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 has finished "Book of Seals: Pearls of Sea and Stone" which accompanies and precedes Selkies' Skins: Castle and Well which will be available in full audiobook format soon. (click to hear what he sounds like in past recordings of other projects)
I am releasing this installment a little early due to expecting a busy weekend.
Selkies' Skins 2
Section 1: DescentInstallment 20Chapter 9 part 1
Skins and Figureheads
Section 1: Descent
Skins and Figureheads
Finnol frowned over the letter his aunt had sent him. On his desk sat a small copy of the portrait that resided above the mantle back home, right next to a picture that used to contain his wife and youngest child. Behind his desk another frame stared out over the office, the Captain’s Quarters filled only with one careworn pacing figure. In the portrait on his desk Marsali and Kara sat together on the rocks of Seal Point. Kara was taking long swigs from a bottle of rum. Finnol had absolutely no idea where the ancestor had gotten the rum in the Oil Painting Realm where essences could be sent to. Trust Kara to find rum, alive or dead.
“I don’t understand it. Kirstin has never been the sort to not pay full attention. What would be making her class performance fall? Her grades are still up, but this report doesn’t sound like my baby girl.” Finnol looked up at Kara, his eyes wide and hair tousled.
“I don’t understan’ it either, Finny-boy. She’s been a mite funny since the day David found her spread out under the Examiners Lintel. She seems to function just fine, but it’s like she’s no’ all there. It comes and goes though, what’s bein’ whispered by the various castle observers.”
“It’s a bit early for her to be a few galleons short of a full payload,” the captain observed from his own painting. There was some thumping, and a bit later he emerged to Marsali’s painting himself and settled gingerly on the rocks. “Great-gran’ I never could understand how you find these comfortable.”
Kara passed him her brown bottle and reclaimed it again after his long swing. “I dinae mean she’s gone loony. I mean more like part of her is gone and the rest is on autopilot more’n it should. I hope autopilot’s the right term...”
Finnol grunted. A large swig of coffee fortified with scotch and something he had found in the pantry labeled “mood control for Those Months” in Kirsty’s handwriting chased itself down his throat. “The right term,” he acknowledged. “I could go and see for myself, whether it throws off things for Auntie or no, but I don’t know if I would do more harm than good for Kirstin.”
“None of us ever know what will do more harm than good. Can you afford the time off?” The Captain leaned forward toward his fellow selkieblood. “You’ve been muttering a lot more lately and taken so much time off for...” He gestured aimlessly and looked as gentle as a sea-wizened mariner ever manages.
“Can I afford not to?” Finnol replied. “Captain Makay I appreciate your concern, but I am not going to go off on a revenge voyage like Salena. I’ve not a Moribeth’s temper.”
“He dinae mean it like that.” Kara sighed. The Captain pressed his lips thin and tapped his fingers on a barnacle, mumbling something to the effect of his not being so sure about that beneath his breath. Marsali pinched the bridge of her nose and made to draw a long-lost skin tighter around herself before her hand remembered it was not present on her shoulder.
“Children.” Her normally soft voice now had the edge of the tempest sea. “Bickering helps noseal.”
“Yes, Elder.” All three chimed in unison. “Sorry.”
Marsali nodded and released her grip, dipping a foot deeper in the surf. “I think it would be wise for you to go, child. I cannot. The Ladies do not answer me when I pray, so perhaps young David has ideas that he deems not safe to say to anyone. The followers of Herne have always been secretive. They must be. Or her friend, the little firewitch that should have drawn Brigit by now but hasn’t.” She paused, calling up the name from the thousands in her long memory. “Allison.”
“Do you really think they’d not have ideas that Belara would not?” Kara and Finnol asked, both skeptically.
“She is a pubescent, a youth. Youths keep secrets from their elders that they show only other others their age. Even I remember this. And also where the water has not the answer, perhaps it lies in the fire, or the woods, even the sky or the earth. Ours is not the only element nor only answer.” Each element was accentuated by a gesture and smile, but the smile faltered as she saw that yet another several generations still did not understand the intricacies of the web.
“Maybe.” Finnol nodded at last. “I’ll go, even though I don’t know what other elements might have to do with it.”
Marsali nodded. “It is enough. This is only brought up by my intuition.”
A knock on the door interrupted the conference between the wizard and his pictures. After a grunt of assent it swung open and the receptionist, in her pink as always, met his gaze with unsteady eyes.
“Mr Makay, there is a man at the docks to see you. He cannot come in without help, and since I’ve no magic and certainly not strong enough to lug him in...”
“I will go then. I suppose that the communication orb I put down there works then.” He rose, and smiled sheepishly when Hyacinth’s eyes fell on the various pictures. “I swear I wasn’t talking to myself this time.”
Kara waved from her perch cheerily. “Hello little fish! I like that little gem around your neck much better today.”
Hyacinth shook her head. “Of course not.” She nodded to Kara in reply. “Thank you.” Her gaze returned to him. “Best be off. He seems very important and very grouchy.”
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.