“Any practitioner of magic that’s received even a modicum of training in the field has, at one point or another, heard of the term ‘grimoire’. Its origins are shrouded in mystery, its purpose unknown and the power that it possesses inestimable. However, their prevalence is also fading.
As magic studies become more and more accessible to mages of all walks of life, it is considered futile for witches and warlocks to keep personal tomes of spells and hexes anymore. The uniformization of magical practice has brought about an age in which collaboration between our kind is considered not only beneficial, but also ideal. The practice of taking apprentices is no longer an individual choice that each magician makes for themselves, and thus the need for secrecy - the fear of others invading our most personal matters and thus robbing us of our knowledge has become quite absurd.
Nowadays, grimoires have started to gain a reputation as old-fashioned magical tools, relics of the past or tools of forbidden lore. Less than 200 remain still, collected by the Ministry of Magic’s illustrious archivists and kept in many museums across Twisted Wonderland for easy access to those that seek to expand their knowledge. Yet despite their heavy efforts many of these crucial tomes fall prey to the passage of them, deteriorating as their magic fades away. Preventing the loss of these books is quintessential, if not for us, then for future generations. Thus, many countries have launched conservation projects in order to salvage what is left of our inheritance.
It is due to these projects that my own efforts have not been in vain. For years I have searched all over the world to recover and preserve the eight grimoires which had once belonged to the eight great witches of the Bald Mountain, figures shrouded in such mystery that these books are considered the only valid proof of their existence. They are thick volumes, averaging about 1,000 pages each, something quite unusual for that period, and written in codes and foreign languages that have long passed into obscurity. Translating them required intensive work and research, and even so I was able to conquer only sixty percent of the original text. The rest will be lost to history, I am afraid to say, for there are few people able to interpret the original dialects and signs of these spellbooks.
I hope that in the future there might be somebody more courageous and ingenious than me, who will decipher these tomes in their entirety. There is precious knowledge to be learned from these pages, power that has been lost over time, and power that might help the future. It is thus my request that for every person who reads this book detailing the journey I have taken since I decided fourteen years ago that I must resolve this mystery and prevent it from slipping through the cracks of progress, that you think to dedicate a little bit of time and money to the eminent researchers that still struggle to maintain their memories alive.
In this regard, I would like to dedicate this book to the many people and organizations that have made possible the publication of this volume. First, there is of course the Magical Research Board, The Ministry of Magic and the Magic University who have kindly and dutifully supported me financially. The research grant that they have awarded me with has helped me carry my investigation through several countries, as well as access resources that would have been otherwise impossible for me to make use of.
I would also like to express my gratitude towards the ruling families of the Afterglow Savannah and the Valley of Thorns, for their generosity in allowing me to study the history of their kingdoms in order to better understand the social and political dimensions to two of the witches’ that are said to hail from these places.
I would also like to thank all the translators and historians that have taken time out of their busy schedules to help with my manuscripts - pointing out translation errors, mistakes regarding historical dates and events, or even my continuous use of the word “mystery” of which I am guilty even in my opening chapter I must sadly admit! Thus, I would like to mention among many Miss Line, and her lovely daughter Safia, whose generosity saved my life when I was to drown at sea;
my Lord Duban of the Land of Hot Sands, who enchanted me with tales of viziers and street rats who court princesses;
Nefu, whose knowledge of the low town in the Savannah rivals none, I am sure of that;
Lord Himalia of the Land of Pyroxene whose heart is as great as the acres of land he owns;
old, wise Louisa who welcomed me in her hut before her beloved Cockatrice managed to tear me to shreds;
my dear friend Daphne, whose courage is greater than even the rage of a Kerberos breed when it sees its owner attacked;
Thursday, who proved to the world that despite their short stature dwarves should not be taken lightly after all;
and General Vanrouge, whose skill with the sword is as unmatched as the knowledge he possesses. To all of them, I would like to express my sincerest, heartfelt gratitude for the help they have given me. It is truly unmistakable that good friends are more valuable than a thousand golden statues!
Though they are departed, I wish to thank my parents as well, for having instilled in me such good morals and values. I am eternally grateful to all your guidance and love, and hope that you rest safely above in the sky.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank my dearest Alkin, who is first among familiars and friends alike. His companionship and experience has proven to be invaluable to me during my travels, and there are no words to express the warmth with which I regard my beloved brother.”
- Introduction to Of Grimoires and Pledges: A Study of Eight Texts that Shaped Our Understanding of Modern Magic
Grimoire of the Rose
In the sea I used to be a poet.
You do not believe me. That is alright. I understand. My speech is stilted. My pauses are long. My mind, once sharp and swift as the marlin’s gait, now always searches its corners for words that came easily before. I have forgotten them all now. I glance around with wild eyes. The vastness around us scares me.
You think, ‘Ah, this woman is not well.’ And perhaps you are right.
You think, ‘She must have suffered greatly.’ That is not so.
Please do not pity me. I do not deserve it.
As all fools I’ve made peace with myself.
As all wise men I wish to warn others.
Forgive me. Speaking in your tongue is hard for me. But please bear it. I would like to tell you my story. It is not long or sad. Just short and silly. You will surely laugh as you read it. That is alright. I wish you would laugh. It eases my soul when I hear others laugh. It reminds me of the ocean.
But I wish to tell you my story. Please listen.
It starts with a beautiful princess born in a wealthy kingdom.
No, that princess is not me. I was born on the shore, among the sand and shells, under the great night sky. I have never seen a palace, nor worn a gown. I have heard that they are beautiful. Princesses wear them at balls, with golden slippers and dance away the night. This princess must have worn one too. She must have been very beautiful. And loved. All beautiful women are loved.
No, I do not know what made her beautiful. I have never seen her. But I like to imagine it must have been so. It helps me rest.
As I said, my story starts with a princess born in a wealthy kingdom. She was her father’s only child, a sweet, delicate girl with fair hair and golden eyes.
Yes, I am lying now. For I never laid eyes on her. I say these things because it helps me rest.
I am repeating myself? Forgive me. Your tongue is difficult for me. I wish to tell you my story. Will you listen?
My story starts with a beautiful child, born to a widowed king, who paid three gold pieces to the undertaker to build a temple over his wife’s grave, where he went to pray every evening. I do not know why humans built temples. My kind does not.
I have asked him, but he did not know either.
He loved her too. They all did. She was beautiful. All beautiful women are loved. I was loved too. I was beautiful too.
My story starts with the birth of a beautiful child, whose father built a temple ashore the land where my mother had borne me. It was the darkest night she had ever seen, and the stars shone bright. My mother cried as I came out, small and pink and weeping. I was so small I fit in her arms with ease. She was frightened I would die of cold. She bundled me up and ran to the sea.
