Selkie Wisdom IV
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
The end (for now)