"Selkies' Skins" will be a tale told serially, as I have the time to work on it. For now, updates may be spotty, but donations can help speed it up a little. I hope to at least manage an installment a month. I expect it to mostly center around Kirsten (Kirsty) and Etain Makay, two part selkies living in the modern era. The world is influenced by the Harry Potter novels in part, but also by Celtic mythology of Selkies. The main stories told will be Etain's work as a waterwitch, her work as a bridge between the Selkies of her area and Wizarding society, and Kirsty's own quest toward gaining her own seal skin.
Once the full story is down, an ebook version is planned. This story is unassociated with my Dragon Shaman series available in my Lulu outlet and on Amazon, or any of my unpublished manuscripts.
If you don't wish to use the Selkies' Skin tag to find the entries, check the ToC on the Sticky Note.
When Kirsty returned inside, a full blooded Selkie was in the living room, leaning back in one of the heavily upholstered, winged armchairs, that was drawn up to the fire. Dark hair spilled down over her shoulders and pooled around her, to spill out of the chair. In her arms, covering the bandages around her midsection, was a chubby toddler, suckling hungrily at her breast. Like almost all Selkies she knew of, the baby seemed to have a large appetite.
“Mani.” Kirsty nodded as she murmured the name, sweeping lightly over, and bending close so as to speak quieter. “Is there anything I can get you?”
The Selkie shook her head. “Not yet, Lady. When Banu finishes though, I will be ready, and allow you to check my wounds.” She shivered slightly, and the toddler's complaint could be heard mumbled through the mouthful. Mani stilled herself, though the color still drained from her skin. Her eyes took on a distant, haunted look, empty windows gazing into a not so distant past.
“Alright. I'll heat the water and prep new bandages then.”
Turning her head, Kirsty saw movement in the corner, the form that had been sitting in the shadows rising, then making for the kitchen. When walking through the firelight, the orange glow made his skin seem a normal flesh-tone, though she knew in the sun it would have an odd green undertone. Though in human form, he was hairier than what she knew of the average human male, at least judging by the anatomy books. The hair was more akin to fur though, where the loincloth and the straps bearing pouches did not cover it. It was a fine, light brown furring running from the base of the neck, to upper arm and mid thigh- somehow both thinner, and yet much denser than that of her own and her mother's, which was always so carefully hidden under cloth. The male chanced a short look at Mani, then shook his head sadly before continuing on.
Kirsty followed. If Connor had been in the corner, Olan, his brother, was as well.
“I'm glad there's another female here... less to worry about, even though she lost her husband.” The thought slunk through the dark recesses of her mind before slipping to her consciousness, quickly suppressed again once realized.
Kirsty shuddered at the memory of how Mani had looked when David and Byron had brought her up from the shore. His sandy hair, usually neat, had that tossed and disheveled look she associated with stress and speed. In front of him lay, stuck to the Kelpie as firmly as David himself was, the bleeding Selkie mother, as a sleek brown seal, a large arc of red indicating clearly her brush with the sharks that were becoming more common in the area. Held in David's arms, clinging tight, or as tight as any pup could with only fins, was a white seal pup, not yet bearing the darker speckles common to the local subspecies. The amount of blood to clean up had been far more distressing than the water, equally as distressing as the look in his eyes, and no where near as distressing as the wound itself had been.
Connor and Olan's advances toward her had fallen to a manageable level at Mani's arrival, possibly due to a combination of her sheer presence, and worry. This did not mean, however, that she trusted either of them with her fishing nets. She shuddered again, this time at the memory of having been entangled in her own net, and what could have happened if David hadn't been there visiting that day.
Kirsty walked over to the cabinets that housed the healing goods. Opening the door, folded bandages, rows of bottles and jars, and even various Cowan healer's instruments greeted her. They kept everything that a well stocked “medicine cabinet” ought to, due to their location and the nature of the wayward souls who tended to find their way through the various protections.
“Go slow Connor, you and Olan both. Give her grieving time.”
She extracted the wash, healing ointment and bandages, shut the door firmly, then took the items to the table and set up. As she worked, the cauldron she kept ready filled itself, and the water began to heat, long practice making it an automatic task.
“Lady Kirsty?” Eyebrows rose into his dark hair at the statement.
“You have no herd, that's why you and Olan tried to capture me. Now, you have one forming. With a pup in it already, no less.”
