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 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.
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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.
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 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?
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 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.
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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.
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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)

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.


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)

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 30
Chapter 12 part 3
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.

Lighthouse.

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.

 

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)
 So I have part three of Chapter 12 in Selkies' Skins: Temple and Skinquest ready. I will post that this sunday. I have also transferred all of chapter 12 into the main manuscript file. This brings the current wordcount of the file to 46.662 words in the manuscript. I'm also nearly where she will get to face the leviathan, and we get to see more of how her mental pushing to just get on with her trials before she was really there in the timeline is actually affecting her trials.
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 This week's poem challenge at Proser was something that has been on my mind for awhile. "Don't Go Away" is my poetry entry for this week's #ProseChallenge following the prompt "my deepest secret." https://theprose.com/post/83556/don-t-go-away

I have always had abandonment issues since I was a very little girl. I try to hide them, but it always finds a way to screw up my relationships and rears it's head at inopportune times. For a short time while I was very little my parents were separated. Dad had been the one to leave. They worked out their issues and dad came back, and I didn't even remember it consciously. It was while dad was dying that he had talked to me about it. After years of work looking for the root this is where I suspect the start was.

In case no one has noticed, I've not gotten as much work done in Selkies' Skins as I'd like lately. I have scribbles in my notebook that I need to type up yet.

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 is later than I would have liked. There has been so much going on since the last post and I am still trying to catch up. We are talking so much that it is difficult for me to even try to list, so I won't. I went to the ER Saturday night (or was it Sunday?) for severe back spasms lasting all day. They were stopped, but I have to be careful. So far things seem to be under control. Yes, I've been using my back brace like a good girl. Here is an update, finally.

Also there is another mythical creatures poem uploaded to my Patreon, for those interested. This month starts off with Troll, and two other poems will join that for the month of July a bit later in the month. Interested? http://www.patreon.com/Amehana



Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's Light
Installment 29
Chapter 12 part 2
finally titled: Stormsong

 

 The memory of the dream sat heavy on Kirsty’s mind. After so many sessions of Divination with Madam Zeldethin the connotations were not lost on her. The wreckage that had been found earlier in the year did not pair well with the dream.

Mom can’t be dead. She’s mom. If she were, Mara still probably wouldn’t allow it. Mara was then probably working on bringing her home? But then how are Ven’thrith and Herne involved?” Kirsty puzzled the symbols as her hand slipped over the stone.

Her feet placed themselves as silently as possible as the worry continued to pulse. Kirsty’s hand continued to touch the wall now and then, though she was never certain what she expected her fingers to sense. Her nose wrinkled as she stuffed the worry back into the dark corners of her mind. Even with the care with which she placed her feet, silence was not completely possible with how her exposure made her shiver. Prickling fur complained as much as her arms and legs.

Kirsty’s steps began to grow muffled the further through the passages she walked. The world faded to white around her and when she reached to run her fingers along the wall it was no longer there. Mist wound around her ankles and twined further up her legs like a long lost lover, then sank, raking slippery claws that reminded her of the grindylows. The chill sank to her bones, pricking her skin as the goosebumps continued to rise.

Salt spray kissed her, filled her nose. The stone floor bowed to oaken planking. Creaking timbers spoke to anyone listening of the waves passing beneath. The waves spoke through the timers of the passage of winds and the heartbeat driving the waters.

The mist wound and rose around her ankles, reached for her thighs again, and then sank again and flowed away to fully reveal to her the deck. Beaten down by the boots of an unknown number of seamen it glowered up at her and at the sky that took form above her. Stars flirted with clouds building at the horizon and sweeping toward the ship.

Where am I now?” She thought, slipping herself behind some lashed barrels.

Voices called only now and then, and gradually the crew became visible. Where they materialized from Kirsty wasn’t sure, only that one breath there had been no bodies and the next bodies were there. The crew’s faces, both male and female, pressed low with concern. Strangely, Kirsty discovered that she knew these faces, though had no idea why or how. Some she could tell were distant relations.

Movement by the wheel drew her attention from her scrutinies. Fur and hair on end she went, slipping like shadows on the sea from hiding place to hiding place until she drew near to the stairs she needed. Her hopes for some loose sail or cloth to wrap and tie around herself on the way were in vain, most everything was already battened down, as she had expected they would be. Kirsty lurked in a pool of shadow the color of a seal’s nose, studying the stairs and the movements of the crew.

