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, January 2, 2013

Aresan Clan pt 94

In the early morning hours, Anders' bodyguard, Silva heard a gentle knocking coming from one of the backdoors of Anders' Private House and cautiously approached to investigate. The door was located in a hallway near Anders' bedroom and led out to the main garden on the side of the house opposite the main entrance. Silva cautiously approached the door, drawing a sword for defense.

He pulled it open rapidly and stepped back lest there was a person on the other side ready to attack. Instead he saw a motionless figure in a hooded black cloak whose head was stooped forward to hide his face. When the figure raised his eyes the thin face of Strya appeared.

“Strya,” Silva said, “Didn't know you were coming.”

“This is an unscheduled visit,” Strya said, “I had to take unusual precautions to avoid being seen. But I take it that Anders is here.”

“Certainly,” Silva said. He led Strya to Anders' study and left him there. Then Silva found Anders in his bedroom. Anders was wrapped under the warm sheets of a capacious bed with his wife beside him, quietly snoring. Silva stepped towards him and gently touched him on his shoulder.

Anders opened his eyes and looked up at his bodyguard asked, “Did I oversleep?”

“No sir, I'm afraid you have an important visitor,” the bodyguard said quietly.

“Can it wait until I'm awake?” Anders asked groggily.

“I think not,” the bodyguard said, and Anders rose from his bed.

He disturbed his wife when he moved and she asked, “What is it?”

“You don't have to get up,” Anders said to her, “Get your sleep.”

Anders left the bedroom with Silva leading the way. When he was presented with Strya sitting in his study, his previously sleepy demeanor and foggy mind immediately opened into wakefulness. “What brings you here at this time?” Anders asked.

“It couldn't wait,” Strya said, “The Fourth Order is organizing large numbers troops in Waldoon. Probably most of their army. An estimated fifty thousand troops. The troops are moving summerward soon, perhaps in a day or two. It seems clear they intend to attack.”

“Do you know why?” Anders asked, “I mean, why they claim they’re going to war?”

“You destroyed one of their villages and Saurek is publicly proclaiming that you’re out to conquer,” Strya responded. “Why they think you’re out to conquer I don’t know, but probably because they take the destruction of Still Creek as evidence enough. They're already prone to distrust you,” Stya speculated, shrugging his shoulders to show his uncertainty, “You could’ve sent them a message trying to explain yourself to them, if you hadn’t wrecked what was left of any sort of amicable ambassadorial dialogue long ago. You tell them now you have no intentions of conquering, they'll take it confirmation that you are planning to conquer posthaste.”

Anders' remained stiff and unspeaking as he listened to Strya's words. A great army was going to be descending upon his empire and he had to meet it with considered action. In perhaps as little as eight days they would be bursting through the gaps in the Outer Bulwark and flooding into Sanlosslee Valley with weapons raised and battle cries on their lips.

“I'll leave you then,” Strya said after a prolonged silence, “You have other people to summon and consult I expect. I'll keep you apprised of relevant intelligence.”

“Yes, thank you,” Anders replied absentmindedly. Then, as Strya stood up to leave he announced suddenly, “Wait, one more thing. Can you get a message to Mill?”

“It should be no more difficult than before,” Strya replied, shrugging his shoulders.

Anders crossed the room to a desk and he pulled out a piece of parchment. He hastily wrote out a note to Mill and then folded it up. He sealed with a few drips of wax and then took a small stone cylinder to leave his insignia upon it. The cylinder was rolled through the soft wax, leaving the imprint of his family insignia in the wax. It depicted a sun rising over a mountain, an ear of corn and a sword interlocked, and a great tower with many windows touching the clouds.

Anders handed the sealed letter to Strya and he said, “For Mill and for Mill alone.” He then handed Strya a bag of gold and said, “Give this to Mill. The letter will explain how he's to use it.”

“Is this a priority?” Strya said, looking skeptically at the letter, “Delivering this could take time. I won't be able to bring intelligence as promptly.”

“Yes,” Anders replied, “It takes priority.”

<-- Go to Part 93         Go to Part 95 -->

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

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