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, August 20, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 17

Anders confessed to Tine with some passion “I resent dealing with these Aresans. Their king’s a lecherous oaf, and the Sages are too smart for their own good. The Sages think too much about everything and do nothing. If they just became the fourteenth clan of Omnia it’d be better for everybody: they could sit at the table and I wouldn’t always clash with their king. But the king won’t consent because he’ll lose power and the Sages won’t try to persuade him because they’ll lose influence; the whole order of the Sages would just wither away and die without the king.”

“I’ve told you before sir. I don’t believe there is any other way but brute force. ‘You cannot peal the shell of a nut, only crack it,’” Tine noted, quoting a well-known aphorism.

“The Aresan Clan is strong and their lands and people are vast,” Anders said, shaking his head, “All the more reason why, if they were to join the Omnia, its strength would grow, its power would flower into something greater. We, its leadership would be able to accomplish greater things, spread ourselves further, conquer the Fourth Order and bring the whole region under peace. If they would join us.”

Tine only replied, “Let’s talk to Strya.”

A second door led out of the Sand Garden into the room of the Closed Table. This was the room of the Public House where the Premier would consult privately with the thirteen other leaders of the clans of the Omnia. Unlike the Open Table it was not open to the public, not open to visitors, not a place where one would come to see the Premier.

As Anders and Tine entered, they found the room empty except for Strya who sat in the shadows on the opposite end of the Closed Table. The Closed Table itself was a long piece of salvaged glass, jagged at the edges, that rested on a base of carved wood and was supported by several large, solid-stone legs. The room where it stood was little larger than the table itself, surrounded by seats of leather stretched over wooden frames, the largest being the seat at the head of table where Anders would sit. Above the table a window in the ceiling looked up into the afternoon sky.

As Anders and Tine entered, Strya turned to see them. He put his hands on the table and spread out his spindly fingers to stretch them. He addressed Anders: “Premier.”

“What do you have for us?” Anders asked.

“The word from Orinda is that the Fourth Order is focusing on proselytizing on the winterward and sunsetward frontiers. They’ve been neglecting the Middle Park region, and the disputed zones in general. I think it’s because of the itinerant tribes, who seem to be quite active in those regions.”

“Yes, the Sages have been complaining about them too,” Tine nodded his head, “They were just asking again right now for more military support. This bodes well for us. It’s a good time to try and push our borders winterward.”

“Do you agree?” Anders asked Strya.

Strya shrugged his shoulders, admitting, “I don’t know much about the political situation with the Aresan clan. I don’t think they would appreciate it. But from a strategic perspective, from a military perspective, I agree.”

“Always the Aresan clan giving us problems,” Anders sighed, “You are dismissed Strya.”

Strya stood up and as he was crossing the room he nodded at the large mural he passed and said, “I was noticing the mural. Whoever picked it for this room?”

The mural depicted the well-known episode of the monk, Hieronymous, driving away Aza-toth’s eldest son, the powerful demon Char-Sensa-doon. In the mural, Hieronymous had at his feet the box of mirrors where Char-Sensa-doon was trapped. He was raising his arms in the ritual of divine exorcism, banishing Char-Sensa-doon to the Second Realm, where he would labor in servitude for three eternities. Above him the clouds opened up and birds circled in the air.

Strya said, “I imagine that the Closed Table could hardly find the idea of someone in power being banished and imprisoned as an appealing theme.”

“It predates my tenure by many decades,” Anders said, “But I think you misinterpret it. It is a symbol of good overcoming evil. It is what we like to think we in power strive for. Don’t you agree?”

Strya again simply shrugged his shoulders, and said, “I don’t know anything about that.”

Anders looked up through the window in the ceiling and said, “The sky itself is a great table, of which we see only the underside. There, during the day, Anan and his council of his gods confer, their hands resting on top of the table out of sight and their great feet touching the ground beyond the horizon. Just as they are responsible for the overthrow of Aza-toth, we down here, also, stand as a bulwark against evil. That is the significance of this mural.”

“Like I said,” Strya shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know anything about that.” He then walked out of the room, exiting into the sand garden, stealthily climbing the wall and disappearing into the city.

<-- Go to Part 16        Go to Part 18 -->

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

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