Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

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Tattoo Book 7 part 3.1

Posted by harmony0stars on August 23, 2011

“Alright. Security’s down. Just have to worry about the guards then.” Jack was scowling. It seemed he’d left his good mood in the Summerlands along with Maria. “You’ll be returning the stone when you’re done with it,” he said, a statement, not a question. “I don’t want to be responsible for starting a new war between England and Scotland.”

“I can’t promise anything, Jack. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get it to Tara.” Glory peered around a corner, hoping to avoid any more guards. They’d already had to knock one out and shove him in a supply closet on the ground floor, forcing the lock in the process. Who locked up mops and buckets and other cleaning supplies? Were they royal cleaning supplies? Hopefully no one would notice the broken lock, or the missing man, before they were done. “You didn’t have to come, you know… I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

Jack smiled, but it was more of a grimace. “I don’t see how you could carry a piece of sandstone that weighs almost twenty-four Stones all by yourself. You need me, and without Maria, I need to ingratiate myself with your boys across the pond.”

“But…”

“Shhh.” The faint sound of conversation reached them. Jack ducked down a side passage and into an alcoved doorway, pulling Glory after him.

Two men walked by, deep in a conversation about football and not really paying any attention to their job. Not that they could be blamed, she supposed. It was probably pretty boring work, minding a castle and its contents against thieves who rarely made their job interesting.

Glory and Jack waited until the men had disappeared down the corridor before resuming their journey. The cameras scanned back and forth, business as usual. They had only Mike’s word and the fact that there’d been no alarm raised to confirm that they were not functioning properly.

“I do not blame you for what happened to Maria,” Jack said quietly as they moved quickly to their goal. “But this is neither the time nor place to discuss the consequences of our little jaunt.”

They rounded a corner and came face to face with a man sitting just outside the crown room. He looked up, his face instantly contorting into a suspicious frown. The guard dropped a puzzle book to the floor, tucking his fingers into the loops of his belt and standing with his feet far apart. Clearly he was prepared for trouble.

“Oh, hi…” Glory said, trying to sound relieved and unthreatening. “Uh, we kind of got lost from the last tour. Can you help us?”

“The last tour was hours ago,” he said, eyeing them coldly. He had his left hand on a walkie-talkie clipped to his belt.

“Don‘t I know it!” Jack said in a tone of disgust. “We’ve just been walking around and around, and my friend is really starting to feel sick… low blood sugar, you know. I don’t suppose you can call someone to show us back to the lobby?”

“Right…” the man said, looking from Glory to Jack and back again, uncertain. “Don’t know how you got all the way up here without the cameras picking you up, but I can certainly call someone to show the pair of you to the door.”

“I’m not feel that bad,” Glory said, taking her cue from Jack. She craned her neck to peer into the room behind the guard. “Hey, is that the crown room? We didn’t get to see that. Can I look while we wait for someone to come?”

“That’s off limits this time of night,” the man growled. His nose and cheeks, already veined and red, went positively purple with suppressed anger.

“Well, I just want to look,” Glory said, sounding both annoyed and patronizing. “Not try anything on.”

“Bloody Americans,” the man hissed under his breath as she ducked around him and into the room.

Glory paused at the door, her eyes darted around at the various cases. They came to rest on the unassuming block of red sandstone and she muttered, “Well, crap.” Glory turned in time to see Jack coming up behind the guard who’d followed her into the room, his hand still on the radio. She gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head and shrugged at the angry guard.

“You, come out of there, or I‘ll have you brought up on charges.” The man said, pulling his radio from his belt and waving it around like a taser.

“Okay, okay. Don’t get angry. I just wanted to see.” She stalked from the room to wait in the hall for their escort. Glory leaned against the wall with her arms crossed, the image of petulance.

Jack kept his mouth shut, though from his expression he was more than puzzled. The questions their escort asked were so perfunctory Glory wondered how often people got lost on their tours. It was only minutes later that they were shown to the entrance, and the door was shut firmly behind them.

“What happened?” Mike asked when they climbed into the car.

“It was a fake,” Glory replied.

“I thought you’d never seen it before,” Jack said.

“I hadn’t. Call it instinct if you like. I just know… that wasn’t the Lia Fáil.” Glory pulled her laptop from her bag, ready to start researching the Stone of Scone more. Hopefully somewhere, someone had posted it’s real location or even a picture.

“Well there was a rumor…” Jack started.

“What rumor?” Glory asked, closing the lid of the laptop before she’d barely opened it.

“Well, back at the end of the 13th century, King Edward I stormed the Scone Abbey and stole the Stone,“ Jack said, “but there’s a story that says he was duped by the abbot.”

“So where’s the real stone?” Mike asked.

“No one knows. They’ve never proven it was a fake,” Jack said with a shrug.

Glory grunted and opened her computer back up as Mike flipped open his phone. Trevor was waiting at the airport with the plane they’d chartered to get them out of the country ASAP. “What’re you looking up?” he asked as he waited for Trevor to answer.

“Where this abbot was buried,” she replied shortly.

to Book 7, part 3, page 2

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7 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 3.1”

  1. fiona said

    So I take it Maria is still a doggie? Neirin is probably the most advanced transformation magician of his world; this could be a problem (assuming she wants to change back).

  2. More a problem for her children than for her. She is probably better off as a dog, and everyone else is probably better off for her being a dog. Can’t say her children deserve it though.

    Even if someone does manage to turn her back, she can’t come home again. She’ll have been in the Otherworld too long.

    • fiona said

      Well, if they’re born puppies they’ll never know any different – and never have to know Neirin is their dad…

      • That is a good point, though it’s also sad. Did you ever read the story of the Irish hero Finn McCool (or Fionn mac Cumhaill)? He had a set of “fairy hounds,” Bran and Sceolan. Their mother was a human but was turned into a hound by a fairy woman. Unfortunately, she was pregnant at the time, and her children, Finn’s cousins, were born as hounds. They were considered human in their intelligence, and who knows how much they understood of their predicament.

  3. Alderin said

    I was a little surprised and disappointed at the abrupt end of the Summerlands time. I thought we were still in Gwythyr’s world until they mentioned cameras being down. Wouldn’t have minded a closing chapter to 7.2 with prizes packed and goodbyes made.

    I am otherwise quite happy with everything you do. 🙂

    *HUGS*

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