Welcome back to another installment of Selkies' Skins. I'm still going to do this bi weekly, unless extra episodes get funded. The book's sections will likely be a bit different from the website's since too many chapters in a section starts to look really confusing in the nav bar on the site. Or they might not. This is one of the issues that the editor and I will discuss.
If you don't wish to use the Selkies' Skin tag to find the entries, check the ToC on the Sticky Note at Dreamwidth. Story is mirrored to my LiveJournal, from my Dreamwidth, as well as on a dedicated site. If you would like a heads up on when the serial novel is updated before it goes to the main site (usually), you can subscribe to my Twitter (@AmehanaArashi) or go on Facebook and like either THG StarDragon Publishing or Selkies' Skins.
We now return to Selkies' Skins.
Section 2 Chapter 19
His tail became uncomfortably tight and dry as he sat next to the unconscious halfling, waiting, watching. He was contemplating slipping off the deck and back to the water to re-wet himself when her eyes opened. He frowned, pausing in his half begun movement to observe. The eyes of Mara's priestess at first had a glazed, unfocused look that he associated with whales and dolphins that had been stunned during human sonic naval testing. Then she groaned, reached for her head with one hand, and rolled to push herself up with the other.
“Wait. I was in the water. How?” She looked around, her eyes focusing on him and the pieces fell into place. He could see them fall, in fact. “Thank you.”
He nodded at her gravely.
“It would not have been proper to leave you alone in such a state.”
She wrapped her sealskin around herself loosely, thankful that, despite the discomfort of having kept her clothes on before leaping into the sea, Mara had not destroyed them as sacrilegious. Etain was careful not to close the skin fully though to initiate any part of the change.
“And now what will you do?”
“The same as any other Triton in my position. Mara must have a purpose for depositing me with you. Surely she could have returned me to those of my former city, wherever they currently are.”
Etain smiled grimly.
“Yes, she would have been able to place you any place in her sea she wished. This is what worries me most.”
He shifted, the skin of his tail becoming steadily drier and tighter. His scales itched as they dried, and as he had no desire to feel himself split open, he slid himself back into the sea with as much dignity as he could muster.
Etain got up and went to the cabin, working out their position. She could have asked the Triton, did think about it. Yet, she held back as he had already done so much, and she was uncertain who currently had the heavier end of the debts accrued over the last span. The Sea Witch waited patiently for her instructions. By the time he hauled himself back out, to better speak with her while she performed her checks, he dragged himself to the door just in time to hear her mutters.
“This can't be right...”
“What can't be right?”
“My calculations. The location spell...” She turned to some instruments, checking them over and grumbling about being reduced to Cowan technology. Said equipment refused to operate, and protested against the fluctuating fields the best it knew how.
“You could ask...” He crossed his arms, unsure whether to be amused or annoyed at her dismay and confusion.
“Well... the star readings state we're somewhere near the Bermuda Triangle. The location spell confirms it. And this...” she jabbed a finger accusingly at the equipment. “This refuses to work at all, and say's we're actually below the surface by 20 fathoms. But, 'tis preposterous.”
“Did whatever magic reader object perhaps fall overboard and sink during the storm earlier? Or perhaps it is just broken.”
Etain sighed and poured over her charts. “It's non-magical, there for if I get boarded by the Coast Guard or any other agency that doesn't acknowledge our existence, or some pirate manages to sneak aboard. And the sensor's just fine location-wise.”
“Well, my blood thinks the location might be right. Where shall we go? To find a permanent site for the new city that I can direct my elder brother to? It should be in similar conditions to prevent too much shock living there long term.”
Etain looked at the water vial that was still in its mount. The water no longer glowed, so she knew that at least that particular objective was met for the time being.
“Yes, we'll do that. First, I need to try sending my coordinates, or the Order may send out search parties depending on how long I've been gone.”
“So many divisions in how you land-dwellers operate. I'm surprised you don't have a Department of Myths.”
Etain smiled a bit, wryly.
“That's where our Shifters are supposed to register.”
She touched a few points around her charts, then traced the sending sigil before tapping her location. A green light flared up, and a dot lit up briefly. Normally, she could have expected a washback feeling as corresponding points lit up on the map in the study back at Seal Point, and in a corresponding map in the Order's office. No such washback confirmation came. She repeated the process, using a human variation of the spell and utilized her wand as pointer.
Still nothing. Her point glowed on the map, but that was all.
“Something's blocking... Shouldn't be anything to do so though. So that just leaves-”
“A Someone.” The Triton finished.
Etain nodded, staring at the map a moment. “I'll have to catch one of the seabirds later. Let's see if we can even get out of here. Should have figured I suppose, what with all the stories.”
“I'll lead you on the safest way.”
With that, he took himself back to the water, slipping in without a splash, then stroked powerfully forward. The Sea Witch hesitated, letting him take a good lead, then a bit longer.
“Yes, follow. He's not sunk us yet.”
Grudgingly, the boat followed the Triton, creaking loudly so as to voice its thoughts at least somewhat. After all, her mistress had been gone to the sea for quite some time.
Like the story? Vote here at Top Web Fiction.
Got a question? Ask it and maybe the answer will be revealed in the story, or in a comment if not part of the story. Want to do a review? Visit the listing, or feel free to post one in your own blog, and don't forget to have a look at the other stories on the web fiction guide.
Please consider making a donation. They accelerate postings, but also help put food on the table. Rather make an offline tip? Write me for a mailing address.
Thank you for being part of the story behind the story.