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, September 3, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 25

Eloh found Sanda last, walking through the grass pushing a wheelbarrow of debris out of the mill to an organic refuse pile. She was a woman approaching middle age, a bit past her prime in terms of beauty, but still alluring and sensuous. She had round hips and large breasts and she smiled with full, red lips when Eloh addressed her.

She confessed with a generous smile after Eloh asked her, “I am definitely tired. I was up late last night with a man. And before you jump to any conclusions, we were just talking. A very engrossing conversation with that handsome young man, Arrs.”

“Arrs?” Eloh asked, with raised eyebrows.

“Yes, the young farrier who recently arrived. A polite man, though I must confess he can sometimes ask the most impertinent questions. Last night he asked me if I knew how to make a soldier’s sponge. I was quite offended. I told him the only people who know how to make those are soldiers and prostitutes and do I look like either.” She then emitted a little laugh as she told this to Eloh.

“And was Arrs with you the whole night?” Eloh asked.

“Now you’re asking impertinent questions,” Sanda replied, taking mock offense, “Though I may inspire a lot of rumor-mongering by having a man in my room after bedtime, he was gone before the fire woke me. Some may not think so, but I do respect the sacred duty of every woman to remain celibate except during Madrus. Of course, I can’t deny that when Madrus begins, I will go perhaps a little bit wild.” Sanda gave a smile and a wink, adding, “But for now I am dutiful.”

“And you’re not in need of a rest,” Eloh asked.

“Not immediately. But probably by the time you come by to ask me again I will. I know you sages are sticklers about proper sleep, and I promise to do better from now on.”

Eloh smiled and agreed, “True enough,” and walked away.

He returned to helping out in the work himself, transporting wood to the mill and shaping it into workable planks. But while he worked, his mind was in motion. Arrs seemed to him like his most likely suspect, but there hardly was sufficient evidence for him to be confident in his suspicions. The next step, so far as he could see, would be to find his way into their rooms when they were absent, Arrs most especially, and see if he could uncover anything relevant therein.

After the soldiers were settled and camp was being built for the evening, Annsi finally told Alles about her experience inside the palanquin, only excluding from her story the moment when she opened her eyes and looked at the boy: “I didn’t want to abandon Samuel so instead of fleeing like the others I decided to climb onto the palanquin. I thought Samuel might be in danger, if the wolves could break into the palanquin somehow. And I was the only one who hadn’t entirely fled. While I was on top of the palanquin, I realized that it wasn’t going to be high enough to protect me from the wolves, so I impulsively leapt inside with Samuel, judging it to be the only option I had available.

“Inside, I felt an unusual level of calm. I don’t know for sure, because I couldn’t’ see him, since I’d closed my eyes tightly, but I felt as if Samuel was completely without fear. But what was strange was that not long after I’d sat down, he started to imitate me, imitate my movements. I touched his face and his eyes were tightly shut like mine, and he reached out and touched me on my face, and seemed to be seated in the same posture as me while I did this.”

Alles interjected, “You touched him? On the face? Your skin touched his face? And he touched your face with his hands?”

“Well, I was wearing my gloves,” Annsi lied, recoiling.

Alles only said in response to her, “Samuel might be a sable-touch. Take no more risks. And keep away from me and the other soldiers for a while,” before he walked away to attend to some of the other soldiers.

<-- Go to Part 24         Go to Part 26 -->

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

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