One Year ago….
The night was clear; Orhan was full and high overhead. On the shores of the sea, the comforting smells of drying kelp and salt filled the cooling night air. A perfect time for Shaughna and her friends to gather together, shed their seal skins and enjoy the feel of human legs as they spun and twirled in the warm sand. Unfortunately, none of them paid much attention to the unknown ship that was laid to anchor several miles away…
The ship’s captain, Morgan first heard tales of selkies from his father while growing up. “Your mother was as beautiful as a Selkie woman” his father bragged. “But she didn’t have a seal skin that I could use to force her to stay with us”. The mystique and allure of such a creature could only be imagined Could his father’s stories be true?
While Morgan had inherited his father’s domineering attitude, he also possessed a drive to succeed that his father lacked. It was perfectly natural that from the moment his feet touched the rough wood of a boat deck he controlled those around him. He quickly worked his way up from cabin boy on a broken down merchant ship to being Captain of his own ship, the Raven, and master of his own crew of pirates. Over the years, Morgan had listened to the old seafarers’ tell their tales of monsters and selkies, tales both wild and almost too good to be true. Morgan listened intensely, gleaning bits of truth from the stories and over time, his research paid off.
He finally found the secluded beach where the old stories claimed the selkies came to dance. He and a dozen of his best men had put ashore earlier in the day, and he ordered his ship to move off. The Raven would return to pick up its Captain and his new bride when he signaled their success.
Several miles away, onboard the Sea Sprite, Jared was reflecting on the risks he and his family were taking, travelling while Orhan was high, but what choice did they have? The hunters were closing in on them and it was extremely lucky that passage on the Sea Sprite had been available. He and his family were safely tucked away below deck, away from Orhan’s brilliant glow. Jared could feel the primal urges simmering inside him, pulling him, drawing him in… but the songs, the laughter and the bright lantern light below kept his urges down to no more than a slight itch….
“I knew this night was too good to be true.” thought Morgan with resignation as he struggled desperately to keep the werewolf from ripping out his throat. His new bride had been captured, her sealskin recovered and safely hidden in Morgan’s stateroom. Three more selkies had been taken captive as well. The Captain was sure he’d be able to fetch a fine price for them, especially the female. Then the Sea Sprite had sailed right into his hands, the boarding went smoothly, especially when its captain willingly turned over the strong box.
Things would have been perfect if Morgan’s First Mate hadn’t decided to round up the passengers and march them out on deck to see if any were worth taking for ransom. His only consolation was that at least his idiot mate had been the first to die when that family of four suddenly shifted shape and shredded him to pieces. “Pity I didn’t get to enjoy my new bride” was Morgan’s last thought before a second, unseen werewolf jammed its claws through his back, obliterating his heart. From the decks of both ships drifted the screams of the unfolding massacre.
Shaughna managed to cut her bonds free with a cutlass that had been dropped near to her. Unfortunately, the beast that had dispatched the owner of the cutlass now had her cornered by the railing of the ship. She glanced across the deck, and spotted her friend Liam recovering his sealskin. He looked her way, making eye contact and hesitated before turning and jumping overboard. Shaughna couldn’t blame him. Their other two companions were dead; at least half the pirate crew was dead as well. Two of the werewolves had been dispatched, but the other two were still loose, including the one that was preparing to pounce on her. She had no choice. She had to leave her precious sealskin behind and jump.
Her body shocked as she hit the water. Even in human form, she was a strong swimmer and somewhat resistant to the cold water. However, Shaughna knew she needed to keep moving. She had spotted lights on the shoreline about an hour ago and was certain she could reach them before dawn.
“Who could be banging on the kitchen door this early?” thought Laurel. She wasn’t expecting the farm boy to deliver the eggs to the Sleeping Seal Inn for another hour. She tentatively opened the door and was shocked to see a naked, young woman shivering there.