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 3, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 7

As they carried Samuel through the mountains, he was so compliant and peaceful. Annsi would remove him from his palanquin thrice daily – just as he woke up, at midday and just before bed. She would hood him, leading him around a little to exercise his legs and stopping him somewhere to let him relieve himself, before feeding him a little and giving him some water. And he would always follow along without any resistance. Alles had assigned Annsi to take care of the boy, to hold his hand in her gloved hand while she walked him around, to walk beside his palanquin and speak to him through the walls while he was inside. She would help push the palanquin upward on the steeper slopes and support it downward as they climbed through the mountain landscape. All the while the boy was so docile and compliant. He did everything on command: he bent his head to accept the hood each time and he would reach up to take Annsi’s gloved hand when she walked with him blindfolded by the hood and silenced by his own speechlessness.

While he was inside the palanquin, Annsi would talk quietly to him through the walls. She told him stories about herself, about her people, about the Aresan Clan and the country of Omnia.

“My family belongs to the Aresan clan, and my father is a Heavy Hand,” she told him, “It means he’s a Mage, a Mage of the Heavy Hands. He heals the sick and he heals the wounded. The Aresan clan is known for its healers. He’s very good at it. He has such a touch, such warm hands. When I grew ill as a child he would place his warm hands upon me and give me some things to eat and drink and my sickness would almost seem to evaporate at his touch. He taught me a few things, but I just never had the touch; I just never had his warms hands and his perfect sense for exactly what was wrong.

“My mom, his daughter, raised me on her own. She was a sweet woman, but stern, always smacking me about when I did wrong. She had small eyes and a smile all the time that only disappeared when she was angry with me. My father was Salles, who’s a Sage, which means I don’t really know him and means his father (my other grandfather) was an Aresan prince. I only met my father once when I was fifteen and I’ve never met my other grandfather. I remember my father as stiff and formal, but very graceful. He met me and my mother once to try and arrange a marriage for me, but I defied them by volunteering for the military. So, here I am. They tell me that my chances of finding a husband now are thin—no men wants to marry a former soldier, even if I survive — and I’ll soon be too old be marry. But I would love to have children, especially a little boy like you. But I know you’ll marry some day, I hope. You’ll grow up strong and perhaps some young Aresan Mage’s apprentice will be captivated by your eyes.”

After marching through most of the daylight, they stopped for the evening. The palanquin was set down, and the soldiers’ tents were built. Alles had the largest tent of the group, but it lacked the usual opulence of a commander. He had no decorations, wall hangings or rugs; only a few straw mats lying on the floor for visitors, and one in the corner to sleep on. The skin of a dear he had killed himself served as a curtain to separate his bed from the rest of the tent, and just outside this little cove was a water pitcher with a washing bowl. The colors were subdued: the fabrics and leathers the tent of the tent were entirely undyed, and the mattress linens also were in the raw earthy color from which they were woven.

His dark cloak hung, drying from the ceiling and he sat rigidly and dignified on the ground his legs beneath him, as he tried to focus and quiet his thoughts. Several large scars appeared across his strong chest and arms, created by the blades of a few fortunate adversaries who’d managed to temporarily breach his defenses.

Annsi entered, folding aside the door flap of the tent and stepping inside. He gave no acknowledgment of her entrance, and remained motionless until she sat beside him and put her hands on his shoulder. He turned to look at her with only a brief hint of annoyance, before he turned away and resumed his prayer.

Smiles seldom crossed his face, nor frowns. It was mostly with his eyes alone that he emoted and with these only slightly. His emotions, like his actions, were characterized by a complete absence of extremes: never over-reacting or under-reacting to anything.

<-- Go to Part 6         Go to Part 8 -->

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

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