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 I'm getting near 3,000 words in the chapter "Stitches and Tears" and I think it is about ready to wrap up and release it. Just another bit to go and then a good read over before I can push out the full chapter in one update. It should not be long now before that next installment for Selkies' Skins goes up. I hope to have it ready sometime this weekend.
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 Book: Circle of Ceridwen, volume two

Author: Octavia Randolph

I have this book in a collection consisting of books one through three, but wish to review each book separately as I finish them.
I am exceedingly pleased with this story and look forward to reading the next book. The plot is full of twists and turns that I had not expected when I finished reading the first book, and which I did not expect when opening this volume.
Ceridwen remains a very strong female and the adventure is now bound to home and navigating the problems of life as a noble woman. The love triangle has expanded to admit another male, the brother of her husband. Though it costs her much she gives to this man his greatest wish, a son, thus also granting the wish of his wife who is unknowing of the details. All of this happens amidst the turmoils of war. Although this book has a great deal of romance I would still recommend this to a person that normally would not read romance. The desire of Ceridwen to have the best for everyone makes this a good deal more than a bodice ripper.
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Earlier today (the blog is already updated with the news, but I got interrupted) I received word from her daughter that our editor Faith Lindgren-Brown passed away. She was an amazing woman that I will always remember as full of life and exuberant stories. In recognition she will remain as editor in memoriam on the website once the site is updated.
 
She's probably going to be helping me spot things when I do editing work for other authors, and also for anyone that does proofing or editing for a project under the THG StarDragon aegis. Faith was the editor for the second edition of Dragon Shaman: Taming the Blowing Wind, Dragon Shaman: The Smoky Mirror, and Selkies' Skins​: Castle and Well.
 
Faith is survived by four great children and her partner. She is loved and missed, and should always be remembered as a warrior, especially as she was with us far longer than what doctors projected. Faith certainly showed them.
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Welcome back to the story! If you don't wish to use the Selkies' Skin tag to find the entries, check the ToC on the Sticky Note at Dreamwidth. Story is mirrored to myLiveJournal, from my Dreamwidth, as well as on a dedicated site. For story news and more, subscribe to my Twitter (@AmehanaArashi) or go on Facebook and like either THG StarDragon Publishing or Selkies' Skins. As always, the main tag for the full story is selkies' skins and the tag for "Temple and Skinquest" is selkies' skins 2.

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)


Interested in helping support the free version of this book and other projects? Visit http://www.patreon.com/Amehana



Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's Light
Installment 34
Chapter 13 part 4
Skinned

 

Belial returned to his sanctuary, glad of the temporary relief from the pounding that always came whenever he needed to do large workings beyond his usual operations. Brooding over his secret selkie wife and her tendency to be drawn by traps and trouble was far more tolerable than dealing with the elderly biersal muttering to him about the quality of the beer the other family members would leave for them. Even less tolerable was the thought of actually dealing with any of his family. Especially his naggy mother. The library was his safe place from her demands and whatever oily match she would invariably propose.

The bloody glow of his sanctuary killed the wisp of good mood he had managed to gain from the warmth of the skin telling him that Salena still lived, however angered she was. Looking round nothing seemed to be touched.

“Show me what happened.” His eyes snapped on the gazing orb, narrow and iced. In reply the mist coalesced and formed shapes. In the space of a breath lifelike fiery representations showed him exactly what had transpired while he had been gone.

“Lovely, as if one living selkie isn’t enough to hide, now I have a naked treasure raiding one in the vault and I know somehow Mother will know. That’s going to be lovely to explain dreams of.” He ground out, nostrils twitching under influence of the skin he carried.

The gazing ball pulled its mist into the spirit’s vaguely hominid form, which nodded solemnly, though wearing an expression that spoke clearly of how tired it had been of trying to gain his attention.

“Yes, fine. I’ll give your voice back later tonight if I’m not too worn out.” Belial sighed as he drew his wand and proceeded to unlock the chamber behind the fireplace.

The construction of the library had long ago revealed to his forebears the cave system that it tapped. That same system through another door had often given him other sorts of sanctuary than the chamber the family treasures now claimed. Down the passage he went, forgoing the magical aid that would have teleported him directly to it, hoping for a bit of surprise on his side. Even light he eschewed, instead placing one foot in front of the other in the endless night and feeling his way by hand and foot.

“I wish Linxi was here, he’d be helpful right now. Dragonchild or not.” Belial thought, envying briefly his First Mate’s ability to move in similar darkness without being so ungainly.

Every step measured carefully, he made certain not to stray in the labyrinth. Though he could not see there was the sense of walking within a giant shell. At times it felt like something moved around him, sought to fold itself and move to a new location. Perhaps flesh of the spectral creature long gone, if he allowed his fancy free rein. The passage did not shift though, pinned as it was. Finally he came to the round in the downward spiral of the passage where the last of the doors slumbered.

It gave off heat. Angry and searing; the door burnt without burning far more than the times he had been inside with his father after another of the cullings. His heart pounded faster and harder, rebelling against the feeling in his bones and blood and the very thing that allowed him to see and speak with the spirits without bodies. Carefully he pushed the door open, sword drawn from his waist where it always dwelled, wand hidden within. He slipped inside just in time to see the dark selkie slip into the once sacred pool, changing her form as she went. Beside the pool — far enough aside that the water would not reach him — stood Astereth, though the water rose up not against him.

“Ah, you are late to the party my boy, though I’d not invited you.” The hint of a smile curled Astereth’s voice, teasing and chastising at once.

“I thought you’d still be resting from the last I saw you.”

“Oh, you’d not gotten me quite as wet as you’d thought when you dropped in the Black Gate. It was a good try though.”

Belial looked for anything he could drive this shred of Astereth into. The nearest that he could see was a sword that he knew would be missed by anyone the next time they came in to make use of one of the treasures. He continued glancing around without being obvious, seeking out something better, or wherever the weak point between the planes must be. There was always a portal whenever anything broke or strained bonds. “I suppose you’d like to talk of your great plans some more.” If he was lucky maybe he could keep him talking.

“Oh, you didn’t seem interested the last I met with you though. Tossed the pretty in.” The face of flame curled its lips. “Tried to toss me in. Some thanks for your family’s fortune and power.”