He made a noncommittal sound, fussing with one of the chairs to have it suitably located between kitchen fire and table, placing and plumping a cushion. A couple moments passed, before he spoke.
“She smells good. Takes good care of the pup. With no male to look over her, and not able to go back to the herd...”
“It's already been told to you all that you can refuge here, so long as no trouble is started. Help out when it's needed.” She began to roll some of the bandages, a final preparation.
“Well. That wasn't it. I mean... how...” He gestured toward the door separating kitchen and the living room, then back to her, and vaguely northward, furrows in his forehead, formulating how to ask, “How did David catch your attention, and keep it?”
She blushed, and this time it was her eyes getting a far away look. “He helped me pick up my things, when I was knocked over by a prat that thinks he's something important just because of his family. Knocked over by that blonde upitty Pureblood right in front of everyone, then having to put up with him making a snide comment about water witches that I don't remember much of. That's quite the bother. I got the treatment fairly often actually."
A pause, and Connor rested his hands on the back of the chair while listening. Kirsty took a breath, then continued. "David helped me pick up my things even though he had helpers to get his own things for him. It was our first year we were getting ready for. I had no one with me, other than Byron, waiting where no one would see him, to take me home, because Mum and Da had been called away. Because he was kind to me, I was mildly interested, since so many of the 'good' families treat us so poorly, because our kind of magic and usual job isn't well respected when known."
Connor frowned, then went to help roll wrappings. Kirsty continued working, moving from the bandages to adding into the cauldron herbs, placing her wand in and breathing a short spell in singsong Gaelic, causing the sanitizing water for the used bandages glowing brightly.
"I met him again on the train to school, and we sat and talked about who we were, what we are. He didn't do anything special to keep my interest, we just talked and found similarities. Differences too... The more I saw of him, in class and out, the more I liked him, because he was easy to get along with, and doesn't care that I'm not a full human...” Kirsty blushed deeper, “and he smells good to me. Like snow, and pine, fur and potion ingredients, and som-.”
Connor raised his eyebrow and opened his mouth, having smelled some of the potion ingredients that she used, but she cut him off, already knowing what he was going to say. With her eyes, she tossed daggers his way, pressing her lips together.
“The better smelling ones, not the ones that smell of decaying meat or ancient crusty socks!”
He paused a moment after her clarification. “So be nice, and helpful, and hope she doesn't think I smell incompatible.”
“And don't push. Fishing nets are out.”
“Never going to live that down, am I? Even though the two of you disarmed and subdued us.”
Kirsty nodded. "That was the worst thought out courting ever in history. It really popped the whole idea lore tells about Selkie males being irresistibly charming. Weren't you ever taught to think with the head on your shoulders, not your hormones?"
The door opened, and Mani came in, wincing now and then and holding herself stiffly, somehow always seeming three steps farther back than she actually was. Connor went over to her quickly, escorting her to the chair he had set up. Kirsty glanced at the floor, expecting a dark haired toddler, or a waddling pup, but saw neither. Mani's dark eyes swept the table, warily looking over what was to be used, on her way. Finally, she sat and wound her long hair up, exposing her torso, which was covered only in the bandages and lightly dappled fur.
"No magic on me? Only your healer's tools, little seawitch?" The voice was quiet, and young, like it always was each time she had had to place herself in such a vulnerable position during her now months long sojourn.
"Only on the supplies, not on you Mani."
She nodded. "I will trust you."
Kirsty very carefully approached, making low, soothing noises unconsciously, and began the process of unwrapping manually, her eyes slowly able to survey her progress on the jumpy Selkie woman.
She smiled grimly at the progress, which would have been swifter had she been allowed the methods she would have preferred. Kirsty deposited the bandages in the sanitizing water, with another song, and started them to stir.
As she expected, the healing song calmed Mani, as it always did. Patiently, Kirsty cleaned out what remained of the shark bite, then applied the ointment that bore the healing and pain aids. Wrapping in fresh bandages just as patiently, she was startled out of the dreamy state she often fell into, by the sound of her patient's voice.
"Lady, I am willing to try one of your potions..."
Kirsty's hands hesitated a moment, then finished tucking the end. Without a word, she returned to the cabinet, fetching and carefully measuring the proper dose.
"If this doesn't work as well as I know it should, I'll have to find a formulation that will work optimally for them..." She thought.
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