Excerpt from The Tempest's Roar
As I recount this part of my story, you must remember that I had never been in bluewater before, and in keeping with the ancient name for the islands in whose proximity I now found myself, those black and greasy seas surrounding the Devilís Teeth were about to give me an indoctrination straight from hell. To make matters worse, sometime during the night, Morpheus and I had become separated from Janus and the other members of our group, and as dawn broke we found ourselves in the company of eleven dolphins we did not know.
Mercifully ignorant to what we were about to encounter, we swam through the turbulent waters on the eastern side of the largest of the islands. As we drew nearer to the rocky shore, I spyhopped and surveyed the ramparts of jagged black rock thrusting skyward. Hovering there, my ears were filled with the raucous sounds of seabirds that were swooping and soaring above the waves or perched on the ragged cliffs, where their droppings had sullied its granite walls with streaks of pink, brown, and white. One thing that I remember in particular was the coppery hue to the surface of the water. I wondered what could be the source of this strange tinge. I would soon find out.
In the years that have transpired since those first faltering hours of freedom, I have come to know and feel at home in two kinds of seas; first, in the inshore waters where land and sea meet in gentle union, where rippled bottoms of sand underlie sparkling blue waters too shallow for kraken to prosecute their attacks; and second, in the open ocean where heavy swells roll like mighty titans toward a distant landfall. In those clear upper layers that overlay the deeps, both eyesight and earsight give ample warning to danger below and there is nothing to impede escape in any direction. In either case, shallow seas, or open ocean, I feel that I am the master of my fate ready for whatever may come my way.
However, in those dark and ominous waters surrounding the Devilís Teeth, I encountered the steeps for the first time; that is, the abrupt interface of land and sea where vertical walls of rock rise high above the waves and also slip down beneath them with sinister ease toward the deeps, disappearing into inky darkness. On that day, in those black waters, I discovered that the steeps are an evil and foreboding place, where the margin between life and death is as slim and slippery as the towering cliffs and plunging rock face itself.
Thinking back upon it now, I suppose the stillness of the seas through which we swam should have given me cause for alarm and signaled what was to come, but it did not. In marked contrast to the raucous seabird cries overhead, the dark waters were silent, as silent as death itself. I have long since learned that a complete lack of noise is not your friend in the ocean, for it is this silence that precedes the appearance of the kraken as they stalk their prey, and the absence of sound usually indicates the presence of danger. Such was the case that menacing morning when the first among our group was to die.