“It’s not all from you, Master. If I remember the stories rightly you chose us for a reason. But I ask again what is your game?”

“Well, since you really seem interested, and maybe I can bring you back to the fold. I’ve sent the dark one down to fish up the Gate. I’ve told her she may use it.”

“How is she one of yours? I thought all of the selkies still pledged to Mara.”

“I’m not sure, but I’m not looking a gift seal in the mouth. It matters not how she got it, she bears my touch. That is enough. She obeys far better than some humans I could mention. Particularly randy ones such as yourself.” Astereth looked at Belial pointedly.

He clenched his jaw but let the jibe pass. “I suppose you’ve not told her how to use it.”

“Of course not. How can I when I don’t even know how it was used? You know though. Perhaps I can convince you to pass on that knowledge if you don’t want your father to know the things you’ve done and probably hope to continue to do.” The man of fire settled himself on a chest out of splash range from the pool.

Belial had still not found anything suitable to try driving this remnant into, nor where the veil Between was thing enough to be seen through. “You wish to blackmail me.”

“Of course. You’ve transgressed. I like to think myself a reasonable deity though and extend this opportunity for forgiveness.”

“Deity? Have you found some way to increase yourself where you are bound in?” His eye fell on a whorled silver pin reminiscent of a shell, only partially exposed from the heap spilled at the bottom of another chest and mostly covered by a length of green cloth shot with silver. His sister had a habit of never putting everything back when going through a chest, and the haphazard spill looked like some of her work, though he couldn’t tell how recent. He prayed internally to Mara and the Weissefrau for the ability to shut Astereth more firmly away, away from where he might harm Salena. The skin hidden on him warmed.

“Now, why would I tell you if I had?” The now long inhuman mage laughed. “I still exist, does this not place me among them as is my right?”

“To gloat?” Belial settled himself lightly on the chest, leaning down as if to tidy the mussed fabric and tuck it back inside before making contact. He plucked the brooch from the fabric and palmed it. “I thought you liked that.”

Astereth blinked, and then he laughed. “I had forgotten why you were my favorite. You have not answered me though.”

The fire in his blood tugged insistently, burned in his veins imperiously, sought to reach into his mind and heart to do his bidding. Belial prayed harder to the water goddesses, careful to screen his thoughts and heart from Astereth even though he felt little hope they would hear and answer despite his wife being theirs. “Please, any help of any sort in this, not for me, but for Salena’s sake. Help me protect my wife from my Master. Help me lock away or send away this part of him, even if I die here today.”

 *Note: biersal. The biersal is a type of German house elf type of fairy. Where in the British Isles they generally receive milk, bread, and/or honey the German variety likes their keep in the form of Beer.
Note 2: The story of Salena and Belial is external to Kirsty's story, although it does directly impact her own and her skinquest. There are notes on the end of Selena and Belial's story in a patron only posting. I may do notes on the story of how they met and why they married as another patron only posting.
Note 3: The lad from the ship does later down the line have descendants in school with Kirsty. I did heavily consider feeding him to ancestors of David. The Lady's German counterpart (who has close ties to The Hooded One) allows the wolves she called to do what they will or to let the lord of the hunt decide.
Note 4: Yes the ties on Kirsty and Raechel from their outer world and own time lives are causing the deities and Astereth some confusion and bemusement. It is not supposed to be until they and Justin return to outer world/ normal time where they are supposed to give evidence of this timeslip. Time for them does not run the same as it does for Kirsty and us.

 

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.

Please do consider making a donation, or buying the complete book (or even the whole series, as it becomes available). The donations help pay costs such as editing, but also help put food on the table. Rather make an offline tip? Write me for a mailing address.
Donate Here via Paypal

Or you can become a monthly patron through Patreon!

As always, if you see any typos, please let me know so I can fix those, they don't always save when applied. I repeat that this is the webnovel version of the book and may differ somewhat from the print and ebook versions when the text is completed and through processing. Thank you for being part of the story behind the story.


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 The new installment for Selkies' Skins: Temple and Skinquest will be going up soon. I've gone through and checked what my current word count is for the full manuscript. This second book as of today is at 53,358 words.
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 I love you dad. I miss you.
I hear you in the wind
Flowing in the river
See you falling in the snow
You're with me wherever I go.
I see you in my brother
I see you with my mother
In the eyes of my children
And standing behind my nieces.
I know you hug my sister
In those nights when she cries
And put your hand on our shoulders
In the moment we feel we can't try.
I love you dad. I miss you.
But you're here now with me
Though your body is ash
And in the wind you sigh.
~Teresa Garcia, Dec 1, 2016
copyright Dec 1, 2016 Teresa Garcia
In Memory of Benjamin Gordan Garcia, father.

Permission is granted to circulate this poem as long as attribution remains intact.
Archived also at Patreon.
rainstardragon: (Default)

Welcome back to the story! If you don't wish to use the Selkies' Skin tag to find the entries, check the ToC on the Sticky Note at Dreamwidth. Story is mirrored to myLiveJournal, from my Dreamwidth, as well as on a dedicated site. For story news and more, subscribe to my Twitter (@AmehanaArashi) or go on Facebook and like either THG StarDragon Publishing or Selkies' Skins. As always, the main tag for the full story is selkies' skins and the tag for "Temple and Skinquest" is selkies' skins 2.

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)

My apologies for the long delay. At least the move is done and I can get back to work and writing.

Interested in helping support the free version of this book and other projects? Visit http://www.patreon.com/Amehana



Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's Light
Installment 33
Chapter 13 part 3
Skinned

 

The familiar trickle began again from Kirsty’s nose and the taste of salt slipped over her tongue. Tearing, that was the best way she could comprehend the feeling in her head. Another bit of herself tearing away, a thread being pulled stiffly and inexorably from her being, from her past. Unraveling. Skinning. Worse than having had to give up her human covering to be fit to be reborn.


“We can fix this, tell me, what do you see with your sight, Daughter?” The Weissefrau’s voice cut through the pain. She drew Kirsty into the water step by step. It rose higher as they went.


The lad with them reached for Kirsty, but was restrained by the old Lightkeeper.


Kirsty wiped at her nose with he sleeve as she gathered her focus to look. “There’s a red light all around the edges, pulsing like a heart. I feel… something. It’s not right.”


