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 This story is unassociated with my Dragon Shaman series available in my Lulu outlet and on Amazon, or any of my unpublished manuscripts.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.
Chapter 9 is not done yet, but the first part is certainly ready. The whole chapter so far looks as if it is going to cover at least two and more possibly three installments by the time it is fully done. The coming few weeks are going to be busy with family things and travel if things go as planned, so I will try to have the full chapter ready and the posts set up for auto posting before I do go... or at least the next installment scheduled to auto post.
Chapter 9 part 1
Time stretched oddly here, and when the winds blew they held an odd touch, causing the fur of Etain's pelt to stand on end under her clothes, prickling and catching. Strange eddies and currents, contrary to the ones that she would have expected in the level of reality she was used to, sometimes pulled or pushed her boat off course during her periods of rest, despite the spells on the craft. The pocket had gone on for leagues so far, with no clue that she could find as to where the other end of it lay.
What bothered Etain most were the flying fish. Turning to look again, the silver fishes were still following. Above the water they skimmed, only submerging briefly enough to wet their scales, and then onward they would fly again, staring at her and her vessel with those strange, humanesque faces- calling out messages that they wanted relayed. Worse yet were the ones that looked like doomed clerics as they recited prayers in Latin, gaping with soulful eyes and warning her not to tarry or risk becoming one of them.
As she watched, one won its way onto the deck, sending a shiver up her spine, and her gut to turn. If it were an ordinary fish, she'd run out there in an instant, snatch it up, and eat it raw to help replenish her energy. The face and moaning instead made her use magic to sweep it off the deck and back to the sea, with another shudder as she imagined what it might be like to have to touch one- or what one could do given the right opportunity.
"Fish definitely shouldn't talk..." Etain shuddered. Ahead, she finally saw the flickering and shifting where one reality met another, hoping it truthfully was the one she sought, knowing the strangeness of the sea.
A hump in the water caught her attention, then winked out of existence. Shortly after, it came back to sight, much closer than she would have expected if it were mere flotsam, and repeated the pattern, heading her way at speed. Behind her, the fishes sent up a keening cry, lifting their slimy lips and exposing teeth that went unseen. Their morbid aura increased to one of malevolence, then they changed course, skittering away.
"Prepare defenses, my girl... Upper and lower." Etain muttered to her boat, gripping the wheel and turning hard to starboard, seeking to avoid the creature in front of her, whatever it would turn out to be. In reply, her boat strained, banking in eagerness as it leaned into the turn and cut through the sea. A shimmer ran over the boat, then spread out beyond, very different from the Devil's Fire that had encompassed it when entering the pocket reality.
This time, a giant head rose, grey and reptilian with fierce sword teeth. A neck followed next, carrying the head higher, smooth and muscular, bearing sleek silver scales. Beady black eyes glowered down at her before it struck, first with its head and then flipping itself around for a blow with its tail when the head met resistance.
Both times the magic field flared to life with a zapping, electric sound as it drove off the sea serpent, and bolts of blue flickered around the boat. Both times the shield held. The sea serpent hissed, and slipped below the water.
Etain continued watching for it. Sea serpents were rarely so easy, especially the larger ones such as this.
"Full sail, add emergency propulsion." she commanded her vessel, while conjuring a hard tail wind to aid the forward advance. It was with relief that she felt the winds respond.
Yet, the wind still responded too slow to her spell.
Her boat was pressed upward under her feet, not in the usual rhythm of the swells, and she gritted her teeth as the creature tried knocking her craft up out of the water, no doubt hoping to have her boat smash on the return. Running to the side, she was in time to see the head slide once again below the waves, and that the waves were now some fair distance below her keel. The shields were flared to life again where the head had impacted.
"Want te play do ye?" She loosed a blast with her wand toward where the beast would be, no sympathy, as it would have none for her.
The water churned upward violently where the red fireball had struck, leaving a crater that revealed a burned side, already being covered over again as the sea flowed back in. A moment later, gravity brought the boat down again.
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