rainstardragon: Selkies' Skins Icon (Selkies' Skins)


Selkies' Skins will be a tale told serially, as I have the time to work on it. For now, updates may be spotty, but donations can help speed it up a little. I hope to at least manage an installment a month. I expect it to mostly center around Kirsten (Kirsty) and Etain, two part Selkies living in the modern era. The world is influenced by the Harry Potter novels in part, but also by Celtic mythology of Selkies. The main stories told will be Etain's work as a waterwitch, her work as a bridge between the Selkies of her area and Wizarding society, and Kirsty's own quest toward gaining her own sealskin.

Once the full story is down, an ebook version is planned. This story is unassociated with my Dragon Shaman series available in my
Lulu outlet and on Amazon, or any of my unpublished manuscripts.

If you don't wish to use the Selkies' Skin tag to find the entries, check the ToC on the Sticky Note.

Here we meet Finnol, and then continue on with Etain for a span.

 


Selkies' Skins:
Chapter Four
Visions and Vessels

~~~~*~~~~

Paperwork... mounds upon mounds of paperwork huddled together in the small office, that somehow seemed to have never seen the light of day, despite the sunlight streaming through the window... This is the sight that greeted tired and bored blue eyes after they lifted from the report, which he finished with the decisive scrawl of his name and title.

Finnol Makay, Deputy Director of the Order of Fisheries and Water Conservation

"Somehow, that signature just does not convey the 'we are all in a lot of crap, I've been warning you about this for years' vibe..." He thought, laying down the quill.

Finnol scowled, knowing that in order to have his report actually read by anyone at the Ministry, he was more than likely going to have to take a copy himself, and beat heads with it in Etain's absence. She didn't carry much clout either, since everyone that worked with the water health sort of dwelt on the edge of the Wizarding community, and ended up with nasty rumors circulated... and a particularly annoying reporter now and then trying to pry into places they oughtn't.

Selkie blood was hard enough to hide as it was, without her snooping. He examined his fingernails, the charm disguising the unmistakable points and poison tracts showing the signs of beginning to wear off due to the combination of stress, annoyance, and worry. With a breathy word, the illusion strengthened, and once more his nails looked perfectly normal.. if slightly sharp.

A knock on the office door broke the tedium, and a short, cheerful faced blonde in a strange lilacy-pink skirted suit entered.

"The reports from the universities, and the head of the Ocean Studies department sends his regards to you and your wife, Mr Makay. Also, the owl you've been expecting arrived and left a letter. There's a Cowan waiting for you in the meeting room, one of those fishing groups... the Marine Management Association?"

Finnol looked down at his robes doubtfully, a very distinct and dark Victorian air to his garb that day, though definitely still very clearly screaming something along the line of oddball sorcerer to the wider world. "Guess that means that I ought to change..."

"Your overrobe only, I think sir... What's under is fine for a meeting. At least you weren't in your seafaring clothes."

"Thank you Hyacinth... Though honestly I wish I were. Besides the fact that I hear it is totally and completely normal for them to wear those for a 'quick' stop at a company main office, then I'd be out there doing something effective. Really, when getting all those promotions after hiring on, I swear each one took me more and more from the sea..."

"As you say... But you and your wife also have the most experience in all areas... You can't have it all."

The lilacy-pink clad receptionist withdrew after leaving the reports on his desk, and Finnol took off and hung up his comfortable old velvet overrobe. He ran a finger over one of the anchor clasps before straightening the trim black suit, hints of dark green and grey showing here and there about him, before heading out the door.

His hand on the door frame, suddenly the world seemed to reel about him. The familiar rise and fall of the sea turned land legs to rubber, and the brine and spray surrounded him, along with the anticipatory zing that usually came before a sky shattering round of thunder. Yet, before him was the hallway.

Down the hall was another matter. Superimposed on the reception office, he saw the Sea Witch, fighting her way through the swells Through the window, an eerie, sickly blue glow lit the cabin and the helm, as the familiar crackle of Devil's Fire swept over the boat.

"Dear Mara preserve us... please let that just be electrical and not magical..." He thought, while watching his wife's vessel plunge down the backside of the wave. And then, the angle came just so, and his wife's eyes locked with his.

A split moment of knowing that she saw him too, across the miles, and then the vision vanished. The small vials carefully hidden in his inner pockets cooled, and it was at that moment that he realized that the bottled waters bearing the essence of their family goddesses had even woken. Thoughtfully, he caressed them through the cloth in acknowledgment before continuing through to the meeting room.

"Don't make me a widower Etain..."

The meeting room was a very bland room, intentionally so, in order for the Cowans that he did meet to have no inkling of what they actually took part in by providing information and help. To them, he was just another researcher in another nongovernmental order concerned with water health, shipping safety, and fishery safety. Nothing special, nothing flashy, exceedingly and painfully mundane. Selkie and Merfolk conservation slipped right in very easily, and the occasional visit my various Merfolk easily went unnoticed. This position made it easy for him to know when Cowans were getting too close to one of the Merclans or colonies.

Covering up the occasional discovered remains of one of the several species of Merfolk was always a little odd though.

"Ah, Finnol! Nice to meet with you again chap. Family well? I hear your wife's out in the field doing some research."

Finnol slipped into a seat and shook the proferred hand of the somewhat rotund and sandy haired man. "They're doing well Marc. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Straight to the point, as usual, I see. Well then." Marc puffed a bit, leaning back. "I believe you had an interest in those shoals? It seems that somehow they've been creeping out a bit, getting closer to the shipping lanes. Been getting some rather strange reports about moving rocks, and ghost fishes of all things, being hauled up by a couple boats. Of course, no one believes them since the catches vanish from the holds by the time they get to dock... but I know you take an interest in these odd paranormal sort of things. And one of them did have a seal sitting in the hold for some reason, but no seal could eat an entire hold full in just a few hours. Maybe something to look into for that book of sea tales you've got going on the side?"

Finnol leaned forward over the table, attention once more fully here and now. "Maybe... Got contacts for me?"

