Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Archive for October 1st, 2011

Tattoo Book 7 part 3.11

Posted by harmony0stars on October 1, 2011

They rode in silence for several minutes, but the trip to Tara was over an hour long. It was too much to hope for that her silence would keep Neirin from talking. He seemed to want to fill her in on the thirty years he’d spent in her world, as if they were old friends… as if they had mutual feelings for one another.

“I must admit,” he said, not as content to stare out the window as she was. “That I considered looking for you when I arrived. It took me some years to acclimate myself to your world. Your customs are still strange to me and barbaric.”

He watched her avidly as she tried to keep her face blank. It wasn’t so hard. Sitting next to him was like sitting next to any number of her sister’s psychotic friends over the years, known or unknown. In school, she had always assumed that anyone who spoke to her was potentially one of her sister’s lackeys and therefore dangerous in a wide variety of ways. The only difference here was that she knew exactly how dangerous Neirin was.

“At first I was very angry, and hungry! Nothing satisfies me here. But then, I haven’t been able to indulge my tastes…”

“In thirty years?” Glory couldn’t keep the surprised from her voice, and Neirin grinned at her again.

“Oh I had the opportunity, but it hardly seemed worth the risk of discovery. You will find, my dear, that it is always better not to show any sign of weakness, even if it is something as small as a preference for a favorite food while in the company of supposed allies.” He picked up the stringless harp where he’d set it beside his precious boxes. “Now this… a weakness on your part. It hardly seems worth holding onto for so long.”

Glory shook her head. “It’s only been a few days for me. I haven’t even been home, so I haven’t had a chance to put it away.”

“Days?” He gave her a considering look as if he wasn’t quite sure if she was lying or not. Well, she was, but not about how long it had been. It hadn’t even been a week since they’d parted company. “Well, I suppose that explains why I wasn’t able to track you down until recently. Your sister sends her regards by the way and has given me permission to do anything I like with you so long as I ‘keep you out of her hair.’”

She felt the blood drain from her face, and Neirin smirked in response. “Your sister is very… interesting… perhaps if I had met her first… But then, I don’t think our ambitions would mesh very well at all. You on the other hand, you may want to kill me now…” he reached out to touch her cheek again and she used a pothole as an excuse to avoid his hand, “but it’s not because you want power. Luckily I have the patience now to break you without killing you. You will be a suitable queen. You have charm when you choose to use it, intelligence, skill, and you still have your looks.”

“What do you mean I still have my looks?” Glory asked in confusion, but Neirin only smiled.

“It’s been a while since you’ve seen your sister then.” He laughed without enlightening her further, and she was too careful to ask more. They sat in silence again for several minutes, Glory stewing about her sister and Neirin still smiling over her reaction.

“What do you intend to do?” she asked suddenly, switching gears. “This ritual.” She waved her hand at the boxes.

“My dear, are you trying to get me to monologue?” he asked, his unpleasant laugh bouncing off the walls of the car, making them seem far too close for comfort. “Something I absolutely love about your world are the movies. So much more entertaining than having random travelers sing for their supper.” He cocked his head to the side. “And I’ve learned so much from them… Such as a monologuing villain is a dead one. Though I take exception to being the villain.”

The seats in the limo were spacious enough that there was room enough for a half dozen more people. Still Neirin took that opportunity to slide across the seat so there was no way for her to avoid his touch any more. He took her hand in his own, laying his other hand over it.

“Dearest,” he said and Glory wanted to scream and flail in disgust. Opening the car door and jumping into traffic was starting to look pretty damned attractive, the stone and the key be damned. “I know we got off to a bad start and that was my fault. I’m older now, wiser… I was such a small minded fool in Annwn. Ruling there would have been a constant struggle against usurpers. But your people, forgive the insult… they are lazy and uneducated. I could take this entire island in a matter of days, and no one would rise to stop me.”

“You can’t believe that!” Glory said, half horrified and half amused.

“I’ve studied so many things in your world- psychology, politics, economy… I’ve seen how your people deal with dictators and such. Those who seize power and manage to cement it in a very short time are largely left alone. I will being the High King of Ireland, and the people will love me for saving them, freeing them.”

“You won’t win any converts by eating children,” she said angrily, pulling her hand from his grasp. Not to mention she wasn’t sure how the Irish public would feel about having a foreigner for a high king, let alone how naïve Neirin was in assuming being crowned would automatically lead to the Irish loving him for it.

Neirin looked angry, but then smiled. “Considering your father’s habits…”

“I am not my father,” she snapped. “Whatever he does has nothing to do with me, and I would never have anything to do with someone who would even consider eating a child.”

“Dearest,” he said in a chiding tone. “But I am so hungry. Nothing here satisfies me, but I know if I could…”

Glory shook her head. “Go back to your own world. That’s the only thing that will work. Nothing you eat here, nothing, will ever satisfy your hunger. None of the exiles you sent here could be satisfied with our food, and neither can you, not even if you go back to being a cannibal.”

to Book 7, part 3, page 12

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