There are 3 paths.
One appears to go to a jungle,
one appears to go to a cave,
one appears to go to a beach,
you could try and climb the tree,
there is a nearby shop you could go in,
or you could do something else.
So what's its going to be?
Illustrated by Catprog
Written by catprog on 01 April 2003
There is a table with a sign saying
On the table there is a fridge with a range of liquids. Also on the table are various magical trinkets including costumes. What would you like to take, or would you like to buy something?
Written by catprog on 10 April 2003
You decide to get something else. But what?
Written by catprog on 13 December 2005
You take a lamp. Now what are you going to do with it?
Written by catprog on 05 March 2004
Just then, a huge puff of green smoke appears.
The smoke forms the shape of a humanoid, then finally materializes into a turquoise-skinned man who appears to be about 25 years old. You quiver with fear, staring at him (after all, you're not used to seeing turquoise-skinned men appear out of lamps).
"Who has rubbed the lamp of the Genie of Transformation?", the man asks in a light, yet stern voice.
"I-I did", you answer softly.
He steps closer to you and bows. "Thank You, Master, Thank You!", he says as he kneels to you.
He stands. "Yes", he says. "You have released me from the Lamp, and now you may have three wishes.
The wishes carry certain limitations, however..."
"Yes, like what?", you ask again, almost bursting with excitement (having your own genie and all).
"First, there are only three wishes, no more and no less, and this may not be changed by any wishes made. Second, all wishes made by the master should be precisely worded. If the wish is too vague, then I shall choose the remaining factors of the wish. And third, all wishes must be related to the change of the master, or of someone else that the master chooses. In other words, all wishes must be transformative."
Well what are you going to wish for?
Written by on 11 March 2004
"I don't need a transformation thank you very much," you say. "I am perfectly happy as a human". "You can take your conditional wishes elsewhere, you ****".
The genie's eyes widen. "You are going to regret mocking me". " You don't want a transformation, too bad you're getting one.
Written by on 18 May 2004
"You are going to my animal park and help with the breeding programs" booms the genie.
All of a sudden a portal appears and sucks you in.As you go through you get knocked out.
When you awake your in...
Written by on 22 May 2004
You awaken in a room with 3 doors.
Each door has a word inscribed on it.
Which one do you want?
Written by on 27 July 2004
You go through the door.
You step out into open water.
You try to get back to the door but to your horror it has gone.
You then notice you are changing into a water creature from mythology but what kind?
Written by on 27 July 2004
You blink slowly into wakefulness, the sound of gulls shrieking a rancour echoing inside your skull. Groaning, you roll over onto your back, arms flopping limply, as little use as a dead fish, glassy-eyed out of water. Your mind flounders, splashing like a fawn caught up in the bounds of a river it does not understand, black eyes shining with terror as it is swept away, far away from its mother. There is no rescue coming for you, little human. You are my toy now and my toy is exactly what you shall remain.
Oh, how I shall enjoy you.
How did you get here? The words swim around your head as the waves lap the rocky shore, a soothing melody serving as an inappropriate backdrop to your conclusion. Swinging your head cumbersomely from left to right, it feels too heavy upon your neck and your chin dips down to your chest, eyelids heavy. So tired, so very tired. Would it be so bad to lie down again, if only for a little while? The call of the sea is reassuring, a whisper in your ears, and you find yourself slipping back to the stones, fingers splayed.
When you try to speak, your lips move only a little, glued together as if they have become nothing but rubber, useless for speech – much less for anything else. You raise your hands to your hair and your fingers tremble as they run through the damp, brown strands, sodden with what has to be seawater. The sensation is familiar and terrifyingly foreign at the same time. Why does it feel different? There’s nothing wrong, there can’t be anything wrong. You can move, can’t you?
What has happened? You cannot know, you do not know. Trying to scramble to your feet, your shoes slip on the stones, scuffed, red trainers that you should have replaced long ago scraping over rough rocks. Your fall scores a black scratch down the side of your right shoe and you curse mentally, eyes watering as you clasp your knee to your chest and rock back and forth, shaking your head all the while.
It seems silly to be so affected by such a small thing as damaging an already ruined pair of trainers, but the instance grips your heart and refuses to let go. Why are you so worried about a pair of shoes? What is the problem? You shake your head, trying to pull some sense back into yourself, gulping for breath like a drowned man. There is something more to the scene than a wrecked shoe, however.
The wind drops.
Something is happening. Something has changed. Your eyes widen and you press your hand over your pocket, feeling the bulge there that is certainly not your wallet. You lost that the night before – you understand this without knowing how you know, only that it is true. Digging into your jean pocket, you carefully withdraw a small clay pot with a lamp engraved on the side. It should be an innocuous object, perfectly harmless, yet the sight of it strikes inexplicable, crawling fear into your heart.
And then everything changes.
With a strangled shriek, you drop the pot and push yourself away, scooting backwards over rock and scraggly heather with your eyes so wide that they may pop right out of your skull. The pot jumps with a life of its own, releasing a stream of black smoke that cannot be natural – nothing that looks like that can be natural! But it’s too quick for you as you strive to get to your feet, to flee, and curls through the air as quick as a striking snake, lancing into your chest. You brace yourself for pain and feel...nothing.
There is no pain, no sensation of the smoke even touching you. Swallowing, you look from left to right as if expecting something to leap out at you, yet find naught out of the ordinary within your sight. Thinking yourself safe – perhaps it was a hallucination? A hallucination cannot hurt you, right? – you laugh shakily and roll your head back on your shoulders, stretching out the kinks from your neck.
Only that your head does not roll like that anymore. Blinking, you raise your hand to your neck, or at least try to, for your very skin seems to be thickening. Without understanding what is truly happening, you stare down at your forearm, which should be bare but for your skin and that fine coating of dark hair that ladies once said they liked. But that is gone now – long, long gone.
Instead, the fat beneath your skin thickens, bulging out obscenely as if you have suddenly gained a year of excess weight in a matter of seconds. Your skin ripples, shifting without your consent, as it darkens, slipping from your pale flesh to a dreary grey. As you watch, reeling from your own body, dark spots appear, streaking down your arm to your fingertips as those become swiftly more difficult to spread apart, seeming to fuse together even under your horrified eyes.
Can you make it stop if you don’t look away? A strange groan comes from somewhere and, after a moment, you realise that it’s from your lips. That’s not a human noise. You shiver, trembling as your trousers strain and start to tear along the seams, something not right with your legs either. But you’ve been too focused on what you can easily see – your arms – to pay attention to the rest of your body. This is only to your detriment, as everything continues without your consent or say-so. Everything is beyond your control now.
Hallucinating? You wish you were. The reality is far, far worse.
You roll, a strangled gasp twisting from your throat in a bark that startles even you in your state of unrest, gaping and pawing at the ground. But there is little hand left to scrape over the ground as it pulls up against your side, chest and stomach rounding out so that any definition you may have had there is smoothed out perfectly beneath a slick, grey coat. Your shirt gives up with a hearty rip and you mourn its passing briefly, for it seems an easier choice to focus on rather than what is happening to your body. For my creation is beautiful indeed.
You don’t know how to move your new body yet – your transformation incomplete – but still you try to lift your fused together legs, groaning as skin and fat blurs together, muscle shifting beneath what you can see. Although it is not painful, you wince as bone grinds and cracks into a new position, running down the centre of what can only now be called your tail, as you no longer have any legs to speak of. Shuddering, you flinch from the crunch of bone, muscle pulsing and bulging through your skin as your genitals, which you have hardly thought about to this point, are sucked up into your body as simply as if they never truly existed.
But there is no time to panic as your eyes bulge, face stretching out and rounding into a face much unlike your own. Your eyes push out and out, finding their true place further back on your head, allowing you a greater range of vision, even though, as a hunter, you should always be looking forward for prey. Your nostrils tug up, slipping into another shape as easily as you have taken on this skin, your chin resting on the stones. You can’t touch your muzzle – your arms are no longer, with only two flippers pressed to your sides now.
There is no trace of maleness in your features as you pant, pink tongue lolling out, and you lift a flipper in vicious wonder, mind reeling. It is not a flipper that belongs to a male at all anymore, though you cannot say exactly how you know. You simply do.
Despite your horror, there is wonder in your gaze – as well there should be. You are beautiful. I made it so. You flip onto your back, experimenting with what you’ve been given, raising your tail and marvelling inwardly at just how far these new muscles of yours can flex it. Simply waving the tail-flippers back and forth through the air gives you a little show of just how much power the muscle contains and you can only imagine it powering you through the water with jaw-dropping ease.
For you are not a human any longer, nor will you ever be again.
You turn your muzzle up to the sky, yawning as the gulls wheel.
A grey seal. You are a seal. But not a seal.
You roll onto your side, flippers waving gently in the air as you try to look down the length of your body, studying yourself the best you can from such a position. Your belly is lighter, better to camouflage yourself from fish below when streaking through the ocean, while your back is a smooth, even grey, splashed through the darker spots that break up your outline. Wouldn’t want to be caught when chasing down those fish now, would you? Life is a matter of hunting and feeding and gnawing bellies for your kind?
But what are you? Who are you? You flop back onto your stomach, head dipping to the stones as you blink, slow and stupid as you settle into your new body.
What did the legends call it? The cogs turn in your head, clear still to an outside, if initiated, observer. Not a seal, but a...
The thought comes to you in a flash of understanding and you let out a happy bark that surprises even you, tail slapping the rock pool to send up a splash of salt spray.
A selkie. You are a selkie. A creature of myth, brought to reality by a hand that should not have existed. You try to frown, but your lips no longer form the motion as you blink a pair of dark, soulful eyes to the rolling, heaving arms of the sea. The seagulls wheel and caw, grey shapes high above that cause you little reason for concern, beyond your reckoning now. The fish are yours, not theirs, and you are the hunter, not the hunted. They shall be no more than an infrequent pest to you now, a scavenger. The crash of the sea upon the rocks catches your ears and you turn your short muzzle into the breeze, salt dancing on your tongue. The sea... Your eyes gleam. Oh, how beautiful she is.
She calls to you, her voice a whisper on the breeze. Your whiskers twitch as you slide over the stones, chest hitting the water and keeping on, tail catching you to power more swiftly through the shallows than you could ever have ran on land.
Your life as a selkie has is now begun.
Written by Amethyst_Mare on 14 January 2017
As you push your body through the shallows, further and faster with this new body you’ve been… gifted? Cursed with? You aren’t entirely sure - a few poor choice words made to a genie has inevitably led you to adopting this new visage in place of the human body you once possessed, so you consider that maybe it is meant to be a curse. But, you shall see if that remains the case.
Regardless, you barrel onward until you have finally pushed past the shallows and now, you’ve reached the continually deepening maw of the ocean, for you can now swim to the bottom, or what currently happens to be the bottom - the vast and splendorous blue welcomes you with open arms, and you feel a strange tingling warm ripple through your body as you swim about, testing the new body you have gained.
Having become a selkie, you note that your swimming abilities are far more enhanced then they once used to be - you were no Olympic swimmer prior, of course, but you knew the basics of moving your legs and arms to propel around. Now, however, your body, though wider and heavier in how it feels (the shape of a seal is not exactly slim, after all, although they make it work) is able to move at a much quicker pace. You can tell as you swim around aimlessly, mostly to understand how this new body works properly.
These flippers have granted you a boost, either way, and you feel as though you are a slender jet shooting through the thick weight of water - not so much a knife cutting through nearly-melted butter, no, but more akin to a balloon riding on a calm air current. It is as if you have become one with the ocean, and as you pause with your meandering, you soak (pun not intended… yet) in the sensations presenting themselves to you, including that watery weight.
The weight is everywhere - a mass of pressure pressing against every inch of your body. And yet, it is not heavy, nor uncomfortable - you can move side to side and up and down with little issue. You also note that despite the fact you are underwater, your lungs are not bothered by this - you are holding your breath, as it were, but there feels to you like a vast supply of air inside of you, as if your lungs are the size of great cities meshed together. There’s no discomfort, and you honestly find it rather amazing.
Not only that, but your senses are rather sharp. Your vision can see far ahead of you, spotting a school of fish scouring the upper waves for tiny things to munch on - fish you could barrel toward and catch if you were so inclined. Your hearing is notably not that poor, either, despite being underwater. You can hear the distance music of a whale or two far, far off - their baritone voice seems to vibrate through the waves, almost like an earthquake of low sound.
You are fascinated by this, by the fact you can see and hear so well, and even your sense of taste seems heightened. Your tongue can dart out and taste the salty water, but there is more than just the salt that your tongue feels: you can taste the grains of sand (a little coarse, with a rather odd flavor), you can taste the water itself (it has no flavor beyond all its components), and more.
You drop down and hover about when you reach the ocean’s floor, a sandy, bumpy land teeming with tiny fishes, small clusters of coral jutting out from the ground, and crabs skittering about, kicking up little particles that meld together to form the underwater equivalent of a dusty cloud. It passes by you without really fazing you, since you don’t feel an urge to blink the granules away.
Written by Hollowpages on 16 June 2020
For a moment, you float there, taking in… everything.
Being where you are right now in this instant, underwater in the ocean without having the need to rush up for air or without feeling any sort of immediate fear for your life is unlike any sensation you’ve experienced in your life before this day. You feel… good? Great? In awe?
It’s a combination of these emotions, you suppose.
You shift your focus and instead begin to casually swim forward, deeper into the embrace of the expanding ocean. The water is warm to you for some reason - a warmth at seeps through your soft flesh and permeates throughout your body. It makes it so that you don’t feel as afraid or leery as you might’ve felt otherwise, you think. Or that’s what it seems like, anyways.
As you swim about, at a relative low angle - your belly isn’t quite scraping the ground or anything, but you’re lower than you obviously could be, and that’s fine with you - you observe. The depths of the ocean do not scare you, despite the ever darkening shade of blue that seems to push beyond what you conceived, with the depth growing more and more as you peer toward the underwater horizon.
You wonder how far you could go; a human could not swim very deep without any outside aid, you know this well. The human body is not built for high pressure - and even if you had been human wearing diving gear or helming a submarine, you know that no human has been able to truly explore the darkest pits of the world’s oceans. Could you now? You… don’t know.
You know you are a selkie, no more human than the fish swimming around you warily now that they see your massive figure (massive to them, that is). But you aren’t sure what sort of abilities you possess that break past the limitations of a normal seal or a normal human. You hope to find out, though.
After a moment, you pause again, floating about, your eyes scanning your surroundings with more concentration. Before you are several options, you note.
You can continue to swim around without a goal in mind, though if you keep pushing forward, the ocean will continue to open up and deepen - there is little doubt you will end up coming to a point where you will be able to submerge into the darker sections of the ocean realm, if you are brave enough to.
Or, you think, you can remain in a safer area where it’s much lighter and much more expanded - you notice to your left that there is some sort of underwater cove, and though you cannot see too far beyond this cove, it appears there may be something there. A… ship wreckage? You narrow your eyes and concentrate your vision - doing this seems to grant you an oomph to your gaze, and you indeed seem to see some type of sunken ship.
You then glance to your right, and though there is no apparent sunken ship to catch your mind, you do notice in the distance something else of interest: the ground seems to open up and you can spot the beginnings of a coral forest - thriving with fish and color that catch your eye as if beckoning you toward it.
Now, you have three options. What do you choose?
Written by Hollowpages on 27 June 2020
After a long moment of consideration, you decide that while the possibility of exploring the deeper sea is tantalizing in an adventurous sort of mentality - who knows what could be down there and you have no clue how far you can go, either, since you are neither human nor seal but something between the two. And while the coral forest appears like it would be breathtaking to behold (you might even be able to make a home of some kind there, you don’t know, and that’s honestly kind of exciting for you), you cannot help but incline yourself to investigating the apparent shipwreck.
Besides, you muse - who wouldn’t want to explore a sunken ship? There could be treasures in there, or other things of interest. You may be a selkie now, certainly, but your mind still retains human inclinations; you could discover something of interest that you might be able to unearth for someone else, and that suits you fine, or, there may be something else of note. You won’t know unless you look.
Plus, it’s not like you won’t be able to see either of the other two options at some point - the day is young and you are a selkie now, right? You have no limitations you’re aware of and time seems to have lost meaning to you - you can do as you please, when you please, and that includes going to the center of the ocean or swimming about a coral forest at your leisure.
And so, you swim toward the left.
You pass by several schools of wandering fish, but you pay them no mind. You don’t feel hungry or anything like that - there is no urge in your belly to fill it, so, you will do that when the time is right. Your curiosity is evidently more powerful right now then any shred of hunger you may possess, too.
It doesn’t take you long to bridge the gap between where you’d started and the underwater cove where you saw the hint of a sunken ship. The cove itself is a gaping hole situated in a sandy valley, with several mounds of sand scattered around the edges of said ‘hole’ giving it the feel of a blemish on the otherwise smooth plain of sand you’ve seen prior. You wonder if perhaps an earthquake caused an erosion to create such a noticeable shape, or, if perhaps the apparent ship might have done it. But, you shrug this off, and drop down.
And as you dive a little deeper, you indeed do come across the destroyed remains of what appears to be have at some point in time been a good-sized, healthy ship. The body is large and brown, though it’s grown murky and faded due to being drenched for a long, long period of time - the ship is split almost perfectly in half, with one portion sticking out from the sand a little further down, while the other half lies almost at the center of this makeshift underwater cove.
Written by Hollowpages on 01 July 2020
You swim around the area at first, taking in the sight of this long lost beauty - it looks like it might’ve been from well over a hundred years ago due to the splintered wear and tear, including the torn and barely existing fabric of the flag that seems to have no discernible symbols on it. There are several old, cracked crates dotting the perimeter of the ship - you wonder if it was a cargo ship at some point, or maybe a trading vessel? Or a pirate ship, your inner child thinks, but you silence this consideration for the time being.
The ship, to your eyes, looks to be in decent shape for something that’s been destroyed and beaten down by the constant weight of water.
You spot the fractured ship’s mast - the tip of it is impaled into the upper part of the sand a few feet away from you, sticking out with some shreds of what could’ve been a second flag rather noticeable as they flow there. A second portion of the mast is still attached to the ship, but, where the middle portion went is something the ocean itself only knows. And she won’t be telling.
