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 a little late, it's been a busy month for me. Reading has been more convenient than writing due to all the stuff. This installment finishes out the first section of book two. When I go through the manuscript deciding what will stay for the print/ebook edition and where I might want to reveal more this chapter might see some additions. The next installment will be both a new chapter and the start of the middle section of the book. We'll be returning to Kirsty where she's been thrust into the Labby, completely unaware of what is going on both above and in her proper timeframe.
Some people have gotten to hear me read parts of this chapter live while it was in the writing area. I'm grateful to those that are interested in the backstories of Marsali, Kara, The Captain, and Finnol. Sadly I can't get all of it into this story, but maybe some day I'll get to write shorts for these different characters to show some of their stories.
Selkies' Skins 2
Section 1: DescentInstallment 21Chapter 9 part 2
Skins and Figureheads
Section 1: Descent
Skins and Figureheads
Finnol extracted himself from the chair even as Hyacinth spoke and grabbed his coat and hat on the way out. Outside the offices of the Order of Fisheries and Water Conservation it was cold and grey. It would get colder yet, he was sure, making for a winter as bleakly empty as the house back home. Pulling the blue hippocampus and sheep blend wool lower he attempted to ward off the worries always at the forefront and distracting him from his duties.
The Corsair lay heavily in the water where he was docked. Beside him and bobbing far more lightly was a small dinghy that was reserved for local operations where a larger craft was less suited. Finnol slipped down into it and planted his rump of the frigid plank seat.
“Didn’t take ye long. If you are the mate of Marsali the Brinetreader you are smaller than I would have expected.”
Finnol looked over the Triton before him. The wild white hair and cloudy beard was much the same as other tritons, but this one lacked ornamentation in his beard to denote his place in the hierarchy. The well muscled torso he could see refused to shiver in the cold.
“That is my wife, yes. You look like you should be familiar, but I can’t place your name. My apologies.”
“Mimir Merisson, second eldest son of Merisson, late Triton-king of Alwinmeer. You might know my name from my exploits or the face due to the family resemblance. My brother was the one that sent for help for Alwinmeer when the humans started their invasions, after it was clear that what little we could do would only bring more humans and the threat of those accursed ‘refuges’ on our heads.” Mimir rose higher in the water and glared down at the small half-selkie.
Finnol locked eyes and held his breath, listening. At last, it came to him. “I’m sorry that more could not be done for Alwinmeer. I hope that your people are safe and have been suitably relocated. There were several suggestions sent by the Order to your brother as to sites that don’t match known deposits and hopefully will be a bit safer.”
Mimir relented a bit, schooling himself down and sighing. “Your Order did what it could. Your wife was the last that came to the area, by then everyone but myself was gone. I was searching for stubborn stragglers and mourning father perhaps more than I should have been.”
Finnol drew his breath in at the mention of his wife and her last known location.
Mimir continued, nodding. “She successfully deactivated the old Temple. I’d already taken care of the Throne. While in the Temple though we had an incident with the Lady of the Sea. This led to several other strange incidents.”
Mimir finished his recounting of his adventures with Etain, from front to back, including the vision of a selkie-child having been in the passage with them, and even admitting the dark desire he’d had for selkie flesh while they were battling their way through the Rocks That Sang.
“She’s beyond one of the Gates?” Finnol couldn’t keep his voice down, nearly falling out of the dinghy leaning toward Mimir by this time. “So help me, if you intentionally left my wife beyond the edges of our world I’ll--”
“Mind yer place, half-seal.” Mimir pushed him roughly back onto the plank. “I tried to get her through. When all was said and done all I could find was this.” He produced from under the water a small black figurehead.
Finnol took it from his hands, running his fingers over the strangely familiar design. It matched exactly the faux figurehead that had been found when investigating Etain’s wreck. The energy from it was stronger though, living, as if it were the true Figurehead of a ship of Mara’s living fleet. “This is...”
The Corsair creaked where he still lay docked, verifying. Something in the sound, the way the small ship tried to speak, some plaintive note of it chilled both selkie and triton more than any of the other groans it had been issuing while listening to the tale. The figurehead in Finnol’s hands pulsed in reply to the creak. The hair rose on both as the energy unwound and reached toward the mated ship. The Corsair groaned in reply to the pulse, reaching its own energy toward it.
“She was a good ship.” Mimir acknowledged. “They took excellent care of each other.”
“She will be again.” Finnol pulled the figurehead to his chest in a possessive hug. “By Mara, we can rebuild her and give her a new body. If Etain is truly gone then she’ll go to Kirstin for Pairing. If Etain can be found then the family will be whole again. And by the Ladies I will find a way to make it whole even if Etain is beyond the veils. Byron did it with Marsali and kept her from fading, I can too.”
The Corsair creaked and groaned in agreement, beginning to bob again. The color somehow seemed to enliven once more.
“I’m glad that I could help a little bit then by bringing the Sea Witch home.” Mimir’s voice grew soft, as if Finnol were a fry in the palace hatchery. “Marsali, what I know of her, is one of those special cases. Having had her skin stolen if she died and wasn’t given a chance to reunite, she’s gone forever and never gets reborn. Your wife though... She’s got a skin unstolen. She can be reborn to the sea. Would it be wise to interrupt whatever pattern she’s supposed to be in? I’ve been giving things a lot of thought, and I’m half convinced that some of these more outrageous things happening point to the Weavers.”
Finnol wrinkled his nose. “I believe in a great many deities, but I’m not so sure those are actually real.”
“I wasn’t either, until recently. Something much bigger than what we normally pay attention to is off balance somehow, or there’s some fight brewing. Not Ragnarok, but something.”
“Something’s always brewing.” Finnol sighed, acknowledging Mimir’s point. “What will you do now?”
“Try to find where my people relocated to, see if the camps I had left them in have found somewhere permanent. I have been given a place that I can take some of them, the ones that want fully away from humans.”
“I see. You’ll always be welcome to visit here, and at Seal Point.”
Mimir nodded and left, leaving the inanimate dinghy, the animate Corsair, and lonely selkie behind him. Finnol pondered the things Mimir had related, especially the strange appearance of the little white seal. “Not all there... hmm...”
Finnol looked toward the Corsair. “Well, old friend, I suppose now I need to call together what remains of the Shipwrights. Mara won’t just materialize a new vessel. That will have to wait until I see to Kirsten though, you know.”
The boat creaked and groaned at him.
“I know. As soon as I can. Until then I don’t suppose it will hurt anything to have the real figurehead in your cabin. I’d put her with yours, but I don’t know where your real one is hidden in you.”
Near huffs this time from the boat, and the waving of ropes. One finally wavered in the direction of home, raised when by normal physics it would have simply hung.
“Yes, you’re right. Byron will likely want to be with me for that. Fitting for the real patriarch to go with me, I guess.” Finnol drew his nose down and flared it briefly before relaxing. At least it was a position he wouldn’t know the full drawbacks of. “You don’t mind not going with me then?”
A stiff pop, and Finnol nodded his head. “Right then. I’ll let Hyacinth know I’m off, and have her pass around the news. He sighed, pulling some golden earplugs from the same pocket as his notebook then stuffed the soft material into his ears. There would be no repeat of the head buzzing that had come from when she’d found out from him about the extent of the debris of Etain’s wreck.
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.