You think it’s strange. That is alright. Forgive me. I will explain.
My mother ran with me to the sea, for my father was giving chase. She reached the waters before he had a chance to grab her. That is as well. For if he did, he would have pulled my mother’s skin away.
Yes, my father loved my mother. All men love us. They cannot help it. It is their sin.
He found her upon the beach and took her to his hut and made her his wife. She bore him sons, I don’t know how many for I never asked, and then me. My father’s world came crashing down upon him. My mother wept with joy. When I came she knew Mother Sea would welcome her back. She bore me upon the shore so that Mother would bear witness.
When mother’s feet touched the water, she had already been gone. I do not know if my father followed. I think he must have not. Mother Sea does not welcome his kind. You cannot breathe when Mother holds you. That is very pitiful.
Forgive me. Your tongue is difficult.
There are no men among us. It is only us and Mother. She loves us deeply and we love her. And the men that Mother hates also love us. It is a difficult love. No, I do not know if we love the men too. We must love them. We swim every year to the shore to take our skin off and be like them - the human women that they love. And they love us too. Because we are more beautiful than their women.
They love us, and they desire us. They take our skins and bring us to their sheds and take us in their beds. We bear them sons and mend their clothes and curse the land we live on and love them dearly. We cannot help but love them. No, it is not love. It is love. Your tongue is very difficult.
We love them and we love them. We must, for Mother no longer loves us when we love the men. She does not recognize us anymore. She cannot hold us when she doesn’t know who we are. She is frightened of us then. So we love the men because we cannot love Mother anymore. We miss Mother. But she doesn’t miss us.
It is very pitiful.
When we are human we cannot love Mother, so we wait for daughters to be born so she will love us again. No, only daughters. Never sons. Mother does not love our sons. They cannot see or hear Mother. But daughters - us - we can. I heard Mother before I had been born. She sang to me of the sea foam, and the waves and of my mother’s skin and where my father hid it. I told my mother this. She dug the chest buried underneath the juniper tree with her bare hands as I sang to her. She was crying because she heard Mother’s voice in mine.
I do not know what happened to my father. I have never returned to that shore. I have never met my brothers. I do not wish to. Mother does not either. She told me to be careful. She held me to her breast as we watched the angelfish, and told me to never go to the land of men and take off my skin. She told me to keep away.
But it was a waste. She knew this. We must go to the shore every year. We must take off our skin.
My mother did so the next year as well. I never saw her again. She must have been found by another man. That is as well. I would soon follow in her footsteps.
My story starts with the birth of a fair child, beloved by all, and especially by the young poet who wished to marry her. He was a handsome man, but he was poor. This is unfortunate in your land. Forgive me.
Why did he love the princess? Because she was beautiful. All beautiful women are loved.
Yes, all beautiful things must be loved.
Because they are beautiful. That is all.
The poet loved this princess because she was beautiful, but she did not love him because he was poor. It is a pitiful thing.
Yes, I loved the poet too. Because he was beautiful. No, I did not love him. I loved him. Your tongue is very difficult.
I wish you could understand.
He did not understand either. Though he was a poet. It was odd. He told me he could not hear me sing when I spoke, and did not hear me speak when I sang. But Mother hears us. She hears me and my sisters as we sing-speak and speak-sing to her. Only Mother can hear us.
But still I loved him.
Yes. No, I did not love him. Please understand.
I sang to him under the night sky and he kissed my lips. I spoke to him about love and he kissed my cheeks. He loved me on the shore until dawn. No, it was love, not love. Forgive me.
When Mother released the sun from her hold, he kissed my eyelids. He had beautiful lips. I loved them dearly. He was a beautiful man. All beautiful things must be loved.
He did not take me for his wife. He loved the princess.
‘Forgive me,’ he said. ‘Forgive me,’ he said. ‘Forgive me,’ he said.
I am repeating myself. Please understand.
‘You are taking my skin,’ I told him. ‘You are taking my skin. What will I do without my skin? Mother won’t take me back without my skin.’
He spoke so sweetly. Do you understand? All beautiful things must be loved.
‘The princess of this land - I love her dearly. I wish to marry her. But I am poor. I am not worthy. I wish to be worthy. The princess - she wishes for a coat more beautiful than the sunrise. I have searched this land - from the mountain to the sea, from the fields to the hills, but I have not found a coat more beautiful than yours.’
‘I cannot give you my skin,’ I told him. ‘You must take me as your wife. I cannot give you my skin for another. I must have my skin to return to Mother.’
‘Forgive me,’ he said. He kissed my lips, my cheeks, my eyelids - and then he was gone. He took my skin to the princess. She loved it dearly. She loved him dearly. They were to be married within the year. She wore my skin as her veil. It was a beautiful veil. It was a beautiful wedding.
All beautiful things must be loved.
I gave chase. Yes, I did. I followed after him - my husband.
I called to him. But he did not stop.
I wept for him. But his heart did not yield.
I wept for Mother. But she could not hear me.
I wept for our Master. He said I was a fool to trust the word of man. He thundered. He roared. He drove me away with arrows made of fire and spiteful words. He did not care. He did not listen.
I wish to tell you my story.
There was once a child born upon the land where a temple was built with just three gold coins. This child was so beautiful that when she spoke, the birds would listen to hear her song. When she danced, the ground would soften underneath her feet so no harm would come upon her. When she smiled, the sun bowed so it would not deter from her beauty.
He loved her. She scorned him. He was poor. It is a pitiful thing.
I loved him. He loved her. I loved him and loved him.
Your tongue - forgive me.
She came to me upon the shore.
All beautiful things must be loved.
My husband - he left me upon the shore. He took my skin and left. He loved the princess. I loved him.
I wanted to return to Mother. But Mother did not love me anymore. She did not hold me. She could not hold me. I wept. Mother’s arms - they seemed to wrap around my throat. I could not breathe.
She came to me upon the shore. My Lady.
My sisters - they tore away their skin. A leg, an arm, a breast, an ear - they had sewn it all together. They gave the coat to me. They said Mother would hold me now.
She did not. She could not.
I loved Mother. I loved and loved and loved and loved and loved and loved and loved Her.
She could not love me. He did not love me. She did not love him.
They were to be married within the year.
It was a beautiful wedding.
It was a beautiful veil.
‘My skin,’ I said. ‘My skin, my skin, my skin - You must take me as your wife.’
‘I do not love you.’
‘You must. Mother does not love me anymore. You must.’
His roots went deep. They touched her mother’s grave. They touched my mother’s grave.
