Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 3.17

Posted by harmony0stars on December 1, 2010

“Help me,” she demanded, releasing Milet who stayed close by even as she shivered, her fear finally getting the better of her nerves of steel. He opened his mouth as if to say something caustic, then clamped it shut and grabbed the fallen man under the arm. Together they dragged his limp body up the tunnel while Phoenix held his torch aloft in his free hand. They continued like that for several yards until the sounds of the spawn’s tantrum and the smell of its burning flesh had faded .

“If you will keep going, lady,” the leader of the turbaned men said, bowing to Glory slightly, “beyond those arches, we should be safe from more of the toad-god’s get.” He gestured at a series of three arches carved with a plethora of symbols and bas-reliefs. Under different circumstances, she would have been fascinated and paused to study them. All she could think of though, was to get beyond them… as far away as she could, and never to come back to Ilarnek again. If Tsathoggua had been inclined to listen to her before, she had serious doubts he’d believe she had nothing to do with being set on fire, even by proxy.

Phoenix scowled, and stalked away, clearly done with helping her drag the unconscious man any further. Glory stooped to drag him the rest of the way, but two of her turbaned rescuers caught the man up under each shoulder and dragged him through the arches. On the other side, the set him down again and rested against the wall in relief. She leaned over him, checking his vitals. The acid of the spawn’s touch, and probably the fire as well, had burned through his shirt to contribute to his collection of scars. Raw skin and blisters covered his chest and part of one arm. Though he was already heavily marked, at least the scars on his torso showed more white scar tissue than the black cinder that was his face.

Her pseudopod had shrunk somewhat and become more arm-like during their escape, but it was far from being back to normal, and she had a feeling it would not go much further without effort. Unfortunately, the healing tattoo on her left shoulder had been swallowed by the new flesh and forcing her arm back into its former shape would probably take longer than attempting to heal the man. With a sigh, she rested her tentacle on the man’s chest and concentrated on healing him.

He groaned and stirred under her touch, coming to with a snort of surprise. With a mew of disgust, he scurried from under her tentacle. As he moved, the charred black keloid which covered half his face cracked and fell away. The remaining scar tissue still wasn’t pretty, but the blackened wound which had probably caused him pain even after it “healed” would no longer pull at his healthy flesh. Nor would he have to wait on the painful healing of new wounds. Panting, he raised a hand to his chest where the new burns had sealed themselves to join the rest of his scars, and then to his face, poking the thick white skin and looking about him with two eyes instead of one.

Grunting as he scanned the passage, he drew himself to his feet with an angry oath. “Where’s my sack?” he demanded, not as impressed by being healed as he was dismayed to discover his new found wealth had been left behind.

“Man of Ilarnek, you should be glad enough that a goddess has healed you,” growled the tall leader of the turbaned men, giving him a contemptuous glare. “Now show us the way out of here before the priests think to block the exits.”

Still grumbling, he snatched the torch from Phoenix’s hand and stalked down the tunnel. “You had better remember our bargain!” he shouted over his shoulder.

It felt like hours that they followed after him, but it was probably less than one. At one point his torch began to gutter as it reached the end of its lifespan. One of the turbaned men offered him a glow wand. Wordlessly, he snatched it from the man and continued his silent march through the tunnels, scowling the entire time.

He tossed the wand aside and hurried towards the exit which stained the darkness gray. As he neared the hole leading out, he stopped short perhaps remembering they might have enemies lying in wait. After a moment of careful listening, he rushed into the light, taking a deep, grateful breath of air. He glared at Phoenix when he joined him in the light and held out his hand.

Without speaking, Phoenix threw his small bag of jewels at the man and stalked a few more yards into the sunlight before dropping onto a grassy hillock and staring off into space. The scarred man put his hand on the pommel of his dagger as the turbaned men exited the sewer. “And you?” he demanded, hand extended, the pouch Phoenix had given him already hidden somewhere on his person. “I’ll have my payment now.”

The turbaned leader gave him a look that could have curdled milk, his hand resting very near his own blade and his companions both looking very unhappy. Glory had a feeling that he would just as soon have killed their guide as paid him, but finally he reached into his shirt and withdrew a bag of gems, throwing it at the man’s feet. “May it bring you as much luck as you deserve and no more,” the turbaned man said sarcastically.

Ignoring the ambivalent statement, the scarred man stooped and snatched the bag from the ground, slapping it once to remove imagined dirt and silt before tucking it into the remains of his shirt. He paused as he made to walk away and eyed Glory warily. “I’m sure my wife would have words with me if I did not thank you for the healing, but you’ll forgive me if I say I hope I never see you again.” With that, he walked away into the dunes without a backwards glance.

to Book 6, part3, page 18

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 6 part 3.17”

  1. Fiona said

    Facebook Updates:
    Glory changed her relationship status from Engaged to Single.
    Phoenix changed his relationship status from Married to It’s Complicated.
    The Men of Leng are a fan of Glory.
    Silek is playing Bejewelled Blitz.

    • OMG! LMAO

      If you count Phoenix, Tsathoggua, Officer Hart, and Gwythyr… Glory’s in a what… love Quatrangle? Think she can pawn Lori off on Tsathoggua? They just might be perfect for one another.

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