This was the closet he'd ever been to the surface, and it frightened him more than the desolate, yet familiar ocean floor. A faint light shone through the murky water, and even that sparse amount made his eyes burn and turned his head sharply away, back towards the deep he was running from. He'd no recollection of how long he'd been traveling, no way of measuring time save the growling of his stomach, and no real care in confirming how long he'd been away from the small amount of “family” that still cared for him, or how close the hateful ones were to finding him. Reaching the surface had never been something he'd actively try to pursue, it was, instead, more of a distant dream, something to fantasize about as he indubitably continued with the mundane routine of everyday life at the bottom. Surface was too arcane, too fable to pursue, but the decision to explore was made for him, but not of his own mind, and without warning.
With a twitch of his tail, Bowen propelled his body cautiously forward. His eyes squinted nearly shut at the invasive brightness, but he refused to turn his head away again. The thought occurred to him that he might not be able to see for the light, once he reached the “land” his elders merely sung about, but he pushed the thoughts swiftly to the back of his mind with a sudden rush of distaste for the words that formulated in his head, and registered effortlessly with his brain. It was thinking, after all, that got him here in the first place, only a few fin-flicks away from something that wasn't even supposed to exist. He'd been warned, in his youth, to not stray too far from what was said the limit of his knowledge much be. Curiosity was one thing, and it plagued every young mind, but to pursue those tempting thoughts was something different entirely, and was hardly even whispered of for fear of the consequences. Sentience was worse than death, and he was soon coming to see how such a thing could be recognized as truth. Knowing, he discovered, caused far much more trouble than the ignorance his kind bathed in. And the revelations it brought him were barely worth the effort and cost. These thoughts, the wonders he now knew to be reality, would not be worth a grain of the finest sand should he die here.
And it was only that, the fear of all the trouble he'd went through to acquire sentience being wasted, which prompted again a swishing of his tail, towards legend itself.
I basically threw this all up onto my compter. It's an idea that came to me around midnight and it looks like it could be interesting, but I don't want to continue without feedback.