He loved her. She loved him. No, not love. Love.
All men love us. It is their sin. We must love them too, when Mother no longer loves us.
‘My child, my rose,’ she spoke. Her eyes were so sweet. I wept. She kissed my eyelids. She kissed my tears. All beautiful things must be loved.
I loved him. I let him bloom. I gave him light. I gave him water. I fetched it every day from the well and watched him grow. My husband.
It was a beautiful wedding.
‘My child, my rose, my sweetest heart.’
She held me. Mother could not hold me. She held me and kissed me and loved me.
Your tongue is very difficult.
‘I do not love you,’ my husband lied. ‘I cannot love you. I do not want to love you. Please understand.’
All men love us. It is their sin.
It was a beautiful veil.
I am repeating myself.
They take us from the shore into their huts and into their beds. We bear them children and mend their clothes and curse the land we live on and love them dearly. And wait for daughters to be born.
Every year he gave me blossoms. I crushed them underneath my feet. He fed on my blood.
I loved him. And I loved her. And I loved Mother. And I loved her.
‘My child,’ she kissed me. ‘My rose,’ she kissed me. ‘My sweetest heart,’ she kissed me.
I sheath myself in wicked thorns and sing of my Lady’s love.
Please listen. Please understand.
My mother’s grave. Her mother’s grave.
He took her into his hut and into his bed. He took her into the garden and stripped her of her skin. He hid it underneath the juniper tree where mother heard me sing.
All men must love us. It is their sin.
She was a beautiful child. He was a dutiful king. He paid three gold pieces for the temple. It was made of stone and wood and the bed inside it was warm.
They take us from the shore and into their beds.
I loved him. He died in spring. I burned him. I kissed the ashes.
Mother would not listen.
Mother could not understand.
It was a beautiful veil.
Your tongue is very difficult.
I wish to tell you my story.
“Translating this introductory part of the grimoire has proven to be by far the easiest part of my endeavour, as there has not been much to translate at all. It seems that unlike her sisters, the Witch of the Rose wrote in the common tongue of that time, which fortunately for me is not very different from our current one. Line tells me this might be because the language of the selkie has no written form. In fact, its complexity is so great, no written form could properly capture its beauty.
It is an interesting notion to me, a student with meagre interest in languages, at the very least before I become employed in this project. There is no proper way to prove this, however, as according to what Line tells me, she can barely remember even the few things she picked up from her grandmother. It is so with every selkie that lives on land for too long - slowly they forget the tongue of Mother Sea (an ancient pagan deity, I believe) and learn the tongue of their husbands. Line herself seems to remember mostly old songs that she teaches to little Safia too so she can remember her ancestors even a little. She tells me they are the last ones.
Line’s great-great-grandmother was taken from the sea by her husband as well - a practice which was considered normal back in the day - and as she never managed to have any daughters was forced to live the rest of her life on this foreign land. She tells me this story with a sort of melancholic detachment as she brushes her daughter’s long, golden hair. This is standard for their species it seems - all daughters have golden hair and golden eyes which makes them look terrible and inviting to the men that come across them.
Line also tells me that the selkie language has over 34 words to express ‘love’. She says that the witch must have been trying to capture them all as she wrote down her confession, but she can only remember a few of the ones her grandmother taught her. Thus, there is ‘love gleaned from above the sea foam’, ‘love that is realized by the stroke of midnight’, ‘love which blooms only at the wake of dawn’, ‘love which burns one as they feel it’ which is different from ‘love that scorches one as they let go of it’. She does not know the word for the love felt for one’s husband, but she tells me that the love for one’s daughter is translated as ‘love for a budding flower which blooms on the bottom of the ocean’.
She tells me all this with a mournful look - the expression of a woman who knows that when she passes there will be a little less of her legacy left. The grimoire that I show her has a shell accessory on the cover that when opened produces the most beautiful melody in the world. When I showed Line this she started weeping and once she calmed down she explained that it was the same song that her grandmother used to sing when she was little. I believe it must be an old folk song, though she cannot confirm it for me, since she admits that there are barely any words that she recognizes. Though she can tell with some certainty that it is a song of forgiveness - that the witch is begging her mother to welcome her back to the sea. Little Safia listened to the song as well, but I could tell that beyond the soothing melody nothing stuck out to her at all. It broke Line’s heart.
I stayed there for almost two months learning what I could about the selkie. It did Line good too since she felt that even if she were to die, little Safia and her children would not be robbed of her heritage. I was touched by this sentiment - so much that I swore that once I have finished my business collecting and translating the grimoires I would make sure to amass in one volume the entirety of Line’s teachings during the time they graciously let me stay there.”
- Of Grimoires and Pledges: A Study of Eight Texts that Shaped Our Understanding of Modern Magic
“It has now been more than ten years since I have made that promise, which I have managed to keep after all. If you were to look in any library right now, dear reader, you might spy tucked away in one shelves a little book of no more than 100 pages, more than half filled with illustrations and drawings, while the other half is full of songs and poems and little phrases that Line shared with me as we sat huddled around the fire at night. I’ve been told it is a commercial failure - that nobody but the most dedicated anthropologists give it more than a glance. But it does not matter to me. It took four years for the 100 copies to sell. I have recently ordered 100 more.
To others these books might be nothing more than curiosities, oddities, a change of reading material - but it is not so. Not in the slightest. These are the words and experiences of a woman whose ancestry has been erased almost entirely and plunged into obscurity. By no means can I simply let her life or history be disregarded in such a manner. Especially now since I am the only one left fighting.
It was two years after I departed from Line’s house that I received a letter from the young lord who oversaw the village she lived in. I was in the midst of a lesson with Old Woman Louisa when I was informed that due to a tragic accident little Safia lost her life at sea, followed three months later by her mother who died of grief. I was left numb by the news - barely registering it at all and inconsolable for weeks after. I had to leave Louisa’s abode as my mourning made the beasts under her care uneasy, and with no goal in mind simply proceeded forward to the Isle of Lamentation. A fitting spot to vent my grief.
I have had the good mind to send the young lord a letter asking him to keep the hut in which they lived in good condition, and returned there two years after my travels ended. It is now a museum, my dear reader, dedicated to Line, Safia and all the women who suffered at the hands of their destiny by being taken from their home to live on these strange lands. The last that will even suffer this destiny, for Line and Safia’s deaths did not mark merely the loss of two great souls and hearts from the world, but also the loss of an entire species. There are no more selkie that roam the ocean, and if there are any on land they must have long forgotten they even were.
To them I wish to dedicate this small volume that I have compiled, relying on the memory of the most wonderful woman I have ever met in my life, and the innocence of the sweetest little girl that I have had the good fortune of knowing.
