Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.22

Posted by harmony0stars on June 21, 2011

Everyone fell into an awkward silence. Glory finally excused herself, admonishing them to get what sleep they could. She scampered back to her room, still shaking her head. So Jack was… Springheel Jack? Considering Maria had said he hated that song, it was the only conclusion she came to. Not that he couldn’t be lying bout being Jack the Ripper, but he seemed more of a creeper than a murderer.

Maria was still absent on her return to their rooms. Glory undressed, putting on her regular clothes. If she was going to go looking for trouble, she was at least going to be comfortable. She settled into her bed with her computer in her lap. Obviously there was no internet for her to do research on the Lia Fáil, but she hadn’t had time to talk to Phoenix since arriving in Tír na nÓg.

He was, as usual, less that thrilled by her attention. “Oh, have you time for me now?” His words appeared faintly on the screen and only tenuously in her mind. He was stretched thin between worlds.

“Hush,” she said aloud, sharing with him mentally all that had so far occurred and trying to strengthen his connection by pouring more energy into the laptop.

Phoenix did not respond for several minutes, and then his response was terse. “I know nothing of this Lia Fáil,” he replied.

“Well, can you research it while I’m here?” she demanded.

His response was even slower than before, leading her to believe that the lag might have more to do with the time difference between dimensions than any weakness on his part. “Fine. I’ll try,” he replied.

“Thank you.” Glory shut the laptop without further conversation, not sure how their connection would hold up if she continued. She had more questions, about things Jack had said, but that could wait until she was back on earth if she couldn‘t somehow get answers from Jack himself.

The orange-pink of dawn was just beginning to stain the sky when some noise in the hall made Glory sit up. A moment later, a dim light appeared from the next room. “Maria?”

The woman made an irritated sound. “What?”

“I hope you got some rest. We’ll probably be leaving sometime after dawn.” When Maria didn’t answer, Glory added, “You should probably put your other clothes on. Courtly finery isn’t really made for hunting robbers in the woods.”

“Fine, whatever,” Maria growled and the light abruptly disappeared as she closed the door between their rooms.

Glory lay back in the bed, waiting for the servants to come to ‘wake’ them and hoping Maria hadn’t done anything particularly stupid. The birds had only just begun singing in praise of the sun when there was a quiet knock on the door. A servant entered with riding skirts and a basket.

“Oh, you are already dressed, lady.” The girl looked nonplussed as she lay the skirts over a chair. “I have brought honeyed rolls and fruit for your breakfast. The knights already gather in the courtyard. We will lead you and your companion there when you are ready.” Muffled sounds from the next room meant Maria had been similarly roused from her sleep.

“Thank you,” Glory replied, accepting the basket. “Have you eaten? Have some if you like.” She took a roll and handed the basket back to the girl who flushed with embarrassment. She shyly took a roll for herself and nibbled it as she stood awkwardly by the door, staring at her feet.

A few minutes later, a very embarrassed girl, a year or two younger than Glory’s attendant, knocked and opened the door between the two rooms. She stepped into the room, followed by Maria who stood glowering at nothing in particular. There were dark circles under her eyes. She’d draped a scarf around her neck, and her hair was brushed forward to hang in her face. She did not look happy.

“I guess we’re ready then,” Glory said, turning away from Maria to hide her annoyance. It was on the tip of her tongue to make a snarky comment, but she refrained.

The servants led them down to the courtyard where the knights had already gathered and were checking their gear. Some of the men looked at the women with incredulous expressions as if they couldn’t believe that they were required to baby sit two women while hunting down brigands, but most of them ignored them almost as completely as Glory ignored Maria. Mike and the others appeared a few minutes later.

Jack looked annoyed as he strode over to his niece. “We’ll have words when we have some privacy Maria.”

“Yes, uncle,” she replied in a tired voice, not even bothering to look at him. In fact, she kept her entire body turned partially away from them.

He frowned as if her compliance was somehow out of character, which from what little Glory knew of the woman, it probably was. Jack moved to Maria’s side, and she turned as if to avoid him. Grabbing her by the elbow, he peered more closely at her face and then released her with a grunt of contempt.

“I won’t ask how that happened,” he said as Maria brushed the hair back over a palm-shaped bruise on her cheek. “But I would have expected more decorum from you in a place such as this.”

Gwythyr approached a second later, entering the courtyard via a staircase on the left and making a beeline for Glory and her companions. He did not look pleased. “I expect your kinsmen know how to fight?” he asked shortly. “I can have them shown to the armory.”

“It’s fine,” Mike replied, and Trevor nodded. “We have our own way of fighting.”

“I’ll take you up on that,” Jack said.

He called to one of the servants, and Jack was led away. Gwythyr nodded at Glory and walked away to check on his horse. Obviously he was not pleased to have her along. Probably adhering to some misogynistic BS that she belonged “at home where she was safe,” despite all that had occurred at their first meeting. She doubted it had anything to do with her frailty as a woman and everything to do with the idea that she doubt him. Well, if it made him give up his silly crush, it was all to the good.

to Book 7, part 2, page 23

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 2.22”

  1. Fiona said

    Did you see the picture of Jack Springheel in Wikipedia? He looks like Batman lol

    • Actually I seem to recall that Batman was in part inspired by Springheel Jack or that there was some kind of non-canon alternate universe Springheel Batman at some point.

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