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)
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Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's LightInstallment 30Chapter 12 part 3
finally titled: Stormsong
Section 2: Temple's Light
finally titled: Stormsong
The storm raged and Kirsty sang into it, trying to calm it, pretending it was just an angry unicorn or disgruntled dragon. The storm did not listen, instead whirling through the skies and repeatedly hefting the hems of Mara’s Skirt, drenching beyond the bone those cursed to be above deck. Below deck was not much drier for those manning the bilge.
Meanwhile Kirsty could feel the captain and her craft, their energies inextricably intertwined. The craft seemed to be in disagreement with where captain Makay, “Moribeth-Makay,” the ship supplied, wanted to go.
The captain strove to a someone that the ship gave dissonant groans of dislike and distrust regarding. She oozed conflicting feelings that squeezed Kirsty’s stomach as she continued trying to tame the storm. Song after song the storm ignored. There was an unnatural taste to its energy, dark, hurt, conflicted. It reached for the captain of the craft just as much as it pushed away. Strangely it felt almost like a much cleaner version of Lilitu’s energy. Behind the storm Kirsty’s soul, laid bare so she could do her best attempts, she felt another mind lurking and darting.
Still the captain strove toward the man, reaching out with her own gifts. The ship continued dreaming only of ports pointedly far away from the flashes of white-blond hair and the glints of green eyes that Kirsty caught sight of now and then at the moments before the storm’s fury would rise.
Something familiar began to creep into Kirsty’s thoughts. She could hear the clang and smell the scents of battle and powder despite seeing no source of it. The chill of death and despair gripped her as undeniably as the soul wrenching kiss and touch of the Things was said to be.
Was one of them out in the storm? Kirsty’s concentration and song faltered at the thought, and her focus slipped to trying to feel if one was within her range. Without Byron or David, would she be able to fend one off? Were any of the crew learned in that sort of magic. Were any of them learned in magic at all besides the captain and possibly her first mate?
“The choice will be soon...” The voice of her thoughts was not her own, deep, creaky as beams in the wind, raspy as if it had been sawed and hacked to be given life. “Can you save my captain’s soul? I fear she will lose it soon, one way or the other.” The voice was more masculine than feminine, difficult to pin. Distinctly possessive. Jealous. Afraid.
“How so?” Kirsty sang into the wind, the words snatched inaudibly from her lips.
“I can’t fight my captain long, but she’s set course for the reason these people need an apothecary again. Their relationship... is stormy.”
Kirsty wanted to be anywhere else, home preferably. Somewhere away from storms and the sting of salt and water slamming into her with hate. It made her think too much of the night her grandmother was gone and the storm that took more of the lighthouse ruins.
The image rose in her mind and her song changed. She imagined a light to guide the ship to safe port and to warn of familiar rocks. Out beyond the point on what was once a connected tip the tower strove and held a torch against a tearing sky trying to claw the flame from the proffered hand against the fears and the perils of the darkness. A pointed silhouette waited, holding aloft it’s own light in the room, ready to relight the lamp with spell or match.
A twang on her heart from a familiar cord, and she hefted back, discovering on the other end not the wizened Mrs. Kitsch, but someone from a time far older than she and no Cowan. The face though, he certainly was a Kitsch. The light he manned was not the light of Seal Point, though she could feel the connection to it. Words came and she strove to catch them from the vision. Understanding of them did not come, they weren’t her language, guttural and beautiful at once. Strength radiated from the chanced on guide.
Kirsty gave voice to these words. Distantly she could hear the gasps of Salena and the dismayed groan of Kara. The image of the answering tower rose in her mind fully and combined with the image of her home port and how it must be in this time that either she was in or the ghosts were from, and the power of her changed song grew. The voice of the ship fell back.
Kirsty sang of hope and home. She sang of safety through the storm and mince pies in ovens wafting curls of steam. Every image she could think of she wrapped up with the light, giving flesh to the ghosts of the Kitsches. The selkie lass imagined herself holding up the old lantern Mrs. Kitsch still so carefully kept back at home and used from time to time, sharing her light in reply to the light of the tower.