~~~~*~~~~

Etain smiled grimly as the transformation finished and held, the sleek white and grey speckled fur and blubber layer over her muscles insulated her from the frigid norther waters. The powerful tail sent her further with each stroke than her birth legs could have managed. And yet, though she had transformed, the skin she kept hidden about her had not sent her fully to a seal's form, not having been closed completely. After all, she needed her arms for the task she had to do, and she could not help the tentacle like form her head hair had taken... her own subspecies being a god-magic-made combination of two Merfolk species by two deities, not that most wizards would believe that one.

Etain continued down into the murk, propelled by strong flicks of her tail, and the light of the sun was blocked swifter than normal for her dives. Pulling out her wand, she lit the tip and held it in front of her.

She nearly threw up when the bloated body of a deceased shark floated by, slowly sinking to the further depths. Still, she kept on, following the strange feeling in her bones and tug of her gut. More and more bodies she began to find, of more and more creatures. At last, she found the location that she was being pulled to.

Nothing looked any different. Dead bodies continued floating with Cowan and Wizarding refuse. She could see a barnacle covered boat suspended beneath the water, drifting in such a way that she half expected a ghost crew, or to be pulled down by Davy Jones himself. A piece of waterlogged paper passed close, and grabbing it she saw some incomprehensible Asian writing of some sort. She vanished the paper instead of releasing it back to the sea, and did the same with as much as she could of the garbage, causing the water to roil more than a bit as the atoms simply were put back to a more original state and sent to the land where they could be of more immediate use.

The deathly silence was broken by an approving sound from around her, and the sense of being watched intensified.

"Yes, you are being watched. So you're the waterwitch that answered? I was expecting something a bit different and more powerful. And a lot more pure."

"Area spirit?" She questioned in her mind, looking around. Her hair kept searching the water for some sign of movement, and her whiskers twitched, yet they could find no indication of anything moving bodily that was living.

"Of sorts. One of Mara's and Arnamentia's 'children' I do believe? I feel their waters on your person."

