Tattoo Book 6 part 3.47
Posted by harmony0stars on February 14, 2011
Glory spun around to stare at the disheveled priest. Phoenix stared back at her with frightened embarrassment as Bho-Rehd held a curved knife under his chin. Bho-Rehd glared at her, his inhumanity never more apparent than now. His fight with K’thugguol had taken its toll on his wardrobe, revealing extra limbs along his torso which held Phoenix in an unbreakable grip. The Miri Nigri priest grinned at Glory, showing his long, sharp teeth. The burns covering his torso and head seemed not to bother him at all, either that or he was just too full of spite and cruelty to let a thing like weeping wounds get in the way of his goals.
Glory pursed her lips and glowered at the ugly goat-man, though now that she could see what he had kept hidden, he better resembled some kind of multi-limbed lizard than a man or goat. She turned away, grateful that Bho-Rehd could not read her mind and see how helpless she felt.
The tide of Ubbo-Sathla seemed to be returning, so she would not have much time to reach the key. In the emptied pit, she could see the tablets that Bho-Rehd was so eager to claim. They sat just under the lip of Ubbo-Sathla’s prison, massive cracked tablets of stone, most of which seemed to have fallen away from the sides of the pit itself. She frowned. If Ubbo-Sathla was indeed the guardian of the tablets, shouldn’t they be closer to the center where they couldn’t be reached even when the angry tidal tar-creature was occupying the other side of its prison?
Shoving her key into her shirt, she knelt at the edge of the overhang and leaned over the pit, struggling to reach the silver key with her left hand while holding onto the edge with her right. The key remained just out of reach. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the black tide rolling back in. She strained as far as she could before mentally smacking herself..
She elongated the tips of her fingers, confident that she would have no problem restoring them. As they came in contact with the silver key, a shock went through her as if a circuit had been completed. It was enough to make her lose her grip on the rock and go tumbling into the pit. She heard Phoenix cry out, but that was the least of her concerns.
It felt as though every nerve ending was on fire as the two keys joined through her, using her as a conductive wire. The fire in her belly where the tarnished key had rested and the burning agony in her hand where the second key had disappeared quickly spread through her body, sending her into convulsions. She barely noticed when Ubbo-Sathla came oozing back across the pit and shut out all sight and sound in a creeping wall of black.
Glory floated between waves of rage and hunger for an interminable amount of time. Ubbo-Sathla wanted Its freedom, and It was suddenly and intimately aware of her and the presence of the Key. She could free It. That was within her power now. She struggled helplessly as It tried to override her will and force her obedience. All things should be in quorum, it insisted. Dissent was not to be tolerated. If the offspring of the Elder Gods would not join with their progenitors willingly, they must be consumed, assimilated so that all experience and knowledge could be mulled over and digested. She could bring peace to her warring world if she would only free Ubbo-Sathla and allow It to devour everything… if she allowed It to finish what It had set out to do so long ago.
She struggled with her own mounting anger, matching Ubbo-Sathla rage for rage. It wanted Its freedom; so did she. She was tired of everyone always trying to make her obedient to their will, leading her around by her nose like some prize calf. Ubbo-Sathla tried to smother her rage with oblivion and was met by crackling, electric fury. The black ooze recoiled from her, and she sat up gasping. But she knew it wouldn’t last. She could already see the morass roiling along the far edge of the pit, psyching Itself up for another salvo on her will, and if It succeeded in drowning her mind, It would consume her body and the Key to its prison.
Both Phoenix and Bho-Rehd gaped at her. She picked up one of Ubbo-Sathla’s crawling spawn as it tumbled about aimlessly along the floor of the pit. It whined at her and she felt its fear and desire to be free, just another part of Ubbo-Sathla’s consciousness. It and all its kind represented Ubbo-Sathla’s own fear and hunger to assimilate everything beyond the cave, but as they became disconnected from their parent, they came to embody only its longing for release. It could not accept their independence however and worked to consume all its children before they could develop true sentience. Holding the thing in her hand, she climbed the edge of the pit pulling herself up and out. There was a lot of new information rolling around in her head, but she didn’t have time to mull over it.
“No tricks, now,” Bho-Rehd growled, digging the knife into the flesh under Phoenix’s jaw. A ribbon of blood trickled down his neck. “I want the tablets.”
She scowled at him. The mewling thing had quieted as she poured her thoughts into it, becoming what she instructed it to become. She was well aware of the hypocrisy of her actions, but she had little choice. The creature mutated even as she thrust it at Bho-Rehd, becoming an iridescent trapezohedron crystal of varying planes. These planes continued to shift as Bho-Rehd gaped at it, never less than six, but often more than could be counted between one instant and the next.
“Take it and go read your precious tablets,” she said coldly. “As you can see from here, they are too big to be moved, but this will keep Ubbo-Sathla from devouring you as you read. Don’t linger. There‘s only so long that Its spawn will retain my instructions before it returns to its formless state.”
“This is a trick,” Bho-Rehd growled suspiciously. Phoenix gritted his teeth and tried not to cry out as the blade cut deeper into his skin, but his eyes were pleading with Glory to do something.
“Go read your tablets. It’s what you wanted.” She stared the Miri Nigri down until he looked away to the pit.
He began sidling towards the edge, dragging Phoenix with him as he went. “If you’re lying, he dies with me.”
She followed them and watched as Bho-Rehd eased into the hole, keeping hold of Phoenix the entire time. It wasn’t as if he didn’t have more than enough hands to use for climbing. He dragged Phoenix in after him, shoving the trapezohedron into his hands and thrusting him towards the nearest pool of black goo as it tentatively slithered back to where it had left Glory. It recoiled from the amorphous crystal violently, and Bho-Rehd snatched it back from Phoenix was a gleeful laugh. He trotted away with his ward to examine the nearest of the tablets. Phoenix wasted no time in scrambling back up the side of the pit.
“I can’t believe you did that,” Phoenix gasped, wiping at the blood that was beginning to darken as it dried. “What if he uses what’s in the tablets against you?”
“There is nothing in the tablets but the history of the Elder Gods after they came to Earth, which some might consider a blasphemous and earth shattering secret but which is a story I have a feeling Bho-Rehd already knows… more or less.” Phoenix looked at her uneasily. “And we should get out of here quickly before he realizes he betrayed my father and made me his enemy for no good reason at all.”
If he had more questions, he kept them to himself as he followed her from the cavern. K’thugguol twitched moodily in his lair, but he made no move against them. Bho-Rehd’s former minion hung suspended in the shoggoths gelid body, his skin already disintegrating and staining the thing’s protoplasm a faint pink. “Could have eaten the both of them,” she said to the thing in passing, knowing it had let Bho-Rehd pass not because it wasn’t hungry enough but just to be a jerk. It bubbled at her, highly amused by her irritation. Entertainment was sparse in Y’qaa.
At the edge of the chasm, Glory took Phoenix by the wrist. “Wait, what are you doing?” he asked in a panic.
“Relax. Just hold on and don’t let go.” She stepped off the edge and into the swirling vapors, eager to go home.
::End Book 6::