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)
We return to Kirty and to how she is doing with the effects of time shuttling.
My apologies for the slight delay. This was not quite ready before I had to go do the month's monthly grocery shopping.
Section 2: Temple's Light
As Kirsty passed through the threshold vertigo grabbed her once more. She reached out for the wall she hoped was there, but there was nothing.
Light. The light hurt her eyes, bouncing off of some white surface. It stabbed with graphite claws and ink shards as if she had abandoned it for some time.
The pen fell from her fingers.
Something warm trickled from her nose and landed on the white surface. She heard three drops land and felt the liquid – salt-copper, had to be blood – land and spread.
An arm went around her and fingers lifted her chin.
“Kirsty, are you alright?” The familiar voice, warm and rich like German Chocolate cake freshly made, washed over her like a long overdue drink.
“Why is she bleeding? She’s not been doing anything particularly hard today. Thomas, do you have anything?”
“Let David get it this time, he’s already got her Ally.”
“I... I don’t know. Where am I? When am I?” So dry, so hard to force the question from a parched throat.
“When?” David’s voice, still soaking into her like she’d been a seastar left too long on the beach, had found a way to sound more worried than the first he spoke. He whisked a white kerchief from one of his pockets and pulled her close.
The diary that she’d bled on was taken from her hands. Somehow it felt as if Ally was removing a part of herself, though the hands were helpful. He whispered something and gently cleaned her nose, whatever charm he used combining with hers as she willed the capillary to dry over.
Her eyes focused more and adjusted to the light. The Loch lay before her and watched with Mara’s steely eye.
“I’m at school again...” Kirsty sighed. “I’m no closer than I was.”
“Kirsty, yes, you’re still at school, with us. I know I’ve said this before but you’re really worrying us. Maybe we should talk to your aunt about these lapses.
“NO!” Horror deluged over her, chill as any highland waterfall in winter. Kirsty wasn’t sure where it came from, but memories swam to the surface about other times in the recent past he’d urged her to talk to Professor MacLeòmhann, all of which had ended with one very grumpy werewolf promising to hold his tongue a little longer on condition that she do it before he did.
Said grumpy werewolf was now beyond mere grump mode. The wolf's eyes flashed and bore into her, attempting to wrest control and herd her. She felt a growl, her finely tuned hearing picked it up as well, but it wasn’t one of the registers their friends would hear. This had to be the closest she had seen his eyes get to the time she’d discovered his secret and been chased after by him.
The stubborn selkie-maid winced, but held her ground, or perhaps more accurately stayed where she was held, yet was unable to mask the tremor that was railing to be set free.
She felt the flow begin again, another three drops oozing free, ending the battle in a stalemate. Barely.
“Please no David. Please.”
He sighed and once more dabbed gently at her nose, eyes softening but far from defeated. “Soon then. This can’t go on.”
“I’m tired, and cold.” She leaned into him, too exhausted to care about dignity. Neither was a lie even though she was also hoping it would be a way to deflect having to agree. “Hold me.”
It suddenly got a lot warmer, all of that coming from David, and she snuggled into the obliging, albiet grumbly, haven.
“Smooth. Very smooth.” Thomas observed, taking her diary out of Ally’s hand. “Not going to work though since you’ve said that every time this has been happening that I’ve seen. What were you doodling this time anyway?”
Kirsty glared at him. She didn’t remember having used the line at any time and she was freezing and felt like she’d been pulling bits of herself out. Was that even possible? And he was going to just open her diary? Surely David would defend her honor and say something.
“I’m curious too. This incident is too like the others. Trance, automatic writing, nosebleed, sometimes rather bad, and rather severe disorientation. I’m afraid this time we will have to look even though I don’t like looking in your private thoughts without invitation.”
Ally nodded her agreement with David’s decree. Thomas opened the book to where she had been writing... something. Kirsty couldn’t remember what. Thomas sat and turned so everyone could see the page the right way up and the four of them fit in close like the biscuits in Aunt Belara’s tin.
“Thank gods it’s not sparkling vampires or feather wearing werewolves. Just weird looking girls.”
Ally cuffed him upside the head. “No one in their right minds would ever think to pollute them like that. Where is that coming from? Stop it or you’ll ripple something and it will. Then what will we do? And we’ll all say it’ll be your fault, not hers.”
David closed his eyes and sighed. He’d rub his temple if his arms weren’t both busy trying to keep Kirsty some semblance of warmer. She was uncomfortably cold even through the cloth between them. If werewolves could wear armor at some point in time they could probably wear feathers.
His friends definitely had some detrimental effects on his own ability to focus at times, and his patience. It was definitely time to take control again. “Do you know these four Kirsty?”
“I don’t... know?” Kirsty looked at the faces she’d drawn. Something tingled just beyond her grasp. She should, shouldn’t she? There were tickles when she looked at the three girls, each caught in midaction and almost making her wonder if they were elementals.
Then her eyes fell her Her. Brigid stared up at her from the page, colorless pencil work and unfinished, marred by the drops of her blood.
“The alliance is still alive even though I moved my stronghold.” The words came to her, pushed from somewhere somehow forward from where she was. The cadence and lilt was not hers. The disorientation returned and she felt something in herself unravel.
It was dark.
At least she could feel David holding her. There was movement, and the crunching of snow with scuttling behind them. The sounds fell away leaving only the dark and his familiar scent.
“We going where we think we are, Sir?” Thomas matched his steps to his friend’s, falling a step behind and to the left.
“Yes. We are.” David nodded and flicked his eyes over to him, brow lifted at the unusual title... He certainly wasn’t a Sir yet and most definitely had his own trial to pass through still before that was even a possibility... not that he particularly wanted to carry any title, then to Ally who he had felt come up behind on his right the usual place she took walking with Kirsty.
“Kirsty going to be pretty mad at us latter.” Thomas continued.
“Probably, and she can be. I’d rather this get stopped before it gets worse or more frequent, whether or not she glares at me for a month over her potion book.”
Thomas opened the door for him when they got to it. The three noted the change, half the time the door would swing open for them on it’s own. No one had yet figured out exactly how the front gate really worked. Whenever a student thought they finally had learned something about it, the gate just changed how it acted.
“I’ll go up ahead then and get the professor.” Ally murmured. “I can move quicker.”
“As you think best.” David replied to the already darting firewitch, then looked up when he felt something brush his mind.
Each of the Examiners on the Lintel seemed to be gazing down at the four as they separated, but particularly pointedly at the selkie in his arms.
“Since when to they look so far down?” David whispered to Thomas.
Thomas looked up. “Not this far that I’ve seen... Weird. Something didn’t quite feel right passing through either.”
“I don’t think you should tell Ally yet. You and I may be coming back later tonight though Ally will probably want to stay with Kirsty tonight wherever Professor MacLeòmhann has her stay.”
Thomas nodded. “Ally’s worried enough already.”
The entrance hall passed away behind them as they mounted the steps to follow Ally to the Leomaris house quarters. With luck they wouldn’t cross paths with Morvan or his cadre.
[Unsure if I will include that adventure in this book or if it will be part of Book 3 since it’s a David/Thomas and may touch on the Black Gate’s story. This is a chance for readers to sound off on helping shape the way the tales unfold. Comment below (so I can keep track) which you think is best. 1) Save their exploration and any discovery for in #3. 2) Include their adventure in the current book, #2. 3) In both, having one in truncated form and the other the full form. 4) Another option, reader suggestion.]
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