August 15th, 2021


Selkies' Skins 2: Chapter 21a (Whale Graveyard)



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 my LiveJournal, 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. (click to hear what he sounds like in past recordings of other projects)

This scene may (most likely, there is some I'd like to add that would not fit in the word count) get rewritten, moved, or dropped when preparing the webnovel version for the print version.

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Selkies' Skins 2
Section 3: Emergence
Installment 51
Chapter 21a
Whale Graveyard
Untangling the Web, Shifting the Veil

She exited the matrix and promptly heaved whatever little food was still in her gut. It struck her that with time moving so strangely and being on the move so much that she really hadn’t been eating anywhere near as much as she should. Her hand burned where it had been pierced, and she clutched at her sporran to ensure she still had the tome while the world came to focus. Another city had to be here. She could feel it, but she could not see anything that looked like a city. Instead what greeted her eye seemed to be a graveyard. Giant ribs stretched spectral fingers toward the surface reaching into time. Seaweed wove between bones, bringing to mind the streamers she tied to the trees in spring celebrating the return of life. Rocks littered the seafloor between worn basalt columns while sunbeams filtered with severe slants down through the green water, plankton sparking. Above there was earth, the ceiling of a large cave open to whatever direction the light came from. Kirsty took her bearings, listening to the call in her bones and blood, then wove her way slowly between the giants. Several species and sizes seemed to have come to rest here, but primarily what she found all seemed to possess the single elongated tooth that denoted the unicorns of the sea. Narwhals. She knew where she was now, and if Mara’s realm’s rules mirrored that of the mundane world she had a vague idea of at least the latitude range she was within. She stuck closer to the bones as she made her way through, in case she needed a shield from any living narwhal that might be patrolling the waters. It was unsafe to assume that even if she were recognized that she would not be attacked. The wall of a city, at last, came into her horizon, as did a structure that looked like some form of a small temple. She listened again and felt the song within her stronger when she reached out toward the little structure. Opening her eyes again she set her path for the giant swirling shells about the cave entrance. The taste of the water changed as she chose the path, sweeter, yet harsher. A swoop of white and the feel of water pushed out of the way grabbed her attention. It felt like it had originated behind her, and the way she saw the whale pass overhead agreed. There had been nothing of that sort behind nor around her anywhere, neither visually nor otherwise that she had sensed. Where had the narwhal come from? Nevertheless, it now came between her and the goal. A cold black eye regarded her from the pale skin before looping slowly around the temple entrance. A ghost? Living? Either way, here it could probably kill her if it chose. Her eye fell on a much smaller skeleton, definitely, selkie-sized. She allowed herself to sink toward them and explored. Her bones thrummed as she came closer, in the way that they did near the distant cousins rebuilding the village back at home. This skeleton then must be some relative. Kirsty had no idea where the knowledge came from to speak in her bones, but she felt the truth of it pierce her like a tusk. She saw a medallion around his neck, the chain miraculously still intact. Carefully she turned it over, wondering at the compulsion. Was he trying to tell her his story, even in death? Had he reincarnated yet? Was he trying to earn his sealskin and the other part of his soul and a place in selkie society like she was? No… He had been here for another but just as important a reason. Words came, but they were too garbled to hear. On the other side, she saw a carved picture that looked remarkably like a much younger Mrs. Kitsch. This then would have been the young man in her much-loved picture, the one she gave her surname to. And some relative, so what relation did that make her Lightkeeper to her through the mating? Kirsty left the medallion and wondered what and how to tell Mrs. Kitsch if she survived. Whatever brought him here, the only thing Kirsty could think of was that his absence and his purpose were the reason the now old Lightkeeper had stayed alone and patiently waited for his return. With so much salt in the water Kirsty did not notice the tear seep from her eye, nor did she notice the gentle swirl in the water as Mara guided this tear where she wished it to go. Nearby and also within the same ribcage she discovered another selkie skeleton. Broken ribs spoke of being rammed by something large, hard. Kirsty shivered, aware that this too was probably some relative, or at the very least someone from another family of similar circumstance. The cave felt considerably smaller. How many others would she find here, and how many species if she could take the time for the seeking? Clearly, the ribcages would not provide much protection if she had to use them. She removed her net from its place, taking it in her left hand as taught by the mers of the loch, and held her spear in her right. A whale, a large whale at that, was not a fish. Perhaps though, and just perhaps, she could use those skills to defend herself. With how the whale guarded the temple and made no effort to place himself to block the way toward the distant wall, it was clear the temple was definitely where she had to go. Kirsty slinked from grave to grave gently, paying her respects at each she passed. She waited, head lightly bowed, at each for any impressions, visions, or anything else. The others had tried various tactics, she could feel that, and with the dismembered state of some of the skeletons, it seemed that the brash way was not the correct way. No one remained with stories of the correct way though. The whales spoke of long passages, deep dives, births, and the joy of dancing with each other. The selkies spoke of their longings, their distractions, and their worries. It surprised her when she drew up before the giant swirling shell forming the door unassailed. The narwhal swooped by close, still watching her, and for a moment she thought he nodded. She waited and watched his stately passage in case he took offense to seeing her enter. After he passed she slipped through the open door.


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