Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.27

Posted by harmony0stars on July 9, 2011

“Ah, Gwythyr.” Aonghas’ expression became at once contemptuous and bitter. He clenched his hands as if he’d like to get them around his cousin’s throat.

Glory glared at him. “Whatever you think you know about me and Gwythyr, you’re wrong. He’s a nice person, but anyone who condescends to women as much as he does hasn’t got even a glimmer of a chance with me.” Aonghas blinked at her, his mouth partially open in surprise. “I wish him all the luck in the world and hope I never see him again once this whole drama has unfolded. So I’m not marrying him, and I am most certainly not marrying you.”

Before he could speak, she continued. “I don’t know why you hate him, and I don’t care. Your petty rivalry has spilled out onto the heads of people who have nothing to do with either of you. You want your own kingdom somewhere? Start acting like a good leader now, rather than later. Stop being a spoiled child and take responsibility for your actions.”

His mouth closed with a snap, and his eyes flashed with fury. “If a man had said that to me, he would already be dead at my feet.”

“And now you’re doing exactly what Gwythyr does. In the Otherworld, women are not treated like children or chattel except by the rudest of men, and respect is earned. It’s not handed out at birth. You want me dead for telling you the truth? Go on and try it.” So far as he knew, she could still shoot flaming tentacles of death from her hands. Glory waited just long enough for Aonghas to become uncomfortable before continuing. “No? Maybe if someone had had the courage to say these things to you before now, a lot of innocent people wouldn’t be dead. So just consider this… you‘re as much at fault as Arawn in regards to what Neirin has become. Don’t pretend you didn’t encouraged him in his hatred of Gwythyr and his father in the hope of betraying him and taking Annwn for yourself. If you continue to assist him in his atrocities, the only thing you’re worthy of is death, and a bad one at that.”

He stared at the floor for several minutes before dropping onto his fur covered cot, his shoulders slumped. “What can I do? My men are terrified of him. In the first month, we had a few deserters. I was more than willing to let them go. I wanted to go with them! Every time, Neirin set out on his own to hunt them down, eventually returning, his horse loaded down with cured meat. We didn’t ask, but…. I have not eaten meat in months. Not many of us will eat anything but the meanest of fare these days, even when the meat has come from the stores of a traveling merchant. The worst kind of brigands have found us out and joined Neirin in his perversity, and those of my men who have accepted Neirin’s largess now laugh at me to my face. A handful of my men tried to kill him one night. Those he did not kill, he turned into hounds. He keeps them under the hill with the prisoners and uses them to hunt those he turns into deer. If they remember what they were any more, they do not show it. He openly mocked me for their dissension, and not one of my men would stand up to him in my name. No one will defy him.”

“I hate to say it, but you can’t expect your men to do what you will not. If you’re not willing to stand up to Neirin yourself, your men certainly aren’t going to have the courage to do it.”

“Aye, I know it,” he sighed.

“How many can he shapeshift at once?” Glory asked, and Aonghas looked up at her in confusion. “He can’t touch me. He tried, if you‘ll recall.” At the time she’d thought it was Phoenix’s influence. With the revelations about her family, she wasn‘t so sure any more. “I just wonder does he have to do it one person at a time or could he transform multiple victims. If it’s one at a time, he could easily be overwhelmed by numbers, and anyone he managed to change could be restored by Arawn or someone else versed in such things.”

Aonghas looked thoughtful at that but shook his head. “The risk is too great. It is not nearly so easy as you make it sound. Not all transformations can be dispelled even once the caster is dead. It depends upon how well the nature of man and animal mesh, and we Fomorians are more susceptible to such transformations than most. Even if I gathered those who I still trust, I doubt they would have the courage to act.”

“Do you have the courage to act?” she snapped, tired of his excuses.

He flinched like a whipped dog, but before he could reply shouts came from the camp. “Stay here,” he said, jumping to his feet and rushing out.

Scowling, Glory obeyed, but only because someone might have seen her leave the tent otherwise. That didn’t stop her from peering out through the opening, just in time to see Jack bound past her like a mad kangaroo. He bounced all over the campsite, to gather information or perhaps looking for signs of Maria and Glory or the other prisoners. Jack seemed determined to create a diversion either way. Everyone had their eye on his bounding form. Unfortunately, if he intended to give the prisoners an opening to exploit, the Fomorians were more than ready to stop them. They clustered around the cave, most of them watching Jack while a select few, Neirin included, watched the treeline for signs of attack. Which meant Glory could either slip out the back of Aonghas’ tent and wait for Jack in the woods or hope Maria was still in any shape to be rescued.

to Book 7, part 2, page 28

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 2.27”

  1. Fiona said

    typo in fourth paragraph from last “Neirin looked at her in confusion” should be Aonghas

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