She would be able to sneak up just fine and hide herself from the crew, but the Captain? That was another story. Kirsty found herself wishing that she had the gift to simply write things and make them happen. She might be able to sing a distraction, but the song would give her away and might encourage the coming storm, and she did not feel like encouraging a storm when she didn’t even know where she was, or if this was another illusion like the ones she had trained with last year when facing her fears.

“You may as well come up girl. I saw you halfway across the deck when your scuttles had to be longer. Kara, go down and get the girl something. Probably a lost selkie like the others.” A voice piped and lilted from the wheel, female like the long shock of tied back flame had indicated.

“Aye, Cap’n.” Black leather and silver buckles pounded and jingled their way down the stairs. Kara, far more solid and real than Kirsty had ever seen her in the paintings, winked at where she lurked in the shadows before skipping into the Captain’s Quarters.

“That’s Kara? Where, and maybe even when, am I?”

“Know her do ye? Well, we do get about from port to port. As to the where and the when, obviously we’re riding Mara’s Skirts and there’s only one time when it comes to the sea, calendars and clocks or not. Slip on in and get some fake furs on before ye get sick. Ye’ll be of no use to any, ill.” The words were addressed to her, but the wind tried to take them, and the volume the captain used to make sure they got to her gave what should have been a soft voice a strange hard edge.

“Yes’m Captain.” Kirsty nodded, then slipped after Kara.

Kara had not been idle. The Captain’s wardrobe had been opened, and one of the dresses laid out. Red seemed to be a favored color, but black and white both seemed to be incorporated somehow into every garment she saw. A tri-color short cape had been laid by the dress.

“The smallest, should hopefully fit decent enough. Where’s yer skin girlie? Wouldn’t leave it hidden on here, just in case. Ye know how men can be out here. It wouldn’t be the sweet one that would be likeliest to find it, though he’d make fer a good ‘un.” Kara stepped back, settling her hands on her hips and scowling. “Not that they’d ‘ave it long. Cap’n Salena would clout ‘em good.”

Kirsty paled slightly at the name, trying to place it and why it sent chills up her spine. She shook her head and drew on the offered clothing. “No skin. Questing.”

“That seems strange. I guess I hope you get it. Not really heard of any selkie without one, except maybe a couple families. I don’t suppose you have a name that human tongue knows?”

“Kirsty. Kirsten Makay.”

“Another Makay? Interesting... Hmmm. It’s a small sea.” Kara surveyed the slightly warmer half-selkie before her, then nodded. “That’ll do. Better get ye back topside. She won’t want to just chuck you back if ye’ve got no way to survive on yer own out there, leaves only joinin’ the crew.”

Kara took Kirsty by the arm gently, but firm enough for her to more than realize this was in no way the Kara she knew from the painting, but the Kara the paintings had been based on and given refuge to her essence. The mariner drew her back out of the quarters and up onto the poop. The Captain, definitely a kinswoman by her eyes and the set of her jaw, continued to hold the course she had been attempting.

“Here she be, Cap’n.” Kara hadn’t let loose her grip. Her fingers pressed bone.

The Captain looked her over. “Much better, isn’t it? Listen, girl. Everyone aboard pulls their weight. You have the stance of someone familiar with ships, so that’s good. You pop up in the middle of the sea, with no obvious way to pay your passage. With this storm I don’t want to throw you back over, bound not to actually.” She looked Kirsty directly in the eyes, the wind whipping the tail of her hair and threatening the hat firmly strapped under her chin. “You have a funny way of talking, but Mara wouldn’t bring you here if you had no use, so. You willing to hear our code, girl?”

“Yes’m. As for pulling weight what I don’t know I’ll learn.” Kirsty tried to keep her voice from failing. How much the woman resembled her mother in some ways was even more unnerving than before.

“Fantastic. I hope you can cook. Our cook was our apothecary too, but we lost him in our last,” her eyes shifted, taking on a guarded and wounded look, “encounter. Not been to port to get a new one.”

“Can do, ma’am. Potions is the profession I’m hoping.”

“Mara, thankee for answering my prayers then. No backstabbing, no stealing from mothers with kids, no stealing from each other, no stealing from the cargo.” The Captain began, her finger tapping one of the spurs with each point.

