One moment Attalla was sitting on the shore discussing the problem with the oacoco gathered in the shoals, the next he was being bombarded with rocks from the iisadus above.
The pod he flew down in from Ma-rye-a was too far away, back off the beach in a hollow over the ridge. Now regretted not letting 3su come along.
He opted to sprint for the safety of the shoals. In years past he had established trust with the oacoco by subjecting himself to their elements. He had installed diving bells one huge breath’s distance from each other at gradually descending depths.
He shucked off his vest as he ran toward the water’s edge. Attalla’s mind was full of the oacoco screaming at the invading iisadsu. He took a hit to the shoulder with one large rock. It sent him spinning, but he managed to stay on his feet and running forward. He splashed through the shallows headed toward the first submerged glass diving bell. There were a series of domes filled with air, secured to the bottom by long ropes with weights. The first would not be a safe place to stay; it was too close to the surface and could be easily spotted by the iisadsu from the sky. In fact, they were currently aiming some of their stones at the first bell in hopes of thwarting his escape.
He was up to his waist now in the water and moving with difficulty. He took a huge breath and dove for the first dome. He could see it through the clear blue water of the shallows. Attalla hoped that the oacoco had refreshed the air for him since his last visit even though he had not asked since he had had no intention of using them this trip.
Whether they had refreshed it or not made no difference because it exploded with the impact of a heavy rock when he was within a few feet of it. He didn’t have enough breath to make it to the second bell. He propelled himself back to the surface. The iisadsu were waiting.
With mocking cries in their own language they attacked. He was, as they say, a sitting duck. He dodged, but failed to evade the multiple projectiles. Several rocks struck him simultaneously. He didn’t even have time to think about the possibility of drowning. One huge boulder was dropped and he was knocked unconscious. He body slipped slowly beneath the surface.