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.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 24

In the Sage’s cloisters, living alongside the six or seven sages that usually resided there, were a much larger multitude of residents — visitors, servants, pilgrims, outcasts and others — who in exchange for menial labor, would be able to reside beside the sages and partake of their salubrious lifestyle. As Eloh stood at the desk of the Eldest’s office and inspected her records, he could that see that forty-six residents were currently occupying the cloisters, along with the six now present sages. The Eldest’s office, sparsely furnished and decorated, containing only a single desk alongside shelves of folios, sheets and rolls, had little to distract one from its beautiful view, which looked out on the valley below. The Eldest therein held the names of all of residents of the cloisters on a stack of lined sheets of parchment that’s oldest sheets pre-dated not only her tenure as Eldest, but even her birth. Every resident that had ever lived in the cloisters had their name recorded, their occupation, their date of arrival, their assigned room and their date of departure. Next to that was some room for miscellaneous notes, which offered further details about their guests. For example, he could read a few pages into the past that one resident, Daysha, had resided in the cloisters for over a year and, as was noted besides her name, that Salles had fathered a daughter with her named Annsi.

Surveying the records of the forty-six who currently resided in the cloisters, Eloh focused on those who had recently arrived, since, as he suspected, it would be among these that he would find the saboteur responsible for the destruction of the mill. Three names were of particular interest: Jule, a weaver by profession who’d arrived six days ago; Arrs, a farrier by profession who’d arrived fifteen days ago; and Sanda who’d arrived twenty days ago. Sanda’s profession was listed as house servant (undoubtedly the profession she’d told Noone when she arrived), but Noone had added a miscellaneous note: “prostitute?” to the side. The next most recent arrival after Sanda was sixty-four days ago: a long period for a saboteur to lie in wait, Eloh supposed. So Eloh decided to confine himself to investigating these three and left the office to find them. He recalled clearly what Noone had told him about letting none even suspect they were under investigation and he considered carefully what he would ask them.

Almost the entirety of the cloisters, sages and residents were involved in reconstructing the watermill and Eloh walked in that direction to find them. He knew all three of his suspects by sight. The community of the cloisters was intimate and he remembered when all three of them arrived. It always took him time to put names to the new faces, but it was hard not to know any face in a community of only some fifty persons.

He sought out Jule first, a man past his fortieth year with sallow, wrinkled skin and grey hair. He had keen, narrow eyes and strong hands and appeared skilled at handling and manipulating the tools he was using to affix boards of wood to the fractured walls of the mill. As Eloh approached, he was pounding iron nails through a board to repair one of the walls. Eloh nodded in his direction and said, “Jule, isn’t it? How are you doing?”

“Doing fine,” he replied.

“You don’t need a break or anything?” Eloh asked, “You’re not tired.”

“Can’t complain,” he said, “Fighting the mill fire last night did interrupt my sleep, but I’m rested. I haven’t been working too long, and I do love working outdoors.”

“Good to hear,” Eloh nodded, adding, “See me if you need anything.”

Next on his list was Arrs who’d been assigned to fixing the large gears that transferred the force of the massive water wheel to the large stone mill where the grain was ground. Arrs was securing one of the gears that had been dislodged by the fire into place. He was a young man, barely over twenty. He had long hair, which he swept back away from a youthful, vibrant face while he worked. He was small and lanky without much physical strength, a man built for the life of an aesthete rather than for hard physical labor. He seemed to have a rather delicate constitution and when Eloh asked him if he was tired, Eloh was unsurprised to hear the young man admit, “To be honest, I am. Didn’t sleep well last night.”

“Do you need to take a break?” Eloh asked

“I’ll take my break whenever you say sir,” the young man replied with a charming smile.

“Why don’t you take a short break now?” Eloh suggested and Arrs gave a relieved sigh, saying “thank you,” before walking off to grab a drink of water and sit himself on the grass.

<-- Go to Part 23         Go to Part 25 -->

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

No comments:

Post a Comment