Something Wicked This Way Swims III
You give it some thought for a good minute, mulling over what feels best. And after you’ve given it consideration, you feel you’ve come to a good decision on what to do.
‘If you want me to go up to try and talk to the genie, then, I will,’ you say. ‘Honestly, for me, the sooner I do it, the better, I think. I don’t like the idea of waiting for a long time to handle something that’s serious… especially given the circumstances.’ You shrug. ‘Plus, I mean, it’s not like I’ve got much else to do with myself right now anyways.’
Voadia nods. ‘That’s a fair way of considering things, young one. Very well.’
‘But, uh, before I go…’ you say. ‘Do I need to be… um, concerned about anything?’
The large selkie seems to think on this for a beat. ‘If you mean in terms of the djinn acting out against you, then, I don’t feel that is something you ought to worry over. I suppose I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how djinn are very unpredictable by their nature, but, Fia will still be there, and, with Moirine’s presence on top of that, the djinn would have to be fairly foolish to make any sort of attempt at anything toward you.’
‘I wouldn’t let him,’ Moirine says, her tone firmer now. ‘You can be rest assured of that.’
‘Okay,’ you say. ‘Do you know why the genie did this? Or, I guess, what his Master would have wanted that would lead to him actively tricking me the way he did?’
There’s a moment of silence while the three selkie reflect on this question.
‘It’s hard to say, at least for me,’ Cahala remarks, and she gives an internal snort again. ‘I don’t like to deal with djinn normally due to my obvious mistrust toward them, and given the past with how djinn used to interact with humans and with other beings more like us. For all we know, the djinn in question is just lying about having a Master in order to try to keep his sorry arse protected. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was the case at all.’
‘I feel the fact he apparently has a Master, yet no Master was present when you interacted with him, should be investigated thoroughly,’ Moirine says. ‘The last thing anyone, selkie or otherwise, needs is for any being with power beyond the scope of normal mortals to use this sort of excuse in the future to meddle in human affairs.’
You frown at this. ‘I’m still a little confused on… that. So, genies exist, I get that much, and they have magic that lets them grant wishes, right? But they’re all restricted to being inside lamps and stuff because of something genies did thousands of years ago?’
‘Aye,’ Cahala says. ‘That’s the gist of it, in essence.’
‘But it isn’t just genies and selkie that exist,’ you say. ‘There are other races, too.’
‘There are many, many others, young one, correct,’ Voadia replies, giving you a slow nod. She smiles then. ‘To name them all would take a great deal of time, but, if it helps your understanding, consider the various supernatural species you read about in books, or see in movies or television shows – a good number of those are real, living, breathing beings, although not all are similar to their common portrayals. There are others still, however, that have never been recorded by humans in any form, and so they do not have names that you would recognize, nor qualities you could envision in your mind.’
You blink and absorb this. ‘Does that mean all of these different beings, or, the ones I would know of… that they interacted with people in the past, and, that’s what led to them becoming, you know, folk tales or myths or superstitions, and so on?’
Voadia’s smile grows, a glimmer in her large eyes. ‘Yes, that is quite correct. Were it not the case, then you would not have known what a selkie is, pup, or a djinn, or a faery, or any of the beings you’ve heard about. Now, not every fantastical creature or species is real the way we are, but there is a kernel of truth throughout most. And those bits and pieces of truth stem from encounters with such beings in the ancient days, long ago.’
There’s clearly a lot to all this that you could probably spend days listening to, learning more and more about this secret world with magic and supernatural beings. You decide you’ll not dwell on it for TOO long in the current moment, but, it’s got you wondering.
‘There’s one more thing I’d like to ask for now, if I can,’ you say.
‘Of course,’ Voadia replies.
‘So, uh, if there are laws that exist,’ you say, ‘and these pertain to all of the supernatural beings that exist in the world… how do you enforce them, exactly? Or who does the enforcing? Is there someone or something in charge of all of you that, I dunno, maintains some kind of police group? Or is it just that you have to keep tabs on other species? Because it sounds like there’s a ton of races with powers that go way beyond anything a normal person can do, yet you’ve been hidden from us for… well, forever.’
‘Not that’s a loaded question to ask, pup,’ Moirine says with a chuckle. ‘And quite deep.’
‘Definitely not a simple thing to discuss, either,’ Cahala adds.
The Seamother nods, her eyes not leaving yours. ‘It is indeed not a simple matter to delve into, I’m afraid – there are a great many odds and ends involved within the fabric of existence that we selkie, the djinn, and all other entities like us, live in. It’s no simple thing to keep us separate from humanity, that is most definitely worth mentioning.’
You frown, but don’t respond just yet.
‘I would be happy to tell you more when you return,’ Voadia says. She gives a quiet sigh in her thoughts and offers you a sympathetic glance as she shakes her head. ‘It would take a lot of time to explain things properly, and if you wish to deal with my request, then I feel it would behoove you to do so first.’ She pauses. ‘Mm. But, at the very least…’
Her expression turns thoughtful. ‘There is a species of beings that is older than most in this world, young one. They do not have a name you would recognize, for they have always existed separately from mortals and even from many of us, to the point where there are no myths or tales involving them. Yet they are the ones whom founded the system, the ones who keep all others in balance. Why they do so exactly, none can say but themselves, but, they have managed this task for longer than I have been alive.’
‘Whoa,’ you say, gawking.
Your mind swirls with curiosity at this new knowledge, but, you know you should hold off on asking any further questions. The notion that there’s a species that apparently is responsible for running things over the other fantastical races is… fascinating, though.
‘Do they have a name?’ you ask. ‘I’m guessing they do, right?’ You glance between the three selkie. ‘Have any of you ever interacted with… whatever they are? Or… no?’
‘They have a name, yes,’ Voadia says. ‘Although, to be earnest with you, young pup, I need some time to properly figure out the most understandable way to word it.’ She chuckles softly. ‘Apologies, but it is harder than common terms like selkie or djinn.’
‘Oh,’ you say. ‘I see.’
‘I’ve yet to encounter one myself, although I’d like to meet one at some point,’ Moirine admits. ‘There are a good few of them in number given that it’s a species and not just a small group.’ She shrugs. ‘But, to my knowledge, they prefer to remain in their own little world rather than any of ours, unless they do so in secret and I don’t know about it.’
‘Same,’ Cahala says, shrugging. ‘Sorry.’
You shake this away for now. ‘That’s fine. May I ask more later, Seamother?’
‘Of course you may,’ she replies, smiling again. ‘I did say you could, after all.’
You close your eyes for a moment, and then you reopen them. You already decided that you would go and confront the genie responsible for turning you into a selkie – but now the question becomes how to proceed. You suppose the obvious answer would be to ask one of the selkie present for advice, or, you could just leave the Cayreeg and swim up to the surface, since perhaps backtracking your steps will bring you there.
It isn’t a difficult choice to make, but, it’s still a choice to think of, and so you do just that.
Written by Hollowpage on 17 May 2021