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The Selkie & the Lighthouse

by NightengaleWriting

Warning: This work has been rated 16+.

The Selkie & the Lighthouse

Morgan Cook

Nightengale Writing

The Faerie Chronicles

Three heads poked up from the water in Donegal Bay, the heads of pretty grey and brown harbor seals. The largest of the three ducked back under the water and swam for shore, leading them to a secluded area of beach where they would be safe. All three seals slid up onto the beach, the largest of the three shedding its coat, and where there once sat a seal there now stood a beautiful woman. Her light blond hair hung down her back in waves and her stormy blue eyes searched the coast for life before trudging farther up. Once she reached the largest rock up the beach she dropped to her knees and began to dig. The other two seals sat at the end of the beach; their flippers still being lapped by the frigid water as they kept watch for their sister.

“I have it,” The woman called to the seals and drug a chest up from the earth. The seals, like their sister, shed their coats in exchange for skins and they too trudged up the beach, holding onto their coats tightly.

“Bronwen here are yours, Róisín (Row-sheen) take these,” The blonde said as she doled out the clothing that was stashed in the chest.

“Thanks, Laoghaire, (Leer-ee)” Róisín said quietly and slipped into the leggings and tunic she’d been given. Once all three were dressed they donned their coats and made their way towards town.

“Laoghaire, we haven’t seen her the last few times we’ve come in. I don’t know too many people around here except for Móraí Doreen and I’m worried she’s either gone or passed away since we haven’t seen her around yet. We’ve been in and out of town for a few months but I’m starting to get worried,” Róisín said worriedly, and Laoghaire stopped at the edge of town.

“It’s only been a few years, worst-case scenario her granddaughter knows us and will be able to help us find what we need. Her granddaughter has been working in the diner, but I haven’t spotted Móraí yet, we’ll just have to take the chance.” Laoghaire said and Róisín nodded. The women all made their way into town, doing their best not to stand out too much as they made their way to the familiar little diner a mile in from the wharf. Róisín pushed the door open and smiled at the hostess she recognized as Caroline, Doreen’s granddaughter.

“Hello ladies, go on and take a seat at the back table and I’ll be right with you,” Caroline pointed to the second table from the back wall, and they nodded. Róisín led them back and as she looked back her eyes landed on the large, bearded man that was seated at the table behind them. He was hunched over papers and drinking coffee while he made marks across them, a large dog at his feet that looked up at her momentarily before laying its head back down at its master’s feet. Róisín recognized him from the last few times they’d come to the diner and been around town, they’d never exchanged works but somehow, they always managed to meet each other’s eyes. Laoghaire purposefully sat across the table so Róisín would have her back to the man, and she glared at Róisín, shaking her head.

“Human males are off-limits,” She growled under her breath and Róisín sighed, rolling her eyes before peering over the menu. As she looked over the food Róisín felt the hairs on the back of her neck tingle, and she could feel the weight of the man’s stare from behind her. As Caroline passed her to set the man’s food at his table Róisín took a chance and glanced back, enchanted by the color of his eyes. They were green, like the grassy hills in summer, and when he turned his head up to look at Caroline, she could see the hints of gold in those green eyes. A swift kick to her leg jostled Róisín from her thoughts and she whipped around to glare at Laoghaire. Bronwen was too interested in the menu to pay attention to the silent glares that the two women exchanged.

“Can we focus, please? Honestly, you’re barely into your maturity and you’re already so enamored by the male species,” Laoghaire grumbled and Róisín rolled her eyes.

“I’ll be on my way Caroline, I’ll stop by to say goodbye before I head home,” the man said and Róisín shivered at the sound, the deep bass of his voice was fitting, and she struggled not to turn and look at him again, how long had she been waiting to hear his voice?

“Excuse me, lass, you dropped this,” his voice was right behind her, and she turned, her eyes rising to meet his own, but stopping at what he held in his hand. The man held her coat in his hands and Róisín’s eyes widened, her breath catching in her throat. Every Selkie’s worst nightmare was staring her down, her coat in a man’s hand. She suppressed the tremor that fought to take over her body and met his eyes. Róisín’s gaze never left his as she reached for the coat, she could see Laoghaire reaching for it at the same time, but she made it to the coat first, and as her fingers grasped the coat Róisín felt a stirring in her very soul. Laoghaire sent her a glare before turning her glare to the male and growled under her breath.

Thank you,” Róisín whispered, and he nodded, her eyes falling to the dog at his side. She was mildly unnerved at the way the animal was looking at her like it knew something, but she shook it off and looked back up.

No problem lass, better keep hold of it, gods know you’ll need it in this cold,” he said, a small smile on his lips that made her smile, before turning to leave. Róisín watched him leave and clutched her coat to her chest, the ghost of his smile now etched in her mind.

Well feck me and burn my coat, damn it Róisín why don’t you ever listen to me!” Laoghaire hissed and hauled her up before dragging her to the washroom.

Do you have any idea what you’ve just done? Have you not listened to any of the stories your mother and sisters have tried to impart to you? It’s like you lost all sense girl! You took the coat out of his hands after he freely returned it, do you even know what that means?” Laoghaire cried and shook Róisín by the shoulders.

I don’t know what you,” and before the words could leave her lips the magic that bound all Fae to be truth tellers silenced her. Róisín’s eyes widened, and she looked down at the coat in her hands.

