Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5.14

Posted by harmony0stars on December 9, 2009

On the inside of the door were written spells of physical protection and anti-theft. Glory had painstakingly painted them onto the surface with liquid lead. It had been a major pain to work with until she‘d bought a small Bunsen burner to keep a pot of the stuff bubbling while she labored over her art. The spells and charms around the edges of the door were in bas relief from successive layers of lead, but at their center was a Solomon’s seal charm which she had carefully gouged into the back of the door before also coating it with a layer of lead. Every month during the new moon, she dressed the door with a paste composed of tea leaves, lemon peel, ginger, peppermint, black pepper, and cinnamon, making sure especially to rub it into the seal. It was a modified anti-theft spell which was meant to call upon the power of Saturn to protect her belongings. It seemed apropos considering he was a god of knowledge and it was her most valuable possession. For good measure, she had hammered five nails into the door around the seal and hung the starstone over the Solomon’s seal. Nothing wrong with double measures, even if the stone was meant for protection, not anti-theft. It could always ward off something that might ignore the anti-theft spells.

Glory stepped into the hole, ducking her head and pulling the door shut behind her as she flicked the switch just inside. A small fan began sucking in outside air as warm ambient lighting filled the room, illuminating every corner. Bookshelves occupied every available wall, though only one was close to being filled with books. The others contained jars and utensils for her craft though sooner, rather than later, she imagined the other shelves would also be filled up with books. She was a rabid bibliophile after all.

A spiral staircase led up to the third floor and another secret door in the library. More bookshelves lined that room, but they were mostly empty for the moment. Neither room was much bigger than a large closet, but there was still room for a small table which doubled as a work area and computer desk.

She set the shoes on the table and began taking down vials and jars. Pulling out a glass beaker, Glory poured a small amount of olive oil into it and set it over her Bunsen burner. Dipping a dried bit of mistletoe in the burner’s flame, she dropped it into a ceramic dish to burn to ash while she continued to add new ingredients to the oil. With dragons blood ink and a quill, she drew a pentagram on three bay leaves and dropped them into the oil, adding a bit of castor oil and myrrh, along with some coarse sea salt and a handful of cloves. Taking down a mortar and pestle, she ground up a small lump of red ochre and tapped it out into the oil. Finally, she tipped the mistletoe ash into the mortar and ground it to a fine powder before adding half of it to the oil as well. She stirred it with a glass rod, the ochre and ash staining the oil a dark red.

Leaving the oil to simmer, she turned her attention to the shoes. She shoved the shoelaces into a flask and pulled out another large beaker. Folding a piece of cheesecloth several times, Glory tucked it into the top and strained the oil. Pouring just enough over the shoelaces to cover them, she left them to soak. She turned the burner down as she returned half of the oil back to the first beaker and set it over the flame. Unrolling a sheet of beeswax, she added several pieces to the hot oil to melt.

Keeping an eye on the beaker over the flame, she pulled down a bottle of distilled water and two small spray bottles. Glory continued to stir the wax and oil even as she waited for the other beaker of oil to cool. When it was finally close to room temperature, she poured the oil into the spray bottles, adding a small lump of sulfur to each and enough water to top them off. Hopefully they would ward off the draug or at least give it pause if it tried to attack.

The wax had finally dissolved, and she turned off the burner, setting the mixture aside to cool. Lifting the shoelaces from their tube, she squeezed the excess oil out and draped them over the back of the chair to dry. Hopefully they would be dry enough by the morning to relace. Turning one of the sneakers over and over in her hands, she tried to decide where best to put protective markings. The back of the heels certainly were wide enough, but the rest of the shoe was only suitable for smaller symbols. Mixing the remaining mistletoe ash with the dragon’s blood ink, she carefully penned the Aegishjalmur on first one heel and an eight-spoke swastika on the other, the helm of awe to ward off attackers and the other to draw help from all directions.

Glory stirred the wax and oil mixture to test its viscosity before pouring the swiftly thickening salve into a small jar. Taking down a small bottle of clear enamel, perfect for preserving delicate ink work, she carefully checked to make sure the heels were dry and brushed the enamel over both charms. Though she couldn’t draw charms on the bottoms of the shoes because they’d wear off fairly quickly, she could cover all the other hard surfaces with protective runes. The draug was native to Scandinavia, so it stood to reason that runes would have the best chance of claiming power over it. Focusing on symbols outside its supposed origin would be wasteful of the time she had.

She wrote the thurisaz rune in a continuous chain along the edge of the rubber soles and alternated Hagal , Naudhiz , Eihwaz , Elhaz , Tiwaz , Berkano , and Ehwaz  all along all the seams. Glancing up at the clock, she groaned. It was nearly dawn already. Picking up the laces, she rethreaded them through the shoes’ eyelets. They weren’t quite dry, but they might never be truly dry due to the oil. Still they left only a slightly greasy sensation on the fingers which faded quickly. The enamel was already dry and so the runes were protected from immediate wear. She dropped the salve in one pocket, tucked the shoes under her arm and snatched up the spray bottles before exiting her adytum.

to Book 5, page 15

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