We need water. It is just as important for us as air. This is why we frequently live on the shores of the Ux on rafts or in houses on stilts; we live from catching fish or diving for pearls. We are the Bnaur-Dux — people who breathe water. In fact this description is not completely accurate, for we can no more breathe water than other people can. Something in our blood and the fat cells in our skin is different however and can store oxygen. So far no-one has been able to explain it properly to me. At any rate, we very seldom suffer from incidents of suffocation or run the risk of drowning.
But we are not invincible in the depths of the river. The water can kill us if we are not careful.
But there are some of us who are able to do much more. They have a rare gift. No-one speaks of it — unless in a whisper. It is almost like a great secret. Those who are blessed with this gift are the Ztaa-Samro — the fire swimmers. Only our men inherit this gift. There has never been a female Bnaur who has made the water sing.
But it happens with me. And I am not a man!
My name is Noeg. I was named after the pink blossoms of the water clover that grows in the endless meadows near the banks of the Ux and bobs up and down with each wave. I am a pearl diver. I never wanted to be anything else. But everything has changed.
This is my story.