Did you know that while Whynne is the main country with fae, it’s not the be all end all of fae/magical creatures?
Well, bam, now you do. When you get into the Chronicles of Whynne, you see a country that is just beginning to open up for the first time after so long, and consequentially learn about the world around it. You can’t assume that there’s no such thing as magic in other places
Lindy sort of hints at this and Quill and Cobweb with the acknowledgement of the giants, but there’s so much more to what’s going on here– and when you get into Haldia, you’re talking about a country that can be just as secretive as Whynne once was, just with its borders (mostly) open.
So let’s get into it.
Magic in Whynne comes from the forest, fae for the most part come from the forest. But there’s other sources of magic as evident by Haldia’s giants, and there’s also an increasing distance between fae in Whynne and the tree. So what are we seeing here? What’s going on?
Basically magic pockets/areas. We get into it a little bit more in Haldia, but the areas that are particularly connected to the earth tend to have the most magic… And so in the ocean there’s the goddess Navka, who provides magic to Haldia via glaciers, which also cut up the countryside and exposed more magic long ago–
Long story short, Selkies can live in the ocean. There’s things in the ocean– and mermaids aren’t fae. But Selkies technically are. Let’s just get into it–
Selkies, Whynne vs Haldia:
Let’s talk Selkies and lets talk Selkie culture.
So, Whynne actually has a very narrow coastline, which is brought up here and there. They have a few miles at most. Selkies are pretty rare in this area, but not unheard of. For the most part, Selkies have slowly started to die out in this area and move out of there at a rapid rate due tot he increasing arrival of ships in Whynne after the sunlight is brought back. Since the country is trying to advance at a rapid rate, the consequences of frequent trading vessels is sort of overlooked.
And so Selkies, who were previously very well respected Seelie in fae, have sort of fallen on hard times. Most of them solved the issue of losing their homes via marrying off their children and ensuring Selkie survival that way, since they’re genuinely perceived to be very charming and desirable in Whynne, if not to other Seelie then to human fishermen, but a few have left for other waters.
The Selkies that you see in Whynne are generally harbor seals or common seals.
And then you get to Haldia.
Haldia has a lot of coast line, and as the majority of the central areas of the country are too cold to be inhabitable, you see a lot of fishing there… so their relationship with Selkies isn’t exactly the same as Whynne. Add in the fact that Selkies in Haldia generally store blubber to deal with the cold and you can see the beginnings of a negative relationship forming.
Selkies in Haldia are generally regarded as being more aggressive and less charming. More often than not, due to limited resources near the harbors, Selkies can be seen as violent beings, ones who view the scars on their bodies as being badges of honor.
So not exactly the pretty young girls you picture.
Haldian Selkies get particularly vicious when their cape is touched, and there are many legends about spiteful Haldia Selkie brides poisoning their husbands or worse yet, tying them up in their sheets and throwing them into the ocean at night.
But, there are a few stories in which the cloak is given willingly in Haldia, resulting in the selkie granting her husband with knowledge of a secret fishing spot or two!
Listen, just be nice to seals.
A History of Selkies:
Magic scholars agree that for the most part, Selkies definitely came from Whynne. The most popular legend has it that they came into being when the Great Rowan Tree’s roots first touched the coastline and felt the salted water filling its branches. There’s a few others, such as that they evolved from the morgen in pounds, or that they sprung up from a storm brought in by the sea.
Whatever the case, there they were, Selkies.
And supposedly the goddess Navka, ruler of the sea, took one look at them and wanted them, even thought they were made by Whynne. So she lured them out of Whynne’s waters with schools of fish and took them around the world, which is how so many varieties of Selkies exist to this day.
But again, legends. Let’s get into what counts here.
Most Selkies come from one of eight houses, and almost all Selkies can trace back their lineage that far. Because of the limited gene pool, nearly all Selkies marry outside of their species, and eyebrows are raised when two selkies share a union.
Selkie brides have historically gone out to land, and Selkie husbands lure human women out to sea. For a while, it was very common for a woman in Whynne to get lured out to the ocean, then later have children with webbed hands and feet, ones that would eventually disappear. Worse yet, occasionally a baby would be born with a seal head and normal body. But, times have changed, and the Whynne ordinances have as well. Now Selkies do semi-proper courting practices instead of the whole risking drowning women thing and that is largely understood to be preferable to abductions.
The Selkie Temper.
Selkies in Whynne and Haldia are known to have tempers, in Whynne this can result in spiteful actions, and in Haldia it results in a whole host of problems. Farmers of Whynne near the coast used to believe that if anything bad happened to your livestock, it was likely the result of a Selkie. This rumor, sadly, has roots in history. Selkies are not prone to forget, and can often hold onto a grudge for a small disturbance for years to come. There is a story in the Whynne countryside of a Selkie woman being spited by a farmer who stole her skin while she was not willing, and though he gave it back to her, she felt so inclined as to guide half of his flock off the cliffside into the sea. If he did not give it back, it likely would have been all of them.
With the increase of ships in the bay at Whynne, the only salvation is the fact that there are so many that it can be hard for a Selkie to remember which wronged them which is good because in Haldia…
Well there’s no way to put it lightly, so let’s just say it.
They’ve been known to tip boats.
You see, if you anger one Selkie, you’ve angered not just them, but every other Selkie they’ve ever met, which is why in Haldia its common practice to kill a Selkie on sight rather than worry about angering them. The creatures are extremely dangerous, extremely smart, and can live in packs of up to fifty– not something you want to mess with. Unless you have their skin, and said skin hidden well, you do not want to risk it.
Artwork is by John Bauer, 1915.