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, September 14, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 31

Annsi alone guarded the palanquin, clothed in the sheet she’d inexpertly wrapped around herself when she’d hastily left the tent. This scanty clothing, which signified to Erek-Monte’s men one fresh from the bed and all its lasciviousness, led them to linger around and surround her. They were trying to speak her language but their diction was strange and their accent was alien. Their words came out as a garbled mix, which she could only partially recognize. Their intentions were clear, and, though they zeroed in on the palanquin, they seemed less interested, at the moment, in its contents.

Alles only watched Annsi’s plight from a distance, not intervening. As the men closed in more tightly around her they grabbed at the sheet, laughing, touching her body, as she slapped them away. But she held fast to her post, still barring the small entrance to the palanquin and still standing firm, even after her sword was knocked out of her hand, rattling to the ground.

Orick soon leapt in to knock the men away. He tried to grab hold of one man and pushed at another two in the process. The two quickly darted away, and the first quickly wriggled out of Orick’s grasp before running away himself. Annsi then picked up her sword and chased a man away while Orick tried to catch another.

Only moments later, a booming shout was heard across the camp and the raiders started to disband. There was no apparent order to this surrender, as the men darted into the dark woods in all directions. Some of Alles’ men ran after them, but they lost them in the dark. Their eyes adjusted slowly to the darkness beyond the confines of the camp, whereas the raiders simply switched their eye patch and found their way with the already dark-adjusted eye.

Alles alone kept on the tale of a pell-mell raider who darted upslope from the camp in a quick, meandering path. The raider led Alles back to Erek-Monte’s small camp, where a tribeswoman named Chrisina stepped forward without Alles even noticing and swiped a long, thick tree branch across his chest with such force that he fell off his feet and tumbled to the ground. She turned to finish him off with a dagger thrust to the neck, but he’d already stood and was running back to his camp.

When Alles got back to the camp, he found Lee wounded through the stomach and bleeding profusely. Blood coughed from his mouth and Jesek held him up. Jesek poured some water in Lee’s mouth, but he spit it out and shouted with pain. Lee started to murmur a prayer, over and over again, “Anan, save me from Death. Save me for eternity and all the hereafter.” He repeated it a number of times. Jesek looked on helplessly. Finally, Lee fell limp, and Jesek closed his eyes. Alles murmured, “May Anan, great adversary of Death, save him for eternity and the hereafter,” as Jesek rested him upon the ground.

They planted two torches at the head and foot of his grave, then began to dig the hole into the ground. As a warrior, he was buried standing up, with a small shrine of stones stacked above his head, to help Anan find him for the hereafter.

The mechanics of burying a soldier properly were somewhat challenging. To properly put him in his hole, they dug a long, thin trench, with one side sloped so the digger had room to move and could easily climb out of the hole. They then lowered the body into the trench, with a rope around his chest to keep him upright, while the digger quickly filled the hole in. While the hole was being filled up, Alles took a loaf of bread and broke it above Lee’s corpse, letting the crumbs sprinkle over him. He then took one half, and shared it among the men, then took the other half and tossed it in the hole. Once the hole was filled, they put the stack of stones on top, And Alles announced, “May Anan save us all from Death.”

Just as they were about to return to bed, Jesek announced in a loud voice, “Samuel’s gone!”

<-- Go to Part 30         Go to Part 32 -->

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

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