May their souls rest among the stars, free of pain and suffering, curled in Mother Sea’s bosom.”
- ‘Songs of Mother Sea: A Short Guide to the History of Selkie Culture Through Poems and Music’
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Leviathantale MerMay 2021 - Day 7: Mine
A wild orca considers eating a little, white baby seal as a quick snack.
(A small Drabble about the possessiveness of Leviathans and scents.)
Leviathans are possessive creatures. They spent the first centuries of their existence fighting amongst each other over territory, pride, and power. Even though they mellowed out after centuries of separation and self-reflection, Leviathans are still possessive over what they consider their own and cover these things – or people – with their scents.
Nightmare: His scent is as unknown and deep as the trenches he hides away in. Treasure, the scent dubs its bearer, my most precious of things. The warning is clear: don’t steal. The scent is subtle at a distance, but when the bold ones don’t heed the polite warnings, they’re already decorating the sea floor where they would never be a threat ever again.
Dream: His scent is loud. Where his brother’s scents are only impressions, his scent is the highlighter of all scents. Just like his brother, anyone who bears his scent is clearly loved and cherished. Through this scent alone, the entire territory would know just who has his affections…and his protection.
Ink: His scent is a myriad of chaos and confusion. At first, outsiders would be drawn in by the scent, either by curiosity or interest. But then, the warning bells would start going off the closer and closer they get to the smell. Come closer, the scent dares. I will gladly snap up your soul if you do.
Error: His scent is a deterrent, plain and simple. Poison, intimidation, destruction, this scent feels like all of these things rolled together. It is the promise of the most vicious of bites. There will be no second warning.
Reaper: His scent is cold and sharp. It’s not as colorful or fanciful as the others, but it gets right to the point. Any mortal who smells it would feel as if death itself was hanging right over them. Anyone wise would have already fled at that point.
The overall message? This is mine. Mine, mine, mine. Take it? Hurt it? Eat it? You’re going to beg for an easy death and even then, I might not give it to you.
Even if the world has forgotten about the existence of Leviathans, even the most dangerous of predators in the sea knew to stay clear of those who bear the scent.
That’s why, when an Orca considers taking a bite out of a little white seal playing in the waters all alone, he stops right in his tracks and scrambles away the moment the fluffy pup’s scent hits him. He wants an easy snack, not a death sentence, thanks.
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Leviathantale MerMay 2021 - Day 6: Skull
Fun Fact: A baby eel is called an Elver
This piece is set after Chapter 10 of "Little Selkie".
When Ink and Error came to Blue with twin looks of mortification, the selkie knew his datemates did something very wrong. His suspicions prove correct when he catches sight of Blank. The moment he sees what’s in their hands, both Leviathans flinch. And rightly so.
There will be much belly slaps and scolding in the near future for these two for their mistake. And neither of them can blame Blue for it.
“I expected this from Ink, but not from you, Error!” Blue whispers his displeasure so Blank wouldn’t hear. “I thought you stopped!”
Ink coughs. “Ruru did,” he says in the Eel Mer’s defense, “he’s just terrible with cleaning up after himself. That one’s an old one.” He gives his grumpy datemate a look. “I told you that your little cave was getting cluttered. You shouldn’t have waited until visitors came to clean up after yourself.”
“Shut up, Squid! I swear, I hid them all away before the kid came!”
If Blue had hair, he’d be tearing them off his head. “Well obviously not well enough!”
The subject in question that is causing all this fuss is the object in Blank’s hands: a skull.
A human skull. Some unfortunate mortal who crossed paths with Error way before Blue came into the surly Leviathan’s life. Error was teaching Blank how to properly fit into dark spaces in coral reefs as an elver and brought them over to his favorite cave to offer them a good example. It seems that during their time in there, Blank found the skull and, completely unaware of its origins, took a shine to it.
“They named it,” Blue despairs. And it’s a cute name too: Bonehead. Blank had carefully crafted the name for their new friend who couldn’t talk. And since the skull had lost its body, Blank has made it their duty to help Bonehead around the Ocean.
In any other situation, Blank’s insistence on naming and attaching a personality to an inanimate object would be charming to the three. At the moment, all they are feeling is desperation to get the representation of mortality far away from the baby as possible.
“Show Mama Bonehead,” Blank decides. “Fwend!”
Error, Ink, and Blue all share a look. Geno and Reaper must never see this. Knowing how protective the two are, this just might decide to not let any of them see Blank again and that possibility is too much for any of them to bear.
And so, they all desperately stall for enough time and make enough of a distraction to sneak away the skull. It takes hours, but they manage. The first chance Error got, he destroyed Bonehead, leaving behind no evidence this time.
“Bonehead?” Blank inquires to the three a little later, a bit distressed that they lost their friend.
“Bonehead went back home to his family,” Blue appeases kindly. Though saddened that they won’t be able to see their friend anymore, Blank accepts the explanation and the three let out a sigh of relief.
(“Who’s Bonehead?” Geno would ask Blue a little while later, sending him into a mini-heart attack. Honestly, the trouble his datemates drag him into!)
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Leviathantale MerMay 2021 - Day 5: Goldfish
This little Drabble happens between Chapters 15 and 16 in "Little Selkie"! Enjoy!
It’s rare for Dream to shed his scales, but it happens from time to time. Shedding was always an uncomfortable affair. His scales always felt tight and itchy, and getting the old scales off without harming himself was near-impossible whenever he was unfortunate enough to experience the shedding alone. Back when he was more wrathful and callous, he used to boil seas over his discomfort.
Nowadays, Dream has Nightmare and his Shiver to help him pick away at his loose scales. They make the process much more bearable, and Dream is thankful for it.
Unfortunately, when his most recent scale shedding comes around, Dream is completely alone at the shallows.
Well, almost completely alone.
Dream smiles weakly at the young shark pup hovering at his side. Blank must be worried at how oddly he’s been acting. They let out alarmed chittering noises when they see how Dream’s scales are peeling away. “Oh no, no, it’s all right. I’m not hurt. It’s just that my old scales are falling out because new, prettier ones are growing in. See?”
After Blank is appeased that the goldfish mer is in no serious danger, they look at Dream’s sorry state with a knowing look. “Itchy. Bwank hewp Dwee?”
Usually, Dream would kindly turn down the offer. Blank is only a child, after all, and such things should be left with the older and more experienced members of the shiver. But he’s so terribly itchy and the Deep is so far away. So, Dream accepts the pup’s offer and spends the rest of his afternoon teaching them which scales are the right ones to pluck. Blank is an earnest and diligent student, who manages to ease the discomfort significantly by plucking away the most stubborn and difficult-to-access scales.