There it came, the flicker at the edge of her consciousness, a stirring and vastness of deep currents and floating ice, and visions of the deities the ocean being spoke of. The ethereal shark woman, tall, lean, and mean... clutching a spear that continually changed form. The wistful and translucent blue well and spring spirit that centered in the stone well up in the forest near Seal Point was the next image formed.

She turned the name over in her mind, memorizing it, in case it was the name that her patroness had lost, planning to ask later if it was the identity she sought to reclaim.

"Yes, their waters flow in my veins."

"Good, then you also contain the 'schematics' I require, for lack of a better term, from your mind and blood, halfling. Provide those for me, then we shall see what else I need, other than the humans to stop throwing their muck in me."

The familiar sensation swept over her, the deep need for sleep. Her lungs ached for air, despite the fact the breath she had taken should be able to last several more minutes. She could draw breath, when working the Ladies had made very sure that their Priestesses and Bearers could breath air, seawater, and freshwater... but she was afraid to here due to the evidence she saw of lack of oxygen. Pressure increased, or so it seemed, tearing apart her molecular structure, seeking the code she carried in her blood.

Chains, molecules, atoms. Things normally named only by Cowans, and some only spoken of by Cowan scientists, swept through her vision. She watch bonds form and break, watched the release and binding of pure energy into matter, felt the presence of an unnameable and untouchable something coalesce and grow stronger around her. The Devil's Fire flamed up again around her, electric discharge from some unknowable place. Her vision began to darken, the sheen of her furred body and face fading, and the sinking feeling of her life draining came next.

"Please don't take it all... I'm not ready to die."

"Nor am I. If I die, it spreads, and all the seas will decay faster. What is one half-breed Selkie against the base of life itself? Especially as it seems you have already pupped. There are more of you."

She began to struggle. The pressure increased. Her wand flared now, not reacting of its own accord, but also not hers either. The very definite pressure of two hands over her own came. Suddenly, the health of the water began to change. Deep inside, there was the thrum that came with knowing, and she took a deep breath. And then another. The garbage was still around. Things still decayed. Yet, oxygen had returned.

The breath had not come soon enough though.

"And if you take all her life force, how will she clean this mess here? Really you can be so unreasonable, don't we have enough trouble keeping them? I lost several of her pups to Finfolk already." The cold feminine blade of voice cut through her consciousness, just as it escaped her. Something slid past her, powerful and sleek, bumping her toward the surface and out of the grip of the bitter spirit.

~~~~*~~~~

Like the story?  Vote here at Top Web Fiction.

  Please consider making a donation.  They accelerate postings, but also help put food on the table.  Rather make an offline tip? Write me for a mailing address.



Donate Here via Paypal
rainstardragon: Selkies' Skins Icon (Selkies' Skins)

Selkies' Skins will be a tale told serially, as I have the time to work on it. For now, updates may be spotty, but donations can help speed it up a little. I hope to at least manage an installment a month. I expect it to mostly center around Kirsten (Kirsty) and Etain, two part selkies living in the modern era. The world is influenced by the Harry Potter novels in part, but also by Celtic mythology of Selkies. The main stories told will be Etain's work as a water witch, her work as a bridge between the Selkies of her area and wizarding society, and Kirsty's own quest toward gaining her own sealskin.

Once the full story is down, an ebook version is planned. This story is unassociated with my Dragon Shaman series available in my
Lulu outlet and on Amazon, or any of my unpublished manuscripts.

If you don't wish to use the Selkies' Skin tag to find the entries, check the ToC on the Sticky Note.

Selkies' Skins:
Chapter Three
Waterhorse Worry

~~~~*~~~~

In the corner of the room, an eternally dripping green Waterhorse lay, looking toward the young witch at her bedroom desk. The thirteen year old peered into her cauldron glumly, the twin dark braids reminding him vaguely of cramped up fins. Byron had lost count of how many and what sort of potions she had been brewing for the household use, to tide them over till the next stretch of time that she could contribute. There always seemed to be something brought to the area in need of fixing, despite the protective measures set up centuries ago when the fire and the forest deities had withdrawn and wandered on. So, the Makay's, being rather soft-hearted toward those in need, tended to go through a lot of healing supplies. Every generation he had helped to raise so far seemed that have this tendency.

