Dolphin Way: Rise of the Guardians

BOOK: Dolphin Way: Rise of the Guardians
5.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub







A Novel by
Mark Caney





Rise of the Guardians




Published by Ocean Orb




© Mark Caney 2011

The right of Mark Caney to be identified as the author of this work has been

asserted in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act,1988.

This ebook is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any format, form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.


First Published 2011

Published by Ocean Orb

Ocean Orb and the Ocean Orb Logo are Trademarks of Ocean Orb


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material

form (including printing or storing it in any medium by electronic means and

whether or not transiently or incidentally to some other use of this publication)

without the written permission of the copyright owner except in accordance with

the provisions of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms

of a licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, 90 Tottenham Court

Road, London, England W1P 9HE. Applications for the copyright owner’s written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to the author.
















For Anouk






I would like to thank these patient individuals for taking the time to give me their opinions and help as I assembled this book: Anita Burgh, Chris Davey, Elizabeth North, Graeme Gourlay, Harry Bingham, Jon Coon, Jüri Gabriel, Kate Beal, Laura Taylor, Mike Seares, Sarah Fecher, Theresa Kaplan and of course, my family.










Rise of the Guardians


The white gull snapped its curved beak deftly four times across a stone, as though to prepare it, to clean it, to sharpen it.

From a short distance away, Touches The Sky held his head above the water helplessly, watching the murderous bird. The inert form of a dolphin lay stranded on the sand of the little bay, well clear of the water, exposed to the intense heat of the tropical sun. Sky knew how that felt. He had nearly died that way once, many years before, and it would be a cruel and horrible death, your flesh drying and burning while the shocking weight of your own body crushed the air out of you.

The gull hopped nearer the battered dolphin, very close now to its nearest weary eye; sharply inclining its black capped head back and forth as it peered into it. Judging how helpless this creature was. If this should be its time. Sky leapt from the sea in frustration, letting out a rattling scream of anger as he crashed back into the clear water. The gull barely looked at him. It knew that the other dolphin was powerless to help its beached friend.

Sky surfaced again to watch the scene in nauseous horror. The battered body of Born Into Summer was completely inert apart from small movements of her eyes. The rake marks across her back and sides glistened with drying blood. Otherwise, her flesh was taut, dry. Her previously beautifully proportioned tail flukes had clear teeth marks and deep nicks in several places. Sky had never seen one of his kind so obviously abused by other dolphins before. He called her name once more, but she could not make a sound, would never reply. She did look towards him though, just for a moment, and there was the brief light of recognition there, perhaps of gratitude too. That at least a friend was close by at the end.

Sky recognised the moment when the gull made its decision. As it made the first strike, he dived. Dived deep and long, deep and long, shutting his own eyes tightly; trying to block out what he had just seen.





Chapter 1


Beware the tool makers. Once they have tasted the power to change, they will not cease until all is changed. There will be no balance, no harmony, no beauty, when the tools are at last laid aside.”



As agreed, they swam in silence so that they would not alert their intended prey. Their powerful tails drove up and down as they sliced through the lazy swells, their smooth backs breaking the surface briefly here and there. Fleetingly, the rising sun gilded the fine spray from each expelled breath before it dissipated in the gentle tropical breeze. They kept in tight formation just below the undulating silver of the surface, their broken images racing above them. Below, they left no shadows. There was only the still depths of the open ocean, seemingly falling away forever in the frail light.

Touches The Sky held his position close alongside Deneb Rising. Like Sky, Deneb was a large and powerfully built young adult, and their leadership of the hunt had been unquestioned. From time to time Deneb made a low leap from the water to confirm the direction of the distant mass of excited seabirds. As he sliced back into the water, he ordered fine corrections to their course with small inclinations of his head. With a gesture, he urged the hunting party to greater speed as they closed with their quarry. Sky drove himself forward hard, trying to eradicate the memory of the scene on the beach the previous day. But he could not erase the image of that white bird with its cruel yellow beak — nor would he forget the final shudder that passed through Born Into Summer’s body before she passed beyond the reach of more pain. Sky was still stunned by what had happened, and had happened so suddenly. Sky had always admired Born. She was outwardly serious, yet always serene. Like one who knows some fine secret — some special, wonderful truth that allowed them to see the minor troubles and dramas of daily life as being as inconsequential as they actually were. She had taught Sky and the others a great deal; fragments of knowledge, elements of control, glimpses of the deeper meanings of the Way. Warnings of errors to avoid, of Ocean’s many natural dangers, and of the less natural ones too. The perverse, twisted logic of the Guardians, the strange, apparently self-destructive workings of the Walkers. But mostly, Sky remembered her complete trust in the Way. Clarity of thought; perfectly attuned to Ocean. All the self assuredness of one of the elders in one not much older than Sky himself. He remembered her full of life, skin smooth, eyes shining, ready to help anyone wishing to learn, and especially patient with Sky. Trying to make him take his responsibilities seriously, telling him that there must be more to his life than games from now on. He had never really understood. And then, unaccountably, she had been driven to that beach, to that waiting gull.

