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SS2, Chapter 17 d Untangling the Web, Shifting the Veil

This is several installments together's worth to catch up on missed time.  This was first pushed to my Patreon feed where it was visible to Patrons 3 days early.

I have decided that the vignette of Vadise and Amehana I posted long ago will remain in the manuscript. I've also finished the next two installments, which looks like they also should be part of chapter 17. At least I don't think this part got posted. I know today's didn't.




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, when I can get to uploading it finally. (click to hear what he sounds like in past recordings of other projects)


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Selkies' Skins 2
Section 2: Temple's Light
Installment 45
Chapter 17 (part 4)
Untangling the Web, Shifting the Veil
Untangling the Web, Shifting the Veil


The veil caught on Kirsty as she broke through and its webby tatters wrapped around her. A cord slowed her frantic pace.

Behind her there were ripples but she did not have the time to pay attention. The sea called her, sharp and strong like Byron’s shouts when finding her in places she shouldn’t have been as a pup. Across the beach and into the waves she humped for her very soul to escape the ripping pain. Another ripple pressed through behind her and then she was in the wash. A few more humping jumps and the cold sea crashed over her and the receding waves helped her slip within the surging skirt. The call seemed to come from somewhere beyond the silver road that streamed across the sea from the foot of the moon.

So, she followed.

So long as she stayed on the path she could hear a silver cool tune. Lilting and dancing it seemed both to guide her forward and backward at once. She tried not to think about it too much. Time had long since given up reason on this quest and it was probably a distraction with her luck. It was too strong not to follow though, and she had the nagging sense that if she did not she would lose something.  The current did not always make it easy to stay on the lighted path but she knew, somehow, that she had to in order to get to where she needed to go.

She swam.

At some point the current stopped fighting her. The fact that it now pulled her somehow was more frightening than having had to fight to make any headway previously. The water was hungry and now she fought to stay on the path not to keep from getting lost, but to avoid the rocks and mouths she could not see but could feel.

The taste of the water changed next. It was no longer icy and clear as it had been a moment before, nor did it hold the sand her DNA memories whispered about storms kicking up. It was saltier, felt thicker, yet the color remained the same. The tide grew heavier and eventually the froth spoke of rocks much closer to the surface. The path of the moon continued on through the froth, deceptively still where it lay over the shifting sea.

The moonlight brightened. “Left! Go left!”

Kirsty obeyed the voice, one that had spoken in her blood before. A thin form more spray and mist than anything physical leaped from rock to rock and directed stray beams onto the hidden dangers. A wave cast her on top of one, and ethereal hands disentangled her.

“Lady? How did you get here?” Kirsty coughed and clamped a fin to her side, afraid to look and see how much red was probably leaking.

“I’ve been here. Have I been lost? I suppose I must have been, so I guess I’m found now. Sister sent you with the key I hope or we’re both stuck here.”

A wave washed up and thoroughly soaked Kirsty, setting fire to the scrape on her side.

“Key?”

“Our key, our blood. I can’t bleed like this.” The mist woman absorbed a little of the blood and brought it to her lips thoughtfully. “Yes, you carry it. We can get home. There’s another here we need to take too. She has it, but is too weak right now to open the gate from this side. Sister is with her.” Her voice lost the bubblyness to it. “I don’t think she can see me. I’ll have to ride on you.”

Kirsty grimaced. “Where’s the gate and how much blood am I going to need to open it? I’m only little like this so I don’t have oodles of it.”

“The gate is there.” She pointed further, two where two larger rocks tore sea and sky, and a smaller island of a rock between. “I don’t know how much. I just know I’ve been here a very long time, then she came in one of the storms, and now you are here..” The Lady frowned. “I have my suspicions I’m not all of me. I hope it won’t take much.”

“Right then. If you’re to ride me you will have to help me.”

The goddess slipped into the tiny furry form and surrounded Kirsty with a pale blue glow. Together they slipped back into the sea and made their way to the gate. At the end of the light lane they hauled themselves onto the sharp rock. Her mother’s moan filled her ears.

Kirsty let out a cry and a young Mara knelt down with Etain. Kirsty bared her teeth at the shark goddess, smelling the death clinging to and working through her mother, but also through Mara herself. She tried to shove the distaste away and pressed her nose into her mother.

Etain weakly stroked her pup, her scabbed palm passing over where Kirsty’s scrape was and mingling the blood. The Lady and Mara both, unaware the other was doing so, reached part of themselves into the water to transfer the blood. The gate opened and they pressed through with their charges.

 

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