Clutch turtle depicted on book cover for Agent of Change

Agent of Change cover

Agent of Change cover


  • The Clutch first appear in the novel Agent of Change (see book cover).
    • Two turtles -- The Edger and The Sheather -- play roles in several more books.
    • The short story To Cut an Edge tells how Scout Val Con yos'Phelium first met The Edger.
  • Clutch Turtles are huge, sentient, slow, peace-loving, family-oriented, space-faring, and long-lived.
    • some are insular and suspicious of non-Clutch, or even xenophobic[1]
  • Their lengthy multi-phrased names describe the hallmarks of their long lives.
  • They live in clans and are guided by a council of the most ancient elders.
  • They somehow use their voice /sound waves to build, destroy, heal, etc.
  • Glowing eyes allows them to see in the dark caverns where they live. [1], [2]
  • They named the Yxtrang their lawful enemies after the Yxtrang unjustly attacked [3]
  • Invisible to healer sight - I Dare
  • When Shan opens up his healer senses completely, the Cluch are 'as systems of all but intolerable compexity, informed by a method entirely outside of his unterstanding, streching far beyond his ability to read, yet tantalizingly familar, as if ... 'reminding him of Korval's Tree - I Dare

Government Edit

Council of immobile Elders decide for all Clutch and if there are disputes among Clans

Known Turtles Edit

Knife Clan of Middle River Edit

  • The Edger (puts the edge on the crystal knifes his clan makes)
    • Shortened Name: "I am called, in the short form used by the Clans of Men on those things called visas: Eleventh Shell Fifth Hatched Knife Clan of Middle River's Spring Spawn of Farmer Greentrees of the Spearmakers Den: The Edger."[1]
      • By the time of Agent of Change his twelfth shell is "barely set" and his name is updated to "Twelfth Shell..."
    • “Edger, he said to call him. Big somebody. Voice like to crack your eardrums." Cheever picked up the cup and gulped down the contents. "Real character, ain't he?"[4]
    • "Eight-foot high and bottle green, the room's soft light waking gleams of malachite and cobalt among the tiles of his magnificent shell. Eyes as big as dinner plates, yellow and slitted, like a cat's, four hundred pounds, if he weighed an ounce."[5]
      • But his eyes are only the size of saucers in "Agent of Change"[6]
      • Edger might be short for a Clutch, given species comparison from "To Cut an Edge": Average Liadens are 5' tall, Terrans 7' tall, Clutch 9' tall [1]
      • In "I Dare" Edger is only 8 feet. [5]
    • more than nine hundred standard years old (which is relatively young for a Clutch Turtle)[6]
      • discrepancy: "Edger had seen seven standard centuries, start to finish."[7]
    • T'carais[1] (which is somewhere between father, captain, priest and mayor[8])
    • Of the working class (one third bigger than those of the Ambassadorial Clan)[6]
    • Befriends a young Scout, Val Con yos'Phelium on the Clutch homeworld.[1]
      • "I met him when I was training as First-In Scout. I had my 'chora with me...He enjoyed my playing. After -- I got to know him, he offered me a place in his household, as Clan musician."[6]
    • Has made a study of human music, which he finds pleasing[1]
    • male[1]
  • The Handler
    • male; Edger's brother[1]
    • T'caraisiana'ab[1]
    • one head smaller than Edger[6]
  • The Selector
    • male; Edger's brother[1]
    • one head smaller than Edger[6]
    • has an acid tongue[6]
  • The Sheather
    • male, Edger's brother
    • one head shorter than Edger[6]
    • felt drawn to study his adopted sister Miri Robertson:: "Indeed I have thought much upon our sister, and studied what I might of her history."[7]
      • his name has been lengthened to include his study of Miri and humans in general: "my name now includes a phrase roughly equivalent to 'student of men'"[9]
    • although typically slow and almost timid, he rapidly threw his crystal knife at an attacking enemy, to protect Edger[10]
    • used his voice to heal Miri [11]
    • accompanied Val Con into the dark tunnels beneath Liad: "Sheather, with his dark-seeing eyes, led the way."[12]
  • The Watcher
    • Youngest of the "market research" team, least used to non-turtles.
    • one head smaller than Edger[6]
  • Lader[1]
  • Seeder[1]
  • Nurturer (female)[1]
  • The nurse (The Broodmother?) (female)[1]
  • The child
    • male[1]
    • T'carais'amp, heir to the T'carais (presumably Edger's son, but the closest the story comes to saying this specifically is that Edger's brother Handler is the T'carais'amp's uncle)[1]

Trader Clan of White Marsh Edit

  • The Speaker for the Trader Clan[1]

Ambassadorial Clans Edit

Edger comparing himself with persons of the amassadorial clans: "... few of the working class traveled, and his four-hundred-pound bottle-green frame was fully one-third larger than the svelte and speedy persons the Ambassadorial Clans sent to human worlds."[6]

The T'Car Edit

  • Eldest Speaker (female)[1]


  • "...the former chairman made the mistake of threatening a T'carais....The chairman was knifed in his own office by a Clutch turtle."[13]
    • "Perhaps better for all concerned: Most turtles would merely have bitten his head off, or crushed his spine..."[13]
  • "The turtles claim them to be a brother and sister of the Spearmaker's Den who must be returned unharmed or self-declared free and safe....If they don't turn up safe the Juntavas will be wiped out, starting from the top."[13]

Words and phrases Edit

  • a'jliata - dragon[1]
  • clemktos - a type of tree[1]
  • c'smerlaparek - a game played by children[1]
  • d'neschopita - pretty[1]
  • (egg-kin)[1]
  • (eggling)[1]
  • kanarak'ab - (meaning uncertain)[1]
  • k'mentopak - farewell[1]
  • l'apeleka - a dance/martial art discipline (very slow moves, a way of reaffirming oneself, of celebrating the power of thought [8])
  • p'elektekaba - (meaning uncertain)[1]
  • s'essellata - (meaning uncertain)[1]
  • T'car - Council of Clans[1]
  • t'carais - ranking member of a clan[1]
  • t'carais'amp - heir to the t'carais[1]
  • t'caraisiana'ab - person who acts for the t'carais in that one's absence (uncertain if this is the whole of the meaning)[1]
  • t'carais'amp b'lenarkanarak'ab - (meaning uncertain; perhaps a greeting or an introduction)[1]
  • t'caraisiana'ab e'amokenatek - "This means that you are to be heard and judged by the T'caraisiana'ab."[1]

References Edit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 "To Cut An Edge"
  2. I Dare, Solcintra, Liad
  3. I Dare
  4. Carpe Diem
  5. 5.0 5.1 I Dare, Day 50 (ch 5)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 Agent of Change, ch 5
  7. 7.0 7.1 Plan B, Shaltren, Juntavas Headquarters
  8. 8.0 8.1 Agent of Change, ch 21
  9. I Dare
  10. Carpe Diem, Cessilee
  11. I Dare
  12. I Dare, Solcintra, Liad
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Breath's Duty, in A Liaden Universe Constellation, volume I, and in Duty Bound; Adventures in the Liaden Universe