Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 4, Part 2.13

Posted by harmony0stars on October 29, 2009

Trying not to look at Addfwyn, Glory announced, “Aonghas is looking for Gwythyr, and he’ll probably kill him if he finds him.” Arawn nodded and stepped away to the door as if to begin searching, but Glory quickly added, “All the folk Neirin exiled through Caer Wydr are back as well. The women and children are hiding in the woods. Dilys is with them.”

Arawn could not have been more elated. His dour expression instantly lightened in relief, though he glanced at his son with a look of utter revulsion immediately after. Addfwyn stared daggers at Glory. Clearly she still supported her son, despite everything. The whole situation made Glory feel as though she were watching her own familial tragedy unfold from the outside, complete with psycho sibling and oblivious parent. She had a very bad feeling, but dismissed it as her imagination. Who wouldn’t feel a bit of anxiety in the middle of a battle?

As Arawn peeked around the curtain to make sure there were no Fomorians to catch their escape, Addfwyn spoke up, her voice full of contempt, “You may see fit to abandon us, but I will stay and watch over our son.”

“It might not be such a good idea for anyone to stay here…” Glory broke in, intending to point out that the Fomorians might come back at any moment with more prisoners and notice their guard was gone, but Addfwyn cut her off.

“No one asked you,” the woman sneered, placing as much malice into the last word as she was humanly able. “Everything was fine until you arrived, and now we are under attack. Who knows how many of our people are dead.”

Glory opened her mouth to make a rebuttal, but thought better of it, snapping her mouth shut with an audible click. Addfwyn was clearly delusional and arguing was a waste of time. Without a word or a backward glance at Neirin or his mother, she stepped through the curtain. She stood outside the building, unsure where to go or what to do next, but not wanting to spend another second in the close darkness with crazy and crazier.

Slowly the former prisoners filed out of the shack and stood around her, probably as unsure as she was as to what to do next. Arawn and Addfwyn briefly exchanged words. Though they were not understandable, their tone was. Arawn stepped through the door a moment later and stood among the women and children as if trying to decide how best to protect the noncombatants.

“I left some boys hiding in the kennel. It may be the safest place for your people until the Fomorians are driven off.”

It looked like hiding was a bitter pill for many of them to swallow. They looked to Arawn for guidance, and after a moment he nodded. The women warily began their dark trek across the settlement, herding the few children at the center of their group. Arawn laid a hand on her shoulder. “Please,” he said, though it seemed as though the word was hard for him to use, “Go with them. Protect them.”

Glory glanced at the women, then back at Arawn. “Alright, but just so we‘re clear. The truth is out about Gwythyr. Pretty much everyone knows he‘s your son, and if you‘d just admitted it and made peace with his mother, the Fomorians couldn‘t have used that secret to springboard their little war. Gwythyr obviously cares about you very much, so don‘t go getting yourself killed again because I don‘t know if I can bring you back a second time, and also, I have a friend who is currently a deer. I’d very much like to take her back to her family in her proper form.”

Without another word, she purposefully strode across the space to the where the women were huddled against the side of a building, trying to discern if there were any Fomorians between them and their goal. If Arawn was angry or confounded by her words, he had more important things to worry about that putting her in her place. When she glanced back, he was already gone.

It was nearly impossible to see if anyone was lurking about in the shadows. The moon had set and the kennel was just a dark mound in the distance. With a sigh, Glory stepped out onto the hard packed earth, gesturing for the women to remain where they were hidden until she had flushed out any Fomorians along their path. She had passed nearly half the distance when a man sporting a long dog’s tail launched himself at her from the gap between two buildings. Why would anyone even need a tail? It wasn’t as if he had any other visible signs of alteration.

Her sword came out almost of its own accord, piercing his leather armor as he bowled her over. This time she couldn’t dismiss the energy that flowed into her as her imagination. The sword took his life and used it to bolster her own. Maybe it would recharge on its own, which might possibly explain why it initially took time to deaden her senses, but it seemed it was equally content to take the life force of those she killed. Regardless of the fact that he and others would murder her if given half a chance, she still felt guilty. Lovely…now, in addition to everything else, she was some kind of vampire?!

With a snarl directed more at her life than at the dead man on top of her, she shoved the Fomorian corpse aside and crawled to her feet. Two men resurrected and two men dead. Did that mean she’d have to kill a third to replenish the energy she’d spent on herself when the wound in her back healed?

Making it safely across to the kennel, she waved to the women that it was safe while knocking lightly on the low wooden doorframe. One of the boys cautiously poked his head out and then grinned up at her in recognition. “Got room for some more in there?” she asked, motioning towards their kinsmen as they scurried towards the kennel in the dark.

The boy replied with a chuckle, moving back so the first of the escaped prisoners could climb down into the half underground structure. Glory remained vigilant as her charges hid themselves away. As the last of them disappeared into the doorway, she leaned down into the opening. “Don’t come out until you’re sure it’s safe.”

“Can I come?” asked the boy hopefully. She chuckled at the disappointed face he made as she gently pushed him back inside.

With Arawn’s people safely hidden in the kennel, Glory had no reason to stick around. She strained her ears for any sign of combat, but the sounds came from all around, the battles only hidden by the buildings in the way. Biting her lip, her eyes were drawn back to her former prison. It wouldn’t hurt to just check on Addfwyn, would it?

The building was very quiet as she approached, and she cautiously moved the curtain only a sliver so she could look in. The interior was dim, but the scene was unmistakable. She should have tried to convince Arawn to force his wife to leave Neirin or brought him along where others could ensure he remained bound. It was quite obvious what had happened. As soon as everyone left, Addfwyn, good mother that she was, had released her son and paid the ultimate price for it. Whatever weapon Neirin had used… perhaps Arawn had left the dagger with Addfwyn just in case the Fomorians discovered her… Neirin had used it to cut her open. Blood was splattered on the various bags and parcels, but most of it had soaked into the floor and saturated her clothes. Glory doubted that the similarity to a gutted deer was simply chance, and though she tried not to look too closely at the body, it looked very much as though the heart was missing.

to Book 4, part 2, page 14


4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 4, Part 2.13”

  1. here2read said

    The whole situation made Glory feel as though she were watching her own familial tragedy unfold from the outside, complete with psycho sibling and oblivious parent. She had a very bad feeling, but dismissed it as her imagination.

  2. here2read said

    Wow… gutted his mother!

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