Now of all times you remember our laws?! You remember now when you canna ever take it back you idiot, for the love of Titania girl I love you, but you’ve just lost yourself.” Laoghaire sighed and ran her hands through her hair. Róisín was still staring at her coat, and she shivered, knowing now what she had done. By selkie law she’d just bound herself to the male who freely returned her coat, but her heart was not mourning the loss of her ocean. Something deep within her told her that the man she’d bound herself too, accident or no, would not keep her from her sisters, or the sea.

Laoghaire, I’m not scared. I don’t feel the loss of the sea through the bond. I don’t think he’ll keep me from,”

You are foolish, moronic, and stupid Róisín!” Laoghaire shouted and nearly punched a wall.

He will keep you from the sea because that is what mortal men do! It matters not what age we are in or where they are from. Once a man has you, you are lost to us,” She hissed and stormed out of the washroom.

Bronwen we are leaving! We will find help elsewhere!” She growled and dragged Bronwen out of the diner, Róisín trailing angrily behind. They made it to the beach before Laoghaire turned on Róisín and started shouting again.

Stay here, Róisín! You are bound to the male, if you follow us into the sea and leave him you will die once you stray too far from you keeper’s side,” She growled and Róisín glared at her.

Young I might be Laoghaire, but foolish I am not. I am not so naive as to not know the feeling of the bond, even if it was one made by mistake! I think you’re being a little bit dramatic, Laoghaire. If he was really a danger, I would have felt it!” Róisín cried and Laoghaire shook her head, stripping and leaving her clothes haphazardly on the sand.

You have no idea what it feels like to have your coat taken from you and that is exactly what has happened today. You’ll see, mark my words Róisín Kilkelly. You’ll come to regret ever looking at that male,” she growled deep in her throat before slipping into her coat and diving back into the cold sea water.

Róisín I’ll bring her back; we won’t leave you behind. She’s just worried for you, it’ll be okay. Stay here, stay safe and I’ll be back,” Bronwen said and followed Laoghaire into the sea. Róisín stood on the shore, watching for the heads of her sisters but by the time they would resurface they would be too far out in the bay for her to see. Alone and tired Róisín wrapped her coat around her shoulders and turned from the sea to head back to speak with Móraí Doreen. A selkie’s daughter would have the answers Róisín needed.

~ * * * ~

The biting April wind blew over the sound and chilled the Raneely coast. The cold spring weather had driven most of the inhabitants indoors and Sean O’Conner was no different. The architect turned lighthouse man had brought his dog, Timber, and himself out of his deep sleep and driven into town for his monthly supply run, starting in the diner for coffee and eggs.

Coffee is at your table, Sean,” Caroline called from the bar as she gathered plates from the window. Sean nodded his head and pulled his cap off, setting it beside him as he settled into his spot by the wall, Timber finding his place under the table resting his head on Sean’s boots. As part of his monthly routine Sean people watched before grabbing his supplies and holing up back in his lighthouse. It wasn’t often he saw strangers in town outside of tourists during the summer months, but the last few months had been different. Three women had been seen around town and even Sean wasn’t so removed as to not hear about their arrival. He’d seen all three of them at one point or another around town but now all three were seated at the table in front of him, his eyes drawn to the smallest of the three. The young woman was slim, but he could tell from the build in her shoulders she was strong. Her dark hair fell down her back in soft waves and when the light hit it just right Sean could see the deep brown color peeking through. He’d been entranced by her beauty and soft voice when he’d bumped into her at the butcher’s stall and he hadn’t been able to get her out of his head.

Sean sipped his coffee and drew his eyes away from the young woman, not wanting to make her uncomfortable and in doing so he missed the shy glance she’d sent his way.

Here you go Sean, I’ll be back with more coffee in a bit,” Caroline said, setting his plate down and tossing a bone of some kind under the table for Timber, leaving just as quickly as she’d arrived. Sean dug into his meal and focused on the plans his brother had sent him to review.

Sean had grown up in Donegal and was the last of his family left in Ireland after the accident. His parents and his youngest brother had died in a fire nearly two decades ago when he was a lad of 17 and it left him to pick up the pieces. His older brother, Patrick, had left for the states the year before and his four younger brothers were quick to follow after their parent’s passing. Sean’s little sister, Taryn, all of 10 when their parents passed had stayed with him until she’d turned 16 and then moved to the states to be with their aunt Liza. Sean couldn’t bring himself to leave his home and had left his job as an architect, taking up the post of Lighthouse man in his father’s stead. After Taryn left Sean became more isolated than ever before and he had become somewhat of a local legend. He’d appear once every few months for supplies and then he’d be gone before anyone really got a good look at him. The locals all knew him of course, he’d grown up there after all, but they were quick to forget him when the rest of the family had gone away.

Can I get you anything else Sean?” Caroline asked, Drawing Sean’s attention from the blueprints on his table.

Not today, Caroline, maybe next time,” Sean said, a small smile on his lips as he nodded to her in appreciation for the coffee.

Next time you’d better stay around for more than just breakfast. You know Móraí (Mor-ee) misses your company,” She grinned, and Sean rolled his eyes.

Misses my free labor is more like it,” he grumbled lightheartedly and as if summoned by magic the woman in question yelled from the kitchen window.

Free labor my arse laddie. We both know you left with pie and Danny’s good scotch!” Móraí Doreen waved her ladle at him before returning to her cooking. Sean chuckled and shook his head.

I’ll be on my way Caroline, I’ll stop by to say goodbye before I head home,” Sean said and packed his blueprints up, he finished the last of his coffee and wrapped his scarf back around his neck before standing to leave. His eyes were drawn back to the young ladies at the table in front of him, his eyes landing on the smallest again. He noticed her coat had slipped onto the floor and he picked it up, the smooth texture of seal fur meeting his fingers.