"Only the stars know what on earth possessed that pair of wizards to test whether the river folk had any magic, but they did. Every chance they got they were putting something into the water that they knew those Fishfolk weren't going to like. Maybe they were wanting the fish for themselves, or maybe they'd read too many of those stories saying that all Merfolk can't do magic. When we got there, the river was in one bad way though, and even the Merfolk were having to cling to trees to keep from being swept away by the water's rage. A couple villages just totally washed away; I remember running by a floating house and getting whacked on the head over a houseboat joke."

"I wonder how much of the story she is absorbing. Too full of worry for her mother. Each generation is the same way... If she's not careful, David's going to start feeling like something might be wrong, since he's got the ring..."

Kirsty sighed, stirring her potion and pulling her thoughts back to the image of her mother single-handedly saving an entire village from a freak flood brought on by mouthy young wizards and the ire of much put upon river dwellers... Decidedly away from images of storm tossed seas and broken fishing vessels sinking as vicious Tritons speared a floundering seal.

"If it had been up to me, I'd have left them to swim and to learn their lesson. Cowans have an excuse, wizards don't."

Her potion merely continued to brew, not knowing what she was talking about, and not caring, though the water that formed the base half listened to the part Selkie mumbling during the pause in the Kelpie's story.

"Aye, the same here, but only because I am old and getting bitter as sea water. And the Cowans don't have an excuse either, but they pay worse when the Old Things wake."

"You aren't old... or bitter Byron."

"Ha, you should have known me before Marsali passed away. You wouldn't have known what to do."

"Go on, what happened next?"

"So, there she was, at the edge of the roaring water. First, she tried talking to the river. It talked back alright, and the wizards could only hear booms and grinds as it wore away at the ground. Told her where to look to unwind the knot that had been made, and where some different potions had been disposed of. Seriously, I thought proper disposal was taught in school... So she took care of all that, but then..."

Byron took a bite of the apple between his knees as he considered how best to describe what had come next. Kirsty laid her willow and Selkie hair wand down, checking her watch before turning to face him.

"There was more that wasn't so easy to tell her..."

Byron regarded her with his green eyes, a strange frisson running along the base of his mane and causing it to rise slightly, but not enough to show his frill.

"Yes... how...?"

"I did something a little odd when visiting David, at a spring... Still don't quite fully get it... Go on... Maybe it'll help me understand."

"Well, the next part, we went in the water, and she used her skin... after we were under so they wouldn't see her change. She later told me that she could kind of see where she needed to go, to stabilize it and get it resting again. Water doesn't like to be in an agitated state long. I didn't see all that she did, but I could hear her singing, and I saw her glowing. And she made the water... move... a... sort of... molecular sort of thing. Time felt odd... And the water receded and slept again in its bed like its supposed to."

"And the water was... warm..." Kirsty's voice was dreamy, and her eyes were looking through him, not at him. As if he was not there.

Byron shook himself a bit, the gaze making him feel decidedly uncomfortable.

"Yes. It was. And it whispered so that even I could hear it. After she got on land again though, she slept for a long time. It took a lot out of her." Byron frowned. "I never did like that the Ladies chose Marsali's offspring... Such a great deal to ask of you lot, especially with how the Full-bloods tend to view you on either side. And one day it will be your turn. Hopefully, not anything as... large. There have been some generations where nothing was asked other than to watch the well and assist the full Selkies with their rites." The last brought a slightly hopeful tenor to his voice.

Kirsty's eyes cleared, coming back from whatever she was gazing at, locking properly with his.

"Are you sure Mum's going to be able to come back? Maybe you should go and catch up. I can find another way in to London to catch the train..."

"Of course she will. She's your Mum." He smiled, what he hoped was soothingly, given how ferocious and hungry his smiles always looked. "How could she do anything else?"

