April 22nd, 2012


Selkies' Skins: Installment 5 (Lady of the Well)

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Lulu outlet and on Amazon, or any of my unpublished manuscripts.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.

Selkies' Skins
Chapter Five
Lady of the Well


Kirsty sighed, repacking her trunk for at least the tenth time, pausing now and then to finger a book, or to unroll a parchment to rework her summer assignments. Looking around her room, she surveyed the warm colors and fretted over what extra things she needed to pack for her leisure time.

"Mistress? Is that enough blue yarn, and what about the purple? And did you remember your wool cards and spindle? Oh, here they are mistress. I shall wrap them safely... Now where did that bag go?"

A small form hopped about the room, passing in and out of visibility, and leaving a wet footprint here and there. Perhaps six inches, the little water imp rarely ever wore anything but leaves fashioned into crude clothing, save for special occasions when he preferred something that she had woven and sewn as a mark of honor.

"Yes Imp, I think I've packed what I will use of those colors, as well as the 'wool' from the furry hyppocampus herd in the North Sea. That ought to be interesting to work with."

The water imp, who had busily been doing exactly as he said he would, danced with glee.

"I had been hoping that you would get to that, mistress. Such strange stuff it is, Until Connor showed us a sample, I hadn't believed that they could actually appear woolly and not just... um..." The imp paused a moment and sat, pondering what descriptor he would be able to use without Kelpie ears overhearing and taking offense.

Kirsty chuckled quietly and patted the dark head lightly.

"Sea creatures so far north all have mechanisms to keep warm, like how what I do have of my pelt was so thick last winter. Also, different areas have different subspecies, like the plants I've been studying and experimenting with. Now, what's more interesting is the upsurge in trade between the Merclans, and how they are starting to be a little less harsh to those of us that are stuck on land for one reason or another."

The imp snorted. "Merchants and Traders definitely are your ancestors, mistress. I am only a simple water imp from the forest streams. I understand much more when you talk of fishing, sailing, and exploring waterways."

"Speaking of..." Kirsty got up, drifting out of her room and down the stairs, through the hall and to the mudroom, a curious imp scampering along behind her. "Byron, I'm too restless, I'm heading out to the well and stream."

A muffled answer came from the kitchen, from around what sounded like a pot.

"Are you sure you don't want any help in there with the washing?"

An annoyed whinny issued, what she had learned to take as a "no, don't ask again."


From the living room, Kirsty heard the portrait of the full Selkie, Marsali calling. "Don't forget your cloak little one. Convey my regards to her ladyship if you speak to her." The voice, though not raised, carried well, conveying with it intimate knowledge of the depths of the seas, distant rivers, and loss, which gave it a strange, violin-like quality.

"Yes ma'am. Getting it even now."

"You have your wand?"


She took her white lambskin cloak from the peg by the door. For the millionth time, she wondered why it seemed more like seal than lamb, then swept out into the late evening. Above her, the stars began to peek through the purple spreading over the sky. The sound of sheep bleating in their field mixed with chirping crickets, the steady beat of the sea, calls of harbor seals on rocks, and, the closer she came, the trickling babble of the stream that danced down to the sea. She wandered idly up its banks to the source, breathing deeply the smell of the grasses and summer flowers that peeked through, and the way it mingled with the fresh and salt waters, and the trees that grew denser the farther out from the immediate precincts of the old village. Kirsty passed by an overgrown foundation thoughtfully, glancing at it only long enough to note that the fox family still used the den beneath.

Skirts swished around her legs, which she held out of the way when the path along the stream grew rougher. A quiet splash, and Kirsty knew that Imp had jumped in to swim upstream, though still nearby enough to come when called. Finally, she saw the rocks, exposed at the base of the hill, and the tiny pool left undisturbed for the animals of the area. In the growing darkness, the water bubbling up and filling the pool seemed to glow a light blue, though it lost that gradually on flowing out from the pool to form the stream. The water called to her, and she picked her way over to where the water came forth, slipping her hand into the pool.

Whispers of the depths below filled her senses, and she absorbed the information the water brought about the ground it had seeped through, and the current depth of the aquifer below. Kirsty noted with satisfaction and relief that the local water table, for now, was still untouched by the strange chemicals that she had felt in other waters, no laces of pain and illness to seep through her veins. Or at least least, was so when this water had seeped up from it.

