A Singer folktale about rain and the afterlife.
Author's note: This story takes place in the original Genesis/Mega Drive games' storyline.
A storm was rolling though Ecco's home bay. Jumping higher than normal to clear the waves, the yearling Ecco felt a drop of water fall from the sky to hit his tail, and on his next surface many more drops were falling. Diving slightly, he said, "I wonder what makes the dry water fall."
"No one knows for sure," answered one of his fathers, his birth-father's mate, "but there are stories."
"You sing stories well," said one of Ecco's aunts. "We will be silent if you will sing one about the dry water to us."
The rest of the pod, including Ecco, sang their agreement, and so Ecco's half-father began. "As I said, no one knows for sure what makes the dry water fall, but I will tell you my favorite story about it. They say that when a Singer dies, the spirit swims into the Place After through the heat-caverns at the very bottom of the ridge water. But, when a Singer becomes trapped in the Dry Side and dies there, the spirit loses its way. When Singers die on the land, you see, the sky becomes as water and the water becomes as sky to them - they cannot dive, but they can swim upwards, through the Dry Side.
"So, those spirits, those lost to the Dry Side, have no choice but to swim up, higher and higher as if it was deeper and deeper - but to a spirit, the water's weight doesn't matter. They swim up until they are swimming among other Singers lost to the Dry Side. We cannot see them, but when enough of them gather, they look like clouds to our eyes.
"Some Singers are happy to stay in the Dry Side after their deaths, at least for a time. Pods of the happy ones are the white clouds, the kind we see every day, the kind that do not bring storms. But, when these spirits wish to go to the Place After, they must find other spirits like them. They all gather together in a great pod, so many of them packed together that the clouds look dark to us, and one by one they come to the water. Spirits do not need to breathe, so they can take breaths of water unharmed; when they all have taken breaths of water, they gather again. All of them breathe out at once, and the water falls back down to us, the living.
"Now, I think some of you are wondering why they do this, yes?" Ecco's half-father paused, and a few members of the pod made sounds of affirmation. "Then I will tell you. Everyone knows that after the dry water stops falling, the tentacle of colors appears in the Dry Side. The dry water makes this tentacle appear, and to spirits, it is like a very strong current, one the goes down very deep, much deeper than we can see it.
"The Singers who made the dry water fall go into this current, and it pushes them down far enough that they become as normal Singers, swimming through the water and jumping through the Dry Side. Then, they swim down to the ridge water, through the heat-caverns and into the Place After.
"And that, friends, is what makes the dry water fall. Or, at least, that is one story." The pod complimented Ecco's half-father for his storytelling, then went back to the business of hunting and playing.
Later, before resting, Ecco asked his mother, "Is all that really true?"
"Is all what true?" she asked.
"The story Half-father told of the dry water."
"Ah yes, that. Like he said, little Ecco, nobody knows for sure. There are many things that no Singer knows, many things that we do not understand. The reason for the dry water is one of them, but it is fun to make up stories, and who knows? Perhaps we are not too far off."
Ecco lifted his head into the Dry Side, and his mother came with him. In the distance, they could see a tentacle of colors. "Do you think we will ever know for sure, Mother?"
"That is another thing we do not know. Perhaps, perhaps not. Maybe only the dead can know, or maybe we too will find out, one day. Until then, it is enough to wonder and to explore, little Ecco."
Ecco made a sound of assent.