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, October 19, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 51

In the morning, after they had eaten and exercised, Noone met alone with Amida and Eloh in the gallery to speak with them privately. The gallery was an open, unfurnished room used as a meeting place and winter exercise room. It was currently empty except for these three person and had only a few windows, making it somewhat dark at this hour. Like much of the cloisters, it had an unadorned austerity, defined by functionality but still beautiful in its way. The walls were decorated all around with a series of paintings created by the Sages, added in order to illustrate scenes from the distant and half-mythical Aresan history for the illiterate masses.

The series of paintings displayed notable moments in their history, meant to capture the broad scope of the historical trends that had transpired. First, there was a depiction of the distant period of near-perfection and paradise that humanity had once enjoyed, characterized by technological marvels and a close proximity to the divine; the next painting showed the devil Aza-toth’s son Char-Sensa-Doon being banished to the Second Realm by Hieronymous; a third showed Aza-thoth’s other son, Ser-Thoth, in the form of a white stag, infecting William Sirr, Chief Royal of Danfur; a fourth showed William Sirr, standing before his great, sky-piercing city of Danfur, initiating war among the Five Cities by sending forth his armies to conquer; a fifth showed the ruins and ashes of the Five Cities, exemplifying the downfall of the human world and its near extinction; a sixth showed the divine war, between Anan and Aza-toth, depicting the two divine beings clashing in the sky with swords of lightning; a seventh showed Anan’s ultimate triumph as Aza-toth cowered before him in submission; an eight showed Anan and the council of gods, from their position in the sky seated at their great table, reaching down to help pull what remained of the human race out of the ashes; a ninth exemplified the period of “Reconstruction” in which humanity currently existed, as humans built modest cities upon the once great marvels of the past; and the tenth, the last painting, depicted the utopic future they expected, when humanity would re-ascend to their position of paradise and again be close to the gods and masters of their world.

Eloh was standing next to Amida looking at the paintings while Noone sat upon the ground with a candle beside her thinking deeply and in silence.

“In order to figure out who set fire to the mill, we need to figure out how he did this,” Noone began, abruptly breaking the silence, “We need to think about what would he do, what would he have to do to succeed at what we know he did.”

Noone stood up and crossed the room with the candle in hand. She touched the flame to the heavy wick of the oil lamp, which blazed with a strong light as soon as it was lit. The main entrance leading into the cloisters was at the far end of the gallery, and, for this reason, a large oil lamp was placed in the room and lit at night to give illumination to any late night arrivals.

“If the person who lit the fire had a candle, he must have either kept the candle lit after bedtime or he relit it from this flame here in the gallery. The only other flame normally kept on at night is the brazier outside by the sentries, but it’s unlikely the person would go out there.

“Certainly a person could sneak from their room to the gallery here and out to the courtyard without being seen. But it would be risky. He would pass many more rooms and have many more opportunities to be seen. If our culprit was more cautious and less heedless, he would keep a candle lit and conceal it inside some sort of container. Obviously, he wouldn’t want his flame to be visible underneath the door to his room in the hallway, lest one of us sages knocks on his door and harasses him about being up too late or wasting candles unnecessarily. In addition, he could use such a container to carry the candle to the watermill and be much less visible. Certainly, that’s not the only way it could be done, but since it’s a very sensible and low-risk way of approaching a high-risk task, we should start by seeking out evidence of it. Thus, if we’re going to search the room, we should seek out something that could be used for such a purpose. Also, as I said last night, I think it’s likely our culprit pinched some straw from his own mattress to create kindling, so we’ll have to inspect the mattresses in search of it.”

<-- Go to Part 50         Go to Part 52 -->

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

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