Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 3.9

Posted by harmony0stars on September 24, 2011

“Let me tell you a story,” said the woman as she examined the stone. She was dressed in a flowing burgundy gown, her hair perfectly styled and her nails long and looking sharp enough to slit throats. The masked duo stood on either side of the door to the ornate dining room, silent and unmoving.

Her companion sat in his chair and sipped red wine. His clothes fit him well, custom tailored to show off his lanky frame. Jewels glinted from tie clip, his cuffs, his fingers. He looked bored, but she didn’t seem to notice as she turned from the stone to run her fingers through the hair of a boy who also sat at the table.

“Would you like that, sweetheart?” she cooed into the boy’s ear, though his eyes remained unresponsive. A string of drool hung from his lip. The woman picked up a linen napkin from the table and wiped his lip without seeming to register that there was no one home. A dowdy woman in a nurse’s uniform adjusted a feeding tube in his throat as the other woman gave a fragile smile and returned to the stone.

Her rings clicked against its black surface as she gazed into its depths. “Once upon a time, when Kings ruled in Erin, the high king was chosen by a magical stone with many wonderful properties. But the stone was lost to Scotland and then hidden away to save it from the English. There were no more Irish kings for a very long time, but we kept the bloodline pure. Until finally you were born, my beautiful baby boy. The stone was lost, but we knew someday it would be found. We knew we would rule Erin again. If only your father had lived to see this day.”

She paused as if lost in thought, her fingers skittering over the stone nervously. “Promise it will work, Prince Neirin. The stone will heal my son. I tried to free him from that faceless abomination, but… but…” She blinked as if momentarily coming to her senses.

Neirin smiled his most endearing smile, though it never reached his eyes. “Of course, my lady Fionna. The stone will choose its new king and make him whole to rule over all of Erin. It has the power to restore your nation and your child to their former glory. Everything will be as I foretold. I was right about the woman finding the stone, wasn‘t I?” He played with a small golden bracelet with gems at both ends, their color shifting as he twisted it. He glanced at the nurse and then the man and woman standing by the door. “I hope these… husks didn’t do her too much damage. I owe her a great deal of suffering.”

“D-don’t call them that,” Fionna said distractedly. “It’s not their fault. The cure didn’t work like I was promised. I thought I got it almost right with Darlene… at least she can talk… a little. But Brian…” she sobbed as she glanced at her son.

Neirin smiled and stood, slipping his arm around the woman’s shoulders. “Now, now, sweet Lady. I know well a mother’s love for her child. My own mother’s heart is never far from me. You would die for your son, eh? That’s the true measure of a mother’s love.”

He didn’t seem to notice the look the nurse gave him, or maybe he didn’t care. At least she didn’t seem to be buying what he was selling. Not like Fionna.

“Are the cars ready to take us to Tara?” Neirin leaned his head close to Fionna’s ear.

“Y-yes,” she said distractedly. “The woman is really his daughter?”

Neirin smiled grimly. “Yes, but leave her to me. I will make her pay for taking your son from you.”

“But… the stone will heal him. You promised…”

He scowled. Releasing her, he walked past Brian and his nurse to lay a hand on the boy’s shoulder. The nurse leaned down to pick up the napkin and wipe the boy’s chin again, and incidentally away from Neirin.

He didn‘t look at her, but squeezed the boy‘s shoulder. “I know what I said, and I’ve said it many times already. I told you where to find the Stone of Destiny and who would have it. Do you not trust me by now?”

“O-of course. I’m sorry. It’s just I’ve held out hope for so long. It seems incredible that I might have my son back and fulfill the dreams of my forefathers all- all in one swoop.” She wrung her hands and watched Neirin with pleading eyes.

“Well, come. There’s no reason to wait.” Neirin smiled and released the boy’s shoulder. “Have your servants take the stone and the boy to the car. I will bring the girl. She will pay for her crimes and those of her father.”

He strode through the door with a gleeful smile as Fionna gestured at the stone. The nurse tsked softly, moving the boy’s shirt away from his shoulder to check for bruises before she carefully turned his wheelchair away from the table. No matter what her mistress might think, she obviously had no trust for the Prince.

***

Neirin chuckled as he walked through the halls and stopped at the top of the stairs to the basement, his heart racing. He took a small golden dagger from his pocket, examining it with anticipation. As he strode down the stairs, he fought down the urge to begin cackling. No, wild bouts of laughter were never a sign of good breeding. If nothing else, he’d had the opportunity to see how the ‘other half lived’ during his stay in the Otherworld.

Glory did not look up as he approached, but he knew she would not. His little trinket had given him a small glimpse into the future, though it was hard to fine tune. Not like television. As decadent as the Otherworld was, it did have its wonders. He knew Glory was too busy trying to heal her concussion to worry about who had come to see her.

Luckily he’d brought some of his own wonders with him. Enough to convince one tired and desperate woman that there was hope. Such fools these mortals were.

“Hello, my beloved enemy,” he said almost happily as he stabbed the dagger into Glory’s ribs, just below her collarbone. She had only time to look up and gasp, her voice and freewill stolen by the tiny dagger. He kissed her, licking a bit of blood from her lip where she’d bit herself almost an hour ago. “I have so much to tell you.”

to Book 7, part 3, page 10

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