OOC Info

Jan. 26th, 2013 01:01 am
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In our world, there are tales of selkies and swan maidens, who wear a human form on land and don their other skins to return home. In Morag’s world, there are hundreds of clans of Seafolk wearing almost as many true forms: terns and eels, skates and gulls – the only things they have in common are history, tradition and the power to change.

Morag’s clan holds home territory around a small island off the west coast of Scotland – though as they’re migratory by nature, most of them only return there in the summer, leaving the colony to the young, the aged and the skeleton crew who keep it guarded, cared for and occupied when the human revenue comes calling. Their bird form is the Atlantic Puffin, known by humans for being cute, tasty and funny-looking, and by the Seafolk for being quiet, resilient, mostly harmless divers with an occasional flair for colour.

To their neighbours, the people of Lundey Rock are insular, reserved, possibly inbred and unrelentingly stubborn. They’re polite enough, uncomplainingly compliant with all the requirements of modern law and always friendly to the smattering of tourists who come out their way with money to spend. But there are no hotels or B&Bs on the island, and anyone who plans to stay after dark will find themselves hinted and steered back to the boat. No-one lives on the island who wasn’t born there, or moors a boat by its pier. No child ever goes to school elsewhere, or moves ashore to work. It’s hard to keep track of who even lives there, or when they return – if they return.

Also, quite a lot of them seem to be called Morag or Kerr.

Bio: Morag herself is a fledgling, nearly eighteen in human years (she looks a few years older, since her people mature a bit faster before their ageing slows). When the children of her clan fledge, they leave the colony for several years, travelling in twos or threes or even alone while they learn to navigate the world and – hopefully – finish maturing. Morag’s overdue to leave, but impatient to go… alone.

By her people’s standards she’s bold, overaggressive and immature, a bit of a spoiled chick still. She’ll go about her business quietly while she gets used to a place, but when she wants something or has some contribution she has no qualms about inserting herself into a situation and demanding attention. She’s loyal if she decides she has some obligation to you, and doesn’t care for stealing or attacking those smaller than her. On the other hand, if you seem tough or just manage to annoy her, she might decide to prove herself by beating you. This will usually mean stealing the most brightly-coloured thing you have: scarves are a favourite.

She’s a fairly sharp learner (when she listens), but barely technologically literate. She knows the very basics of what cars are, and she played with a computer once, but she’d rather have a club handy when there’s trouble. She also knows the principles of how to interact with humans: clothes really matter, don’t scarf raw fish in front of them, and so on. She just doesn’t always remember. It’s not as if she’s been off the island more than twice as a hatchling.

Morag aspires to be a ranger, one of those sent out on dangerous missions on the clan’s behalf. She’s determined to prove herself tough and clever enough that when she returns home she can get an apprenticeship. This leads to a great deal of bravado and no small recklessness on her part. Someday, perhaps, she’ll figure out the kind of deeper courage she has within her. And how to deal politely with Landfolk. In the meantime, she’s inclined to accost people she wants to learn from, to act self-assured yet startle with surprising ease, and though she doesn’t hate humans, she feels a certain degree of snobbery toward them.

After all, everyone knows humans are skin-thieves, sooner or later.

Powers: In human form, she wears a puffy black parka jacket, no matter the weather or the context, indoors or out. It appears perfectly normal at first glance, though it has neither labels nor brand markings, and it feels strange to the fingertips, a slight sense of silky stubble – the stiff-feathered skin, pretending to be something it’s not. As long as she’s wearing it, she can change into her puffin form; if it’s successfully stolen, she’s largely at the mercy of whoever’s taken it – assuming she can’t fight, steal or wangle it back. Though in Europe it’s largely swans and selkies who’ve had to fear for their skins, every clan has a few stories to tell and it’s a pretty primal fear for her kind.

If damaged her skin can heal slowly, the process accelerated by saltwater and/or being worn. The healing process draws on her strength whether or not she’s wearing it; she does not escape injury by shifting forms. For the most part, her shifting is entirely voluntary, but it is influenced by the moon – or rather, the tides. When the tide turns, the Seafolk feel its call: when the tides are especially strong the urge to hit the waves can become overpowering, and while there’s no associated bloodlust, most temporarily surrender to their wild nature.

Morag can sense the change of the tides and navigates instinctively, though at this stage in her life she doesn’t have the internal compass which points her toward home: rather it points away. She’s drawn towards large bodies of water: no matter how distant, her instincts will point her to the closest one. Her innate magic offers a little resistance to outside powers, (usually just enough to warn her to run) and she will, if very lucky, live to several times the human lifespan.

Specific to her clan, she’s an excellent diver and fisher, surprisingly durable for her below-average height – puffins are built to absorb some shock, and tend to bounce more than bruise. She can also drink seawater, has excellent night vision and is resistant to hypothermia.
Beyond that, she has no great magic of her own: she’s not even an adult among her people and isn’t entrusted with anything she didn’t hatch with. She’s stronger than she looks, but not superhuman; she can be injured with an ordinary weapon – or an ordinary predator, if she’s not careful.


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Morag Somerled / Cragsquall

January 2013

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