Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.15

Posted by harmony0stars on June 1, 2011

Glory shrugged. “Considering I was told to come here specifically and use the cave to get to Rhaonastil, we can assume that this is some portion of the fairy lands or the Dreamlands. From what I’ve been able to find out, there’s not much difference between the two.”

“At least we beat your sister here, right?” Mike asked.

“I… don’t think we can assume that,” Glory said, shaking her head. “All I can confirm is that the door to this place only works on that side. Either there’s some trick to activating it on this side that I can’t figure out, or there’s a way home at the fairy hill. I don’t think Ehecatl would have sent me here if there’s no way back.”

Mike’s brow wrinkled. “That’s South American, Aztec… a storm god, if I remember right.”

“I’d never call him a god. He’s vain enough already, ” Glory said, folding her arms and staring at the fire. “But stormy would be a good description of his personality.”

They all four gaped at her. Trevor at least had an excuse to look away after a few seconds to check the meat. “Legs are done, I think. Rest of it, we should probably let cook some more though.” Brushing at a convenient stone to clear off any debris, he took one of the rabbits from the fire. He sucked on his singed fingers between cuttings, wiping them on the wet grass before distributing the meat around the campfire.

“No, thank you,” Glory said, waving her hand at the offering. “Among other things, I don’t need to eat. More for everyone else.”

“Yes, you do,” Jack said, gently but firmly. “Trust me. You may not hunger yet, but you will need to eat eventually. Better you should keep up with it now than have your hunger hit you all at once in a century or three.” He accepted his own leg and tore into the tiny thing with gusto. He might be able to leech the energy from living things, but apparently he still enjoyed food.

Glory frowned and accepted her portion from Trevor who did his best not to stare at her. She didn’t like the idea of Jack knowing more about her physiology than she did, but arguing the point would be silly. Trevor took a leg to Maria. His obviously former girlfriend snatched it from his hand without even acknowledging him, her forehead furrowed as if deep in thought. He returned to the fire with a sigh, turning all the rabbits on their spits and taking a leg for himself.

As they nibbled on their food, the rain intensified, the sound of it like frying bacon on a skillet. The smell of clean, wet earth warred with the scent of their dinner and the stink of the burning wood. At first the steady plop, plop, plop that came out of the darkness was barely noticeable. It was not until the voice called out to them that they realized the sound was more than the rain falling heavy from over encumbered leaves.

“Hail the fire!” a male voice called from the darkness. “Can a lost traveler take shelter for the night?”

They gaped at one another, but Glory was the first to respond. “Gwythyr?”

“Glory?” As he hurried to the camp, they made out the soft plop and schloop of his horse’s hooves in the mud. “Glory!” he repeated with a laugh as he entered the circle of the fire’s light. “I thought it would a long while before I saw you again!”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Glory replied.

“You know him?” Mike asked, looking over their visitor with every sign of a soldier assessing a threat.

“Yes,” Glory said without bothering to go into detail on how. She’d given them enough of her history for one night. “This is Gwythyr, son of Arawn, prince of Annwn. Gwythyr, these are my cousins, Mike and Trevor, and that is Maria and her uncle, Jack.”

Gwythyr nodded to each in turn, a grin on his face at their surprise. “Aye, you’re wondering at my titles. It is not common knowledge yet, and certainly not here in Tír na nÓg. No worries. I am not one to stand on formality.”

He led his horse into the light, tethering it to a bush at the base of the small cliff at their backs. Removing his gear, Gwythyr gave the horse a quick rubdown with an old blanket before laying the cloth over its back.

“I’m afraid all I have to share is some of my aunt’s elderberry wine.” He dropped his saddle and bags near Glory and drew out a small wineskin.

“My dear boy, that is more than enough,” Jack said with a grin, accepting the wine.

They polished off the rabbits in short order, while Glory suffered through Gwythyr making eyes at her whenever he thought she wasn‘t looking. It wasn’t that she didn’t like him… but her life was complicated enough without some prince in another dimension crushing on her. She caught Mike and Jack both smirking several times, which she was sure was at her expense. Or maybe it was just the wine.

“It is strange that I should meet you here,” Gwythyr said at last, their food nothing but bones in the fire. “Did you hear the rumor that Aonghas and my… and Neirin‘s might be here as well?”

She didn’t blame him for cringing over his relationship to his half-brother. “No, I didn’t know they had been here. I am… I am on a quest. Do you know what the Black Seal is?”

Gwythyr looked thoughtful a moment before shaking his head. “No, but I am sure my aunt would. She is the queen of Tír na nÓg and guardian of the cauldron of knowledge. If she does not know of this Black Seal then it is not to be found in Tír na nÓg. As soon as it is light, I will escort you to her fort at Cnoc Rhaonastil.”

The question of their visit to Rhaonastil settled, Gwythyr insisted upon giving Glory his cloak as they lay down beside the banked fire. It would have been useless to explain she didn’t sleep. It was a long, miserable night next to the coals waiting for the sun to come up, but at least she was awake to add wood to the fire and keep her companions warm.

to Book 7, part 2, page 16

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 2.15”

  1. Fiona said

    Gwythyr!

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