Around the ship the storm drew back and calmed somewhat, not quite tamed, not quite driven back, but no longer answering here to the wizard that had conjured it in the first place. Kirsty could feel him pressing and trying to claim her holding back. She reached inside herself for yet more and knowingly touched the heart of the sea. She had no time to pay attention to the shift in herself. The lives of those on this boat for now were more important to her than her quest.
The ship’s course changed and it leapt eagerly along it, driven by the magic filling its torn sails. Against the physical wind it ran, which still ran in accordance with the laws of the current storm. The spiritual wind, however, answered to the blooming Mara priestess as she balanced the powers of witch and representative within herself. Finally, hoarse, they seemed to be at the edge of the storm.
A lighthouse beckoned them. Captain Moribeth-Makay made for the safe waters and avoided the rocks, finally dropping anchor as the last of the storm died away. Her lips pressed thin as she surveyed the jagged wooded coastline. It was not where she had wanted to go, but Salena didn’t have the heart to voice it. She could vaguely feel him though, and that meant a chance to either get back at him or discover if there was a plot afoot to drive them apart despite how badly they wanted the ancient feud ended.
A slightly taller, slightly older Kirsty slumped where she was still tied, head bowed and rasping as tangles obscured her face. The captain pressed her lips tighter on seeing what had happened to the girl, stroking her own sealskin where she had it hidden on her person. Why was the girl not already in control of her body again? Her last stormsinger never seemed quite so drained in the aftermath.
Cheers went up from the crew when it sank in they were safe, at least for now. Kirsty sank to the decking when untied, too far still in the grip of the energies she’d been working with to notice, nor to feel the crush of those coming to thank her. Neither did she hear the captain’s words nor those of Kara, or the shoulder of the lad that somehow wound up under her head when she was lifted up to be cared for when he offered to help take her below. What she did feel was the careful untanglings of the old Lightkeeper as he undid her youthful and untrained too tight grasping of the safety anchor he had offered when the seals that kept him company had set up their panicked cries before she had slammed into his mind.
“Mara preserve us, but you’re an old one to be so rough. Weren’t you ever paying attention when your elders trained you?” his distant comment floated by. The voice sounded nearly like Father Ronan to her, but not quite. Perhaps a distant relative? Certainly the wrong accent. This was more like David’s accent than anything Celtic.
“Probably Mara’s work alone, but what I just went through is not something covered in school where I’m from.” She answered him.
By this time she was already laid on the captain’s bed again. The captain, Kara, and the lad collectively frowned as Kirsty spoke aloud, believing her words meant for them. Speaking in her sleep after such an adventure was likely not a good sign. The lad dabbed a dampened cloth over her parched lips, looking to the others to see if they would explain what a school was. Surely not a bunch of fish the way she said it.
“A cruel thing that’s been done to you then child.” the Lightkeeper replied, in her mind and still unheard by the others, still tangled a bit overly much in the young selkie’s energy net. “You seem unbalanced right now. If your ship will be here long enough I can bring some of the Weisse Frau’s water. Surely your crew you are caring for need to restock on fresh drink.”
“I don’t know about cruel. I also don’t know if they need more water, I’ve not been aboard long.” She replied, unaware still of her surroundings or the eyes on her. “But yes Lightkeeper they probably could use fresh water, and if the Weisse Frau’s water is anything like The Lady’s back home I could definitely use some.”
The voice grew quieter as he untangled more of her net from himself. “I’ll bring some then. When you wake you can tell the others if you have enough voice.” One little bit remained tethered besides the Kitsch thread. “This is an impressive net you’ve made yourself.” He threw the remaining tangle off, and then Kirsty was alone in her mind again.
“Impressive net? What is he talking about? I had no hands free to throw a net... Strange.” Kirsty mumbled, her lips and throat stinging, but seemingly not as bad as they had been. She opened her eyes tiredly to see three confused sets staring back at her, and a pair of hands still keeping a damped cloth ready.
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