As you slowly circle the half of the ship that is lying on its - side, stomach, whatever the proper terminology is for it being upright but at rest, since you don’t know such things by heart - you notice the innards of the ship are quite large, larger than you expected. You wouldn’t say it was as big as a fancy cruise ship, but, you would have to say it’d give those big behemoths a run for their money - which is saying a lot if it’s hundreds of years old.
There appears to be a few items of potential interest, too, but you can’t say for certain what they are since the interior is quite dark.
You eventually come to the opening of the ship, and from here, you turn your gaze down to the other half that is beneath you, the wooden body looking like a giant mouth open for anything to swim into - you can tell the portion beneath you is larger than the half in front of you, but both have some curious possibility swirling around inside your mind.
What to do, you think?
You can eventually choose both halves to look into since you remind yourself you have no curfew or restrictions now that you’re a selkie, freed from the woes of humanity and the usual problems you would be dealing with, of course, but you want to decide which to look at first - so, do you choose the larger half beneath you, or do you choose the half in front of you directly?
Written by Hollowpages on 03 July 2020
You ponder this for a moment, or whatever could be considered a moment for a selkie floating underwater with a human’s mind - and then, you decide, hey, why not swim down into the larger section of the sunken ship and see what might be lurking beneath. It’s bigger, so, more space and more to check out.
You do that, turning your body down and pushing yourself lower and lower as you swim to the large ship’s body impaling the sandy ground.
The body is large and somewhat ominous, and yet you feel no fear - you don’t see anything dangerous, nor do you get any sensation of impending doom or worry that you need to be mindful of.
When you enter the mouth of the broken ship down old ship, the water - you would’ve considered it the ‘air,’ but being submerged, this feels wrong, so maybe the aura sounds more befitting - feels cooler, and as you dive in more, the coldness increases. It’s like being surrounded by an icy hand clutching around your body. It doesn’t scare you, nor does it make you feel uncomfortable, but, it is definitely noticeable.
There is something about the fact the water is colder here that makes you think that there’s far more to this sunken shipwreck than what you initially thought. You get this nagging feeling in the back of your head that you are being watched - and on top of this, your stomach churns, because the iciness has now drenched your body. It’s bizarre, for sure - very, very bizarre.
You shake it off, and try to focus on looking around and exploring.
It is dim here, the nooks and crannies untouched by the sunlight filtering down from above because of how deep you are now - and though you can still see, your vision feels more obscured by the shadows of the wreckage. You cannot see too deep into the body of the ship - the further down you look, the less light there is, almost like tendrils of blackness eagerly waiting for you to venture too close before swallowing you whole. You can make out what looks like a staircase further in that leads to an upper floor… or you imagine that’s the case.
The unease is seeping even more into your body, melding into the odd icy feeling. Still, you are not about to be bothered by such a thing - you have no reason to be afraid, you tell yourself. You look around, however, and absorb what you’re able to see.
Written by Hollowpages on 04 July 2020
For starters, you are surprised to see the unmistakable sight of not one, but three skeletons - or at least, what were once full skeletons. One is lodged haphazardly in what was most likely a window at one point in time, as if the person had tried to escape the ship as it was sinking but got stuck in the window during their attempt. Another is deeper in the shadow of the ship’s body, half of said skeleton trapped beneath what appears to be a large crate - their head and one hand is still visible, that hand reaching out at you as if calling out for help that will never come.
You feel a sense of unease, but, you swallow this down and swim a little lower, checking the rather somber sight, then turning to the last visible skeleton. This one is sitting awkwardly on what might’ve been a bed in the past, with one leg apparently trapped under the ‘body’ of the bed. One shoulder looks dislocated.
It is clear to you that this was a manned ship, clearly, if there are three bodies here. You begin to wonder what became of the rest of the crew, and your mind races with dozens of questions - this, despite the fact you are still coming to terms with the reality you are now a selkie due to angering a genie. It seems not even magic can conquer the unyielding strength of a curious mind.
You eventually shake this away, and you notice something else, something deeper in the ship’s body - it is hard to see given how black the darkness is, but, it looks like… a small chest!
You swim toward it slowly and find that it is indeed a chest, the sort that reminds you of pirate movies you’ve seen in the past, and though you cannot see inside because it is locked shut - locked shut with a fairly large lock that seems far too big to be real, and not only is there a lock, it is covered with a large, thick, rusted chain encircling it - you catch sight of something that looks to be… shiny?
You feel a rush of excitement at the sight - an excitement that is mitigated only slightly by the fact you can still feel the sense you’re being watched by something. You can ignore it, however, and circle the chest, admiring it. If it is what you think it could be, then, that is definitely a fantastic discovery to make underwater like this.
Yet before you can dwell on this discovery, let alone begin to think of what you can do to perhaps open the chest and see for yourself what is inside, you stop, because you hear something. It is low at first, a very distant, echoing noise - yet it approaches, and you turn your head toward the direction of it (which happens to also be above you by this point).
You swim up, pushing above the sunken remnant of the ship you were only just beginning to truly explore, and you hear the noise much clearer now.
Written by Hollowpages on 05 July 2020
he sound is… singing.
It is not the same deep noise of a whale’s song, no - this is different. It sounds more… more human, you note. It is low, soothing, and distinctly feminine - a very resonating hum that seems to sink through your flesh, piercing right into your core. As it grows louder, it seems to reverberate all around you, and especially inside of your head, as if you were listening to music.
It is eerie. Very eerie, and yet, still melodic - a pleasant and smooth rhythm that really catches your insides, filling you with a sense of… familiarity?
You are stunned at what this music is and where it could possibly be coming from - or what the heck sort of creature could be making it, and then, above you, from the direction where you came from, you see a form appear - a head pokes out from above you, from where the underwater cove crater begins. It is a head much like yours, and you can feel eyes on you.
Then, the head vanishes, and it clicks in your head that you might’ve just laid eyes on another selkie. So now, the question becomes, do you follow?
Written by Hollowpages on 07 July 2020
It isn’t difficult to decide on following, not when the chance has presented itself that you might have just seen another person - or selkie - just like you. You swim upward to the entrance to this shipwreck’s hole, and you spot a body shooting away through the waves at an incredible speed. It appears to be a seal, but, they are moving very fast, and you feel inclined to follow to see for yourself if they are a real seal or if maybe, just maybe, they are more like you.
Naturally, that’s what you decide to do.
You take off in a flash after the seal, following behind it despite the distance between the two of you. At first, you struggle to maintain a solid speed since you only know a little about this new-found body of yours - you kick your flippers like you would if they were human legs, as if this will make a difference, but it only does you so good in moving faster.
You aren’t about to give up, of course, but, you are aware that this seal is far ahead of you, heading back toward the direction you initially came from. They dive down, right near the coral forest you spotted a while back.
You eventually get into the groove of moving more easily. It is a matter not of kicking flippers or trying to move this or that - you discover that it is a combination of working with the water, not against it, and moving in tandem with your breathing. These two factors allow you to improve your agility, and you pick up speed right around the time you come to the coral forest for yourself.
You stop when you reach it.
The coral forest is far, far bigger and runs far deeper than you expected it to. You cannot help but float there for a few slow breaths, taking in the array of colors sprouting out from the sand below - there are shades of reds, deep and emerald ton greens, several blues, and several purples, oranges and yellows, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the dozens upon dozens of different fish types all fluttering about, above and within the forest.
You are in awe of the beauty - it is like being in an art museum filled with old and fascinating artworks, or standing in a field of hundreds of different, blooming flowers. It goes beyond what you had expected, and you admit that perhaps you should’ve come here first. But you shake this off when you hear that human singing deeper into the coral forest.
You swim down, darting past the fish that scurry away in fright at the sight of a much larger being (and obvious predator) shooting past them. You delve into the forest, swimming around the clusters of red corals, the clusters of greens and blues and purples - a few bobs, a few weaves, and you eventually push deeper beneath the colors to find a cave - a rather open, deep cave with no end in sight, yet though it’s dusky, there are flickers of light that illuminate tiny shreds of the innards.
You hear that singing echoing from the cave’s gullet, so, you venture inwards. You are slightly on edge, you admit to yourself, but your curiosity has gotten the better of you once again. It’s not like you have anything to lose, either.
The smattering of light you find varies - some of it comes from holes above you, crackles in the cave’s ceiling that allow for slivers of the sun’s light high, high above to somehow peer through into the murk. But, you also notice that some of the light seems to be coming from the walls of the caves - tiny groupings of… glowing coral, perhaps? You aren’t entirely sure, mostly because your attention zeroes in on following that eerie melody to its source.
Minutes tick by, and you flow through the cave, dodging around random bends and turns and bumps until you spot the cave’s end ahead of you - and end in that it opens up again, leaving you a little bewildered as to what would cause a random cave like that in such a strange portion of the ocean.
You shrug this off internally.
When you reach the end of the cave and exit into the wider ocean once more, you find yourself in another, smaller coral forest. The water here is a little darker, you notice, and though you turn your gaze upward toward the direction of the sky, you can’t quite tell if it’s still daylight out or if it’s slowly beginning to turn to night. You expect night to drape over the ocean soon, but, you are undeterred by this.
That singing reaches your ears, and you swim toward it, moving through this newer, smaller coral forest of various colors, going up, then down, then up again until you skim the top of the coral field. You then see, a little ahead of you, is a sight that again leaves you genuinely surprised.
There is a large, large rock formation several yards - you think? - in front of you, a rock formation with random bits sticking up and out and even chunks broken off. Yet that is not what snags your attention: you see a variety of holes, large holes that are most definitely person-sized, almost in a perfect row forming a strange sort of ring within the massive stone, as if it were a home to sea life.
You blink several times, and something about this mass rising out from the ground makes you feel like you ought to explore it. But before you can contemplate this, you hear that singing again, much closer now - you turn your attention and, there, roughly the same distance as the large earthen formation, is the seal you saw. She - they - are nearer to the surface, and as you notice them, they swim toward what appears to be land, emerging from the depths.
You have two options - you can swim to this formation to check it out, and see what may lurk in those holes or near them. Or, you can follow this seal, and see once and for all if perhaps they are someone like you. Now what, you wonder?
Written by Hollowpages on 09 July 2020
You hover in the water for a moment, pondering what feels like the better option. The strange rock formation seems like it might be tantalizing to explore, you are aware of that, but, the possibility this strange singing seal (if it is the seal singing, you aren’t sure) could be like you is far too much of an interest to let it go. So, you opt for that choice, and you swim after this seal.
You flow up the water after the seal, as they have gone topside. It doesn’t take long for you to reach the surface, and when your head emerges from the blue depths, you find yourself looking onwards at a small island of sorts.
It’s ‘of sorts’ because it isn’t a mass of actual dirt and plantlife land (you know, what you typically envision for an island with trees and sand and the like), but rather, a large, very flat and barren sheet of rock that stretches in all directions at just a large enough size that you expect it could fit a few houses. Though it is primarily flat, there are several bumps here and there, and despite the lack of green, it’s littered with numerous stones scattered about, including some boulders that appear to be growing out from the flattened ground. You also note that there’s a few ‘hill’s of stone, and, strangely enough, several archways that connect the hills together.
You blink a few times, taking in the bizarre sight.
You consider the possibility that, perhaps in the past, this mass was a cave of some sort that has decayed greatly due to being battered by the waves and the weather - you also notice that it might’ve been a part of a much bigger land mass at some point in time, too, because you turn to peer in the distance and notice that there appear to be other islands dotting the horizon.
You’re partly surprised at this because, well, you don’t recall seeing anything of this nature before you were transformed into a selkie. Then again, the fact you were turned into a selkie by a genie in the first place renders that consideration moot - if a magical being can exist with the power to change you like this (and you know by now it’s not a dream), then, perhaps it should be expected that you might end up in some other part of the world.
You shake this off, and instead you climb onto the flat rock using your flippers.
Your body, though lithe in the water, is a bit heavier than you expect it to be, but you are able to inch onto the land with a bit of initial struggle. When you are there, you find the surface of the flat stone to be smooth and cool, moistened due to the sea spray brought about from the waves all around. There’s a cool breeze, too, one that tastes of salt and flavors you can’t quite describe - but they are familiar to you, and somewhat homey, in fact.
But your thoughts are snagged when you hear the singing again - the feminine, soft singing that seems to seep through your thick coat, through your bones, right down into your very essence.
You crane your neck toward the direction you hear the singing coming from, and after some difficulty, you spot the seal you were following.
She - or they, as again, though their singing sounds like a woman’s, the fact you have become a female seal regardless brings that into question - are sitting atop one of the large rocky hills, looking away from you toward the opposite direction (the direction you are now facing). How they managed to get up there so fast when they didn’t have a very long lead on you (and you note that if they are a selkie like you, then they should have the same sort of mobility you do, right?) is beyond you. Then again, how they are making this musical melody is beyond you, too, since, well, you can’t really talk anymore.
You are both mystified by the singing (it has no words to it, naturally, but the melody is eerie and genuinely soothing to you, not to mention it grabs and tugs at you as if the singing is trying to call you to this other seal on purpose), and overcome with curiosity - so many questions bob and weave inside your brain that you cannot help but want answers to it all.
You begin to waddle your way toward this strange, singing seal, but you aren’t really the fastest due to the fact that the land is harder to navigate on. Without legs, and with such a soft, still slightly plump body, you basically end up half bouncing on your belly while using your flippers to scoot forward. It would be a comical sight to behold, you’re sure, if you were a human that saw a seal doing this. Or maybe it would be cute? You admit, it might be a little of both.
But that is neither here nor there right now, because you focus on bridging the gap between yourself and this other, mysterious seal that seems to be singing.
It takes a few minutes for you to finally hobble over toward the start of the rocky hill - the hill seems to be much larger than you thought from an initial glance, and you certainly note that it’ll take effort for you to climb up after the other seal if you wish to get closer. What will happen then, you admit you don’t know. You’re not sure how you can communicate, or if this other seal would even want to communicate with you in the first place.
You shrug this off internally, and instead you pause to think for a moment.
The distance between you and the other seal you’re so eager to ‘meet,’ as it were, is enough that it’ll take you a bit of effort to try and get up to them. You don’t know if, by the time you make it there, the seal will become aware of you or not - and if they do, for all you know they might run away or something.
After all, you note, they did swim away from you when you saw them looking down at you. You don’t want to frighten them, because you don’t really feel like chasing after them, even if you’re not tired, and it isn’t like you have anything better to do. That aside, you can still try to climb up after them, or, you can wait for them to stop their singing to notice you on their own, or, you also add to yourself that you could simply try to get their attention from where you are.
That is about three options you have presented to you. Now you simply have to figure out which option you desire to choose… but which is the best one?
Written by Hollowpages on 10 July 2020
You give it some heavy thought since you want to make sure you do this the right way. You settle not on trying to awkwardly climb this rocky hill to get to the other seal, but instead on waiting and watching the other seal. You figure that they will likely see you down there at some point, so, you’d rather let them be the one to decide if they want to come down to you instead.
Something about this seems right to you as far as decisions go.
You’re not sure why - it could be the human in you, since you retain your humanity despite now being a selkie. Regardless, you remain where you are and listen to the seal’s melody for a time.
As you wait, the sea’s own melody - the flowing of the waves as they rise up and douse the flat, stone island you are now sitting on, bringing with it sea foam that sprinkles down onto the ground and onto you, mixed in with the sound of gulls in the distance - joins together with the seal’s music. The two different tenors don’t clash despite what you expect, and instead, they go hand in hand with one another, joining to form an eerie yet calming rhythm.
Together, the music settles you, and you find it all so very… peaceful.
But eventually, after some time has slipped by you, the stronger melody coming from above you ceases. You snap out of your daze and glance up to find the seal now looking down at you. You can’t read their expression, but you get the sense that they are studying you with an almost human intensity.
You watch, and wait, to see what they do next. Will they stay? Will they come down to you? Will they flee? Will they do some combination of these, or nothing at all like what you expect? Even you don’t know at this rate.
At first, the response to this seems to be… nothing, for they look at you a moment longer before they look away. You blink a few times and wonder what, if anything, to expect. Perhaps they’ll ignore your existence entirely - you suppose that’s one thing you hadn’t considered when you followed them in the first place.
‘I suppose you’re expecting something for being so patient there, don’t you?’
The voice startles you - you hear it in your head, clear as day, as if someone is speaking into both your ears at once. The voice is clearly a woman’s that sounds young - perhaps late twenties or early thirties, if you had to guess of an age range from a voice, and she speaks with a noticeable accent - Irish, in fact. Thick enough to be obvious to your mind’s ears (if that phrase fits), yet still soft and pleasant.
‘Since you’ve been a pleasant audience for me, I guess I can reward you with what you’re clearly seeking, pup. One moment.’
The seal above you slides down the rocky hill, moving rather swiftly before coming to a stop before you. She appraises you with very human looking eyes, regarding you with the same intense, quizzical stare she was giving moments ago - only now, you can see her eyes far clearer. You’re a little unnerved at how human her eyes look, not at all like that of a seal’s like you expected.
‘You seem very confused, little pup,’ she says, or, her voice says inside your head. It’s definitely a strange sensation to experience, and you find it disorienting despite the fact her voice is very calm and not at all threatening. In fact, her tone holds genuine amusement in it.
She cocks her head to the side as her eyes bore into you.
‘You are like me, I can see that from the way you stare with an intelligence above that of the average animal,’ the seal says. ‘But you are unlike me, too. I can tell by the smell you are not of my kind, at least not through natural means. Your scent is different.’ Her large nostrils flare several times as she leans in to sniff you. She nods. ‘Yes, you stink of magic - a very dark magic unlike that of what I possess, pup. It seems a djinn has meddled about in things, as they often tend to do, and now you have been transformed into a selkie.’
You are astounded by all this. It takes a moment for you to register what she has said to you, as it would any normal person in this situation. You stare at her, trying to figure out what she’s talking about, but more importantly, how you can respond to her to continue this communication. You just don’t know where to even begin.
‘Ah, I see,’ the seal says. ‘You have yet to find your voice. I am not surprised given the nature of this change for your life, hmm, pup?’ Her chortle echoes inside your head, and she gives a snort from her nostrils. ‘Concentrate on your thoughts - think the words you wish to speak as if your lips could still work the way they once did. You’ll find by doing that you will be able to respond to me.’