By the end of it, Dream stretches out his tail. “Thank you, Blank! I feel so much better!” He catches sight of the shark pup fumbling with something. “Blank? What are you doing with my scales?”
“Shinies. Bwank wike shinies.” Blank cups the pile of shining scales and looks at Dream hopefully. “Can keep? Pwease?”
The goldfish mer softens. “Of course, Blank. Though I don’t know what you’d want to do with those old things.”
Much to Dream’s amazement, Blank uses his old scales to decorate the ocean floor. The scattered scales against the darkness look like stars when descending downwards. “Pwetty!” Blank celebrates after completing their project.
“Yes, pretty,” Dream agrees dazedly, looking around himself. He never thought of using his old scales this way before. Of course, after a day, the glow of the scales would petter out, but Dream and the rest of the shiver content themselves with one night of sleep surrounded by the gentle light.
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Working on...a merman
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selkie au?????? looks at you with my big ole eyes
yes!!! my partner and i came up with it a few weeks back but i kinda wanted to start talking and posting about it now since it’s mermay and it’s like... mermaid-adjacent. so. basically here’s the gist:
miles and gregory are both selkies! basically a selkie is a half-human half-seal creature but instead of just having a seal tail (like mermaids have fish tails), they have a human form and a seal form and switch between them by either donning or shedding their sealskin.
miles’ mother was also a selkie but she was killed by poachers shortly after miles was born, which leads gregory to be very protective of miles. it takes years (about ten years to be exact) for him to even allow miles to visit the shore, and even then he’s sure to warn him about how dangerous humans are and dissuade him from revealing his true nature to anyone.
miles, being very inquisitive and desperate to make friends, winds up meeting phoenix on the beach. at first he remains in his seal form, but when phoenix expresses a similar desire to make friends, he decides to reveal his human form to the boy despite his father’s warnings.
since phoenix is staying here with his grandparents for the summer, he and miles spend every day hanging out on the beach together and sharing things from their respective worlds (phoenix introduces miles to ice cream and miles brings phoenix pretty shells and stones).
miles even brings his dad up to meet phoenix one day! and of course gregory quickly realizes that phoenix isn’t a threat and is happy to see his son making such fast friends.
but one night phoenix and miles have planned to meet up on the beach to stargaze together and miles ends up arriving a bit early. he sees a shadow in the distance and thinks it’s phoenix, so he calls out to it.
unfortunately this shadow is manfred von karma, a poacher and local celebrity of sorts who is renowned for his impressive catches. he sees miles standing on the shore, sealskin in hand, and immediately makes the connection. what better catch than a real live selkie?
as manfred begins to approach, miles is entirely unaware of the weapons and nets the man is carrying, still believing him to be phoenix in the dark. at the last second, however, gregory appears and throws himself between von karma and miles, telling his son to swim home and not look back. that’s when miles sees the glint of von karma’s harpoon in the moonlight.
terrified, miles obeys without question. he waits at home for his father but he never arrives.
the next morning, miles returns to shore to look for his father. von karma is there, but miles doesn’t recognize him because he never saw his face the night before.
manfred takes notice of miles (and his sealskin) and manages to earn his trust by offering to help him find his father. by playing on the boy’s fears, von karma manages to get miles to follow him home, where he then snags the boy’s sealskin when he lets his guard down.
in selkie mythology, stealing a selkie’s sealskin forces them into captivity and obedience at the hands of the thief, so von karma has effectively bound the boy to himself so long as he is in possession of the skin. for this reason, he is always sure to keep the skin away from miles and out of the boy’s reach.
von karma proceeds to brag incessantly about his newest trophy: a selkie’s skin and the “newly tamed” owner as well. he treats miles like a prized pet, parading the boy around in front of his friends and colleagues, as well as allowing them to stroke and pass around miles’ sealskin to their hearts’ content.
once miles is of age, von karma begins allowing the boy to go into town in order to fetch things from the store or complete other menial tasks, knowing that the boy will be sure to return home while he is still in possession of his sealskin.
this is when phoenix, up to visit his grandparents again, recognizes him. he has been looking for miles every summer since he disappeared, but never had any luck until now.
he attempts to approach miles on several occasions but miles, having been ordered by von karma not to speak to anyone except the store clerks, cannot respond. of course phoenix is hurt by this, thinking that miles must not remember him, but after a while he begins to suspect something more sinister is going on.
that’s about all we have so far! we’re tossing around a few different endings at the moment but haven’t decided on one for sure yet, so sorry to leave it on a sort of cliffhanger ghskfbdjf
i didn’t mean for this response to be so long ghdjfndn i just have a lot of Ideas for this au so if anyone wants to indulge me by asking me questions or sending me thoughts about it that would be rad as hell!!!
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Leviathantale MerMay 2021 - Day 4: Octopus
A cute little snippet for Day 4. Happens after the events of Chapter 17 of "Little Selkie".
“Nai!” Blank singsongs, floating in front of the Kraken. “Nai! I gots you supwise!”
“Oh?” Nightmare’s tentacles curl in amusement at the wiggling shark pup in front of him. “Let’s see it then.”
Blank hesitates for a moment before requesting, “Nai wittle? …Pwease?”
If it were anyone else asking, Nightmare would have outright refused. He never felt comfortable in his smaller form. And yet, it’s difficult to say no to Blank, who was always sincere and adorable whenever they made their requests. So, Nightmare acquiesces.
Blank shifts just as Nightmare shifts into his smaller form. The shark pup is no more, leaving behind a young, overexcited octopus mer. They give him a hug. “Hug!”
Nightmare indulgently returns it. “Is this what you wanted to surprise me with?” He wonders.
Then, Blank surprises him when they tangle their tentacles with his own. It’s more dexterity than he expected from someone who’s still inexperienced with this form. Blank grins up at him. “Hug pwus eigh’! Bwank gib more hug for Nai! Supwise!”
Nightmare feels himself melt.
“Thank you, Blank. I love it.”
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Leviathantale MerMay 2021 - Day 3: Selkie
For this prompt, I've decided to do something new! Here is a list of lessons on cuteness that our adorable selkie, Blue, as imparted to his floofy protege!
How to Use Your Selkie Cuteness for Good - Blue’s Edition
1. Smile when your face is tilted in your most optimum angle. That’s one of your main selling points! Especially with a cute face like yours!
2. Politeness is key. Always remember your manners. Saying “please” and “thank you” to others when they help you is very important!
3. Be confident! Not only does this boost your own happiness, but it also inspires others around you to be happy too! I find the best way to express this is through the banana pose. Not only does it regulate your temperature, but you look casual and cute too!