The Weissefrau had her to her shoulders now in the cold waters. “Like you’re being unmade, my dear?”


“Yes.”


“Then on you go. Follow the light like a good girl on out. Begin to be remade.” Before Kirsty’s eyes could clear and her lips form the question she shoved the maid down. Kirsty’s mouth was still open and the human sputtered as the last of what was holding her was pulled away by some celestial weaver beyond the span of space and time known to mortals. Bubbles of air rose to the surface as the blood flowed again and the water turned red.


The lad wrenched himself free of the Lightkeeper finally, heaving himself at the terrible goddess of water and bone left in the natural well. Before he collided a wall of water engulfed him and held him to face the Weissefrau. Her ice grey eyes bored into him as she watched the water win its way into him. “Noble intent, poor execution, mere human understanding after all you’ve seen. I am not the one that will harm her. You might have seen her success and your children might have mingled with her had you heeded my Lightkeeper and your vows to me.”


As Kirsty’s body was pulled through a passage below, the lad’s body floated to one side of the deity’s domain. The Weissefrau threw back her head and howled. In the distance a pack of wolves answered and began their way. The Lightkeeper looked away, and she smiled grimly. “Perhaps in a way, he still might get what he’d have liked just not as he’d hoped.”


“My Lady?” The Lightkeeper chanced a look at her. She still was too terrible to behold for long and he looked away well aware his sleep would be disturbed for some time by her visage.


She shook her head and adjusted a cloak around herself before sitting on a rock. “Stop blaming yourself, I know you are. He’d have stolen it if she does survive this turn. You can go back now. If they ask, I have claimed them.”


“As you say.” He kept his face and his feeling so long as he could control them neutral as possible until he was back off her path. The deity, for her part, dispersed back into her water, releasing herself to it and trying to be fluid enough to determine what was being changed.


~


Farther back in the tunnel Raechel found a thick oak door reinforced with spells and hammered iron. The tunnel continued further beyond the door, beckoning. Below her she could feel a passage of water leading back to the sea, presumably through the cave she had come through. The passage below would have of necessity worn through some weakness in the stone around her.


Behind the door is what interested her most. Something large was contained within the chamber. Though it seemed to sleep it pressed at the edges of the containment much the same as did the creatures that Mara kept contained in certain rooms of her central temple and the deepest depths. Its presence was palpable, causing her short-hairs to prickle and rise in warning and her longer hairs to lift a little as she tensed. Trying the door she could not unlock it, nor could she force or undo these spells, not without trying to blast it off the hinges with energy she preferred to keep for later. She did feel the thing behind the door move though. The shifting turned her stomach, made her quake, and yet thrilled her.


“I’ll be back for you later, perhaps.” She whispered through the door, pressing against it and grinning. “We’ll have some fun, yes? Whatever you are.”


There was a smack of something on rock behind, and a splash. Raechel giggled and squirmed, stroking the door as a shimmer of green continued fighting against the purifying spell the child had unleashed on her.


She blew a kiss to the thing behind the door and continued along the passage, following it upward.


Raechel’s exploration ended at a thick oak door at the top of a long, narrow, cramped set of steep stairs. The cliff stone complained darkly on her way up. Here things sat silent and brooding over untold secrets, lies, and a hint of blood. The door barring her way was not like the doors below the sea. No hinge revealed which way it swung. There was iron binding it, but instead was in bands reinforcing all the way across. Her hands explored and fingers prodded everything that looked as if it might be a trigger.


She winced when her fingers brushed the iron, placed the worst of them in her mouth and frowned. A sickly green pulsed briefly and red mist spread along the bar.


Behind the door a presence lingered, stirred, its attention gained by her searching.


She stilled, breath bated, listening, straining.


~


The table beside his chair held the dregs of cold tea, dark and muddy as the hearts of most of his family but at least slightly warmer. Belial leaned forward in his chair, slender hands covering his face and fingers trying to press away the aches within his skull. Tendrils of bleached sun had worked out of the ribbon he used to bind back his hair, sticking with sweat. Before him on the grate tinges of blue, green, and purple leached out of the fire and back into the wholesome reds and oranges that indicated no demon manifested within it to him today. On the walls around him lurked memorabilia of wrecks, or more accurately ‘harvests’ that those sharing his name had done before him. Among them hung several of their ancient rival’s inhuman pelts.


Glazed eyes gazed down upon him, thoughts guarded.


They did not speak to his siblings or the others, but sometimes they gave him wary advice, and even comfort.


The pelt he kept tucked and hidden safe inside his clothing continued murmuring to him, pleas and curses, promises and threats. Choking soul screamed questions dug deep into his ears and heart with poison tipped claws. Had his storm turned her course though? Had he managed to keep her from going there despite her headstrong and imperious burning of his warning letter?


He knew she burnt it. He’d seen it in his gazing ball. He’d heard the little harrumph of said pelt. How many times had she made that sound at him before when he asked her to be careful?


Perhaps this duplicitous treachery of his family name was finally driving him insane, but it was worth it. He rarely got to see her, and when in public when acknowledging each other they had to fight to keep suspicion at bay. Those nights when she came to dance with her brothers and sisters of the pelt below the moon were worth it, every fear-lanced moment that he watched and feared the others would also pick her out among them. So too were the brief times he got to be father to the little one.


He winced when the log in the fire popped and sang, doing what it could to drive out the chill that always fell whenever he gazed or rose the storms. His fingers dug harder. He tried to weave and coax the energies the way Salena had tried to teach him one horribly hungover morning in a port far away, but his clumsy fingers merely slipped, and the spell tangled and died. Healing never had been his gift.


The ball of quartz on the table beside his chair clouded again, this time with red mist. Pulsing, beating, it continued and waited for his eyes to fall on it. He, however, eventually stood and made his way out of the room. He needed something stronger than what he had recently taken in order to tame the still mounting headache. The mist grew insistently thicker within the orb, but the master paid no heed and the door shut behind him.


~


After a timeless stretch of suspended breath Raechel began moving again and broadening her search. She conjured another orb of light and suspended it to light her way, finally finding a snake shaped protuberance to her right side in the stone. Running her fingers over the smoothness she finally found the trigger and the door slid to the side revealing a room that looked in her eyes to be some sort of combination of library and soul prison.


