Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 3.11

Posted by harmony0stars on November 17, 2010

Phoenix followed Selik and tried to ignore the occasional glances Milet cast his way. It had been an audacious claim on his part, but how else to explain his relationship with Glory? Well, he didn’t care what the little street trash thought of him any way. If Glory didn’t reject him on a regular basis, he wouldn’t have attempted to make her jealous. It wasn’t something he’d try again, and he had to admit, at least to himself, that it had been an impulsive and poorly thought out move on his part. Glory’s anger was preferable to her disappointment, and he was at a loss as to how to respond to the latter. Shame, along with so many other emotions, was new and less exciting aspect of being human. He had never experienced it first hand, and he found he didn’t like it, not at all.

While he and Glory remained in the Dreamlands, they were more or less on equal footing. A pity Glory didn’t seem inclined to take advantage of the situation to make their relationship more intimate, but he was used to her being contrary. As varied at Starspawn tended to be, contrariness was practically the only characteristic they could claim as a racial trait.

Selik raised a hand as they approached the embankment and one of many sewerage holes which fed into the River Ai. Dawn was still a few hours away. Time enough that they might have snuck back into the city and saved some time by entering the tunnels closer to their goal, but it wasn’t exactly safe for any of them to be seen. Instead, Selik Baine led them in a round about route to a spot where the crumbling of the riverbank and the deterioration of the walls over the spot guaranteed they would not be seen. Unfortunately it seemed they were not the only ones that night who sought entry into the city’s sewer system.

Their guide scowled, his skin straining white where it connected to the burned husk of the left half of his face. “Wait here,” he said and eased through the grassy mounds towards the sounds ahead of them. Phoenix and Milet crouched among some dead water weeds that hissed as the night wind danced through them.

A startled oath from Selik made Phoenix stand, a mistake he regretted as soon as he felt the cold blade under his chin. Milet was the only one who put up a fight. She shrieked in surprise and struggled like a wild cat, clawing and thrashing at her attacker until he rapped her hard on the skull with the hilt of his curved blade. He stood glowering at the crumpled child, his turban disheveled and his horns glinting in the moonlight.

“Move,” grunted Phoenix’s captor, while his companion slung Milet over his shoulder like a particularly unloved sack of potatoes, clutching his unraveled turban in his free hand.

“Three new slaves,” their leader gloated as Milet was thrown at his feet.

“I am a freeman!” Silek cried, to which their captors only chuckled cruelly as if they somehow knew the truth.

“If you’re here to free Glory, she won’t like it if you abuse her friends,” Phoenix said with more confidence than he felt. “Her father might not care about us one way or another, but you wouldn’t like to see her angry.”

The leader of the satyr-like men of Leng scowled at him. “What do you know of our mission? We were only given our orders as the moon rose.”

Phoenix shrugged while Silek glowered at him, probably thinking he’d been walked into a trap or at the very least wondering who Glory’s father might be but too smart to open his mouth.  “I don’t know anything. I’m only guessing, but if you’re here to free His daughter, then that’s why we’re here as well. There’s no harm helping each other.”

“I won’t ally myself with these yellow dogs of Leng!” Silek blurted, his scowl threatening to rip his skin along the edge of his scar.

“Well, we’ll come away with one slave at least,” the leader said and his men chuckled.

“We need him,” Phoenix said hastily, giving Silek a warning look. “He’s the only slave to ever escape the temple with his life. He knows the way through the catacombs.”

“I won’t work with such as these,” Silek reiterated.

“You’re a fool to cut off your own nose to spite your face,” the leader said, giving Silek Baine a look up and down as he fondled the pommel of his blade. “But then, you haven’t got much of a face. Cutting off your nose might be an improvement.”

“He’ll do it if you offer him a reward,” Phoenix broke in before they ended up with a dead guide. “I promised him jewels, but no doubt you have a better selection to offer.”

“Aye,” the goat-man said, snapping his fingers at one of his subordinates. He was handed a small bag which he upended into his hand, the rubies glittering like wet gobbets of blood in the dark. “Be these enough to buy your services, oh man of Ilarnek?”

Silek tried to appear reluctant, but his eyes were glued to the gems. He crossed his arms, turning his head away but letting his eyes drift towards the goat-man’s outstretched hand. “This,” said the leader, dumping the stones back into their bag, “and another when we have made our way out again. Is that agreeable to you?”

It was with some hesitation that Silek Baine finally nodded, licking his lips and swallowing as the bag was tossed at him. “You’re already in the best spot to get down into the tunnels. This is where I exited when I made my escape these ten years gone,” Silek announced in a shaky voice, though he quickly got himself under control. He shoved the bag of gems into his waistband and cocked his head at Phoenix. “I’ll expect the reward you promised as well.”

Milet chose that moment to groan, and Phoenix reached down, pulling her roughly to her feet where she swayed and leaned against him. “Fine,” Phoenix said, not even bothering to argue. “Just get us into the temple before we run into anyone else.”

to Book 6, part 3, page 12

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6 part 3.11”

  1. Fiona said

    Glory gets around. Here is a manifestation of her above the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica. (read last paragraph of text for explanation)

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=46980

    • That is incredibly cool. With its circular shape, it reminded me of a terrestrial form of the Helix Nebula.

      • Fiona said

        This looks like an eye!

        • I know! And it’s not shopped or anything. I used to write haiku and cinquain inspired by nebulae. There are some pretty amazing formations out there.

          Here’s a series I did way back when I still did my webcomic. I’d post the images, but they are rather large.

          This is “officially” called The Mice, but I thought it looked more like a Jedi.

          This one has a cyclops in it, but you have to look for it. I circle it, but it’s still kind of hard.

          This one I call Aphrodite

          Here’s another eye in what is called the Little Ghost Nebula

          And this one is also eye-like

          This is Cassiopeia A, but the raggedness looked like teeth to me

          This one looked much more like a mouse to me than the nebula called The Mice

          Here is a rose

          This is a floral wreath

          This one looked like a cell

          This one looked as though it had wings

          This one is self explanatory

          And this one also looked as though it had wings and a long tail

          Another rose

          This one looks like an hourglass

          This one is a closed eyelid

          This one is like a slow motion explosion

          Someone dropped a pebble

          the most awesome rose yet

          Another collection of cells for some reason named the Eskimo Nebula

          edit:
          oops, missed some

          this one’s a ghost

          This one looks like a special effect

          this one’s a big, grinning “thing”

          a very sleepy eye

          butterfly

          Parakeet

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