Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 3.25

Posted by harmony0stars on December 20, 2010

Milet refused to leave the room until they reached Kadatheron, and Phoenix couldn’t leave. Though Glory could have stayed with them, she wasn’t going to let Bho-Redh and his thugs cow her through her friends. Besides, the room was entirely too small for three people, especially when one of them seemed to get more emo every day.

Whenever she caught sight of the priest and his underlings the following day, they looked inordinately smug with themselves. Their attitude, and the fact that she had not been able to heal Phoenix, disturbed her. She hadn’t had any problem healing the scarred man at Ilarnek, so why hadn’t she been able to heal Phoenix? There was no doubt in her mind that Bho-Rehd had something to do with it. She could curse Phoenix for giving the priest a reason to do whatever it was he had done, but she couldn’t really blame him. Given the opportunity, she would have gone below deck too… as Phoenix had pointed out. Not that she gave any credence to his theory that she was the source of his ‘foolish curiosity.’ It seemed to her that curiosity was what had originally inspired him to turn on Cthugha and pursue his own agenda on Earth.

The nearer the ship came to Kadatheron, the more traffic there was on the river and the less progress they made. The river was wide enough that ships could pass one another with relative ease near the large city-state, but it was the small boats and other vessels that now clogged the waterway. The ship could easily have gone right over them, but it probably would not have endeared the Miri Nigri to the locals. Instead they were forced to slow the tempo that kept the oars moving or alienate all of Kadatheron by plowing over the fishermen and local farmers plying the waters.

For much of the day, Glory stood at the prow of the boat despite Bho-Rehd’s suggestion that she ‘retire to her room to rest.’ He became more surly as they approached the docks lining the shore like an uneven smile, snapping at the crew whenever the captain was unavailable to bear his sniping. He wasn’t fooling her at all. For whatever reason, he didn’t want her to be seen, and so she took great pleasure in defying him, and by association, her father. If there was a legitimate reasons to keep her in her room, he was welcome to bring them to her attention.

Unlike Ilarnek, the port of Kadatheron was located on the main river, while the bulk of city  had been built up along a tributary which fed into the Ai. The port was nearly as large as a small village, made smaller by comparison to Kadatheron which loomed large over the port-town like a mother dog with her pup. Quays extended well away from the delta. Stone from the mountains where the River Ai began had been used to build warehouses, shipyards, and housing and entertainment for sailors long ago.

Glory watched as the captain argued with the elderly harbormaster in the deepening twilight. The men stared at her as he directed the captain away to the farthest berth. It was already too dark for them to make out much of the quay, so the outer pier was probably the safest choice for everyone. It was in such poor shape that it was very close to falling into the river however. The mooring had clearly been selected as an insult, despite the harbormaster’s words to the contrary. He insisted that as the men of Leng were known to trade in gems and slaves. Therefore they did not need the better maintained piers closer to the warehouses.

She left the prow as they continued to argue, already considering her best course of action once they reached the city proper. Milet and Phoenix both looked away from the window as she stepped into the cabin. Though the sun was a muddy red blur on the horizon, there was enough light by which to see the outline of the city. Even if Kadatheron and its port had not been twice as large as Ilarnek, Milet had probably never been anywhere else.

There was a polite knock almost immediately after she closed the door, and Glory opened it to one of Bho-Rehd’s underlings. “Lady, it is too late to go into the city tonight, but Bho-Rehd says that he will handpick an escort to take you to the library in the morning.”

Scowling, she said, “Fine,” and shut the door in his face.

Glory had already divided the precious beads from the dress, cutting a third pouch from the same fabric Milet had used to make bandages for Pheonix, She dug them out of the bedding where she’d tucked them, offering one pouch to Phoenix and the other to Milet. She tucked the third pouch of beads and star-gems in the long belt wound around her waist, along with the small pouch of coins.

“Milet,” Glory said. The girl held the pouch in her hand as if she thought it might bite her. “If something happens in the city that we‘re separated… you‘d be better off not looking for us.”

For a moment, Milet just stared at Glory as her words sank in. She turned away, her eyes tearing up in a rare show of emotion, and tucked the pouch out of sight. When she turned back, there was no sign that she’d ever been upset, but she moved away from Glory’s hand as she reached out to pat her shoulder. Glory sighed, but there wasn’t a lot she could do. Even if they made it out of the Dreamlands, Milet would be left behind. Better Glory should take steps to make sure she was taken care of now, rather than leaving her with nothing later.

Phoenix leaned closer from his perch on the trunk as Glory stepped away from the door, drawing Milet near. “They’re not going to let us go, so we’ll have to do our best to get away if we can. I’m hoping that there’s more than one entrance to the library. They can’t possibly cover them all; so we’ll lose them there if we can. Either way, we’ll try to meet up on the other side of Kadatheron, opposite the port.”

to Book 6, part 3, page 26

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