Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 3.10

Posted by harmony0stars on November 15, 2010

There was no help to be had from Tsathoggua’s quartet of creepy brides. They stood at attention, showing no more sign of life than if they were wooden manikins. For their sake, Glory hoped that they were brain-dead… merely automatons without thought or feeling. The alternative would have been too inhumane to bear. She doubted Tsathoggua cared one bit about his ‘brides,’ which did not fill her with confidence that his intent for her was not the same.

What exactly was the nature of the spawn? Were they separate from the consciousness of their parent at all or just extensions of his will? Were the women even necessary to their creation? Would the spawn eventually be passed on to a more autonomous host like the priest, or did she have the steps reversed?

She didn’t want to think about it at all, but she couldn’t stop her mind from struggling with the unknowns. What did that make Hagarg Ryonis? Was she a spawn too? She hadn’t seemed to be, and she also bore her father no love. Tsathoggua didn’t seem to know about the spawn she‘d fought under Arkham, or if he did, he didn’t care, which made his words concerning her father somewhat hypocritical. She couldn’t fathom his interest, unless it was her gender and heritage which made him more inclined to keep her alive. The thought that Tsathoggua just wanted to see what kind of kids they’d make didn‘t exactly fill her with fuzzy feelings about their impending nuptials. No matter how she looked at it, the situation was bad.

Tsathoggua made no further overtures, and eventually Glory got bored with standing near the door. She might be wearing slippers, but they didn’t stop the cold of the floors from seeping through to her toes. She wasn’t about to go back to the bed. Not only did it have disturbing connotations but she couldn’t be sure what Tsathoggua might construe as acceptance of his offer.

Glory found the mirror repellent, but she sat on the cushioned stool anyway. It was more a vanity than a simple wall mirror, with shelves holding what she could only assume were cosmetics and perfume. She ignored them and the two pouches sitting in their midst, though it did surprise her that her clothes had been discarded, but whoever had undressed her, and she hoped it had not been Tsathoggua’s proxies, had seen fit to leave her valuables untouched. Then again, Tsathoggua probably wouldn’t take kindly to anyone stealing from his future wife.

She examined the choker that kept her weak. A puddle of metal cradled the gem like the clotted albumen of a metal bird. The stone itself seemed to be formed from an orb of obsidian or black amber shot through with rutile silver threads. Somehow these prismatic shards converged to form an eight point star within a larger twelve point star, but it was difficult to say how many stars or points there were for certain. They floated, shifting along non-Euclidian axes even as she looked, as if the gem was not a gem at all, but a dewdrop of some ebony liquid, nested in congealed metal and fastened to a silver chain which numbed her throat like ice. There might have been a dozen fractal stars spinning within the gelid orb, only occasionally disentangling enough that their points could be counted. She didn’t try to touch it again. Her fingers still felt stiff from examining it earlier.

Her pseudopod caused her more distress than the seal did. At least the seal wasn’t part of her. The tentacle twitched in her lap, the many tendrils at its tip spread across her lap like curls of motile black hair. She raised it and the tendrils drooped. It seemed she had limited control over the thing compared to her other limbs. Across and through the sludge-like flesh floated the tattoos the transformation had displaced, but like the stars in the seal around her throat, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to where they might show up along the length of her new limb. They could just as easily disappear where the weird limb joined her shoulder and reappear near her wrist, as remain stationary. The twig-like elder sign where her elbow had been was the only symbol which didn’t seem to feel inclined to roam, though it didn’t seem to make a difference. At least it didn’t hurt like the one on her shoulder, which continued to throb dully.

She bit back a sob as she tried to force the limb back into its original shape, only to have pain blossom between her eyes like an ink blot. The pseudopod didn’t even so much as twitch for her efforts. Glory lowered her head and pressed the fingers of her good hand to her forehead. Great, now I have a headache, she thought, feeling sorry for herself.

It took her a moment to realize Tsathoggua’s proxies were making a not altogether unpleasant noise. In other circumstances, Glory would have thought it was a very sweet sound, something you might hear on a warm spring night when the frogs were getting ready to mate. That was the problem though, she knew why frogs sang, and she refused to be soothed by the chirruping purr that issued from the throats of his four zombified brides. If anything, it made her more miserable, even if he meant it to be comforting, or worse, seductive.

As if reading her thoughts, the sound cut off abruptly. Though the movement was almost imperceptible, the women turned their heads towards the door as if listening. Then, as they had before, they stepped forward in formation. Laying their platters on the edge of the bed, they walked in single file towards the door.

The last bride paused as the others left the room. “I must attend to unexpected business, my princess,” Tsathoggua’s voice bubbled up from its throat. “It seems your Father has finally chosen to send the Men of Leng to sue for the release of your brother.” He/it chuckled with amusement. “I would have released him as a gift to you, but whatever Nyarlathotep has sent as ransom will be a suitable tribute to our union. He will never take you from me and corrupt you as he did my sweet Yhoundeh.”

The thing did not wait for a response but followed its companions through the door. Glory suppressed her shudder only long enough for the door to close. Whoever Yhoundeh was, she didn’t doubt the woman had escaped by whatever means necessary. She rocked slightly on the stool with her one good arm folded around herself in a half hug. The seconds ticked by like hours as she waited, but finally when she could take it no longer, she leapt up and tried the door.

It was unlocked, and she whipped it open with astonishment, only to come face to face with a burly priest who was stationed at the door, one of Tsathoggua’s slimy black spawn mindlessly rippling across his upper body. The look he gave her was polite, but otherwise expressionless.

“May I… have some water, please?” she mumbled brokenly.

He nodded, but made no move to find some for her. Instead, he turned and stared off into space. Either he was returning to the duty of guarding her door and would flag down the first servant who passed or he could relay the request to other spawn-conjoined priests with nothing more than a thought. The latter was probably more likely. Glory shut the door gently and stalked across the room, her fist clenched in impotent rage. She had seldom felt so helpless.

to Book 6, part 3, page 11


2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6 part 3.10”

  1. Alderin said

    Poor Glory, all trapped and twisted and uninformed.

    “weird limb joined her should and” – shoulder?

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