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
Selkie Wisdom VI
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
A Breath of Fresh Air