Book one (Castle and Well) of Selkies' Skins is available in entirety in ebook format as of March 16th, beginning at Smashwords. The print edition is now available on Amazon and Lulu with Samantha Buckley's stunning cover depicting Kirsty and the storm, and an audio edition is currently being narrated by Illya Leonov, has finished the Glossary (click to hear what he sounds like in past recordings of other projects). The audiobook should be available very soon.
And now to begin the webserial for "Selkies' Skins: Temple and Skinquest."
Selkies' Skins 2
Section 1: DescentInstallment 7Chapter 3 part 2
Section 1: Descent
“I suppose that of all the students currently under our roof, she would be the most likely. She already does slip between planes. Times are similar...” The white raven mused.
“Ahha! See, you agree with me that she could then.” The serpent wiggled his tail.
“Is it right though, is it responsible to offer this to her?” The sealion groused. “My marelion will surely let it slip to her house head if she were to find out. Then MacLeòmhann will have another thing that she will worry about.”
“Does she have to?” Spiralis shot. “Must the two of you divulge everything each to the other? Noble, but troublesome!”
“At least I have managed to keep my mate, unlike some that keep confidential things that aren't.” He growled. “But this is beside the point, and I move we vote.”
“We let her timeslip is my vote.” Spiralis coiled, baring his fangs at Leomaris.
“My vote is that we don't, that we keep her in the way time should flow.” Leomaris bristled.
The ravens talked between themselves with clacks, caws and rasps unintelligible to the serpent and sealion. For Kirsty no time had passed yet, other than what little had been in her conversation with them.
“We are cautious, but our vote goes toward the timeslip.” They answered after their debate.
“So be it then,” Leomaris growled, “though our charge was to sort and guide. Not send them to danger.”
“Life is danger. Times are easier for this generation than they once were.” Spiralis hissed, a smile touching lips incapable of actual smiles.
“I don't like it.” Leomaris turned to pace toward their charge.
Time began to move again for Kirsty.
“We have a possible solution that could make it so that you'll be able to concentrate better. However you will be in two places at once if you want to be completely technical.” Spiralis' serpent twined around Kirsty's feet.
“You should tell her that technically her attention will also be split between places.” Leomaris' sealion grumbled, pulling the serpent off of the girl. It always made him nervous when the serpent coiled anyone, since their job also used to entail disposing of those that came who were unworthy of entry.
“What is this solution?” Kirsty kept herself still, even though the snake's coiling was disconcerting.
“Timewalking.” The white raven answered. “You're projecting but you're staying all at once with the method we can let you use. “When time flows normally for you though you'll have to actually experience it all over again. If you don't give it your best on each pass, then you'll die.”
Kirsty frowned, considering. “What actual advantage is there to doing that?”
“A wise question, Makay.” The black raven rasped at her. “Whether there is an advantage depends on your point of view. You could go now, get it over with while part of your goes on about your normal life, and then both have already done it but do it all over again. You'll already know what you're doing, and won't have to be worrying about it during classes because you've already done it.”
Kirsty rubbed her forehead. “Thinking on that makes my head hurt. I don't think my brain is made for grasping more than one timeline.”
“It's not.” Leomaris growled. “It's no less dangerous than just waiting.”
Kirsty considered quietly for some time before speaking again. “You say that even though I'll have gone forward I'll still be here?”
The guardians nodded as one.
“I'll do it then.”
The pocket reality shifted around her. The doorway out of the castle was there before her, but different now. It contained pulsing energy that was very like the membrane she had experienced during her well trial. She looked instinctively for the Finman that had disrupted her test last time, then sighed in relief when he didn't pop out of the stonework.
“Good luck then, child.” The guardians said. “Step through then and go where you need. But be careful.”
Kirsty pushed through the membrane and out into the courtyard. The passage felt like pushing through a thick tapestry, and she was a dull needle trailing heavy spun hyppocampus yarn. Time warped and folded on itself while her consciousness fractured. Halfway through she was aware of herself turning with the intent to take a long hot soak in the tub while no one would see her secret, for now feeling less weight on her soul. The rest of her soul continued to pass, the body left behind and pressing through the top of the head into a slightly older version of herself. When she opened her eyes, instead of the courtyard she found herself at the edge of the sea.
Kirsty stepped further out onto the sand and walked until the waves lapped her toes. It was summer, and warm compared to the usual temperature, a shock from the winter that she had left behind. Even with the comparative warmth it was still plenty cold in the dawning. Here and there rocks jutted up out of sand and water like fins and fingers striving for the sky. To one side she saw the birthing pool and the gateway behind it into the Lady's realm, closed and hidden by the outward spilling water-blood.
She looked down at herself to check what she had. Her dress was blue and off the shoulder to give her halfpelt to the waking sun, but full enough to hide her legs in the old style that her family enjoyed. Her pouch and her wand were slung at her waist. Digging in her pouch she found some basic supplies...a bit of food, her silver knife and her stone knife, a supply of the paste, some medical items in case of injury, and the sealed plastic bag with the red poppets of herself and David.
Kirsty looked back down the beach toward where the house lay. She was alone. Yet again there was no David, no Urma, and certainly no Byron. The sense of having done this before off-balanced her and she kneeled down while getting used to the feeling.
“Of course they're not here you silly girl.” She chided herself. “It's summer and he has all that work to catch up on. And Fyre will have missed him, so of course he'd be spending as much time with his basilisk as possible before time to go back again...He can't just sit around here to see if I'll come back.”
The longer she stayed the more distant the memory of being on the other side of the door just a few seconds ago became. Kirsty looked back in the direction she had come, but there was no door back. Memories that she'd not had yet rushed over her, including the strange knowledge that for some reason in the not so distant past she had been running through the forest... Time stabilized and stopped swirling, leaving her feeling as if she had been a toy boat in a baby's bathtub and someone had been shaking it.
She slipped off her dress and shoved it in her pouch, then made her way out into the water. She concentrated on Mara, trying to pinpoint the strongest direction of her presence. She followed it farther out on the point, making her way along the jutting rocks where the sea surged and ribboned with the falling tide. Finally she got to the furthest reaches of the earth into the sea, much beyond the shore where usually only the seals and sharks dared go, beyond even where the ruins of the Kitsch family lighthouse stood a dark skeletal watch. Looking back again toward that and the shore a dark shadow figure stood at the edge of the ledge.
Kirsty shuddered. There was no one living besides herself that would spend that much time there. She hadn't even taken David there yet, and Mrs Kitsch certainly did not stand so tall nor so straight. It left only the possibility of the ghost of Kitsch's father, whose life had been taken by the sea...and Mara...in a long ago storm.
The tide continued to go out, the sea pulling into itself and revealing more of the rockflow that marched out. An eddy began to swirl, and in the center she saw what she knew she was searching for. The water was a different shade than it should have been, glowing softly as if younger somehow than the rest surrounding it. Or was it older? A large wave came in and temporarily filled the punchhole of Mara's Eye.
Kirsty pulled out the white shell she kept her changing paste in and put a dose on her tongue, letting it dissolve and then swallowing. It burned more than usual, and she felt dizzy, as if things were warring inside of herself that shouldn't be, but she continued on out into the sea while her change occurred. Legs fused and she kicked further out. The current grabbed her and she took a deep breath, letting it pull her toward the gate.
Thank you for reading along with the webnovel version of this book. After three installments have been posted I will be able to open an entry at Top Web Fiction for this particular book in the series.