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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 22

The woman spoke with the same elegant dignity with which she moved, welcoming everyone into her bounty.

“He’s not young,” Noone corrected her, “He’s got a daughter who’s nearly as old as you.”

“He must be another of your sages then. Well, he’s young for a sage. My, has he aged well,” the woman observed, “But what’s his name?”

Noone turned to Salles saying, “You can speak for yourself.”

“I’m Salles. And Noone didn’t tell me your name.”

“I am Darma. I am mistress of this house, to which you are welcome. Let me show you around. You must stay for dinner, and even for the night if you can. I’d love to have you. We have extra rooms that are more than comfortable.”

“He will be staying a number of nights,” Noone said, “At least until Alles returns, and maybe longer. I will be staying only tonight. And I’ll be taking Amida with me.”

“Oh, Amida has been such a delight,” Darma said, disappointed, “I shall be sorry to see her go. But I’m sure this handsome young man (or not quite so young man) will be a good replacement. And what’s this about Alles’ return?”

“I probably should not have mentioned that, since it’s supposed to be confidential,” Noone demurred.

But Darma persisted, “Oh, I do love a secret. Do tell. I’m sure it’s not so important we must keep it to ourselves. Anders and his people are always hiding so much they needn’t for no reason other than to be secretive, if I do say. We can have our own little rebellion against that climate of secrecy, by sharing a trifling secret, can’t we?”

“I guess I can tell you at least that Alles and some troops went to investigate a small town, which lies at the fringes of our territory, in the disputed regions. The town converted to the Fourth Order many years ago. Alles will be returning soon with his men. And with one woman soldier, I should add. She’s Salles’s daughter, in fact, and she’s just about your age, Darma. I’m trying to remember, what’s her name?” Noone turned to Salles, but he shrugged his shoulders. Noone lit up, “Annsi! That’s it! You might get to meet this Annsi. And of course, you and Salles shall have to take a chance to talk with Alles himself. You see, I brought this acolyte along solely because his daughter is a close compatriot of Alles, who I deeply want to provide us with assistance.”

Darma was visibly uncomfortable, but she kept up her demeanor, “A woman soldier? That sounds delightful. I shall love to meet her. Perhaps I can ask her some questions. Perhaps satisfy my curiosity at why a woman would choose such an occupation.”

“She was not born as wealthy as you,” Noone spoke up, her voice still even and controlled, but assertive, “I do not intend to insult you. For the moment could you show us to our rooms? And I’d prefer something not too comfortable for Salles. He is used to austerity.”

Darma paused uncertainly for a second. “I don’t really have any austere rooms,” Darma said with apparent shame. “Perhaps he can sleep on the doorstep,” she said half seriously, “Or we have a horse, which we store in a stable just down the street. The horse isn’t there, since my husband has it. He can lay on some hay there.”

“Oh well,” Noone said, “Just give him whatever’s open.”

“I can take the bed out of his room and he can sleep on the floor,” Darma suggested.

“When will you be serving dinner?” Noone asked.

“Dinner is being prepared and Amida’s expected shortly. We hope that she’ll be here by the time it’s ready,” Darma answered, “For now let me show Salles to his room and show him around the house. You can find your way to your room, right?”

“Yes,” Noone said and walked off. Darma showed Salles to his room, a small, windowless space, with a bed to sleep on, a chest at its foot, a table with a small oil lamp on it now burning, and a fine earthenware chamber pot in the corner.

“This is nice isn’t it,” Darma said, adding, “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t have made you sleep in the stables or on the floor. I sometimes can’t tell whether Noone is being serious, though.” She laughed quietly and elegantly after she said this, touching Salles on the shoulder as she laughed.

<-- Go to Part 21         Go to Part 23 -->

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

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