This is part four of the chapter.
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Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's LightInstallment 39Chapter 15 (part 4)
Section 2: Temple's Light
Raechel gathered herself after she awoke and glared toward the surface. By the changing quality of the light she could assume that the human born whelp still refused to roll over and just die. There was more than one way to skin a seal or a human though, and she smiled at the comparison, not noticing the fish-like barbed frills beginning to break through the skin of her arm as she slipped further from selkie and closer to her enemies, the Finmen. For her there was no irony that one could become the things they hated, or once hated. She could now understand their desire to eat the flesh of both humans and her kind.
She was not weak, nor was she stupid.
Green wyrdfire played around her fangs as she grinned hungrily and turned tail. If the passages here corresponded with the way all of Mara’s temples were normally built she would be able to find the underwater door to the chamber where the large creature was kept. Perhaps she would even find the switches to flood the aboveground chambers if this had been made during the eras of the changing seas.
Raechel used light orb after light orb as she swam, unconcerned that they lasted in shorter intervals than they once did. She was tired after all, it stood to reason. Perhaps the color had only changed because of that as well, not the Taint that she knew still fought to counter the previous purification attacks she had been subjected to. She clung to it now partly because the improperly trained upstart had dared make the attempt. At last she arrived at a slick sludge coated door which seemed to have been raised fairly recently. She could see vague tracks still through the slime. It was not too recently though, but the door at least was opened periodically. The dark selkie hoped it was for feedings. It would make it more interesting, so long as whatever the creature as did not take her for food and instead recognized her as a fully fledged priestess and therefor its proper mistress.
Suspending a sickly green flickering orb in the water she searched for a lever, latch, or lock, anything that would open the chamber beyond. She heard the creature stirring, listening, and she cooed to it. Her whiskers shivered in anticipation. After a bit she suspended herself, hands on hips and tail moving just enough to keep herself upright as she thought, chewing her lip. No latch, thus the opening was a spell. She ran through the ones that she knew from her own people, the secrets that they guarded in the inner Temples that she had been granted access to, those secrets that supposedly helped spark the humans’ own magical heritage. Spell after spell she tried, yet none worked. The large being behind the door grew more restless.
She too was restless. She wanted this creature more and more, coveting it for her own. Together they could do great and terrible things. Perhaps if it proved strong enough once she had dealt with this trifling mess she could turn her sites to the primary temple, overthrow the High Priestess and the Lore Keeper. Raechel would prove to Mother Mara just how strong she truly was.
The darkness moved heavier in her heart, whispering further glorious promises. She smiled. First there was this little door.
She patted it lightly. “You will yield your secrets.”
Something turned. Her eyes widened as the mechanism raised the door and two hungry eyes peered back at her. Tentacles slipped out before the door was even very high and what had been hidden away squished through, impatient. A tentacle reached for her and tried to wrap around her. The great beak clacked as those balefire eyes brightened.
Raechel allowed it, staring the kraken down. She opened herself to Mara, a living vessel just like all of her sisters and brothers. The sea filled her and she it.
The kraken continued to bring her to its mouth, unaffected and severely unimpressed by the tiny furry thing puffing at it. This was a nice morsel though and it stayed still unlike the creatures on the ships it normally was sent on. If it wasn’t so blasted hungry it might even wonder what on earth the tiny creature thought it was doing.
The beak grew closer, opened. Raechel flicked her eyes from those of the creature to the gaping aperture. Death peered back, waiting to greet her and heal the broken and poisoned heart. She sneered and looked back into its eyes. Words from the old tongue fell from her lips, the first waves of the coming storm. Her eyes grew harder as the binding took hold, but far, far less effectively than such things once were. Mara withdrew slightly. In her minds eye the deity took on her more shark-like guise and turned the striped shoulder to her, averting her gaze and blessing.
If it hadn’t been such a dire situation the gesture would have stunned Raechel. To allow her attentoin to waver long would have allowed the kraken room to squeeze out of the binding just as it emerged from the gate before it was fully open. The wills battled, but at last the dark priestess won.
“What is your name, kraken?”
“Leviathan, Destruction, Death.”
“Good names. Destruction, there is someone I wish you to meet.” She gave her commands.
Soon she knew where the switch was. Reaching fearlessly into the groove with the door above her she found the pull. A second boom went through the water and stone. She could feel the waters begin to rise.
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