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. An audio edition of the first book in the series narrated by Illya Leonov and now available on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible, with other venues pending. He is currently working on "Book of Seals: Pearls of Sea and Stone" which accompanies and preceeds Selkies' Skins: Castle and Well. (click to hear what he sounds like in past recordings of other projects)
And now to begin the webserial for "Selkies' Skins: Temple and Skinquest." This installment of Chapter Seven: Soul Piping is a week early as a gift for someone and the chapter is currently in progress. Thank you for your patience while I finished my degree and caught up on things.
Selkies' Skins 2
Section 1: DescentInstallment 14Chapter 7 part 1
Section 1: Descent
Justin brought the coral pipe to his lips, lively and pinkish-red. It was warm in his hands and he felt it thrum beneath his fingers as he played his tune and tried to think of things that would be more appealing to young women than to the children he normally ensnared in what was left of his bedraggled soul. He fought to keep his eyes from closing fully, and they stayed half-lidded.
The dark one needed peace, so he called on what little peace he knew, from his distant and barely remembered young childhood. The scent of mother’s breast and warm pelt by the crackling fire, and the humming lullaby with the creaking rocking rose in him and spilled through his flute. The moonlight from the more recent dream visits to the dragon’s shrine flowed and somewhere far away he felt-heard hurried steps across hinoki floors where a purple fire lit to lend him...something. What he wasn’t sure. Whatever it was he took that and wove it into his tune as well. His bind-rune warmed and the darkness drew back some.
Seaswimmer, Kirsty, she needed something else. He could feel her reaching for the peace and whatever the energy was that his distant dream-friend was sending from her shrine. Justin danced the peace just out of her reach but let her have a little of the energy even though he was probably going to pay for that later. He tried to think of what little he knew of her Anchor, hoping that he could mimic the boy’s feeling enough to draw her further from where the water was diluting her to. An X – Gifu – flashed in his mind, followed by Lagu. Oddly enough these two he understood the surface meaning of: Gift and Water. The submeanings eluded him, but somehow he understood that water was also soul.
Before he could do anything to recall them or even knew how he had manifested them, the runes had gone into the music too.
Kirsty heard the notes of the flute, hauntingly familiar. It was true then, the flash she’d seen of that awful finman in her vision while the water hungrily tore at her lifeforce. Three times now he was interfering in her quest, and here he was seeing her at what was likely her weakest. She fought the water, fought the weakness, reached for anything that would keep her in her body. Reaching inside only kept her in the cycle, she needed to find something to short circuit the flow. It had taken enough. It fought back, still hungry and wild, angry. The water would have to wait. There was something else pricking her awareness as well, something dark, but why was it separate? Her senses had to be off from the blast and the abuse the water was putting her through.
She wanted to hear David’s voice and feel his comforting arms. What would he think of her, seeing her like this? For some reason she found herself remembering him as they sat in the Potions Master’s classroom while she worked out a formula written in ancient Germanic runes. “You can do a lot more than you think, Kirsty.” He’d murmured while running the figures she translated. “You grasp a lot more than you think.”
Grasp. That was it.
Kirsty grabbed for the runes when she saw them before her, using the last of her strength. Why the finman, and the finman that actually made her save Morvan at that, was there she had no idea and no time to find out. No time if she wanted to live while the sea pulled at her blood and soul, at any rate. It was too vast, and she too young and unused to the high demands. With all her training and all the dangers she had gone through as she grew she still wasn’t enough on her own.
Yet the finman brought Gifu and Lagu, and his music led her away from the veil her soul wanted to slip through, where she could surround David even when he hunted. Kirsty wasn’t sure whether to be happy or annoyed.
As her left hand closed around Gifu’s center it became a shield that resembled somewhat the ones she had seen in David’s castle home, Shadowcrest. The thought that perhaps some part of who David was stayed with her even when she was so far away comforted her. Or perhaps it merely looked similar from this side because shields for the most part looked alike. Her right hand closed around Lagu and the rune became a spear in her hand similar to the one that David had taken away from the rogue loch selkie that tried to kill her their first year in school. Longer than she was, instead of black this one was silver and ivory, the speartip wreathed in green and blue witch-fire and selkie fire flaming along the shaft.
The water pulled at her, trying to take more of her blood. Her soul reached and pulled more at the purple light that had been in the finman’s flute music and Kirsty realized that he was still playing. A quick look revealed another Mara priestess, or she believed the night-dark woman to be so by the gravity of the aura. Yet something was off, too dark, too feral.
“What have you done to her?” The words fell from her mouth before the thought had finished, her eyes snapping back to the finman. Surely, even with as terrifying violent as Mara could be when angered, this dark aura was not normal for a sister priestess.
Raechel smiled, her teeth sharp and feral as the curse finished being woven and she released it. The light and dark that gathered around the spear she carried launched for her. Kirsty's eyes widened as she felt the change in the water and she raised Gifu while also calling up the water shield she had learned in past lessons, making it answer to her. The other priestess overpowered the first shield, the sea still answering first to Raechel, and the blast sliced through and popped the water shield.
Kirsty did not cower behind Gifu, instead holding firm and angling the shield to deflect the blow off to her left. She wasn't sure how she knew to do so, this mix of magic and mundane wasn't covered in Dueling while she had still been allowed, and the shield felt pretty much like a regular shield. It grew hot and she could smell smoke. The blast bounced off and Gifu was covered in scorches.
Kirsty did not think, she reacted. Lagu pointed at the other selkie priestess, and she felt something charge and release.
Thank you for reading along with the webnovel version of this book. This has gone up on the Web Fiction Guide, so reviews of the current story developing are welcome, as are votes.