Kirsty wondered about the situations that had made each of these rules necessary. As she watched, the Captain began to be surrounded by the Devil’s fire, or as something speaking in Kirsty’s gut inferred, “Mara’s Mantle.” Her voice took on a hard tone that she knew well, though the woman’s voice still underlay it and twined with the new tones.

“If you catch one of the crew forcing a man or a woman in an indecent way do whatever you think best but let me know.” The tall woman continued from her wheel, still holding course.

Kirsty grimaced and nodded, her stomach clenching and the blood dropping a bit to her feet.

“We keep the ship’s secrets, and the secrets of the crew. I expect you will understand that one just as easy, girl. Also, unlike some crews there is no voting for a new captain, even if I die. This ship belongs to Mara herself, no matter who I work for. I am the final authority here.” The woman stomped, her boot speaking against the deck and the boat giving off a cry of it’s own through the whole of it.

The rest of the crew could not hear their conversation, but their voices rose in answer to the ship’s voice. They all could guess easily enough. Kirsty was not certain if it was the woman speaking, or Mara’s overshadowing speaking regarding authority.

“Finally, our deity is Mara, and the Weisse Frau, of course. I don’t care what deity you pray to personally, but while serving here we all belong to her, and a bit to her sister. Understood?”

“Yes’m. I swear to these, then. I was already Mara’s, although I do not know if I know the Weisse Frau.” The cape seemed to weigh more on Kirsty’s shoulders and work teeth into her. She shuddered, the form too close to the phantom shark bite she had received during a long ago choir class.

She could not hold back the scream as her hands flew to the site of the new bite in progress, her eyes widening and then clamping in pain. The Captain studied her a moment, the flares rising from Kirsty just as they rose from her own hands gripping the wheel.

“A Mara priestess then, you didn’t say that. Even more helpful. Sing us safe passage, my route has changed.” A grim smile danced across the Captain’s face, lit by the lightning from the now much closer storm. “Kara, lash her good and tight there, so we won’t lose her.”

The Captain indicated the bannister between the poop and main decks. Kirsty noticed the railings were sturdier than other craft she’d seen records of for the era. One of the uprights was even stronger and more ornate than the rest, exuding a sense of power and connection. The sounds of crew and storm faded.

Kara wasted no time in following orders and securing her. Kirsty did not fight, there would be no sense in it with the situation. As the rope wound and tightened she felt her consciousness pulled into the ship, joining with the consciousness it already help. The ship pressed at her mind, probing, searching. Kirsty’s hands, though her arms were left loose of her bonds, found her fingers lacing with unseen appendages. It felt as if the spectral hands formed and held based on the shape of her own.

 

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)
 25% off of most THG StarDragon Publishing ebooks at Smashwords July 1-31... some free! Use coupon code SSW25 at http://ht.ly/OxF0301P54N

Also in a few days the next (now long awaited) installment of Selkies' Skins: Temple and Skinquest will go public. I just posted that to the Patreon stream earlier today under patrons only (as they are supposed to get first peeks). Can't wait? just $1 for a monthly pledge gets you the first peek privileges. Check out http://www.patreon.com/Amehana for details.
rainstardragon: (Default)
 This week's update for "Selkies' Skin: Temple and Skinquest" is going to be a little late. I did not get the immersion and uninterrupted writing time I needed. Instead, have this colored version of a picture of Kirsty and David set sometime after the current book.

http://amehanarainstardrago.deviantart.com/art/Kirsty-and-David-Color-610485216?q=gallery%3AAmehanaRainStarDrago&qo=0

As to why it's been late I have had some work come up, various errands and surprise errands, and a big rather important project that once it is done I can show pictures of.
rainstardragon: (selkies skins)

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)

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!



Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's Light
Installment 28
Chapter 12 part 
not titled yet

 

 

 Kirsty eventually fell into a stupor, laying down on her side right there on the floor of the depths. She’d been on the move for so long, then there was the fighting against what had turned out to be a spell from a rival. “So much for selkies having only weak magic, you elitist sods,” she thought bitterly in the direction of every person she’d ever heard utter their speciesist drivel. Then there was the fight against the spellcaster, and who knew what she was learning of dark magic whispered to her by Astereth. On top of that there was the strain on her mind with slipping back and forth between times. She should never have listened to the Spiralis snake and strained ahead more than she already had been.

