Something echoed in through the walls of the grotto. A shrill sound, not the drumming of the waves against the cliff walls.
Tawhiri kicked against the still water, pushing himself against the wall and placing his ear to the crack. There it was. But it was not so shrill now. It was vibrant and multifaceted. Like wind and waves and the cry of birds all wrapped together into a dancing song.
That’s what it was. It was singing!
Tawhiri let his hands rest on the wall as he listened. Somewhere on the far side of it, in the depths of the ocean, something was singing. It was mournful in some ways, tugging at his heart and dragging it deeper. But in some moments it seemed to separate and leap into the sky like a dolphin.
Perhaps it actually was just some sort of whale or dolphin. But Tawhiri had heard whale songs before, and these were different. They were close, but there was a language to it.
The song trailed off, leaving only the dull crash of the waves again.
Tawhiri frowned and sank back. The water offered no interference, and he settled into the sand, under the watchful eyes of the eel.
He dug his hand into the sand and hit something hard. Not just hard, sharp. It was unnatural, that was easy enough to tell with just one touch. This was not a creation of the ocean. Tawhiri gripped it and dislodged it from its resting place.
It was some sort of rock. There were a few barnacles on it, and a reddish tint, but other than that it was flat and dark with an edge as sharp as broken obsidian.
Tawhiri gripped the stone close to him and kicked off the sand, fighting against the current.
He had been down a long time, and he wanted to see this oddity in the light of the sun.
His heart sunk deeper as he rose higher. The current played in his hair and tugged at his lap-lap, as if pleading with him to stay.
The touch of the air on his skin chaffed as he burst through the surface again. His skin already thirsted for the cool touch of the water again.
Ignoring the strange emotion, Tawhiri grabbed onto the rocky wall beside him and held up his discovery for inspection. It was not very different from an ax-head, but no ax head Tawhiri had ever seen had such straight lines. It didn’t seem like it was made of stone, either. Only obsidian could create such sharp lines, but this was not obsidian Obsidian was much more difficult to shape than this. And any other stone would have been worn and pocked from the groping current and the abrasive salt.
Shrugging, Tawhiri found a crack in the rock and wedged the strange object in, so it couldn’t be washed away. He’d take it out again later.
For now, the ocean was calling.