Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.8

Posted by harmony0stars on March 9, 2011

Glory spent the night poring over her defenses. The charms and sigils she’d carved into the molding around the doors and windows, and in some cases onto the reverse side of loose floorboards, were good, but now she knew she could do better. She wove the auras of the individual charms and spells into a cohesive whole until there were no gaps, no chinks in her armor, except one.

There would always be the loophole that something could be invited or carried in, but there wasn’t much she could do about that. If she had been living alone, she might have gone with more aggressive protections, but of necessity, her defenses had to be passive and reliant upon intent. She couldn’t make Ann or the boys stay indoors all the time, even if it would keep them safe. A home without doors was a prison.

Though Robert had put on a brave face Sunday morning, he was still clearly bothered by what he had seen in the woods of Centralia. It frustrated her to see how anxious he still was, even though for him, only a few hours had passed. Not that she wasn’t anxious herself with her father dead and her Other father wandering free to do as he pleased. She wavered over sending Robert to school in the morning, but finally decided her father had no reason to harm anyone she cared about. She’d done what he wanted in the Dreamlands. Besides, keeping Robert home would only reinforce his fears.

To be on the safe side though, she retreated to her vault to work on something a little smaller than her grandmother’s charms. As durable as the talisman Robert carried looked to be, it was a little unwieldy. With a few twists of silver wire, Glory made a pendant sized charm which Robert could wear to school without fear of being teased over it. She held the charm and examined its protective aura, puzzled that she could handle it with no ill effects when the tattoos on her arm and shoulder had prevented her from shifting her arm back to its proper form. She regretted the fact that she had not been able to see her own aura before removing them. It might have been insightful. Hanging the wire Hand of Nodens on a chain outside Robert’s door, Glory returned to her room and made two more, one for Edgar and one for Ann. It was better to be safe than sorry.

Phoenix rejected all contact when she dug out the ruby and attempted to talk to him again. There was nothing she said that made a difference. No apology or idea she shared for giving him some small amount of autonomy garnered even the slightest bit of interest on his part. She might as well have been trying to talk to a rock. Fed up, she left the gem in the vault, already making plans for how she might build upon the room’s defenses though her charm against theft had so far been inviolate.

Phoenix could sulk all by his lonesome for a while. Maybe when she tried to talk to him again, he’d be a bit more grateful for her attention. She almost missed his companionship. Perhaps he was not the nicest person in the world, but she’d come to trust him to at least do what he could to ensure her survival in so far as it guaranteed him his. And even if he wasn’t always completely forthcoming, his insights into the history and motives of her enemies was something that books simply could not duplicate.

Maybe their separation was all to the good though. Glory couldn’t really forgive him for the weird rigmarole he’d put her through over her eating and dulling her senses and insisting he was responsible for healing her injuries. She had no idea what abilities were innate to her physiology and what had been his doing. While in her vault, she’d paged through some of her more esoteric books only to find she had no difficulty in reading any of the text. In the Dreamlands, she’d been inclined to assume her ability to read strange languages was some function of the Dreamlands themselves or came from her connection to Phoenix. With her new awareness of how Elder Science worked, she wasn’t so sure Phoenix had ever been responsible. It seemed just as likely that he’d purposefully parceled out tidbits of information and abilities that, if not for his presence, eventually would have manifested on their own. Her father had called him a parasite…

She wasn’t so sure he’d been wrong.

The only phenomena which she could pin securely to Phoenix was the deadening of her senses, and she still wasn’t sure why he’d done that. Even without him, she felt no hunger, though she certainly savored food now that she could enjoy it again. Even Robert had noticed as she polished off the last of the pizza once everyone had eaten their fill. He’d looked absolutely jubilant when she told him Phoenix wasn’t a problem any more. She didn’t have the heart to tell him Phoenix was still around, just… not inside her any more.

Though she’d never been one to indulge in frivolous pleasures, it had been a long time since she‘d been able to enjoy a bath, alone, without a witty voice in her head or visions of ancient power struggles disturbing her relaxation. She stripped, examining her arm where she’d cut out the branch tattoo. There wasn’t even a scar. Twisting in place, she checked her shoulder in the mirror and did a double take. In place of the star tattoo was a strange glyph she‘d never seen before.

Oh… oh, she calmed down a little as she prodded it with her mind, examining her aura and the aura of the thing. It was the Elder Key. She’d felt the two halves join inside her. She should have realized they were still floating around inside her somewhere.

Still feeling a little jittery, she climbed into a steaming hot bath. She didn’t even have a theory on how the key had turned into a tattoo, aside from how she had already use tattoos as a vehicle for her protections. Maybe she‘d subconsciously chosen its form herself. It was certainly less disconcerting than having a physical key floating around somewhere in her body.

to Book 7, part 1, page 9

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 1.8”

  1. Fiona said

    I think pouring in first sentence should be poring

    • And… you’re right. I just looked it up. It doesn’t make sense to me because when I think of “poring” over books, I’m picturing the pores on your face, and when I think of “pouring” over books, I think of someone leaning in, thoroughly engrossed in them. But apparently it doesn’t matter what I think. lol

      Thanks for catching this… least I didn’t misuse effect/affect! hehe

      • Fiona said

        Not this time! lol

      • Bigjeff5 said

        Heh, almost exactly three years later, but I can’t help but comment.

        Pore is one of those classically English words, in that the same spelling for two different words probably came from two different languages and don’t mean at all the same thing except in a very vague sense. The verb “pore” means “gaze intently” and nobody has a clue where it came from. The noun “pore” means “minute opening” and is from an Old French word which came from a Latin word which came from a Greek word. The two forms are independent of each other, as the verb form has no such corresponding French, Latin, or Greek roots, and the best you get for its origin is a shrug and an “Old English maybe?”. The verb form is about a hundred years older than the French based noun form. Yet despite all that, it’s possible they actually are related, considering the fact that you would certainly need to pore into a pore in order to see anything inside of it.

        It’s the English language at its finest.

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