You take this in and try to do as she has said, and you wonder what you want to ask her first. Obviously, you can ask who she is, or if she’s a selkie, but you decide you can also ask something a bit more meaningful to start off with - like how she knows about the genie.
Regardless, you mull this over before you decide you have what you want to say, at least to start off with…
Written by Hollowpages on 12 July 2020
‘Well, pup?’ the seal asks, and you snap out of your daze. ‘Are you going to remain silent or do you intend to try and speak with me? I’ve no desire to rush you, mind, but I assume you’re intelligent enough to pick this up quickly, hmm?’
You shake your head and drum up what you have opted to say. ‘You…’ You blink as you hear your voice in your head, sharper than when you normally think to yourself, as if your lips are indeed vocalizing words. You blink a few times and continue. ‘You know about the genie?’
Those strange, human eyes hold mirth in them. ‘Of course I do. It’s the most likely reason for why you find yourself in the blessed body of a selkie, pup - normal humans would never fathom of becoming one of my kin unless they’d fallen in love with one of us.’ She pauses, then snorts. ‘Although you seem to have taken to it fairly well, it’s clear you’ve no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into in full. But, yes. I know of the genie.’
You blink a few times, taking this in.
‘Your world is not as mundane as you may have once believed,’ the selkie says. ‘There is much magic lurking within it - many of the myths you have heard to be fairy tales or fantasy hold some kernels of truth to them, or else we would not be having this conversation.’
‘I’m… starting to see that now,’ you reply.
‘Mm.’ She nods slowly. ‘You are not the first human to be transformed into a selkie, pup. Certainly not, and you won’t be the last. There are many others, some of whom live not far from where we stand.’ She nods her head toward the direction you came from. ‘That great rock formation you likely saw?’
You nod as you recall it.
‘That is home to several selkie, some like you, some like me,’ she replies.
You turn toward the direction you chose not to go and soak this in. ‘How many…’ You pause and shift your thoughts around a little. ‘How many others are like me? Humans turned into selkie? And… are they all that way because of the same genie?’
‘I cannot give you a full number,’ she replies, and she shrugs her shoulders to the best way a seal can shrug. ‘Many are like this due to magical influences, yes, though perhaps not the same djinn. Fortunately, there is something you likely didn’t know - or perhaps you were led to think differently by the djinn responsible.’ She leans in to stare at you, her eyes gleaming. ‘You can, in fact, return to your former visage, pup. You aren’t trapped in this body for eternity.’
You are stunned to hear this. You swore there was a voice that told you this would be your new body forever. To hear otherwise is… not at all what you expected. Somehow, you feel relieved to hear this - you think back to the things you thought you’d have to leave behind, and now, you admit a part of you does miss them.
‘But, wait,’ you think, trying to sort all this out. ‘Then why would…?’
‘You must’ve done something to upset the genie, hmm?’ the selkie asks, then gives a snort. ‘So many djinn are ridiculously sensitive beings, offended by the tiniest of slights.’ She rolls her eyes. ‘It is not uncommon for humans to use the wrong tone by mistake or to get upset or whatever, and a genie will curse them out of sheer spite. Fortunately, such magics can be worked around to ensure these cursed humans are able to live happier lives.’
‘So the genie was lying when he said I was stuck this way?’ you ask.
‘Yes, pup,’ the selkie replies. ‘The magic you have been imbued with cannot be undone, however - but you can learn to control it, as many selkie like you do. Doing so will allow you to live in both worlds: yours, that of normal humans, and ours, that of the magically gifted, of the beings you likely know as fae.’
Your eyes go wide. ‘Fae? Fairies? So they’re real?’
‘Not to the extent you might be thinking,’ the selkie admits, giving another shrug in the process. ‘But yes, they are real enough. We selkie are one of many similar beings that fall into the same bracket as the fae you are thinking of - those with the blessed ability to shift between the body of an animal and a human. In your case, you are naturally born human, whereas I am naturally a seal. But time and magic has gifted me the ability to speak, to think, and to comprehend all manner of things as a human being would.’
‘Wow…’ you say.
It’s a lot to take in, of course, and you feel yourself excited to hear this all. You have always been a fan of the fantastical; you never thought you’d be living it, and you admit that you hadn’t considered this when you were first turned into a selkie.
‘You seem to be dwelling a lot on this,’ the selkie remarks. ‘That’s a good sign.’
‘I don’t know where to even start with all this,’ you tell her.
She cocks her head to the side, studying you. ‘Well, what is it you wish to know first? Do you want to find out how to return to your human form? Or would you rather save that and instead discover what you can do as a selkie? Either work for me, unless you’ve another question that’s nagging at your mind.’
You pause to think. Good question. Both of them are decent options, and you feel either one would be useful for you in the moment.
‘Are both possible?’ you ask the selkie.
She chuckles. ‘Of course, pup. I would not deny you the right to return to your flesh form - to do so would be an insult to my kin, and I feel no desire to be malicious to one that, while perhaps foolish, is not wicked themselves.’
You don’t respond to that one since, well, you don’t really want to (you know you messed up and that you haven’t thought of it much since becoming a selkie, but you can dwell on that later, you tell yourself). For now, you think, and weigh the two options given to you.
Written by Hollowpages on 14 July 2020
You eventually decide what it is you want to do, after considering it for a long few moments of silence. You study this selkie, then let out a quiet internal sigh.
‘What can I do as a selkie?’ you ask. ‘I’d… I’d like to find out first.’
The selkie nods slowly. ‘I am not surprised you would choose this first. It is a wise decision - you can return to human form at any time, but learning how to swim properly is smarter, pup. I wouldn’t want you to go without discovering your true potential.’
You don’t respond to this, mostly because you don’t feel you need to. What the selkie has said makes plenty of sense to you, after all, so you simply decide you want to wait and see what she will say to you next. You are curious to find out what sort of ‘abilities’ you have as a selkie, after all.
Her eyes seem to gleam as she appraises you. ‘Alright, pup. The first thing you must do for me is choose once more - but it is not a grave choice to make, mind you. There are two different sets of gifts you possess as a selkie: those that you can access when on dry land, and those that you can access when you are in the water.’
‘Dry land and water,’ you repeat, and you nod. ‘Alright, understood.’
‘On land, you are weaker,’ the selkie says. ‘The water is your natural element, pup, and will be for the rest of your days even when you are in human form. Any body of water will be your truest ally, but, the ocean will be your closest friend and lover: she will embrace you with wide, open arms, and will always seek to cure your maladies or help you when you are hurting. Never forget this, because she will never forget you.’
The words sink into you, and you look about at the ocean as it sprays upon the rocks around you, filling the air with the scents of the salty waters.
‘But, while she is a dear friend to you, to me, and to all like us,’ the selkie says, ‘the land is also a part of you, and will always be there to help you all the same - like a nurturing older sister that cannot be as freeing, but means well regardless.’
You nod slowly as you soak these in, too.
‘So the choice now is simple, pup,’ the selkie says, and she tilts her head to the side to study you. ‘Do you want to learn and experience your benefits beneath the waters? Or do you desire to discover what your land abilities are first?’
Another choice lingers before you, but you feel the excitement bubbling in the pit of your stomach at all the potential at your display. You can tell you have the ability to do both, but, it simply boils down to what you want to learn first.
So, what do you want?
Written by Hollowpages on 15 July 2020
After a moment longer of pondering over the options you’ve been presented, you decide on which you’d rather learn about to start with - time feels like it’s on your side, regardless of the decision you make, and you see no reason to worry about it otherwise.
‘I think I’d like to learn about what I can do underwater first,’ you reply.
The selkie eyes you with a knowing expression, as if she knew you were going to choose that as your answer. She nods once, then turns away from you and trots toward the ocean, pausing only once to glance at you again and incline her head toward the deep azure.
‘Follow me, pup,’ she replies.
She dives in, and disappears beneath the waves.
You follow after her and do the same, and you quickly feel yourself submerged under the depths again - she’s not far from you. In fact, she’s floating about barely a foot away from the point you dived from, so you swim over to join her.
‘The first thing you need understand about our abilities,’ the selkie says, ‘is that we are gifted in controlling the waters in ways the average creature cannot.’
You’re fairly certain you’d have a furrowed brow if you could. Her statement puzzles you. ‘What do you mean?’
She chuckles internally. ‘What I mean, pup, is that you can actually will the water to some degree. As you are not a natural-born selkie like myself, you can’t grasp this power to the same level I or other pure selkie can. But, you have the potential. Think of the waves of blue around us as an extension of your own physical form. Envision it as your flesh and blood and bone.’
You pause, and consider these words. It’s different from what you expected from when you first heard her ask you about all this - and, in truth, the concept of being able to ‘control’ the water sounds… well, it sounds surreal and fantastical. You do consider the fact you’re currently a selkie, however, so…
‘Having fun contemplating my words?’ the selkie asks. She sounds thoroughly amused.
‘I mean…’ You pause again, and try to think it over. ‘When you say that I have the power to control the water, what exactly does that entail? I don’t expect that I can create a tidal wave out of thin air, right?’
She chuckles internally once more. ‘No, pup. Nothing that intense, I’m afraid.’
She swims over to you, circling around you for a brief moment.
‘Think of it more along the lines of using water as an aid to your every move,’ the selkie replies. ‘You can use the waves to propel yourself forward, or, slow down something that might be dangerous and swimming toward you. It’s how I was able to keep ahead of you so easily when I led you away from the shipwreck.’
Your eyes go wide. ‘You were doing that on purpose!’
‘Of course,’ she replies, smiling at you. ‘I knew what you were the instant I spotted you, and I felt if I could get you away from the ship, that perhaps you’d be intrigued enough to chase after me.’
You don’t know how to respond to that. But, you let it go for now - no reason to keep on it since it’s a little too late - and instead, you try to think of her words, and of ‘controlling’ the water, as she’s put it. It sounds foreign to you, yet you are more than willing to give it a shot (not like you have anything else you can do with your time right now, after all, and you did sort of choose to do this).
And so it is that you, in the body of a selkie, try to envision the water you’ve submerged yourself into as an extension of your body.
Initially, you can’t grasp the idea - it’s hard to picture or force yourself to feel like the water is a part of your own body, because your human mind doesn’t enjoy the notion of such a thing. It takes a good, long few minutes for you to concentrate on not reacting to such thoughts, but, even then, you can’t just magically start bending the water around you.
‘Concentrate on steadying everything within,’ the selkie says. ‘Steady your racing thoughts. Feel the water itself, not as some external element, but as if it were attached to you. Imagine that you are molding the waters with your mind, and use this to move your body. Up, down, left, right, forward, backward. Do this and only this, nothing more.’
Her words echo inside your skull, and you keep your concentration as best as you can. You close your eyes and very, very gradually work on doing what she’s told you to do.
It takes you time, but after what could have been an eternity, you can feel your mind quieting - the racing thoughts and impulses are quelling themselves down, and instead, you can actually feel the water around you easier. And as you focus on that, on the feeling of the waves, you envision not the water and you as separate things, but instead, as two parts of the same whole.
The water is part of you. You are a part of it. You are one in the same.
You envision this, and think this, and you become able to FEEL it to be so.
Then, when these sensations are the strongest they can be, you do as she’s told you - you envision the water moving your body for you, rather than trying to move it on your own. It takes a moment - a long, silent moment, at that - yet you suddenly feel your body going to the side, because you are WILLING it to.
You don’t move a muscle, not a flipper, not an inch on your own.
Your eyes open, and you can see yourself being moved by invisible strings that feel as though they’re dangling from your mind. You tilt your body to the left, tugging yourself with the waves. You are no longer submerged underwater; you truly believe, from sensation and sight, that you are guiding your motion with the water as your fingers.
You pull yourself up with the water, using one ‘hand’ to tug up, and the other ‘hand’ to push you at the same time. It works. You float up, then go down, all without having to actively exert any sort of force from your own body.
‘Whoa…’ you think.
The selkie has been watching you the entire time. She nods her head with approval, a glimmer in her eyes.
‘Nicely done, pup, nicely done,’ she says. ‘Not perfect, but, there is no such thing as true perfection.’
She swims around you again, only this time, her motions speed up - she suddenly swirls around your body, then darts down to the seafloor, then shoots back up again like a rocket. All of this in the matter of seconds, her body moving so fast, she briefly looks like a living blur.
It makes your head spin to witness in person, and you take a pause to blink away the surprise.
‘Now then,’ she says when she stops, and floats back to being in front of you. She’s grinning again, a hint of cheekiness in her eyes. ‘What you have done will require practice for you to gain a deeper appreciation of. And, it is merely one of the abilities we selkie are blessed with.’
‘What else can we do?’ you ask. You’re a little excited and honestly perplexed to find out.
‘In time, pup, in time,’ the selkie replies, and she chuckles again - she has an expression of understanding the entire time. ‘There is not a mass of skills, by any means. Don’t overexcite yourself with hopes. First, perhaps you should practice more of what you’ve just learned, hmm? But then, the choice IS yours on what you’d prefer to do.’
You suck in a quiet, internal breath, and nod along to her words.
You can continue to practice this new ability, as she’s said. Or, you can ask for something else, or decide to go back topside. What would you like to choose?
Written by Hollowpages on 02 November 2020
After a pause of thinking over what you wish to do, you admit that, while you are somewhat eager now to see what else you as a selkie can do, you want to be smart about this whole ordeal. Rushing into things… that’s what got you into this predicament in the first place.
‘I think I’ll practice more, I guess,’ you say. ‘I, uh, want to get a hang on this ability and all that. I’ve always loved superpowers, so…’
The selkie snickers with thorough amusement. ‘A wise idea.’
You go back to concentrating the way the selkie has taught you - you feel the waves as an extension of your own body, and, you start to use that while in motion. You slowly move forward at a sluggish pace, but as you do, you use this newfound ability to give your body a push, as if the water is two hands behind you.
The push works!
Your speed increases, despite the fact your own body is not going all that quick at all. But, the water push aids in doubling your speed. You keep this up for about a minute, then stop, and, as you stop, you let the sensation ebb down.
‘This is so weird,’ you think to yourself’ ‘But it’s so fascinating all the same…’
You tilt your body upwards and give yourself a bigger push using only the water - it’s like having invisible hands that lift your entire body up effortlessly. You go up, up, and up even more, until your head pokes out from the surface of the waves. You hover there for a couple seconds, blinking and breathing in, then, you wonder something.
‘If I’m topside, does that mean I’ll see the water in motion?’ you think.
You decide to see for yourself if that’s the case or not. So, you begin to focus on extending out your own will into the waves surrounding your body. As you do this, you are astonished to see the water around you slowing down, and after a moment, you concentrate on raising the water directly in front of you.
The water rises up, lifting itself as if there were a hand pushing it above the surface.
You let out a gasp of shock, and the water splatters down, molding back into the wave. A ripple ricochets out from this point, and you are fascinated.
You do the same thing again. Concentrate on the water around your body until the sensation of it being ‘a part’ of you has sunk in, then begin to push it up like you’re lifting the water, but without touching it. It does the same thing, only this time, you keep your focus - you stay glued to this water lifting up before you, and you decide to add to it by trying to raise even more then just the one spot.
It takes a lot of effort on your part, but, eventually, you are able to raise up a tiny little wave, all without having to touch it directly.
You let out a breath and when your concentration ends, the tiny wave sinks back, sending out more ripples. You can’t help but float there and stare - you watch the ripples vanish into the distance and take a moment to appreciate how cool it is to be able to manipulate the water. Even if it isn’t to some superhuman degree, it’s neat to witness.
‘What else are selkies capable of?’ you wonder.
It’s so bizarre to consider that these creatures actually exist, but, you find yourself wanting to learn more and more if at all possible. For now, though, you decide not to dwell on it. You feel content knowing what you’ve learned, and, you want to keep practicing for a while longer.
You use the waves to pull your body down beneath the surface once more, and from there, you let the wave carry you down, down more, until you’re right back to the area where the selkie female is. She hasn’t really moved much, and if anything, seems content in watching you with a great deal of amusement.
‘Seeing young pups explore their capabilities is always entertaining for me,’ the selkie says, as if she knows exactly what you’re thinking. Which she may very well, given the nature of things.
You would shrug if you could. ‘It’s a lot of new things to take in.’
She nods. ‘I understand, pup. I don’t blame you. Humans live with the belief that they may not be the only sentient beings of this world, and in fact, they’re quite correct. However, it’s not often that a human will come across one such as myself, and even less common to come across a djinn. Unfortunate for your luck to have done so, though perhaps if you hadn’t been rude to it…’
There is a moment of silence.
You sigh. ‘Yes, I… I know. I don’t know what got into me.’
‘Such a thing happens,’ the selkie remarks. She floats over to you and boops your nose with hers. Her eyes shimmer with a smile on her face. ‘We can deal with that dilemma later, should you wish. For now, pup, I would continue experimenting with this new power you’ve discovered.’
You nod. Then, before you can go off and do that, you pause. Something occurs to you.
‘Before I do,’ you say, and you look at the selkie for a few heartbeats. ‘Do you mind if I ask your name? I forgot to do that when we first met.’
The selkie snickers. ‘Ah, yes, that may be of some benefit to you, wouldn’t it? I imagine being able to refer to me in your thoughts with a name would be less confusing and repetitive as repeatedly calling me ‘selkie,’ wouldn’t it?’
You nod again, and, admit that yes, it would be a bit easier. ‘Do selkie have names?’
‘We selkie have names, yes,’ she says. ‘But our true names are… difficult for human minds to understand the way you understand your fellow human names. It’s not that it can’t be pronounced by your tongue, yet it wouldn’t be an easy feat to do.’
You furrow your brow - or the closest thing to that you can do. ‘Why is that?’
‘Because there’s a… tonality to it that is hard to decipher,’ the selkie replies. She shakes her head. ‘For the sake of simplicity for you, I will give you the name in your tongue that is closest to my true name. You may call me Moirine.’
You repeat the name a few times in your head so that you have a decent grasp of it. It’s a fancy name, for sure, but, it’s quite lovely to your ears. You have always been the sort to enjoy exotic names, provided they were names that could be pronounced (as opposed to names that were bizarre or special for the sake of being special).
‘I’ll do my best to remember it, Moirine,’ you say.
