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 27, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 21

Salles and Noone could see Lamosa from a great distance as they approached. They passed through the gates of the outer bulwark, a long stone wall that extended along the ridges and passes above Lamosa. It was now unguarded and in considerable disrepair — the mortar cracked, sections collapsed and pieces of the wall littering the ground around it — but it once acted as the formidable barrier against the itinerant tribes in the untamed stretches winterward from Lamosa. As Salles and Noone reached a ridge overlooking Lamosa, before them stretched the entirety of Sanlosslee Park, a valley stretching summerward for many days’ journey. The park was settled intermittently with dense cities and broad stretches of farmland that shone many colors in the sinking sun. Not the smallest sliver of land in Sanloslee Park was unoccupied as far as the eye could see, with farmlands and buildings overtaking the whole valley, except around the Great Dunes, which were surrounded by a large buffer of uncultivated land. Lamosa was the large cluster of city at the winterward edge of Sanloslee Park just below where Salles and Noone stood.

“I’ve always wanted to see the Walking Mountains,” Salles said, looking down at the Great Dunes. Strong winds slowly pushed these mountains of sand away from Lamosa, constantly eroding and reshaping them. The Great Dunes were about a quarter of a day’s journey summerward from where they were, rounded by a river, and buttressed against the mountains on the sunriseward edge.

To Salles this was all too unbelievable. This is where the endless supplies of men and women that would sometimes pass through and even reside in the Sages’ Cloisters came from: Houses and buildings further than the horizon, food enough budding in the fields to feed the sages and all their residents for generations, and even small dots that he could see were people in the distance, people more than enough to crowd shoulder to shoulder all the Sage’ vast farmland.

Salles and Noone quickly descended the slopes, though Salles’s legs ached from long walking. And even after this, as Salles could little stand to go any further, they still had to follow the road between long stretches of farmland to get to Lamosa at the center of the valley. Salles had asked to rest before and Noone usually refused, but she now let him take two rests before they finally entered the edge of the city. They passed unfettered through the unguarded gates of the inner bulwark, which hung over a long canal, now brimming with water. Between the wall and the call was a continuous and imposing palisade, well-maintained, but also unguarded.

Entering into the walls, the high buildings began to crowd around them immediately. The city was a maze of narrow meandering streets, which, fortunately, Noone knew her way around. The buildings within the wall were sturdy stone structures, some of them pierced through and built around extant, standing steel beams that protruded out of ancient patches of cement which cut through the cobblestone streets in haphazard patches. Gutters on the edges of the sidewalks flowed with dirty water and cloth and clothing hung on lines above them that extended across the streets. Little courtyards extended off to the side in many directions, where Salles could see groups of people seated outside huddled over their evening meals, and where children played exuberantly.

They shortly arrived at their destination: a large stone house with a massive front door flanked by two columns. Noone knocked on the door and while they waited, Salles asked, “Can you tell me now why you wanted me to come with you?”

Her only response was sarcastic, “I’ve heard plenty about you. I understand you’re lazy, so I thought you might appreciate this leisurely assignment away from the hard labor of reassembling the watermill, back at the cloister. In Lamosa you can relax.”

Before Salles could ask her again, the door opened and a man beckoned them in, saying “Good day to you Noone. The lady is in the garden.”

Noone led Salles through the house around a few corners and up a set of stairs to an open-air garden on the side of the house. A woman there watered the flowers from a bowl of water. A beautiful young woman draped in a glowing length of white fabric and beaming with joy turned at the sound of their approach and gleefully proclaimed: “Oh, Noone, I did not think to expect you so soon. I love to see you, but really you shouldn’t be traveling so much at your age. Oh, and who is this young man that you brought with you?”

<-- Go to Part 20         Go to Part 22 -->

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

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