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, February 1, 2013

Aresan Clan pt 111

It was nearing the coldest hour of night.  The city of Orinda was at its quietest.  And Mill quietly snuck out of Anika’s house and crossed the town towards his former residence.  He only saw a single person on the way, an acquaintance, wandering the streets confused and drunk, whom he avoided.

Sneaking around the back of his home, he quietly pried open the shutters and entered unobserved. The sight that confronted him therein, in the dim starlight, was unsettling.  Multiple persons with vindictive intent had clearly broken into his house.  They had destroyed everything breakable, thrown many of his possessions on the floor and even applied their muscles to battering his furniture with hammers and axes.  All of his books had been ripped apart and what food he had was spilled onto the floor or stolen.  Harsh insults had been carved into the walls with a knife, accusing him of being a “traitor” and a “Godless heathen” and “Creature food.”  Someone had even used a candle to create a smoke stain on the wall in the form of a bird, the Fourth Order symbol of death and destruction.

Fortunately, though, they had not found his secret stash.  It was inset into the wall behind a hidden panel.  After opening it, he pulled several small bags of gold from the space and put them into his bag.  His essential tree oil was also there, along with a hunting blade and a personal letter of invitation from Anders, which he was supposed to present in case he were ever detained when and if he decided to return to the Omnia or the Aresan Clan.  All of these he took and stuffed in his bag.  Search as he did, though, he could find little else in the place that looked worth salvaging.

He gave the place one last look, a brief goodbye to the home that he had spent the last several years of his life within, and then he crawled back out the window the way he’d come.

He found Anika packed and ready when he returned.  A look of anxiety and worry spread across her face every time he left her sight, and as soon as he returned, it instantly faded away.  Even just this brief absence was enough to trouble her, such that she leapt forward and hugged him once again with the same vehemence as she had hugged him earlier after having been parted with him for days.

When she finally left off her embrace she stepped back and said to him, “You, really don’t have to bring me with you.  If I’m going to be a burden, I don’t want that.  I’ve survived completely on my own for years.  Many years.  I’ll worry about you, but I’ll be fine.  I can take care of myself.”

“You’re not going to be a burden on me,” Mill said.  He meant this earnestly, though he perceived, quite correctly, that she would be dependent upon him, a fact that played some part in her reservations.  What he had meant to say in his few words was that, though he would have to do much for her, it wasn’t really a burden, since he wanted to provide for her and that the benefits of her companionship were ample reward for whatever labor he might have to endure for her.  But he didn’t say so much.  He simply added, “And I want you to come.”

“I mean.  I know how to live on my own here, but not out there,” she said, “I’m not sure how much help I’ll be.”

“I really want you to come,” Mill repeated, emphasizing this statement by fixing his gaze intensely upon her eyes, “Don’t not come for my sake.”

Though Anika’s doubts were not assuaged, his words were enough to push aside the misgivings that anchored her to her home and permit her to follow him out the door into the night.

Mill dumped a generous amount of essential oil on both of them, filling both of their nostrils with the overwhelming scent of tree sap and pine needles.  He told Anika that they must walk as quietly as possible, that they must be more silent than the wind.  In his mind he was thinking that his decision previously to run was a mistake.  He had made far too much noise and the Creature was much faster than him.  If the creature couldn’t smell him or hear them, they should be able to sneak unobserved through its territory.  For this reason, he and Anika, barely permitting themselves to breathe, tiptoed across the dirt paths of Omnia. They moved in the direction of the pastures that encircled the city, taking each step as carefully as possible.

<-- Go to Part 110         Go to Part 112 -->

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

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