Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5, part 2.13

Posted by harmony0stars on January 25, 2010

It took Glory a moment to realize that he had asked a question. She could almost see him now in her mind’s eye, like a photo negative in the shape of man. She blinked and suddenly he was Aaron. Of course he‘s going to look like Aaron, she thought with revulsion, but he indignantly rejected the thought as soon as she had it… he wasn’t wearing Aaron’s form. He was the best of what had been Aaron and all the other men who had ever carried him. He was himself and all of them as well, a composite of his previous unions. It was only with her that he couldn’t properly lose himself in their bond, become an indistinguishable part of her, and it was driving him mad. With her, he was a separate mind and could not manipulate her when her desires differed from his own. Something prevented it.

Her mind immediately went to her tattoos but he rejected that notion out of hand. No, he insisted sullenly, his thoughts becoming words the more they communed, it’s something wrong with you. If anything, the tattoos should have helped the bond, not hindered it. She had numerous tattoos to attract and facilitate communication with good spirits, tattoos to make her more amenable to all the elements, including fire… Two minds in one body, it’s unnatural, he insisted. Glory could see what he was getting at. It was certainly distracting. However, she could also see that he was more frustrated with the fact that he’d lost his autonomy  and that she was aware of his existence than that he was unable to properly submerge his consciousness into her own.

Still, Aaron had seemed to be in quite a bit of pain when I tried to comfort him after receiving my tattoos, she thought to herself, which only amused the creature… the djinni. The pain was caused by their imminent separation and, he admitted, a minor punishment for Aaron’s foolishness. Glory saw through the creature’s perceptions that Aaron had not been an ideal host, too many of his years spent in self-serving activities and self-absorbed resentment at having achieved his goal of ‘immortality.’ She winced at his actions before and after he became joined with the djinni. There’d been potential there, he could have used the extra time to make amends for his crimes, but Aaron had never even tried, spending his extended years instead stewing over what he had lost by gaining what he supposed he had wanted.

Glory on the other hand, had a well developed sense of propriety and conscience… more than enough of both to get her into trouble and keep her companion’s attention occupied for years to come. The djinni practically pouted at her as he intimated that it was her fault his plans hadn‘t worked out the way it had with all his other hosts over the eons. Who knew but that he was maybe just a rebellious teenager in terms of his lifespan. He certainly acts like it, Glory thought and of course, that threw him into another snit.

Glory was aware that only seconds at most had passed as she communed with… she shied away from calling him Aaron. I don’t think you are evil… she thought at him uncomfortably, answering his original question, Phoenix, she named him as she felt his sulk lift slightly. Being given a name mollified him even more. He waited, suddenly eager to hear her thoughts, his mood changing like… well, fire.

She understood immediately that conversation was a novelty for him. It was his habit to merge with his host to become a kind of superego, wed to and inspiring the urges of his host. In fact, the more she understood about his nature, the more she realized Korvaz or Cthugha was less a parent and more a cooperative of minds, a true communism with a consensus forming each decision. For the relatively short time Korvaz had stayed near Earth, forming a temporary binary system with Sol, individual members of Phoenix’s race had gained temporary autonomy as they drifted to and from the molten earth, exploring and gathering knowledge. As the Earth had cooled and developed, they’d possessed and incinerated countless early life forms, retaining all the experiences of the host creature for the collective. For Phoenix, this was where the trouble had started. He’d grown too attached to his own accumulated knowledge, become too enamored of organic existence.

A great split had occurred once, eons before Korvaz came to Earth. Though exile from the communal living of Korvaz usually ended in death, there had been enough rebels to create a second smaller hive known as Fthaggua which eked out a tenuous existence on a comet. The split had nearly destroyed both factions, making the remaining Korvaz leery of losing any more members. Before the Elder Gods approached him, Phoenix could only stay away from his brethren for so long before he had to return to the warmth of his family where all of his experiences were harvested like so much wheat. Individually, the djinni were not that smart, though Phoenix had had much longer than most of his kind to mimic the intellect of his hosts. It was only with time and the subsidizing of other beings that an emissary of Korvaz grew in intellect, and all that could be stripped away whenever it returned to its brethren. But independence was not an option. For the Djinn, too long away from the warmth of their star meant eventual death as the djinni faded away like a cold ember.

Phoenix’s rebellion would be severely punished if he ever rejoined his kin, not only for successfully surviving without them but for what his defiance had cost them. Phoenix had allowed the Elder Gods to examine him and convinced them that the only way to ensure Korvaz stayed away from Earth was to forcibly remove them, confine them. He may never have expected them to be chained to a black hole, but he couldn’t exactly argue that this made it impossible for them to return to Earth, but the pain of being sucked one molecule at a time into the gravity well of the black hole was too much for Korvaz to bear. In madness, they had become less than they had been. No matter how tightly they clung to one another, their mental and physical vitality continued to dwindle until they became Cthugha. All this the Elder Gods had done in the hopes that higher intelligences would develop on Earth, something his race would have considered a negligible possibility and certainly not worth the price they had paid.

Selfish as he was, Glory couldn’t blame Phoenix for wanting to be free, nor did she disparage the impact his actions had had on the development of Earthly life. If the Elder Gods, whoever they were, had not forced Korvaz to leave and stay away, humanity might not exist at all. Still, even though his actions were not her own, she felt vaguely ashamed of the fate that had befallen Korvaz even if he did not. It was hard to think of anyone deserving to be eaten alive for all eternity!

toBook 5, part 2, page 14

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 5, part 2.13”

  1. Fiona said

    Soo…he’s not all bad anyway.

    • harmony0stars said

      Well… bad, no… but Good? Not really. More self-absorbed, self-serving; kind of like Aaron was, actually. Hmmm I think Phoenix and Aaron were a better match than he’s willing to admit, or maybe he just doesn’t see it.

  2. Fiona said

    I think it’s cute that he wants to be thought of as good 😉

    • harmony0stars said

      Yeah… obviously spent too much time with humans, but still unclear on the concept of what Good entails. You know, like actually being considerate of other people’s feelings in addition to obliterating aggressive “aberrations.”

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