4. No belly slapping at Papa! That is a very rude thing to do, and it hurts your Papa’s feelings. Remember Number #2!
5. Always have a clean and tidy appearance. Yes, that means tongue baths, Blank. No, don’t look at me like that don’t –
6. New Rule, Do Not use Weapon: Big Ol’ Eyes at adults to get away from tongue baths or other things you do not like but are for your own good.
a. Amendment: Since you are unaware of the power of your cuteness, you shall be forgiven the first time if you stop the moment an adult points out that you are using them. No second chances.
b. Fine, three chances. But just because you’re too cute!
7. Imitating others with your magical abilities is also adorable! It’s the highest form of flattery and you make it all very cute!
8. Having Error teaching and parenting you while you look like him is DOUBLE cute! You are making Ink and I VERY happy! Keep it up, Blank!
a. (Personal Note) Error being good with children is soooo hot 💙
9. Do not manipulate others with your cuteness ever without good reason.
a. If Ink and Error are being naughty or mean, you have my permission to use your cuteness to make them feel guilty! It’s a learning experience for them!
b. Amendment: If it’s for your own survival, use it a lot. Anything to get back to your Mama and Papa safe.
10. If your cuteness can help others, help them!
11. Be kind to others. This is very important! Just because you have a gift, does not mean you should abuse it and be mean.
12. Blank, NO! That’s stealing! Don’t use your cuteness to commit crimes!! Now your misdeeds are immortalized on the internet!
13. Be yourself!
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Leviathantale MerMay 2021 - Day 2: Shark
Here's Day 2! Some fluff that happens between Chapter 15 and 16 of "Little Selkie"
The upside of being able shift into different creatures is the experience. Blank is able to swim in different ways, eat different food, and access different parts of the sea! But then there are downsides.
Like cleaning time.
“Blank, it’s time for your grooming session,” Horror calls.
Dust gives the toddler a flat look. “Blank.”
As much as Blank loves all the adults in their life, they don’t like are the cleaning sessions. From their Mama’s tongue baths to Kelp’s tiny ocean cleans with strange-smelling bubbles, all adults are too interested in Blank’s cleanliness. It’s terrible.
After an impressive chase, Killer – the fastest out of all of them – eventually manages to catch them, flip them over, and hand them off to Horror.
“It’s for your own good, Blank,” Horror reminds them as he checks them over for any parasites or algae. Blank whines as the Great White grooms their tail. They only manage the lightest of wiggles in their flipped over position. “Why do you always run?”
“Tickles,” Blank pouts. “Likey, nah.”
“Well, if Horror doesn’t do this, some nasty, nasty bugs will suck up your blood and make your tail itchy,” Killer cautions, trying to make Blank feel better. “When Crossy first came to us, he was covered in nasty wormies and barnacles since he didn’t have any nice shivermates to help groom him. Cross would be heartbroken if you went through the same.”
Blank looks at Killer dubiously. ”…Weally?”
Blank looks thoughtful. Then, they look back at Horror. “…Okie. Bwank be good. Howa cwean pwease. Thankee.”
Horror pauses for a moment to nuzzle Blank’s nose. “’Course, pup. I’ll make sure you’re the cleanest pup in the sea by the time I’m done.”
- Mod Berry
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Leviathantale MerMay 2021 - Day 1: Leviathan
I know it's a bit late, but I'd like to participate in Sku's MerMay Prompt List. Here's Day 1! This is not canon to "Little Selkie".
There were once seven Leviathans who roamed the earth. Natural disasters would follow them as they fought amongst each other. Then, one day, two of their own vanished. Shaken by their abrupt disappearances, the remaining Leviathans halted their war.
Centuries later, the remaining five have found a new way of life. With peace, they have realized that the way they had lived and fought was not only pointless, but also harmful to all of the other lives on earth. Their existences have become legends and myths in a quickly modernizing world and they find that they have no reason to change that. They remained hidden and out of sight. They simply wanted to live peaceful lives with their loved ones.
But then, something changed.
As if the even the scales that had long since been uneven, a new Leviathan has appeared. The other Leviathans felt their existence. At first, they originally decided to ignore the newcomer, but then they’re hearing news about the northern ice caps not melting despite warmer weather and about mortals are disappearing. Perturbed and worried, the five gather together and decide to meet the new Leviathan and set some ground rules for this upstart.
There are a lot of snowstorms in the Arctic, making it hard for many to see and thick ice. Dream’s Koi form paves a bath for the sea-bound mers, and they eventually get to the heart of the storm.
When the group reach the center, what they find is completely beyond what they expected: a giant, baby harp seal about the three times the size of a school bus. Instead of the full-grown behemoth the other expected, the new Leviathan is but a scared and bleeding, little (in their perspective) infant.
“But this doesn’t make sense,” Nightmare says, staring disbelievingly at the shivering, giant poofball in front of him, “a Leviathan can’t be a child. We all come into being fully grown.”
Alas, it is the case, no matter how impossible Nightmare and the others think it is.
It turns out the snowstorms and the chaos were simply a reaction from being attacked by landwalker mortals, not some Leviathan flexing their powers as many amongst them had feared. The group also discovered who happened to the missing mortals when the baby Leviathan burps out a snowshoe.
“They deserved it,” Geno decides, looking at all the bloody clubs and stray guns.
“We should still teach them that eating mortals are bad,” Blue frets as the baby Leviathan, now less wary and fearful of the newcomers, coos curiously at everyone. They’re especially enraptured by Ink, Error, and Dream’s colors.
The baby Leviathan is immensely grateful when Reaper plucks out the pesky bullets and heals them. They flop their head onto his outstretched hands and gives them a nuzzle.
“Oh no,” Reaper gasps quietly, “oh nooooooo.”
Reaper adopts them by the time he leaves the Arctic. Baby is supposed to stay in the territory? Too bad. Baby is too young to manage territory anyways. Is Geno still Mama in this AU? Don’t be silly, of course he is. Giant or tiny, baby is still baby.
(I call it the Little Leviathan AU)
- Mod Berry
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Chapter Summary: A phone call wakes Kelp up early in the morning. 🌿📱🦭🦈
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The Hamiltons as shitty minion memes
Phillip 1: The Lost One
Phillip 2: Electric Boogaloo
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Little Selkie Timeline
Because the progression of time is unclear in the fic unless explicitly stated, here is the timeline!
I’ll be measuring the timeline around Blank’s existence since they’re the center of the story. The years would either be BB = Before (the birth of) Blank or AB = After (the birth of) Blank.
Warning: spoilers of Fic down below!