Sky was brought back to the moment by a sound. He glanced across at Deneb who looked back meaningfully at him without breaking the pace. He had heard it too: the faint buzz of another dolphin’s sonar — they were not alone here. Sky listened carefully, and there it was again. Nearer still this time; and clearly just one lone dolphin — strange.

Sky tilted his body to one side as he swam so that he could look down. They had begun their sprint towards the birds barely able to see in the dim light, and without echolocation it had been almost like swimming blind. Now, the light was increasing and he could see the sun begin to penetrate the darkness of the deeper water. The wavering shafts of light picked out occasional tiny flecks of life in the clear water and hinted at the presence of the seabed far below him in the indigo depths. But apart from the rest of the hunting party there was no other dolphin in sight.

He broke the surface in a low leap, exploding from the water at the peak of the long swell so that he could look ahead. They were drawing close to the birds now and in the brief time he was airborne he could hear their screams. Some were bobbing agitatedly on the surface, some diving into the water, others squabbling noisily. Sky tried not to remember that lone gull on the beach. Tried not to feel anger at these other birds. They were just fulfilling their allotted role on Ocean. The sound of their screeching vanished abruptly as he fell back into the sea.

Suddenly, the dolphins’ object appeared ahead of them through the blue of the water. A wall of living mercury: undulating, shimmering, an equivocal, giant beast. Deneb gave a pair of short jerks with his head and the party split into two; seven circling to one side of the silver cloud with him, six to the other led by Sky. As though in a well choreographed dance, they circled the shoal of sardines in opposite directions. They snapped at the fish to drive them closer. Three of the dolphins repeatedly dived to the bottom edge of the shoal where they sent up curtains of bubbles to panic the little fish into herding tighter together.

Before long the shoal was a densely packed shining ball, its members terrified and confused. While the other dolphins continued to force them together, two dived to the bottom of the shoal and with sharp, menacing movements began to force the sardines towards the impassable wall of the surface. Soon the shoal was as closely packed as it could ever be. The little fish were showing signs of fatigue as their multitude began to deoxygenate the water in which they swam.

Now, at last, Deneb broke the silence. ‘Enough: let’s eat,’ he called in a strong voice. ‘Who will dedicate this meal for us?’

No one replied.

Come on then little brother, you do it!’

Sky smiled to himself. Although not really brothers, they were as close as if they were and it felt good when Deneb called him that. Like having a family again. He paused for a moment then called out clearly above the clamour: ‘We thank Senx for these points of light that we may shine the brighter. We honour them for their gift to us this day.’

Good!’ Deneb Rising cried. ‘Now let’s eat, and quickly. We don’t want the Cleaner to get too much from all our hard work.’

With that, two of the dolphins broke away from their circling and cannoned into the seething mass of fish, snapping up the sardines left and right. The tiny fish attempted to scatter, but they were too tightly packed and the dolphins proceeded to gorge themselves. Two by two, they broke away from their encircling patrol and feasted on the oily tasting fish, while their fellows kept the panicked shoal packed together at the surface. The seabirds wildly entered the hunt in earnest as the fish made the water surface boil.

Soon Deneb called out again above the clamour: ‘How many have your lot taken Sky?’

Sixty-three, no…sixty-five now,’ Sky shouted back as he shot past, ‘we’re unstoppable!’

Oh no you’re not! We’ve had our shares of the quota already, and you need to take your last few morsels and we’ll head home. The Council is going to be happy to hear that there’s still some prey at least out here.’

They soon moved away from the writhing ball of fish which still swarmed about mindlessly. As the dolphins left, Deneb Rising called to Sky again. ‘That was the best hunting in many moons.’

Sky nodded. ‘And we’re not the only ones to appreciate it. Look: just as you expected, they’re here already.’ He gestured downwards. There, could be seen several large, slender shapes rising from the depths, moving silently towards the shoal. One of them diverted leisurely from its path to snap up a falling fish tail, the others were moving purposefully; drawn by the traces of blood in the water.

Deneb watched for a moment then turned to Sky again. ‘Never mind them, did you see him — the lone zeta?’

Sky was confused for a moment, then remembered them having heard the sound of a dolphin’s sonar as they had approached the shoal.

No, I didn’t. Did you recognise the voice?’

No. But he was Ka-Tse. We should keep an eye out for him.’

Sky nodded. Even though the stranger was Ka-Tse — a bottlenose dolphin like them — it was best to be wary. Very few dolphins would choose to travel alone so the stranger may well be an exile. There was usually some good reason for them to be alone.

BOOK: Dolphin Way: Rise of the Guardians
5.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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