Selkies' SkinsInstallment 65Chapter 34
Kirsty rested on the bottom of the pool a bit longer and then ventured tentatively down one of the paths back out. She swam much slower than possible down the one that had been marked with the moon, not sure to be relieved that it lay straight, or worried that it did not twist and turn.
The darkness here was just as bad as the other paths, but the further she went the harder it was for her to focus. If she popped her head above the water for even the briefest of times the air was laden with the scent of lavender, rose, catnip, and some rich but light scent she couldn’t identify. It only made her encroaching dreaminess worse and added to the weight of her body pulling her down.
Soon enough her head was spinning and that horrid feeling of not being fully in control of her movements filled her. If she moved wrong she could surely float right out, or maybe it was slosh out. Her whole body thrummed, and she just wanted to close her eyes and sleep. Yet she pressed on. To stop was to admit defeat.
Finally a white form slipped through the water to her, silver hair streaming around in wavering rays. An aurora corona graced the being’s brow, releasing the lunar light, and starlit eyes smiled while guiding with dreaming hands.
Kirsty fought to focus at least a little, noting how the figure was neither male nor female, and yet both.
“You had a question it seems?” Shi swam beside her. “I wasn’t expecting to feel anyone in the overlap. You’re so tightly aligned with my friend.”
The casual politeness and curiosity did not fool Kirsty. Now that the White Lady was here she could barely restrain herself from the wriggles that she so often successfully stuffed away every month. The dream-like quality remained, and when her body spun itself forward there was no denying that the moon’s deity had her firmly in hir grip.
“The Lady left before I could ask her about something she’s been avoiding talking about with me, and directed me to you instead.” Kirsty replied, desperately trying to get her body to at least move more sedately. The harder she tried to control her body, the more outlandish the swimming dance became.
The passage widened around them, and the deity perched on a submerged crystal, lighting all the others so that it seemed Kirsty was swimming in the depths of space, not the bowels of the earth.
“Is that so? Well, I do see much during the night’s watch, and during my daytime roamings. Share with me what is haunting your dreams of late then.” The deity rose off the crystal seat, all the others staying lit, and danced with Kirsty, kissing her cheek.
Kirsty shuddered at feeling the foreign deity so close, at the skin touching skin and brushing so that she knew the garments were just illusion. The deity wrapped an arm around her waist and took her hand, leading her through a waltz despite how Kirsty currently had a tail.
She tried not to look the lunar deity in the eyes. After all, it was well known how easily this one caused madness, and it was rumored that even Herne was wary. Not even her eyes were her own though. They were drawn as surely as the moon controlled the tides of the sea and her own blood. Kirsty howled inside, and the smile that flitted across the deity’s face was just as pleased as if David had been howling after a successful hunt.
“Samhain, after leaving the Tor, we went back to our realm to find the Anchors under attack and the Guardians defending them.”
“The Finmen during their part of the Great Hunt.” The White One dipped Kirsty backwards, hir hair billowing and curtaining her off from all other realities but hirs. “I remember this part of it. Such a fierce little soft one you are. Your descendants will be entertaining.”
Kirsty was righted and spun away, leaving her feeling almost like a bird before she was reeled back in too tightly for her comfort. The deity’s eyes smiled back and pearly white teeth gleamed like a Cheshire Cat.
“Um... Thank you? There is one of the Finmen that particularly bothers me. He has eyes that are too distinctive...”
“Which of them?” Kirsty was thrown and caught easily, as if the deity thought little of the conversation and only cared for the movements. Perhaps it was true. “There were several there that night little water witch. Each has their own distinctiveness, and I have spent years examining everyone’s eyes.”
“Oh, that’s not creepy at all... Maybe Herne’s actually the sanest of them all?” She thought as she was taken from the waltz into a cinque-pace, without hearing any of the music that the lunar deity apparently did.
“Amusing thought. Perhaps he is. Then again, perhaps not. But you weren’t wanting my opinion about the Huntsman and Shifter Lord, even though it might be useful for you later.” The White One chuckled, as if Kirsty had spoken her thought aloud, then grasped her by the waist and tossed her in the air again.
