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, October 7, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 44

Amida and Noone walked up to the entrance of the cloisters just as the last light of day was disappearing. Two sentries stood at the entrance, keeping warm next to a charcoal-fed brazier that glowed from the inside. Amida and Noone passed through the gallery and went straight to Noone’s office where Eloh was there to meet them.

Noone looked haggard from a long day of travel and wearily set down her bag and sat upon a chair to rest. Amida set her bag down as well and deferentially waited for the eldest’s lead. As she stood there, she removed a ribbon, which held her hair in a ponytail, and her frizzy hair began to spread out untamed.

“All is well in Lamosa?” Eloh asked.

“Things are never well in Lamosa,” Noone replied, “It’s a dirty and impure place, as you well know, filled with waste and profligacy. But we encountered no unexpected problems, if that’s what you mean.”

“Good to hear,” Eloh nodded

“The hour is late and our bedtime approaches, but I’d like you to give me an update on what you’ve uncovered before I sleep,” Noone said, “I’ve told Amida what I know, so we’ll have her to help us out as well.”

Amida nodded her head and leaned against the wall while Eloh began to speak.

“Not much to tell, I’m afraid. I’ve been trying to approach this with a delicate hand so as not to arouse the least hint of suspicion. I’ve focused on the only three three residents to arrive in the past sixty-five days: Arrs, Sanda and Jule. I talked to the three of them informally, trying to learn anything about their activities on the night of the fire. Arrs and Sanda admitted to being up late that night. They were in fact together in Sanda’s room after hours, but were not so at the time of the fire. Jule claimed to have slept well that night, aside from being woken by the alarm, but did seem a bit tired. I searched their rooms. Nothing suspicious in either Arrs’ or Sanda’s possessions, aside from a few unused candles I found in Arrs’ room. I did find a cache of nearly twenty books in Jule’s room, along with a stone dagger, that appears to be of the make of the itinerant tribes. I don’t know how to explain these things, but they don’t appear to be related to the fire.”

“That is curious,” Noone admitted, turning to Amida and asking her, “What do you make of it?”

“He must be wealthy, then,” Amida said, “How else could he afford to have so many books? And a stone dagger must come at a high price. No tribesman would give it to an outsider easily or cheaply. I haven’t met the man, so I can only speculate. The question is why a wealthy man would come to live here and buy room and board with the sweat of his labor.”

“Yes,” Noone said, “Or he stole them all. We’ll have to look into that more carefully. But I am surprised that you didn’t find out more, Eloh.”

“I tried what I could. It’s difficult to make inquiries without letting anyone know you’re doing so.”

“But you’re a witness, Eloh,” Noone said, “That’s why I had you investigate. You were there. You saw the culprit.”

“Only a silhouette,” Eloh objected.

“It might be enough to eliminate suspects,” she said, “You saw a shadow in the watermill, you went to investigate and then, presumably, you were struck from behind on the head, knocking you out. Did the shadow appear to be a woman’s shadow or a man’s?”

“I couldn’t say,” Eloh replied.

“Did it appear to be tall or short?” Noone asked. When Eloh shrugged his shoulders, Noone continued, “At the very least you can ascertain where exactly on your head you were struck. That’s not too hard is it?”

Eloh reached around to the back of his head and felt a tender bump. He pointed to it for Noone and then bent down so she could examine it. It was on the right side of the back of his head, above the middle, maybe two fingers-width from the top.

“If the person who struck you was shorter than you, they probably would’ve hit you more to the bottom of your skull. Observe how it’d be if I did it.” Noone’s head only just reached Eloh’s shoulders, and when she picked up a rolled up piece of parchment and swung it like one attempting to strike him from behind, she tapped him at the base of the skull, just above the neck. “It would not be natural for a person of my height to hit you so high on your head,” she said, “I’d have to really reach. And I can’t imagine how I could swing with any force is such a way.”

<-- Go to Part 43         Go to Part 45 -->

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

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