Excuse me lass, you dropped this,” he said, and she turned her head to look up at him. Sean’s eyes widened slightly as their gazes met and he couldn’t help but stare into her eyes, he’d never seen anyone with such bright silver eyes before. She looked down at the coat in his hand and her eyes widened, her breath catching in her throat as she stifled a gasp. She reached out for it hesitantly and he handed it to her, letting his hand drop to his side as to not make her more uncomfortable than she clearly already was.

Thank you,” she said quietly, and Sean nodded, a small smile on his lips.

No problem lass, better keep hold of it, gods know you’ll need it in this cold,” He nodded to her before heading out the door to gather his supplies, Timber close on his heels. Sean pulled his cap on firmly and made his way around town, packing all his supplies methodically into the bed of his truck in order to get the most in there without having to make a second trip. Since he didn’t waste time on pleasantries it didn’t take him long to do just that, and soon he was packed up and heading back to the diner to say his goodbyes. It was close to half past nine when he pushed through the doors of the diner again and was greeted again by Caroline but this time, much to his surprise, she and Móraí Doreen were joined by the young woman from earlier. She turned to look at him and seemed less startled than before by his presence, her silver eyes digging into him, and he felt a pull to her, though he wasn’t sure where it came from exactly.

It’s about time you got back, laddie. I just got done telling our young friend all about you and how you’d be willing to help fix up the old house down past Killian’s farm for her. She’s moving here and is the daughter of an old friend who sent her my way after her passing. Sean O’Conner I’d like to introduce my granddaughter, Róisín Kilkelly.”

~ * * * ~

Róisín made her way back to the diner, her coat firmly wrapped around her and upon her arrival she was pleasantly surprised to see no other occupants other than Caroline behind the bar. Caroline looked up at her and smiled kindly, motioning for her to come take a seat at the bar.

“I’m glad to see you came back lass, I’m not too sure what sent you and your sisters off, but I hope you know you and yours are always welcome,” she said kindly and Róisín nodded, a small smile gracing her lips.

“I apologize for my sister; she’s not had many good interactions with humans and the incident regarding my coat this morning sent her over the edge. I’ve been bound to the male who was here, and Laoghaire was none too pleased with me forgetting our laws like that,” she blushed and ran her fingers over her coat.

“I donna ken how much Móraí told ya about us but when a male offers us our coat freely and we accept it we are bound by our magic to be with them. It is part of a curse put on our people long ago and it’s been passed down in our stories, made a part of our laws. If we are bound there is no breaking it and should a selkie stray too far from their bonded, they die. Laoghaire’s mother was one of those who passed after her bonded kept her from the sea and she tried to return only to find herself withering away once she strayed too far. Laoghaire’s coat was stolen for a time and my sister, and I helped her steal it back, since then she’s barely stepped on land, too afraid of another stealing her coat.” She said and Caroline reached for her hand, grasping it firmly.

“You and your sisters should have been safe here and I am sorry that you’ve been bound lass, but if it’s Sean you’re speakin’ of then I’ve no doubt that you’ve nothin’ to fear. There isn’t one cruel bone in his body, and while he might look and sound intimidatin’, he’s nothing but putty in your hands once he’s decided he likes you. We grew up together and Móraí has had more than her fair share of influence on him. He’s not too keen on strangers but he’ll help out those who need it, though most are not too quick to thank him seeing as they see him as a mysterious entity that holes up in the lighthouse. Some seem to think he might be some kind of guardian Fae, a changeling that was never reclaimed and has decided to stay and protect what he calls home. Móraí and I know that it’s all a bunch of hogwash, but she seems to think there might be some Fae blood way back in his family.” She waved her hand in the air, dismissing the thought but tapped her chin thoughtfully.

The Tuatha dè Danann lines cross with the O’Conner’s more than most and if I really look at him, I see it too. He’s stronger than most men should be, and I’ve never seen him sick or laid up for very long if at all. Móraí tells the story about the fever that nearly took him when we were sixteen, supposedly that’s when they reach maturity and come into their gifts. Móraí said his Fae blood was too diluted to fully change him but he did have a rather large growth spurt afterwards. He was tall then and he’s tall now, towers over most everyone here in Donegal,” Caroline chuckled and sighed.

“What I’m trying to say lass, is that there are far worse people to be bound to than Sean O’Conner. He’ll do right by you and if the looks he was giving you earlier were anything to go by I wouldn’t say he’d be too disappointed to find out he’d accidentally earned himself a pretty little selkie wife,” Caroline teased, wiggling her fingers at her before turning to the kitchen.

“Móraí, Róisín is here and needs to speak with you,” She called and turned back to Róisín.

“Thank you for telling me all that, Caroline. I was a bit anxious, but I knew if Sean was any real danger my magic would have been warning me the moment, we got too close to him. I tried to tell Laoghaire, but I don’t blame her for reacting the way she did. She’s not had too many good interactions with humans in general, so I just hope she’ll come around and see sense,” Róisín said sadly, and Caroline nodded, patting her hand as Móraí came out of the kitchen and stepped around the bar to wrap Róisín up in a hug.

“It’s good to see you girl, you had this old woman wondering if she’d see you before she passed on to Tir Na Nog,” Móraí said and Róisín hugged her tightly in return.

“I’ve missed you too, Móraí. It’s been too long, though I suppose now that won’t be a problem. It seems I’ll be a permanent resident of Donegal from here on out,” Róisín said, a sad smile on her lips as she looked down at her coat.