Kirsty’s head broke water and she felt a twinge that perhaps she would be out too long. How high could one of them throw her tiny mortal frame? Then the water sucked her down again, and delicate hands caught her about the waist.
She looked nervously down at the hands, not afraid of being dropped, but half expecting the deity to shift into another form or to take her from this reality to some other. “The eyes I’m thinking of are the ones that look like my parents’. The one that called me a harlot.”
The White One laughed and pulled her tight and close, tipping hir head back and twirling Kirsty about, making her gorge rise. “That one. Ah yes, he is a special one... His fate and story isn’t mine to tell to you, child. Now, if you were a certain young Hound of Herne...perhaps I might tell you then. But you’re not. You were so close once.” The White One’s eyes sparkled with merriness or madness, though Kirsty wasn’t sure which. “I could tell you a different secret though.”
Kirsty pressed her lips tighter as she pondered what the deity meant. Hir interest could be explained in part by what the Hounds did. Simply being bitten and turned to a werewolf would not make her one of the hounds though. She had to be claimed by Herne as one of the Hounds.
Her nose twitched and she blinked, her dance partner still burning into her eyes with hir gleaming fires and the maddening flickers. If her heart raced any swifter it would leave her behind.
“That’s not the last you’ll see of him. I’m sure over the years you’ll get to know him very well.” Shi giggled, then pressed a finger to Kirsty’s lips, stopping the question. “I think you should have a name for me, I’m so much closer than ‘The White Lady’ to you, and I’m both and no genders.”
Kirsty waited for the finger to remove itself from her lips, and instinctively licked them to try getting them to stop buzzing. This only caused the sensation to spread to her tongue as a sweet taste coated both, and some strange substance was absorbed into her bloodstream. As it did the sensation spread through her body, and it was even less her own. She now craved touch, and if it wasn’t for this strange deity...which way would be up?
“What do you wish me to call you then?” Her tongue wasn’t thick, but it formed the words strangely and she resisted the urge to wiggle it solely to get lost in the odd feeling. She could sit for hours watching starlight on the loch or the waves, or run for hours barefoot through the trees.
Shi brushed hir lips over Kirsty’s ear and whispered as if discussing the details of a holiday gift in the presence of a toddler. “Ven’thrith will do for now, I think. Now...I want to see you out on the full moons more often, no matter what the young Hound wants for your safety. There are places where you can still meet your obligations to Mara, the Lady, and myself without interfering with his needs...and I will help you with his care when you go to do so little selkie-maid.”
There was no room for argument. Kirsty merely nodded in agreement. One simply does not refuse the one that holds power over the tide and dreams. As gently as it had all been said the danger zinged through her. It would be so easy for the moon to claim her, and her gift of Sight could easily be turned into a curse.
The moon deity drew back with a smile and deposited her on the crystal shi had sat on before, leaning over Kirsty and pressing her back, allowing hir light to shine more and further forcing her gaze to rest on hir. “Prove useful enough and I’ll help ensure that you’re able to adapt your station to your passions instead of having to adapt to your station.”
“Very well.” Kirsty tried to keep herself in control, whatever substance the deity had laced her with still not quite up to a full potency.
Shi grinned wider and pressed the first two fingers of hir right hand to Kirsty’s chest, scrawling first a crescent, and then finishing that with a full circle. “Good lass.” Ven’thrith spun away. “I’ll let you continue on to Mara now. I’m sure she’s wondering if her sister decided to just keep you all for herself. I’ll be checking on you often, especially in class.”
The light snuffed itself save for the still twinkling crystal stars and there was an upward shift, leaving Kirsty suspended in the waters of space. She looked down where the Moon deity had laid a mark, noting vague lines there and wondering how they would translate to her fur.
The lunar sugar continued to move through her veins and Kirsty closed her eyes, searching for the pull of the sea to lead her back to somewhat more familiar realms. The pull was dim but insistent and she followed this inner knowledge through the waters, waiting to find a gate between, or the branching of the ways.
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