You give it some thought before you decide that, while they all seem like they could be fun, your own desire to learn outshines the rest. You make your choice.
‘I think I’d like to go to the rock,’ you say, gesturing toward it. ‘I feel like since I’ve been turned into a selkie, the least I can do is learn a bit more about them. Plus, I’ve always been the sort that liked fantasy stuff. This is way too cool to pass up an opportunity like this.’
Moirine beams at you. ‘A lovely attitude to have, pup. I like that. Very well.’
She motions for you to follow and begins to swim toward the massive rock formation. You do so, and as you swim through the crystalline current, you can’t help but use your ability to have a bit of fun - you focus on the waves surrounding you and, as you do, you use them to propel your body even faster.
You shoot past Moirine, who laughs, and in no time, she is doing the same. She easily overtakes you, but you don’t mind. You welcome the tiny race, since you still get to do two of her suggestions this way.
The two of you rocket through the waves, and thanks to this, you make it to the large rock formation much faster than had you just been swimming normally.
You eventually halt your movements, and Moirine does the same, though she is clearly much faster and much more adept than you - after all, she is ahead of you, and when she stops, she halts a good few feet in front. She swings back around to you, smiles at you, and then you swim together at a leisurely pace.
‘Does this big thing have a name?’ you ask as you take in the sight of the massive rock formation. ‘It looks like it would from the size alone.’
Moirine stops near the front of a hole that goes nowhere. ‘It does, yes. Though, again, much like with our kind’s names, it is a word that would be difficult for you as a human to comprehend.’ She blinks and turns to you, cocking her head to one side. ‘The best I can say, in words you will understand… is it is named the Cayreeg.’
‘Cay… reeg,’ you say. It’s a bit of a mouthful, even in your head.
‘Good, good,’ Moirine says. ‘I’m afraid that’s closest term I can muster.’
‘Interesting,’ you say. ‘Does selkie language, like, sound that bizarre to humans?’
Moirine’s eyes sparkle. ‘It would be difficult for you to understand because of the way it’s spoken, yes. Our language, in truth, is long and strings together… vowels as you call them.’ She frowns slightly. ‘The best method I can describe it, pup, is: imagine a word that takes a minute to speak, or a word with, say, twenty letters in it. That one word? Is one name for a selkie.’
‘Wow,’ you say. You shake your head. ‘I will… definitely not be complaining about anything being hard, then. I can’t even fathom…’
Moirine laughs jovially. ‘It would take a great deal of time for you to hear my true name, and likely even more time to get it down. Do not worry. Moirine is a fitting enough substitute, and it’s actually the human equivalent of my true name. I will recognize it and answer to it all the same.’
‘Now then,’ Moirine says. ‘Shall we go inside the Cayreeg?’
‘Yes!’ you say, feeling a burst of pure excitement.
You dip down and follow Moirine as she swims through a large hole located near the bottom of the giant rocky structure - the hole is wide enough that you can both fit through it, and it leads into a massive crater made from stone.
You halt and just stare in astonishment.
There are countless crevices throughout the rocky walls encircling you. Some have nothing in them, but others have selkies. There are groups of them, and a few on their own, yet as you take in the sight - and you peer down to see plenty more below, as the rocky wall stretches down quite a ways - you imagine there may be a hundred or so selkie!
‘Whoa…’ you say. ‘This is… wow.’
Moirine chortles. ‘I suppose it’s safe to say that our numbers are quite splendorous, wouldn’t you?’
‘How many selkie are there?’ you ask as you turn your gawking stare to her.
‘More than I can begin to say,’ Moirine replies earnestly. ‘Hundreds? Thousands? I admit, even I don’t know the exact number, but it’s a great deal more than you would expect to hear. Many of us make our homes in the depths across the world, although we remain well hidden from human eyes. It helps that we as a collective have the power to, shall we say, separate ourselves from the realm you know.’
You frown at this. ‘Huh? Separate yourselves? What do you mean?’
‘What I mean, pup,’ Moirine says, ‘is that we are not in your realm.’
You gawk now. ‘Not in my realm? So, wait.’ You glance around again, taking in the sights with confusion. ‘Are you saying this is some kind of… fake place?’
Moirine giggles internally and shakes her head. ‘Not exactly, no. Not fake. This is still a real place. The ocean is realm, the stone and sand and sea creatures are all realm. But this as a whole is… a pocket of sorts. It is tucked within your mortal world, out of sight where no normal human can access it. Like a deep belly button on the flat plain of a stomach.’
You blink a few times.
Moirine is all smiles. ‘That’s what they’re called, right? Belly buttons?’
‘Um. Y-yes,’ you say.
‘Perfect,’ Moirine says. ‘Then think of this as one such belly button. There are many others in different areas, but all of them are underwater in some form. It’s only we selkie who know how to find them, too. No other being can, at least not without being taken here directly by a selkie.’
You stare at her some more as you absorb her words.
‘Here, we are safe and can be ourselves,’ Moirine says. ‘If you were to swim a certain degree in any given direction, you would eventually separate from this pocket, and end up back in your world. You would then need to follow a certain path to find your way back here. It is one we selkie are raised to know.’
‘I… I see,’ you remark. Your head is spinning.
‘Don’t worry, pup,’ Moirine says. ‘I will show you these paths in due time, even if you decide you wish to return to being a normal human being.’ She winks. ‘But, we’re getting a little off track from what we were doing before. You wished to find a selkie to speak to, yes? One whom knows more and can divulge all the information you desire?’
Her eyes are sparkling as she grins at you, and she gestures her head about.
‘Or, have you changed your mind now that you see what it is this holds?’ she asks. ‘I don’t mind if your mind has changed. There is plenty of time to do what you wish - so I leave the decision up to you. We can continue with the previous decision, and find a selkie elder to speak to. Or, we can explore this area, or even go back out. I don’t mind either way, to be honest. I’m content doing whatever - I enjoy helping pups learn the ropes, as you humans say.’
You stare around at the dozens upon dozens of gaping holes with selkies making their apparent homes there. You are amazed by the sheer size of the area, and by the depth of the rocky formation. But, you shake this off, and your mind starts to focus on what to do.
You can change your mind, as Moirine has said. Or, you can keep on track with your original desire, to find a selkie and learn more about their ways.
What would you prefer to do?
Written by Hollowpages on 22 November 2020
The end (for now)