Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.24

Posted by harmony0stars on June 28, 2011

“What the hell did you think you were doing?” Maria raged at Jack as they slowed momentarily to bypass a thick copse of trees.

“What Trevor told me to do,” he replied mildly, “at the first sign of trouble.”

“Why wouldn’t he have just warned everyone that there would be an ambush?” Glory asked, and Jack shrugged.

“Trev’s visions aren’t always that clear,” Maria replied in a distracted tone.

Glory scowled, but considering she hardly had a handle on her own gifts, she had no room to complain about someone else’s. “Well, we can’t stay here. I don’t know a lot about tracking, but I’m pretty sure following shod horses through a forest isn‘t that hard.” They were surrounded on all sides by old growth woods, and the soft loam under the hooves of the horses was already scarred by their nervous prancing. There was no sound of pursuit yet, but it was only a matter of time.

“Right,” said Jack, looking around. “First thing we do is find a rocky patch or a stream and ditch the horses.”

Maria looked at him as if he’d lost his mind. “We need the horses in order to get away.”

“No, Jack’s right.” Glory patted her horse’s neck and listened for signs of pursuit, but none of the birds seemed particularly riled and the only other sound was the wind through the trees. “They might not be fooled for long, but if we can find a spot to dismount without leaving a trace, we can hopefully backtrack to look for their camp. They can’t be too far away if they’ve been waiting all this time for another target.”

“You assume they weren’t waiting specifically for us… or your boyfriend, rather,” Jack said.

She glared at him. “He’s not my boyfriend, and it still means they’ve been waiting in a nearby camp.”

‘I don’t like this plan,” Maria muttered as Glory urge her horse into a trot.

They moved through the trees as quickly as possibly, but in many places they grew too close together. It wasn’t long before there were shouts in the distance, vague but getting steadily louder. It seemed their pursuers had finally given chase, and they had the home field advantage. Well, Glory didn’t know what Maria could do, if anything, but Jack seemed handy to have around even if he had a tendency to be a creeper.

It was only fifteen or so minutes later that they finally heard the sound of hooves striking the thick leaf loam. Jack took the lead looking for anything they might use to ditch the horses and disguise their trail. Unfortunately, there were only trees as far as the eye could see, and the sound of the horses was getting louder by the minute.

“Alright… new plan then.” Jack trotted up to a stand of firs and peered in among the trees. “Come here,” he said, motioning to Maria to come closer. “I’m going to toss you into that opening there. Try not to hit any trees, dear.”

Maria gave him an incredulous look but dutifully climbed up in her horse’s saddle. He lifted her slightly, and then pitched her through the trees. A smack to the horse’s rump sent it hurtling away through the trees.

“You’re next,” he said. Glory sidled up to him and craned her neck. Maria was already up and dusting herself off. “You know how to fall? Just duck your head and try to roll with it. I’m throwing you to a patch with no trees; so hopefully you won’t collide with anything.”

“Yeah, ok.” She wasn’t exactly happy about it, but they didn’t have a lot of options. He picked her up and just as quickly she was flying through the air, landing a moment later with enough force to knock the air out of her lungs.

Jack slapped her horse and sent it galloping after the first. Then he climbed up on his own horse and leaped through the trees to land in the tiny space with all the grace and agility of a supernatural gazelle. He quickly searched the ground and came up with a pine cone, flinging at his horse to make it run. The companions withdrew into the overhanging branches to wait for their pursuit.

It was not long before they heard the sound of a large group of horses. And of course they paused where Jack had thrown them through the trees to examine the tracks. One of the men chuckled as he examined the tracks. Glory could not see them, but she could see the horses’ legs, the same horses the knights had brought with them from Rhaonastil. Despite their late start, quite a few men had followed them into the woods.

“They’ve split up here,” said one voice.

“I matters not. There are enough of us to run them down, and separately they will be even less equipped to defend against us,” said another.

“Glad you feel that way, Ros. I Hope you are the one to get the man, then. I won’t mind wrestling one of them women a bit. Had my eye on that tall one since I poured out my story to that fool of a Prince.” There was bawdy laughter and Glory flushed with equal parts fury and embarrassment. “Spent half his purse on a fast horse just to be here in time for this hunt.”

“Just you take care not to take too many liberties there, Brychan,” said another stern voice. “I hear Prince Aonghas has his eye on her. Run afoul of him, and he’ll give you to the Craven for dinner.”

Glory dug her fingers into the soft soil under the pines as Brychan muttered, and the men split up to pursue the three horses. “You’re just all kinds of popular with the royals, aren’t you?” Maria whispered sourly in her ear, and it was all Glory could do not to elbow her in the ribs.

to Book 7, Part 2, Page 25

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4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 2.24”

  1. Fiona said

    Maria’s jealous.

  2. Zack said

    Started reading your story a month ago and finally caught up to the end!

    Great stuff, can’t wait for more!

    Got linked from webfictionguide.com

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