Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 3.27

Posted by harmony0stars on December 29, 2010

Their journey through the city was as uncomfortable as it was uneventful. The poor man at whose small cart of used shoes they stopped looked about as frightened as a person could be without having an apoplectic fit. Glory, Phoenix, and Milet each selected shoes which, if they were not a perfect fit were still an improvement over going barefoot in a minefield of animal droppings. Despite his obvious fear of the goat-men, the peddler still had the courage and dignity to demand gold over the gems Bho-Rehd offered. The priest looked as if he’d like nothing more than to have the man beaten to death by their burly escort, but Glory handed over three gold coins without complaint. The man carefully examined the coins before tucking them away in his pouch. From the unhappy look on Phoenix’s face, he would have liked to haggle over the price of the castoffs, but he held his tongue. All three of them felt oppressed by their escort, and the look of pity in the peddler’s eyes as they continued down the street only added to their mood.

It was a look Glory grew accustomed to as they trekked towards the Great Library. Everywhere she caught looks from people, ranging from pity to loathing and even greed. As soon as she caught someone’s eye, they were quick to turn away. They cut a wide swath through the traffic heading to the markets as no one seemed to want to get too close to the men of Leng. The only folk who seemed inclined to hail the goat-men as friends were the men directing long lines of quaking slaves. Glory was grateful when they were left behind at the markets which ran like a ribbon between the port and the rest of Kadatheron. Her cold glares were lost on the fat men who saw the goat-men and thought only of the rubies they carried.

The library was a massive building which squatted at the center of the city like some kind of mineral growth. The greenish stone from which the main building had been constructed gave it the illusion of soft moss collected in the coolness along a wooded brook. Though the library had obviously expanded over the years as the collected volumes grew, the overall feel of the place was organic and peaceful. Glory licked her lips at the thought of all the books that such a place could hold and of what might be in books found in a world built on dreams. She could have happily gone into the building and never come out again.

At the apex of white and gray veined marble stairs which spilled out from the entrance in a widening puddle of tiers, the entrance gaped wide enough to allow half a dozen people to enter at once with their arms outstretched. Decorative pillars framed a doorway without any visible closure. Maybe it never closed. The idea of a twenty-four hour library appealed to her. It was only Bho-Rehd’s look of disdain as they approached the building that dampened her spirits. He seemed not overly impressed by the accumulation of human knowledge.

They climbed the steps and entered a large antechamber lined with long benches and murals where several scholars sat or stood in quiet discussion. Few of them did more than glance up as Glory and her retinue passed, though many of them looked away with distaste. Three open passages led deeper into the building, but these sat behind a long stone desk inhabited by an elderly man who was gently trying to calm a younger man who was red in the face and out of breath.

Both men wore sage green robes reminiscent of the stone forming the older sections of the building. The younger man looked up at their approached, his mouth hanging open in shock. He backed away, his eyes bulging in mortal fear. The older librarian waved him away, and the man went pelting down one of the open corridors as if his life depended on getting away.

The old man surveyed his visitors severely, glowering at the Miri Nigri with undisguised loathing. “Your kind are not welcome here,” he intoned.

Bho-Rehd grinned, showing all his teeth. “And you’ll stop us, eh? The Great Library is open to all, or so I always heard.”

The elderly librarian gave Glory and her companions a curious sidelong glance as he ponderously pulled himself to his feet. He was not a large man, but he had a certain presence that came with being the master of all he surveyed. “Try to force your way into the Library, and I will have no choice but to summon the guard. I am sure you and your thugs are very formidable when dealing with a feeble old man, but the guard will enforce my will, and my will is that your sort should not be welcome here. I will not allow you to use our knowledge against us.”

“I assure you,” Bho-Rehd said with a derisive snort, “What you have collected here is but a drop in the ocean compared to the cumulative knowledge of my race.”

“Out,” the old man said in a tone which brooked no argument. “Out with you. I will not have you half-men sullying my library.”

“HALF-men!” Bho-Rehd snarled while the sailors traded looks that was equal parts fear and injured feelings. “I assure you, I am no man at all!” The bulges of his robes writhed in a way that was disconcerting in light of there being no breeze to cause the movement.

“Please,” Glory said, raising a hand between Bho-Rehd and the old man. “Whatever argument you have, I want no part of it. Bho-Rehd, if you are not welcome here, then wait outside.”

“Outside!” he shouted, scandalized.

“Outside,” she repeated, giving him a hard look.

Red-faced and panting, he looked about ready to explode with fury. Their escort exchanged worried, helpless glances as the priest struggled to gain control of himself. They stared at Glory in awe and fear, no doubt terrified of the consequences of the priest‘s thwarted temper. He shivered all over like a wet dog before finally turning and stalking across the marble floor, his disguised hooves clacking against the polished surface. The sailors followed him silently like whipped dogs, neither one looking as if he relished being alone with the angry priest. The librarian gave her measuring and not entirely friendly look as she turned away from the retreating Miri Nigri.

to Book 6, part 3, page 28

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: