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.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Aresan Clan pt 105

When Strya Solis and Rock weren’t calling out to the assembled crowds they were complaining confidentially to one another: “This is the worst part about being a soldier,” “Why can’t they find other people who actually enjoy this rubbish,” “Think killing soldiers is tough? Try persuading these weak-kneed cowards to arm up and fight,” “We’re not even that good at it,” and so on.

The complaints came to a stop when Solis elbowed Rock in the side and gestured towards Alles, who was sauntering towards them. He had the posture of a chiseled statue and people slipped aside as he moved through the crowds. The whole character of the crowds changed when they saw Alles. He moved as if he walked above them, as if the soles of his feet tread upon their heads and they looked up at him with admiration.

Solis and Rock had the strength and confidence of hardened soldiers and could surely terrify any man who ran upon them alone and defenseless, but they couldn’t command veneration like Alles. They both straightened up when they saw Alles approaching and fell silent.

“Welcome General,” the men both said in unison.

“Has your recruiting been successful?” Alles asked.

The two men looked at one another and traded slight frowns before they looked back to Alles and said simultaneously: “We’ve been somewhat successful” and “We’ve gotten a few recruits.”

“Good,” Alles said, “Do better, though. I know this is not the type of job you have been trained for, but this is absolutely necessary. Let me assist, at least.”

Alles then turned around and looked over the crowd and announced in a booming voice: “Citizens and civilians, we are in search of recruits for our army. Your country needs you. Your friends and neighbors need you, in order to protect them against the invading hordes that threaten their lives and their freedom. Do you have enough metal in your heart to take up the burden of this responsibility? Do you? If so, come forth and give us your name and your commitment.”

Within moments of Alles finishing his short soliloquy, several men were already lining up before Rock and Solis. The two soldiers asked each man their name and which clan they belonged to; then they made a mark on a sheet of paper, by which they kept track of the number of recruits; finally they took a cup of ink and dipped the four fingers of the recruit’s right hand into it until the fingers were stained a deep purple.

“Don’t both trying to wash that off,” Solis instructed them after their fingers were stained, “We’ll call for you in two days. So be ready.”

Alles departed soon afterwards, walking towards where he had originally been headed, to the Public House. He walked in through the main entrance. Many people stepped aside and bowed to him as he walked through the colonnade to the Open Table. Off to the right, in a small scriptorium, he found Jesek, the man he was looking for. He saw the young refuge huddled over a paper, which he was copying. It was an official decree concerning the commandeering of horses for the purpose of the upcoming war.

When Jesek saw the general, he stood up. “Sit, please,” Alles said, and grabbed a chair to sit beside him. “I want you to join me again when we march,” Alles said, leaning forward and looking directly into Jesek’s eyes, “You won’t be expected to fight. You’ll remain in the back ranks, assisting with navigation and strategy. Your contributions will be invaluable. I cannot stress that enough. You will of course be compensated generously for your service. But I can’t force you to join on this time. It’ll be entirely voluntary. If you insist on refusing, I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do. But I very much want you to join us.”

A disarming smile spread across Jesek’s lips as he heard this, and he lowered his face and looked up at Alles with his soulful eyes. “For you Alles, I’d do anything,” Jesek said, “But I’ll have to ask the wife. She makes my decisions for me.” He produced a small laugh to express that he was joking, though he was only partially doing so.

<-- Go to Part 104         Go to Part 106 -->

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

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