Dawn was breaking as if with some effort, as the night's drizzle had subsided and the sun was having to struggle to lift the edge of the black clouds. From his vantage point on top of his mount, Klaatu said to the other two, "One more stream, one more to cross and then up the rocks to the safe-cave. We should hurry, hurry."
He instructed Andimia as to where to find the cave, and gave her the bow and her pack in case they became separated. "Braandu and I will enter the stream, THERE" (he pointed) "and we will emerge 8.22 furlongs upstream THERE at those rocks, those rocks so he leaves no footprints to the cave, in case, in case someone is tracking us. I am sure that one of your skills, your skills will be able to get to that point without leaving a trail, so let us separate and meet at the top of the talus, that talus in about an hour. The cave entrance is above that, above that, and behind a flat rock."
The giant turned and clumped down to the fast-moving water, avoiding soft ground. Disappearing into the stream, Braandu walked right to the center of the current and turned upstream, walking against it with no particular effort. Klaatu took these moments to stash his staff, hyperventilate rapidly; then he slowed his breathing and heartbeat to a crawl once again. "I hate water!" he muttered in his home tongue.
The boy's helmet submerged, followed by the trunk-top, then Klaatu under the water, over two fathoms deep. They disappeared from view. The mole-man's blood, rich and scarlet red with hemoglobin, evolved from millenia spent in anerobic underground environments, carried an abundant supply of oxygen -- which was being used almost not at all at this point. He flapped limply behind Braandu like seaweed stuck to the tail of an eel. His hand, so often used as a shovel, was now clamped like a vise around the leather strap. He was using virtually no other energy in his body.
The minutes ticked by. 5... 10... 15... then a ripple, then a wake appeared. Suddenly, the soggy mole man burst from the surface of the water with a loud "Gasp!" and some splashing. Then the trunk appeared, with him on top, then his son's head. As if the mile-long submarine trek had been nothing more than a refreshing spring shower, Braandu emerged onto the rocky beach and started up the talus slope. Birds were starting to wake up and sing. The cave was in view... and none too soon for the nervous fundimentalist.