Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.32

Posted by harmony0stars on July 26, 2011

“Right…” Jack said, looking around anxiously. “Let’s get out of here before they deal with my distraction.”

“Wait.” Glory went back to the treasure chest, tapping the lid with one finger. The coins and jewels tumbled away from the harp to chime against one another as she lifted it from the box. Glory breathed a sigh of relief and tucked the harp under one arm before dropping the lid. “Hate to leave without grabbing this.”

They threaded their way through the dark tent, coming to a hole on the side where Jack had cut his way in. As soon as they stepped in the night air, they were assaulted by acrid smoke. Shouting from the interior of the camp accompanied the rancid smell of burning leather and fabric.

“I snatched up a few brands from the fire and dropped them on some tents in passing,” Jack said with a modest chuckle. A horse went running past, followed by a Fomorian who luckily did not look around as he pursued the animal. “And I may have spooked the horses just a bit.”

Unfortunately, their good luck could not last forever. Almost as soon as they left the safety of the tent, there was a shout of alarm. Most of the nearby warriors left off in their attempt to put out the remaining fires and gave chase. Jack and Glory broke for the woods, Maria easily outpacing them with her four legs to their two. Before they were even halfway to the treeline, Glory crumpled. She struggled to get up, but pain radiated out from the necklace like an electrical current.

Jack threw her over his shoulder and ran like hell for the trees, the Fomorians close on his heels. The half dozen or so men chasing them did not stop at the treeline, but followed them into the darkness. They had not been among the trees for more than a few seconds before there were shouts of distress and gurgles as unknown assailants fell on their enemies. Glory cursed and twitched as the pain stopped for a moment before starting again. Neirin was not going to let her get away so easily.

Hands grabbed Jack, pulling him along in the dark. He was wise enough not to put up a fight or complain as Glory was taken. Finally, when it seemed they had been dragged through miles of undergrowth, someone uncovered a lantern and held it in his face.

“Who are you, stranger? And what business do you have with the Fomorians?” a young man in dark clothes demanded, his men holding Jack firmly in place. Glory they placed on the ground against a tree, some thoughtful soul laying his cloak down first. She was in no shape to reply as she twitched in pain, not that anyone asked her.

“I’m no one,” Jack said in an annoyed tone. “You can call me Jack, and I‘m no friend to the Fomorians. The lady there against the tree is Glory, and the hound there… why up until a few hours ago, that was my niece Maria.” Maria stood panting and glaring at the men around her as if she might bite them if they questioned Jack about her further.

The man lowered a weapon Glory hadn’t even noticed between waves of pain and nodded to the men holding Jack. They released him. “I am Prince Lorcan, son of King Corvin. The Craven has my sister and holds her hostage against the good behavior of my step-father, King Aidan… Not that he needs much excuse to be a coward.”

“Not on friendly terms then, I take it,” Jack said, brushing at his clothes.

“It was I who was meant to accompany the convoy, but I was injured the day before in a fall. Our younger brother would have gone in my place, but his father forbade him. So our sister went in my stead, and was taken. I do not suspect our brother of any wrong doing, but his father…” The prince left the rest of his thought unsaid.

“My prince!” said one of the men, holding out the stringless harp.

“Do you know what this is?” Lorcan asked incredulously. He took the harp and examined it as if to make sure it was the real thing.

“Not really, but I assume she does,” Jack said, nodding to the tree where Glory sat, sweating and occasionally whimpering as Neirin continued to torture her from a distance.

At least Glory was getting a handle on the pain. If Phoenix could turn off her senses, then she should be able to as well. It always seemed as if the pain returned at the worst possible moment though, destroying her concentration so that she had to start over again as soon as it stopped.

“As much as I’d love to answer your questions,” she said between gasps, “get this thing off me before I do something drastic and unpleasant for everyone.” Glory clutched at a tree root as Neirin launched another assault. If he kept it up, she was going to find out if her head would turn to jelly as easily as her arms.

“It’s the necklace,” Jack said. “I tried to get it off her back at the camp, but… well… didn’t have time.”

Glory sobbed as one of the men lifted her hair to examine the clasp. “Charmed,” he muttered, stepping aside to let Prince Lorcan examine the clasp. A moment later, it fell to the ground with a thud, and Glory almost collapsed with it. She breathed a sigh of relief but gave herself no time to savor her freedom. Glory snatched up the necklace and chucked it into the dark as hard as she could. Even as she did so, the sound of baying hounds was heard in the distance.

to Book 7, part 2, page 33

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