Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

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Tattoo Book 7 part 3.10

Posted by harmony0stars on September 27, 2011

Neirin unchained her, carelessly dropping the manacles to the floor. He gripped her by the chin, turning her head this way and that and tracing a few tattoos before releasing her. “Get up.”

Glory silently climbed to her feet. There was only a bit of blood from the dagger, and the wound had already stopped bleeding. There was no pain at all which seemed at odds with the fact that she had a blade stuck in her chest, despite its small size. Neirin left it where it was as he tsked over her wardrobe, lifting her arms and examining her in detail. “You have no style.” He sniffed. “And would it kill you to wear a scent?”

She struggled to speak, to make some snide comment, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t even open her mouth. He released one of her arms, and it stayed in the position he’d left it. She wanted to scream and attack him or stomp on his foot and run. She stayed where she was like a manikin.

He smiled as if sensing her thoughts. “You may move as your body would normally and speak so long as you remain respectful. Don’t abuse this kindness or it will be withdrawn.” She dropped her arm and immediately reached for the blade in her chest. Neirin laughed. “By all means, if you wish to die, pull it out.”

Glory froze and glared at him, dropping her hand. He only smiled more at her fury. “Don’t glare,” he said, and the expression slid off her face like someone had wiped it off. Inside she was fuming, but she couldn’t show it no matter how hard she tried.

“Now, come with me.” He led the way up the stairs and down long halls, never looking around to see if she was following. Of course she was. She couldn’t do anything else. As much as she struggled to run away, the compulsion to do exactly as he said was just too much.

He took her to a bedroom and examined a few dresses from a wardrobe before selecting one. “Put this on,” he said, laying it on the bed. She moved to obey him and silently railed at him for not turning away as she undressed. He examined her tattoos with interest, even walking around her to get a better view.

“You’re very quiet,” Neirin murmuered into her ear, uncomfortably close. He reached around and pushed the dagger completely into her flesh until just the end of the tiny hilt stuck out like some kind of gold stud, the latest in piercings. In all, two inches of sharp metal was shoved into her chest. Glory sobbed at the fresh pain, but refused to speak. In a moment the pain was gone.

Neirin took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped away the fresh blood. Then he ran a finger down her spine and the tattoos there. She moved out from under his hand, ostensibly to put the dress on. Neirin was not fooled. He chuckled but allowed her to finish dressing, nudging her discarded backpack with his foot. Lifting it from where she’d hoped he wouldn’t notice it, he took out the key and discarded her laptop on the bed.

He examined her as she finished dressing. Taking her hair from its loose ponytail, he tilted her chin up to examine her again. “I suppose this will have to do. We are working under a time constraint after all. Can’t be late for my coronation.”

He tucked her hand in the crook of his arm and the key under the other and led her back the way they had come, turning off of what seemed to be a foyer to another long hall which led to a garage. The masked woman stood beside the limo. As they approached, the woman opened the passenger door.

“You moved the boxes to the car?” he asked in a cold tone.

“In here,” the woman agreed.

Neirin rolled his eyes, helping Glory into the car. “It’s all she says. So boring.” Two boxes sat on the floor. One was long, the other small and cake sized. He reached for the smaller box and lifted the lid, smiling with satisfaction at its contents before shutting it again.

“I should thank you,” he said as the car started and pulled out of the garage. “In the three decades I have been here, I have learned many things. Likely I would have made hasty decisions if I had come here in any other way than by accident and alone. My injuries forced me to be more cautious and observant.” He touched his side where he had been wounded. “I bided my time and was rewarded for my efforts. Your people know nothing of magic.” He smiled in a condescending way. “Well, I should not say that. Most of your people know nothing. There are a very few who know and have access to ancient artifacts such as the one you now wear. For the right price, they are more than willing to share.”

“What are you thinking?” he asked suddenly, and the words were torn from her despite her determination not to speak.

“What are you planning with the stone?”

He grinned, showing teeth that still seemed uncomfortably sharp. “I should think that would be obvious, my dear. I am going to be the high king of Ireland, and you shall be my consort, just as soon as I get rid of the boy and his retched mother.”

“Boy…?” she blurted before stopping herself.

Neirin shook his head. “Never fear. The boy is but a fatted calf, a victim of his mother’s attempts to free him from your father’s… influence. He’s very fond of children, isn’t he?” It didn’t seem to matter that she had no idea what he was talking about as he continued. “Of course, if his mother had only experimented more…” He stopped, licking his lips and reached out to stroke the side of her face. “They think I intend to execute you as soon as the stone heals the idiot child and makes him king. But, well, it has been a very long time since I had a proper meal, and certainly as high king, I should be allowed to reward myself.”

to Book 7, part 3, page 11


4 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 3.10”

  1. Fiona said

    May be Glory’s worst predicament yet.

  2. Fiona said

    “Three decades” – I assume that means they are in another world, not our Earth, with a different timeline. But then he says to Glory “your people” as if he’s talking about people from her world. Unless he means “people like Glory” i.e. descended from Elder gods. But then that doesn’t make sense, as I expect a lot of them do have magic….am I missing something or is this something that will be explained later?

    • Well, he went through the door accidentally, and time is already tricky between the two worlds. So he got dropped into her world 30 years ago, which was time enough for him to get acclimated. When he says “your people,” he means the people of her world as oppose to the people of his, and in his world, just about everyone knows some magic, whereas in our world, almost no one does.

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