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, August 24, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 19

Annsi sat with her closed eyes, listening intently to the sound of the dog attempting to pry into the palanquin. She sat afraid and helpless, even thinking she heard another dog approaching and attempting to push inside.

While she sat facing the child, she suddenly felt his small hands touching her. It made her jump with fright, since she didn’t immediately know what it was, but she quickly relaxed as she recognized the small hands of Samuel. He had begun touching her arms, which were wrapped around her legs, and began to journey upwards. He moved slowly up her arms, feeling her chest and her shoulders and her neck across and around the cumbersome armor that she wore, investigating slowly with his hands like some blind person.

Annsi became curious herself so she removed her gloves and reached out her hands to him. As she removed her gloves, he did a mock gesture of removing gloves from his hands as well, which she could hear him performing. She then touched the shoulders of the boy and reached up to touch his face, and his skin, so weathered and worn already for such a young boy. She then touched his eyes as gently as she could and felt the clamped together lashes of his closed eyes. She opened her eyes to look at him, while he still felt across her face, around her chin and across her lips. His face was small and his skin was dark and he had his eyes squeezed together tightly. He was such a little boy, with a round, innocent face and dirty, disheveled hair, sitting with his knees against his chest in imitation of her posture.

As his hands approached her eyes, she closed them, so that he might feel them closed, leaning in close to him so that he might reach her more easily. In imitation he also leant forward, just like her, and when she retracted her hands from touching his face, he also retracted his hands from her face. After a moment, Samuel reached out to touch her mouth, to see what expression was upon it, and she smiled as he touched it. Then Samuel smiled too, and she reached out to feel his silent smile.

All the while, the wolves still tried to get inside. One now sniffed in at the window slits and tried to press its way in with its nose forward. Annsi could see its eager nose and feel its breath through the slits.

The dog’s opportunity was short-lived, since a moment later it was kicked to the side with a yelp and they could both hear that foot step in the grass beside them. The dog on top was knocked off next, landing on its back and whimpering as it retreated with its pack.

Annsi now was able to slide the door open and step out, opening her eyes to the sunlight and seeing Alles standing besides the palanquin facing the retreating animals. When he saw her emerge he quickly pushed the door closed and looked at her affrighted, recoiling a little and still holding his sword with his hands. “You haven’t become enchanted by the child?” he asked.

Annsi replied quickly, “I kept my eyes closed. Don’t worry. And I didn’t touch him.” Alles relaxed a little at this, finally sheathing his sword, but as he took his survey of the rest of his soldiery and the progress of the wolves he still frequently turned back to look at her apprehensively.

As the soldiers and support staff began to re-collect around Alles and the palanquin, it seemed clear that no one else had noticed Annsi emerging from the palanquin — no one else looked at her so distrustfully as Alles had.

One soldier, though, returned limping, being held up on the shoulders of two soldiers. His name was Solis and blood flowed from a wound on his leg just above the top of his boot where he had been bit. He was laid down and Jesek attended to him, stripping off the boot, cleaning the wound with water and alcohol and dressing it with a strip of cloth.

Alles ordered a makeshift seat contrived with a piece of cloth stretched across the bars by which the palanquin was carried. Solis, laid himself down in this seat, with his legs hanging over the edge, and the four soldiers picked up the palanquin and him, as they continued their long journey.

<-- Go to Part 18         Go to Part 20 -->

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

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