Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6 part 3.45

Posted by harmony0stars on February 9, 2011

Still grinning, Bho-Rhed strutted away from his mount, his head bare and his curved horns revealed like a badge of pride. His men gathered around him, none of them looking particularly happy with their leader. Curiously enough they still wore their turbans as if not quite comfortable with showing their true natures even in private. They were obviously too afraid of Bho-Rehd to put an end to his plans.

No longer needed, the shantaks launched themselves into the air. Their smaller kin scattered to make room as the creatures returned to their roosts. They watched the priests and their captives with intelligent eyes, chattering among themselves in amused squeaks and ear-splitting trills.

“Not much further at all, Princess.” Bho-Rehd took great pleasure in baiting her and was more amused than disturbed by her glares. He did look up with a frown however as a flash of lightning heralded a rumble of thunder that they could feel in the bones long after the sound died away. “No tricks,” he barked as if she had something to do with the weather. Even the shantaks became suddenly quiet.

Inside she was seething. As they walked, the gray mist overhead became as black as her mood. The priests flinched with every crack and growl of thunder. Their path became more difficult to make out with every passing minute. In the distance, Glory could see the entrance to a cave that was lit from within.

Phoenix dropped to his knees with a gasp as Bho-Rehd shook the gem in her face. “Stop it,” he hissed.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, not bothering to hide the contempt in her voice. She bent down and helped Phoenix to his feet, keeping her hand on his elbow.

“Control your temper or we will all drown, including your fiery friend. There is no high ground to which  we may escape.” She blinked and glanced up at the lowering clouds doubtfully. Another cannon shot of thunder echoed from the walls of the flood canyon. “Do not ignore me!” he screamed in her face.

Bho-Rehd grabbed her by the jaw and immediately regretted it as what felt like an electric shock passed between them. Obviously worse on his side of the equation, he yelped and snatched his hand away. Fat drops of rain began to patter the dry rock around them.

It was all the distraction she needed. She hit the priest in the face while his cronies stared up at the sky in a kind of fascinated horror. Bho-Rehd stumbled back and lost his grip on the ruby. Glory paused only long enough to scoop it up before bolting, dragging Phoenix along in her wake. She shoved the gem inside her shirt as she ran.

Goaded on by the screams of their master, the priests wasted no time in chasing after her, and they were fast. Phoenix, unfortunately, was not recovering as quickly as she would have hoped. Well, if Bho-Rehd thought she had some control over the storm, it was time to test that theory.

It was hard to concentrate as she tried to support Phoenix and run at the same time, but she had no problem focusing on her hate for Bho-Rehd. Had her father even sent the Miri Nigri to help her, or had that all been a ruse to get close to her? As much as she’d resented being saddled with the officious priest, on some level she hated him even more for destroying her belief that her father might care about her well being.

The priests yelped and dodged as a bolt of lighting struck close enough to send bits of rock flying at her back. The ground was already slippery with the oily drops falling from the angry clouds above. Water flowed in rivulets down the incline on the right, pooling up and washing the dust of untold centuries into the gully. She tried to ignore the small things already squirming to life in the puddles. Like amphibians which go into hibernation during the dry season, they were making good use of their sudden windfall. More lightning strikes followed the first, forcing the Miri Nigri to scatter or be electrocuted.

Glory dragged Phoenix into the cave, knowing the priests would not be long in following her inside. Would her anger be enough to maintain the storm from underground? She doubted it. And without the lightning to keep them at bay, the priests would on her trail in no time. She fumbled for the key inside her shirt. Pulling it out just as a misty vortex of darkness rose from a nearby alcove and leaned curiously close. It made not a sound, but she felt a pressure in her head as if it was trying to communicate with her. After a moment it either gave up or accepted her right to be there. It resettled itself back into its hole… but was it her imagination, or did it watch the cave entrance with anticipation?

Phoenix glared behind them as he caught his breath. Any moment the goat-men would appear, and he seemed ready to whip out his sword and get his revenge. Glory didn’t give him the satisfaction.

“Come on,” she said, grabbing his arm and dragging him after her until he began running with her. She waved the key at anything that moved, hardly pausing as she ran.

“You smell of ghouls,” a large humanoid thing barked with amusement as it stepped into their path, its grayish flesh peeling and leprous. Its mouth gaped open with an doggish smile.

“M-my foster son is a ghoul,” she stuttered. It ignored the key she held, stooping to get a better look at them. Glory stole a glance behind her as shouts told her the Miri Nigri had entered the cave. By the sound of it, the swirling darkness by the door greeted them with much less tolerance than it had her.

The giant ghoul-thing gave a hyena laugh. “Ah, the world has changed greatly if the child of one god would look after one of Nug‘s kin,” he said with obvious amusement, but also curiosity. So this was the father of ghouls, she thought, glad the ghouls she’d met were more humanoid.

“I’d never willingly let any child suffer if I could help it,” she said a little irritably. “Look, I’d love to stay and tell you all about Edgar, but the Miri Nigri are chasing me. They want the Elder Tablets, and they’re not above threatening those I care about to get them.”

“Ai, Byagoona was wrong to trust them. If they would betray their own father, it was only a matter of time before they would turn on him as well.” He leaned down till he was more or less eye to eye with her. It was all she could do not to gag on his breath. “Go find you the other half of the Key, little daughter of Byagoona. There are many here who have no affection for the Miri Nigri.”

He patted her on the head like a friendly uncle, and she was just relieved he didn’t get a shock for his trouble, though she seemed only to zap people who were threatening her or invading her space. Had the pain she caused Aaron before he passed Phoenix on to her been an innate talent rather than the effect of her tattoos?

Nug turned and loped off the path, though Glory wasn’t sure if he intended to help her with the priests or was simply implying others would be standing in line to put the Miri Nigri back in their place. Phoenix took his hand from the hilt of his sword. What he’d expected his toothpick to do against something twice as big as the both of them, she had no idea.

to Book 6, part3, page 46


One Response to “Tattoo Book 6 part 3.45”

  1. HermanKn said

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