Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 4, Part 2.12

Posted by harmony0stars on October 28, 2009

Glory felt light, as if she had suffered some kind of disconnected from her body. This was somewhat worse than the first time she’d brought someone back from the dead, when here reaction had only been a temporary headache. Half in a daze, she watched the doorway as Arawn and Addfwyn made their teary reunion. Would the Fomorians hear the commotion? What if they brought in another prisoner while everyone was distracted? Arawn’s new lease on life would be short lived.

“Now you must heal my son,” Addfwyn announced suddenly, rousing Glory from her semi-stupor.

Still muddled, she blurted, “But… he’s responsible for all this.”

“You will heal my son!” the woman snarled. Launching herself across the short distance, she grabbed Glory by the shoulders and dug her fingers into her flesh.

Just as Glory had feared, it was too much to hope that the guards would remain oblivious to the noise inside the little building. “What is going on in here?” a man queried as he pulled the rough curtain aside. He gaped at Arawn who struggled to rise in defense of the other prisoners.

Some instinct or imperative forced Glory to leap at the guard before he could take a breath to call for help. Her sword was in her hand before she even knew she had let it out, and all she could think was how strange the noise he made was as she knocked him back out the door, driving her sword up through his jaw and into his brain. He was dead before he hit the ground, and she sat astride him for several seconds, staring into his very wide, confused eyes, before regaining her senses.

Belatedly she looked up, wary for another guard, but apparently they had trusted one man to watch over the building, probably figuring that a gaggle of demoralized women and children would not be too much trouble for one man. Unsteadily climbing to her feet, she grabbed the man by his legs and awkwardly dragged him into the building. At least killing him had seemed to restore some of her depleted strength, not that she wanted to think too deeply on that.

She only had moments to rest, dropping to sit on one of the chests, before Addfwyn grabbed her again and dragged her to the body of her son. “Heal him! Do it, now!” the woman fairly shrieked into Glory’s ear as she pulled and then pushed her to the ground beside the corpse.

With her limbs still feeling like noodles, Glory fell to her knees and sat there staring. “I- don’t think I can,” she announced quietly.

Picking up the fallen Fomorian’s dagger, Addfwyn held it to Glory’s throat. “Heal him or die!” she hissed. As if to make her point, the dagger drew a trickle of blood which was quickly lost in Glory’s collar.

“Addfwyn!” Arawn growled in angry embarrassment. He lurched to his feet and took the blade from his wife’s shaking hand, while she collapse beside Glory and her son, weeping into her hands as Annwn knelt beside her. “Please,” he said taking his wife into his arms and looking over her head at Glory. “Heal him.”

With a sigh, she stared down at the corpse of the man who, by her count, had more or less threaten to kill her, not once, but three times. Well, kill her in so far as attempting to get her turned into a deer so he could hunt her down and eat her was concerned. If this even works, she thought to herself, I’m going to regret it. But she didn’t quite have it in her not to try. After all, Arawn had suddenly gone all soft and practically begged her to do it. If someone that stern and austere cold unbend enough to use the word please, well she could be the better person and give them the opportunity to rehabilitate his crazy ass.

Laying her hands on the body, she concentrated on bringing Neirin back as she had his father. The comparison of the sensation to fire in her bones would still have been a valid one, if that fire came in searing sharp chunks which tore along her limbs like cubes from an ice dispenser. Trembling as if with a fever, and she could not have said she didn‘t have one at that point, she sagged over the body barely holding onto consciousness. Glory heard a groan and for a moment, couldn’t tell if it was her own or Neirin’s. In the next instant, with his hands around her throat, her brain abstractly supposed he had been the source. After all, she was far too weakened from giving her energy to two dead men to even fight back as she was choked into unconsciousness, let alone muster the energy to make a sound. She couldn’t even move from where she lay as his hands were pried from around her neck.

She was dimly aware as some of the women dragged her to one side of the building while Neirin was forced to the opposite wall. He might be alive, but barely, and he was definitely no match for his father who had more or less recovered from his own resurrection. Arawn resolutely took up the rope that had so recently bound Glory and weeping, used it to tied his son’s hands. As Neirin spat insults at him and curses at his mother, Arawn grabbed the first thing that came to hand, the grimy gag the Fomorians had used on her, and forced it between his son‘s teeth. Whatever thoughts were running through his head, Arawn must finally see that his son was a hopeless psychotic.

Or not.

Arawn leaned in close once Neirin was incapacitated and whispered something in his ear at which point Neirin began to spasm and make inarticulate sounds. Though it was hard to tell behind the gag, Glory finally realized that Neirin was laughing at whatever his father had said. He laughed so hard tears spilled down his cheeks. Arawn stood and looked down at his son with a tired expression. Glancing around, he grabbed additional rope from a sack of grain and used it to immobilize Neirin’s feet. He checked the rope around his son’s wrists one last time before securing another rope over the gag which he had forced into Neirin’s mouth as he attempted to spare Addfwyn her son’s ravings. It was clear that he intended to keep Neirin a prisoner in the building when they left, but for how long after that, Glory couldn’t tell. Maybe he intended to turn Neirin into a deer. Now that would be poetic justice.

With a sigh, Arawn stood and looked to where the women and children had gathered on the other side of the building, not that there was much room to separate them from their raving prince. Addfwyn stood near the center of the pantry, wringing her hands and helplessly watching her son. Whatever illusions she’d had about him were clearly shattered. She looked up to her husband as he paused in passing to whisper something in her ear, but she didn’t seem impressed by whatever he had to say.

Turning as Arawn stepped by her, Addfwyn glared at his back and then transferred her baleful gaze to Glory where she lay propped up against a bag of rocks or potatoes or something equally uncomfortable. It seemed as though the lower her energy was, the more she felt… pretty much everything. Even the microscopic pebbles littering the packed dirt floor felt like boulders. It made her wonder if she was as weak as she felt or if having been full of energy before, she just mistook her current lack of power for frailty. If she ate, would she taste the food? If she lost consciousness, would she dream? Whatever, the women and children had gathered around her almost in a protective stance and not Addfwyn’s son, and she seemed to take that personally.

Glory struggled to her feet, ignoring her seeming lack of energy and just willing herself to move. Several of the women tried to help her up or convince her to sit back down, but she shrugged off their concern. She felt light and weak and above all vulnerable, and she suspected at the moment she was a lot more mortal than she’d been when she first entered Annwn, but she had no problem gaining her feet. In all likelihood, her weakness was an illusion created by the fact that she’d gotten used to being powerful. She’d have to watch that in the future. There was nothing like perceived power to make a person arrogant and careless.

to Book 4, part 2, page 13

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