Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.20

Posted by harmony0stars on June 14, 2011

“You seem troubled,” the Queen of Rhaonastil said from her seat by the fire.

Glory had been shown to the private room by a servant at the conclusion of dinner. Both Gwythyr and Sir Euan had been notably absent from the meal, which had not made Glory feel any better. Then there had been Maria, flirting with any male who caught her eye. Glory felt bad for Trevor who alternated between morose and embarrassed whenever he glanced in his (ex)girlfriend’s direction. Even Jack looked embarrassed, giving his niece incredulous looks as he attempted to ignore her obnoxious behavior. The looks she got from some of the women at the table were infinitely worse, though most of the men she turned her attention to seemed more than happy to flirt with her.

The end of the meal had been a relief. The queen left the table and the entertainments began, a bard coming forward to entertain the court. Glory was just as quickly called away by a servant and no longer had to watch Maria work her way through the court’s collection of eligible and not so eligible bachelors.

“I have a lot on my mind,” Glory replied unhappily, sitting in the chair she was offered.

The queen nodded but said nothing, and they sat in silence for several minutes.

“Can you stop Gwythyr from rushing off to hunt Aonghas and Neirin tomorrow?” Glory blurted.

She looked surprised. “Why would you wish to stop him?”

“Because I am almost certain it’s a trap.” Glory went on to tell the Queen everything she had told Gwythyr, finishing with, “He wouldn’t look at Gwythyr, not even his shoes. He looked anywhere in the room but at Gwythyr. I can understand him not looking Gwythyr in the face if that‘s not your custom, but he acted… guilty even as he told his story.”

The Queen nodded quietly to herself. “Unfortunately, I cannot force Gwythyr to remain at home. If I did try to stop him, it would look to my enemies as if I were withdrawing my support. Even if I kept Sir Euan from accompanying my nephew, Gwythyr would still find his way to this ambush and with fewer allies to watch his back.”

“Then you do agree it’s an ambush?” Glory asked, a little relieved.

“I agree it is suspicious. I will share your observations with Sir Euan, and he will be prepared for an ambush,” the woman replied in a voice that was maddeningly calm.

Glory slumped in her chair, feeling frustrated and helpless. Just because she wasn’t in love with Gwythyr didn’t mean she wanted him to have to fight his way out of an ambush.

“But that is not why you came here,” she said, inclining her head in a very regal fashion. “You came looking for a very specific stone.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t know Gwythyr would be here,” Glory said defensively. “He’s nice. I don’t want him to get himself killed just because he’s too angry to think straight.”

“But you don’t love him,” the Queen said with an amused smile.

“I like him,” she replied. “But it’s complicated. I have things I have to do that… he‘s just better off not being part of. I mean, Neirin’s about as bad as my sister, and I don’t even know what I’m going to do about her. It’s just for the best that I do what I came to do and leave before he gets caught up in my problems on top of his own.”

“Admirable… and unlike others who have come before you, I believe you have the best intentions, if only because you are capable of compassion.” She folded her hands in her lap with an apologetic bow of her head. “I will give you what aid I can. Unfortunately, your quest only begins here. It ends in your own world once you have retrieved the key. You must find the Lia Fáil and return it to the hill of Tara and there use the key to retrieve the stone from it. Do you know the Lia Fáil?”

“No?” She wanted to jump up and kick something, but remained seated. Why couldn’t these things ever be easy? Another frikken key? Lovely.

“But you do know of the stone and how it broke?” At Glory’s nod, she went on. “Our people came out of Mu and first colonized the northern isles, spreading both to Eire and the mainland. It was shortly after we came to the North that the Horned Man brought the stone to us. Considering how we lost our homeland, we certainly did not want the stone, but how do you refuse a god? He said one would come to retrieve it someday, and we would know the rightful owner when they presented themselves. I see him in you, which it makes sense that he would send his own child.”

Glory flinched, but the Queen continued on. “In return for its guardianship, he showed us how to open doors between the world you know and this pale echo we inhabit. He promised we would be safe here from the depredations of the less civilized tribes. Had we known what we were giving up…” At Glory’s puzzled expression, the Queen smiled bitterly. “It does seem a paradise, but it roots in us deep. We could at one time still walk in your world and feel the sun and take sustenance from the food, but this is our home now as sure as that other place is yours. I think you could manage to walk between worlds, but your companions… well, you should not be here longer than you must if you wish to take them home again with you.”

The Queen didn’t seem to notice Glory’s pallor as she continued. “When we realized the trick which had been played on us, we tried to send the stone away, hoping our plight lay in its evil influence. We hid it away in the Lia Fáil and gave this Stone of Destiny to new guardians in Ireland, and so that we still would remain faithful to its protection, we made a key and kept it here.”

to Book 7, part 2, page 21

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3 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 2.20”

  1. Fiona said

    So….Ireland next!

  2. Emote Control said

    A sidequest!

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