Moirine snickers once more. ‘That is fine with me, pup. Now then.’ She nudges you again. ‘You may continue to practice your water controlling gift, but perhaps we should do something else to make this more interesting, hmm?’
‘What do you have in mind?’ you ask.
‘We can return to the topside, to speak on dry land,’ Moirine says. ‘Or, we can do something else. Perhaps a race?’ Her eyes gleam. ‘Or, I can take you to the resting place of several other selkie - you can learn more from some who have been around for much, much longer than even myself.’
She nods toward the direction of the large rock formation with holes in it and such, the one that seems to be home to other selkies. This sparks your interest, but, then, so do the other options - they all sound like they could be plenty of fun for you right now. What do you wish to do?
Written by Hollowpages on 14 November 2020
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
You mull over your choices for a moment, before you decide you want to stay the course - you want to learn more about the selkies, because fantastical anything fascinates you to the very core.
‘I would like to learn more, yeah,’ you reply.
Moirine nods. ‘Very well then. Follow me.’
Without another word, she starts to swim down, leading you deeper into the massive chasm called the Cayreeg. You dive down, down more, for about two or so minutes until you come to a large hole that seems a little different then the other ones surrounding you - unlike most of the craters where selkie are swimming about or resting, this one has glowing stones jutting out from it.
‘Ooh,’ you say, taking a moment to eye these. They look like crystals.
‘In here,’ Moirine says.
She leads you into the large hole, and soon, you see a lone mass that, at first, you think is just a huge rock. But after a couple seconds, and a blink, you realize that, no, this is no rock - it’s a figure there, a living creature - a selkie like all the others, but, not just an ordinary selkie: this selkie is massive!
‘Holy…’ is all you can manage to say as you gawk.
The selkie looks like a seal that’s grown to be the size of a whale, so large that it takes up most of the backmost portion of the crater. Said selkie is a deep gray color with white and black specks covering its body, with what appears to be very silvery-white fur sticking out from the top of its head, almost like hair. Its eyes are equally large, yet like Moirine’s eyes, appear human-like - but they are also a bright, gleaming sky-blue color. And right when you notice the eyes, the large selkie looks directly at you with a great deal of intelligence.
‘Mm… a new pup comes to my abode.’
The selkie’s voice is that of a woman, but deep and booming, somehow blending together a tone of authority and a tone of calmness at once. But, you somehow know that it is indeed a she, just from a feeling you get in your gut.
‘Greetings, Seamother,’ Moirine says.
She swims up to the giant selkie and rests next to the massive nose - the two boop their snouts together, although comparing the two beings in size makes the sight look almost comical. Moirine may as well be a tiny fish touching her nose to a fully grown blue whale, you think!
Moirine turns to you, smiling. ‘This, pup, is one of our most sacred elders, or the closest thing you would consider an elder within selkie society. Her name, or what is best suitable for you to know as a name, is… Voadia.’ She pauses here and thinks. ‘Yes. Voadia is her name. And Seamother, is her title. She is thousands of years old, and has served as our guide throughout our lifetimes.’
‘Oh, uh. N-nice to meet you,’ you say. It’s still a lot to grasp, admittedly.
The large selkie raises her head and looks at you, her big nostrils flaring as she sniffs a few times - despite being underwater.
When finished, the selkie, Voadia, inclines her head to the side. ‘Judging by the scent, pup, you have been turned into one of our kin through magics, yes?’
You nod. ‘I was… well, I said the wrong thing by accident to a genie…’
‘Ah… That explains it.’ Voadia gives a deep chuckle, one that vibrates through the entire crater the three of you are currently in. ‘You are not the first human to find yourself transformed into a selkie, pup, nor will you likely be the last. Fear not.’ She holds your gaze and smiles, revealing bright teeth. ‘You are not destined to be trapped in this state forever. Rather, you will find you were meant to be gifted this power, and with it, the knowledge of being a selkie.’
You bring yourself down to the ground and rest there.
‘What do you mean?’ you ask. You’re transfixed on her words.
‘Call it a feeling,’ the large selkie replies. ‘I do not wish to proclaim myself to be a… psychic, I believe you humans call it?’ She snorts out a few bubbles. ‘Yes, that is the right term. I am not some all-knowing entity, pup, despite what you may be thinking. I am old, yes. And experienced. And dare I say, I know many things… but that is besides the point.’
She stares at you thoughtfully. ‘I get the sense within me that, as I said, this new page in your life is not a chance occurrence. Rather, I can tell you were meant to be where you were when it happened, as you are meant to be here before me right now. This life was calling to you, though you did not hear it until the magics transformed you. Take that as you wish, pup.’
She smiles at this, then grows silent.
You absorb her words and feel your head rushing with so much. You try to calm your nerves, and, with it, you try to breathe in, only to recall the fact you’re still underwater right now. You blink a few times at how strange it is that you don’t feel super uncomfortable despite the fact you’re holding your breath.
‘Did I ask Moirine about this?’ you wonder to yourself, as you’ve forgotten.
Obviously, being submerged underwater, you do note that you’ll likely need air at some point - but then, you get the sense from Voadia, and from all the other selkies, that maybe breathing in air isn’t as necessary for their kind as you?
Voadia’s eyes show a knowing gleam in them. ‘If you are worried you will need to go to the surface, pup, then you should relieve that concern. We selkie are able to breathe beneath the waves without fear of drowning, due to our natures. We are able to become one with the azure, which benefits us in ways no ordinary creature possesses. Simply relax and allow yourself to breathe… do not think of yourself as underwater. Remove that thought from your mind.’
You stare at her in astonishment that she was able to effectively read your thoughts like that. But, you will try not to dwell on the notion of needing air.
There is a pause, as silence settles over the immediate vicinity.
‘This young pup wanted to know more about our kind,’ Moirine says, nodding to you. ‘And since they are new in their body, I felt it even more beneficial given your wisdom of all things tied to our existence, Seamother.’
‘Speak your thoughts, pup,’ Voadia says, in a warm, calm tone.
‘Oh. Yes, right.’ You stare for a few seconds, mostly gathering your thoughts on how you want to proceed. ‘I… I admit, I don’t know where to even start with any of this. I mean, yesterday, I was a normal person. Now, I’m suddenly a selkie, and I’m learning that there’s a whole lot of things that exist that I honestly never dreamt of.’
‘Not an uncommon thing for those like you to feel,’ Moirine remarks. ‘It isn’t every day that you are changed into a mythical creature by another mythical creature. Take your time in coming to terms with things, pup. There is no rush.’
‘I’m just… overwhelmed,’ you say, and that’s the genuine truth.
Neither of the selkie present appear bothered in the least bit by this, and they remain in place, watching and waiting with the utmost patience. Your head is spinning with so many different questions, you frankly don’t know where to begin - you have a lot to ask about things, of course, so you try to narrow it down to a decent enough starting point to not overdo your inquiries.
Once the influx of things buzzing about your skull quiets down, you’re able to more reasonably pinpoint a few things you would like to learn about.
You can ask about selkie history. You can ask about your abilities and what else the selkie are able to do. You can also ask what Voidia meant about how you’re not the first to be turned into a selkie by magic - and with it, just how many other entities exist in the world that you don’t know about?
So, what do you want to ask first?
Written by Hollowpages on 05 December 2020
You mull over all the possible topics you could ask in the moment, since you are before a large, clearly ancient being that knows way more then you could ever hope to learn in a lifetime. You just KNOW that’s the case, because it’s not every day you meet a whale-sized magical seal creature that can speak.
Then, you decide.
‘I’d like to ask a lot of things,’ you say. ‘But I’ll start, if that’s okay, with asking… you said that I wasn’t the first to become a selkie because of a genie. Is that normal? Or, um, are there other creatures out there that can do the same?’ You blink. ‘Moirine did mention it before, though I’m still curious…’
Voadia gives another deep chuckle. ‘The djinn, as you would know them, are one of many species that possess a deep understanding of… you would call it magic, no doubt. To me, such a term is limiting, for it does not speak to the fullest of what is and what can be - but for the sake of simplicity, I will keep it as such, to ensure you are able to understand.’
Her eyes start to glow as she smiles. ‘This world, this planet, has long housed within it beings like djinn and others whose names you’ve never heard of - they were born not from flesh and blood like you or I, but rather, were birthed by nature and its energies. These entities possess power beyond your scope of understanding, power that allows them to alter the very fabric of reality and creation in small ways. And that includes changing the nature and body of a human being into something like a selkie.’
You stare. ‘Oh. I… I think I understand.’
‘Many mortals have become selkie,’ Voadia says. ‘Many more have become something else. Often, it is the whims of creatures like djinn that are responsible for it, either because they are decidedly being cruel, or because they wish to amuse themselves, or, on some occasions, because the mortal wishes it. Regardless, I am droning on, and you want to know more.’
She chuckles again, another loud, vibrating chuckle.
‘No, you are not the first,’ Voadia says. ‘You will find a great many selkie were humans that have been blessed with this power, this state. They live in harmony with the azure alongside us who were born selkie, and when they wish to return to their other home on land, they do so freely. As you may.’
‘So I’m not stuck in a selkie body forever,’ you say. They’ve both mentioned this by now, though you haven’t inquired further on how that works yet.
‘No,’ Voadia says. ‘Such a state would go against the foundation of nature, of that which makes us all what we are. I realize my vague terms don’t give much in lieu of an explanation, but know that you are not trapped in this body.’
You nod slowly, wrapping your head around her words.
‘You are more than welcome to speak with similar selkie,’ Voadia remarks with a grin. ‘They will be of greater help to answering any questions you have about how they came to be, and how they have learned to live in two separate realms.’ Her eyes glimmer. ‘You wish to know more about our history, though, correct? About how we came to be, about what we are able to do, yes?’
‘Yes,’ you say. You shelf the part about being able to turn into a human again for later on.
‘Then I shall speak it,’ the large selkie replies. ‘Feel free to stop me should I drone for too long… I have a fondness for monologuing, I am told.’
Moirine snickers internally at this. You smile a little and nod again.
‘This world,’ Voadia says, ‘this planet, has long been a place of many, many entities existing at the same time. Most humans, however, do not know this - many of your kin live their lives without truly comprehending the scope of which they are not alone in this life. Certainly, some believe in the presence of spirits, others in higher powers, and others still in there being sentient life in the stars.’
She points one giant flipper past you. ‘We, and countless others like us, are right here, beneath their noses. But humans do not see us, nor hear us, nor feel our presence. I cannot say why that is, pup.’ She gives you an earnest look of uncertainty. ‘I only know that to be the case. However, we have been here for as long as humans, from the era when humans first began to evolve and adapt into the species you are today. And we will remain as long, too.’
‘How, though?’ you ask.
You’ve never seen yourself as the smartest person around, not at all, but you have enough of a grasp to recognize the basics about biology and evolution - and the idea that magical entities could’ve existed alongside humans, yet no one ever really saw or realized this… it’s a bit befuddling to you, in truth.
Voadia grins, an amused gleam in her eyes. ‘You may have the answer to that already, pup. Think of your media… of your television shows, your movies, your books. Think of tales where the “supernatural” exists separately from the natural, whether because they fear human reaction, or dislike human existence. It is not unlike those, only in most cases, it’s far simpler at its core.’
Your eyes go wide. ‘You know about those things?’
Again, the massive selkie laughs heartily. ‘My dear child, I know many, many things. I have walked among men countless times in the past, and both seen and experienced a great deal.’ She winks. ‘Frankly, I find the reality of WHY you humans don’t recognize that we exist has to do with the, we will say, wavelength in which your minds function.’
You furrow your brow. ‘Wavelength?’
‘Your minds do not comprehend us normally. And by “us,” I mean anything and everything that lives outside the average human scope,’ Voadia says. She cocks her head to one side, appraising you. ‘You may sense a presence, or hear voices that seem to come from nowhere. You may see what you believe to be a spirit or an illusion in the corner of your eyes. But, such things are rare, and it is rarer still for a human to go past those little flickers.’ She pauses here. ‘Am I making sense, pup? Or am I losing you more?’
You try to soak in all this information, and it’s a lot coming at you at once.
You take a moment to breathe, and despite the fact you are underwater, you don’t think about it that way - you find you can breathe in and out as though you were on land, and the water doesn’t flow into your nose. Or maybe it does, and you simply don’t feel any discomfort from it.
‘Do you mean that, like…’ You try to work through it while you speak - at least until a notion you hadn’t thought of before pops into your head, because you try to think in terms you yourself can understand. ‘Is it because we have, like, a different brain frequency? Is that what you mean?’
‘Yes, yes, good!’ Voadia says. ‘Think of it as if the minds of all sentient beings on this planet were on a radio station. You still have those above, don’t you?’
‘Yes,’ you say.
Her grin grows. ‘Then that is the image I shall use. Your species’ minds exist on a radio channel that is vastly separate from a selkie’s, from a djinn’s, from any other being that exists. It is not common for a human to be born with a frequency that can pick up on ours, but most of the time, even those who are blessed with such are never able to listen fully. Only if we make the effort to reach toward you can the severed connections become more whole.’
Now you feel you understand a bit better.
‘Now then… what more do you want to know?’ the Seamother asks.
You pause to think this over - what’s next?
Written by Hollowpages on 22 December 2020
Your mind rushes with all the things you could ask - there are plenty of questions, naturally, the more you think about it. It takes a moment for you to try and narrow down the possible questions again, and when you finish, you’ve come to a decision on what to ask about next.
‘So, I’m not forever stuck in the body of a selkie?’ you ask.
Moirine chuckles internally. ‘I did tell you before, didn’t I?’
Voadia nods. ‘Despite what you may think, or despite what the djinn may have said, there are… laws, you would call them, that exist for those who are not human like yourself. These laws are as old as the earth herself, and have long dictated a great deal within our various societies. Among them, pup, is that permanently altering a human is forbidden. There must always a way around it, no matter the circumstances, lest the offending party want to get in trouble.’
You blink a few times at this. There is obviously a LOT more under the surface, and you sincerely feel like you’d be here for a good while to learn about it all.
‘Regardless,’ Voadia says with a smile, ‘you will find that you can indeed return to your human form. And, you will then be able to return to this state, too. It might take you some time to adjust to this - yet it is possible, either way.’
‘I can show you how to do it at any point,’ Moirine remarks. ‘I’ve assumed human form myself in the past, and I’ve known many selkie similar to yourself.’
‘Thank you,’ you say.
You shelf this for the time being (you definitely want to revisit the ability to become human again, but that can wait a while longer), and instead, you decide to switch topics to one of the big things you want to find out about.
‘How much truth is there to the myths about selkie?’ you ask. You wrack your brain for what little you’ve got in terms of selkie lore, as you wonder what of it is true, and what is just fable. ‘I’ll admit, I don’t know a whole lot, but I remember reading that selkie would often assume human form and, I guess depending on the source, some would seduce human men, while others would be…’
You trail off, and hope you don’t have to delve into the more unfortunate set of myths you’ve read about.
The two selkie share a look for a moment, one you can’t decipher all that well.
‘There is some truth to this,’ Voadia says. Her tone is quieter now, yet it carries with it a rather obvious air of thoughtfulness. ‘I cannot speak for every individual selkie, pup, but I have lived long enough to know that, in most cases, the myths and fables dreamt up by humans do indeed possess bits of what is true - many of my fellow sistren have taken on the shape of a human in order to find or pursue love or the pleasures of the flesh.’
She winks at this part. ‘More than anything, I would say the reality is tied into our curiosity about humans and the world you come from. For my part, I have interacted with all manner of humans, and witnessed the good and the bad of what humanity is capable of. Ah, but, that doesn’t really answer your question.’
‘We do not have a separate skin for when we transform,’ Moirine says. She seems somewhat amused. ‘We are more alike the “shapeshifters” you humans like to use in your stories and your movies. But, it is a painless process, and one that we control whenever we wish to tap into it. To alter our very bodies is a gift we selkie possess from birth, for it ties into our very natures.’
‘What nature is that?’ you ask, fascinated.
‘We are the children of the sea,’ Voadia replies. ‘We were born from the oceans, pup - the element of water is our flesh, our blood, our spirit. And like the waves, we too are blessed with the boon of flowing wherever and whenever we desire. We flow upon the waves of time and mortality, unbound by the same aspects that prevent the average human from doing and seeing what we, and other beings like us, can.’
You stare at the large selkie, trying to process this response.
Moirine chuckles softly. ‘What she means is that true selkie are not created the way humans and other animals are. We come into existence at the whims of the ocean, and from the instant we are “birthed,” we possess an understanding you would find… alien. We don’t age like humans, either. That is why the Seamother has existed for thousands of years, without really changing.’
‘Oh…’ you feel you can understand that a little more. ‘I think I get it.’
‘To try and put it plainly,’ Voadia says, ‘I will go back to the analogy I used prior, of how we exist on a different wavelength from humans. The same goes for our bodies, our abilities, and our thought processes. We don’t have the same moral spectrum you do, young one. And that plays a heavy role in what we do when we interact with humans. For us, your kind is truly fascinating.’
You suppose that it makes sense. You’ve seen (and heard) enough about fantasy and science fiction works to get that selkie would have more of an alien mindset, and you ponder if you’ll start to think and feel the way they do since you’re a selkie now yourself, or not. This soaks into you, and you nod slowly.
‘If you don’t age,’ you say, ‘then does that mean you’re… immortal?’
‘Mm… No.’ The Seamother shakes her head. ‘Not immortal.’
This catches you off guard.
‘We can die, pup,’ Voadia says. ‘It may not be the sort of death you’re accustomed to, but, we do not live forever. Going into detail on our lifespan is… a difficult thing to converse over. It isn’t something that can be relayed in terms you would understand, I’m afraid.’ She turns to Moirine. ‘Do you have any way to communicate it?’
Moirine takes a moment to ponder this. ‘The best way I can describe it… is that if we live to be past a certain age, it becomes harder for us to retain our forms.’
‘But you can’t die from sickness or getting injured?’ you ask.
‘Sickness, no,’ Moirine replies. ‘Injury…? Mm. That’s a good question.’
‘In some cases,’ Voadia says.
There’s a beat of silence here, but you don’t press any further - you feel like they may be open to discussing it more in the future, yet you get the sense that this isn’t a subject they want to delve into. And you can’t exactly blame them, since death isn’t a pleasant subject for most people like you, after all.
