In the middle of Julrane’s garden was a built up circle of stones, like a well, though the sea dwellers naturally had no need for wells like we have on the surface, so the one in Julrane’s garden had another purpose than drawing water, and Julrane was one of the few people outside Gulfia’s government who knew what it was. There were many times she swam to the well’s bottom and into the network of tunnels that ran under the city and the surrounding areas.
The tunnels were a remnant of the Birthright Wars. When the Ancestors discovered a way to live in the sea and founded Gulfia, they provoked a conflict with the people who’d been born to live there, the ones with fins and tails, closer to what we would call merpeople. Gulfia’s generals built the tunnels for a dual purpose. They not only provided an evacuation place in the event of a siege, but also a way to stage sieges without being detected.
By Julrane’s time, the water in those forgotten tunnels was different. It was heavier; its currents were more frantic. There were vibrations in that water, and to a first time visitor they were only vibrations, but Julrane visited often. The first time she went was just curiosity. When she found she could move through the city in privacy she started going more frequently.
The water soaked into her skin. The vibrations became voices. She could make out whispered military orders, childish questions asked through howling tears, the supplications of prisoners. The water froze her blood and left an acrid taste in her mouth. She hated the feeling, but she kept going, sometimes just to sit and listen.
She wanted the truth of her history, and the stories only the water would tell her.