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 9, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 28

“I was fleeing, with Selah, my wife. Not yet my bride at that point,” Jesek continued, “She was pregnant, just barely showing, and the beginning of Madrus was nearly a year away. In Fourth Order cities, Madrus only happens one year of every five years. That means four years of no sex, no childbirth, complete abstinence. And there’s a creature waiting in the woods for any misbehavers.

“Selah and I had been secretly sleeping together before her menarche. I remember when she first started bleeding, during her seventeenth year. It was like a curse. But when she stopped bleeding, it was even worse. I was admittedly ignorant about these things, about childbirth, and we found out everything from her grandmother, who told us we had few months before it would become obvious she was pregnant, and then it would be over. They’d put us in the woods and leave us for the creature.

“I got lucky, though. An Orestian feast was less than two months away, and this one would be Hirams’ rite of passage. I befriended Hiram and helped him with his preparation. When the feast day came I was there with his parents as they watched him off, praying that he would return still alive. Selah and I and then snuck away.

“If we’d been a bit sneakier, if Hiram’s parents hadn’t seen the two of us sneaking through the shadows, maybe the whole flight would have sat easier with me. But they did see us. They were used to just sending the creature for everything, so this time they were caught off guard. They didn’t want to send the creature after us and risk their son’s life. They eventually sent off two young men who were fairly swift on their feet after us. They would’ve never caught me alone, but Selah was slow. Her and I started running even before we were aware we were being followed, because we knew Hiram’s parents had seen us.

“I heard the four legs of the two men running after us, and I thought it was the four legs of the creature. I thought they’d sent it after us without concern for their son. Even when I realized it was two young men from the village, I was worried, since Selah struggled to keep up. We managed to weave and change directions enough so that they had difficulty tracking us, but we couldn’t keep it up forever. They simply wouldn’t stop looking. We could hear them in the distance the whole time and we moved quietly enough that they couldn’t get a fix on us. But then at some point I heard this violent sound, and I heard one of them running off at lightning speed toward the town. Then I heard a great lynx gnawing at one them for a minute, and then it sped off and started running back towards the town for the other one. I reached over and covered Selah’s ears and pulled her against me to quiet her crying. Eventually I had to drag her to her feet, to start us running again. When we far enough away to take a rest she just collapsed on the ground and wept.

“After that first night, everything was easy. Still Creek-forr is not far from Orinda-forr. Of course, there are people just as afraid of Still Creek-forr as afraid of the creature. I wasn’t willing to test my luck twice. I knew we’d pass near it, and I wanted to observe it from a distance, but I didn’t want to get close. And Selah waited patiently with me.

“But I’ve mentioned all that. When I got to Lamosa, I was able to meet with Premier Anders, and he got me a place to live. Selah’s hiding away right now, but she’s well provided for. We know some understanding people who don’t care that we’ve broken Madrus. I guess that’s enough of my story.”

Annsi went to Alles’ tent after hearing Jesek’s story. Alles was already undressed and lying on his bed off in the corner of the tent, with the curtain closed. He had laid out a bed in the center of the tent some distance away from his sleeping spot. The message seemed clear: there was where she was meant to sleep. She cautiously approached him, reaching out for the curtain, already thinking of the warmth of his body against her skin, and she heard from behind the curtain: “I have spread out your bed in the center of the tent. That is your bed this evening.”

Annsi set herself down upon the floor in the tent. Removing some of her remaining clothes, curling under the covers and huddling herself close against herself, bundling into a small shape under the warm fur and still feeling a little bit cold.

<-- Go to Part 27         Go to Part 29 -->

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

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