She stepped inside and the door — it was truly a whole book case — slid back into position. Unless she could find the trigger later she was trapped. A gazing orb throbbed an angry, furious blood-red on the stand where it lurked. If her eye lingered she saw the equally furious spirit pounding the barrier of crystal as it screamed unheard alarms. The selkie skins mounted about the room refused eye contact and speech with her. She could see they still contained part of the soul and consciousness of their former owners, but each eye contained the unfocused and glassy look of rejection. Raechel knew this gaze well already. The Sleeping Souls put to rest in the Temple back home all rebuked her in the same way since she gained the Taint whenever she entered the Chambers of the Box to lay out another set aside skin for the day it would be needed again.


Raechel closed her eyes and forced back the tear that threatened before turning to inspect more of the room. These probably all belonged to surface dwellers. What did they know, traitors? Perhaps these skins were better out of circulation, like The Ronan’s.


The pull started again, leading her away from the lavish darknesses of the firelit room and its rich wooden cases to before the fireplace itself. Of their own will her hands rose to the mantle and she heard herself speaking strange words her throat should not have been capable of. They came from deep inside, curling and coiling out with languid stretches and tickling places that her former love had not been able to reach, nor had the courage to search for. A slow smile curled in response, thirsty for more.


The invocation ended and the fire turned a sickly green.


A form gathered in the flames, the face of a darkly handsome male. The eyes bored into her know, finally out of the dreams that dominated her nights. For now any memory of Bethrise, whether during their fight or their good times, faded. She barely felt the tingles from the frayed ends of the roughly severed thread as the other end attempted to reach her.


“You are Astereth.” Raechel was not fully sure where the knowledge came from.


“I am.”


This should have bothered her. She should reject him. Now.


“Yet you do not wish me removed from your blood.”


“No.”


“You feel empty. Rejected.”


“Yes.”


“You feel that Mara prefers the land dweller, and an interbred bloodline at that.”


Raechel nodded, bit her lip, curled it and snorted whilst displaying a fang.


“She does, you know.” The being continued. “I know their bloodline well. She always has preferred them over the ones that stay within her.” The voice curled and stroked her ears, caressed the sensitive place on the bridge of her nose that all selkies shared.


“Why am I not good enough? I’ve given her myself. I’ve lost my mate. I wield her spear even though she’s damn well capable of doing so herself were she bothered. Why am I not enough?” Raechel hissed, stepping closer to the fire and pressing into the caresses. Unnoticed flames licked her feet as her eyes stayed pinned by the apparition.


“Nothing is ever enough for her, nor her sister either truthfully. They press, they demand, they entice. Yet they leave their dedicants in the end. I know of the pain, too personally. I would not leave you for some child that isn’t even a whole being.”


Raechel shivered, arched into the promise and then as quickly pulled away.


“I know you’ve heard similar before. I can prove my troth though. Come through the fire. There is a talisman in the vaults hidden here that you can use against your burrowing insect. Make her hurt, make her bleed. Already there is one using it in another time to do the same, and you can make it worse for her. You can even use it to regain your mate, make him abandon those soft ones you envy so. Perhaps even bend the rejectors of the Cailleach to your will as well. Come.”


Raechel stepped through the flames, taken through the wards and into the vaults that once were innermost parts of the Sacred Cavern before the land had risen and the sea fallen in the area. Saltwater lay still in a pool in the center of the room. In the midst of this rose the stark remains of a dais where a sundered seat and broken box of stone from which trickled a steady stream of surprisingly fresh smelling water held court over an array of riches and dangers. A being of sickly flame stood at the edge of the pool.


“Right now it is down there due to a ill planned move.” The being spared a poisonous look back the way they had come. “I cannot go down to fish it out, nor would I be able to bring it up even if I could penetrate her waters. There are two bloods that can, and I bear none.” Astereth chuckled a bit, then scowled as his companion did not respond to his joke.


Raechel did not wince from him. “Is there anything I should know before I dive in?”


“I am not sure. It is being protected, but the fall obscured certain knowledge from me regarding the spell that went in with it.”


Raechel wrinkled her nose and knelt at the edge, adjusting her skin around herself as she gazed in. She brushed her senses over the water, closed the skin and shivered her whiskers. Gingerly she dipped a flipper in.


No pushback.


She slipped in. Astereth smiled. The water pulsed. Astereth scowled. On the table in the library above the gazing orb filled the room with a baleful light as it awaited its master.

 

 

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.

Please do consider making a donation, or buying the complete book (or even the whole series, as it becomes available). The donations help pay costs such as editing, but also help put food on the table. Rather make an offline tip? Write me for a mailing address.
Donate Here via Paypal

Or you can become a monthly patron through Patreon!

As always, if you see any typos, please let me know so I can fix those, they don't always save when applied. I repeat that this is the webnovel version of the book and may differ somewhat from the print and ebook versions when the text is completed and through processing. Thank you for being part of the story behind the story.


rainstardragon: (Default)
 Visiting Jack Frost
Teresa Garcia
November 26, 2016
 
Down the snow falls from the skies
Grey as this spirit’s twinkling eyes
Bright with the joy of gallant youth
Dancing and singing his own truth
 
Over the fence and about the eves
His paints his art as he pleases
Icy frost spreads at his brush
Some is sparse and others lush
 
Pave the river through the glen
Leave a path for the moon, then
Dash through the sleeping field
Beneath the snow snug and sealed
 
Over the river, through the wood
After the Keeper of the Blue Hood
Before his prints fade from view
Beneath the oak, beneath the yew
 
To the court of the Holly King
An offering of light bright to bring
And silver boughs laden with fruit
Plucked special for Sacred Moot
 
Eat it not lest here you wish to stay
Seven years, and a wholesome day
Doing the bidden of Winter’s King
As Oak and Holly dance the ring
 
And if young Jack asks to dance
Whirl with him and gaily prance
But be mindful of touch and eye
Lest from body soul should fly.

--
This is going to my deviantart , livejournal , and dreamwidth and patreon.
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Finally I get to sit down for some mythical poetry. Tonight due to it being so cold Yukionna seems to be the proper one to write a tale of. The snow maiden comes from Japan, and there are several facets to her. In this poem however I will only deal with one. If you like my poetry or the Selkies' Skins webnovel then please consider visiting my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/Amehana

 Mother Yukionna
Teresa Garcia
November 20, 2016
 
Gently the snow falls down
Coating the land and the tree
Undercut by the river
Flowing resolutely to the sea.
 
