The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 3

Silhouettes darted between the quickly fire-consumed homes: crying children, crying mothers and fathers and the soldiers that chased them. Livestock scattered through the streets and shapes lay themselves soundlessly down on the blood-soaked ground. Alles pulled the child’s head tightly against his chest to muffle the sound of the town’s collective shriek. The boy reached out and wrapped his arms around Alles’s neck, and Alles walked slowly towards the town.

Alles’ soldiers chased stragglers with their long rapiers, their small leather sheaths swinging freely at their sides and the neck coverings of their leather helmets bouncing with their running steps. Alles’ one female soldier, Annsi, stood before a line of townspeople — including men, women and children — kneeling with their backs to the inferno, and Annsi said to him, “These people have surrendered, what do you want me to do?”

“Harboring prisoners isn’t feasible, and I said, I don’t want any witnesses,” Alles said to her with the boy still clinging to his neck. Though the villagers could barely understand Alles and Annsi’s dialect, Alles leaned close to her ear and whispered, “See what they know about this boy, or if any of them knows his mother, then kill them.”

Alles walked away and Annsi asked them a few questions with visible trepidation in her voice. None of them spoke. She hesitated then she methodically kicked each one to the ground and drove her sword into each successive faceless back. She couldn’t help feeling the sting of each one of the murders she was forced to commit.

Alles howled orders to throw all the dead bodies they could into the hottest burning houses and some of the men who’d been wandering aimlessly looking for any more survivors suddenly became active dragging bodies into the hot cores of some of the highest flames. Alles howled orders to expedite some of the dying fires and to make sure this town was nothing but a pile of ashes quickly swept up by the wind when they were done. Some of them began to pull down the standing poles around the throne and use them to prod some of the burning houses. New torches were made and the fire was spread to the still uncharred sections of the village. The pedestal was stripped of its throne and its surrounding pedestal and these were given to the central fire. Rock scooped up the furs and took them as a souvenir.

Alles took the small boy that he’d been carrying around veiled the whole time and he tied him like a bundle in his cloak and rested him atop the former pedestal, leaving Imann to guard him while he continued ordering the soldiers around. The boy sat down inside his little sack without struggle and waited patiently.

The tables had been sufficiently undisturbed that most of the food was still edible, and, though men had been grabbing quick bites as they passed by it through all the bustle and fighting, there was still a small feast spread out on the tables.

Alles asked the men if they’d caught any livestock, and one of them, Lee, said ‘aye’ and pulled out a large goat with its legs tied, still struggling while he held it under his arm. The goat was set down before Alles, while Lee held it down. Alles grabbed the horns, held the neck back and cut the throat of the goat, catching the dripping blood in a bowl. The goat’s hind end was raised to facilitate the flow of the blood while it kicked out its last breath of life.

“As easy as our victory may have been, we’ve still got to thank Anan,” Alles said to his troops and he raised the bowl up to the sky and he said, “To the divinity, We thank you for this victory,” and behind him his fellow soldiers said their “thank you” with him. Alles then walked to the large pyre of the burning town and threw the blood and bowl together into the fire.

They then flayed and cut out the choicest organs, muscle and fat from the goat and skewered them over the now simmering cooking fires. Then Alles and Lee each took two feet of the remains of the goat, then they flung the goat into the heart of the burning village.

They quickly plunged meat and soup and berries and roots into their mouths while the town behind them burned and while the child sat quietly upon his pedestal waiting patiently beneath Alles’ cloak. They ate quickly since they had eaten poorly while they traveled and they were also in a hurry to leave.

<-- Go to Part 2         Go to Part 4 -->

You can see what's been written so far collected here.

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