The twins had been brought before the shaman, both hatched from a single egg. Strays. Orphans. This in itself wasn’t a rare or remarkable occurrence. Traveling hens sometimes had their fun, and simply left an egg for the father to raise, or traveling males did likewise to the local females. It was simply the way of the world. This in itself was also not a remarkable occurrence.
Nor was the fact that nobody seemed to know who the parents of these twins were. Eggs were sometimes left with the shamans or on the cusp of another’s nest, shed of responsibility by its parents. Such things were unfortunate, but it happened. Their care was still a duty of the tribe after all. To leave an innocent chick to wither in its shell was a cruelty, and not one that was done lightly if avoidable.
No, what was remarkable, was the Shaman slamming the door to his hut as soon as the confused looking goshawk female showed the newly hatched Arvian’s to him and he all but yanked her inside.
Now, the pair of chicks sat quite attentively on his rug in the warmth of the fire, watching as his dreampal, in the form of a springing otter, entertained and delighted them by seemingly swimming through the air, leaving wispy trails of its ethereal spirit as it merrily rolled and danced around the pair of russet brown Arvians, their curious golden eyes following the spirits movements with delight.
They were Arvians.
Not any kind of moonspirit touched were-bird. Not simply bulky avian children. Arvians. They had all of the signs of having made the secret ritual transformation, and even the energy that they gave off from what spells he deemed safe to check with confirmed as much. Already, they were as large as if they had been born last spring.
“And you’re sure you’ve no idea where they came from?” The tribe’s shaman, Hvard Three-Oak asked for what must have been the fifth time, resting heavily on a gnarled, oak wood staff.
“No. The egg was left without explanation three days ago, and hatched in the witching hours of the morning. I brought them here since they’re…” She paused, twiddling her talons. He had no time for her dallying.
“Out with it.”
“Well, they’re changed. Like you, but… how could that be? They hatched before my eyes like this!” She exclaimed, tossing her wings up in exasperation. He waved a massive, taloned hand and bid her sit.
“It’s not unheard of, though it’s a rare occurrence. Perhaps once a generation, if not more infrequent. Arvians do not breed naturally, not for lack of trying. Such offspring are seen by some as a curse, unnatural, such as by our sun touched kin. One does not become Arvian without the spirits help and blessing… These two…” he paused, the elder’s face furrowed in though, long hackles across his name rising and falling with his breaths.
“They are blessed already. I had not thought to see such a thing in my lifetime. Even my mentor knew of only one such birth when he was a fledgling still…”
“Well, what are we to do with them?” The goshawk asked the most obvious question before them.
“Well, what else is there for it? Introduce them to the tribe. I’m not so foolish as to cast off a blessing when it is brought to my doorstep, no matter how unexpected… And I suppose, ultimately, we shall just have to see what becomes of it.”
The pair of chicks chirped in delight as Hvard’s dreampal settled on the floor before them, the spirit otter nodding it’s enthusiastic acceptance of this proposal.
Máni and Behtar, as the twins came to be known, grew fast among their peers.
By 4 summers they were already as large as most children reaching their first decade. By ten, they stood among the elder teens by size, and by fifteen, there was no longer a reasonable excuse not to accept them among the tribe as fledges in their own right.