Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.25

Posted by harmony0stars on April 18, 2011

It was four days before Glory called Steiner. She didn’t want him to get the wrong impression about how much she might or might not need his Company’s help. She wasn’t that desperate, but it might have appeared that way if she approached them so soon after his visit. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t already alerted them to the goal of the thieves. At the very least, she had to give them time to look into it on their end before she pushed them into a panic. It also gave her time to put all her ducks in a row.

In the meantime, she’d researched the area around Cnoc Rhaonastil and found the caves Ehecatl had mentioned, or hoped that she had. Though the coastline was literally honeycombed with sea caves, the only ones of any note near Rhaonastil seemed to be part of the Kildalton estate. Beyond a small note that the caves were a collection of carved and natural passages, she knew little more than Ehecatl has told her. There did not even seem to be an official name for them. She hated the thought of going to the island unprepared, but it didn’t look as though there was anything else she could do without setting foot on Islay.

She climbed out of the vault, her hands still smarting from her latest examination of Mjolnir. It was incredibly foolhardy to mess with such old and finicky magics… like taking a sledgehammer to an antique car to fix an oil leak, but she felt unaccountably guilty about Phoenix’s predicament. Glory could have had his ruby set in a necklace, but the idea of wearing a gemstone as big as her palm seemed incredibly tacky. Funny how she’d never much cared what people said about her when she was poor, but the thought that people might whisper because she was wearing a ruby large enough to feed a third world country made her cringe. Maybe she should have her lawyer increase her charitable donations… start a scholarship fund or something.

Glory had already discussed her impending trip with Ann. They both agreed that it would be better for Ann and the children to stay in Sybar City. As anxious as Ann was at the thought of being alone, she was the nanny after all, and they‘d all be safer at the house than off in Scotland.

“That’s why you hired me,” as she’d so delicately put it the day before. “So there’d be someone around to make sure Robert goes to school, and the boys don‘t end up living on a diet of pizza, soda, and raw meat.” The latter a very real danger considering Edgar’s tastes…

Steiner answered his cell on the second ring. His was the only number in the phone, so it was clear Bitman intended him to be her liaison, at least until he could recruit her properly. She might just be assuming that was Bitman‘s ultimate goal; though of course, he might very well change his mind when she gave him the whole (redacted) story. She’d tell him about her father, but muddy the water a bit on her Other father. Just because it seemed more certain her humanity was just a veneer all the time didn’t mean she wanted to encourage Bitman’s paranoia.

“Steiner? Hey, we need to talk about the Black Stone. In fact… I’ve been thinking about it, and if your boss still wants me to come to your HQ, that’s probably not a bad idea.” She could hear the sounds of traffic in the background.

“Yeah? That’s good to hear,” he said, and he did sound relieved. “I’m on my way to pick up Redfield right now, so I can pick you up on the way back… in an hour or so?”

“That’s fine. I’ll see you then.” She closed the phone, stepping into the living room. Edgar was quick to screech mummy! and pull her into his drawing circle. Since finally speaking, his vocabulary had increased exponentially. His newest game was to say a word and wait for his family to draw it. He would then examine each picture in turn, shouting the word again with delight when he determined which was best.

It seemed like only minutes had passed before Steiner knocked on her door. With Redfield’s release from quarantine, he was a completely different man. He greeted her with a smile when she opened the door and even chuckled when she asked if they needed anything to drink or to use the bathroom before they got underway.

“You sound like my mother,” he snickered.

She sniffed in mock disdain. “Well, I’m somebody’s mother.”

Redfield smiled in welcome as she climbed into the backseat but otherwise was his usual quiet self. Steiner, on the other hand, kept up a steady stream of jokes and commentary through their short drive; their HQ was only about an hour into New Jersey. It was obvious as he shared amusing details about some of their missions together that the two of them were as close as brothers. His partner’s absence had affected him more than she would have thought. For his part, Redfield smiled and shook his head at his partner’s stories, but otherwise kept his head down and his eyes averted from Glory. Either he was embarrassed that she’d ended up saving him, rather than the reverse, or he was naturally reticent.

Their HQ was an ordinary enough office building, one of a dozen or so anonymous buildings and warehouses in a typical maze-like industrial park. BLCo was emblazoned on the corner of the building in large white letters that hadn‘t been cleaned in at least a decade. A security guard buzzed them through when Steiner showed his ID at the gate. Security seemed to be pretty lax considering everything that had happened their last trip. Aside from the gate around the lot and the bored guard, there didn’t seem to be much in the way of professional security. The guard didn’t even seem to be wearing a gun.

to Book 7, part 1, page 26


2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 1.25”

  1. Fiona said

    How about that – Robert’s magic worked!

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