Quietly a slim figure glides
Pale as the moon mirror now hidden
Behind the lowered underscales
Of the storm dragon hither bidden
 
Through the trees and the rocks
Silently she searches them out tonight
The unwanted, young or old
Cast out by poverty or spite
 
If you watch here with me
In this hasty shelter against the snow
Warmed only by body and hope
Her love as children we will know
 
Do you hear that doleful cry
Rending both mountain pass
And the spanning sky
As the first her search has compass'd?
 
Too late that one was found
Some small and frozen form
Leaving her yet again
Childless and forlorn
 
Oh tonight is so very cold
I hope she finds us soon
I want to sleep snug and warm
In Yukionna's arms coccoon'd.
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 Remember kids, it's not ok to bully. One nation, united. Lady Liberty holds that torch for all of us. Hold the torch too and look to your fellows of all sorts. Hispanic-American, Irish-American, Asian-American, Native-American, German-American whichever or whatever your family traces back to we are all American. It does not matter if you are gay or straight, polyamorous or monogamous, disabled in any fashion, whole and able to work, employed or seeking employment, disabled and wishing you could work, young, old... ONE NATION.

Video

Hopefully tonight I'll get to write.
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Welcome back to the story! If you don't wish to use the Selkies' Skin tag to find the entries, check the ToC on the Sticky Note at Dreamwidth. Story is mirrored to myLiveJournal, from my Dreamwidth, as well as on a dedicated site. For story news and more, subscribe to my Twitter (@AmehanaArashi) or go on Facebook and like either THG StarDragon Publishing or Selkies' Skins. As always, the main tag for the full story is selkies' skins and the tag for "Temple and Skinquest" is selkies' skins 2.

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)

My apologies for the long delay. At least the move is done and I can get back to work and writing.

Interested in helping support the free version of this book and other projects? Visit http://www.patreon.com/Amehana



Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's Light
Installment 32
Chapter 13 part 2
Skinned

 

Kirsty took a little time to recover before sitting up. Quiet burbles and coos attracted everyone’s attention to a drawer beneath the bed and Selena disappeared for a moment to open it. She reappeared a moment later with a chubby child clutched to her bosom who seemed blissfully unaware that they had weathered a storm, or that there was anything that had been wrong at all. Kirsty looked where the baby had come from quizzically.

 

“What? Topside wouldn’t have been the place for her and she’ll not do well away from me for long yet. The sea’s her home too, like mine.” Selena grinned a bit. “Like yours, too.”

 

“What would have happened to her had we sunk?” Kirsty ventured, frowning.

 

“Same as the rest of us, but she’d have been... more comfortable.” Selena took to baby over to the chair at her desk.

 

Kirsty took advantage of the space to investigate the drawer a little more. Something half familiar prickled the back of her mind, then submerged again.

 

Salena fed her baby while the young man blushed and slid out after making excuses to seeing about the rest of the crew, and that he was glad the young lady was seemingly well again.

 

Kara shook her head. “That’s the lad I was talking about earlier. Seems to already have taken a shine to you.”

 

Kirsty blushed and made a worried sound. “Sweet of him, but I have a boy I’m interested in elsewhere already. He’ll be waiting.” She made her way to a window and looked out over the water, puzzling her next move and watching for the Lightkeeper.

 

“Too bad. He’s a good lad.” Selena commented, burping her child and putting it in a sling. The baby eagerly turned itself where it could watch the world and wiggled chubby lightly webbed fingers.

 

Kirsty glanced at her, then blinked, confused at the baby’s momentary resemblance to a young Morvan, but it was gone again. “He seems so.”

 

Things bumped along awkwardly until Kirsty was topside again and the Lightkeeper was pulling up in his boat bringing provisions. He and Selena eyed each other even more awkwardly while her baby burbled and drooled. Kirsty wanted to go ashore to explore the lighthouse facilities and surroundings, half expecting to be told no. After a bit of hemming and hawing she was given leave.

 

And so she went. Unexpected by herself but seemingly expected by the Lightkeeper the boy was sent with her to keep an eye on her and to give her aid until she was sent for again. Kirsty was not certain what to think of the news that later in the day one of the boats would be sent to retrieve her after she had had adequate time to speak with the Lightkeeper regarding her quest, and to give the Captain time to chart the next course while crew saw about restocking fish from the schools in the natural harbor.

 

Kirsty settled into a chair in what passed for the living room, the Lightkeeper offering tea made from the waters from the well of the Wisenfrau.

 

“So, you quest.” The Lightkeeper began, as if the conversation through the miles had not ended.

 

“Yes. I seek the Temple of Mara. What can you tell me?” Kirsty looked round, fascinated by the lighthouse, unsure how to react to the power focused in and by the building. Had the lighthouse at home felt this way to her ancestors before Mara’s rages?

 

“It’s nearer and farther than you think, going by what is handed down to us Keepers. We only have bits and pieces. The Abbey has others.”

 

Kirsty pondered his words as he brought a lantern very similar to Mrs. Kitsch’s over to the seating they gathered at, and a plate of fish and seaweed that wound up in front of her. She ate as she considered. “How do I know I’m even on the right path?” Kirsty finally asked as she looked up from the meal, having been much hungrier than she’d thought.

 

He fiddled with the lantern, polishing it. At least it seemed to Kirsty that’s what he was doing. “You don’t. None of us ever know if we’re following the path we are meant to take. Often we stray far from it.”

 

Kirsty sipped her tea now that it was cool enough, the well water spreading through her slowly and balancing the preponderance of Mara’s salt she’d picked up over her journey.

 

The lad listened quietly, leaning forward as if by simply doing so he felt that he could lend some sort of aid. The Lightkeeper smiled secretively at the motion that had gone completely unnoticed by the young maid.

 

“There’s a cave nearby that’s supposedly sacred to your folk.” He lit the lantern after he was satisfied. Pinpricks of light shone about the darkened room, an array of stars for a mariner. “We are here.” He pointed. “It is there.” He pointed at one nearby. “Here is where the Weissefrau’s well is.” His finger moved again, and then onward. “Here is where the Abbey currently is. That moves sometimes, when a raid is imminent.”