“We’ll have none of that lass, if it’s the bond you’re worried about then I can promise you that you’ve nothin’ to fear. Even if it canna be undone Sean is a good man and will not keep you from the sea. He doesn’t ken what we are, but I think he’s always suspected me over the years. You’ll have a place with us, unless you wish to have a place of your own and if that is your wish then we will make it so. There’s an old farmhouse about a mile down the road that we can fix up for ya,” Móraí said and patted her cheek.

“Let’s get some food in that belly and we’ll decide what to do once you’ve had your fill. Even for a seal you’re much too thin lass,” Móraí muttered the last bit under her breath and waddled back to the kitchen to fix her a plate. Caroline smiled and sat down beside her after pouring her a cup of cocoa.

“If you’ll be stayin’ in Donegal, I want to know more about you, there aren’t too many women our age around here, so we all tend to stick together. There’s a group of us that get together to fix up nets or go riding to escape the boredom of our husbands being gone if you’re interested in joining us sometime,” Caroline said and Róisín nodded, her smile returning.

“I grew up on a farm before my mum came and took me to the sea when I was thirteen, my Da and I raised horses and sheep and he taught me to ride,” she said and smiled as she recalled the fond memories of her father.

“Is that how all selkies are raised?” Caroline asked and Róisín shook her head, smiling and glad to share the stories of her people with a new friend.

“No, my mum is one of the few who leave their children with their fathers to grow. We get our pelts as soon as we’re born and most take their children to the sea right away, some even give birth in the sea. My Da kept my coat safe and told me stories of my mum, and she’d visit as often as she could, but she was a true selkie, never too far from the sea. Most keep their children with them so they can’t be bound or have their coats stolen, but my mum knew I would be safe on land with my Da.” Róisín said and pet her coat gently.

“When did you get your coat? You said your Da hid it away until you went with your mum,” Caroline asked and Róisín nodded.

“I saw my coat for the first time when I was ten, most Selkie children that live on land don’t stay past ten, but my mum wanted me to adjust to life in the sea and the ways of the Selkies before I joined them. She taught me our history whenever she came to visit, and I went swimming with her for the first time on my eleventh birthday. I’d swam before but that was my first time with my coat, I still remember the feeling of first stepping into it and diving into the water.” She grinned and met Caroline’s eyes, missing when Móraí set a plate in front of her and joined them at the bar.

“It was like I’d finally found a piece of me that I didn’t even know I’d been missing,” she said, and Caroline nodded, tapping her chest.

“Móraí told me it was euphoric when she first put on her coat. It was definitely an experience for me when I tried on my mum’s but I’m a land lover. I like the ocean, but not enough to leave my family for it. I’d love to swim with you sometime though, I go every once in a while, if I get wrestless. My husband, Jamie, works over in the shipyard so I always know when the boats are going to be out just to be safe,” Caroline said and Móraí nodded in agreement.

“My mother was a southern Selkie, so I didn’t see her too often while I lived with my father. She took me to the sea when I was eleven, but I decided that the land was for me, especially when I fell in love with my Kaden. I put away my coat and when my Lina, Caroline’s mother, came of age she didn’t want her coat. I was sad that she didn’t want to hear the stories of our people but when Caroline came around, I knew I’d have one of us that still loved the sea. My girl has lived with me ever since and keeps the stories alive,” Móraí said, a warm smile on her face that reflected in her eyes. Róisín smiled at the two of them, knowing she wasn’t as alone on land as she feared she would be.

They spoke for what felt like hours and Róisín felt more comfortable with the two women that she had in a long time. They talked about the ocean, about life on land, and about where Róisín would be living while she adapted to life in Donegal. When half past nine rolled around a bell rang, signaling that someone was coming in and to her surprise it was Sean. He seemed surprised to see her but nodded to her and she felt a tug deep in her chest, their proximity lighting the bond but before she could speak Móraí butted in, drawing his eyes from hers.

“It’s about time you got back, laddie. I just got done telling our young friend all about you and how you’d be willing to help fix up the old house down past Killian’s farm for her. She’s moving here and is the daughter of an old friend who sent her my way after her passing. Sean O’Conner I’d like to introduce my granddaughter, Róisín Kilkelly.” Móraí said brightly and Róisín blushed bright red. His eyes met hers again before appraising her and nodding.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Kilkelly,” he said, and his voice sent shivers down her spine. She looked down again at the large dog that seemed glued to Sean’s hip, and it cocked its head at her, but never made a move from his side.

“You as well,” she said shyly and Móraí got up to give him a hug.

“She’s here to stay so we’ll need to get the house fixed up pretty quickly, I’ll send Danny and Varun to gather some supplies and drop them off at the house while you get,” Sean shook his head and interrupted Móraí.

“Landen will come get the supplies from my truck and I’ll get done what the house needs. He’s ready to do the job on his own anyways, and he needs to get used to it,” he said and Móraí looked stunned.

“Sean O’Conner, are you telling me you’re finally done in that blasted lighthouse?!” Móraí asked excitedly and he nodded.

“Patrick has been sending me more projects to work on and I’d rather do it at home than in the lighthouse. It’s a lot to multitask,” He grumbled and looked over at Róisín.

“It’ll be livable in a few days, I’d suggest staying with Caroline or Móraí until I’m done,” he said and Róisín nodded, smiling warmly at him.

“Thank you, Mr. O’Conner. I’m glad for the help, if there’s anything I can do in return please let me know,” she said shyly, and he shook his head.

“It’s no trouble,” he said and Móraí cleared her throat.

“Why don’t you go on and get started then before it’s too late in the day? I’ll close up shop while Caroline takes Róisín home to get settled.” She said and he nodded, tipping his cap to all three women. Róisín watched him leave and she felt the bond strain as he left to make the calls. Móraí grinned and turned to Róisín, who quickly schooled her face as to not totally embarrass herself.

