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Bones, shells, and other relics of the past
Make up the colossal structure in blue.
Long gone memories of days gone by.
The coral flows as though still living,
Though its denizens know much better.
It has been dead for many tides.
The light from above is piercing through
The cold layer of celestial blue.
The pinhole caves drink the sun like nectar.
Through the anemones lie the clowns,
Swimming about, knowing all the jokes,
But never telling the rest of them.
The serpent eels slink through darkness,
But the creatures all know that they are there.
They all know a serpent will never leave.
What more can a reef want than more members,
For to build on the reef with the blood of a conquest.
The reef delights in blood, and such is life.
Through the storied halls of colored skulls,
And the floor made from the ancient members,
Lie two great and powerful nations.
Nestled in the dust of the fallen creatures,
Oft forgotten by the living scores,
There lay the domain of Shrimp and Crab.
A crustacean reef with many shells,
May want not for the protection of past,
And henceforth may never learn from mistakes.
What good is a memory in silence,
Never spoken save in boredom?
The history of nations will repeat.
But even in this endless cycle of blood,
The life of a nation can still yearn for more,
Albeit never finding the answer they seek.
Therein lies the trouble with the sea.
All problems apparent at present
Are soon lost to the motion of water.
What is the good of a shell in the sea?
The ocean will always find a way
Around even the crustacean.
This never occurred to the nations
Of the wily Shrimp and the mighty crab.
To them, the ocean was a god of hope.
For though a god may choose to stay silent,
They knew a god would save them from blood.
For that is what god is for.
Yet wars fought between two god-full creatures
Cannot be decided by the divine intervention
Of a god that watches over them both.
The Shrimp and the Crab knew this not,
For the war continued in the name of god.
The futility of war is apparent,
When crustacean armies see to clash.
The shell of themselves protects them from harm.
Shrimp and Crab alike know not of armor,
Nor of the way to penetrate a shell.
They know only of war.
A Crab has a natural claw for war,
While the Shrimp has much weaker claws.
This does not stop a war, however.
For in the absence of natural weapons,
A Shrimp may use the fallen bones of comrades,
For to twist off the shell of a Crab.
A Crab may lather in red-spilled blood,
May drape itself in the memories long past,
For to mark a target with the blood.
A war on such a reef can be troublesome,
For the creatures, being interdependent,
May all but destroy another’s way of life.
This truth is not apparent in war, however.
War blots out the reason of a Shrimp,
And showcases the strength of a Crab.
War will wash away the colors of ancients,
The magnificence known for generations,
And instead replace it with red.
For red is the color of war, the color of battle.
Red is the Crab, for the Crab is a fighter.
The Shrimp may be red, but not for long.
And of the battle, the blood was spilled,
Streams dripping from the plants of the reef,
To fall in a world of liquid.
The Crabs, being a warrior race,
Fought to kill, and to gain ground,
For the enemy was weak and frail.
The Shrimp, being a thoughtful species,
Fought in the manner of calculations,
Never moving save a plan was made.
And so the Crabs was fought,
And so the Shrimp was fought,
And so the nations fought.
But the nations bled,
Just as the Crabs bled,
Just as the Shrimp bled.
But alas, the light was fading,
And with it the god of the day.
And the god of the day was the god of battle.
But the god of night was an evil god.
The god of night saw all,
Where the Shrimp and Crab saw none.
Much better to stop the fight,
Than face the god of night.
The god of night is malevolent,
But does not stay in place for long.
Soon the god of day will take his place.
The Shrimp return with the sunlight,
Emerging from their caves to greet the sun,
And so worship the god of day.
The Crabs, too, rejoice in the sun.
They are less fearful of the god of night,
But mind the god of day much more.
With the god of day comes a war stop,
For the Shrimp and Crabs will not fight today.
Doing so may anger the god of morning.
Instead, a council is called forth,
For talking is better than fighting,
And together is better than apart.
But even so, Shrimp and Crabs are wrong
In thinking that problems are so easily solved.
Wars are not over in a day.
