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.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 16

The Public House looked like the first two steps of a great, cyclopean staircase into the sky – a square building lower in front than in the rear that stood bold and stately in the center of Lamosa. Four square walls, of naked stone and planks of wood, held up the two tiers of flat, overhanging ceiling. Through the large double doors in the front one was presented with a colonnade, a dense forest of columns of salvaged stone and metal, broken down the center by the central pathway leading up to the audience area. In the audience area was a long table perpendicular to the entrance, the Open Table. When the city was smaller it was a table where citizens could sit and speak with their leaders. Now it was mostly symbolic, functioning as a podium between the citizens and the leaders. Citizens could present themselves at the table and speak with the Premier and other delegates of the fourteen clans of the Omnia.

Fourteen chairs were arranged on the raised platform behind the table, in the center of which was the seat of the Premier, who currently was occupying it. All the other seats were empty, except for the seat of the Sevedin Sept occupied by Tine, a dignified old war hero, scarred and aged but still stout and prickly in his advanced years.

Tine was in stark contrast to the Premier, Anders, a clean-shaven, short-haired man in his thirties, with narrow, scheming eyes and the soft skin of a luxuriant lifestyle. The chair on which Anders sat was salvaged whole and intact from nearby ruins, made of beautiful wood with touches of detailed craftsmanship. It was similar to the whole of Anders’ entire outfit and demeanor: simple but of exceptional quality and expense. His official robes of state were glowing white, bordered with lines of purple. He as well spoke, in public, always with plain and simple diction, which nonetheless couldn’t hide his well-educated background.

One of Anders’ most challenging tasks as a leader was to present himself convincingly to the public as a kind and benevolent benefactor who cared for the citizens he represented. Instead, he generally came across looking like a man who is trying to convince another person of something he does not believe himself.

He now smiled a smile that he intended to appear as pleasant and inviting but instead appeared cunning and wily, while he spoke, now engaged in conversation with Amida, a regular presence at court. Rushing through the formalities Anders announced, “The Premier recognizes Elder Amida of the Sages, speaking on behalf of the Chief Royal of the Aresan clan. Go ahead please.”

Amida was the current delegate of the Aresan clan, an intimate ally of Omnia, but not among the fourteen member clans. She had radiant eyes and olive skin that glowed, and she spoke with an unswerving vehemence while in the audience area of the Public House. Her hair was wild and untamable, though she would pull it back into a ponytail to look respectable, and was dressed in the typical beige frock of the Order of Sages, of which she was a member.

“Thank you Premier Anders. I am here to request an increase in the import cap on corn by two hundred baskets. And a decrease in Omnia’s import duties on spirits for the Aresan Clan. There’s been significant rise in demand for corn in Lamosa, which has been causing your prices to rise, and…”

“Yes, yes, yes, I’ll allow it,” Anders impatiently interrupted without waiting for further explanation, “Both of those are fine. Anything further?”

“No further orders of business today, Premier, though the Sages have requested that you reconsider plans to assist in fortifying our Winterward defenses against the itinerant tribes.”

Amida was popular with the members of the Closed Table and Anders especially both because she possessed a polished ability to speak succinctly and because she would seldom speak more than necessary, but there were topics that Anders was not patient enough to even hear her succinctly expound upon. “Yes, yes, we’ve heard this a few times now,” Anders interrupted again, “I’ll bring it before the Closed Table. Is there anything further?”

“No Premier,” Amida said and bowed her head.

“Thank you, then we’ll bring our meeting to a close,” he said standing up. Then, addressing a man sitting who sat in the corner taking notes on the activity of the meeting, “If the senior scribe can take care of the first two orders of business, then I’ll be on my way.”

Anders stood from his seat with his glowing robes flowing behind him and stepped down from the platform to a side door leading out to the Sand Garden. The Sand Garden was open to the sky but walled on all sides and Anders entered it through the door. It was filled with sand smoothly spread upon its floor in gentle rolling dunes, only broken by a boardwalk that meandered through the garden and a number of carved stones that rested upon little mounds of sand. The sand was hauled from the Great Dunes, the “walking mountains” as they were also called, located sunriseward from the city.

Tine followed Anders into the Sand Garden, and after the door was closed and they were alone, Tine said, “Strya’s waiting inside.” Anders nodded in acknowledgement.

<-- Go to Part 15         Go to Part 17 -->

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

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