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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 5

Though the soldiers were thorough in their search of the surrounding terrain, they did miss one survivor. Wounded but not killed by Alles on the pedestal, Lipmon had managed to slip away. His slashed clothes clung along a long red diagonal wound across his chest and face that still bled, while he pressed his unwounded arm into it. After that first volley had trampled over him, he rolled away and dug himself into the edge of the tiny creek around the child’s throne. He’d crawled through the water, listening to the sound of his townspeople’s deaths and the spreading sound of fire, while the long diagonal wound Alles gave him gradually coagulated, the still water of the creek washing against it and slowly diffusing drips of blood leaking from him.

As he crawled away he’d closed his mind to the possibility that someone might catch sign of his painful effort and that all his struggle might come in vain. He’d ignored the hope that some of the other villagers clung to, that the soldiers might in fact take prisoners with them. He’d foreseen, correctly, that the soldiers were not interested in prisoners and had known that if they found him, they would kill him.

Putting some distance between him and the town, he finally climbed out of the creek into some thick underbrush at the base of an upward slope. The slope would take him in the direction he wanted to go, towards Orinda-forr, the nearest Fourth Order village he knew of, and he began to climb. He’d never been to Orinda-forr but he knew which direction to head: to put the sunset on his right, aim toward the Sling Pass, travel directly through the next valley toward the Orinda Pass which would lead him directly into the village.

While Lipmon crawled, still close enough to feel the warmth of the growing fires, he heard more sounds of men shouting orders in a distant and difficult to understand dialect through the crackling town. As the heat receded and he crawled on his stomach between bushes, the soldiers cleared up the last of the villagers and set fire to the last of its buildings.

As they began their feast he sped up his difficult crawl, knowing the only chance he’d have of surviving was to put distance between himself and those soldiers. But after they feasted they began searching through the underbrush and he heard feet striding through the bushes. The regular rhythm of swords and sticks sweeping through the bushes to look for hidden creatures was audible and only grew louder as they approached.

He froze in his progress as a pair of feet approached him, and he saw Lee’s leather-booted feet pierce through the under canopy of the underbrush just in front of him. A sword swept through the bush just beside him as he held his breath, but it just missed him, and the sound began to fade as Lee continued to scour in other directions in search of survivors.

After Lee passed by, Lipmon continued uphill unnoticed, crawling up toward the ridge. When he reached the top, he turned back to look at his smoldering village. Lipmon had a long, thin head with a long, thin neck. His mouth usually hung open with his eyes glazed over in a way that gave him a befuddled and absent look. This look was all the more pronounced as he watched his village burn.

Every building he’d known had been reduced to several small black piles of ash, still smoking from the last remnants of fire. The group of soldiers was walking en masse away from the village with what appeared to him to be the town’s only other survivor. A child that he could only guess was their beloved Tann, wrapped in a cloak was being carried away.

The helpless little boy of theirs, who’d been like a son to the whole town, who they’d worshipped, and to whom they would’ve given their last scrap of food that he might live was being taken. Lipmon wondered whether he’d see that young boy’s tender eyes again, which spoke so eloquently through Tann’s constant silence.

He turned his head forward and looked down into the next valley, which spread out longways before him. He resolved to head downslope, dig up some roots or maybe find some berries and continue walking, sleeping upslope on the far side of the valley and trying to pass through the Sling Pass in the following morning. He could travel most of the next valley the next day and pass into Orinda-forr at nightfall, if he could keep up his pace. All he knew was that he had to make it to Orinda-forr, and that he’d have to will his weak and injured body over two passes to achieve it.

<-- Go to Part 4         Go to Part 6 -->

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

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