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, January 20, 2013

Aresan Clan pt 104

Strya dragged Mill through the streets, through many infrequented back ways and side streets to the point that Mill was so lost and dizzied by the endless turns that he had no idea where they were or to where they were progressing. They skittered through narrow dirt paths between faceless buildings, slipping across short stretches of paved road and darting through patches of grass-strewn yards and parks. As they travelled further and further, the spaces between buildings expanded, the sizes of homes shrank and they crossed, more and more frequently, tracts of farmland of growing size.

“We can’t use any of the roads,” Strya said as they cut across a pasture, moving in the direction that Mill could now clearly identify as summerward, “But I can lead you to where you want to go.”

Mill turned around and looked back at the retreating metropolis of Waldoon, which loomed so high above them. The whole city sprawled over the horizon, with the central citadel poking above the rest of the buildings crowding at its feet.

“I want to go to Orinda,” Mill said to Strya.

Strya only expressed the slightest bit of surprise when he heard this. Though he knew that Mill must surely know this, he felt compelled to explain, “You do realize that it’s dangerous for you to go there? You won’t be able to enter through the main gates, and I can’t help you get past the creature of virtue.” Strya shook his head as he said these things to Mill, who simply nodded in response.

“I’ll take the risk,” Mill said, “I don’t intend to stay. Just to get in and out.”

Mill looked uneasy as he said this, almost afraid, but Strya wasn’t one to interfere with another man’s plans, so he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “Then I’ll lead you to Orinda.”

“And about that question earlier?” Mill asked, “Why you helped me escape?”

Strya laughed a little after Mill said this and replied, “Well, I had to deliver a message for Anders and I figured the easiest and most reliable way was to deliver it in person. But, you know, after going through all the effort of figuring out where you were, and how to sneak in, and then infiltrating that place and finding your cell and knocking out that guard, it wasn’t that much additional work to help you out. The hardest part was just finding you. So, I figured, why not. Besides, I think Anders would prefer to have you out. I’m pretty sure he’s got something he wants you to do for him in this message.”

Strya pulled the sealed envelope from his pocket and handed it over with the bag of gold. Mill popped open the seal and unfolded the letter, quickly reading through its contents with an ever darkening expression.

“I’ll have to find Erek-Monte and his tribe,” Mill said as he folded the letter.

“You can’t tell me any more about what it says?” Strya jocularly asked, “No fun. As for Erek-Monte and his tribe I haven’t see them in more than a season. You can find them of course. They’re always around, but, since they’re Itinerants, they’re everywhere. By which I mean, they’re nowhere. What I’m saying is, I won’t be able to help you. Though, I will take you to Orinda, as I said.”

Mill then nodded and turned forward, with a wordless gesture of “lead the way.”

In the streets of Lamosa, positioned on all of the most prominent avenues and squares, several recruitment posts had been set up. Usually two or three soldiers who stood in their armor, brandishing weapons and holding the reins of a giant warhorse, staffed these. They shouted repeatedly to the passers by, “Our armies need you, men. To protect our land and keep our borders safe. Do your duty for your clan. Three square meals a day and gold in your pockets,” and so on. The specter of the Fourth Order was frequently invoked and the glory of great General Alles also mentioned.

Solis and Rock had been placed in the Omnian Plaza. With their backs to the Public House and their gleaming swords shining in the sun, they tried to draw in the reluctant peasants in the crowd, who looked curiously at them out of the corner of their eyes but were too apprehensive to approach.

“You there,” they’d point these men out with their swords, “A strong man like you could do our nation proud. With a weapon in your hand you’d single-handedly make our enemies quake.”

<-- Go to Part 103         Go to Part 105 -->

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

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