Sleep. The arms of sleep and the soothing siren song was what she needed to allow body, mind, and soul to knit. Something in her had activated when her heart was touched by Mara’s spear, but finding out what exactly it was could wait.

Sleep. The word pounded through her with the rhythm of tide and moon. It pulled at her, fogging her mind until all was dark, even though it already was so, save for the places glowing with their phosphorescence. Only those of the temple monitoring her progress would be able to know for how long she slept like that, and even then their kenning would not be accurate due to the way time worked on the Maze and the Initiatory Tests.

Sleep. The command continued long after she had finally lost the battle against it. With the stilling of her body her mind and soul turned focus on the inner work that needed doing. Desperately she grasped and grappled with the things knocked loose inside herself. Weaving and knitting, knotting and plying repairs were made.

Meanwhile something else went on. Between the relaxed fingers webbing wove, born of the gossamer threads pulled from herself. Sleeping fingers danced through long practiced gesticulations, conjuring and knotting netting unlike any of rope she’d previously made at lochside or seaside. They had so long practiced these knots that they worked easily even in her sleep.

Kirsty’s awareness drifted in sweet velvet nothing for a time healing before she heard voices. First those of her mother and Mara, urgent whispers as they sought a way through an unknown force, then the moon shone on Mara’s stricken face. Tear salt tracked her cheeks with their crusty sheen as more tears slid down their tracks, Etain clutched tightly in her arms where she stood before a somber veil blowing in a breeze that touched neither selkie nor goddess.

She called, of course she did. Whether Kirsty was heard by them was another story, but perhaps... Why was she seeing them through the gate the veil guarded? She reached out to touch the gate, but the burning chill was as if she were somewhere between trackless stars and back in the arctic winter all at once. It suited the stone room that choked around her.

The scene changed. Suddenly Ven’thrith was at her side and they were both standing on some rocks, white cloak of dreaming and insanity covering them both. The gate had moved. If the moon deity knew she was there Kirsty couldn’t tell. He, and he was definitely male this time instead of female or that hemaphroditic form he also used, was more focused on peering through the gate and clenching his fists. “They’ll be here soon, Mara, I’m sure of it.”

“Good. See where your meddling has brought us this time.”

“Not every plan of mine to make things better can work as planned, I am the moon, here...”

“Yes, yes. Cyclically fickle and as difficult to have any time with as Herne. How long do you think? Feeding Etain is creating quite the drain, more than I’d have expected. I’ve not done this in awhile, like this.”

“I’m sorry. It shouldn’t be long. Mimir will be guiding Finnol, and with the true figurehead that should give us just enough to pull her back through.”

Mara sighed, slumped, nodded. Ven’thrith laid his hands on either side of the gate and pressed forward. Kirsty realized then that she had never seen either of them at the sizes they were. He spanned it, and her mother looked like a child of moonlight cradled in the arms of the sea goddess, her dress lapping and crashing around the slight frame and her mother herself nude save for the bit of fur and the goddess’ cloak tucked over her. “I just hope he gets here in time. Seven tears can’t call a selkie back from this side of the veil anymore... not all the time.”

“No,” Ven’thrith smiled, the light of the moon just beginning to wax from him again. “But do you hear that my dear? I believe I hear someone stirring, though what he’s up to I can’t say. Something’s happened to allow him to act or send someone though.”

The wind brought from land the sounds of hooves, a horn Kirsty recognized well, the baying of dogs, and the calls of wolves. Her heart leapt at the sounds of the Wild Hunt.

“And how do we know we don’t just hear young Valnarius completing his own initiations and earning his place?”

“Perhaps, but this feels different. That is soon, but not yet. I’ve been looking forward to watching his own trials and seeing if he does earn a proper place.” Ven’thrith giggled, the sound clashing with the sturdiness of his frame. “I’d like to think that Astereth finally tripped up again.”

“I won’t hold that hope. I just want him gone from our realms for good this time.” Mara turned her head and spat.

The visions faded and the velvet returned, this time with silk drawing over her face, then around her like the winding sheet she knew one day she would be given. She dreaded it kissing her mother. At some point the now finished net, gleaming silver and gold with the enchantments and soulstuff of an apprentice priestess of the sea, had wrapped around her as her body drifted with current and tide. Her very own shroud. She drifted still in the empty sea as her consciousness returned again, the waters warm now, like a good hot bath freshly drawn.

At last, she opened her eyes.