The cold block in his heart and his gut though, he couldn't help, and prayed to Mara and the Well his worry didn't show through his eyes.

~~~~~
Quite a bit earlier than anticipated, actually.
~~~~~

Like the story?  Vote here at Top Web Fiction.

  Please consider making a donation.  They accelerate postings, but also help put food on the table.  Rather make an offline tip? Write me for a mailing address.

Donate Here via Paypal
rainstardragon: Selkies' Skins Icon (Selkies' Skins)

Selkies' Skins will be a tale told serially, as I have the time to work on it. For now, updates may be spotty, but donations can help speed it up a little. I hope to at least manage an installment a month. I expect it to mostly center around Kirsten (Kirsty) and Etain, two part Selkies living in the modern era. The world is influenced by the Harry Potter novels in part, but also by Celtic mythology of Selkies. The main stories told will be Etain's work as a waterwitch, her work as a bridge between the Selkies of her area and Wizarding society, and Kirsty's own quest toward gaining her own seal skin.

Once the full story is down, an ebook version is planned. This story is unassociated with my Dragon Shaman series available in my
Lulu outlet and on Amazon, or any of my unpublished manuscripts.

If you don't wish to use the Selkies' Skin tag to find the entries, check the ToC on the Sticky Note.

Selkies' Skins:
Chapter Two
Pocket of Death

~~~~*~~~~

The amulet on Etain's chest continued to heat, and the storm around her continued to thrash the sea into froth and mountains. Her ship continued to rise and fall, traveling several stories in what seemed like mere seconds, and it only seemed to be getting worse.

Unbidden, the prayer rose from her throat, a lone voice of song threading through the sound of waves and storm, drawn and mournful, slipping back and forth between English and Gaelic unconsciously.

"When the Storm is raging and the Thunder rolls, Oh Lady Mara, save my soul and deliver me from the storm, carry me onward to fulfill my duty to you... and then to be reunited to my husband and daughter."

At her hip, in the plain, and yet somehow oddly ornate leathern pouch strapped securely to the belt holding her skirts, a stirring answered. A pulse. The odd coalescing of Power around her, quite different from the human magic, and different yet from the magic of the Merfolk she was a descendant of. Mara watched, the goddess of the bitter seas always watched the mariners that traversed her realm.

Etain couldn't remember a time that it comforted her less to be a Priestess of the Waters of Life and a waterwitch. Especially as the towering wave rose before her, obscuring the sky of the northern sea... Not that the sky was very visible except for when the lightning lit the clouds and took the form of dragons lancing across.

The wave before her began to crest, directly ahead, so without using her magic the boat was not going to pass safely over, as it would have if just 100 yards left or right. The closer the wall of water drove, the more that she could see, through the white froth frosting the green "glass" the phosphorescence of algae and forms of fish and sharks caught too near the surface. Normally, the sea life would have gone further down... but she had no time to ponder how quickly the storm must have come.

Clinging to her wheel, she banked hard right, toward the closer of the uncurled sides, murmuring commands in Gaelic to the boat. Unseen, due to focusing so hard on her course and willing the boat to move faster, and the sails to finish adjusting themselves, strange glowing glyphs formed and vanished, even though her wand lay in the sheath near her pouch. For her part, the old boat raced forward as eagerly as her Captain willed, skimming faster than should have been possible, were it not for the old magics impregnating and enlivening her.

Eternity seemed to pass, then water crashed over the stern, yet her humble old "fishing vessel" cleared well enough and began the rush down the backside. Even with sea legs, the rise of her guts was unsettling.

On the downward ride, instead of the gulfing chasm before her, Etain saw the face of her husband. Blue eyes bored into hers filled with worry and that knowing that he always had when he knew she was in danger. His dark hair was tousled, the way it usually was when stressed over paperwork or when that reporter would come too close to discovering the secret of those others also responsible for dealing with the water... from plumbing problems, to driving new wells, to... more dangerous and intricate things. Etain's own blue eyes bored determinedly back into his own, and every tiny bit of her soul screamed silently at him her resolution.

"I will return to you, even if I have to come back from my own drowning. Just keep the light going for me and do what you can at the Well, Finnol."

