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 9, 2013

Aresan Clan pt 98

After word had spread that Alles would lead the Aresan troops, Anders ordered General Burlingam to be invited to lead the Omnian troops. He told Tine, “Alles is a fine commander, undoubtedly, but if we can persuade General Burlingam… I mean, if you can persuade General Burlingam, since I’d like you to go talk to him. If you can persuade him to lead our troops, we’ll be in good shape indeed. Bring some men with you. Be quick about it.”

“I don’t know where we can find him,” Tine replied.

“Far side of the Great Dunes, so far as anyone last heard,” Anders said, “He should be there still now.”

Tine, with soldiers Orick and Jyorg, departed Lamosa on horseback soon thereafter, galloping fast. They aimed themselves directly for the glowing hills of sand located sunriseward from Lamosa, the Great Dunes rising prominently above the valley floor, the Walking Mountains constantly pushed and reshaped by the winds that streamed across the valley.

As morning approached noon and they neared the Great Dunes, the three riders steered summerward to circle around them. Once they’d reached the other side, they turned winterward, heading up the river valley between the dunes and the mountains.

“Everyone tells me his abode is easy to spot,” Tine said to the men, “He has a big red flag on the entrance, apparently.”

They trotted up the valley, keeping their eyes fixed on the slope to their right, which was covered in low, thinly spread shrubbery, that patchily covered the bare face of the rock. After a few minutes of riding, they saw there a red cloth flapping in the strong winds and approached it.

The red cloth was secured on all four corners against the furious wind that blew against it and constantly tried to pull it away. It was all that appeared to be there, but, lifting one corner, which had been affixed to the ground by a hook, they saw that it was the door to a cave dug into the ground.

The three of them entered, calling out General Burlingam’s name, but hearing no response. The space was dark and dusty, but apparently had been fitted out nicely for living in. A mattress lay in a far corner for a bed; a small nook had been carved out at one side, and been fitted out to serve as a fireplace, complete with chimney; and the room was stocked with food. Most notably the room was strewn about with handwritten pages of notes, along with a small desk with ink, plume and more blank pages.

While Tine looked about, Jyorg announced, while standing at the entrance, “There he is.” Jyorg pointed towards the dunes, and the three of them, as they squinted, could see the figure of a man walking down the near slope of the dunes in bare feet. He carried shoes in his hands, and when he arrived at the bottom, he stopped to put them on. He crossed over the river, and ascended the slope to where he saw, with surprise, the three men waiting for him at the entrance to his abode.

“General Mikkei Burlingam Tode,” Tine said to him as he approached, “We have come to speak with you on urgent business.”

“Tine, is it?” General Burlingam said, as he looked at the old soldier. Tine nodded and introduced the other two men with him.

General Burlingam moved at an unhurried pace and seemed to have grown accustomed to a solitary life of idleness and ease. He moved with the deliberate elegance and grace of a choreographed dance with a body that looked every bit as large and imposing as he was when he first started as a rank and file soldier in his youth, though the years had weathered and perhaps slowed him down a bit.

“If you gentlemen would join me inside,” General Burlingam said, slowly entering his cave. He sat down on the ground as the two men followed and he stretched out his legs to rest them and then removed his shoes and began to massage his feet.

“I walk through the dunes everyday,” he explained to his visitors, “It awakens the mind. Lets it flow like the dunes.”

<-- Go to Part 97         Go to Part 99 -->

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

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