She stifled a scream at finding herself netted yet again, and no hands on the outside to free her of the dread entanglement. Her terror rose when she recognized enspellments on the netting, tied in every knot and woven in every fiber. She reached to her belt for a stone knife to cut her way free but once her desire reached cognizance she found the gold and silver shroud falling and slipping off of her like water before she could sever even one thread.

Soon, it lay beside her, a shimmering puddle of will. Inspecting it she recognized her own work and frowned. Bundling it for transport she discovered how compact it could be and she tied this to her belt.

Perhaps this will come in handy later. I have no memory of making this though. So, when? How?” She thought.

Kirsty focused her eyes next on smoothly worked stone walls then pushed herself up. Water lapped at her tail and dripped from the ceiling. She rubbed her eyes and blinked, but the worked stone still greeted her eyes.

She gave herself a good rake with her claws on what would have been her thigh, stifled a yelp, and flopped back down unceremoniously to look about from that ungainly angle, trying to figure out how she could have made her way here when the last she remembered was being unable to continue swimming far in the deeps.

Absolutely nothing greeted her inquiries save the lapping of the tide and the dripping further into the worked room.

“Mara’s fins...” she grumbled and pulled herself further up the shore. Her stomach growled, demanding filling and uncaring that its protests might attract something that ate beached selkies.

Kirsty grimaced, looking even more carefully for something that might be hungry, even though she was pretty sure this ordeal was shaving off all the lovely padding she’d been working so hard on putting on in preparation for the trek.

Nothing came, and the only routes available to her seemed to be forward into the dry cave, or backward into the water. If she had drifted in her sleep though it was no telling where the turns in the maze were, and the further she wound in the less she understood about how it worked.

She dragged herself further up the smooth beach, grateful to not have her underbelly raked by rough rocks. How soon would the paste wear off? She’d not had to take any for a very long time now.

Hopefully she’d not overdosed and become stuck this way. Then she’d need a skin even more just to be able to walk. “That would definitely be under ‘things never to tell David, ever.’” Kirsty thought to herself as she flopped down to rest and wait.

Idly, she traced her fingers over the crescent mark that Ven’thrith had left on her when inside The Lady’s well, focusing on what it had been like to have two legs and hoping that this would speed the hoped for transformation.

After what seemed to be an eternity of heartbeats she felt the tingling spreading over her body and the familiar searing splitting up her tail and bones shifting. She burned as her fur retreated and thinned, until at last her half pelt covered her from thigh to near the shoulder again, noting that it seemed to cover less area than the last time she had been in her birth form.

 

Several tentative steps later she was making her way through the dry passage.

 

 

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: (pic#2732122)
 It is the first of the month and the release of the first of my Patreon's monthly mystical creature poem. This month has 3 poems supported, plus the Selkies' Skins updates, and a video. Not all of the poems have to be about mystical creatures, but the first one for the month always will be. This time the poem is about the Sphinx, which is a favorite creature/being of mine.
There is also a poem written for the weekly challenge on Prose, this time a micro poetry challenge. Artistic Lines could use some views. If you like it please hit the buttons at the bottom to support it. The winner of these challenges receives $100 and the runner up $25. I haven't won one yet but it would definitely be helpful and nice. ;) If sharing it to twitter please use the tags #poetheme and #micropoetry.