“I’ll make a match out of the two of you yet, now you two get on home and get some shopping done while Róisín settles in. I imagine you only had so many clothes stashed here, and it’ll take a few days to get anything in the mail.” Móraí said, grinning like a fool and Caroline rolled her eyes.

“Come on Róisín, leave the crazy lady to her mumblings,” Caroline teased and pulled Róisín out of the diner and walked her out to their truck. Caroline drove them up the street and out of town towards her and Jamie’s house. It was a large stone house, one obviously passed down through the family, though through which Róisín wasn’t sure. The house was seated on a large plot of land with at least 3 acres of woods at its back, not accounting for the 2 acres of pasture that accompanied the horse barn that stood to the back left of the house.

“Don’t be too intimidated, the house was left to Jamie by his grandfather, and it’s been in the family for a long time,” Caroline said and hopped out of the truck leading me into the house. It seemed impossibly larger on the inside, but I could tell that Jamie and Caroline had done a wonderful job of making it feel homey and welcoming. The first floor was all open with a large wood fireplace to the left with the family room, the dining room towards the back and the kitchen on the right. The stairs on the left in the family room led to the 4 bedrooms upstairs which included a bathroom and an en-suite to the master bedroom that Jamie and Caroline shared.

“This will be your room as long as you need it, Róisín,” Caroline said and pushed open a door which led into one of the spacious guest rooms. There was a balcony that looked out over the pasture and a large king size bed with a canopy of white fabric surrounding it.

“This is beautiful Caroline; I’ve never seen such a beautiful room. Your entire house is amazing,” Róisín said shyly, anxiously tugging on the sleeves of her old and worn-out sweater.

“I’m glad you like it, why don’t you settle in and take a nice hot shower or a bath? The bathroom is right across the hall and while you’re doing that, I’ll grab a change of clothes for you and some towels. We’ll talk more after, alright?” Caroline asked and Róisín nodded, smiling gratefully at her new friend.

“Thank you, Caroline.” Róisín said and Caroline shook her head, pulling her into a hug that Róisín returned gladly.

“You are always welcome here, Róisín. As far as I’m concerned you are my new little sister and I am going to spoil you absolutely rotten,” Caroline said and nudged her towards the bathroom while she disappeared into her room to find clothes. Róisín entered the bathroom and took it all in. There was a large glass paneled shower with a shower head that rained down from the ceiling and a bench that sat right under the water which Róisín knew she was immediately going to take advantage of.

Still wary of her coat Róisín folded it neatly and set it in the corner of the shower where she could keep an eye on it but not get it soaked. It took her a minute to play with the controls but eventually she got the steamy hot water to pour from the ceiling and she stepped under it, sighing in contentment as the hot water relaxed her tense muscles. She took her time washing her hair with a shampoo and conditioner that smelled of heather and mint before scrubbing her body with a sea salt scrub which she laughed at once she’d read the label. Far too soon in her opinion Róisín stepped out of the shower and wrapped her hair and body in a towel. She grabbed her coat and returned to her bedroom finding a new sweater and leggings as well as a thick pair of wool socks all of which she adorned quickly before searching for a good place to hide her coat. A loose floorboard beneath the bed became her new hidey hole and she tucked her coat and old clothes inside before laying the board back where she’d found it. After making sure it would not be discovered Róisín left her room in search of Caroline who she found in her bedroom flipping through catalogs and writing things down in a notebook.

“Knock knock,” Róisín said, and Caroline looked up, smiling warmly, and motioned for Róisín to join her on the bed.

“I’m glad the clothes fit; do you want me to do your hair?” She asked and Róisín nodded shyly. Róisín moved to the floor and sat between Caroline’s legs while she grabbed a brush.

“I don’t remember the last time someone else did my hair,” she said quietly as Caroline carded a brush through her damp hair and Róisín relaxed under her minstrations.

“After the day you’ve had I can imagine you need a little pampering. Lucky for you pampering is my specialty, I’ve had plenty of cousins to practice on over the years, so I’ll have no trouble taming your beautiful mane of hair,” Caroline said warmly and Róisín relaxed back into her legs.

“Do you have any questions for me?” Caroline asked and Róisín thought about it for a moment.

“Will you tell me more about Sean? What kind of dog was that following him around? It was a little creepy how quiet such a big animal was,” Róisín said, and Caroline nodded.

“That’s Timber, he’s been with Sean a long time, about seven years now, I think. Before that was Oak, Timber’s dad. Their family has always raised some kind of livestock, so they took to breeding guardian dogs a few generations ago. Sean raised Oak from a puppy, and I think he was the first or second one Sean had trained himself. Damn thing lived to the ripe old age of twenty and sired I don’t know how many litters of pups. They’ve all been wolf dogs as far as I know so that’s why he’s so big, I’m pretty sure his mom was a husky so that explains the coat and the eyes. Timber is Sean’s companion; he has four other dogs at home that are active livestock guardians, but he always claims one from a litter to train as a companion.” She said and Róisín hummed in response, waiting for her to continue.