A soft splash, and the feeling of The Presence, drew her attention to the top of the hill, her heart rate speeding back up to normal from the slow rhythm it had taken. Gradually, her eyes saw the glowing form at the top, her inner vision seeing it long before her eyes themselves. Above the rim of the well, the top just glimpsed from her spot, rose the form of a long haired woman, translucent and emanating that same blue light, though much more powerfully than the water at the base. Long hair flowed in cascades as she stood watching the girl.

Kirsty stood, curtsying respectfully and with a slightly higher flourish than usual, an apology for being observed unaware.

"Greetings, my Lady."

"Greetings Kirsten... and apology accepted. You still need to work on being able to maintain awareness around you, in addition to that of the water system though."

"Yes, Lady..."

"You are still troubled. Do you need more of the water for healing the injured Selkie? Her wound takes so long with her being less than cooperative."

Kirsty shook her head, more hair working out from the braids she'd put it in. The well spirit sighed, and gestured, taking a seat on the edge of the ancient stone well. Kirsty climbed up the hill, sat at the indicated spot, then turned to gaze into the depths.

"Something doesn't feel right. It hasn't for a while."

The well spirit watched the young one quietly for a few moments, seemingly impassively, as the half Selkie undid her hair and began to run her fingers through, unconsciously trying to groom out her worries, as so many of her kind did.

"There are many things wrong in the world. It is not unusual for your precognition to have you so restless. The Changeling," here, she sniffed in annoyance, "is rising back to power. Meddlesome, soulless near-human that he is, poking into areas that should only be taught by deity to mortal in order to preserve the balance of things. May the Lord of the Hunt bring his wrath upon him at the end, for the hunt will be a grand one. Especially for the persecution he incites toward my hidden children."

Kirsten took her gaze from the deep waters, which rippled in reaction to the spirit, or more accurately, ancient deity, and her disgust. With surprise, she noticed a fierceness that was usually not apparent to her.

"This must be why the local Selkies all bring their spears here for blessing. It's not so much as to have her permission to hunt her waters. It's a far more complex connection, and they wish to draw on her power for more than that..." She thought, careful to do her best not to voice it aloud, and to guard her mind. In reply, she murmured to the ageless one, "No. Though that troubles me as well, it is not the chief of them for now. I have this feeling that something happened to Mum, or is going to soon."

"Your mother will ultimately be fine. I have not felt her death, and for now I can still feel her. My water is still in her veins with that of my sister, and she still carries my vial in her pouch."

Kirsty continued to fidget with her hair, openly regarding the deity.

"But, what if her boat was wrecked in a storm? The weather is getting odd, and there are still those clans that attack any half-blood they smell."

"And all the reason for you to train hard, both in your classes in school, and for you to learn all you can from the Merfolk You won't be a youth forever. This is the year you prepare for womanhood among the Merfolk. And due to current circumstances, I want tradition broken for your clan. You will train with the spears." The spirit regarded her, Kirsty having flinched back a bit at the blaze and roar that had accompanied the godly frustration, and gentled once more. "You are the last in the Makay line that carries a significant and awakened trace of Marsali's blood. No matter where in the world you settle, you will be head of this village and clan when your parents die. And this village will be rebuilt, even if you link and reawaken my northern point of residence in order to be with the one you love."

"Don't worry Mistress Kirsty. Imp will help you! It is his honor to do whatever his mistress needs." A sudden pressure on her shoulder told her that the imp had leaped and climbed up to his favorite perch, and he patted her shoulder.

Kirsty's mood soured even more. "I am just a half-blood Selkie, and not even that, perhaps. Ally would go on about fractions and dilutions. And the village of the past started as a human settlement, what good am I for those that grew in the sea?"

"Marsali once said the same, regarding her children, wondering what good she was to those that must grow on land." The well spirit carefully put her arms around Kirsty, pulling her close and stroking her hair once the much younger head was settled against her shoulder.

"Tons. Without her teaching, our mariners wouldn't have been so skilled in sailing. Boats and ships would have remained unbuilt and unenchanted, Wizarding trading still in the Dark Ages, and our merchants would not have been so successful... Just as your and Mara's teachings contributed greatly. Marsali still teaches us to this day through the portrait. I wish I could be even half so wise, and my potions do as much good."

A bittersweet smile crossed the Lady's face. "Then train hard."


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