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Swimmerskin

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Swimmerskin is one of the sub-types of the Beast seeming. They are Changelings who draw affinities with aquatic or amphibious creatures: seals, otters, ducks, salmon, and the like; mermaids, too. Their blessing is Natural Swimmer.

OverviewEdit

When the Swimmerskins lost themselves to the Beast, they also lost themselves to the water. Their animal instincts were shaped by dark and cold ocean currents, by the taste of saltwater or the feel of a pounding river’s flow. Returning to themselves meant remembering what it was like to walk on dry land, the pleasures of grass underfoot and the feel of the wind surrounding them. Swimmerskins are aware that they’re caught between two worlds in more ways than one. Their fae half remembers the water, yearns for it. Their human side remembers the beautiful things to be found on land. Some Swimmerskins find it easier to reconcile the two longings than others. These Swimmerskins may have already been swimmers, surfers or fishermen. They know they can enjoy the best of both, if they’re wise about it. Other Swimmerskins have more difficulty, particularly if the waters near their home have been polluted. They are more prone than any other Beast to become involved in environmental action, being more deeply affected by overfishing and pollution. Most Swimmerskins have a slender, aquadynamic build, though some may be unusually bulky to match an associated animal. The most common tells are webbed fingers and toes, which manifest in piscine and mammalian Swimmerskins alike. A Swimmerskin always has a humanoid profile, but some have legs that seem almost like independent fishtails, making them seem as much triton as anything else. Some boast dynamic colorations, similar to the bandings of a sea snake or the vivid stripes of tropical fish. They may have unusual teeth, such as the wide jaws of a shark-blooded Beast, or even overlong tusks reminiscent of a narwhal.

DuranceEdit

Some fairy tales feature a fisherman who catches a talking fish, shows kindness in releasing it and is in return granted wishes. The Swimmerskins may have been taken in such a fashion when their wishes were corrupted. They served in grand crystalline fortress-palaces in the dark ocean depths where sea serpents coiled in carnivorous dreams. The Swimmerskins were flayed and re-clothed in sealskin to serve as proper handmaidens to mercurial water-nixes. They served as guardians to octopi and nursemaids to eels. Swimmerskins’ escape often involved fleeing to dry land where their Keepers could not follow as comfortably.

FolkloreEdit

Stories of magical water animals or aquatic human/animal hybrids are nearly ubiquitous. Mermaids and their various triton and mermaid kin are known to a great many folklore traditions. The fish-tailed human as an archetype reaches back at least as far as records of the Semitic god Dagon. Shapeshifting dragons and serpents of the water are common to Asian myths, such as the dragon king who took in Urashima Taro. The concept of a shapeshifter who requires a fetish item to transform is common to aquatic animals as well, with the most obvious example being the sealshifting selkies.

FrailtiesEdit

May not be on dry land at noon, cannot cross a line of black sand, repelled by cat’s blood, must obey the holder of a stolen personal garment, bane of burning driftwood, cannot drink cow’s milk.

ReferencesEdit

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