 

Kirsty studied the light-map and it gradually dawned on her that there were times when she was very little, and Grandma had visited with Mrs. Kitsch that many of these lights had been danced on their walls to entertain her. The star for the cave drew her strongest.

 

“If I were you, child, I’d return to your path as fast as is possible. My gut tells me that the cave is where you need to go.”

 

The lad cleared his throat. “Excuse me, but isn’t that the cave the selkies are fighting with the Lillitu’s over? I can’t help but notice how some of these points correlate with some of Captain’s maps, and that matches an area we are normally careful when sailing near.”

 

“It is. The seafolk are losing many such places now.”

 

“So how are we to get her there? I’m not sure our Captain would be very for taking her there, though right now she is not in the best state to guess.”

 

The Lightkeeper looked the boy over slowly. “They seem to always get younger,” he mused. “Leave or not, she has to go.”

 

Silence settled over the room, deep and uncomfortable as a shroud too small for the wearer and donned while still living. The threads of time and fate continued to be woven and to the three it seemed as if they could feel competing designs, needles and shuttles battling to have dominance. Kirsty gripped her head and groaned, leaning forward as blood began to drip from one nostril and her attention pulled to where she should have been.

 

As she sat and the boy pulled out a questionable kerchief that was attempted to be kept clean and functional she felt the bed on her back and saw the dim figure of David at her side. The pressure of his hand on hers was as real as the nose she now held pinched in her fingers.

 

Finally the wave passed. “Bring her to me, now.” An older woman’s voice slid through their minds. “Quickly.”

 

The Lightkeeper nodded and sighed, rising. “The Lady has spoken.”

 

Heading out the door he led the way along the promontory, which sloped downward to meet the mainland. How far the walk was away from the light was hard for Kirsty to guess. Just like home at Selkie Point time and space folded oddly here. It could have been any distance. The way Kirsty’s feet tingled she would have also been willing to bet a pint of mead that someone in the past had ensorcelled the path to further facilitate speed of travel for the correct people.

 

Or perhaps the Weissefrau simply was pulling on them in the same way that sometimes The Lady did when she was in a very demanding mood.

 

The terrain changed. Things seemed denser, greener. Mist rose from the forest they had ventured into. Darkness rolled back and swirled near again as they passed. Eyes watched their progress from trees. Chitterings spoke of squirrels, chipmunks, and other nameless things. Once or twice when turning her head towards a rustle Kirsty caught a flash of white or green, and a mossy limb being drawn back behind a tree.

 

The lad pressed closer to her, put an arm around her. She pressed her lips until the headache stabbed again. It was only then that she felt truly grateful for the arm around her, as she stumbled and would have fallen if not for the quick reply of the other arm.

 

The Lightkeeper looked back at them with hooded eyes.

 

Kirsty wished it had been David traveling with them. The eyes of the boy had something that was beginning to look possessive.

David might have actually punched him if there, or mauled him if in wolf form.

 

The forest drew in tighter again before spreading out into a meadow. A clear spring welled up among rocks, flowing sedately away toward some river via a creek it had carven over untold centuries. Moss hung heavy on the trees around the edge, draperies and hair.

 

Watching closely, she thought she could see the forest breathe.

 

The spring watched, kept company by the forest. Whether the forest was male or female she could not be entirely certain. The local forest spirit was grudgingly sharing the company of the water with them though.

 

“I have brought the child. She seeks to be a woman and whole.” The Lightkeeper barely raised his voice, the tone reverent. The forest caught and magnified the short speech.

 

“Come closer child, let me see you.” Beside the spring stood an old woman, her visage constantly shifting. One moment she was tall and strong, the next gnome-sized and twisted like pines on the coastline. Her hand took Kirsty’s once her feet had done the deity’s bidding; her touch was sandpaper. “Oh, you are worse than I had thought. Poor child. You are far off of your proper path.”

 

The familiar trickle began again from Kirsty’s nose and the taste of salt slipped over her tongue.

 

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.

Please do consider making a donation, or buying the complete book (or even the whole series, as it becomes available). The donations help pay costs such as editing, but also help put food on the table. Rather make an offline tip? Write me for a mailing address.
Donate Here via Paypal

Or you can become a monthly patron through Patreon!

As always, if you see any typos, please let me know so I can fix those, they don't always save when applied. I repeat that this is the webnovel version of the book and may differ somewhat from the print and ebook versions when the text is completed and through processing. Thank you for being part of the story behind the story.


rainstardragon: (Default)
 I'm still wrapping up the move so there will not be an installment today. I am almost done though. This should be the last day of moving boxes and furniture though. This next week I need to scrub up the apartment and get it ready as I can for the next family, so that I have less to pay on the cleaning part. The only things that should be left in the apartment after today are the cleaning supplies I will be using. I have gotten to write some in the manuscript this month, but not enough to release a full installment of Selkies' Skins.
rainstardragon: (Default)
Most of you know that the good laptop died. The motherboard on my newer Toshiba died after the dvd drive driver problem started, leaving me on my older Toshiba that does not handle the heavier tasks well (or in some cases, at all). Several people have been helping me out by sending me links to good deals on laptops that would fit my needs. I ended up buying one off of the Microsoft store that I was pointed to, as well as a stylus/brush for tablet/touchscreen for the artwork. I managed to save about $200 that way, which as everyone knows goes a long way.
At about $650 or so though the new laptop will still take a few payments to my credit card company to pay off. At least I have one and so was able to get one fairly quickly, certainly much faster than if I'd not. Part of the Patreon funds that I receive are going to go toward paying that off in my tally of income and expenditures, and part will be set aside to help with getting the office built, probably during the deck revamp (none of us are happy with the big hole in it, but at least it is safe to walk on now, unlike when the house was bought). The laptop came in earlier than I expected. Today. The stylus will hopefully arrive tomorrow. I already unboxed the laptop. My room is still in such chaos trying to get all my office, bedroom, and closet things settled that I will spare you the bags and boxes. I will, however, attempt to have things cleared enough to do a short video with it in the next few days, probably AFTER the weekend, so that it can be seen where the combined funds are going. I probably don't need to do so, but I do enjoy being able to show that what you are so generous to give me to help truly does go to things for work and to help with the care of the kids.

Man, do those kids eat... 

