October 17th, 2012


Selkies' Skins: Installment 24 (Chapter 17: Potionry and Watermagic pt1)

"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 Makay, 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, and too many other sources to count (so basically my entire life of research in mythologies, and a lot of imagination). The main stories told will be Etain's work as a waterwitch, her work as a bridge between the Selkies of her area and other societies Magical and Cowan, 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, Smashwords, and on Amazon.  VERY unexpectedly, I find it beginning to intersect somewhat with the universe of "The Shadow Chronicles," an unfinished and unpublished novel that I had started work on in the early 1990's in the middle grades.

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 my LiveJournal, from my Dreamwidth, as well as on a dedicated site.

If you would like a heads up on when the serial novel is updated before it goes to the main site (usually), you can subscribe to my Twitter (@AmehanaArashi) or go on Facebook and like either THG StarDragon Publishing or Selkies' Skins.
We now continue with Selkies' Skins.

Selkies' Skins
Chapter 17
Potionry and Watermagic

part 1

installment 24

He checked his pocket watch again, which sternly ticked away the time with all the precision of the best of German watches. The Schneiengert crest impassively stared up at him. It was one of the few insignia of any of the other schools that was ever seen among the students. Not quite accusatory, but certainly a bit out of place, it seemed a lone bit of flotsam in the usual sea of symbols.

The books in his arm he was looking forward to putting down, though he could hold them much longer if needed. The copper ring on his finger, next to the wolf ring that likewise always stayed on his hand, had been very hot not too long ago and he had heard what he swore was Kirsty's scream. As worrisome as it was to him, it had not been a valid excuse to be excused from the last class, and since he had known she was in choir... he had simply chosen to wait. After all, what could possibly happen to her while singing? Gaining a cracked voice box from going too far out of her range perhaps, and he had no idea how much that might hurt, but that was the most plausible thing he could think of to explain it.

With a sigh he stowed his father's watch again and leaned against the wall, waiting either for the classroom door to open, or for one of the others to come down the hallway. Preferably Kirsty, though Thomas would do too if something truly had gone wrong. The clicking of a measured stride echoed down the hall in the same metronomic cadence as the watch, and a man resembling a swooping raven in his button-down damask doctoral robe and the way his secondary robe billowed calmly walked up to the door, the hood down as always. The man paused before opening it, framing his words carefully, each falling clipped to the floor as evenly as if they were working on a finicky and explosive brew.

"You seem to be lacking your companion, Valnarius. Usually the both of you are here waiting to pounce into my classroom. Miss Makay didn't end up held after class for retaliation again I hope."

"I don't know, Professor. She had Choir."

"Ah yes." He frowned. "Your head of house has a way of getting them to sing their heads off."

He opened the door and swept in, with David following and trying not to imagine Kirsty doing that literally, knowing full well that if she knew how she would- simply to spook someone. He thought it would most likely be Lilitu, with how much she despised Morvan. David could just see her chasing after him shouting about taking his head and eating his brains, since Morvan was afraid of zombies.

I hope she never decides to find out how...

Ok, so maybe part of him did, just to see Lilitu's initial reaction, and the way Kirsty smiled when she was actually pleased with herself. He could deal without seeing her "headless" though. The scraping of chalk on the chalkboard accompanied the scrape of his chair while he settled, and the Potionsmaster prepared himself. The Silent Lady glided into the room, held aloft a dusty tome, and deposited it on a bookshelf next to a skull chalice and powdered seaunicorn horn once the Professor had met her eye. She nodded with a wan, sad smile, and a meaningful look to David, then glided away again- leaving the already chill room even colder in her wake. Minutes dragged by, extended by the timewarping effect of one of the Departed, and then other students began to trickle in with taught faces and darting eyes.

The Professor took the skull chalice and placed it directly on his lecture podium, and those faces drained of yet more color as they too slid into their seats.

Still not here.

Thomas finally came in, and shook his head when David looked at him questioningly, replying by doing the weird finger gesture he always made whenever trying to indicate tell you later, then made his way up to the Professor. Discretely as possible, Thomas relayed the message from the Choir Director, and the Potionsmaster's face darkened for a moment, before he made a check in his roll sheet. With a bow, Thomas went to his seat, one away and in front of David, then leaned back, opening his mouth and preparing to speak. A loud shrill voice came from the hall overriding what he had attempted to whisper.

"And there she was, way up in the air and being shaken like a dogbone. So much for 'best voice!' The Director looked like he sprung a- what's that spingy thing that makes the clock go?"


"Yeah, one of those things. Sent us all out early."

Titters and howls of laughter, erupting while the two cadres of Spiralis students caught up on gossip, were cut off abruptly by a spell from the Potionsmaster. He then hauled the offenders into the room with another spell and deposited them painfully in their seats, Muting them next, all within the space between a tick and a tock. From the storage came the sound of two separate pops as volatile potions popped their corks, and the smell of ginger and greymold spread. His eyes sparked and teeth bared, while the more involved students winced, trying to think of which those might have been.

"How many times have I said to maintain a proper level of volume in and near my classroom?"

The eight students stared at him in shock, never expecting that they too would experience such treatment despite being from his House.

"One more incident like this, and you will all receive the lowest marks and ejection from this school, permanently influential parents or not. Am I understood?"

The green robed students all mutely nodded, unable to answer verbally, even had they wanted to. Unappeased, he slashed at the roll sheet with his quill, a quiet ripping sound filling the air when his force actually punctured the paper. The lecture that followed was similarly full of violence.

"As advanced students, you have heard before about Bloodwork, and that the grey area here is so wide that it is generally avoided. Just as with Waterwork, it is very easy to abuse."

Murmurs and nodding heads answered as he eyed each student, beginning without further preamble. The skull continued to stare.

"Several reasons make blood such a powerful ingredient. It can be used in philters, pastes, brews... but how it is prepared and used is the key. If you add blood in a potion brewing at high heat, it will be useless, since you will cook out what makes it valuable. If using human blood, it is important to use a clean specimen. There is no cure magic or mundane for AIDS, so it does no good to be sloppy and give yourself or your client a disease... and that is not the only one that spreads by bodily fluid. However, done correctly, you can also temporarily and sometimes permanently transfer Tendencies..."


We will end here for the installment.  I'm expecting three segments for this chapter, provided it does not break itself into another chapter.  I'm hoping to get the video done tomorrow for getting the Kickstarter project proposition ready.  There will be a change or two in the reward lineup.

Like the story? Vote here at Top Web Fiction.
Got a question? Ask it and maybe the answer will be revealed in the story, or in a comment if not part of the story.

Want to do a review?  Visit the listing, or feel free to post one in your own blog, and don't forget to have a look at the other stories on the web fiction guide.

Please consider making a donation. They accelerate postings, but also help put food on the table and give me something to kick towards my editor (who is playing catchup due to her health). Rather make an offline tip? Write me for a mailing address.

Donate Here via Paypal

As always, if you see any typos, please let me know so I can fix those.  I am hoping that by the time this is done, my editor will have a working computer to make it easier and quicker for her to do some hard editing so that we don't have to use reams of paper for the fine tooth go-through.  Two simultaneous storylines is proving odd to work with, but neither makes as much sense if they are separated (at least to me).

A few days early because, but this gives time for a bit of a look before it goes onto the archive on Sunday.  Expect the next installment in two weeks.  University classes have started again, and the course load is rather heavy.

Original posting is found at rainstardragon.dreamwidth.org.
Please also support me at
Deviant Art: amehanarainstardrago.deviantart.com
Publishing: www.thgstardragon.com
Publishing Blog: thgstardragonpublishing.blogspot.com.
Copy/paste if links break.