You may need the Glossary for this to make sense in places.
‘It’s OK,’ he said in a whisper, perhaps not wanting to wake Sherez. ‘Nothing moves,’ he whipped his tail and his body lunged forwards and down. She followed. Keeping low she followed him as they made their way nic. They hadn’t swum ten strokes when Morg was sure she saw slight movement ahead, maybe twenty strokes from Ethos. She didn’t mention it, sure Ethos would have seen it too. His eyes were more accustomed to the dark and were accurate when hunting. Onwards he swam not altering his direction, unafraid or uncaring of the potential lurking danger.
After ten strokes, there was another motion in the gloom. Whatever it was hadn’t changed its position, and she was certain Ethos would change course, but didn’t. Afraid he had missed it somehow, she was about to warn him, when two limbs shot forwards and wrapped around his tail and torso. In the instant she saw the limbs and just before they latched on to Ethos, he had let go of both his bill and Sherez.
‘It’s a tentalien, Morg. Get away. Swim.’
He’d warned her about them many times and had made her promise if they ever encountered one and he was caught, to leave him and save herself. Once it had its grip, there was little she could do to change his fate. Even the sharpest of bills couldn’t cut through the tough skin of tentalien limbs.
Instinct wouldn’t let her turn, she swam ahead, hard and fast, and soon had Sherez in her arms. She spun. Before she could whip her tail again, a strong limb, with its strong suckers wrapped around her tail at its base, and then another grabbed her a little above her tail-torso line, clamping her tight and held her fast.
Looking down at Sherez, her eyes, resembling her father’s, looked back frightened.
‘Go! Swim and hide. We’ll find you.’
She had no idea how much Sherez understood the words she spoke. Most young ones didn’t start talking until they’d seen seven revolves of the soltaire. And though her words were whispered with absolute conviction, she knew she nor Ethos was getting out of this and their remur would be out there alone − fending for her life.
Something changed in Sherez’s stare. Her eyes glistened with understanding, and Morg, part reluctant, released her stone grip.
Sherez whipped away and disappeared into the dark. Once gone Morg struggled and wriggled against the taut grip of the tentalien limb higher up her body.
Another limb, thin to begin, growing thicker to twice the size of her arm, shot past her on her right. It headed in the same direction Sherez had gone. Unable to move, Morg stopped taking in water. Then in a desperate plea she sucked in a little too much and called out to Ethos.
‘I know, Morg. I can’t get loose, this things grip has me.’ His words were those of one who understood the situation and hated it because he could do little to alter it.
He was behind her and she pictured him trying all he could to get loose. If he was unable the chances of her doing so were slim.
She had to get loose, had to get out of this and save her remur. There was no way she was going to allow this thing to take Sherez as well. She thumped a little harder and thrust her tail wilder.
In the blackness beneath, a light came towards her. It pulsed and glowed a greeting. Ethos’s bill. Disorientated and panicked she hadn’t realised she was being pulled backwards. With haste and determination, she flailed her arms in wild desperate movements to get lower.
And she sunk.
She watched the bill and readied to strike. It came closer and closer. As she stretched out to grab it, the limb about her tugged a little more and all she managed with her effort was to clasp empty water.
The bill disappeared into the stillness of the dark.