“Sean’s parents died right after he turned 18 and the rest of his family moved to the states afterwards, so Sean stayed away from people, I think he was too afraid to get attached. The dogs have always been there so he wasn’t always alone, and I think they might be why so many people avoid him. He’s a scary looking guy to start off with and add a big dog into the mix and it’s not exactly the greatest mix. Plus, everyone around him knew him before he lost his parents, and I don’t think they really understand or accept how he decided to cope with the loss. Jamie, Móraí, and I were the only ones who really stayed connected with him, so we became his family. Maybe adding you to the mix will soften him up a little bit more,” Caroline teased and Róisín blushed a bright red before they fell into comfortable silence once again. Caroline spent a long time just brushing her hair and then massaging her scalp before she began to braid her hair into two Dutch braids. She tied them off with little bands of rubber and pressed a kiss to the top of Róisín’s head.

“Come on sleepy head, I don’t want you snoozing on the floor when there’s a comfy bed with your name on it.” Caroline said gently and helped Róisín off the floor and led her to her bedroom, pulling back the sheets and tucking her in.

“Get some sleep Róisín and I’ll come get you when it’s time for supper. If you get up before then I’ll probably be downstairs or outside doing the chores,” she said quietly before smoothing Róisín’s hair and closing the door behind her.

~ * * * ~

Sean was kneeling on the roof of the old farmhouse, finishing the repairs he’d started that morning. It had taken most of the morning to call in favors and see how long getting the supplies would take before he really got to work on the house. It needed a new water heater, but the fireplace was still good, and the floors were in good condition, with a few coats of paint and a check of the plumbing and electric Sean was confident he could make the inside livable within the week. Landen had the lighthouse manned so Sean could devote all of his energy to this project, and there was a stirring in his chest as he got closer to his goal. Something about making sure Róisín had a place to stay, and the fact that he was the one fixing it, made him feel lighter and warm inside. He shook his head at the thought and started gathering his tools to head down the ladder. He hardly knew the girl outside of a few quick words when he’d seen her in town, but the feeling in his chest wasn’t something he could ignore. When Sean got a feeling, he followed it because more often than not his instincts had proven true in more than one situation. As Sean reached the ground, he set his toolbox in the bed of his truck and his phone rang.

“This is Sean,” He answered gruffly and climbed into the warm cab of his truck to escape the icy wind that was starting to turn into snow, Timber hopping in beside him and settling down on the bench seat with his head on Sean’s lap.

“It’s Caroline, I wanted to let you know that I have Róisín settled and Móraí is insisting you join us for dinner. She knows you haven’t had time to re-open your house yet or get groceries since you sent them all back with Landon so you’re coming to eat with us,” she said cheerily but Sean knew there was a self-satisfied smirk on the other end of the line.

“What time?” Sean asked as he started the drive down to his house.

“Seven will be just fine, I’m making Coddle once Jamie brings home the sausages from the butcher. Nothin’ too fancy so don’t worry about dressin’ up. I’ll see you at seven, Sean,” Caroline said, and he hummed in agreement before hanging up the phone.

I don’t know how she always does that, making me agree to shit so easily,” Sean grumbled, and Timber huffed. Sean scratched Timber’s head and ears and rolled his eyes.

You only like going over there because she feeds you shit that you know I won’t give you,” Sean said and if a dog could laugh that’s exactly what Timber would be doing. His watch said it was going on five so Sean hurried home, eager to beat most of the snow and get his fire started. He pulled into his garage at half past five and hopped out of the truck, heading inside to get the fire started. It wasn’t long before he had a crackling fire and good embers burned down to heat the house and he set the grate in front of the fire before going to wash up and change from his work clothes. Sean left Timber curled up in front of the fire while he showered and made himself presentable, knowing that even though Caroline said not to worry about dressing up Móraí would chew him out later if he showed up in work clothes. He traded his overalls and denim shirt for a pair of his nicer jeans and a clean denim button down and a warm zip-up vest.

As the clock chimed six Sean sat himself in front of the fire and watched the embers crackle, Timber sprawled out on the rug enjoying the heat. His thoughts turned to the young woman, Róisín, and how he’d felt drawn to her. She hadn’t seemed so intimidated by him like she was when he’d returned her coat. Most women, and people in general, tended to avoid him so the look she had given him before he left weighed on his mind. He’d felt her gaze on his back as he left, and he couldn’t figure out why she was at the forefront of his thoughts all day. Sean shook his head and sighed, looking back up at the clock. Móraí would indefinitely be playing matchmaker and he was having a hard time with coming up with reasons to avoid the young woman. Sean felt Timber’s cold nose under his hand and sighed, rubbing his head and letting Timber lick his cheek

“What would I do without you?” Sean asked and Timber nuzzled his cheek before hopping up on the couch to join him.

“No time for that buddy, we’ve got a dinner to go to and we both know we have to check on the dogs before we go,” Sean said and pushed himself up from the couch, lacing up his boots again before heading out to the barn to check on the animals. He could see the cattle out in the pasture and two of his guardian dogs, Leafa and Rowan, were keeping watch at the edge of the pasture. Inside the barn his other two dogs, Shep and Tara, were keeping an eye on the sheep, horses, and birds he kept. Sean checked water and feed, putting out food for the dogs and birds before heading back to his truck, Timber hopping up into the cab as they headed towards Caroline’s house. Dinner was going to be interesting if Móraí had anything to say about it and Sean knew from experience that she did in fact have everything to say about it.

~ *** ~

Róisín woke from her sleep slowly, savoring the warmth that surrounded her. She cracked open her eyes, taking in what she could see which turned out to be very little outside of the white sheets that surrounded her. Sometime during her nap she’d buried herself completely under the blankets and wrapped herself around a pillow. Róisín carefully unwound herself from the pillow and blankets, throwing her legs over the side of the bed before carefully standing suddenly very thankful for the wool socks Caroline had given her. The clock on the wall read six so Róisín re-made the bed and made her way downstairs, following the smell of food. Caroline was in the kitchen leaning over a large pot and a man Róisín assumed was Jamie sat in front of the fireplace reading something. Róisín made her way over towards Caroline who smiled at her when she got closer.

