if the fluid is not leaking onto the ground, then it being burnt, the tic you have can be bad spark plugs from being fouled out with water, or a head gasket or intake gasket. the way to test is to do a leakdown test on each cylinder, this will tell you exactly where the coolants coming from
i meant to send this as an info request, i accidentaly pushed answer. first thing, run the vehicle with the coolant fill cap off, add water and antifreeze, if you dont have premixed antifreeze-listed on the front label, then you will need to mix it 50/50 with water. fill the coolant while engine running, let the engine get all the way to normal temp and then make sure the heater is putting out heat, then top off the antfreeze as needed. then after this at any point go for a drive, to make sure the fluiod level just wasnt excessively low. if this has been done, or you know it was not excessively low then proceed as follows....
do all the spark plugs, always. a leakdown test is done with an air compressor and a leak down test gauge, air is supplied to each cylinder through the gauge with the compressor to one cylinder at a time, the gauge has an extension that screws into the spark plug hole. the gauge is marked to show if the cylinder is holding, and if it is leaking-and where it is leaking from. this back trace of the leak should tell you how the water is getting into the engine.
another question, is the ticking new, and about how loud is it? some engines develope a rocker arm tick that revs up and down with the engine, it can not be adjusted on your car without a part replacement