‘Perhaps we should change things up from here,’ Voadia remarks. She eyes you curiously. ‘I’m sure you would rather do more than sit around and listen to an old, whale-sized mass of blubber like me prattle on and on endlessly.’
You crack a small smile.
‘Why not show the pup how to become human again, Moirine?’ Voadia suggests. ‘Or you can always take them to learn more about what else they can do as a selkie…’
Moirine nods. ‘Both fine suggestions, Seamother.’ She glances at you. ‘What do you think, pup? What would you like to do with yourself next?’
‘Unless you really want to sit around and listen longer,’ Voadia adds, giving the closest thing to a shrug that a selkie her size can.
You pause to mull this over - what DO you feel like doing next?
Written by Hollowpages on 31 December 2020
You mull over your choices for a moment, and while they all sound like good ideas, you decide on doing them all… but in good time, as you feel no rush. For the moment, you have one more question you want to ask the ancient selkie, if she’s able to answer you. But before you go into that, you realize that there’s something she didn’t give a complete answer to previously: you still want to know about the history of the selkie.
‘I’d like to ask another question, if I may,’ you reply. ‘But, before I do that, there’s something else on my mind, Miss Seamother.’
Voadia nods her giant head. ‘Of course, pup. Speak your mind.’
‘When you talked about the history of selkie, you didn’t really, erm, expand on it,’ you say. You don’t want to come off rude to the giant selkie that’s given you her time to tell you all this in the first place, but, you can’t help wanting to know. ‘So I wanted to…’
‘Ah, yes, yes, you are quite correct there.’ Voadia gives a deep, rumbling laugh that shakes the ground beneath her massive form, then she smiles at you, a bright and sincerely friendly smile. ‘My sincere apologies, pup; I don’t mean to be akin to those… what is it you humans call those terms? Tropes? Yes, I believe that’s the right word.’
You blink a few times, shrugging in response since you aren’t sure.
‘But, yes.’ Voadia snorts humorously, bubbles expelling from her snout. ‘I don’t mean to be like the stereotypical trope you humans have, of an elderly or sagely figure that rambles on incessantly. I just happen to ramble on in general. Incessantly, in truth.’
‘She’s not wrong there,’ Moirine adds, giving her own internal snicker.
You feel relieved that you haven’t offended or upset the Seamother, since you’ve had quite enough of accidentally upsetting a mystical being with powers unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before this day (you learned your lesson with the genie).
‘Now then, to answer the actual question itself,’ Voadia says, ‘I imagine you’re wondering more “how did selkie form” and perhaps “why seals,” rather than just how it is we exist in this world without humans knowing.’ She nods her head. ‘Many, many ages ago, long before humanity evolved to what it is today, we took on a different form than the one you see before you. Bear in mind, humans didn’t yet have an identity to what you know as seals, sea lions, and so on, yet even then, our appearance was different.’
‘Wait, really?’ you say. ‘What did selkie look like, then? A different kind of animal, or…?’
‘The form a selkie in ancient times took is… Hmm.’ Voadia pauses for a moment. Her brows furrow, giving off the face of someone deep in thought. ‘It is similar to this shape,’ she uses one fin to gesture to herself, ‘what you as a human would define as a seal, but, with longer, slimmer bodies and tails, and darker colors overall. You could almost say it was more like an extraterrestrial version of a seal, if that makes sense.’
You stare at her as you hear this, and you try to visualize the selkie form in your head.
‘It’s perhaps difficult to describe without being able to SHOW you,’ Moirine says. ‘But it isn’t something any of us can do any longer – to my knowledge, only a small few selkie remain from that era, and they are… not around these parts to speak with or see, pup.’
‘Why is that?’ you ask. You’re confused and fascinated all the same. ‘And, wait…’ You blink and look to Voadia. ‘I thought you were the oldest living selkie, Seamother?’
The Seamother takes a long breath before she answers. ‘Nay, pup. I am not THE oldest, truthfully. I am merely the one that has lived above what we selkie call the Beneath for the longest, for I have sought to help guide my kin into the newer eras.’
‘The Beneath,’ Moirine says as she looks at you, ‘is the deepest parts of the oceans of the world – it is a realm of crushing waves and pure blackness, where no sunlight shines through. The sources of light down there are creatures which can illuminate their own bodies, and, rare cases where unnatural light can be found.’ She shakes her head. ‘It’s not a place many of us like to be, pup. It’s a frightening, solitary realm of bleakness.’
‘And… and that’s where selkie first came from?’ you ask, staring once more.
‘Indeed,’ Voadia replies. ‘You see, it has long been believed that we originated from the core of the Beneath – the center of the furthest depths, at a point where the earth emanated with magics. The selkie of old sprouted from that core, and for many ages, they possessed these long, serpentine bodies, which I forgot to mention could glow, like an anglerfish, but from their entire bodies. They lived down there for many an age, in relative peace due to not having contact with any other sentient beings.’
She shifts her massive head slightly, raising it. ‘That is, until, a great tremor rippled through the Beneath – one so powerful, it shook the very foundation of the blackened realm the ancient selkie called home. Imagine a… I’ll call it a ‘shell,’ that separated the Beneath from the greater part of the world’s oceans. That massive tremor broke through the shell, enough for our elder kin to realize there was far, far more to the world.’
You soak in her words. ‘Whoa…’ It takes a good minute for you to absorb this new information, and you’re astonished as you visualize it all. ‘So there’s… a deeper part of the ocean, then, that the selkie first came to exist in, and they lived there for a long time without knowing there was an even bigger ocean world above them? Is that right?’
‘Precisely,’ Moirine says.
‘Damn,’ you say. ‘And some of these ancient selkie still live there?’
‘Indeed, pup,’ Voadia replies. Her eyes seem to glimmer with what you can only define as ‘wisdom’ as she holds your gaze. ‘Those of our kin that choose to remain down there in the Beneath do so because they have no desire to leave. Whether it be that they prefer the darkness or the solitude, that perhaps they don’t understand what leaving would mean for them, that they fear the thought of leaving, or, that they have no desire to deal with anyone or anything else… I cannot say for certain why it is they linger.’
‘It must be lonely down there, though,’ you say. ‘I mean, the way you describe it makes it seem like this… Beneath is this… nightmarish place, if it’s so dark and scary.’
Voadia offers a quiet ‘hmm’ in response to your words.
‘I have never been down there myself,’ Moirine says after a beat of silence. She shakes her head, a look of genuine disdain in her humanlike eyes. ‘The closest I ever ventured to seeing the Beneath, which was almost to the edge between this upper realm and that deep realm, was more than enough for me to know in my very heart that it was not a place I would wish to be in. It’s far too cold and spacious and… eerie, even for a selkie.’
‘I don’t wish to sound petty toward my kin,’ Voadia says. ‘Yet I must also add that those who stay in the Beneath are… they do not possess the same level of mental comprehension that you do, pup, as a human, or that Moirine does, or that I do myself.’
‘How so?’ you ask.
‘They exist in a primordial realm detached from the greater oceans,’ Voadia says. ‘Thus, they live with a primordial mindset – they comprehend certain things, I am sure, but, as they have never left to explore and to see, their minds are more alien. You would not be able to communicate with them properly, pup; they do not grasp the human language with words and tones and emotions.’ She sighs in her mind. ‘In a way, it is… sad.’
She falls silent here and looks down to the ground, and you can tell there is likely more to this than she’s told you. While you do want to hear more about the selkie history, at the same time, you don’t want to pry too much right now, especially since all of the new information she’s given you has proven to be a lot for you to really take in.
‘Now then,’ Voadia says suddenly. ‘Since I’ve managed to give you what I hope is a decent response, rather than prattling on about nothing of importance…’ She cracks a small grin at this. ‘What was it you wanted to ask beyond that?’ Her eyes meet yours after another beat. ‘Or have you changed your mind for the time being, pup?’
You blink, and recall that, yes, you DID have one other question. But you’ve asked a lot, and heard a lot, so, you take a brief inner moment to ponder: do you ask? Or hold off?
Written by Hollowpages on 04 March 2021
You weigh over the choices in your head, and you can’t really lean toward one over the other – you feel like you could go either way, and you also kind of want to find out more about what it is you as a selkie can do. However, in the end, you let your curiosity win out, and you figure you’ll find out your other abilities after you’ve sated your interests.
‘I wanted to ask about the genie,’ you say. ‘Or, well, I wanted to ask… you said that selkie and genies are not the only supernatural beings that exist in this world, so I’m honestly curious about that. But, since I don’t want to take up too much of your time, I guess I was interested in what your opinion was on genies? If that, uh, makes sense?’
Voadia gives a deep chuckle. ‘Ah, yes, it makes sense, pup.’
Moirine snorts beside you. ‘Dear young one, if we were to talk about our relations with the djinn of this world, we would be here for several days, if not actual weeks.’
You gawk. ‘R-really?’
‘She’s not wrong,’ Voadia replies. She grins wider now. ‘We selkie have a staunch understanding of the various entities that live in this world, humans included. Yet we have dealt with the ones you define as “supernatural” more frequently, because we all possess abilities and, shall we say, an “essence” that humans themselves do not.’
She nods her large head upwards. ‘The djinn, or genies, as you use, are one of the oldest of such races, older than humankind for that matter. As a whole… they are a very fickle bunch, pup, and I would be remiss if I said I was “fond” of them entirely.’ Her eyes narrow. ‘Mm, no. I myself have never been keen on interacting with djinn – they as a species possess far too self-important a mindset when it comes to their beliefs.’
‘Self-important mindset?’ you say, furrowing your brow (or what you envision is furrowing for a selkie). ‘Do you mean that genies are… uh, selfish, then?’
‘Yes,’ Voadia says. ‘Selfish is a good word to use for them. Not every individual djinn is this, mind you, but, many are born with this innate feeling they are somehow superior over the other beings that exist in this world.’ She snorts again. ‘There is a reason most djinn are bound to objects like lamps, pup – their high opinions of themselves, and their astounding lack of consideration for anything else, is the cause for their current state.’
You aren’t entirely sure what she means by that, but, you feel you get the gist of it.
‘The djinn have long used their magics to alter the fabric of reality,’ Voadia says, and she gives you a knowing look as though she’s reading your thoughts. ‘In the oldest eras, they used these powers freely, often to toy with mortals or to amuse themselves. Then, one day, a particularly callous djinn decided to use his powers to tarnish an entire human society’s essence of life itself by, for lack of a better term, cursing every one of them to fade into oblivion with no trace left behind. No lineage, no heritage, nothing.’
Your eyes grow wide. ‘Oh…’
Voadia nods slowly. ‘His actions were so appalling, many of the oldest djinn, even those who cared little for humans, felt he’d gone too far. Many of the other species born from the magics of the world like us selkies were equally mortified; we did not idly stand by and allow this to go unpunished, which is why the oldest djinn decided to use their powers to forever weaken their own kin by binding them to physical, mortal objects.’
‘That’s why djinn are now forced to give wishes to humans,’ Moirine adds. She has a rather smug look on her face. ‘They reaped the seeds their arrogance sowed.’
‘In fact,’ Voadia says, ‘the one that turned you into a selkie… you will likely be pleased to know he will be punished for his transgression in forcibly transforming you into this state, young one.’ Her expression darkens. ‘We do not abide by djinn, or fae, or any species, cruelly cursing a mortal, regardless if the mortal speaks ill to them or not.’
This catches you by surprise.
‘Really?’ you say. ‘I didn’t think the genie would get punished for anything, since…’
‘Ah, I did not speak of it earlier, I admit,’ Voadia says. ‘However, the moment you entered my domain, I knew that a human had been transformed against their will. This act goes against the laws that exist within OUR society, and thus, I decided in that instant to take this into account when you left.’ She smiles at you. ‘It shall be dealt with.’
You’re not sure how to respond to hearing her say this. You suppose, in a way, you’re a little glad to hear it – but at the same time, you also admit that, well, it’s not like YOU have much say in this. You’re not a genie, and you certainly aren’t a part of this greater, magical realm that you’ve only recently found out exists. They have their own laws, and so it seems totally sensible for them to enforce those laws however they do.
‘I guess I should just be thankful I’m not getting into trouble,’ you think to yourself.
‘You needn’t worry for yourself or your own fate, pup,’ Moirine remarks. ‘You’ve been told you can return to your human form, thus, you’re not forever bound to this state. And, you’re essentially a victim in matters far separate from your own world, too.’
You nod and soak this all in. ‘So, selkie don’t really get along with genies?’
‘As a whole, no, I would say we do not “get along” very well at all, young one,’ Voadia replies, without a shred of concern for admitting it, either. ‘Individually varies depending on whom you speak to, of course – we selkie have no issues with any among us that befriend a djinn, the same way we have no issues with those that befriend humans.’
‘I see,’ you reply. Something occurs to you. ‘Oh, wait. That’s right. The myth about selkies came about because… wasn’t it that female selkie would wash ashore or get caught by fishermen, and they’d fall in love? Or, something like that, I can’t recall.’
‘Ah… the myths,’ the Seamother says, and she grins. ‘There are many variants to the old tales, I’m sure. If you were to look into it, you’d find that some would claim one thing over another. Yet, to be honest, there is a kernel of earnest truth to all these variances.
Her grin becomes broader, with a gleam of warmth in her eyes. ‘Many selkie have indeed ended up in relationships with humans, this is true. To this day, countless selkie retain genuine relationships with humans, male or female, it does not matter. Such love is a wondrous thing to behold and to feel, too – often, those that fall in love with humans will live on the surface world alongside their paramour. Certain tales claim that the sea will always call a selkie back, abandoning those she or he loves… but this is false.’
‘A selkie will never abandon one they love,’ Moirine says. ‘Never.’
They say this with a great deal of severity and honesty. You absorb their words, and, you definitely tell yourself you’ll have to revisit the myths regarding selkie in the future.
‘Thank you for telling me,’ you say, to the Seamother and to Moirine. ‘I appreciate it.’
‘Of course, pup,’ the Seamother says. ‘That is what I am here for: to guide and to nurture all selkie, be they natural or be they humans that have become selkie.’ She chuckles aloud, rumbling the ground. ‘And on the off chance you wonder… do not think my vast size hinders my abilities to aid those in need, either. I am far more capable of moving than what you may expect. But, that is neither here nor there, now is it?’
You blink, and nod, and you don’t say a word in that subject.
‘Now then,’ Voadia says. ‘Will that be all for now, pup?’
You fall silent, and again, you have the obvious benefit in choosing what to do next to your advantage – so, what do you want to do? Do you prefer to sit and learn? Or do you want to experience more of what the selkie are capable of? You can tell that neither the Seamother nor Moirine mind whatever you choose (you feel it and see it in their expressions), but, you still take the time to mull over how you feel. What will be next?
Written by Hollowpages on 10 March 2021
‘I think I want to learn more about what I’m able to do now,’ you say, and you turn your gaze to Moirine. ‘Are you open to showing me how I can become human? And, well, teaching me the other things I can do besides control the water around me as a selkie?’
Moirine nods. ‘I certainly am, pup. I told you I would help teach you more of your capabilities, and I’m more than happy to do so. It’s something I’ve done many times for other humans that became selkies, whether through djinn or other magical means.’
‘Thank you,’ you say.
‘You’re welcome,’ Moirine says.
You then turn back to the Seamother. ‘And thank you, Miss Seamother, for, well, telling me all that you’ve told me. It’s a lot to take in, but it’s so… fascinating, really. I never once dreamt I’d be learning that selkie and other supernatural beings exist, but I’m astounded by all the history you’ve taught me today. I appreciate it a lot, honestly.’
Voadia chortles. ‘No need for the formal addressing when speaking to me, young one. Seamother or my name, Voadia, are both perfectly acceptable should you wish to use them. But you’re welcome. You are welcome to return here whenever you wish to speak with me or to learn more from your new selkie sisters and brothers. Should we ever change our abode’s location from the Cayreeg to somewhere else, or, should I ever be out and about among the ocean, you will know where to find me, I promise.’
You nod to this, and, you watch as the massive selkie rests her head back down.
‘Come along, pup,’ Moirine says. ‘And we shall continue your lessons on the surface.’
You follow Moirine out of the Seamother’s domain, and it doesn’t take long for the two of you to leave the Cayreeg behind. You spot all the other selkies, or at least some of them, as you depart, and you do wonder briefly what sorts of stories or information each one of them would be able to give you. But, you shelve this for the moment, and swim.
‘Is the Cay… reeg… is that not the only home for selkie, then?’ you ask Moirine.
‘Oho, no,’ Moirine replies, and she turns to grin toothily at you. ‘Remember what I said before about this being one belly button among a plethora of belly buttons in the sea? The Cayreeg is just one – there are roughly forty different belly buttons in the depths where selkie live, and this isn’t counting the Beneath, nor does it take into account the selkie that live on the surface world. Some live with humans, others split from humans.’
You both exit the Cayreeg, and return to the ocean itself. You follow Moirine, listening.
‘Split from humans?’ you say. You wrack your brain to better understand what she means by that. ‘Like how the Cayreeg isn’t a part of the human realm, I’m guessing?’
‘Exactly,’ Moirine replies. ‘There are countless pocket realms attached to the earth, my friend, and these pocket realms come in all manner of shapes and sizes. In most cases, they are the preferred domains for other beings similar to us selkie, the ones you define as supernatural. Now, mind you, humans don’t have access to these realms normally, but there are a few that humans can end up in at random, depending on… factors.’
You frown at this, and naturally, you wonder what sort of “factors” she means.
Moirine seems fully aware of your confusion. ‘When I say factors, I mean that it isn’t common for your average person to stumble onto one of these pocket realms. It’s based ordinarily on the person themselves – some will be drawn to these realms, or they’ll find them without realizing because they sensed them. Does that make more sense, pup?’
‘I think so,’ you say. ‘Then, does that mean when I found that one realm with the genie… was I drawn to it? I don’t recall sensing it before I ended up there, really.’
‘Drawn to, most likely,’ Moirine says. ‘They work in rather curious ways, indeed.’
You don’t disagree with her there, not after your experience. At this rate, you honestly hope to not have any more run-ins with genies. Or, if you do, you vow to yourself you’ll not assume that what you’re witnessing is smoke and mirrors, and instead, you’ll be more mindful… and polite, too. You don’t want to make the same mistake twice.