The downward momentum stopped, and the boat began to climb the next wave, the Sea Witch as resolute at the current captain. The crest of the wave was won, and then the gully and the next crest, till seven waves passed below and away. Each wave, the amulet grew hotter, till it glowed with baleful green and blue lights, and the Devil's Fire played about the boat's bow and masts. And then, once that seventh wave was passed beyond, the Devil's Fire closed over the whole craft, and with a loud, rolling BOOM that rolled away into untold dimensions and jostled the spaces between all things... The storm vanished.

The Devil's Fire crackled away.

Stars shone with a high, cold, light, where before clouds had roiled and hid the skies, and far overhead hung the large pocked mirror of the moon, perfectly full and round. The amulet, that perfect disk of sea worn stone on the same leather thong through the hole at dead center that her mother had hung round her neck the night of her very firstborn's birth, still seared her warningly. Cautiously, Etain released the wheel and undid the sticking charm keeping her feet secured to the floor, then flowed out onto the deck.

Over the side, the sea lay flat and smooth as glass, glowing a sickly green, mottled with blue. It wasn't the vibrant, beautiful glow that was known to amaze surfers, fishers, and divers. Somehow, it was more like an abomination of color, saturated with a menace that she rarely came across. A reek that could only be described as unholy wafted upward and filled her nose.

"Deadzone..." She observed, despite the lack of Finnol, Byron, or any members of the Finned Ones. Her hand rested protectively on her pouch, the shapes of two cloth wrapped vials, at the top of all that lay within, pressing back upon her fingers. "The storm must be a containment field the local water spirit is using. This is even worse than I thought..."

Plastic became apparent to her eyes next, floating and languishing, decomposing and slowly poisoning the waters even worse than they already were. Etain pursed her lips, knowing well how it would be entering the food chain if anything happened to still be alive below the surface.

Now she drew her wand and pushed back her darkened, reddish hair. Spell after spell she began to work through, and soon her hair, red cloak, and green skirts billowed around her, despite the severe lack of wind. And yet, spell after spell failed to do enough to clean the physical and magical taints that had somehow managed to be mingled together at the heart of this particular gyre...

Or what had been a small gyre...

Hours passed in this manner, and the moon slid beneath the waves while the stars faded, creating a silver bridge over the waters, for a short time, to the Land of the Faer. "But... I am already here, aren't I?" Cut the dry observation through her mind, with all the weight of anchor and chain. An even deeper part of herself acknowledged the passing of the moon, and cringed at the pain she knew would be and already had been felt that night by the boy she had come to think of as one of her own.

When the sun rose, still she had made little progress on the water. Even worse to see in the light, the water was a dead, decaying brown sludge. Even the red bloom algae taking advantage of the state of things seemed to be languishing.

"There is little else that I can think of for it..."

A sigh and a shiver passed from her at the same time, dread, and more than a little fear, weighing her down. First, the clasp of her cloak... and it puddled on the deck. Next, the outer layers, and the divided covers below her petticoat joined it. From her pouch, she pulled out a brown sealskin cloak and unfurled it, clasping it about her shoulders in preparation for use. Sheathing her wand, she murmured a plea to the Lady of the Sea and the Lady of the Well for help and strength.

Her legs carried her to the top of the railing seemingly of their own accord. Several deep breaths she drew into her lungs, overventilating as best she could, anticipating that there would be no oxygen for her to draw on in the murky depths. And then she dove, knifing deep, and once more the green and blue flames licked around her, and the curdled magic and dying water burned her skin before the fur sprouted to cover her, and her legs joined to form a long, muscular seal tail to drive her even deeper.

~~~~*~~~~


The numbers three and seven figure prominently in Celtic mythology, so will be used often.

Like the story?  Vote here at Top Web Fiction.

  Please consider making a donation.  They accelerate postings, but also help put food on the table.  Rather make an offline tip? Write me for a mailing address.


Donate Here via Paypal

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
234567 8
91011 121314 15
16171819202122
232425 26272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Aug. 23rd, 2017 09:18 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios