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, November 16, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 67

When Roderick and Lipmon arrived at the front of the Palace of Adrus, they looked up a long set of crowded stairs to the entrance. A stairway surrounded all four sides of the palace, a continuous set of thirty-two steps that led up to the exterior colonnade, which topped the stairs on all sides. After Lipmon and Roderick ascended the stairs, they entered through a tall open entryway into the interior of the outer palace. To their left and to their right a corridor extended into the distance and turned a corner. The corridor, flanked by rooms and offices throughout, continued all the way through this outer building, which formed a square around the central courtyard. When Lipmon and Roderick exited this outer building into the courtyard, they were presented with a massive enclosed area, which, like the exterior, was bordered by an unbroken colonnade and a single, omnidirectional staircase. The size of this courtyard was so extensive that Lipmon imagined that his entire village of Still Creek, farmland and all, could fit within it.

Two massive buildings were placed within this courtyard, two buildings, large as they were, which still left plenty of open space remaining to look up and see the sky within the courtyard. The building nearest them was the Congregation Hall, where Roderick and Lipmon were expected to meet with Saurek, the High Priest. Four paths, representing the Four Roads to Divinity—Observation, Dreams, Holy Writ, and Prophethood—extended outwards from this building in the four cardinal directions. The road of Prophethood, led out of the Congregation Hall on the far side and connected it to the other major structure in the courtyard, the Holy Citadel, with its tower extending up into the sky and its temple of worship at the base.

Roderick and Lipmon entered the grand and intricately decorated Congregation Hall doors next, where the high ceilings and stained-glass windows created an air of tranquil grandeur and divinity. Roderick led Lipmon down the central aisle towards the podium, which was now unoccupied. From there, they veered off to the side and Roderick encountered a pair of guards dressed in black with great broadswords held in their hands resting on the ground.

Roderick nodded in the direction of one guard and said to him, “Good day sir. It’s Arbiter Roderick of Orinda-for here to see His Majesty. I should be expected.”

“Certainly, sir,” the guard responded looking at Roderick and recognizing him, “If you could just take a seat, he’ll only be a moment.”

After a few minutes of waiting, a man emerged from the room with High Priest Saurek following and offering a handshake before the man departed. Saurek appeared to Lipmon as an aged man with thinning white hair and an intense, prickly demeanor. He was clearly a domineering figure whose surplus weight and deep voice were useful in bullying his opponents into submission.

When he patted his guard on the shoulder, the guard nodded in Roderick’s direction, saying, “Arbiter Roderick.” Roderick and Lipmon had risen from their seats and both gave a deep bow of respect before the High Priest.

“Come in,” Saurek gestured, leading the way into his office.

Before they entered the room, the guard asked the two men, “Surrender your weapons.” Roderick handed over a small dagger and then the guard felt around to make sure there was nothing hidden. Lipmon simply shrugged his shoulders and the guard felt him up as well too, though his clothes were limited and thin.

As they stepped into the office, the long gold cloak that the priest wore trailed on the ground behind him, its intricate fringe sparkling from the gold woven into it. He removed it and placed it on a chair, to reveal a many-layered set of robes that he wore underneath.

At the table they were led to, two assistants were already seated, wearing a set of red robes and bearing on their heads hats that could only be described as ridiculously oversized and garish.

“So I understand that this man is Lipmon from Still Creek-for and that his town has been destroyed by the Omnia. That is a most serious charge if it is true,” Saurek said as he gently lowered himself into his seat. He gestured for the two men to sit and they sat opposite Saurek, while his two red-cloaked assistants flanked him on either side, quill pens scratching on the papers that lay in front of them.

“I believe the soldiers were from the Omnia,” Roderick noted.

“So, why would the Omnia come all this way to destroy your town, Mr. Lipmon? It is certainly not the town nearest to Lamosa that we have converted to the Fourth Road to Divinity. So why there?” Saurek asked in a soft and delicate voice.

<-- Go to Part 66         Go to Part 68 -->

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

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