‘I suppose I should note that these realms are typically called Shards,’ Moirine adds, and she snickers. ‘I, however, like the phrase “belly button,” which is why I prefer to use it when describing them. You, pup, can’t use it,’ she pokes her tongue out at you, and laughs mentally, ‘so don’t try using it unless you’re referring to your own belly button.’
You can’t help but laugh; the fact that Moirine, who speaks and seems so formal and… posh, almost, would stick her tongue out at you and act like a normal person is funny.
‘Noted,’ you say. You find yourself smiling at the humorous contrast between Moirine’s demeanor and how silly she’s willing to be. It’s charming, in a way, too, you admit.
‘And as the Seamother said,’ Moirine adds, ‘don’t fear the possibility of not knowing where anyone is should she decide to change up where she’s staying. We selkie frequently move about depending on our own whims and desires, and when we do, there are ways to sense where others have gone. That said, I don’t feel the Seamother will be leaving anytime soon. The Cayreeg is a very comfortable place to live in.’
‘Alright,’ you say. ‘That’s good to know, honestly.’
Once you depart from the area surrounding the Cayreeg, you follow along with Moirine as she swims upwards toward the surface – after a few minutes, you break through the ocean’s surface, and you are greeted by the smells of the sea breeze wafting through the air, and with the scents, the feeling of the wind softly brushing against you.
‘This way,’ Moirine says.
She leads you back toward the large rock formation you hopped onto not long ago when you first spoke to Moirine (since she led you there on purpose then), and you slide onto it with ease after she does. You end up near the center of the rocks, where the stone is smooth and mildly damp from the ocean’s spray being spilled onto the surface.
Moirine turns her body around so she’s facing you.
‘Alright then, pup,’ Moirine says, and she smiles at you one more, an eager and cheerful smile. ‘As a human that’s been turned into a selkie, I admit that I don’t know the full extent of what it is you’re capable of in full – it seems to vary depending exactly on HOW it is a normal human becomes blessed with our abilities for themselves.’
This piques your interest. ‘You and the Seamother have brought that up… how is it humans can become selkie, then? She made it seem like genies are the cause, but, at the same time, it sounds like it isn’t always genies that are responsible for it?’
‘Djinn are often the culprit for this sort of thing, to a degree,’ Moirine replies, and she shrugs her shoulders. ‘That isn’t to say it’s them acting out the way the djinn you encountered did; forcing a human to become a selkie, or any other being similar to a selkie, is against many of the unspoken laws that exist in our world, as the Seamother told you. If it’s by choice, however, that’s a different subject, because it involves consent.’ She nods. ‘That is the key to differentiate between what is lawful or not.’
You gawk at this, and, you also feel curious to know…
‘So how else can a human become a selkie?’ you ask.
‘There are… we’ll call them rituals, pup,’ Moirine says. ‘Rituals that relate to bonds formed between a human and a selkie – there are similar rituals for other beings, too, mind you.’ Her eyes soften. ‘These are rare, but, they have happened, for they allow a selkie to gift their human lover with the same powers. It’s a very meaningful thing.’
‘Oh…’ you say. That makes sense.
‘Be that as it may,’ Moirine remarks, ‘the question becomes what it is you wish to see for yourself, pup, in terms of your abilities.’ Her features grow inquisitive. ‘Do you want to learn how to become a human first? Or would you like to see what else you may be capable of? We selkie possess many traits, you know, and you might as well…’
She trails off and then eyes you thoughtfully.
Now, it’s your turn to decide once more on what you want to do.
Written by Hollowpages on 18 March 2021
You ponder your next step; Moirine has been a bit vague with what else you as a selkie can do (you wonder if she’s being vague on purpose to excite your interest, or because she’s just trying to play with you… or maybe she doesn’t know enough of what you individually can do?). You admit to yourself that, yes, you ARE pretty curious, but…
‘I think I’d like to see about becoming a human again first,’ you say.
Moirine nods. ‘A fair response, pup.’ Her eyes sparkle. ‘To be quite honest, I was intent on you choosing that, because it would be greatly beneficial for you in the long run.’
You cock your head to the side. ‘And why is that?’
‘You’ll be happier, for starters,’ Moirine replies, completely sincere in her tone and her expression. ‘There’s a genuine sense of relief that those like you feel when you learn how to switch between your natural human state,’ she uses a flipper to gesture to you,
‘and this new form you’ve been “given,” as it were. And, if this makes sense…’ She pauses here for a beat. ‘It’ll make any future lessons you go through easier, too.’
She nods again. ‘All of the abilities we selkie possess are mental in their essence, pup – and this includes how we’re able to communicate telepathically, which you’ve been doing for quite some time now. Some abilities are easier to use, and to understand, without much explanation. However, there are certain things a true selkie is capable of that aren’t as simple to explain. These are centered around… sensations that I cannot just describe to you in human terms. Rather, it goes much, much deeper than this.’
You blink a few times, and you try to wrap your head around her explanation.
Moirine pauses and seems to mull over her response. ‘Imagine if you, in human form, were trying to teach someone how to do something you find easy, but you couldn’t vocally communicate with them. You can’t show them pictures or words, or use the internet for a video guide, and you can’t emote to teach them, either. Understand?’
‘Oh… actually, I think so, yeah,’ you say.
‘That is the problem we face,’ Moirine adds. ‘While yes, I can speak to you in a way you understand, when it comes to this subject, I can’t. It requires a deeper level of mental comprehension that I simply cannot get across. However,’ she raises one flipper, ‘by teaching you how to become human and then selkie again, that changes things.’
‘How does it change things, though?’ you ask.
You’re trying to do your best at rationalizing all of this – you don’t see yourself as “dumb,” at least not like some people. But at the same time, the vagueness and the way she’s speaking make it sound as if there’s some hard to grasp thinking you’ll need to somehow tap into, and as it stands, you don’t know if you have what it takes to do that.
‘Why don’t I teach you?’ Moirine says, and she grins. ‘Showing is better than telling.’
You give the best shrug you can in your current body. ‘Sure.’
‘Right then.’ Moirine holds your gaze for a moment. ‘To become human again, you must first visualize what you look like as a human in your mind. It doesn’t need to be perfect, pup. You don’t need photographic memory for this, since the mind itself is never perfect, but do the best you can. Envision your hair and eyes, your skin, your physique. But then, what I want you to do is also visualize how it FEELS to be a human.’
‘How it feels, meaning…’ You frown inwardly. ‘Having two legs and two arms…?’
‘Yes, but, I mean deeper than that,’ Moirine says. ‘Remember how it feels to have a human’s ears, a human’s nose, a human’s lips. Remember the way you blink, the way you make expressions using your mouth and brow, how you stare or squint, how you use your tongue to taste. Remember the way your limbs move, how it feels to hold things or step on things… visualize yourself as a human, in every way possible, pup.’
Her words sink into you, and you look down as you absorb them.
You suppose you can understand what she means. It’s a bit fancy, sure (or maybe not “fancy,” but, definitely a wordy way of getting across her point. Even so… you get it.
You close your eyes, and, you do what Moirine has told you: you visualize yourself as you were before being turned into a selkie. You remember your hair, your eye color, and how you looked in the mirror this morning, and yesterday, and so on. And you also…
You try to FEEL the things Moirine told you to feel as if you had somehow forgotten these sensations. You recall how you had hands that could touch things and hold things, how you had legs that would move with feet that preferred to be in socks and comfy shoes. You remember how to blink and stare, how to smell things or hold your breath, and how to eat, how to breathe through your nose and your mouth on land.
You remember the sensations of running a hand through your hair, of biting your lip by accident, of clenching and unclenching your jaw, and feeling the way your chest moved with every breath. You remember hearing your heartbeat when it raced, and you also…
But your thought trails off, because you suddenly feel something. Something… odd.
It’s a sudden sensation, almost like a surge of electricity that pulses through your body from your head to your toes; it’s not painful or unpleasant at all, yet you definitely know you’re not imagining it. Except, when it’s over, you suddenly realize… your toes?
Your eyes reopen. And you find yourself looking back at Moirine, but, everything feels different now. You blink. At once, your body and brain are hit by a myriad of sensations; the feeling of moisture, the way the wind brushes against your skin, and how you aren’t lying on your belly the way a seal does, the way Moirine currently is as she watches on.
You gasp, and, the sound comes out normal. Then, you look down.
You’re a human again. Your flippers have become hands and feet. Your round, squishy body has transformed back into the shape it was before you were turned into a selkie. You’re even wearing the same clothes you had on previously; the shoes and socks, the pants, the shirt. True, they’re wet now because you’re on wet rocks, but… all the same.
“I… I…” You speak through your mouth, instead of through your head – you briefly feel strange talking again, yet this doesn’t last for long at all. “It worked. It worked!”
You clench and unclench your hands, then wiggle your toes in your shoes. You bend your arms and crouch down, and you look around. You breathe in, slow and deep, and the smells of the sea and the sea breeze flow into your nostrils, into your stomach.
When you finish being astounded by the fact you’ve returned to being a human (and so easily, too), your attention returns to Moirine, who has yet to move. Along with the realization you’re human, you also realize you can’t communicate with her telepathically anymore. Or, at least… you think that at first, only to wonder if maybe that’s incorrect.
‘Moirine?’ you think, like you had before.
‘Yes, pup,’ she replies, and she beams at you. ‘Nicely done. You have returned to your natural form, and you’ve figured out we can continue to communicate telepathically.’
You let out a quiet breath of relief. ‘Yeah… thanks for telling me how.’ You glance down at your hands again. ‘It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, honestly. If anything, it seemed to go by pretty fast. But, you were right. It feels… nice to be human again.’
She chuckles aloud. ‘I am not at all surprised.’
‘So…’ You blink several times, and, you wonder if you ought to sit down or something to continue this conversation since she’s on the ground still. ‘What do we do now?’
Her beaming smile grows even broader. ‘Now, pup… now, we begin in full. But first…’
Before you have a chance to comment or question what she means, Moirine’s body begins to vibrate and emanate a rather bright-blue glow that envelops every inch of her body – you stare with wide eyes as she suddenly starts to change. Her flippers extend out and turn into arms with hands, her back flippers morph into legs, and within moments, her shape goes from being that of a seal into that of a human just like you.
In a single, fluid motion, Moirine stands upright as her body stretches out, and her features all shift about; and then, you blink, and the gleam is gone. And Moirine is now standing in front of you, looking like a human woman, with bright eyes and a broad grin.
“There,” Moirine says, and she speaks with the same voice. “What do you think, pup?”
You stare in amazement.
Written by Hollowpages on 28 March 2021
“Okay,” you eventually say. “I think I want to try to see about the hydrokinesis ability first. I figure, or at least I hope, that since I can kind of do it already…” You shrug. “I guess I want to think that means I can do more than just propel myself around, too.”
Moirine chuckles. “A fair enough response, pup. Very well then. Do you want to remain in human form while you experiment, or would you like to return to your selkie body?”
“Oh,” you say. “I guess selkie? Since I can shift between them now, right?”
“And is the way I become a selkie again… the same as how I turned back into a person?” you gesture to yourself. “Just in reverse, I mean, for obvious reasons.”
“Yes, pup,” Moirine says. “You must envision yourself as a selkie for the transformation to take effect. Now, it may be more difficult for you, since you are a human by nature, and so, you see and think and feel with a human’s experience. So, try to visualize in your head the sensations you recall from being a selkie. Remember the way the ocean felt, and if you can, recall the way your body was. It will work, regardless, mind you.”
You nod to her and close your eyes.
You concentrate on thinking about how it felt to be a selkie – you remember how your hands and feet had become flippers, how your body was different in shape. It takes a moment for you to really entrench yourself in the mindset you had, since your first time as a selkie was a shock and not at all what you’d wanted or considered. However, you quickly slip back into that mental state as those feelings come flowing back to you.
You remember how oddly comfortable you were underwater in your selkie form, how the currents didn’t feel crushing, and how your senses worked – you remember speaking with your thoughts, rather than through your throat and voice, and how you were naked, but, not bothered by this fact. You recall not having fingers and toes, yet also not feeling an overt need to have them. And as you think all these, that sudden surge blasts in you.
It fills your body like a wild current of energy, and, within mere moments, when it’s over, you feel that you’re no longer standing. In fact, you feel the cool stone and the moisture of the ocean mist is more evident on your belly and chest. The wind feels different, less cold now, and the wetness also feels rather pleasant on your now-exposed body, too.
You reopen your eyes and glance down.
You’re a selkie again, naked save for the fur covering you, and you glance about. Your arms and hands have become flippers, the same with your legs and feet, and you wiggle your nose, the smells of the sea still quite strong as they filter into your nostrils.
‘Huh,’ you think to yourself. ‘It was a lot easier to switch between forms than I thought.’
You look toward Moirine and find she’s already become a selkie again. She grins.
‘Nicely done, pup,’ she says, and her voice echoes inside your head once again. ‘And you’re right, it IS a lot easier than it seems. Becoming a selkie and becoming a human… the shifting is rather simplistic in how it works. Some have struggled with it, if only because they have a hard time visualizing what they must, or recalling the correct sensations and experiences. But, be that as it may. Let us return to the water, yes?’
You blink. ‘We only came up here for me to learn how to turn into a person again?’
‘Well, yes,’ Moirine replies. She chortles internally and nods to the side. ‘I doubt you would want to become human while floating in the ocean, pup. You’d be soaked to the bone, and humans don’t tend to like that when they’re fully clothed, now do they? Besides, it gave me an excuse to turn into a human. I rather enjoy it, truth be told.’
You suppose you can’t fault that sentiment, so, you merely shrug in response.
‘Alright, fair,’ you say.
You turn your body sideways – and you admit, you have to readjust to moving as a selkie, which isn’t as easy as walking on two legs – and then, you hop your way toward, then dive into, the ocean. Once your body hits the water, you acclimate instantly to how it feels to swim freely. Your selkie form feels much more at home underwater, for sure.
Moirine joins you briskly after. ‘Now then, pup, to begin in our experiments…’
‘That sounds so ominous, you know,’ you remark.
She snorts. ‘True, but, what other wording would I use?’ She rolls her eyes. ‘Let’s focus, shall we, though?’ Her expression becomes one of mirthfulness. ‘The sooner we see what you’re capable of or not, the sooner we can continue on. There’s always quite a bit more to do for a selkie than you imagine… depending on whom you ask, that is.’
‘Okay,’ you say. ‘How do I try to see?’
‘Remember: it’s based on the mind, pup,’ Moirine says. ‘You must dig deep within your thoughts and concentrate – only through feeling will you know if you can control the element of water. It will feel as though it’s an extension of yourself, plain and simple.’
You nod at this, because it makes sense, given everything else.
‘Focus and see if I can feel it,’ you tell yourself. ‘Alright then…’
You close your eyes and do so, concentrating on trying to ‘feel’ the water around your body as though it were an extension of yourself. Part of you wonders how this is any different from what you did before when you used the water around to propel yourself or lift yourself, but you push this thought aside, and dig deeper than that. It’s not something you’re used to doing, having to really delve into your own headspace like this.
Yet, you do your best, and, as you do, you begin to feel something.
It’s similar to the sensations you felt earlier, when you first envisioned (and felt) how the water and you were separate things entirely, but instead, the sensation of those two things being part of the same whole. Only this time, it’s stronger, and it runs even further than just feeling like the water and you are one in the same – you feel it inside you, you feel it at the tips of your flippers, you feel it in your chest, your stomach, your head.
You open your eyes and decide to latch onto this, and as you do, you start to envision your mind as though it’s your human hands, from which you start to move the water.
But, it isn’t just swishing the waves around, nor is it merely you making the water push you up or down or to the side – you feel a more powerful connection to the waves, and suddenly, it’s like your body and mind have grown in size to a level you cannot even begin to put words to. You can move the waves further ahead, beneath, behind, and above you all at once, and you do so by simply thinking. It’s an incredible feeling.
You bend the waves, creating ripples of varying sizes, until you concentrate and bring the waves to where your body is – you easily push yourself upward toward the surface, only it’s faster and with a great deal more force than the last time you tried; you effectively launch your body up, so fast and so hard, you shoot out from the ocean.
But the sensation of feeling larger, the ‘extension’ you have with the water, doesn’t leave you, and you easily push up the surface of the ocean. A portion of the ocean extends upward and catches your body, then you use it to easily lower you back down to where you just were. Moirine hasn’t budged, yet she is smiling at you now.
‘It seems that you do indeed have this power, pup,’ she remarks.
You are stunned into silence as you stare at her. Your mind is racing, and you blink several times, waiting for the lingering sensation to dwindle or go away. But, it doesn’t.
‘This is… different than anything I’ve ever felt before,’ you say to Moirine.
‘It is, most certainly,’ Moirine replies.
You tap into this mental extension, and you find you can mold the water surrounding you to the point where you can form shapes in the water – including arms, which look solidified despite being underwater (and made from water!). You smile wide, giddy at how you have discovered you of all people are not only able to become a selkie…
But you also possess hydrokinesis, too!
‘I feel superhuman,’ you think to yourself. It’s incredible.
‘Now, do you want to see about the other abilities?’ Moirine asks. ‘Or no?’
You pause, blinking again, because you’d honestly forgotten how selkies have more than just this as a potential power. Instead, you furrow your brow and ponder… do you want to test to see? Or do you find you don’t care now that you KNOW you can do this?
Written by Hollowpage on 02 May 2021
You ponder what feels best to you – you imagine if you were a ‘natural’ selkie, that tapping into these extraordinary abilities would be pretty easy, since Moirine showed no problem doing just that. But, you aren’t, and, as you hover there, thinking, you wonder if it would be difficult for you on the off chance you did have more than one power.
‘I guess it doesn’t hurt to try,’ you muse, before you look at Moirine. ‘Sure.’
Moirine nods at this. ‘It is much the same as what you just did, pup. It’s merely a matter of you digging into your mind. In essence, just imagine yourself doing what you’ve seen me to do – imagine turning invisible, or imagine being able to move as though your body was lighter than air, and so on. You’ll find out rather quickly if you can’t do something.’
You frown. ‘Has it been this easy from the start?’
‘Well, yes,’ she says. ‘But you know why I didn’t tell you, yes?’
