Mantos preferred to be people of the forest. It is living in the forests of Mantos that they became tremendous tree-climbers and practised archers, archers capable of making shots no other could, which in itself is a great ability to possess for a Watcher in the making.
As for Mako, he had spent most of the time that had passed, either minding young Zach or working with wood. As well as being able to fight, strategically plan and speak the many languages of Oceania, Watchers in the making would also be taught in the art of carpentry, which allowed them to become accomplished bowyers of making high quality bows and long bows.
They would also become so talented through would work that they could make wooden swords, shields, targets, houses and much more. Trainee Watchers would also learn to become blacksmiths as well, thus enabling them to forge some of the finest weaponry to ever be made, they could also fabricate great shields. The education of a Watcher was and still is the best education a person could receive in all of Oceania and it is young Zach who is lucky enough to receive such an education.
Mako was spending the majority of his time fixing up to his house, mending his little armada of boat, which is kept hidden in a concealed cave down by Dead Man's Beach. He was also busy making a large quantity of wooden targets, which Zach would soon be destroying when his physical training would begin. Also Mako had made a cot for Zach to sleep in and a bed that he would soon be needing as he grows and grows.
Izal however had spent the first eight months of the two years that passed, flying from Island to Island. Some Watchers were easily enough to locate, but some were a little tricky due to them taking to the Seas whether it was to visit a neighbouring Island, or they had to undergo a new adventure of some Importance, but Island to Island, Realm to Realm, Izal had located them all, travelling the entire world before making his return to Iris.
Back on the Isle of Iris, Izal had gone to spend his days being a minder to Zach, watching him whenever Mako was unable to, but as vigilant as he was, Zach was always able to make his escape.
On this Summer's days, the sky was clear of cloud and the sun sat high up, shining bright as it cast down its glorious rays. After weeks of relentless non-stop work, Mako felt like he deserved a day of rest, so on his day-off he carried young Zach down to the Island's beach, where Izal had come to join them.
The Sea was flat calm and Mako was laid out on a smooth flat boulder, he was dressed in his usual fashion of wearing a violet tunic and the sun was high above him. With watchful eyes he looked on at the toddler, dressed in a fitting brown tunic, who was crawling around in the sand at the water's edge, chasing after Izal who was playing with him.
The winged animal would stand still long enough for Zach to get close enough, but the second he would reach out to grab hold of the bird, Izal would flutter his wings and fly over to another part of the beach and the game would start all over again. No matter how many times this happened though, little Zach would never cry or get upset, he would just laugh his boyish, joyful laugh and keep on smiling as he kept on trying.
CAW!
Upon hearing his friend's call, Mako paid close attention to the bird and noticed that the eyes were green, which Mako knew that this meant that Izal desired to speak.
"The boy is relentless." Izal comments.
"I can see that."
"He shows no sign of tiring and never gets disheartened."
"Two very good qualities for one tasked with the challenged that await a Watcher in the making."
"His speed is increasing," Izal states before moving over to another area as Zach was getting a little too close.
Mako sits up and continues to watch the display, the little game was something that Izal and Zach had done many a time, in fact they would do it every day as a sort of early training tactic. Zach is too young for any other type of training session, whether it was wielding a sword, an axe, learning archery or any other type physical and mental activity that he just isn't ready to do just yet. It is because of that Izal devised this little game as a way to train Zach's stamina, increase his speed, test his determination and hope to extinguish some of his never ending energy, so all could sleep better at night. With every day they played the game, Zach was always improving.
"His speed is increasing, you're quite right," Mako says, voicing out his observations. "There's still room for improvement though."
"True." As he made his one word reply, Izal took his eyes away from Zach and looked to Mako, who met his gaze.
With Izal's concentration elsewhere, Zach would use the following seconds to the best of his ability, he pushed himself up, standing on his own to feet before he ran at a speed that neither Mako or Izal knew he possessed and ran towards Izal. In the time it takes to blink, Zach had closed the distance and leaped up onto Izal's back.
Caw!
Mako could not believe what he had just witnessed out of the corner of his eyes, he didn't know Zach was now walking, let alone be able to run, although it does explain how he was always able to escape as fast as he can.
Izal however was jumping around, flapping his wings as he gently tried to get Zach off his back, who at that moment, was laughing victoriously.
CAW!
"A little help here if you wouldn't mind!" Izal calls out.
Mako lets out a short chuckle before he leaps from his rock and lands beside the light footed, leaping raven. The way Izal was hopping about resembled a crazed interpretive dance.
Taking a gentle approach, Mako gingerly reached out and scooped up the young Zach, taking him up into his arms before carrying him over to another part of the beach.
"Come on trouble, lets give Uncle Izal a rest."
A happy chuckle was the reply that the Guardian received.
"Thank you," Izal says appreciatively.
Mako puts Zach down onto the beach so he can crawl around some more before he walks over to Izal, desiring to speak.
"I didn't know Zach could run."
"Neither did I." Izal replies feeling somewhat shocked. "But at least we know now."
"True and it seems that on both feet he is much faster then either of us thought."
"And that he has passed the stage of walking and..." At that moment, Izal's line of thought was interrupted as he watched Zach stand up and start running again, running directly towards Mako and Izal.
"Taking to running and jumping." Mako says, finishing Izal's unfinished thought just before Zach leaped up at Mako, who reacted instinctively and caught him.
"Zach, what's wrong?" Mako asks concerned as he sees the worry and fear on the boy's face.
"Sh, sh, sh..." Zach says, attempting to speak.
Izal looks on interested, as does Mako, this is the moment where Zach would utter his first word.
"Shanzi!" Zach declares, announcing his first ever fully formed word.
CAW!
"His first word." Izal cries.
"And his first warning." Mako is worried as he looks at the child.
"Warning, how so?"
"It is no coincidence that his first word would be Shanzi, it is a warning and proof that I was right."
"Right about the Shanzi coming."
"And now they are here, they are now among us and young Zach is no way near being ready for them." Mako's eyes harden. "We are now on borrowed time. We'll need to step up his training, start everything even earlier than intended."
"As you wish."
"Let's go, we've got work to do."


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