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, January 11, 2013

Aresan Clan pt 99

“You walk through the Dunes every day?” Tine asked the General in wonder, “But they are holy ground. And also there’s the blank spot. Because the dunes are always shifting, no one knows precisely where it is. No men dare enter the dunes. Aren’t you afraid?”

“You think there are blind spots in the eyes of God?” General Burlingam laughed good naturedly, “To Anan, the dunes are holy ground, and I walk barefoot, and am always under his protection. If there could possibly be a place where the all-seeing eyes of Anan cannot see and where death could take you instantly down into the underworld to join the ranks of his army for all eternity, then our God should not be so great as I believe he is. And that I cannot accept. The eye of Anan sees all. He saves all from Death. There cannot be any real battle between Anan and Death. The contest between them would be so lopsided to be ridiculous. We humans go into battle to prove which side is the stronger. Between God and Death, no proof is necessary.”

Tine delicately tried to interrupt General Burlingam’s monologue without offending him. He began, “Sorry, but we’ve actually come to ask you to lead the armies of the Omnia. The Fourth Order is launching an attack and we need to organize a defense.”

“When are they expected to attack? And when are our armies expected to march?” the General asked, shifting his line of thought as soon as he heard Tine.

“We expect the Fourth Order to march any day, and we’ve decided to march in four day’s time.”

“Four days?” General Burlingam said, “That’s too soon. Far too soon. What time will there be to train the troops? Training is essential and it can take months to really shape a mass of independently-minded men into an organism with its own unified will. Four days is not enough. We certainly can’t go into war without training. Training is the root and stem of all military strategy. To take any plan I might form in my mind and spread it out onto the battlefield, I need men that obey my will and are capable of doing the things I ask of them. I need to be able, should it be necessary, to send them straight towards death, running and with their eyes wide open. I must have my weapon shaped and ready before I go to battle, and I’m afraid four days is simply not enough time. I will be merely playing in the sand. I’ll be like one trying to plant his flag atop the dunes.”

“Please General, we need you,” Tine pleaded, again trying to delicately interrupt him.

“I know you do,” the General chuckled, “But the question is: do I need you. What does a man need in his waning years more than anything? Immortality. To be saved from the afterlife. But since that isn’t possible, then I can at least attain immortality by means of an undying reputation. I want my name carved onto the surface of eternity. I want it carved onto the wind and onto the flowing streams so that every moment that flows by people will be reminded, ‘General Burlingam served his country and he did it masterfully. He was a man we should calibrate our actions to. Whatever direction he walked, that direction was towards something higher.’ Do you understand what I mean? I want to do something truly great. I’ve had a distinguished military career so far, but true greatness has eluded me. That is what I’ve been waiting for.”

“This will be your opportunity,” Tine said, with quiet earnestness, “It may the beginning of a great war. The biggest in more than a generation most likely.”

“I’ve decided to reserve myself in these final years for a truly great endeavor,” the General confessed, “Is that what this is?”

“Yes,” Tine assured. Tine had to admit to himself that he didn’t quite know what high standard precisely General Burlingam was aiming for, whether this would be great enough to qualify by the General’s standards. But he certainly knew that two large armies would be meeting in battle, and he couldn’t think of any battle so big since he was a child. “Can we expect your leadership, then?” he asked.

“All day long all I can think about are battle strategies,” General Burlingam said, “I think about lines of attack, lines of defense: movement and countermovement. I’d like to see how my ideas respond to reality.”

Tine smiled and said to the General, “We’ll help you pack.”

<-- Go to Part 98         Go to Part 100 -->

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

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