Tenuk yawned as he threw himself into the tattered recliner, desperately gripping the mug of strong mead he had grabbed from goodness knows where. Someone gave it to him and Tenuk was finally going to sit down and drink it, after about twenty minutes of being distracted from his break by people needing things. Thankfully, what with it being the evening and everyone finally being fed, clothed and given somewhere to sleep, Tenuk could finally say that his job, for today at least, was done.
Already sat down opposite Tenuk was someone just as tired as he was. Despite having been presumed dead for the last two weeks, Retvik seemed to be in pretty high spirits most of the time, and had been working nearly as hard as Tenuk had been. All in the space of about two days. Something about him feeling bad for not being around to help.
Between them was a small campfire. The power had been sketchy across the entirety of Hertany, what with there being not enough beings to maintain the power lines, so most of the small population was eating by campfires and candlelight and sleeping in the dark, with only the occasional solar-powered LED lamp on the floor or in the bathrooms.
“You look exhausted, old friend…” Retvik sighed, swirling some sort of drink in his hand. Tenuk couldn’t smell any alcohol in the room aside from what was in his mug, so he assumed Retvik was just drinking water.
“I am exhausted.”
“You should be proud though. You have saved a lot of innocent lives. Especially while Rethais and I were hiding in some godforsaken Banikan village…”
“About that…” Tenuk took a swig of his drink. It was a crude mead, but it was warm alcohol so he didn’t really care. “Can I have my deitic relic back please? Didn’t even know you’d borrowed it off me.”
Retvik smiled a little, then reached into the pouch tied to his leg. Normally he would have worn a belt or a backpack for carrying things, but the pouch was the only thing that had survived their escape from Thre-Vretania. After some rummaging around, Retvik pulled out a set of keys, then clumsily detached a small tea strainer from the rings and handed it back to Tenuk.
“I should point out, it is broken.”
“Why?” Tenuk asked, grabbing his own set of keys and attaching the strainer to them. “Did it not take you to Arkay’s place?”
“Just took us straight to that Banikan village.”
“Huh, weird…” Tenuk grunted, putting his keys away again, then having some more of his drink. “Arkay kinda just dumped you and Rethais here and disappeared anyway…”
Retvik tutted, sipping his own drink and pulling a face. He rested the glass on the floor, being careful to not knock it over. “I do not understand that one. Having met all the deities this universe has to offer, Arkadin seems to have… almost no agenda.”
“Mhm… Speaking of agendas, where IS Rethais?”
“He wanted to help the escorts in bringing Rethans back to Hertany.”
Tenuk shrugged. “And you let him go? On his own?”
“Rethais wanted some time away from me. Understandably. But he also hopes to run into his partner or his kids…”
Tenuk paused, staring at Retvik. “Oh. I… I kinda forgot about… his family.”
Retvik snorted, leaning back in his seat. “Well, at least his partner and kids have a chance… Gath… well, he has almost certainly been taken by all this…”
“How do you know?” Tenuk asked.
“I just… know…”
Retvik closed his eyes, sighing. “I had been firing messages to him all day. Up until… it happened. He went silent. As did everyone else.”
“But have been…”
“It haunts me, Tenuk. The silence is… It makes no sense, but the silence is almost deafening… There should be sounds. I should be able to hear the mutterings of other Rethavok. But there is nothing. Nothing but silence.”
Tenuk got up from his seat and stood in front of Retvik, leaning down and placing his hands on Retvik’s shoulders.
“We’ll pull through. We’ll make it better.”
“I hope so…”
“We will. Trust me…”