With the end of the moving tasks approaching and the arrival of the laptop that also means more writing time is in the future (finally, right?) and thus more poetry and more Selkies' Skins.   Hopefully soon I'll also be able to do a recording of the other poems for Youtube. Sadly I haven't gotten a chance to check on if the latest edits of the readings that had been meant for Halloween are in my backup hard drive, or on the laptop waiting for me to reclaim with the data backup that was done in shop.
rainstardragon: (Default)
 This poem finishes up the succubus related poems. I've not gotten to poking at the incubus yet to see what happens when opening the poetry door. One day long ago now after the first two succubus poems talk turned to what would happen if a succubus was disinterested and preferred coffee. I finally got to get to that suggestion.

Hopefully soon I get back to better progress on my manuscript as the moving settles down. Soon we'll be fully in our new house.

Coffee is Better
Teresa Garcia
October 4, 2016
 
The night stretches warm and bright
Where I curl up for the night
Thin fingers round about my cup
While the gentle steam rises up
With the smell so soft and warm
I love how it rises up my form.
 
I settle in with my delicious brew
Then some jackass calls to me to do
That stuff that my kind feeds upon
Expecting me to run eager, anon.
I just want my blasted coffee
Maybe make me a cup then I’ll see.
 
Needy musk fills up my nose
Raising me up on my toes…
Stamping down temptation’s notes
I shake my head and ignore his woes.
Give me my damn dark coffee
That’s really all this one needs.
 
Sure, my sisters really like men
Stalk them in dreams and then den
But a Potioneer shared a little trick
And honestly I think it sticks
Though he likes when I come by
He gets cute ideas, and I sigh.
 
You know, I’ve got a brain
More than that little stain
You men leave upon the sheets
When I’m done with your heat
I’ve even got a lovely name
I guess thought is your bane
 
Coffee doesn’t use me just for fun
And to be hissed about? I’m done.
You want relief in the night?
Make me a cup, then I might.
And really, you’re quite bad in bed
Why don’t you build yourself up instead?
rainstardragon: (Default)
 Watchers on the Widow’s Walk
Teresa Garcia
October 4, 2016
 
Watchers on the Widow’s Walk
Strain at the iron railing
Calling with the heart and watching
Watching
Whispering prayers to the sea
 
Watchers on the Widow’s Walk
Scan the stormy seas
Waiting and counting out the days
Counting
Searching the hemline of the sea.
 
Watchers from the Widow’s Walk
Tread softly through the town
Picking up the groceries for men
Waiting
Hoping to feed them once again.
 
Watchers from the Widow’s Walk
Kneel in the somber pews
Praying to those beyond that listen
Entreating
Praying for the ships to come in
 
Watchers on the Widow’s Walk
Eventually fall from the eaves
Leaving life’s cloak tattered behind
Following
Knowing at last what is done
 
Watchers on the Widow’s Walk
Prowl when the storm sighs
Caught ever here between
Loving
Those taken by the shifting sea.

Like this sort of thing, or any of my writing? Visit http://www.patreon.com/Amehana to find out how to get first look.
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 I've been so busy lately I've not gotten to work on the manuscript as much as I would like. I have at least been able to do some poetry. Some still has to wait for the first peek on my Patreon. To become a patron and get first crack at things visit me at http://www.patreon.com/Amehana

The Hounds of Herne
Teresa Garcia
10/3/2016
 
The nights are getting longer
The days are getting colder
Winter’s getting bolder
It’s tapping at our shoulder.
The year is getting older.
 
The Wild Hunt draws nigh
Careering through the skies
Which Court now passes by
As on their hunt they hie?
Soon, the year will die.
 
Bide with me a while yet
The rain falls so ever wet
And we are very well met
Beside this fire warmly set.
We’ll hide from their threat.
 
Hear ye now the wailing call
Of the wolves deep in His thrall.
Our Horned Hunter of darkest pall
Strides fearless through the squall
With his chosen transformed cabal.
 
Are ye darksome or are ye light,
Seelie or Unseelie, bringing blight?
Be ye wise this Samhain Night
As the Good Folk come to sight.
Say your prayers and hold tight.
 
When it’s time we too shall ride
With flaring cloak of night dyed
Beset with night’s starspangled tide
While loving mate waits and sighs
The prayers and songs of wulf’s bride.
rainstardragon: (Default)
Here are a couple of poems about the Succubus. They do exist in Kirsty's world, although she's not encountered one yet that she knows of. Maybe at some point I should sit down and write up a blurb about different ways they come into being, one of which Morvan's girlfriend is actually intended to be at risk of.

Traditinal Succubus: http://amehanarainstardrago.deviantart.com/art/Traditional-Succubus-Patreon-Poem-630747967
Succubus Outcry: http://amehanarainstardrago.deviantart.com/art/Succubus-Outcry-630870327

I am still working on the next part of Chapter 13, although it has been difficult to get to. If you'd like to be a patron and help support the time that goes into everything please visit http://www.patreon.com/Amehana. Or if you'd rather send Paypal donations there is a button in the sticky note on this journal.
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 Did you know that you can now sign up for Smashwords to notify you when your favorite authors there release new content? You have to go to their profile page to do this. For your convenience here is a link to my Smashwords profile.

You can do the same by going to the publisher page for my company and visit other authors listed, and sign up for their updates too.
rainstardragon: (Default)

Welcome back to the story! If you don't wish to use the Selkies' Skin tag to find the entries, check the ToC on the Sticky Note at Dreamwidth. Story is mirrored to myLiveJournal, from my Dreamwidth, as well as on a dedicated site. For story news and more, subscribe to my Twitter (@AmehanaArashi) or go on Facebook and like either THG StarDragon Publishing or Selkies' Skins. As always, the main tag for the full story is selkies' skins and the tag for "Temple and Skinquest" is selkies' skins 2.

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)

This installment took a little more work. Justin and Raechel needed to be released together, so this is technically two but I will count it as one.

Interested in helping support the free version of this book and other projects? Visit http://www.patreon.com/Amehana



Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's Light
Installment 31
Chapter 13 part 1
Skinned

 

Justin lay on his back where he’d beached and passed out earlier, looking up at the roof of the cave. His body ached from fighting the currents and where he had been slammed into jagged rocks. His skin oozed green in places where it had been broken. Nothing made sense right now.

