Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6.21

Posted by harmony0stars on June 11, 2010

Dr Blackwood used two separate keys to unlock a large case at the far end of the room, and then a third key to open the wire cage inside the case. The wire was actually separate from the glass, an added precaution. Pulling on a set of heavy canvas gloves, he gently took out a sheaf of ragged papers, each one sealed inside plastic to prevent further degradation by handling. Some looked scorched and others as though they’d been splashed with mud. At least she hoped it was mud. Setting them on the table, he reached back inside the case and pulled out a book bound in thin planks of wood with an incomprehensible wood-burnings on both the back and front covers.

The final book that Blackwood removed from the case was massive, as large across as a moderately sized end table and several inches thick. Blackwood lifted the book from the case as if holding a very heavy baby and gently set it down on the table with the others. The black leather cover was raised and lined with age.

“I assume you read Latin?” Scott asked. When she nodded, he went on to explain the three books. “This one,” he said, gesturing to the leather-bound monstrosity Blackwood had just removed, “is a nearly complete 17th century Latin printing. To say it’s ‘nearly completely’ is a little misleading. No Necronomicon is entirely complete due to the number of times it’s been edited for content or destroyed. This printing comes from America. It is the most complete printing we have available. These other two have been acquired from different estates and are very fragmented. This one,” he gestured to plastic covered pages Blackwood first pulled from the case, “is a very fragmented copy of John Dee’s Necronomicon. It’s written in English and what Dee called Angelic script or Enochian. The one bound in wood is a handwritten English edition of unknown origin referred to by the writers as al-Azif, which is the original name of the Necronomicon, Kitab al-Azif. There are differences between the editions which calls all three into question.”

“So long as I become familiar enough with it to recognize another if I would see it,” she replied, eying Blackwood’s gloves. “Should I be wearing gloves, too?

“That won‘t be necessary unless you intend to make a habit of examining such books,” he replied. “I’ve been down here enough that I know I’ll have nightmares just from being in this room. The gloves are for my piece of mind.” He pulled out a box of latex gloves from a nearby alcove. “If you would wear these however, to protect the pages from the acidity of your skin?”

“I wasn’t even thinking… I would have brought my own,” she said with a half grin. “So you wear those gloves the way an x-ray technician would wear a lead-lined smock, but they’re just regular work gloves?” He raised one hand so she could see, and she shook her head at his ignorance. “I’ll look into making something better for you.”

Ignoring the look that passed between Blackwood and Scott, she leaned down to examine the books. Even through the plastic and latex, the loose sheets of the Dee translation gave her an uncomfortable feeling as she handled them. She doubted very much that the dark stains were mud and felt Phoenix agree with her, both on her assessment and her unease. The Enochian was as easy to read for her as the English, though Phoenix didn’t bother to elaborate on where he might have encountered it, certainly not from Aaron. The volume, if the two dozen or so sheets could be referred to as such, had nothing pertaining to the symbol she’d taken from the museum.

Setting the sheets aside, she turned to the larger, leather-bound volume. It was the most well preserved of the three, probably owing to its more recent printing. Upon examining the cover, she saw that the pattern of bumps and crevices coalesced into an unknown sigil. Though whether it was meant to be protective or a warning, she wasn’t sure. Glory opened the book, feeling a kind of numbing, buzzing sensation in her fingers and up her arm as she touched it, as if between the covers of the book was a colony of insects. She wondered if it was the contents that made her uncomfortable or the long, dark history of the books itself. From the way Blackwood and Scott watched her, perhaps they expected a stronger reaction than numb fingers.

She slowly turned the pages, examining each one minutely. Considering both men’s obvious discomfort with her accessing any of the books in their “special collections’ room, she wouldn’t ask to see these books again. Which meant that short of finding her own volume, this might be the only chance she had to see the book or attempt to remember the contents.

Glory paused as she caught sight of symbol similar to the one she’d seen in the museum. She felt both men lean in to examine what had caught her eye. Knowing she’d never get away with keeping silent, she said, “There was a stone in one of the Egyptian displays at the museum that looked similar. I didn’t think it belonged there but before I had time to do any research on it, whoever‘s been hitting the museums struck. If I had to guess, I’d say that’s what the thieves were after.” She stepped back so that Scott and Blackwood could both examine the book.

Blackwood shrugged and stepped back. “You’re more familiar with the Mythos than I am, Professor.”

“You’re sure this is the symbol you saw?” Scott asked, looking up.

“No, but it’s very close to it.”

He stood and looked around the room until his gaze settled on a case in the back, left corner. “Can you take out the Zanthu Tablets, Doctor?” Blackwood looked anxiously to the three Necronomicons already sitting on the table. “You don’t mind if we put these away, do you, Ms Lewin?” Scott asked, turning back to her.

She did mind, very much, but said, “No, I think if I found another copy, I’d know it.” If only from touching the thing, she added silently.

to Book 6, page 22

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6.21”

  1. Fiona said

    “I assume you read Latin?”
    It’s cool to be able to say yes. Could Glory read Latin before Phoenix?

    • Yes, she taught herself Latin and Greek and bits and pieces of other languages before Phoenix made himself at home. But while you’d think that much of what Phoenix knows would be redundant, information learned by one host merely duplicating if an earlier host was already aware of something like a language, it’s actually more like a layering of understanding. Each person understands a concept, even language, slightly differently than anyone else, and languages change from generation to generation. So she could technically have a better handle on Latin than someone who’s been teaching it for 50 years simply because a dozen of her predecessors had it as a first or second language or studied it for one reason or another. She wouldn’t even necessarily be aware of the depth of her understanding or attribute it to more than Phoenix’s assistance. Sad to say, she resents him too much to have done more than scratch the surface of what he has to offer her, though their working relationship is improving Very slowly. Lori’s made it very difficult for her to trust anyone, especially someone who’s taken up residence in her brain without even asking. ;-)

  2. Fiona said

    It’s also interesting to note that although the quantity of locks, etc is impressive, even paranoid, to get in all one would have to do is possess Blackwood, as the museum guard was possessed. Iris recognition software and cameras wouldn’t help with this situation either.

    • heh, shhhhh! They’re paranoid enough without your suggestions. You’ll have Professor Scott sitting in front of the door with a shotgun if you’re not careful. lol

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