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, November 14, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 66

The young sentry picked up Amida when she didn’t reply immediately, grabbing her by her cloak and pulling her to her feet. He then pushed her forward towards the center of the camp, jabbing the tip of the stone dagger emphatically into her back. Amida raised her hands to show she wasn’t armed, and in this posture she approached Erek-Monte who had been sitting while he talked with his courier, Holge-Sant.

“What is this?” Erek-Monte commented as he saw the meek but defiant woman entering his camp, “She looks hefty enough to be one of ours.” He got a riotous agreement in the form of roaring laughter from his men after he said this.

“Who are you?” Erek-Monte asked, enunciating slowly.

“Amida,” she replied.

He gestured for his sentry to bring her forward to him, and then he reached out and touched the fabric of her cloak. Amida recoiled energetically, but he grabbed her ankle to stop her. Then, feeling the muscles of her legs, he commented, “Yes, definitely sturdy enough to be one of ours.” His comment inspired many cheerful assents from his soldiers.

“You are a Sage, then?” Erek-Monte asked her. She didn’t understand the word he used for “Sage” and looked at him perplexed. Erek-Monte said, “A Sage. First child of the Aresan king, living out there in that cloister where ‘Jule’ is, reading and exercising all day while your servants do all the hard work. A Sage.”

Amida understood the gist of what he said and nodded.

“And a spy too. You know that word, don’t you? Creeping through the woods, hiding, listening in on what we say so you can tell your Sage friends about what goes on the vast uninhabited mountains between you and the Fourth Order. Yes, yes, you don’t need to answer me. You are a spy.”

Amida remained motionless, trying to catch all the words that speedily poured out of Erek-Monte’s mouth but failing.

“And you are young for a Sage. And nice to look at,” he commented, and his men agreed with their shouts of assent.

“I am not young,” Amida replied in the language of the Itinerants, “I am six eight. Six tens and eight years.”

“Whoa ho ho,” Erek-Monte shouted with surprise, “You’re an old crone. But still beautiful, right? In fact you’d make the perfect prostitute: young-looking enough to tempt a virile boy, but old enough that your womb is already withered up and dead.” His men laughed uproariously at this.

Erek-Monte had to calm his men down before he could continue: “If you didn’t understand everything I said, understand this: we’re taking you prisoner. That means we tie you up and drag you round with us, and we won’t let you go until we say you can. We won’t kill you. No reason to kill you until you give us a reason. Right? You do what we want and go where we go. A prisoner. Ha! That’s you.”

“You are our prisoner,” Holge-Sant interjected in the Omnian language at this point.

“I understand him,” Amida replied bitterly in Omnian. Then she said to Erek-Monte in his language, “I am a prisoner. I do whatever you want.”

Upon hearing her say this in her thick and exotic accent, the men shared a coarse, throaty laugh among them.

The glories of Waldoon, the capital city of the Fourth Order, located in the heart of the great valley of Summer Park, surpassed anything that Lipmon could’ve ever imagined. The buildings seemed to stretch so high that, as Roderick helped him along that morning, he wondered how they did not already touch the ceiling of heaven. He recalled being told that in Ancient times, before the downfall of the Five Cities, there were buildings, not just among the Five Cities, but in many great cities, that were tall enough to make the buildings in Waldoon appear as a man next to an old pine; so he figured that even the buildings of Waldoon would require many more stories before one could climb up into heaven from their rooftops. Nonetheless, they were, he was told, closer to heaven than any other building currently standing on the face of the earth.

Roderick helped him into one of the small rickshaws designed to navigate the narrow streets of Waldoon, and towards the highest of those buildings they headed. That building was the central citadel of the Palace of Adrus. It stood on a hill in the center of the city and was visible from all parts of the city. The buildings around it seemed to reach up towards its glowing, marble surface, yet still fall well short of its height, so high did it stretch up into the sky.

There in that building were they to find the High Priest, who Lipmon was supposed to tell about Tann and his former home of Still Creek-for.

<-- Go to Part 65         Go to Part 67 -->

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

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