A long, long time ago BB: The long-lasting Leviathan War ends after the disappearance of two Leviathans, leaving the remaining five to split their seas and live separately in peace
1000 years BB: A union between a powerful monster and a human results with the birth of the first Mage. Their existence nearly begins a war between Monsters and Humans. It does not happen, but Monster-Human relationships become banned in many communities as a result and the races are divided. (Not that it prevented the emergence of Mages throughout history. So far, there are about 7 mages scattered throughout history who have made a huge impact, good and bad.)
Around 200 years BB: Core, a Seahorse Mer, becomes the first Mage of their kind. With a mother with some monster ancestry and a human father, their existence became possible. Their ability to sense time streams gave them a prophetic sort of power.
Around 200(?)-25(?) years BB: Nightmare and Dream have collected Horror, Killer, and Dust into their Shiver. They become better mers with them there.
Around 30-25 years BB: Dr. Wing-Dings Gaster goes up to Canada for his research. There, he steals the pelt of a Selkie named Mia and “rescues” her. Some time after this event, Mia establishes a life and presence on land and becomes his wife.
Around 15 years BB: A very young Thresher Shark Mer is taken from the ocean and raised within Gaster’s lab. Cross spends his childhood being experimented on by Dr. Gaster and cared for by Mia.
10 years BB: A young Geno and Blue’s paths cross and they form a friendship. They agree to meet annually during their migratory periods.
6-5 years BB: Horror is tangled in a fishing net and Kelp, a fisherman, cuts him out of it. They befriend each other, going as far as to exchange keepsakes of the event: a tooth from Horror and a fishing hook from Kelp. Nightmare decides to spare Kelp’s island.
4 years BB: Geno is nearly killed by human poachers. Reaper saves his life and nurses him back to health.
3 years BB: Ink and Error start to pursue Blue. (There might be some kidnapping and pelt stealing involved here according to sku, idk.) Because of their suddenly busy lives, Blue and Geno start skipping their annual meetings, though they do their best to keep in touch.
2-1 years BB: Reaper and Geno become mates after a long courtship.
9 months BB: Mia is pregnant. She announces the news to the now fully-grown Cross.
0: Blank is born. Mia dies from blood loss.
3 months AB: Cross becomes Blank’s primary caretaker. He feeds them, plays with them, and tells them bedtime stories. Dr. Gaster checks on them daily to see if they are exhibiting any signs of being a Mage. When the results come out as inconclusive, he decides to give Blank away to a “friend”
3-6 months AB: ???
6 months AB: Blank is left alone in the Antarctic on a random ice floe. Geno finds a baby selkie crying for their mother at his favorite hunting spot. After a series of events, Geno ends up adopting Blank as his own.
6 months, 1 week AB: Reaper gets introduced to Blank and throws himself into fatherhood. Geno and Blank are unamused.
1 year AB: Blank spends most of their day at the Nursery, a daycare for selkie pups. They become friends with a slightly older Weddell selkie pup named TK. Blank sheds their seal skin and takes their first steps, revealing themself to be half-human.
1 year, 3 months AB: An older Fur Seal selkie pup, Chara, bullies Blank. This sparks them to make their first shift from the anxiety and stress. Geno and Reaper reassure their child that they will always be loved. The bullying issue is eventually resolved and Blank gains a new friend out of Chara.
1 year, 6 months AB: Blue comes to visit Geno and learns that his friend has adopted a pup. After learning of Blank’s abilities, Blue reveals their heritage as a part-Mage. Reaper meets Blue and, after some shaky beginnings, decides to move North to reconnect with his fellow Leviathans and get a tutor for his Mage child.
1 year, 9 months AB: Stretch, Blue’s brother, comes to the Antarctic with a ship (he’s late). In his brief stay on the continent, he’s completely charmed by Chara and adopts them. Blank, Reaper, Geno, Blue, Chara, and Stretch leave Antarctica.
1 year, 9 months, 1 week AB: Blank is introduced to Error and Ink.
1 year, 9 months, 2 weeks AB: Error and Ink do their best to help Blank control their unpredictable magic. Error teaches Blank some survival skills as an eel while Ink encourages Black to mimic him. A storm comes one night and washes Blank away.
1 year, 9 months 2 weeks, 2 days AB: Kelp finds Blank on his island tangled up in a net. He frees what he thinks is a normal baby harp seal.
1 year, 9 months, 2 weeks, 5 days AB: Kelp has been finding trinkets and shellfish at his fishing spot. Later, a toddler Blank walks up to him with a fish and reveals themself as a selkie. Kelp takes them in and tries to find Blank’s ‘Mama’. Communication is down because of storms.
1 year, 9 months, 3 weeks, 1 day AB: During their excursions out in the shallows, Blank befriends Dream. Then Killer. Then, after endearing themself to (small) Nightmare, Blank gets ‘kidnapped’. They reunite with Cross.
1 year, 9 months, 3 weeks, 6 days AB: Blank joins the Shiver and learns how to hunt. They also reveal their connection to Reaper, driving Nightmare and Dream to go contact them.
1 year, 9 months, 4 weeks, 1 day AB: Blank steals chocolate from a grocery store and becomes an internet sensation. Chara finds out Blank is alive and relays this to the rest of the ship.
1 year, 9 months 4-5 weeks AB: Geno and Blank eventually reunite.
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Baby Shark AU
When XGaster prepares to move laboratories, he leaves Blank inside of Cross’s half full cage to encourage him to behave. The cage is knocked into the ocean and sinks to the depths, with Cross and Blank still inside
The vent that allowed the air for Blank to breathe now is letting the ocean water flood the cage. Blank holds their breath as long as they can, around 15 minutes, before they start to drown. Cross, bound and gagged, is completely helpless and is forced to watch his little sibling slowly struggle and suffer for the next few minutes. Just before they die, their mage abilities manifest early, turning them into a Thresher shark pup.
They spend the next few days trapped together in that cage, in the cold dark abyss before they are rescued by Ink and Error.
Cross takes Blank up to the surface to breathe. They struggle against shifting back but finally do so, as the stress of the transformation is too much for them.
They spend the next couple of months together, with Blank in shark form following and feeding off of fish, Neither want to be separated after everything that happened.
Cross eventually encounters Dream sunbathing and they start to bond. Dream is curious why a shark pup is following a mer but thinks they’re cute. As time passes Cross and Blank are eventually brought in to meet the shiver. Upon realising it’s a group of sharks, Cross tells Blank not to show their seal form in front of them, just in case.
Eventually the shiver is curious about Blank vanishing towards the surface every other day and send Killer to follow them, learning that they are actually a Selkie.
