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, September 5, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 26

Alles visited Solis next, who was still being attended by Jesek. The murmuring and conversation that filled the crowd that huddled around, came to stope as Alles approached. Alles asked about his patient, who lay across a blanket on the ground with his head cushioned and a fresh bandage wrapped around his ankle. Jesek said: “He’ll probably recover soon, but he really needs to be attended to by a more professional healer. We ought to return as fast as possible.”

“And how many more days have we until we return?” Alles asked.

“Just this afternoon, we passed the place where we had camped three days out from Lamosa on the way to the village. If we up our pace, maybe we can arrive in two and a half days.”

Alles nodded his consent and then left the camp, returning to his own tent. After Alles left, the silence that had spread across the group dissipated and conversation rose again. Conversation died down again, when Jesek finished attending to Solis and began to tell the story he’d promised, about his departure from Orinda and encounter with Still Creek.

“I grew up in Orinda-forr,” he began, “which is about a day and a half’s journey from Still Creek-forr, where we found the boy. This is why I know the area. I passed by Still Creek on my way to Lamosa when I was fleeing from my hometown. I’d been warned about Still Creek, so I stayed away from it. The people in Orinda were, quite frankly a little bit frightened of Still Creek. Two men left to visit the town on separate occasions and neither of them were ever heard from again. Incautious rumors about the town were everywhere, including everything from worship of the devil, to cannibalism, to human sacrifices. When I visited, I discovered that devil worship came closest to the mark.

“I planned on passing close by it because I realized that the quickest route from Orinda-forr to Lamosa was in fact right through Still Creek. I wanted to find out what was going on in that town, and where those men had gone. So, along our way, I sat down and I watched the town for most of the daylight, all morning and afternoon. I realized first of all, that the two men had apparently simply settled down and still lived in Still Creek. But even more surprising, I saw the citizens of Still Creek worshipping a small child, who they sat on a pedestal surrounded by a ring of burning torches. I saw them laboring all day in the fields and in the workshops and then just throwing heaps of gifts upon that little boy.”

“And that was the story that I carried with me when I got to Lamosa. I had no concept of what a Sable is. We don’t have that legend in the Fourth Order. But, by the way I saw them worshipping him, I’m confident that the boy we nabbed is capable of great things, and is also incredibly dangerous.”

“Why did you flee your hometown?” Solis asked Jesek.

“Well,” Jesek said, pausing to gather his words, “The day when I left was on the Orestian holiday. It’s a feast we have for an important ancestor of ours named Orestia, who taught us how to tame and domesticate the wild animals — the cows, the horses, the sheep. The Orestian holiday comes every year, but once ever six years it’s particularly important, because we go out and capture a new creature — the creature of virtue. The animal we call the great lynx, since its eyes can see inside you and see your wickedness. Many of them live in the forests near and around Orinda. When we capture it and tame it, it becomes the creature of virtue, our protector.

“The creature is by far the most dangerous animal that man has ever domesticated. It’ll hunt and kill a human. And not in the most friendly way. It’s a solitary animal, but very territorial. It looks like a great cat, silently walking on its four paws while its tail swings behind it. If it catches your scent, it’ll stalk you through the woods. When it gets close, it pounces on you from above, knocking you down. Then, while holding you to the ground with its big forepaws, it digs its jaws right in your gut, and it gnaws at your innards as you try to get to your feet to get away. Whether you manage to stand up or not, it’s too late. It’ll knock you down easily again even if you manage to get up. It only eats the meat around your belly — the liver, intestines, kidney, heart, etc. — and then it leaves you for the wolves and the birds and the bears.”

<-- Go to Part 25         Go to Part 27 -->

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

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