“I hope you slept well, Róisín. I’m making Coddle for supper, Sean and Móraí will be joining us soon too. Jamie come introduce yourself,” Caroline called, and the man looked up from his book. He smiled kindly and nodded to Róisín, getting up and joining them in the kitchen. He was tall, not as tall as Sean but close enough and his build suggested he did a lot of manual labor. Caroline had said he worked at the shipyard so that made sense, but his eyes were soft, and Róisín could tell he was kind.

“It’s good to meet you, Róisín. I’m glad Caroline has found another friend to annoy instead of always focusing on me,” He teased, and Caroline smacked his arm before stirring the pot again.

“It’s called love, my dear. Don’t pay attention to him Róisín, he loves it,” Caroline whispered, and Jamie rolled his eyes.

“Whatever you say my love,” He surrendered and kissed her cheek before grabbing his glass from beside the chair and returning to the kitchen.

“Can I get you anything to drink, Róisín?” Jamie asked as he poured himself more of what Róisín guessed was bourbon if the smell was anything to go by.

“Just some water, please and thank you,” Róisín said, and Jamie nodded grabbing her a glass of ice water which she sipped from before sitting down at the island in the center of the kitchen. She watched Caroline cook and talked with Jamie about his work at the shipyard before the sound of the door opening drew her attention from their conversation. Móraí Doreen waltzed in and greeted everyone with a hug and a kiss on the cheek before settling into a chair beside Róisín.

“You look better lass; a shower and rest were exactly what you needed.” Móraí said and patted her cheek.

“Caroline has taken good care of me,” Róisín said, smiling warmly at the woman before picking up the conversation she and Jamie had been having, Móraí Doreen fitting in a word or two as they discussed fishing and ocean pollution.

“Sean’s here,” Móraí said and not a second later the front door opened, and Timber trotted in, going straight for Caroline who pulled a bone that had been sitting on the counter and handed it to him.

“You know who has the good stuff, huh boy?” Caroline asked and scratched the dog on the head before sending him on his way to settle in front of the fireplace with his prize. Sean followed him in and nodded at everyone, Jamie handing him a glass of the same bourbon he’d been drinking.

“It’s good to see you Sean, it’s been too long. You should stop by more often, you know Móraí will only pester you more if you keep hiding yourself away from the world,” Jamie teased, and Sean rolled his eyes.

“Not everyone likes to chatter like a bird the same way you do, Jamie,” Sean said and nudged his shoulder. Róisín smiled as she watched their interaction. Sean seemed so much more comfortable here than he did in the diner, and she wondered what he’d been like when he was younger. Róisín felt her stomach turn and she looked to Móraí for guidance.

“We’ll be right back Caroline,” Móraí said and took Róisín out to the porch that overlooked the pasture.

“What’s wrong lass?” She asked and Róisín shook her head, rubbing her hands over her face as she tried desperately to sooth her nerves.

“I’m scared to tell him; I don’t want to be a burden and he’s been so kind to fix up the house. I’m worried that if I tell him he’ll reject me, and I’ll be stuck here forever with no one and I’ll be alone forever,” Róisín whispered and Móraí pulled her into a hug.

“Don’t be scared lass, Sean’s always been more insightful than most and the way he looks at you tells me everything I need to know. Tell you what, we’ll tell him right now and if he reacts badly, we’ll send you upstairs and I’ll give him a talkin’ too. There’s nothin’ to fear lass. Móraí would never steer you wrong,” Móraí said and Róisín nodded, shivering as her nerves fought to release some tension. Róisín followed her in and took a seat by the fire, Timber looking up at her and raised his head to nudge her knee before returning to his bone. She slid onto the floor and ran her hands through Timber’s coat, comforted by his warmth and the rumble that she could feel vibrating in his chest.

“Sean, we need to have a talk before dinner, come sit and Caroline put that onto simmer,” Móraí said and everyone sat around the fire, Caroline beside Róisín and Móraí standing in the center. Jamie sat on the sofa, nodding to Caroline and Róisín calmly.

“You know I’d never joke when it comes to the lives of my bairn’s, you know that well enough Sean. You also know I’m a little more than just human, and by extension so is Caroline. We’re selkie’s lad and so is Róisín, and I think you know where I’m going with this,” Móraí said and Sean sat there for a moment, his eyes roaming over all of them before nodding slowly.

“You’re Fae, I’ve known for a while. I guessed when I saw the seal coats in the back of Caroline’s truck whenever she’d go down to the shipyard to visit Jamie. If she was one, I knew you had to be,” Sean said and he said it so matter o’ factly that Róisín didn’t think she’d heard right.

“Well, this got a whole lot easier,” Caroline chuckled, and Jamie nodded raising his glass in agreement.

“I won’t drag this out Sean, you gave a selkie back her coat of your own free will and in doing so you’ve bound yourself to her and she to you.” Móraí said and Sean locked eyes with Róisín. Her cheeks burned and she looked down, focusing on the colors in Timber’s coat instead of facing her bonded.

“What does that entail? I didn’t mean to bind you to me Róisín,” Sean said, and she felt his heavy stare shift from her to Móraí.

“As far as any selkie or Fae is concerned you’ve married the lass and like any other faerie oath, this is unbreakable,” Móraí said and Róisín saw Sean’s eyes widened before turning to her.

“Róisín,” he said, and she bowed her head, her eyes misting.

