Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 2.36

Posted by harmony0stars on August 20, 2011

“Brother!” Caoimhe cried, and Gwythyr barely restrained her from throwing herself at the men. Glory stared hard at Aonghas who stood beside the insane prince, his sword drawn, but the Fomorian seemed too ashamed to meet her eyes.

“Ah, if father were here, my victory would be complete,” Neirin gloated. “Well all in good time. Gwythyr… are you ready for our hunt? The sun will soon rise. I think when I have run you down, I will skin you and have your hide made into new shoes for my bride.” He nodded to Glory with a smile that turned her stomach.

“If you think I intend to marry you, you’re sadly mistaken,” she said, unable to keep the disgust from her voice.

He scowled as she spoiled his fun. “We shall see what your tune is when I’ve broken you to my will,” he said as if she were a horse that needed taming.

“Maybe we should see what my father has to say about that,” she said as she picked out words on a slab of stone embedded in the earth above his head.

“Your father?” he sneered, “And who might he be?”

“Would you like to meet him?” she countered. “I bet you didn’t realize this was one of his temples before it was abandoned.”

“Temple?” Neirin looked around, a little less certain of himself.

Glory began chanting in the language of her ancestors, softly at first as she picked over the alien words, and then faster and more clearly as her tongue became comfortable with their formation. “Y’uln geb fm’latgh. Ya hafh’drn ah uln ghft. Throd ng’fhtagn nafl r’luh geb. Bug n’ghft, nog ghft.

“Stop!” Neirin cried as she repeated the spell over and over again. A shrill scream filled the hole as the stones vibrated, incandescing the more they shook. The light and heat quickly became unbearable as the ancient rock went from red hot to white. Soil sifted down from the mound over their heads as the massive stones shook away the dirt overhead.

As Neirin stared around him in horror, Glory tried to catch Aonghas’ eye, but it was Prince Lorcan who used her distraction to act. He drove his elbow into the stomach of his captor and snatched up the man’s sword from the ground. Neirin was not so distracted that he couldn’t counter Lorcan’s clumsy thrust however.

It was as Neirin stood over the boy, his arm raised to strike him dead, that Aonghas finally realized the opportunity which had presented itself. Neirin barely spared a glance for his ally as Aonghas raised his sword arm awkwardly as if to shield himself from falling debris. But it was only a ruse. While Neirin stood over the boy, Aonghas turned on his heel and swung his sword at his ally’s unprotected back.

Even distracted, Neirin somehow sensed the attack and deflected Aonghas’ sword. He was not fast enough to save himself from Lorcan however. The young prince used Neirin’s split attention to snatch up his fallen sword and drive it through the madman’s gut.

Neirin staggered back and would have been run through a second time by Aonghas, but the hard packed earth of the mound had finally started coming down in clods large enough to brain a person. He fell against the tunnel wall, his bloody hand going to the glass amulet around his neck. In an instant, Caer Wydr opened and he stumbled towards it.

“No!” Glory shouted, and he turned to face her with a savage snarl. She leapt towards him just as the passage bucked beneath their feet.

It was his turn to scream in frustration as he fell backwards into the mercurial stained glass panel, without his precious key. The colored portal winked out as he passed its borders, but there was no time to waste in wondering if Neirin would survive his wounds. Aonghas threw away his sword, grabbed Prince Lorcan by the arm, and dragged him towards the exit. Sir Euan shadowed Gwythyer and Caoimhe, while Glory and Jack concentrated on her cousins. Maria beat them all out of the hill and stood panting in the gray pre-dawn.

“What the hell was that?” Mike cried as he rolled over to stare at the collapsed mound.

Glory shrugged, too tired to worry about any of Neirin‘s men still in the camp. “I was just reading from the inscription on one of the stones. It was a spell to make light, but, you know… there wasn‘t exactly a hill on top of them when they were put in place.”

“Told you she’d make a great poker player,” Trevor sighed where he lay on the grass, unmoving and apparently continuing a conversation from earlier.

“That was all a bluff?” Mike cried incredulously. He flopped back onto the grass with  groan. “I think I love you.”

Glory scowled and hoped he was kidding. She rolled over to glared at the few men staring in awe at the hill which had come to resemble a deflated soufflé more than the perfect dome it had been before. Aonghas crawled to his feet and paused by Gwythyr.

“Cousin, considering all that has passed, I doubt you can forgive me for what happened in Annwn, but I bear you no grudge. If I hear that the Craven has survived his wounds and somehow returned, I will send word, but I will never set foot in your kingdom and I will not stay long here either. You can assure your aunt that those of my men who have survived will return to Eire with me and those who remain were never mine to begin with.” Without waiting for a response, he walked towards the men milling about in what remained of the camp, calling them to himself.

What remained of Lorcan’s men emerged from the trees, skirting the gathering Fomorians and making a beeline for their prince and princess. It was a short time later that the were mounted and on their way back to Rhaonastil and civilization.

to Book 7, part 3, page 1

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