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, October 3, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 42

Even more surprising, Eloh found at the very bottom of Jule’s bag a distinctive weapon of the itinerant tribes: a stone dagger held in a forearm sheath. The blade of the dagger was made of chipped and sharpened stone, with a keen but jagged edge. The stone blade was not only exclusive to the itinerant tribes, but was one reserved for special occasion. It was solely used in formal ceremonies, ritualized combat and the execution of exceptional enemies. No maker of stone blades would make such a thing for an outsider: meaning that Jule had either stolen it from an itinerant tribesman or he was one himself, previously or currently.

Eloh wanted to investigate further, but he heard a sound in the hallway. He hastily put the books, bed and bag back in place and stepped out of the room, quietly closing the door. When he stepped into the hall he was faced with Arrs, who looked at him curiously. “What you doing in Jule’s room?” Arrs asked.

“I was dropping something off for him,” Eloh said, “Nothing important. How’s the work going? You looking for a break?”

“Not now,” Arrs said, “Things are coming along well. But I was coming back here actually to ask you a question of ethical theory.” Eloh raised an eyebrow when he heard this. “What is the attitude of the sages to romantic relationships between people of disparate ages? Are there any moral concerns about that?”

“And you mean in particular about romantic relationships between older women and younger men?” Eloh asked. Arrs didn’t reply, but simply lowered his head. “Madrus doesn’t begin for several days you know, and until Madrus no sex whatsoever. But once Madrus begins, as far as we’re concerned, if you are an adult, you can choose any partner you like, so long as its consensual and it doesn’t violate some other agreement or oath. In your case, since you aren’t married, I don’t see the problem.”

“Thank you Elder Eloh,” Arrs then said with a small smile and ran off to return to his work.

Alles and his men hastened their march towards Lamosa out of fear that Erek-Monte would attack them again. It was doubtful they would have any advance warning if there was an attack and his men searched about themselves nervously all day, prepared for a fight. Alles sent a runner ahead to gather some troops from the nearest fort, to escort them to the outer bulwark. The troops only arrived just before nightfall, and, as they got closer and closer to Lamosa, attack grew less likely, but he was still wary.

All day they had moved in preparedness and caution, such that when they stopped for the evening, the men were exhausted and badly in need of rest. Alles had hoped to travel further and bring his men within a day’s hike of Lamosa, but they couldn’t achieve such a distance.

By the time Annsi had dined, Samuel was already asleep, but she was hesitant to go back to Alles’ tent and face rejection again. His coldness sometimes could be so unbearable and she thought it might be better to wait until he was asleep to enter the tent. She could put up with sharing a tent like this for these last two nights, until she was back in Lamosa and had her own quarters.

In the night sky were the twinkling of the many minor gods, and the battle lines and tracks of their ancient wars stained the sky with dappled lights. Shapes and figures of their interactions could be recognized among the lights and she observed curiously these moments now frozen permanently in the sky like a painted picture.

As she was staring upwards, she was startled by the sound of someone approaching her. Her immediate thought was of Erek-Monte’s raiding party attacking again and she grabbed her sword. But as the sauntering form of Orick became visible in the starlight she relaxed. He was trailed by Rock and a limping Solis, who both held back as Orick moved closer.

Orick had never made Annsi comfortable and she liked little to be either alone with him or close to him. The closer he came the more uncomfortable she became. She reflexively turned partially away from him like one trying to avoid a strong, dusty wind. She said, “Orick? Have you come looking for me? Is Alles looking for me?”

<-- Go to Part 41         Go to Part 43 -->

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

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