It's been requested that I read more Lovecraft stories, so one of the upcoming things you can expect will be me reading "In the Vault" and I intend to do a piece of artwork to accompany the reading. I also have a short retelling of "The Bird" as told by Zayfod that I also intend to do. If you have material that you'd like me to read and have on my Youtube channel please feel free to bring it to my attention. I enjoy cooperative opportunities.


~~~~*~~~~

 
Donations for stories, poems, and art help support my children and my writing.

Or you can become a monthly patron through Patreon!


rainstardragon: (Default)
It's not going to be very many more months until my Patreon has been going for a year. After the year mark I'll bundle up the poems, art, and shared scans together into an ebook and send them out to my Patrons for free. After that I'll start on the next collection of them. 

Original post:
https://www.patreon.com/posts/compilation-time-5206124
rainstardragon: (selkies skins)

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)





Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's Light
Installment 27
Chapter 11 part 2
Whispers in the Dark, Color of the Pelt

 


From last time:
She felt a click ripple the water. A whoosh. Something had to have opened ahead.

And now this episode:

Kirsty pressed on, fur bristling, and the lightless chamber gave way to a pit. How Kirsty fell into it despite swimming didn’t cross her mind. Perhaps the gravity was denser and pulled her, perhaps there was a current, perhaps some eldritch warping of space and time took her as prey, like the faerie mounds were known to still do from time to time.

Or her klutziness just chose that time to kick her down.

Threads, sticky, bitter. Threads everywhere, in her fur, her hair, trying to go up her nose. Gifu flared back to life and fire spread from the shield. It spread out along the threads in a sick green flame and she fell agin. The fire spread over her and she tried to combat it, but it continued burning until the web that still clung was gone. Where it had kissed was beyond stinging. Her fur was charred, and it was surprising any remained.

The rune floated around her, giving a bit of light to the pit. An orange glow ahead drew her forward. Every undulation forward brought more and more sulfur to her tongue and the heat continued to rise. Gifu hovered near, quavering.

Kirsty’s blood itched.

The steam vent had more color than she expected. Life continued here, scratching for sustenance. Crenellated creatures crawled on mysterious errands seemingly undaunted by the heat and pressure.

“I’d have thought she would be here.” The leering velvet voice slipped from behind another vent to reveal itself. “She was for me. Maybe Mara doesn’t want you after all, or has something more important to do than come see a dirty little half breed.”

The dark selkie priestess leered and stroked the spear she held. Green runes danced over her form.

“I wouldn’t know. I might even be lost.” Kirsty replied.

“You were lost soon as you were whelped.” The black selkie bared her fangs. “Why aren’t you stained?”

“What?”

“Astereth whispered to come here, told me what to do to keep the Temples pure of your kind. I set the spell, so why don’t you carry it now?” Raechel growled.

The spear lunged for her, the muscular priestess following. Kirsty rose her barrier and her hands as one. Gifu continued flitting about, unnoticed by Kirsty, erratic and confused. The barrier held, deflected the point away from her heart. Kirsty’s hands once more found the shaft.

Black selkie and white danced together among the vents as they billowed, bringing up the water superheated by earth’s inner fires. Raechel’s snarls wrapped and reverberated, and spell after spell tangled. The magics cloyed and curdled, liquid cheese and poison.

Kirsty found herself backed to one of the vents. The heat seared and filled her. She could taste herself boiling.

Raechel laughed. “Pathetic. Whose’s been training you? You’re terrible as a warrior.”

“I’d rather not follow that path without cause. I have no reason to cause harm.”

“Is that so? You’ve really never tried to kill?” Raechel laughed, her eyes sparking. “It’s fun.”

“Is that you talking, or the Taint, Raechel? I met your mate to be.”

The point of the spear pressed painfully to her breast and Kirsty gritted her teeth, yet the blade refused to sample her.

“He left me.” Raechel’s words were lead, or perhaps drowned whales caught in nets.

“He still loves you, I think. I think you should and could reconcile.”

“When he left me for floosies and fin flashers? Why would I?” Raechel pressed harder, but the spear continued refusing Kirsty’s blood. Raechel growled, darkness and poison swirling around her arms.

Kirsty’s eyes focused on the Taint enveloping them. Runes of dark purple, red, and acidic green twined and writhed in the spreading ink. Her hand somehow found a strange bulge in the rock encasing of the vent. She could pull the superheated water even easier here, try to cook her adversary. Instinct demanded it, even. Yet somehow, something about the dark priestess in front of her prevented it.

So many eyes watching, peering, sifting. Some probably laughed. She could and probably would die here. Yet, if she were to die, why wasn’t this deadly spear taking her? It was so similar to the one the crazed bull so long ago was going to kill her with.

“That’s Mara’s spear?” Kirsty wasn’t sure where the conviction came from. It had to be though. There could be no other explanation.

Raechel blinked. For a moment something about her eyes seemed clearer.

