A Bid to Retire

“I want you to retire.”

Elksia rolled over, rubbing her eyes. As her vision cleared up, she realised who she was talking to. “What? Oh, hi Arkay! What were you saying to me?”

“I want you to retire and have kids, like you always wanted.”

“Oh?” Elksia retracted her claws, then removed her woolly hat, the one that Retvik had made for her after finding out that Vrekans always wore hats in bed. “What do you mean by retiring?” She glanced at Arkay, who seemed pretty Arkay-y. He didn’t have any of that nasty death god stuff floating around him. His mood though seemed… brown. Both angry and sad.

“I mean, stopping the whole Dessaron thing and living the rest of your life peacefully, away from the threats of an adventurer’s life.”

Elksia shrugged, climbing out of bed and swinging her legs above the ground. “Well that does sound nice. Settling down on a nice farmland plot, having a bunch of aggelads and alogans and starting a little family… Wait, is there something you want, Arkay? You’re not really the demanding type!”

Arkay sighed. Elksia noticed that he had couple of claw marks on his face. Ones that hadn’t healed up yet. “I want you and Retvik to be safe.”

“But not Tenuk or Psiksi?”

“They are safe. They both have very long, fruitful lives ahead of them. They are young and nimble and powerful. You and Retvik are getting old.”

Not wanting to seem rude, Elksia climbed out of bed and wrapped some cloth around her waist and chest. Unlike many Panvok races, particularly their armour-clad Rethavok allies, Vrekans could remove most of their organic armour, aside from their extendable claws and the massive, single horns that extruded from their heads. Arkay basically saw her naked, but Elksia knew that he didn’t care and that he’d seen it all before.

“Tenuk’s not old?”

“He’s a Kronospast. The average lifespan of a Kronospast, especially one of royal blood, is five thousand years. Tenuk is insanely fit and healthy for a Kronospast as well, him reaching the age of ten thousand is certainly on the cards. Psiksi is on his way to thirty, for a species that regularly reaches the ages of eighty and a hundred with modern medicine. He’s fine.”

“Well, that’s true. And I am kinda getting old!” Elksia was chirpy as always. She headed into the bathroom and washed some water across her face before heading downstairs into the kitchen. To her surprise, none of the other Dessaron were there.

“Retvik stayed at Gath’s, didn’t he?”

“Yeah!” Elksia smiled. “Gath insisted. I think Tenuk went to see his brother. Psiksi’s got a family thing. Him and his brothers, quadruplets or something. They kinda need to see each other regularly otherwise they get issues.”

“I assumed as much…” Arkay followed Elksia downstairs. Elksia was even more surprised when he realised he had made breakfast for her. Jellied fruits, toasted bread and sausage porridge. Her favourites.

“You really want me to do this retiring thing, don’t you?” Elksia asked. “Like, you said you weren’t supposed to be Arkay any more, that you’re not supposed to do mortal thingies, and here you are!”

Arkay sat down next to Elksia, watching her peck food off a large spoon. “Well, I’m sick and tired of having to follow rules that everyone else couldn’t give two shits about.”

“Rules like making friends with mortals?”

“Among other things. Right now, I am simply making sure that my two favourite mortals can live happy, safe lives.”

Elksia shrugged. “Is this about the fact I can’t remember anything that happened last week?”

“This is exactly about that.”

“What happened?”

“My father tried to imprison me and kidnapped you four to use as guards to my cell. I broke you all free and wiped your memories because he… did bad things to you.”

Elksia could see it in Arkay’s eyes, the pain and sorrow. She knew not to ask further questions about what had happened, instead asking about the future.

“Fair enough. So you want me to retire.”

“I will pay for everything if needed. Within reason. So it doesn’t all look suspicious.”

Elksia leaned back in her chair. It all sounded… well, it was just what Elksia wanted. But it was all very sudden.

“Is it okay if I discuss this with the others and with Retvik in particular?” Elksia finally asked.

“Of course!” Arkay beamed. “Of course you can! I welcome it! I don’t want to force you into anything. I… I just want you to be safe and happy.”

Elksia smiled back. “Cool. I’ll chat with Retvik later.”

“Thank you, Elksia!” Arkay grinned as he put a hand on her shoulder. “I’ll leave you to your day. Have a good one!”

“You too, buddy!”