It was rare for the leader of the Kronospasts to get some time to himself. His guards were both out of sight and out of earshot, and no one needed or wanted to talk to him. The top of this building was one of the few places he could be alone. Lord Avra needed this peace and quiet, just to think. To think and to act.
On the ground was a circle painted in ashes and mud, lit by several wax candles. A bowl sat at its centre, while Avra held two more in his hands.
“The blood of an enemy. The skin of a lover. Both were hard to come by.”
Being careful not to smudge the circle, Avra leaned down and poured the liquids in the two bowls into the one on the ground. He stirred it gently with a single claw, then stepped back.
“Thantophor, I Summon You.”
Nothing happened. Avra tutted. He knew nothing would happen. It was a stupid Banikan trick. He had spent a lot of money arranging for this information and it had all gone to waste.
“Maybe I am just the Whenvern’s servant…”
The wind picked up. The candles remained lit, but some of the ash blew away, ruining the circle on the ground.
“You’re no one’s servant.”
Avra twisted round, drawing his dagger, then realising how stupid he was. The Thantophor in its hideous yellow and gold armour stood there, smiling a toothy grin at him. It was taller than Avra, looking down at the Kronospast like the pathetic mortal he was.
“I am. I serve the Whenvern. I do as he asks. Even when he takes my children away.”
The Thantophor shifted its weight, leaning on its staff. “Maybe we should change that.”
“How can you say no to a god?” Avra asked. “The Whenvern scared away my eldest, lost my middle son and delivered my youngest to you. How can I say no?”
“Easy!” the Thantophor was smiling again. It was truly a hideous being. “We’re going to practice that right now. Go jump off this building.”
Avra hesitated. “What?”
The Thantophor smiled even more, then pulled Avra away from the edge. “See, you’re getting the hang of it already! Now, I don’t normally answer summons, but clearly you want something.”
Avra nodded. “I do, Thantophor…”
“Please, call me Arkadin.”
“Lord Arkadin, I have a question I must ask of you.”
“Go on…” The Thantophor continued to smile, unnerving the Kronospast.
“I want to know the fate of my youngest son…”
Arkadin shrugged. “What’s his name?”
“You should know!” Avra almost snapped. “You took him away from me! The Whenvern delivered him to you!”
The Thantophor gently placed his hand on Avra’s shoulder. “Little one, I deal with millions of dead every day. Rulers and children of rulers alike. You gotta be more specific.”
Avra pulled away. “His name is Kohra.”
He expected the Thantophor to laugh in his face, tell him his kid was dead. But to his surprise, Arkadin just stood there.
“He’s not dead.”
“He’s not dead. Kohra was frozen and sent as a gift to Yisini for her to… do whatever the fuck she does with Kairos’s presents. She didn’t want him so she gave him to me. I assumed you and Kairos both wanted him dead so I kept him alive. He visits me every other week…” Arkadin explained. “Yisini doesn’t like it when I kill things before their time.”
Avra didn’t know what to say. His mouth opened and closed but no words came out.
“You’ll probably want him back. But I’m kinda scared to do so, in case Kairos just captures and tries to kill him again. Which, knowing Kairos, he probably will…”
“He… He took my son away… So I would have nothing left and be forced to cooperate with Him…” Avra finally spoke. “… Can I have him back?”
Arkadin crossed his arms. “I want to give him back. But not yet. Kairos can be unstable, especially when he’s betrayed. I don’t want him killing more Kronospasts or anything like that. So for now, I want you to continue doing as Kairos asks of you, but refuse to go to war, refuse to fight. The next time I come back here though, I will tell you what to do. In the mean time, I promise you I will keep Kohra safe and healthy. You will get your son back.”
“Is that… Is that all?” Avra asked, eyes wide open.
Arkadin patted Avra on the shoulder, then disappeared, leaving the Kronospast both shocked and relieved.