“I wasn’t thinking when I took my coat back from you, and you couldn’t have known our laws. I know you don’t know me well, or even at all, but we’re bound and even with that I don’t wish to be burden on you,” she said quietly, a tear rolling down her cheek as she fought the tremors that rolled through her body.

“I can feel the bond, I knew something had happened, but I didn’t know what,” he said and Róisín nodded.

“We’ll always be able to feel one another through the bond, and if it builds then we can find one another over vast distances, even link our minds. I only know the stories of the bond, I knew one selkie who was bound but she didn’t want it and she left her bonded choosing death over imprisonment. I don’t want you to hate me Sean, but I also don’t want to abandon the bond,” Róisín whispered the last bit, and she could feel Sean staring her down.

“Who said that abandoning the bond was an option?” He said and Róisín looked up at him, not realizing he’d gotten so close.

“I’ve been alone for a long time Róisín, and even before the bond was made, I felt something when I looked at you. I’m more worried about you not wanting me than me wanting you. I’m not an easy man to be around Róisín, but I want you If you’ll have me.” Sean said and brushed a few stray hairs behind her ear. Róisín’s eyes burned with tears as she hesitantly reached out for Sean and he pulled her into his arms, surrounding her entirely. Róisín felt the bond, it was pulsing between them, and she held him tighter, burying her face in the crook of his neck.

“You’re mine, Róisín. As long as you’ll have me, you’ll be mine and I’ll protect you, love you eventually. Selkie bond or no, I can feel it, you were made for me,” He mumbled into her hair and Róisín sighed in contentment, her nerves no longer on edge and her mind slowing from it’s racing pace. Everything was going to be okay, her life wasn’t over, and she couldn’t wait to see what her life would become with a mate like Sean.

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460 Reviews

Points: 16130
Reviews: 460

Wed May 25, 2022 8:57 pm
Ventomology wrote a review...

Hey there!

This was super cute-- happy endings are so lovely.

I've got a number of things you might consider working on, but first:

In general, you do a great job of matching dialect/vocabulary to individual characters based on where they come from. That's not always easy to do, so hats off to you! I love the smattering of Irish accents and the somewhat clinical way the selkies all refer to men.

And it isn't just those aspects of dialogue that you do well. Even characters of the same background have clear differences that shine through in their choice of words (and their choice of when or when not to talk). A part that really demonstrates this is when Laoghaire gets mad at Róisín for forgetting their customs while Bronwen's reaction is more sedate. The dialogue there really highlighted their personalities.

I think though, that you are too reliant on dialogue to tell this story. The characters here talk a lot, and their longest sections tend to be backstory moments. It probably isn't unreasonable to have one or two longer bits of explanatory dialogue, especially if it comes during a very charged or intimate moment where two characters really get to know each other, but people don't typically talk this way in conversation.

Which brings me to my main point with this work:

Almost every positive trait of Sean's is told to Róisín, not learned through experience. Yes, we the audience see a little more of his goodness, and there are hints in the dialogue about him helping others out, but Róisín sees only his single kind interaction with her before the reveal. And honestly? Handing a girl her coat is not that high a bar, considering he wouldn't have known it was magic.

Naturally this is a short story- it would be almost impossible to suggest true love at this point, but for the length this short is, Sean and Róisín spend very little time together. There was plenty of word count in which to demonstrate even surface level chemistry between the two, but Sean is not the one to tell Róisín about himself, which robs us of a potential scene in which the two can connect outside their magical bond and show that they have romantic potential.

Speaking of the bond... I kind of would have liked it to factor harder into Róisín's feelings throughout the story. It felt like it popped up only at moments when she was interacting with Sean, when it could have been a device that lent some credence to Caroline and Móiraí's gossip.

And my last note: try utilizing things like simile and metaphor and personification. I can tell you've put a lot of effort into descriptions of places and characters, but a bit of poetic device can push descriptions from good to great.

That's it from me! Hope this helps.

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51 Reviews

Points: 2346
Reviews: 51

Sat Jan 29, 2022 5:15 am
PoetryMisfit wrote a review...

Hello Nightengalewriting.

What an enchanting story! It was sweet, whimsical, and had a wonderful fairytale flow. Your characters are dynamic and distinguishable so it was not hard to keep track of who was who througout the story.
The dialogue was perfectly attuned to the personalities of each of the characters and flowed well. However there were a few places where the sentences felt a little run-on, which made the dialgoue feel unnatural. I can see why you'd rely on longer sentences because there is so much information covered especially from Morai, but using smaller sentences will create natural breaks in her words and ultimately help it flow more organically.
To me, it did feel like the romance between Sean and Roisin was rushed, which in a way I understand because this is a short story, so there is only so much one can encapsulate in the short span.
Also Sean seems to have a hard time opening up to people, so I was a little shocked by how easily he accepted being Roishin's bonded. It just seemed a little out of character for him to be so quick to accept not only her as his bonded but the revelation about the other women being Fae as well.
There was also a buildup to Sean possibly being Fae, which in the conversation seemed to be mere speculation, but if I've learned anything about writing, I know that every detail is included with a purpose. I was waiting for some reveal about him being Fae but when there was none, I was a little disappointed. Other than those thoughts, which I offer constructively, I really enjoyed your story.
I just love the way you depicted the selkies and incorporated various bits of folklore and mythology throughout. You mentioned in your story synopsis that you might lengthen it into a novel, which I fully encourage! You've created a world I can envision stretching out to encompass so much more regarding Fae mythology. You've already got a great start, see where it leads you!

Thanks for sharing!
Poetry Misfit

Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
— G.K. Chesterton