v) Fassn is way below

Fassn is way below, struggly softly. His movements seem dreamlike in the river’s depths. The creatures, the water jumpers, swirl and swarm him, their inscrutable features all the more incomprehensible in the water’s darkness.

Above, the small boat has settled; the jumpers have stopped assaulting it in favour of its newly-submerged quarry. Cang strains against the rope, while Abia murmurs words of comfort from her homeland.

Shyan swims after Fassn, screams his name, which comes out as a bassy jet of bubbles that rush for the surface. The water churns as the jumpers toss and tumble themselves into her, their long, lumpy bodies bashing into her own. She squints through the pain and continues down, down, ’til she finds another swarm of water thumpers surrounding her compatriot. He’s another few meters away when Shyan’s rope goes taut.

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