 

He’d been below the waves trying to find a way into where he knew his prey had gone and attempting to avoid the very irate selkie guard that had found him. He’d wondered if the Dark Priestess had alerted the guard, or if it was just his luck and the fact that it made sense someone would be guarding one of the Ancient Relics and Rifted Paths. Then the storm came and reached much farther than storms had ever reached in his life. Something tangled around him like an invisible net and he had been pulled through what felt like invisible fabric, released again to the full fury of the storm.

 

It had felt like it had awareness though, and purpose. Who or what had taken him? Was it Astereth reaching out his hand, or was it the blessing of the dragoness, or something else entirely?

 

The guard had no longer been present, the water tasted different, and preserving his life had taken precedence to figuring out what had happened.

 

Justin groaned and rubbed his hip, amazed he wasn’t broken. Every time a rock threatened him runes had flared green around him and shielded him. Gifu had surrounded him. Marks on his wrist caught his eye and he discovered gifu etched in blue and green over and over again, fully encasing his wrist. The tattoo was faded though as if it had been placed years ago and exposed to the sun too often.

 

He watched as the blue lines and the green lines seemed to war with each other, the colors flipflopping and writhing. “I am way too old for this stuff.” Justin grumbled and attempted to sit.

 

In the back of the cave he could hear stealthy rustling, and the sound of a mother shushing a babe. By the scent, this could only be a selkie cave. He was hungry, but he wasn’t that hungry that he would steal a child, especially in this state. He only wanted warmth, and to dry out, though not too much. Where there was a selkie cow though there was usually not a selkie bull too far away, and those meant spears.

 

Justin grimaced at the thought and made his way to the entrance, frowning at the water. “I’m leaving, mother. My apologies for intruding on you. Thank you for your hospitality.”

 

He picked his way along the rocks, hoping that somewhere ahead the beach gentled. The selkie’s eyes followed him, he could feel her confused and frightened gaze until he went around the bend, the last tendril of her scent fading from his nose.

 

Where did I wash up?” He thought, trying to find some indication. He could feel the ping of one of the lighthouses connected to the navigation grid, but the signals prodding him confused him even more. “Nothing feels right.”

 

Justin sat and pulled his coral flute out of his pouch, relieved and surprised that it had not been broken. A small part of him mourned still being caught, still being alive like this. The rest was just glad he was alive and still had a chance. He settled on a rock near a pool and let the song within have its way. A rumble escaped his belly, caused it to quake, cramp, and claw. Every thought and need he had poured through his flute and called for fulfillment. He had to hunt.

 

Please, just some fish. Nothing bigger.”

 

 

While Justin gathered himself and attempted to take care of his needs Raechel had likewise found herself pulled through tide and time. She knew that so long as Kirsty was within the bounds of Mara’s Maze it would take the knowledge flowing through her blood and bone and use this to create tasks. Problems found in the blood would have their energetic roots addressed and possibly corrected, or perhaps made worse. The dark priestess took stock of her surroundings.

 

Over the crashing pulse danced a flute far in the distance. It held no pull for her even though she recognized the most likely origins being a finman hunting his prey. She was no child, and today she did not hunt that quarry. Where she served was not here, and so no need to defend the Temple. No, he could court and eat any foolish maid answering or any child drawn to dance. It was not her concern, and she somewhat relished the thought.

 

Far south she saw the prick of a lighthouse, and a smear that might possibly be a ship. Or it might not. It would just be another of the rocks.

 

Her prey was nowhere in sight. A mysterious misty coastline glowered and sipped brine from jagged rocks which then smoothed and gentled further along the shore. Between two outstretched arms of rock sheltered a surprisingly sandy beach that would be afforded magnificent views of the full moon, and certainly flat enough for the practices of the land visiting folk of her breed. A dark bastille brooded and overlooked the views from atop a crag bedecked by wind and water worn caves. Some of those showed signs of life routinely turned out. One of those had the feel of wards placed on the entrance. Swimming nearer, the magic here tasted curiously of cinnamon and licorice.

 

Testing the boundary Raechel discovered that she could cross without harm, and without triggering anything. Cross in she did, and the cavern stretched and lumbered above, yielding at last worn rock to pull herself onto. A mooring waited nearby for absent boats and a passageway gave dark promises.

 

Pirates, probably.” Raechel thought. “Magical ones and not Cowans.”

 

Raechel explored a bit after shifting to human form, testing the magic further. She frowned at the strange twining of selkie and human spells. Older ones warred with each other for claim of the space, but a set of newer ones welcomed each other, even embraced. Following that thread she worked a spell of her own trying to reveal as much information as she could, to see if there were anything of use to her own cause.

 

Impressions came with fleeting steps across the dark canvas. Stealthy meetings, whispered promises, a stolen skin. Raechel scowled as the story unfurled and then fizzled out in sputtering sparks. She had a face for each of the recent casters, and one that was far too much like her prey for her taste.

 

Her eyes fell on some still glowing letters superimposed over each other meant nothing. SMM and BCL. Placing her hand over it she called on a mostly forgotten aspect of her goddess. Confirmation came. It was indeed a pairing. Her blood activated and the wall dissolved, revealing a different passage. The scents here were old, though she knew what they meant. No reason to explore.

 

If I poison that, perhaps I’ll kill the girl before she even exists.” A dark smile wove and danced over her lips. “That would be quite a blood healing indeed.”

 

The scent of the other passage was fresher, and as she stepped away the vanishing wall returned. Raechel turned toward the darkness and smiled.

 

 

Raechel stole into the passage to explore. Perhaps the other face was at home. Twisting a human, she hoped, would be an easy thing. With luck maybe she could even liberate that stolen skin. Then she’d burn it since the owner was now so obviously impure to willingly embrace during secret trysts.

 

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.

Please do consider making a donation, or buying the complete book (or even the whole series, as it becomes available). The donations help pay costs such as editing, but also help put food on the table. Rather make an offline tip? Write me for a mailing address.
Donate Here via Paypal

Or you can become a monthly patron through Patreon!

As always, if you see any typos, please let me know so I can fix those, they don't always save when applied. I repeat that this is the webnovel version of the book and may differ somewhat from the print and ebook versions when the text is completed and through processing. Thank you for being part of the story behind the story.


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