Something Wicked This Way Swims IV
You muse over the options, but, it doesn’t take you long to pick one – you know that going to the selkie for advice is the smartest thing to do, and, given how obvious you’re out of your own depth in this whole scenario, you’d rather be safe than sorry anyways.
You turn to Moirine. ‘Do you know how to, uh, get to the djinn, Moirine?’
Moirine nods. ‘It shouldn’t be too difficult to find where the djinn is holed up, especially given how close you ended up to where I was back when you plopped into the ocean. That’s assuming you weren’t transported here on purpose, mind you, which would mean it isn’t quite as simple.’ She cracks a grin. ‘I’m happy to help you sniff out the djinn’s location either way, pup. Better than you getting lost. Shall we get going, then?’
‘Yes,’ you say. You turn back to Voadia. ‘Thank you again, Seamother.’
‘Indeed,’ the Seamother says. ‘Do be careful when dealing with the djinn, if only for the sake of precaution. And you have my thanks, young one, for being willing to do this. While my dear Fia or I myself could get the information, I feel that you being the one to do it would be more… meaningful on the djinn in the grander scheme of things.’
With that said, the three of you exit the Seamother’s cavern, and then you all exit the Cayreeg, too. When you make it outside the Cayreeg, you end up coming to a halt right where you stopped previously. Once here, Cahala hovers near you and Moirine.
‘I won’t intrude on your little quest for the Seamother,’ Cahala says with a playful tone. ‘I do hope to perhaps get to know you better after the fact, pup,’ she grins at you, ‘and while I don’t want to sound TOO overconfident, I dare say I may have a wider range of knowledge on certain subjects than Moirine here does. Isn’t that right, Moirine?’
Moirine rolls her eyes. ‘Very funny, Cahala, very funny.’
‘I’m only saying, love,’ Cahala remarks.
You smile at the annoyed expression Moirine gives the other selkie. ‘Sure, Cahala.’
‘Good luck with the djinn,’ Cahala says. ‘And be careful, of course.’
She swims off without another word.
‘Alright then, pup,’ Moirine says to you. ‘First, we’ll need to venture to the surface, and yes, we’ll need to assume human form. We’ll be humans when we interact with the djinn, since it’ll be easier for you, and, it will have a more useful impact on the djinn.’
‘Why’s that?’ you ask.
‘Because it’ll show him that you have reverted from the spell he put on you,’ she replies, and she grins again. ‘That should do a bit of a strike to his ego, which we could use.’
‘Fair enough,’ you say, and so the two of you begin to swim.
You swim away from the Cayreeg area first, exiting the side realm where the selkie live in peace, and when you make it to the greater expanse of the natural ocean, you start to trace back the way you first came when you were following after Moirine, when you first assumed she might be a normal seal. It takes a few minutes for you to swim through the waters (both of you swimming at a brisk speed), but, you eventually make it back…
Back to the spot where you remember first plummeting down into the ocean, in fact; you can spot the direction where the sunken ship was that you went to explore briefly.
‘I completely forgot about the ship,’ you think to yourself. You got sidetracked when you saw Moirine for the first time, and then you got swept up in… everything else.
‘Up we go,’ Moirine says, nodding upwards. ‘Let’s find dry land to traverse on, yes?’
You nod and follow her; the two of you go up to the ocean surface, and you glance about to find that there is actual dry land in the distance. You can’t quite recall how you ended up from land to the ocean in the first place, but you don’t dwell on it (you want to focus on what’s more important in the moment, which is getting to land first and foremost, and then you want to focus on getting to wherever that djinn is located).
You both swim toward land, and, when you reach it, you hop onto the shore.
The area is unfamiliar to you; it doesn’t look like somewhere you’ve ever been before, at least not from a cursory glance around. The shore is sandy and smooth, but it isn’t a beach; there are far too many thick trees about, and no sign of any people whatsoever. You frown and wonder where in the world you are, both figuratively and literally.
‘We should assume human form for now, pup,’ Moirine says.
‘Right, right,’ you say. ‘It’s just through concentrating again, right?’
‘Correct,’ she says.
You close your eyes. ‘Okay… it was easy to do before, so, I can do it again…’
You think back to how you returned to your human form previously – it was a process of envisioning yourself as a human, thinking of how it felt to have hands with fingers, legs with feet and toes, and so on; thus, that’s the mindset you put yourself into, and you start to internally FEEL what being a human was like. You are soon met with a familiar surge that shoots through your whole body, and, within moments, you can feel your body quickly transforming from selkie back into your true human self, painlessly, too.
When you reopen your eyes and blink, you find you’re a human again. You’re back to wearing the same clothes you wore previously, and, you suck in a slow breath.
You can smell the sea, the sand, the trees surrounding you, all on the breeze.
You turn to the side to find that Moirine has also turned into her human form. She takes a moment to crack her neck from one side to the next, then grins at you brightly.
“I do so love the excuse to be a human,” Moirine says. “It’s quite refreshing for me.”
You smile a little. “Where to now?”
“Do you recognize this area?” Moirine asks.
You shake your head.
“Mm.” She frowns and taps a finger to her chin. “I suppose that means you might have been plunked here by the djinn when he finished turning you into a selkie. In that case, we may need to locate the nearest Shard as a means of traversing around until we can find the area where he’s lurking.” She shrugs. “Fortunately for you, I’m here to help.”
“You mentioned these Shard things before,” you say. “That’s… the, uh, pocket realm?”
“Yes,” Moirine says. “We call them Shards for simplicity’s sake, because they are fragments of the human world, yet separate from the human world at the same time. There are many, many Shards split throughout your realm, it’s just that normally, you wouldn’t find them. It’s more that they tend to find you when you least expect it.”
“How will we find the one where this djinn is, then?” you ask.
“There are two ways we could,” Moirine replies. She turns so she’s facing you fully, her smile returning. “We can find the nearest Shard to where we are and enter it – from there, we would traverse between Shards until we find the proper one. All Shards are connected in some way, so, it wouldn’t be a huge dilemma to undertake that path.”
“What’s the catch?” you ask.
“It would take an unknown amount of time,” she replies.
“And the other option?”
“The other option is we try to retrace your steps prior to when you stumbled upon the Shard where the djinn is in the first place,” Moirine says. “We’d stay in the human realm and try to figure out where you were when you first wandered into that Shard. You may not recognize the current location, but, it must be close enough to the Shard, so, we need only search around for a while until we are able to find it. That’s my belief, and what I know to be the truth from experience with how Shards work.”
“Is that easier than the first option?” you ask.
Moirine folds her arms. “Mm… Using the Shards as a means of transportation could potentially take more time, but, would be simpler in the long run, because I can detect where we need to go through my senses. However, retracing while staying in the human realm would potentially be faster, if also more difficult because Shard locations are very, very picky things by nature. I will leave the choice for you to decide, pup.”
You nod and begin to weigh the two choices over; what do you feel like doing? Which do you feel would be the best option to take for you to find where this djinn is located?
Written by Hollowpage on 21 May 2021