Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7, part 2.17

Posted by harmony0stars on June 6, 2011

The city was an ovoid sprawl that settled like an iris around the black stone keep. As they wended their way through the city, the knights and pedestrians ignored one another, the wide streets allowing those on foot to step out of the way without pausing in their tasks. The city, and in fact the entirety of Tír na nÓg was as different from Arawn’s kingdom as carrots and peas. From the variety of architectural styles and dress of the people on the streets, Rhaonastil was a hub of commerce for many cultures. If one looked closely enough, an old style hill fort such as the Romans might have encountered was still visible though it was a seed which had borne strange fruit.

Servants seemed to pour out of the woodwork as the company entered the courtyard of the keep. Much to Glory’s chagrin, Gwythyr stole a kiss of her hand before rushing off with his escort and leaving the travelers in the hands of servants. She felt horrible, as if she were leading him on somehow, but she didn’t know how to deflect his attentions. Far more obnoxious however, was when she and Maria were shown to an adjoining suite of rooms, while the men were shown to another further down the hall.

“Looks like someone’s got a prince in her pocket.” Maria smiled as the door to their room shut, the servants gone in search of suitable attire. Glory turned and gave her a pained look, which Maria ignored, exploring the room.

“Thank you for not saying things like that in front of anyone,” Glory said as Maria picked up a boar bristle brush and set it back down on the vanity, wrinkling her nose. Maybe she was worried about bugs. Who knew?.

“Whatever. I’m not stupid, you know.” She walked to the large windows which overlooked the city, a breeze ruffling her hair. “I know how to act professionally; I work for the government. I know not to insult people in power and to hold my tongue around anyone who might gossip.”

When Glory didn’t respond, Maria turned away from the window. “Look, we need to talk. This…” she waved her hand around at the room in general. “This is some fooked up shite right here.”

“Can you please stop it with the language?” Glory said. “You have a real potty mouth.”

Maria’s eyes widened and for a moment, and Glory thought she was in for a tirade, but the little woman started laughing hysterically. “Is that your problem? I don’t talk enough like a lady for you? Oi, you and Jack should be best mates!”

Glory made a disgusted face, and Maria laughed again. Laughing seemed to remove her ill will at least, though her mirth was short lived. By the time she stopped laughing, she was back to business.

She put her hands on her hips. “So you go traipsing about in the fairy world often then?”

“No… I ended up in Annwn once,” Glory replied.

Maria waited for Glory to elaborate, then threw up her hands in irritation. “Ugh, fine. Keep your fooking secrets then. I don‘t care how long you‘ve been seeing your Prince Charming. What‘s this Black Seal thingie, eh? Jack seems to know about it, though he‘s never mentioned it to me.”

“I was as surprised as you were,” Glory said. “Not trying to offend you, Maria…”

“Oh, why should you start now?” she muttered.

“… but I don’t trust the government, any government. Not yours, not mine. The colonel wants me to join his little stable of agents, and I’ve pretty much decided that’s not going to happen after the rigmarole including Trevor and Mike in my plans has created. The only reason I invited them along was because they‘re family. I wanted to get to know them better. I wanted to talk to them privately, and you kind of stepped into that and ruined my plans. I’m not the kind of person to hold a grudge, but every time you ask me a question, I have to think about what I say and who you might tell when you get back.”

“If we get back,” she said with a sour expression.

“Oh, I’m not too worried about that. Worse comes to worst, we’ll go to Annwn and ask Gwythyr’s father to help us out. Though we’ll probably end up stuck on an island in the Bay until a ship comes by. What I am worried about is the time difference. Last time I was in Annwn for a few days, it ended up being a little over a month, Earth time. Never mind how long we might be stuck on that island. Might have to build a raft unless I can get a cell signal.”

“I love how you’re so casual about this,” Maria said crossly. “You’ll just ask the Lord of the Underworld to get you a ticket home, eh?”

Glory shrugged. Maria opened her mouth to continue berating her, but before she could get a word out, there was a quiet knock on the door as the servants returned with suitable dresses. Having been through the servant routine once in Annwn, Glory knew what to expect and allowed the lady who had brought her dress to tend to her without complaint. She was relieved to see Maria do the same, either following her lead or familiar with the routine.

The maids tsked at their clothes but seemed fascinated by their undergarments and Glory’s tattoos. Maria stared at Glory‘s tattoos as well. Which was not to say that Maria’s tattoos were less impressive. On the contrary, they were more or less in the Asian style. Her arms from wrist to shoulder covered in colorful scenes of knightly gallantry, and much of her back as well. For someone who was giving her a hard time about being in the fairy lands, it seemed she was rather fond of the knight in shining armor motif. But whereas Maria’s tattoos were decorative, Glory’s were obviously for a purpose, and at least one of them, the Pictish knot on her wrist, was familiar to the servants.

to Book 7 , part 2, page 18


12 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7, part 2.17”

  1. Emote Control said

    I think you mean “opened her mouth” rather than “opened her mother”.

    • LMAO…. yes, I do believe you’re right. And I really need to stop sleep-writing. Thank you for catching that. LOL

      • Fiona said

        Also an extra space to delete in “t here” in the same sentence.

        • Thanks 🙂 I’ve been thinking lately that it might be necessary to fall back to two posts a week instead of three. I’m not going to do that yet, but between my night job and allergy season… I’m just so tired.

          • Fiona said

            Well, don’t kill yourself for it…you’re the most regular and frequent poster of any web serial I read so you’ve been doing great.

          • Well, that’s good to know. I do try to be regular, which is why I might drop down to two posts instead of the three. I hate not sticking to a clearly defined schedule because then people don’t know when to expect an update, and that would be rude on my part. If only work would respect *me* and stick to a clearly defined schedule so I wouldn’t have to scramble. Work is dumb and I hate it. 😛

          • I hate work too. Honestly, if they didn;t pay me I’d never show up at all.

          • Heh, I quit a job once for not paying me for a month and the checks showed up within days of quitting and within days of each other. Jerks.

            It’s not that I mind working… I just want to do something that makes me happy, like writing. Am I a dreamer?

          • Emote Control said

            I was kidding a little when I said that.

            Seriously, though, I don’t think you’re a true dreamer. If you were, you would quit your job altogether and devote yourself 100% to writing — and it’s very hard to make a living like that, because it’s not enough to be good (which you are). You need to also be lucky, and making major life changes in the hope you’ll get lucky tends to be a very bad idea. There is nothing wrong with devoting time and effort and expense to your writing, but pursuing it to exclusion would be foolish.

          • huh… when someone wearing the avatar of Cthulhu says you’re not a true dreamer…. makes you cackle madly is all I’m saying…

            But seriously, this entire serial is a way for me to get myself out there so that when I do finally land a publisher, I can point here and say look. Ready audience.

            This is my sweet, sweet lure to make you desperate to buy my later creations. 😛

  2. Alderin said

    Maria “I know not to insult people in power…” I so snerked at this.

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