Selkies' SkinsInstallment 52Chapter 27 (part two)
Pyramids and Problems
Pyramids and Problems
Etain gave up on trying to keep track properly of how many days had passed since that day, even though she continued to dutifully mark them off in her voyage log and to plot the locations and conditions of where her samples had been taken. According to her log she had been out for six months now since meeting up with Mimir. Surely that could not be accurate. Even so, her stores had run dangerously low and she had been forced more and more to rely on the sea’s bounty.
Luckily the kelp bed had plenty of fish slipping though the blades. There had been plenty of the fish and kelp rolls, and simply just swallowing down raw fish while hunting.
The longer she slid through the sea as a full seal the more difficult it became to remove her skin. Currently she floated on her back trying to get her claws into the seam to pull it apart. Mimir flicked his tail steadily to tread water, keeping his arms out under her in case the change went badly.
He’d already had to throw her onto the deck once this week when she got herself caught far enough out of it she could have drowned.
Her claws finally found purchase, and she dug deep into her skin, and then winced again as they slid into her tender other skin. Etain’s sharp teeth caught the light as she grimaced. Even after all these years of having the skin she never fully got over the sting and burn, the spreading fire, at the sensation of ripping into herself.
Perhaps it was a side effect of still carrying human blood in her veins. She could earn her sealskin and be a selkie and had the opportunity to renounce her human heritage after, so that she could be a full selkie. Etain had chosen to continue bearing the bloodlines of both her parents. What would Kirsty’s choice be?
Etain pulled, and her sealskin did not slip off. It took several tries, and several whimpers, before she was able to peel and yank enough away to wiggle out and then stow the skin in the pouch. She needed to get home soon.
The burn continued as her human skin and the gashes in it contacted the saltwater. She hissed in order to keep from crying out, and instead hauled herself back onto the Sea Witch via the rope the vessel dropped over her side for her mistress.
The boat rode the swells calmly, but the entire vessel listened and waited.
Etain managed to catch her breath when she finally dropped to the deck. Looking down she saw eight lines through her skin and half-pelt where the blood was welling and already beginning to run down.
“How bad is it?”
“Not good, not bad.”
“An eighth of a claw deep, eight of them. I may scar though by the way they lie. Just a flesh-wound, honestly.”
“A flesh-wound that rightly shouldn’t happen. You’ve been getting weaker since the day we met her.” Mimir rose up on a swell and held it in place so that he could see for himself.
Etain tried to cover herself and obscure the wounds, looking down and away, and pursing her lips in a frown. “I know, the only thing I can think of is that Mara’s influence is weaker here.”
“Another thing that should not happen, or so logic would say.” The Triton threw himself to the deck and allowed the water to fall again. “Let me look better.”
She allowed him to move an arm away from where she clutched them around herself. Mimir scowled out from behind his frothy beard and brows. Etain’s skin was paler than the day before, paler even than before their hunt, and her flesh had gotten spongier. Turning his attention to the wounds, he discovered that already the edges were turning red, and that lines of it were spreading.
“Poisoned claws?” He examined her nails more closely, searching for a duct or traces of venom paste below them.
“No, that would be my Finnol what has those. Or I didn’t have the poison the last I could have used that Gift.” Etain lay down and looked toward the cabin. Her vision was getting a little hazy and speech came strangely. It almost reminded her of a long ago night of courting where the Claiming got a little too rough.
This was a lot less pleasurable though, and Finnol wasn’t here to clean out the wound and administer the antidote he kept with him for his poison. Her hands weren’t shaking yet, but she felt strangely dissociated from her body as she slipped a hand into the pouch and felt around for a box.
“I know it’s here somewhere... Medic kit, where are you?” Etain grumbled.
Now that the thought was more firmly formed, she could find it in the layers of equipment. She sighed when she found the familiar scuffed corner and pulled it out, far larger a box than one would expect to be shoved into a waist pouch. Very quickly she flipped the latches and rifled through for the tube of pinkish sgrios-puinnaein that her daughter had insisted she start keeping.
Kirsten had worked long on her final project for her Potionry class the last year, refining the fast-acting fluid. More than an anti-venom, and more than an anti-poison, it was her daughter’s bid to show that advanced potions could be produced solely from sea items. It was one of the few things known to neutralize even Byron’s poison from frill and foam.
The vial slipped from her fingers and would have rolled away if not for Mimir’s quick retrieval.
Etain sighed and laid her head down on the cool deck. Her body went between fire and ice, but always screamed where she had dug too deep. She looked at the triton through the haze over her eyes.
He quirked an eyebrow at her, and she nearly laughed at how much it looked like a true sea horse galloping over a wave crest. “So, do I pour this medicine in, or do you drink it?” Mimir growled as he uncapped it.
“Put it on the wounds... then pour a line’s worth into the dose cup in the medic kit. I’ll drink that just to be sure to get the infection from both ends.” Her voice sounded too quiet to her own ears.
He did as asked, and lifted her up enough that she could drink.
“Line’s worth indeed... as if I know what a line’s worth is. The big line or those tiny ones? Females.” He thought.
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