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, December 21, 2012

Aresan Clan pt 87

“And how would one read a book where the letters are as small as the eyelash of a flea?” Eloh asked.

“Our ancestors had machines that would make the letters appear full size. Like the way that an object appears larger in your sight as you approach closer to it. They would bring you so you appeared so close to the letters that they were as large as those in a regular book,” Noone explained.

“But without the technology for enlarging the letters, all that knowledge would be lost,” Eloh said. He had finished filling the water clock and set his buckets down.

“And there you’ve struck the very center of the target,” Noone said, smiling like a teacher whose student has just grasped a difficult concept, “That is very probably what happened. In all of the ruins we’ve scoured and salvaged artifacts from could’ve been hidden mountains of knowledge in plain sight. All the lost knowledge (the lost technology, the lost history, the lost literature) vanished simply because of our inability to read it.”

Eloh looked at the sundial and noted, as the shadow pointed directly at the night point, “Looks like it's high time for dinner.”

They walked down a set of stairs into the courtyard and through a corridor that led into the dining hall. All the residents and Sages were seated on benches before a trio of long tables. In front of each person was a plate and silverware with bread and a cup of fizzy, sour milk. A few of the residents started to bring out the food, in large bowls of stew from which the food began to be served.

At one end of the room Arrs was sitting next to Sanda. She leaned in close against him and teased and cajoled while he laughed and flirted back. Noone and Eloh sat down and had servings put on their plates.

Noone then stood up and raised a glass and said to the assembled crowd, “To Madrus! May it bring you fertility and may your children grow up healthy and strong.” Everyone raised their cups of sour milk and drank to this toast.

In Daysha’s kitchen, Annsi stirred a pot of bubbling soup. The pot hung over an open flam in the fireplace. A loaf of bread was cooking in a separate brick compartment to the side of the pot, which was also being heated by the fire. Annsi looked unhappily at the bread, as it had risen poorly and felt a bit too hard and tough when she poked at it. It didn’t have the crisp, golden shell around the soft interior that would normally characterize her mother’s bread, and she frowned in frustration.

At that moment, her mother entered through the front door of her apartment and called out, “Annsi is that you?”

“Yes, mom. I’m in the kitchen,” Annsi replied.

Daysha entered the kitchen and reached out to give her daughter a hug. Daysha was a beautiful woman, but, having just returned from her job, she was decked out in her dirty work clothes and looked tired and worn down. It was apparent that one was the mother of the other: the round, blue eyes, the thin nose, the frizzy, blonde hair, the heart-shaped face and the sweat, little smile.

“It smells like meat,” Daysha said, looking at the pot.

“It’s the feast of Madrus,” Annsi said, “So I got us some meat. Besides, the military pays me well. I had a generous payday after our last excursion.”

Daysha grabbed a wooden spoon and took a taste of the soup. She gave a slight wince after it touched her tongue, commenting, “The military hasn’t improved your cooking. That I can tell.” She then looked at the bread and shook her and head, saying, “Definitely not improving.”

Annsi groaned a bit and complained sarcastically, “Thank you, mother. I always hate to hear words of encouragement.”

“What you don’t need are words of encouragement,” her mother replied, “What you need is to learn how to cook, that is if you expect to get married. So, are you going to make me a grandmother this Madrus?”

“I won’t need to cook, if I have a servant to do it for me,” Annsi said, raising her eyebrows.

Daysha sighed and merely replied, “Women like you and I need to settle. Last Madrus you didn’t settle, and now you’re still single. And you only have to look at me to know that your prospects only get worse each Madrus.”

After Daysha was given a chance to salvage the food as best she could, and it was finished, they sat at a small kitchen table and Daysha told her daughter, “Happy Madrus!” before they began to eat.

<-- Go to Part 86         Go to Part 88 -->

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

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