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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 58

When Alles awoke, he rose from his bed in the corner of the tent and pulled back the curtain. He saw Annsi asleep on the floor, a blanket lying on top of her, which she firmly clung to as she curled her body tightly together to battle the early-morning cold.

He crossed the room to find Annsi’s bag and opened it up. There on the top he saw the leather pouch where her soldier’s sponge was stored, and when he opened the pouch, he saw the mossy bundle in its place, soaking in its sour solution.

When Annsi awoke, dressed for the day and gathered together everything into her bag, Alles asked, “I didn’t hear you rinsing out your soldier’s sponge last night, as you usually do. And you didn’t leave it inside of you, since I saw it in its pouch before you woke up.”

“You heard me after you went to sleep?” Annsi asked, with some embarrassment.

“And now that I think about it,” Alles continued, “I don’t think I felt it there when I entered you. It has a distinctive texture, like wet grass. It’s unmistakable. Yet, I didn’t feel it. You didn’t put it in, did you?”

Annsi didn’t say anything. She simply waited for him to react: for him to be angry or upset, or at least display some emotion. Instead, all he said, in his usual even tone, was, “Get packed, we leave immediately.”

As the troops climbed towards the outer bulwarks, its size grew in their sight and the cracks and disintegration became clearer and more detailed. They walked through the crumbling gates and almost immediately upon them stepping across that threshold, the ground fell away and the whole great valley of Sanloslee Park spread out before them, extending summerward to the horizon. The pristine holy ground of the Great Dunes glowed in the daylight and the cultivated fields spread around them, with Lamosa in the center.

The troops crossed the valley towards Lamosa, entering the gates of the inner bulwark and losing themselves in the streets. It was not unusual for the citizens of Lamosa to see small bands of troops entering and the city, since there were various detachments that would return from and depart for nearby forts. But the black palanquin that they carried, with its unseen contents, did draw attention. Many persons stopped in their tracks on the street to catch sight of the arrival of whatever unknown object or person was inside.

A few minutes later, Onur was answering the door of Darma’s house, his eyes meeting a grimy, young boy breathlessly standing at the door. “I was told to deliver a message to mistress Darma, that Alles has returned. He’s at the Omnian Plaza,” the boy said, panting heavily as he tried to catch his breath.

“Thank you,” Onur said, handing a coin to the boy and then closing the door on him.

He went to the living room to find Darma, but only saw Salles there exercising alone. “She couldn’t be persuaded to lift herself out of bed,” Salles told Onur after he inquired after her, “Maybe you’ll have better luck.”

“The message is more for you, really,” Onur replied, “Alles is back, and presumably your daughter Annsi with him. But I shall endeavor to impress upon my mistress the importance of rising immediately to escort you to the locatin.”

Onur found his mistress grumpy and disagreeable when he tried to raise her from her bed, and she called out disagreeably to her servant, “Get away. Leave a woman to sleep.”

When Onur told her, “I have been informed that Alles has returned,” she rolled over and conceded, “I guess I should accompany Salles there,” with a groan of discontent.

Salles and Darma were prompt enough that, at their arrival, they found Alles’ soldiers standing in formation to prevent the crowds walking along the thoroughfare from intruding upon the activities around the palanquin. The soldiers were standing in the midst of the Omnian Plaza, a large, shady public square and parade ground adjacent to the Public House. In this morning light, the high buildings that surrounded it mostly shrouded the ground and left it feeling chilly there at this time of day.

Annsi was there in the background, watching as the three official court philosophers, Apamix, Taney and Sidd, extracted some sort of enshrouded young child from the interior of a black palanquin.

“Let’s schedule some tests on this boy,” Anders, who was standing besides the three philosophers, said, looking at the child with great interest, “See what he’s really capable of.”

“We treated the boy with the greatest care,” Alles added.

“He’s named Samuel,” Annsi shyly interjected, as she watched the child being taken away by the three men.

<-- Go to Part 57         Go to Part 59 -->

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

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