The Myths: Long ago, there was the Sea. In time She grew restless and lonely, so She formed the selkies out of smooth, gray beach pebbles. The Sea blessed her first children with many gifts, but was soon distracted by other creations. Few in number, the selkies learned they could shed their spotted sealskin and walk ashore, leaving the Sea behind for a time. As they were gifted with great beauty and charm, the selkies quickly found mates among the humans and for a time, were able to divide their hearts between their terrestrial families and the Sea. But the Sea is jealous of her eldest children’s love and the selkies are never fully free of their Mother.
The Facts: Selkie are marine shapeshifters born as seals and capable of transforming into an attractive human form by removing their magical sealskin. In seal form, selkies are usually somewhat larger than normal seals, but are otherwise indistinguishable from their cousins. Without their sealskin, they are unable to return to their seal form, and some humans have used this fact to their advantage. Fisherfolk know that hiding a selkie’s sealskin is a way to make the creature agree to anything, even marriage. Many selkie-human pairings are happy ones, however, despite the inevitable departure of the selkie partner. When a married selkie returns to his seal form, his memory is blurred and he often forgets his land-bound family completely.
Half-selkies are not uncommon in the outer Voorsthaven island chains. Half-selkie children are usually raised by their human parent once their selkie parent is drawn back to the sea. Captain Virginia Hale’s mother was a selkie and the Captain inherited some of her traits.