Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 3.30

Posted by harmony0stars on January 5, 2011

The acolyte led them to a draconian room with a row of beds and not much else. At least the large windows which took up most of two walls welcomed the sun into the room like an old friend. Though it was almost midday and it would soon move to the other side of the building, golden light filled the room with a cozy glow. Lenon left them with a smile and a promise that he would be back in an hour or so to take them to the dining room. As much as Glory would have liked to explore the Great Library, she could tell that both Milet and Phoenix were none too pleased with their pending trip.

“If Tamash’s Road is the same as what we took out of Kadath, then I think I’d rather dodge the Miri Nigri for a couple days while we get help from one of those magi Soter mentioned.” Phoenix threw himself down onto one of the beds and almost jumped back up as his bottom encountered a surface which was harder than he’d expected. It seemed the librarians of Kadatheron were something of a monastic order. He looked around the room as if hoping he’d spot a softer seat.

Milet took her seat with a bit more care, pulling her feet up and resting her chin on her knees. She said nothing, but she stared at Phoenix when he mentioned Kadath before looking to Glory as if for guidance.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Glory said a little irritably, crossing her arms.

“Maybe not for you!” He scootched back on the bed to rest his back against the wall, his expression surly despite the relative peace of their surroundings.

Glory gave him a puzzled look. She really didn’t remember it being so bad. “Milet? Do you want me to talk to Soter about finding you an apprenticeship in Kadath?”

“I- I’d rather go with you, please,” the girl replied, pleading with Glory not to send her away with a puppy dog stare. Her blue eyes looked moist as if the tears were only waiting for Glory to say no.

Glory sighed and slid onto the bed next to her, putting an arm around her shoulders. “Alright, but only because I don’t think it would be a good idea to leave you here where Bho-Rehd might find you after we leave. When we get to Ulthar, I’ll find you an apprenticeship there.”

“Trust me, kid,” Phoenix said, making himself comfortable. “You’re better off anywhere we are not.”

Milet sat mutely on the bed, hugging her legs and looking like the most miserable person in the world.

“Get some rest,” Glory said, stroking Milet’s hair and getting up. She felt at a loss as to what to do about the girl but couldn‘t afford to let her become more attached to them than she already was. Despite the danger and despite the fact that she now knew that they were Dreamers and would eventually return to Earth, Milet obviously didn‘t want to be left behind, and Glory couldn’t really blame her. From the way she hoarded food, Glory had no doubt that Milet had been living on her own for a long time… and she wasn’t that old, maybe eleven at the most though she was very small.

Glory chose her own bed and sat down to meditate. There was no reason not to use her time constructively reinforcing the illusion wrapped around her arm, layering images of what her arm should have looked like over the offending limb like an onion. It seemed only a moment later that Lenon was at the door to take them to lunch. She wiggled her fingers in her sleeve but did not look at her arm. No matter how they appeared, she could still feel that her hand and arm were wrong.

The dining hall was not crowded. The food was designed to be light and portable and sat buffet style on a table which ran the length of the room. The few librarians who were eating at the long tables either had a book with them or sat quietly talking with a colleague. Acolytes came and went with plates of food for senior librarians too wrapped up in their work to seek something so mundane as food.

Soter waved them over as they entered the room. He sat at a smaller table set apart from the others. His colleague who had replaced him in the antechamber he introduced as Elewa. Obviously someone else was minding the desk while they took a break. The man nodded eagerly, his salt and pepper beard jutting out like an Egyptian pharaoh’s.

“It is a great pleasure to meet you,” he said, smiling.

“Elewa specializes in the stories of Dreamers. Some of our greatest legends come from Earth’s sleeping adventurers,” Soter explained.

“I hope you will not think I am being too forward in asking about your adventures so far,” the man said, his dark skin made darker by a flush of excitement. “It’s not often we hear a Dreamer’s adventure from their own mouth.” He already had a blank book in front of him, a quill ready in his hand.

Soter chuckled. “Let them get a bit of food, Elewa!”

Elewa set his quill down in the book, closing it with obvious embarrassment. “Of course. How thoughtless of me.”

“It’s alright,” Glory said gently. “Phoenix, why don’t you collect some food for us, and we can talk while we eat.”

Phoenix jumped up after a moment’s hesitation, torn between his hunger for something other than dried fruit, fish, and biscuits and his desire to stay and make sure she didn’t say anything rude about him. She might have sent Milet, but the girl had perked up at the mention of a story, and it occurred to Glory that she had really not given her a full explanation of how they had ended up in Ilarnek. Even leaving out mention of her heritage her listeners had reason to be shocked by her story.

to Book 6, part 3, page 31

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