Tales from Etlantium Book 2
Cover photograph by Kiselev Andrey Valerevich (BigStockphoto.com)
Cover Design: Thea Atkinson
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Copyright 2012 Thea Atkinson
"The first conqueror came the day I received my first tattau. My skin at the lowest rib stung like it had been scraped raw and doused with fermented balsam gum, and I suppose it had when you come to think about it. I knew the outline of the first symbol meant clay – our word for the dirt beneath our feet and the soil we'd been formed from, the earth that sustained us. It was the most important symbol of the magic that would be created over the seasons and I knew the outline was as crimson at the edges as the soot that filled it in had been black."
Theron looked down at his feet, imagining again the henna on his toenails, pretending the veins that stood out so blue against his skin were trails of decorative woad tracing his instep in preparation for a sacred ceremony. He closed his eyes and tried desperately to imagine the woman those things had been done for. The nights they spent together. The seasons they lived with each other. Yes, even the deaths they lost each other to.
The sting of leather seared against his back and he sagged forward. He had forgotten for a moment, one blessed moment, that his hands were bound above him, that the trickling of water against the stone here inside his own sacred mountain was not there to quench his thirst as it normally would. It was good that his memories could still be as vivid, could still take him away. He needed that. Hanging like venison ready to be stripped of its skin, he knew he would need the memories before this was all over.