A week. That’s all she had left to wait. A week before she could send mortals in to deal with infuriating mortals, and then it would be back, and in the sea once more. How long had that poor selkie gone without drinking seawater? It couldn’t be good for the skin, for her poor child–
“Mother?” The soft voice by the door made her look up, her face mimicking that of her child’s, the pale greys of a stormy sky, dotted with black spots like rain-heavy clouds. Her skin shimmered through hues until it settled on what her standard was without the presence of mortals: paler than seafoam, the color washed from hair and skin alike.
“Brogan.” Slowly, she stood. The Roane stood by the door, still not fully steady on their feet. This shape was still strange to them, having spent so many years as a seal. “Why are you here, child? Not where it’s safe…”
“We’re all worried for you, Mother. All of us. A literal Age has passed, and you haven’t swum with us.”
The Sea Witch let her face ease into a smile. “Soon. Soon, I’ll come swim with you all again.”
“When you’re sure we’re all safe again, you mean.”
She paused, then reached out to cup the Roane’s cheek. “It’s true. I love you all dearly, you know that.”
“We do, Mother.”
“And you know my oath.” This time, the smile returned was sad, but understanding, the deep brown eyes softening just so slightly.
“We do. We’ve Seen it. The day is soon…not soon enough, but soon.”
The Sea Witch leaned forward, pressing her lips to her child’s forehead. “Return to the waves, love. I’ll greet your pups in the waters, and swim with the pods again.”
The Roane smiled, then left. The Sea Witch waited, watched the transformation and the dipping into Faerie’s tides, and counted, slowly. Returning inside, to her worries, her flesh turned stormy, swirling in nauseating ways. Her poor hunted children may be Seers, but their powers channel through her alone, and it was her that controlled what they could see. She saw more, saw deeper, saw possibilities and doorways that would only hurt them. She was the only thing keeping them from being hunted again.
They weren’t wrong. One day, they would be safe again, and she could join them without fear of what may find them. Soon was relative in Faerie. She was not just a denizen of, but a breathing piece of it. She was The Sea itself. Time moved as it was willed to, not by the mere shift of celestial bodies, nor counted in candle marks. But how many more years until The Mad Queen’s influence faded, and her brother’s insanity no longer marked her children for his Ride? How many more years before her fears about mortal greed faded, and they could be trusted again?
A deep breath, and her skin moved again, the to hue of sunlit ocean.
Even the undying and omnipotent need reminding sometimes.
One thing at a time.