Thursday, August 13, 2009

Asael IX

This is part of my ongoing novel. Think of it as Killer Angels taking place in a musket and magic fantasy world with characters that combine the religious sensibilities of American revivalism with Beowulf-like blood feuds. All this while engaging in Talmudic style dialectics. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition is about to take on a whole new meaning.

Introduction, A Note from the Author, Prologue, I, II, III,IV, V, VI, VII, VIII

The Dolstoy home was a modestly built two story stone house with red tile roofing. The bottom floor contained a kitchen and a side room that served as a reading room and Serariah’s study. The upstairs contained two bedrooms, the master bedroom and the other for Asael and Sion. There was also a cellar, underneath the house, used to store the produce of Hefzibah’s small vegetable garden and salted beef. The meat was mainly for Serariah. Hefzibah did not eat meat and would have forbidden it to her children. “The flesh of animals is bad for the body’s vital humors. It is also a corruptor of morals, increasing bodily lusts.” Serariah on the other hand was a follower of what, at the time, was beginning to be referred to as the "New Knowledge" and rejected the theory of animal vitality. Of course, Serariah like every self respecting Roai’ana, would never touch pig.

Asael took the opportunity of his father’s absence from the house and the fact that, because of his father, he had not had to go to school today in the first place to continue reading the novel he had tucked underneath his bed. It was an adventure story set in the early days of conquest when the newly converted Khazars fought against the pagan alliance of the Hussars and the Hurrians. The Khazars turned to the riders, men who fought in full plate armor and were armed with steel broad swords. This particular story was about the rider Kammunah bar Abuyah, who was right now being besieged by the Hussar emir in a castle deep in Hussar territory that Kammunah had just captured. His father would not have approved of such reading. Asael assumed that his mother was at least tolerant of it. His mother did clean the room on occasion and Asael was pretty certain that she would have checked under his bed and found the book. Asael glanced out the window and saw Sion in the garden. She was sitting in front of a covered basket and holding a bowl of milk to it.

Serariah came home about forty minutes later. Asael tucked the book back in its hiding place and went downstairs. Serariah was already reaching into a drawer in his desk, which he normally locked, and was pulling out one of his cigars. He looked up at Asael. “Boy,” he said and whisked his thumb in a backwards motion. Asael headed to the door. His parents usually kicked him out of the house whenever they wished to have a private discussion as it was next to impossible to speak in the house and not be overheard.

Without a word of complaint, Asael joined Sion and her basket in the garden. “Abba is back and is now speaking to Ima.” Sion clutched at her basket. “They are plotting how best to chop me up and boil me in a stew, right Asa.” Asael picked her up and carried her around to the other side of the house. There was a large iron pipe that served as a vent for the kitchen. Asael had placed a pair of cylinders attached by wire inside the pipe. This enabled him to hear what was being said inside. The only difficulty was that the second cylinder was on the inside the pipe above him. It was also too small for him to enter. To get the cylinder he needed to lift Sion up so she could get to the pipe, climb inside and throw down the cylinder. “Ok Sion. You know what I want you to do.” Sion was well practiced at this. She put her basked down and climbed on top of Asael shoulders, grabbed onto the edge of the pipe and disappeared. Her legs reappeared a few seconds later as she backed out of the pipe and dropped down into Asael’s arms with the cylinder. The front of Sion’s dress and her knees were covered in grease. Asael was not particularly concerned about his parents getting suspicious. This was Sion and she could be counted on to get full of muck of some sort one way or another.

Asael put a finger to his lips. “Now we can find out if they plan on using sage on you.”

“Just as long as they do not cook me with cucumbers and tomatoes.”

Asael could hear his father speaking inside. “It is my parental duty to introduce my son to the ways of the world.” Serariah put particular emphasis on the “my.”

“And next you are going to tell me that your parental duties include taking our son whoring. It is quite the common practice, you know, among members of the upper class. My father took my brothers when they turned fifteen.”

“Hasan is a whoremonger, not to be confused with an actual whore. I also readily grant you,” Serariah began ticking off on his fingers, “that he is a fornicator, certainly according to nature and I will keep my gentlemen’s silence about any unnatural fornication, a blasphemer, an eater of forbidden foods and a desecrator of the Lord’s Day besides for being the truest friend I ever had.”

“Personally I would not mind as much if you introduced our son to some actual whores. He could then appreciate the sort of harm people like Hasan do to real people.”

“If we are going to ban whoremongers and fornicators from our company I am afraid we will have to excuse ourselves from most of society including your father and both your brothers.”
“Just a call for consistency,” said Hefzibah ever so sweetly.

Asael gave Sion a thumb up. “So far so good for you; Ima has not mentioned your name yet.” Hefzibah’s voice came down the wire. “I went looking for you in the park because of Sion.”
Asael made a throat cutting gesture with his finger. “Not good for you. Ima has just put you on the top of her agenda list.”

“You see,” said Sion. “When I got home from my play date at Ya’qirq's farm down the road.”

“Sion you do not have play dates on Ya’qub Qirqisani’s farm, you just went there without permission.”

“Well anyway,” sniffed Sion, “Ima starting muttering ‘so help me I am going to kill that thing’ and she just walked back and forth like that until finally she dragged me off to you and Abba.”

Asael put his ear to the cylinder again to listen in. “As the man in the house I think it is only fair that you dispose the little package Sion managed to bring home.”

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