‘Yeah,’ you say. ‘Oh, uh, before I start trying anything else…’ You take a moment to try and word what it is you want to say. ‘This… this feeling I have, the one that…’
‘That feels as though your body and mind are far, far larger than before?’ Moirine offers.
‘Y-yes!’ you say. Then, you chide yourself, because of course she would know how to phrase it, being that she IS a selkie. ‘Does this feeling stay, I guess, turned on forever now that I’ve discovered it, or, does it shut off when I stop focusing on it long enough?’
Moirine tilts her head to the side as she eyes you. ‘A curious way of wording it, pup… I suppose you’re thinking of it like a button you can push in your head, then?’
‘I’ve never thought of it that way,’ Moirine says. Her features turn thoughtful for a moment. ‘It must be your human way of processing such information at work. How fascinating to learn,’ she chuckles, ‘regardless, to answer your question… I would say that, yes, to an extent, it is sort of like a switch or a button in your mind. You would very easily become overwhelmed if you were to continue on with it still active, I believe.’
You certainly don’t disagree with that notion.
‘It isn’t difficult to do, mind you,’ Moirine adds. ‘Now that you have learned how to turn it on, as you say, you simply need to put your mind back into that state to do the reverse. And going forward, it should be no trouble for you to flip that switch off or on.’ She offers you a bright smile, still looking thoughtful. ‘It’s funny. I have never felt my abilities like buttons to push, yet I CAN comprehend how you would. If anything, it’s likely a lot easier for you to process what you’re doing, so by all means, continue to do so.’
You don’t close your eyes this time around as you concentrate, and, you find that you can, in essence, ‘feel’ how to shut this sensation off – it’s like you push a button, and, the feeling of your everything stretching around you weakens. You blink, and, you feel like you did before you started to concentrate; you can’t bend the waves anymore.
‘That is trippy as all hell,’ you muse to yourself, and you shake it off. ‘This is definitely going to take getting used to… then again, so is being in a selkie body, I guess.’
For now, you let it slip away, and, you instead decide to try and experiment with the other selkie abilities that Moirine has shown you – invisibility, controlling the temperature around you, and moving at superhuman speed, your three options. You decide you’ll tackle the invisibility one first, and then the temperature manipulation, since those two (in your mind) feel like they’d be the easiest to tell whether or not you can use them.
‘So it’s similar to bending the water with my mind, you said?’ you ask, since it doesn’t hurt to be double certain of what you’re doing. ‘I have to envision myself as invisible by digging into my mind, and, if I can… er, feel the invisibility, then, it’s working?’
Moirine nods. ‘I apologize that it’s perhaps harder to wrap your head around than you might have expected, but, yes, that is the gist of it. I will inform you if you are actually invisible… although you would feel it if your attempt proves to be successful.’
You nod in respond to her words and decide to give it a shot: you close your eyes once more, only now, rather than trying to focus on the water, you focus on the prospect of turning invisible. You’ve never given much thought to HOW turning invisible would work or how it would feel, but, you have a hunch that it’s centered on envisioning yourself as simply not being there in front of Moirine anymore, so that’s what you go with.
You concentrate, long and hard, on this, but, as the seconds tick by, you find that it doesn’t seem to register with your mind – you don’t FEEL anything out of the ordinary, you don’t experience any sudden new sensations pulsing through your body… nothing.
You try for about a minute longer, until you can tell that nothing is happening.
‘Am I invisible?’ you ask Moirine.
Moirine chortles. ‘No, pup. No, you are not. If anything, you look like you’re about ten seconds away from farting with how intensely you seem to be focusing, though.’
Your eyes snap open and a snicker escapes you at the rather humorous – and random – comment from Moirine. You find her grinning at, clearly showing this was her intent, and after a beat of amusement, you shake your brief laughter away, and glance down at your body. You don’t look invisible, nor feel it, so, you deem that one a lost cause.
‘Alright, I’ll scratch that one off the list,’ you remark.
You decide to then change gears to try and focus on the temperature manipulation ability that Moirine showed you earlier – and you don’t ask her, you automatically figure that it’s based on concentrating and thinking yourself able to change the temperature.
You imagine making the water around your body warmer, but much like with your inner attempt at turning invisible, it doesn’t seem to register in your mind; the water doesn’t grow warmer, or colder around you, and, despite your best effort at really, truly digging into your mental space to try and concentrate on this power, nothing happens. Again, you end up opening your eyes and deciding that it isn’t an ability you possess, so you scratch off the power to alter temperatures alongside invisibility. Three down…
‘That only leaves the speed ability for me to try out,’ you tell yourself. If you want to.
You ponder for a moment if you wish to try, or, if you want to hold onto it for later. You feel like, since you have hydrokinesis, and, since you didn’t really move at the same blurring speed that Moirine did back when you were following after her… you don’t know for certain, but you have a gut feeling that you likely don’t have super speed, either.
‘I could be wrong,’ you think, since you aren’t entirely sure. ‘But at the same time, I’m not all that bothered by it if I do or don’t. Besides, there’s plenty of time for me to explore if I have the power to move at superhuman speeds in the water, so I could shelve it…’
While you weigh this decision in your head, Moirine swims closer to you.
‘You seem to be lost in your thoughts, pup,’ Moirine remarks. She snickers. ‘Are you trying to decide what to do next? Do you not want to attempt to see if you have speed as a boon, or, are you simply wanting to hold onto that for later on? I understand either way, of course. There is no rush, no need for forcing yourself into these things.’
‘I’m leaning toward trying it out later,’ you say, and you give the closest thing to a shrug you can as a selkie. ‘I dunno. There’s a lot to take in as it is, so I’m still adjusting.’
‘Fair enough,’ Moirine says. ‘We can always go and explore the area. There are some spots where only we selkie can go, after all. Or, if you prefer to relax and do your own thing, that’s an option. They say the sky is the limit, but, in this case, the ocean is the limit for a selkie.’ She winks. ‘What would you like to do next, pup? You tell me.’
You continue to think…
Written by Hollowpage on 04 May 2021
You ponder what to do for a minute, since there are plenty of options to make use of – testing to see if you can swim at superhuman speed, experimenting with your newfound hydrokinetic abilities, returning to dry land, swimming around, asking more selkie questions, and so on. They’re all solid options in your opinion, yet at the same time, nothing really stands out as being more important or interesting than anything else, but eventually, you settle on going back to a previous activity you were doing.
‘Do you mind if we swim around and I ask you some questions about selkies?’ you ask.
Moirine grins. ‘Not at all, pup. I’m happy to answer what you have on your mind.’
She starts to swim downward and you follow, both of you moving at a casual pace. You don’t know what direction Moirine will lead you, but, you’re totally fine with letting her take the lead – you mostly like the idea of seeing more of the ocean’s beauty while you learn more about selkies, since you feel it’s important you, as a new selkie, do so.
‘What comes to mind first, pup, if anything stands out?’ Moirine asks.
You have a few things you were wondering that you’d just placed on the backburner, since at the time when you were asking questions, there were more pressing ones.
‘Do selkies need to eat and drink?’ you ask.
‘Ah… now here’s one you’d be surprised isn’t asked very often,’ Moirine says.
The two of you drift down until you reach the ocean’s floor in the area you’re currently lingering in – Moirine begins to swim forward, in a different direction from where you went previously. You follow her, hugging near the sandy bottom the way she does.
‘We don’t NEED the same sustenance you humans do, at least not to that degree,’ Moirine responds after a quiet beat. ‘Meaning, we do indeed require to sustain ourselves, but, it’s less of a vital necessity. We can eat whatever foods you do, drink whatever liquids you do, it’s simply that we can go long stretches without either.’
‘You don’t get hungry or thirsty?’ you ask, gawking. That’s a new one to think about.
Moirine hums to herself. ‘Yes and no.’
You frown. ‘…wait, how is it yes AND no?’
She snickers. ‘Well, pup, I said we can go long stretches without them, not that we can go forever without them. We will eventually need some form of sustenance, and often, food and beverage will suffice. That said, we are creatures born from the ocean depths, so of those two, drinking is the one we need the least of. It’s partly because we are absorbing water through our pores – and through our very essence – from the instant our bodies connect with any body of water. Have you noticed how you aren’t thirsty?’
You blink several times in surprise at hearing this, and you take a few inner breaths to mull Moirine’s words over. She’s not wrong. You haven’t felt any sort of thirst since you were turned into a selkie, although you don’t feel as though you’ve been…
‘We drink through our… pores?’ you ask, a little perplexed by this.
‘Not literally, silly,’ Moirine says with a chuckle. ‘It’s more a case that we absorb the water into ourselves when we’re touching it. It’s been that way since we came into being, I’d imagine, because think about it… don’t sea creatures drink water while submerged to further their survival? Of course they do. They evolved in order to do this, and we selkie are no different, save for the fact we don’t NEED to go through the motions of gulping down the water we’re in. Our bodies do this naturally, for ease.’
‘Oh…’ You blink, and after giving it some thought, you nod along. ‘Okay, I guess that does make sense. Is the reason you don’t have to open your mouths to chug water down because you rely a lot on using your minds to do stuff? Or am I wrong entirely?’
She glances at you mid-motion, grinning. ‘You’re actually correct, pup. We selkie are not like normal mammals, like seals or humans or whales; remember that we are born and possess something you would liken to magic, so, if you wish, you can consider these things as magic in reasoning. Ah, but, to go back to the subject on food…’
She pauses and you both near a drop in the sandy floor you’ve been swimming over, where it dips further down into what you can only describe as a sea forest. You stop and gawk at the sight; there are tendrils of seaweed all over the place, yet more than that, there are dozens of masses of colorful coral spread about, and plenty of fish, too.
Moirine hovers near the fringe where it delves down. ‘Eating is something we natural selkie do need, yes, as we do grow hungry. Food offers energy, and, if I’m being totally honest, it also offers a lot of pleasure. Many selkie that assume human forms love to eat for the act of eating itself, including me. Many of your human foods are delicious. They smell good, they taste good, and the sensation of eating until I’m full is… it’s wonderful.’
You shift between eyeing the underwater forest that seems to loom for quite some time below where the two of you are and Moirine, before you focus on Moirine.
‘What do selkie normally eat if they stay underwater, though?’ you ask.
‘Sea life, of course,’ Moirine replies with a shrug. ‘Much like the normal seals and their various species, we tend to eat fish, since they’re in abundance down here, and let’s face it, when you have the boons a selkie possesses, fish are not at all difficult to catch. Shrimp, krill, crustaceans, eels, squid, octopi… we eat those, too, I should add. We can even eat the smaller species of sharks, and some will eat jellyfish and their kin.’
‘I… wait, hold on.’ You stare at her. ‘You eat jellyfish? But… don’t they…?’
She flashes a bright smile. ‘Their poison and barbs don’t affect us, my friend. We are resistant to any toxins produced by every sea creature down here, no matter their size or their strength. Spikes, jolts, sharpened fangs, ink, and so on; what the sea life may use to defend themselves against one another has no effect on us, fortunately.’
‘Damn,’ you say. You shake your head. ‘Now I’m just imagining you swimming up and chomping into a jellyfish like it’s made out of, I dunno, noodles or something soft.’
‘Jellyfish aren’t really to MY personal tastes,’ Moirine says. ‘They’re a bit too… mm, I would say the word spicy is the best I can use when defining how it feels. Too much of a bite, if you will, and the same goes for the man-o-war and all those spineless breeds; I rather prefer the taste of fish, or crustaceans, since I am fond of the crunchiness.’
You blink, once, twice, then a third time. ‘That’s not a sentence you hear every day.’
Moirine merely smiles in response. ‘Shall we continue to swim about while you throw another question or ten my way, pup? You can see the rather lovely forest below, and it’s both large in size and in beauty, with plenty of fish to snack on if you feel hungry…’
You glance back down into the admittedly gorgeous ocean forest filled with dozens of fish, and dozens upon dozens more of colorful corals, and you can just tell there’s a lot to see down there, even more than what you can spot from your vantage point.
Yet before you can think about it for too long (and ask Moirine more on what she feels), you notice that Moirine’s attention has drifted from you all of a sudden – she appears to be looking past you with a noticeably odd expression on her face. You blink once, frown, then turn your head to look behind that way, and you see what she’s seeing: there’s another selkie, it appears, in the distance and they are coming right at you.
‘Is that someone you know?’ you ask Moirine.
‘I believe so, yes,’ Moirine replies. ‘Perhaps we ought to wait to see…’
You nod, and, you turn so you’re facing the incoming selkie – you wonder if there’s something wrong, or, if there’s another reason for them to be coming at you so quickly; yet you also know it won’t take long to find out the answer to those questions.
Written by Hollowpage on 08 May 2021
About a minute later, the selkie swimming toward the both of you slows and comes to a stop in front of Moirine. You can tell from a glance at the selkie’s body that this one is female given the slender physique like Moirine’s (and yours), and you can also tell it’s a selkie due to the eyes – they are a human-like and a rather pale brown color. Her overall body is darker than Moirine’s and yours, too, with less spots, save for a smattering of smaller ones around her throat and trailing down to her pale underbelly.
‘Oh, Cahala, it’s you,’ Moirine remarks. ‘I wasn’t sure at first because you’re usually much more vocal at announcing yourself to me. Here to watch me coach the pup?’
‘Ah, sorry, Moirine,’ the new selkie, Cahala, replies.
She speaks with a deeper voice than Moirine, yet her voice to your ears – or mind… mind’s ears? – has what you can only define as a thicker Irish accent. In fact, you hadn’t even really noticed before, but, Moirine has an Irish-sounding accent, too, only softer.
‘I don’t mean to interrupt, but, there’s something of importance you need to know,’ the new selkie says, before she turns to regard you. She blinks once, then gazes at you for a beat. ‘You must be the human that was turned into a selkie by a djinn, aren’t you?’
You nod. ‘That’s me.’
‘Feh, a typical stinking djinn mucking about with their magic for petty reasons,’ she says with an internal scoff. ‘I’m Cahala, as Moirine just said, nice to meet you.’ She bows her head to you, and you do the same since it feels only right. ‘I saw the two of you visiting the Seamother earlier, and considered swimming up to introduce myself. But, I was dealing with another selkie in… what’s the phrase? In the same ship as you? Maybe?’
‘Oh, uh, yes, that’s close to it, if you mean in the same boat,’ you reply.
‘Aye, that’s the one,’ Cahala says. She shakes her head. ‘Regardless, while I’d love to have a nice chat, I’m afraid there’s a different reason for me coming here.’ Her expression darkens in a way that is all-too-human to see on someone that looks much like a seal in your eyes. ‘The Seamother asked me to come fetch the two of you and bring you both back to the Cayreeg, promptly if at all possible. There’s a… situation.’
‘A situation?’ you say, confused. ‘What kind of situation?’
Cahala nods her head back the way she came. ‘I can explain while we swim.’
You look to Moirine, who is frowning. ‘Very well, Cahala. Lead the way, love.’
The three of you begin to swim back the direction came from.
‘I don’t know the details in full,’ Cahala admits after a beat. ‘I only know that it seems to involve the very djinn that used his magics to transform you, pup, into a selkie.’
‘Oh,’ you say. ‘That’s, uh… worrying.’
‘Bah,’ Moirine says, snorting. ‘I wouldn’t worry too much. I doubt there’s some huge dilemma involving you or anything, pup. I know you mentioned you were a bit rash with the djinn, but we all have our arsehole days. Besides, a djinn ought to know better, and it’s not as if he hasn’t heard worse than whatever trivial response you gave him.’
‘I believe the issue is less to do with you directly,’ Cahala says, ‘and more to do with the very situation that you’re a part of. I’m sure you were told that djinn aren’t supposed to go around transforming humans into creatures or anything against the human’s will?’
‘Yes,’ you say.
Cahala gives a ‘hmm’ in response. ‘Good. That makes it a bit easier to explain.’
‘Explain what?’ you ask.
‘Moirine, did you or the Seamother tell this pup about the system?’ Cahala asks.
‘Briefly, yes,’ Moirine replies. ‘We touched on it for a moment, but not in-depth.’
You feel confused, but, you don’t object since it isn’t your place to just yet.
‘I will try to alleviate your confusion, pup,’ Cahala says to you. ‘Within our world, the one that is more often out of sight from normal humans, there are laws and rules that we adhere to. Any sort of trifling with those can result in trouble for us and for you humans, which is why we typically refrain from doing things like what occurred to you. Should we learn that another species or entity has chosen to go against these, it then becomes our… civic duty, I suppose, to confront the issue head on how we see fit to confront it.’
You soak in her words for a beat. ‘I think I understand. I remember someone mentioning how they’d deal with the genie that did this to me. Is that what you’re talking about?’
‘Aye,’ Cahala says.
‘Why would that scenario require the pup, though?’ Moirine asks. ‘They didn’t ask to be transformed into a selkie, nor wish for it, either. There’s no bond formed between them and the djinn as master and servant, which means that lousy djinn can’t use this one as an excuse for what happened. I fail to see why the Seamother needs to see us.’
‘Because the problem involving this djinn and their actions runs far, far deeper than that alone, apparently,’ Cahala replies matter-of-factly. ‘I’m sorry. The Seamother didn’t give me a full explanation, only asked that I get the two of you. More so the pup than you, Moirine, but, given their newness to being a selkie, she felt it would be beneficial for you to be present. You’ve taken the pup under your proverbial wing, after all.’
‘True,’ Moirine says.
You frown to yourself and wonder what the problem could be if it’s this serious. You don’t know enough about selkie society to hazard a guess – you have a basic (maybe) understanding of some things, but, even then, you can tell that there’s a whole lot more for you to learn in the grander scheme of things. From what you can gauge, this involves the djinn, but, why the Seamother would want to speak to you, you are unsure.
‘Did the Seamother go herself to speak to the djinn?’ Moirine asks.
‘She sent Fia in her stead,’ Cahala replies. Cahala glances at you for a heartbeat. ‘Fia is… a stewardess, you could say. She is one of the oldest selkie that serves as the voice for our Seamother, as a trusted advisor and all that, in case you are curious.’
‘I’m guessing she found out something from the djinn that caused this?’ you ask.
‘Aye, pup,’ Cahala replies. ‘That is indeed the case.’