Blood cannot be unspilled.
The shells cannot be fixed.
The wounds cannot be laid bare.
But even so, the nations meet
Under the flag of peace and unity,
But wanting none of it.
What good is peace to a Crab?
What good is war to a Shrimp?
What good is night to the god of day?
No council can give answer to these questions,
But Shrimp and Crab can lay aside differences,
And hope for a reprieve from war.
And so the god of day watched as armies talked,
And the armies talked of fighting,
But no fights were had by the armies.
And in this momentary peace,
A memory was found.
A memory of ancients and the reef.
And who among the Shrimp or Crabs,
Would throw away the memory
Now that the fire was lit again?
And for this reason, the Shrimp and Crabs,
Knowing the war was futile,
Wrought the Treaty of the Reef.
Shrimp and Crab are not gods,
For that honor goes to the gods,
And also to the Lobster King.
So the Shrimp and the Crabs
Will go to the Lobster King,
For he knows all of war and peace.
And all the gods of the sky
Knew of the Lobster King.
The reef, once a place of war,
Once a place of bloodshed,
Was now a place of preparation.
The Shrimp were preparing,
The Crabs were preparing,
And there was no war.
For now the Shrimp, and the Crabs,
Were sending one into the ocean,
To go and see the Lobster King.
What better way to please
The good of day and light,
Than to end a war fought under them?
And so the Shrimp appointed a Shrimp,
And the Crabs appointed a Crab,
And the kings came to speak.
The Shrimp King appealed to the god of day,
Asking for a swift journey,
And an end to endless war.
The Crab King appealed to the god of night,
Asking for glory for the Crab,
And a journey for the ages.
And the Shrimp was ready,
Yet the Shrimp were not ready,
For they did not know peace.
What if peace was not so great?
The god of day may be unsatisfied,
And henceforth abandon them.
And the Crab was ready,
Yet the Crabs were not ready,
For they were creatures of blood.
What is blood was all for them?
The god of night may want for blood,
And they could not refuse the god of night.
And so confidence was shaken,
In the shells of Shrimp and Crab alike,
For the gods watched, and the gods knew.
But the Shrimp was not wary,
And the Crab was not wary,
But the nations were wary.
But the journey was ahead,
And the Shrimp and Crab had to leave,
And the Lobster King was waiting.
The gods of the sky watched, and knew,
And favored the two sent in the ocean,
For the rest would fall into war.
Yet for this time, the Shrimp and Crab
Would know each other, and shed no blood,
For companions must not shed blood.
And the Shrimp and Crab went off together,
To seek the wisdom of the Lobster King.
The crustacean war had now stopped,
So the reef could remember again,
And the ancients could rise up.
And the plants were again the rulers,
And the creatures were in caves,
For the plants were not partial to Shrimp or Crabs.
An anemone on the reef is a fortress,
For itself, and for the ones around,
But some can come inside.
The clowns can trick their way in,
And lay down their jokes,
And end the fortress.
But another creature may not enter,
For the anemone is selective,
So it can stay alive.
The anemone is by nature, solitary.
It knows of no others,
It knows not the terrors of war,
Nor the bliss of consciousness,
Nor the gods of the sky.
Yet it knows itself.
It knows that it can live,
And that is all it needs.
The anemone can feed itself,
And spill no blood in the process,
For it is a peaceful creature.
Anemones revel in the silence,
And shy away from the light,
For the god is in the light.
Thought they know it not,
They secretly worship the god of night,
For they truly live at night.
Only the reef is the anemone’s friend,
For the reef is all it needs,
And the reef is all it wants.
What good is a mate to an anemone?
They laugh at the other creatures,
For such dependence is weak.
And as the Shrimp and the Crab walked away,
The Anemone viewed the scene,
And laughed to itself.
How futile the efforts of crustaceans,
And the spilling of their blood,
And the fighting of their wars.
If they were only anemones,
Then peace would break out,
For anemones have all they need in the reef.
But the anemones are solitary,
And want not for the company of crustaceans.