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 21, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 70

After Roderick finished speaking with High Priest Saurek in private, he exited the office and found Lipmon sitting grumpily in one of the long sets of pews that faced the front of the Congregation Hall. It was hard not to notice the overt and intentionally displayed sourness that Lipmon presented: his arms folded across his chest, his mouth contorted into a frown.

“I know you’re impatient,” Roderick said, “I, like you, feel as if this is taking too long, but I’m afraid the High Priest simply doesn’t see this as a priority, like you do.”

“I don’t mind. I can wait,” Lipmon responded in a way that clearly showed that he very much minded. Roderick sighed, walking forward and gesturing for Lipmon to follow him. As they walked along the edges of the Congregation hall, they passed a line of birds, carved in relief into the wall. Above his head a succession of candlelight chandeliers lit his way to the entrance. Pushing through the doors, he stepped out of the dark interior into the full light of day. They were now in the center of the great courtyard of the palace.

Though many people passed through this space, the vastness of the area ensured that the area was never crowded. One was unlikely to randomly bump shoulders with a stranger while walking there. Yet, as Roderick and Lipmon walked, they saw a hooded stranger walking in their direction and moving uncomfortably close towards them.

In a moment, before they even knew to react, the sun was flashing off the blade of a knife that had been drawn. Lipmon rapidly pulled his body away from the knife’s trajectory, which nonetheless tore through the fabric of his clothes and glanced off his side just above his waist. A gash was dug into his side, and Lipmon relived again the pain of his skin being sliced, even as the wound across his face and chest still felt fresh and hadn’t healed.

Roderick recognized Mill in the face of the hooded stranger, and as Mill tried to take another swing in Lipmon’s direction, swiping the knife towards him, Roderick grabbed Mill’s arm and twisted the knife out of his hand where it clattered to the ground. Roderick tried to hold onto Mill’s arm, but Mill was able to strip it out of Roderick’s grasp and speed away in retreat.

“Guards! This man has tried to kill someone. Seize him,” Roderick yelled in the direction of the two guards that stood at the doors of the congregation hall. Having partially seen the skirmish, and immediately understanding Roderick’s urgency, they left their posts without hesitation and chased after Mill.

The wide-open spaces of the courtyard were to Mill’s advantage in this pursuit. Mill had already a large distance between him and these guards, and the only other guards that occupied the place were even further from him. The guards, though, pursued undeterred, following him towards one of the exits where they knew they could find support among the men that manned those doors.

“Stop that man!” the guards yelled out indiscriminately in an attempt to bring some citizen to their aid, yet none was close enough to stop him.

The end of Mill’s escape came once he entered the outer building. The two guards that chased him were able to arouse the attention of their comrades manning that gate. In their attempt to grab him, Mill still slipped through their hands, but he was tripped just as he reached the top of the thirty-two steps. Mill careened forward from the top of the steps and rolled down over them.

When he finally stopped near the bottom, he wasn’t sufficiently master of himself to pull himself from the ground, covered in bruises and the feeling of supreme fatigue suffusing his body. He could hear the heavy boots and clattering arms of several guards jogging down the stairs to fetch him.

When one of the guards reached him, he asked the others, “Do we have something to secure him with while I take him away?”

“Just do this!” another guard said, raising the butt of his sword and striking it heavily against Mill’s skull, plunging him into unconsciousness just as the guard added, “That’s for making us run.”

<-- Go to Part 69         Go to Part 71 -->

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

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