Upon confrontation Cross opens up more about their past and the shiver all express support for Blank.
Blank shares Cross’s fear of the dark and tight spaces in this AU
Blank also develops a fear of drowning and for a long time is resistant to their seal form. Feeling to vulnerable and scared to do so.
At one point the shiver hunted a seal but both Cross and Blank got rather upset. They didn’t know why till later, but it reinforced Blanks refusal to stick to their true form.
As Blank shifted before they even learnt to walk in their legged form, most of their skin shifts are of the full animal rather than a mer.
Both Blank and Cross have intense separation anxiety.
A storm sweeps Blank away, they are eventually found by Blue and Geno (having had their leviathan mates meet recently to clear up Blue’s accidental trespassing)
While Ink and Error teach them a little about shapeshifting, Blank and Geno bond. Blank admires Geno’s strong seal form and eventually learns to accept their seal form and feel more comfortable in their own skin.
Eventual happy reunion with Blank returning to the shiver, more confident and independent than before.
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Papa Kelp AU
On a regular fishing trip Kelp finds a young harp seal pup trapped in a net. He releases it and calls for a seal rescue to come collect them.
A couple of weeks pass, only for him to find the same pup again, having been released by the rescue after some healing, believed to only be a regular seal. He sees them trying to offer him little trinkets from the shore and, confused, does a check. He realises that instead of a normal pup, this is a selkie! A very young, baby Selkie named Blank.
He, knowing he couldn’t risk the wrong ears hearing about them, decides to take the pup in as his own while seeing if he can find the parent, but none are ever found.
As the months pass the pup grows a little stronger and starts to follow him on his walks and fishing trips. He eventually introduces them to Horror, a shark mer that he had befriended some time ago. Horror offers to help the pup with learning to swim and hunt, Kelp agrees and it becomes a regular lesson, with the trio bonding and getting even closer.
Eventually Horror spreads the news of this little friend which draws the curiosity of the shiver, who come to investigate, also falling for the pups charms.
Blank is around 6 months old, the same age as they were when Geno would find them in the main fic
Dream also adores the pup and (consensually) takes the down to the trenches when Blank has grown a little
Dust also acts a little like a parent alongside Horror and Kelp
Cross is a part of the shiver by this point but is still adjusting to his new life. After a while he hears it mentioned that there is a Selkie pup being raised by a friend of the shiver on the surface and demands to tag along
It is a very emotional reunion.
Blanks mage abilities first manifest when they try to imitate Cross’s shark form.
Nightmare and Dream decide to take Blank to Ink for some shape shifting lessons, as is done in the original fic
The storm washes Blank into Reapers territory, where they are caught and later rescued from poachers by Reaper
Reaper and Geno spends some time bonding with Blank before eventually learning of their origins and returning them
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Here are some small AU ideas that were thrown around for Little Selkie
Blue’s Reverse Harem: The Little Selkie story is all a decoy, the real story is Blue getting 10 boyfriends but through an unaware baby’s eyes. Crack AU
Papa Blue: Blue finds Blank and takes them in, teaching them to harness their cuteness to their own benefit + Ink & Error parent shenanigans. Introduced to Geno by Blue and meet the shiver via storm etc.
Cross & BEI: Cross stays with Ink and Error after his rescue as he is weak and currently lacks anywhere to go. He meets Blue and lives with them for about a year. When I&E go to defend their border from Reaper he meets Blank again. When the storm hits, he follows after them. He loses track of them and panics. While exhausted he continues searching and meets Dream, who offers to help in the search. Blank is found with Kelp but Dream tells them to stay a week to allow Blank to recover while he and Nightmare go alert the others Blank is safe. The shiver bonds with Cross and when it is time for Blank to return home Cross chooses to stay with the shiver as long as Blank can visit and vice versa. Also known as the Safe Shores AU because Ink, Error and Reaper don’t need to cause mass destruction on the surface in their panic as they know Blank is safe
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To all "Little Selkie" readers! I've teamed up with @letsallbecalmchaps and made a blog devoted to the fic, world-building, AUs, and more!
We hope to see you there!
Chapter Summary: The Shiver teaches Blank how to shark. Blank tells the Shiver something that changes a lot of things 🦈🐟🍫
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Just a Rei and Kiku thing
Rei was laying in bed, staring at his adorable little daughter laying beside him. She just turned a year old a few days ago. Kaoru had come home for her birthday but then left the day after. It made Rei sad that he left so quickly but at least he came home for Kiku's birthday. She was clinging to the seal plushie he had gotten for her before she was even born, it was so cute to watch her cuddle with the plushie. He reached over and gently grabbed one of her hands, a goofy smile coming to his face when she gripped his thumb and looked over at him.
She cooed and smiled at him, she reminded Rei of when Ritsu was a baby. She had Kaoru's eyes though, instead of red like Rei's.
"Mama," she spoke while making grabby hands, which usually meant she wanted a hug. So he pulled her close and nuzzled her, earning a happy giggle from her.
"You know I'll never let anyone hurt you, right? Kaoru has told me of the dangers you'll be in, since you are a selkie like him. I'll kill anyone who would do you harm," he said as Kiku nuzzled him. She was babbling back, as if she were talking to him. Even though she probably didn't understand Rei's words.
It wasn't as if he were completely clueless. After all, Rei had stolen Kaoru's coat when they first met and kept him trapped here with him for years. If he hadn't, Kiku might not have been born at all, nor would they even be planning to have two more children in the future. And while that worked in Rei's favor, it left a sour taste in his mouth when he thought about the same happening to his precious daughter.
He held Kiku close as he sat up and then put her down in his lap. She stared up at him and tilted her head. "Mama?"
"It's nothing, my little seal. I should lay you down, my next meeting is going to start soon," he said, watching as a grumpy expression came onto Kiku's face.
"No. Stay," she said, making Rei laugh. Ritsu had told him that many times, but Kaoru had told him not to spoil her like he had done to Ritsu. So he picked her up and went over to the crib, laying her down. He had to look away when her eyes got all teary, he was weak to her sad face.
"Go to sleep, princess. When my meetings are over, I'll run a bath for you and you can play in the water," he said. Kiku already loved the water but Rei wouldn't let her go in the pool yet. Not without Kaoru, since he didn't know how to swim and wouldn't be able to help Kiku if something went wrong.
He heard her make a little 'hmph' and looked back in time to see her roll over, her back facing him. She was sulking, it was adorable. He gently patted her head.
"I love you," he told her, before stepping away and heading out of the room.
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Chapter: Baby Shark
Summary: Do Do Do Do Do Do~ 🦈🍼🌿
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