Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, Part 2.4

Posted by harmony0stars on January 4, 2010

Glory took Robert home, making sure he ate some real food before breaking the news to him that she would have to head back to Arkham. Who knows what he’d eaten while she‘d been missing, if he even had at all. It wasn’t as if Gavin would have made sure he was taken care of and Professor Scott had clearly been preoccupied. Like Glory herself, Robert was not the kind of person to complain about his circumstances, but at the same time, she was observant enough to see how he generally hid his pain and anxiety behind a ready mask of bravado and indifference. Certainly that had been the case when she’d questioned him about school. It was not the case however when she informed him that she would not be there when he woke up and that he would have to see himself off to school.

“You can’t just leave me here!” he blew up. “What if you need me? I can help just like before. Maybe… I can take karate or tai chi or something. Then I’ll be even more help next time you need me.”

“Robert,” she replied gently. “I’m not going to be in any trouble. I’m just going to the university to give them a report about what happened with the draug.” It was her cover story at least, just in case she was caught on campus or someone came looking for her. “And you, you need to go to school in the morning. So you can’t come with me. I promise I‘ll be back by the time you get home from school.”

He made a sour face, but she continued. “I don’t blame you for not going today. I’m sorry that I made you worry, but school is important and if you’re going to be my apprentice,” she added and he perked up considerably, “then you need to do well in school. Call it a requirement. If you can’t do well in school, then I won’t teach you any magic.”

He looked shocked as well as disappointed. “I’m… not really that great a student.” he confessed anxiously.

“Have you ever really wanted to be?” Glory asked with a half-smile. She knew how most kids felt about school, even if that had never been her own attitude.

“Well, not really,” he replied sheepishly, refusing to look her in the eye.

“So, now you have a reason to want to,” she grinned. “Don’t worry Robert. I’ll help you if you need it, and if you can prove you can be studious, then we’ll see about you learning other things outside of school. And it wouldn’t hurt for us both to have a little martial arts training under our belts, I think.”

“Yeah?” he asked excitedly, finally smiling.

“Yeah. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, so… we’ll see about taking classes together. Okay?”

“Sure!” he agreed readily.

“But you can’t skip school, and you have to pay attention in class, do your homework, and study hard because as hard is you think school is, magic is a hundred times more work. At least school work can’t kill you.”

“Yeah…” he drawled, rolling his eyes. “That’s what I’ve heard anyway.”

Glory snorted. Extracting a promise from Robert that he would go to school in the morning whether she was home or not, Glory still waited until evening before leaving for Arkham. If Robert thought it was suspicious, he didn’t mention it. It seemed more important to him that she stayed and played video games with him or more often watching him beat the crud out of pixilated enemies. The why of her staying was less important. She didn’t like to lie to him about her reasons for going, but she couldn’t very well tell him the truth either. He’d only worry and he‘d done enough of that while she‘d been in the caverns beneath Sybar City.

Besides if she was caught on the grounds, a thorough accounting of her experiences was exactly the excuse she would give for her presence. At least the roads became more deserted as the hours lengthened, and she made good time to Arkham, arriving in the city just after midnight. She parked well away from campus and rubbed the protective symbols from her windows. There was no sense tipping anyone off through carelessness.

With an eager smile, she drew the tarnkappe and starstone from her backpack before chucking the bag into her trunk. It was empty; all the other artifacts had found their way to her vault, but the cloak was just the thing to maintain her anonymity if there were cameras in Scott’s secret underground lair. It hadn’t occurred to her to look for them when she’d been down there, but she knew at least that every one of the cells was monitored.

She had never considered herself a greedy or avaricious person, but just holding the cape in her hands made her want to spin around with a artful flourish. It was… just so darn… cool! A piece of history in her hands, something illicit that no one else could claim. Glory wanted to laugh, and she hadn’t wanted to do that in a long time. Even her continuing research and the access her wealth bought her to ancient and once restricted tomes had failed to elicit the excitement she felt at the thought of donning the tarnkappe and dungeon crawling Miskatonic U’s sub-sub-basements.

All at once, she had a sobering thought, her delight and anticipation falling flatter than newly laid tarmac under a steamroller. Was she excited about plumbing the depths of Miskatonic’s testament to xenophobia or was it the sword, hedging her on in the hopes that she might end up getting people killed? Glory reigned in her excitement and fastened the cloak around her throat, pulling the hood up and wrapping the immaterial cloth around herself. Pulled over her face, it was as if the cloak were not even there. She could see through it, but was still aware of the shift of fabric against her skin. The starstone she tucked into her front pocket, though it was an uncomfortable fit and half stuck out to poke her in the belly.

She felt no answering resentment from the sword as she squelched her anticipation, but that didn’t mean anything. If it inhabited her body, it had access to every thought in her head, including her suspicions about it. It might very well be able to hide its reactions from her when it wanted to. Perhaps it was intent on driving her mad by only exhibiting occasional acts of seeming autonomy.

to Book 5, Part 2, page 5

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3 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, Part 2.4”

  1. Fiona said

    Hi!

    I’m enjoying the latest chapter, nice to learn about Norse myths this time. That draug in the cavern was scary! The snake person is intriguing.

    I tried to subscribe to Tattoo as a RSS feed through Bloglines, but it only picks up chapter 6.33. Is that something you can fix on your end?

    Cheers,
    Fiona

    • harmony0stars said

      That’s very odd. I’ll look into it, but I have absolutely no clue about RSS. So… no promises.

      Yes, I like the draug, atypical binging vampire-cannibal that it is. heh There’s some speculation that it is actually the basis of the word dragon. Makes Sigfried eating the dragon’s heart kind of gross.

      Some of my favorite Lovecraftian stories have to do with Yig and the serpent people. I really do adore snakes of all kinds, even the venomous ones.

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