Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.29

Posted by harmony0stars on July 16, 2011

The harp seemed to be stuck. Glory tugged on it with one hand without making it budge, which did strike her as funny, but she had no intention of touching anything else in the chest to dig it out. She reached in with her other hand and tried to lift it from the pile, but not a single coin shifted for her efforts.

“Help me out here?” Glory said, but Maria snickered.

“Uh, no?” Contempt fairly oozed from the woman where she reclined on the furs. “Haven’t you ever read the story of the Golden Goose Now you’re stuck, and if I touched you, I’d be stuck too.” Unfortunately Glory was familiar with the fairy tale. To test the woman’s words, she tried to release the harp but nothing happened.

“You couldn’t have warned me?” Glory twisted to glare at the woman, her fingers clenched around the wood as if her two hands had always terminated in a stringless harp.

“What do you think? I’m stupid? How better to prove my loyalty and make him trust me than by giving him a present.” She grinned and lay back on the furs, giggling.

“You…!” So many insults flooded her brain, but Glory clamped her mouth shut. No use railing against the little woman if there was any chance of getting her to see reason.

“Neirin! My prince! I have a present for you!” Maria crowed as loudly as she could before Glory could even attempt to make her see reason.

Cursing inwardly, Glory turned her attention to the spell that held her fast. If she could just unravel it before Neirin arrived…

“Well, this is a surprise.” Before she could do more than examine the aura of the spell, Neirin appeared from the gloom on silent feet

“I tricked her,” Maria said smugly, sitting up.

The creepy, gloating smirk never left his face as he turned to Maria. “Of course you did, pet. What should your reward be for such service?” he asked, practically straddling the woman in her nest of furs. Neirin rested his hand on Maria’s belly and the little woman giggled.

If they were going to have sex with her in the tent, she was going to throw up in the treasure chest, Glory decided. But that wasn’t what happened. She almost wished it was.

“Fertile little bitch, aren’t you? I hardly needed that charm it seems.” Neirin said, removing his hand. Maria pouted at him, looking both injured and confused. “My pack will be much improved with the puppies you’ll have.”

Before Maria could do more than open her mouth, Neirin gestured. She contorted, though it was impossible to say if it was pain or simply the process of transformation that pulled her expression into a rictus. Her already small form twisted and shrank, disappearing into the clothes. A whining, white and red dog, struggled from the wadded fabric, stumbling and tripping out onto the floor, its long legs catching in clothing that was not intended for a dog.

“Lovely,” Neirin announced.

Maria looked up at him in dismay, the golden torque still around her neck. She snarled, gaining her equilibrium faster than Glory would have expected. The dog crouched as if to pounce on her erstwhile lover, but Neirin was faster. He dealt the animal a vicious kick to the head, sending it sprawling. Before Maria could recover, he struck with his hand, lightning quick, and grabbed her by the torque which had shrunk to fit her much smaller neck.

The dog choked and whimpered as Neirin lifted it into the air to stare it in the eye. “Not that I do not appreciate your savage instincts, my dear, but you will learn your place. If not, well, I only need you to birth the first litter of pups. Displease me, and it can be your last litter.” He dropped her, and she cringed at his feet, licking one of his boots. “I thought as much,” he said with grim satisfaction.

“You’re a sick bastard,” Glory said. It was an awkward pose, but she was twisted around as well as she could to glare at the monstrous prince. “If she’s pregnant, that’s your child.”

Neirin scowled for a moment, then smiled, his expression less hostile than she would have expected. “Children, now that she has been transformed. They will improve the bloodline of my pack immensely.” He kicked Maria aside, and the dog slunk to a niche between the pile of furs and what looked to be a pile of hunting gear. She sat in the shadows, eyes and nose glistening with misery.

He walked to Glory’s side and peered into the chest, hmming softly at the item she’d tried to remove before continuing in an almost conversational tone, “I’ll have to cull the weaker pups to ensure the next generation will be stronger yet, but anything would be an improvement over those Fomorian curs.”

“This is what you came for?” he asked, examining the harp without touching it or her, though he stood uncomfortably close. “Why? What does it do?”

“That doesn’t concern anyone but me and my family,” Glory spat, edging away from him.

He hmmed again, giving the top of the chest a quick tap with one finger. Her release from the spell that held her was so sudden, Glory didn’t have time to recover her balance. She landing on the hard ground, the harp in one hand, but Neirin had already leapt to her side. Something cold and heavy was placed around her neck before she even had time to lash out at him.

She felt suddenly sick and heavy, but so far as she could see, there had been no transformation. For that, at least, she was grateful. Neirin caught her by her wrist and hauled her to her feet, holding a mirror up so she could see the necklace that hung from her neck like a piece of gold ice… the same necklace he had once stolen from his mother and attempted plant on her.

“There,” he said in a self-satisfied tone, tossing the mirror back into the chest and snatching the harp away as well. He dropped the lid of the chest on his treasures and smiled. “A fitting wedding present, I think.”

to Book 7, part 2, page 30

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 2.29”

  1. Alderin said

    …and Neirin would look quite good in a grave.

    “examining the harp without touch it or her” – touching

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