You glance at Moirine, who meets your gaze – her expression seems to mirror the emotions you’re feeling of confusion and leeriness. For now, you swallow your nerves down, and, the three of you swim on, tracking back toward the eventual location where the Cayreeg is. When the three of you arrive in the area, Cahala comes to a stop so that she’s hovering near the entrance to the giant formation. Here, she turns back to you.
‘You may go in on your own if you wish, pup,’ Cahala says to you. ‘Or you may have Moirine join you, should you want.’ She pauses for a moment, then shrugs. ‘Hell, you can even have us both go with you. I’m rather curious to learn what the deal is. I know you’ve only just met me, but, I wanna know what the bloody djinn did that’s got our Seamother so flustered. Stinking djinn can’t be trusted, ‘least not ones like this one.’
‘…is the djinn down there?’ you ask.
Cahala laughs, her body shaking as bubbles erupt from her mouth. ‘Oho, no, no, no, my young friend, there’s no way a djinn would dare venture down into our domain. Plus, they’re typically kept locked up in whatever those silly things are called… a lamp, or something? Whatever.’ She rolls her eyes. ‘Point is, they can’t come down here without certain loopholes being exploited, and neither Fia nor the Seamother were about to go using those. Last thing we need is a djinn stinking up our ocean domain, for sure.’
‘In other words, you’re in no danger from dealing with him,’ Moirine says. She offers you a smile. ‘And even if he was there, you’d be safe from harm. The Seamother is a force to be reckoned with when push comes to shove, you can bet your ass on that, pup.’
‘Okay,’ you say, and you think it over. ‘What’s the best thing for me to do?’
‘The choice is yours, pup,’ Moirine says. ‘You shouldn’t keep the Seamother waiting for too long, though. Just on the principle of the matter, more than anything else, mind.’
You nod and look toward the Cayreeg. Do you want to go in alone? Do you want to have Moirine join you, since she would know more? Or do you want her and Cahala to come with you, since two selkie that have experience is better than one, right?
Written by Hollowpage on 11 May 2021
‘I think I’m fine with both of you coming with me,’ you say after a beat. ‘It might help to have two selkies that know more about… well, this whole world. I’m still learning.’
‘Fair enough, pup,’ Moirine says, smiling. ‘Then, let us go and see the Seamother.’
The three of you swim down into the Cayreeg, making your way back to the area where the Seamother is located – you find that she is upright now rather than lying down the way she was when you first met her. Her massive size is even more apparent now, and you feel even smaller compared to her when the three of you come to a stop before her.
‘Ah, thank you, Cahala,’ Voadia says, nodding to the selkie you just met. ‘I appreciate you bringing these two back for me.’ Her large eyes move from you to Moirine. ‘My apologies for interrupting whatever you were doing, but, I’m afraid that there is a matter that requires I ask you for some aid. It involves the djinn that changed you with his magic, young one, although I’m sure Cahala informed you of that much already.’
‘She did, yes,’ you say.
‘What’s the problem, Seamother?’ Moirine asks. ‘I would’ve expected Fia to deal with the errant djinn rather easily, lest he’d want himself to be reported to the others…’
Voadia’s eyes narrow ever so slightly. ‘The issue that has arisen is the reasoning for this young human’s sudden transformation. Before, I was of the belief it was merely the djinn being petty, as some among their kin are known to do for their own amusement.’ She shakes her giant head. ‘However, it has come to my attention this wasn’t the case underneath the surface. Instead, there is a deeper meaning… one tied to his Master.’
You stare at the large selkie blankly. ‘Wait… Master? What do you mean Master?’
There’s a long stretch of quiet among the other selkie while these words settle. You, for one, are astounded, since you had no idea the djinn had a Master in the first place.
‘Hold on a moment,’ Cahala says, with a tone and an expression of earnest shock, not unlike how you currently feel. ‘I don’t know the full story here, but,’ she turns to eye you quizzically, ‘is it not the case that you stumbled upon the djinn’s lamp, awakened him, declined his request in a way he didn’t care for, and then you were changed?’
‘Y-yeah,’ you say. ‘That’s exactly what happened.’
Cahala scowls. ‘Then…’ She turns back to Voadia. ‘How does that make sense?’
‘Um…’ You are at a complete loss; you don’t know what they’re talking about.
Voadia eyes you knowingly. ‘When a djinn is summoned from their abode, it typically means they are unclaimed, for lack of a more proper term. They do not have a Master, otherwise, they would not normally be summonable in the first place. However, this was not the case for the djinn you interacted with. He DID have a Master, and still has a Master, which means he had no right to have you summon him in the first place.’
‘Oh…’ you say. Now it makes a bit more sense to you. ‘Wait, but, then… how…?’
‘That is strange,’ Moirine says. ‘Strange and troubling, that a djinn would do such a thing.’ Her tone is one of confusion mixed with irritation. ‘You mean to tell me that he had a Master, yet he was still able to return to his lamp? And then he willingly tricked this one? At this rate, I’m beginning to think that djinn used his magics to MAKE the pup speak harshly, as if to further spur on whatever foul ploy led to this happening.’
‘I would not doubt this in the least bit,’ Voadia replies.
‘Bah, see what I mean?’ Cahala says with a scowl. ‘Stinking djinn! Too many of them are like this, always skirting around the edges of what keeps us all in line. Some may be decent, sure, but a lot of ‘em are bloody shitebags, if you ask me. A royal pain, too.’
‘Fia was able to learn this much from speaking to the djinn,’ Voadia says. She gives a heavy sigh of distaste. ‘Unfortunately, he did not indulge further despite Fia’s… civil methods of requesting the details. He merely stated he has a Master that he’s still bound to and that his Master’s whims were still being followed when he used his powers, and thus, he did not break any of the laws we among this world must obey.’
You are stunned into speechlessness. You stare at the giant selkie, the words spinning around inside of you. You’re not sure what to think or how to feel knowing all this, although the reality that you were basically tricked and deceived doesn’t sit well.
‘That… that shouldn’t be allowed to stand, Seamother,’ Cahala says.
‘I agree,’ Moirine adds. ‘This sort of loophole abuse for such a petty, spiteful thing is a bastardization of what we all should stand for. Our kind doesn’t forcibly meddle in the affairs of humans like this; it’s wrong and corrupt, and did the djinn forget that such a path is what led to his entire species being cursed and weakened as they are now?’
Voadia shakes her head. ‘I cannot speak for a djinn I have not met, my dear.’
‘So, uh…’ Your lips purse. ‘What now, though?’
‘To be truthful, this scenario is different from what I am used to hearing of and dealing with, which is why I have brought you back here,’ Voadia says, as her large gaze returns to you then. ‘I am aware you likely don’t have much in terms of knowing the truth about this djinn from one brief encounter. But,’ her features morph into a frown, ‘I actually have a request to make of you, pup, if you are willing to hear it.’
You shake your daze off and look at the ancient selkie intently. ‘What’s that?’
‘I would like to request you to return to where you met the djinn,’ Voadia says. ‘And I would like for you to find out what wish it is that he feels he granted when he changed your form against your will. Doing so will be of benefit for us, as we need to learn the truth for the sake of ensuring such a thing never happens again. And,’ her expression darkens, ‘it may be useful to find out what this Master of his has to do with it, too.’
You swallow the lump that forms in your throat. ‘O-oh. I see.’
‘Do you think the pup would be able to get information out of the djinn?’ Cahala asks.
‘Surely, Fia would suffice,’ Moirine says. ‘She is one of the strongest among us besides you yourself, Seamother.’ She scoffs in her mind. ‘I would be of the opinion to allow her to use force in getting what we need from this rotten bastard of a djinn. There’s no way he would willingly divulge information to a human when he HAS a Master, after all.’
Voadia’s features soften, and she cracks a smile. ‘Actually, there is a loophole we can use to our advantage, should our young friend here be open to accepting this request.’
‘Loophole?’ you say. ‘What loophole?’
‘While the djinn is obeying the letter of the laws in our realm,’ Voadia says, ‘his transforming of you against your will is still an offense to the spirit of the law. You would only need to remind him of this fact… and by doing so in person, you would likely manage to wound this djinn’s pride a good bit. He cannot deny that you did not ask to be changed, after all, and whether or not he was obeying a Master, that you were deceived on purpose is still against the very creed the djinn species uphold.’
‘I would go with you, pup,’ Moirine says. She holds your stare. ‘I know a good enough amount to handle a djinn given their usual demeanors and preference for trickery. This one is a clear piece of shit, for lack of a better term, and I will gladly confront him in your stead should it be needed. Because he is, as Cahala said… a stinking djinn.’
Cahala snorts at this. ‘He deserves a bloody beating if ever a djinn deserved one. I’d just let Fia kick his sorry arse around for a few hours. We selkie aren’t weak when we are made to fight, despite what those stupid djinn like to assume we are.’
‘There is no pressure upon you, pup,’ Voadia says. She holds your stare with a kind, neutral expression. ‘You are not bound to obey me, nor would I ever demand that you do what I asked. You are free to choose should you wish to help, and you may also choose to do so at another time entirely.’ She smiles, a genuine, if massive, smile. ‘It is your decision to make, young one. Do you wish to help now? Later? Or, decline?’
All three sets of eyes fall onto you, and silence settles in the large cavern.
You look down and start to think… what would you prefer to do?
Written by Hollowpage on 13 May 2021
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
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
After considering your choices for a beat of silence, you suck in a slow breath and feel as though you have a good idea of what seems the better one, or, you hope so, that is.
“I guess we can look for the closest Shard thing,” you say to Moirine, and you shrug. “I don’t know anything about how they work, and while it may take a bit longer, going off what you’ve told me, they sound like a better choice. I mean, if they’re all connected somehow, then, surely that means we’ll get to wherever that genie is eventually?”
Moirine nods. “Indeed, pup, indeed. Come, then, and let’s start searching.”
The two of you begin to move across the sandy shore, veering to the left where there is a rocky path that leads upwards into the forested area. You swear you can’t tell where this is exactly, because you can’t for the life of you remember a forest BEFORE you ended up in that strange place with the shop, the massive tree, and the cave.
For now, you push this aside.
“How are these Shard things connected, exactly?” you ask. “I don’t quite understand.”
Moirine chuckles. “Think of the Shards as… what’s the word you would use… ah, a portal, we’ll say.” She flashes you a bright smile. “One Shard itself is a portal that leads to this pocket realm, or, belly button as I like to call them, where reality exists, yet it’s separate from this world where you come from. Now, on the surface, you might not think that a Shard could be attached to anything beyond your world, but, that isn’t the case.”
You furrow your brow at her, confused. “Go on…”
“All Shards are connected to one another in essence,” Moirine says with a nod, “but, the thing you should understand, my friend, is not all Shards are connected directly.”
Your furrowed brow increases. “Huh?”
She smiles. “Sorry, pup, I know, me saying it that way is more than a bit confusing for you. I’m trying to figure out the best words to use that it will make sense to you.”
She pauses for a beat while the two of you trek up the rocky path, moving over several smaller stones and the like as you gradually inch onto actual dirt and the trees. You glance around as you both walk, and, you can hear birds chirping around you, and some insects making their noises, too, but you don’t hear any sign of civilization near.
‘Weird,’ you think.
“Okay, here,” Moirine says. “Imagine your entire mortal world being represented as a massive ocean, just an ocean by itself, no islands, nothing fancy like that, and picture it at the center of whatever you use in your mind to conjure up imaginations.”
You frown, but, you do so.
“Now, picture a river that runs through this ocean… but only in certain spots,” she adds, using a hand to make the motion of something flowing. “See, if you can, try to imagine that river running ‘underneath’ the ocean primarily, as if it exists more underwater than it does ‘above’ the water, but it rises up randomly as it goes across in a straight line.”
You blink several times, but, you try to visualize what she’s saying. It takes a moment since you usually like to have some physical representation of things to better get a read of it (this was a constant annoyance for you in school growing up, for damn sure). Yet, after wrapping your mind around the imaginary ocean and a river running under it, you suppose you get a rough sense of the visual Moirine is trying to portray to you.
“Think of that river as what a Shard is, pup,” Moirine says. “Not in the literal sense, of course, but, in the figurative sense. It’s connected to your world, which we have being represented by a large, empty ocean, yet only in certain, random spots. The rest of that river, that Shard, is detached from your world, running concurrently.” She pauses to give you a meaningful look. “Are you with me so far, pup? Does this help give an idea?”
You nod slowly. “I… think so, yes.”
“Good, good.” She smiles. “Now just picture hundreds of different rivers like that first one, scattered all over the place.” She uses a finger to swirl around. “Some run vertically, some run horizontally, some run diagonally, and so on; the point is, there are countless rivers all over the place, and what that means is there will be plenty of overlapping as you mentally form more and more and more of them. Understand?”
It’s starting to grow clearer to you. “Oh… oh. I think…”
You take a breath in and mentally construct this image in your mind, almost like you’re drawing an imaginary grid in your head, but with rivers going all over the place instead.
“So, what you’re saying is that all Shards exist in this… lower, detached world,” you say, the words coming to you as your brain works through this bizarre concept she’s explaining to you, “and many of them are connected to each other, but, not every single Shard is directly attached to the other. Like tunnels underground, or, I dunno, a maze.”
“Exactly,” Moirine says.
You suck in a quiet breath and run a hand through your hair. “Okay. I… I get it, sort of.”
“There’s one other thing about Shards you ought to know,” Moirine says.
She pauses again, and in fact, she stops in full. She sniffs the air slowly, her gaze shifting about – she looks right, then left, and you watch her nostrils flare. She starts to take a few steps to the left, halts to sniff again, and then motions you to follow her.
“What’s that?” you ask when you both start moving again.
“This might make it a bit more confusing,” she admits, and she gives a brief shrug, “but, again, I’ll try to make it understandable for you. Let’s push aside the river and ocean analogy for now, but, we’ll focus on a single Shard for the sake of simplicity.” She nods at you. “You know how I said a Shard connects to your world, at random points?”
“Right, well, that isn’t just in the figurative sense,” Moirine says. “Shards are… fickle things, to be blunt. Few truly comprehend the foundation through which they exist, and, I could probably spend hours alone trying to explain how it is I feel they became a thing in the first place,” she waves a hand off, “but, I digress. In theory, every Shard can be found in a set area of your world at any time. However… where that Shard appears in its exact placement in said area differs depending on an unknown number of factors.”
“…you lost me again, Moirine,” you admit, a little sheepishly.
Moirine halts to face you. “Say that you are in a city, pup. Pick any, it doesn’t matter which, but,” she holds up a finger, “in that city, there is a Shard. What I’m attempting to convey is that the Shard will always be IN this city, yet WHERE in the city it will pop up is split between, I don’t know, five different locations overall. One could be in a park, one could be near a public swimming pool, another is in a shopping center, and another still might be inside someone’s basement. It’s sometimes random. Does that help?”
You blink several times, but, you end up nodding. “Basically, then, if there is a Shard nearby, it could be… anywhere in this area? Wherever the hell we’ve ended up being?”
“Basically, yes,” Moirine replies. “This is an island somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, I know that much. And I can smell a Shard is somewhere on the island, we just need to keep moving until we find where the stinking thing is hiding.” She shakes her head in mild annoyance. “I swear, it’s like Shards have some weird will of their own sometimes.”
You start to walk again with Moirine, and your head is spinning from all this information.
“Wait a moment,” you say, while you wrack your mind around everything Moirine has told you, “you told me before that the Cayreeg itself is located inside a Shard, isn’t it? Yet every time we’ve gone there, it seemed like we always ended up in the Cayreeg the same way. Doesn’t that mean the entrance to the Shard was, uh, ‘set,’ I guess?”
“Yes, that’s correct,” Moirine says. “But, I didn’t say every single Shard was like the example I mentioned above.” She flashes an apologetic smile. “It varies, pup. I wish I could give you a more concrete example or provide a list of Shards that are always in a specific spot, but, sadly, I can do neither. We can only try to locate a Shard near us.”
You shake your head and rub your neck. “Jeez, this is way more complicated than I thought it would be. I figured there was just a magic portal thing that we had to find, not that there are several magic portals, yet they can pop up in whatever spot they want.”
“Sorry, pup,” Moirine says. “Fortunately…” She sniffs the air again. “We’re close to one.”
“How can you tell?” you ask.
She points to her nose. “As a natural-born selkie, I can detect Shards through smell. Other beings can sense their location, or see them, or hear them, and so on, but we selkie have innately strong noses for smelling any trace of… magic, I suppose.”
“Oh,” you say. “Gotcha.”
She leads you on further into the forest, deeper into an area where more trees are springing out from the ground, casting a lot of shade around you. The air is cool, and there is a faint breeze that carries with it the smells of the dirt and the trees. You breathe it in deeply, and you admit it’s both pleasant and oddly calming to smell.
“We’re getting closer,” Moirine says. She sniffs again. “Mm, I can detect… ooh, how interesting.” She glances at you. “I can smell two different Shards coming up, I think.”
“Wait, two different Shards or…” You blink. “Two openings to the same Shard?”
“Two separate Shards that smell like they’re close together,” Moirine replies. “Remember the dozens of rivers analogy, pup; this happens frequently, so it isn’t always a case of one Shard manifesting by itself.” She waves a hand. “I know, it’s a pain in the ass to have to dwell on, believe me. We selkie have been frustrated by Shards in the past, particularly whenever we venture onto dry land to spend time in the human world.”
“Huh,” you say. You aren’t sure what else to say to this subject.
You decide to let the deeper talk about Shards slide away from you for the time being, because you feel you have a decent grasp of the Shard concept, but, you don’t want to end up with a headache from having to think too hard on this bizarre topic.
So, you follow Moirine for another few minutes among the trees, until she comes to another stop at a small area that isn’t really a clearing – too many trees around and not much open space – yet you can hear running water to the right. And this time, she sniffs the air a few times before she puts her hands on her hips and nods to herself.
“Here,” Moirine says, glancing at you. “There are two Shards we can make use of.”
You look around. “I… don’t see anything?”
“I know,” Moirine says. “But trust me on this – there are two Shards present in this vicinity. One is to the right, and one is to the left. Which do you want to go to, pup?”
You blink, and your lips purse. ‘Hoo boy.’
Written by Hollowpage on 22 May 2021
Seeking Shards II