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.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 72

Once Saurek declared his intentions he turned around and proceeded in the direction of the citadel. He was flanked by two guards who shadowed his every step and followed him to the far side of the Congregation Hall where a door led to the path connecting Congregation Hall and the Citadel. The path was shaded by a row of trees, which represented the only plants situated within the central courtyard of the palace. Saurek walked over the uneven path, warped by the roots that grew from beneath the paving stones.

When he entered the ground-level temple to the citadel, the guards remained behind and left him to this sacred space alone. The room was dark, only lit by the light pouring through the single door that led into it and the hole in the distant ceiling far above his head. The citadel itself was shaped like a steep, hollow pyramid, with four walls of corbelled bricks that were only slightly slanted inwards. They extended upwards, gradually narrowing, towards a ceiling some hundred person-lengths high. In one end of the room was a raised platform with a table before it, upon which offerings would be made. In front of the table were two metal bowls raised upon long wooden rods. Within the bowls, aromatic herbs burned, their smoke extending up through the hollow interior of the citadel towards the ceiling.

Behind the platform began the stairway, which extended in a spiraling pattern along the hollow interior walls of this steep pyramid. With a prayer to God and a divine invocation in the form of the words, “May we meet when I reach the top,” Saurek began his long trek up the stairs. He stepped on the first step, which extended out from the wall like the thorn of a bush, followed by another step similarly jutting out, and another. He had one thousand steps to climb in order to reach the top. And only by climbing to that high rooftop temple could he earn the privilege of speaking directly with God and becoming its mouthpiece.

With each passing year, the trek took longer and the weight of his own body as he lifted it up the many steps only increased, gradually and inevitably progressing towards that point when he would fail to accomplish his duty and would have to step down as Prophet.

When he made it to the top, to the tiny Sky Temple, he could see the entirety of the great city of Waldoon spread out in all directions and the palace at the center of it. The Sky Temple itself was only a single narrow walkway, which circled around a central, square hole. It was a profoundly vertigo-inducing position, with nothing standing between him and a fatal fall and with furious winds constantly threatening to blow him from his perch.

All of this Saurek had to ignore, dropping to his knees and quieting his mind so that the words of God could enter. He asked God for advice on how to act in light of all the information he had received: he asked whether he should truly send the armies of the Order summerward to attack the Omnia and the Aresan Clans; he asked whether this man Lipmon was to be trusted; he asked whether the sacrilege of Elden and Still Creek-for was the reason for their destruction, whether it was a just destruction or whether reciprocity (in the form of slaying those who destroyed Still Creek-for and killed its citizens) was due for the crime of destroying this village; lastly, he asked what this status of this boy Tann was, whether he was a magician or prophet or something entirely new and unexpected.

The answers to the questions he sought, never came straightforwardly, and this time, the thought that popped in his head began with an image: he saw the face of Tann, innocent and beautiful, from which light flared from his eyes and silence spilled from his mouth like water. Then he heard the voice of God.

Saurek descended the stairs, a somewhat less strenuous trek. When he finally stepped out of the temple into the daylight, his secretaries were there waiting for him. Saurek simply told them, “I have spoken with God. He said to me, ‘The boy is special.’ That was it. But it’s clear to me what it means. Rescind none of the previous orders.”

<-- Go to Part 71         Go to Part 73 -->

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

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