Kirsty didn’t shut her eyes. If she did then perhaps she’d lose the slim hold over Raechel. Kirsty could taste the Taint clearly now. Where it touched, stung. Nails, fire, salt, acid. She inhaled as deeply as she could, even though it made her chest rise and press harder on the tip.

This time it did press in, but still refused to open her. The blades of crystal and obsidian slid to her heart, through her with the sensation of a hand swishing through over-hot bath water to mix in fresh cool water.

Unbidden, The Song of the Water Keepers floated from her lips, washed over the spear and Raechel, and through Kirsty herself. The tide pulsed. She couldn’t reach Raechel, but she could and did wrap her fingers around the shaft sticking out from her chest.

Healing, hope, renewal. These were things she woven into new verses of the song, continuing where the Book of Seals left off.

Kirsty was unaware of Raechel’s frustrated scream or what was pouring out from her through her words and the blue-green phosphorescence coiling up the spear and swimming for the dark priestess. If anyone had been able to look, like the various deities watching the testing process were, they would have seen it take on form that flickered between snake and spectral seal and hear it calling in compliment to the words welling from deep within her core.

Raechel wrenched the spear from her adversary with a shriek and flung herself back as hard as she could, before the specter could penetrate very far into the Taint surrounding her. Claw and fang rent into the cloud, left imprints that sizzled and shimmered as they sought to erase and change some of the runes embedded in her.

 

“Slowly, too slowly for this round.” One watcher commented from their gazing shell her voice low. The lights of the gazing chamber were muted, barely lighting the walls themselves and not even reaching to those watching their prospective sister.

“That will still continue working though, even while they’re apart. Even if it takes years, and repeat exposures, we might reclaim that one.” Another voice answered, low and male, rumbling like whale call.

“Our Lady willing.” The first replied.

 

Kirsty grimaced, levered herself off the rock with her tail and used the momentum of the retreating spear that tore from her hands to follow, but not fast enough.

Raechel turned and fled into the dark and the myriad twisting tunnels of mind and the ethers connecting the waves. Kirsty sank to the seafloor when her adversary had gone too far for her to pursue. Hand pressed to her chest, still no blood flowed, and the finger of the other hand poked where her chest was closing again, her brow a tangled kelp bed and lips snarled storms.

 

“What about that Finman that was sulking around with her outside the thin place?” The priest’s voice curled in the dark, part of the heavy waters of the shell swirling as he looked for the man.

“I don’t think he could press in that weak point, even with Astereth’s poisoning Raechel so badly. Not yet.”

“That shield wasn’t her rune, originally. She’d not use runes unless they taught her to unlock them in that school. He gave it to her at the girl’s first brush with our wayward sister. I was watching her progress at the time.” A third voice wound in. “Why and how though, and what binds them?”

“Problematic.” The priest nodded. “Still, we should prepare for our own entries into the Maze, before she reaches the threshold. “We have time to study this oddity before she enters the Chamber.”

“They were once Mara’s as well. Maybe this one will be one we can use to cleanse and reclaim them.” A forth voice, cool and steady, gripped the others, chastising. “You should all remember this.”

“I didn’t mean to sound so clinical, dear.” The priest grimaced, his nose wrinkling as he looked to her. “My apologies, High Priestess,” he continued as he saw the ice in her eyes, fully in her role.

She made a gentle, dismissive gesture to all of them, backing away from the shell they had been sharing. “I must withdraw and consult with her Ladyship. We could not have been the only ones watching. He, too, surely would be watching whether his lackies can or not. You all go in ahead of me.”

“Should we move her from the room? The first, again.

The High Priestess looked over the grey selkie where she shivered. “I doubt that is necessary. Raechel would have left, to protect her heart and the Taint. Seaswimmer will find the way out by the time she comes back to herself. We can only hope she’ll remember her new verses. I’ll be recording them before I forget them myself.”

“As you say then, Lorekeeper.”

She nodded her white head in acknowledgment, smiled slightly and made a barely perceptible kissing motion toward her chastened mate, and turned her back on them. She needed the crystal, and the book, and her Lady’s presence. Now.

 

 

 

[Back to what I know for sure will be in book two "Temple and Skinquest."]

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.

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rainstardragon: (Default)
 I'm not all magic and myth. I thought that some might be interested in some of my darker works. This week's challenge at Prose was to write a poem about murder. So I did. I used a different rhyming scheme than I normally do, which was fun, and I surprised myself at the character that came to life on the page.

 

https://theprose.com/post/50895/building-the-suit

 

The contest closes in six days, so it will be interesting to see which poem wins.

rainstardragon: (Default)
I'm running a poll to see what people would like to see written about next month. The first poem of the month will still be chosen by me, but the poll will influence choices for the later poems of the month.

What mythical creature would you like to ensure being put in a poem on my Patreon for May, 2016?

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