They had found him stranded on the beach, barely conscious. He had only dimly registered the touch of their cold hands on his dehydrated skin. He couldn’t speak out of the water and so he’d not been able to thank them as they lifted him upright. Nor had he been able to beg them to turn round when he’d realized that they were carrying him away from the sea and towards their city.
They’d set him down on a plinth in one of their finest galleries. As his skin became harder with each passing day, he’d began to understand. They thought he was a statue. The relic of some long forgotten civilization that had sunk beneath the waves. He gathered that they had christened him the Sea Lord. In truth, he had been nothing so grand. His work had been to do with the administration of molluscs and seahorses. Essential tasks of course, but hardly lordly.
For the first few years, he’d attracted regular crowds. They were a startlingly mixed bunch. Everyone throughout the ocean had heard of September’s City, its robots and hybrids. To be surrounded by them at close hand was another matter.
In time, he lost his appeal. Other curiosities and wonders presented themselves. He was left to remember vast tides filled with the harmonies of whale song. At night, he dreamt of the currents of time that would wear down the stone walls that surrounded him and let in the rain that would set him free.