“I think… I may have miscalculated…” Kohra muttered to himself as he collapsed in the middle of the hall, his strength flooding from his tiny body. It had taken all of Kohra’s might to achieve this singular feat, to teleport the last 203 remaining Kronospasts to a new, safer home. But in his desire to simply escape, he had transported everyone into the centre of probably one of the worst places possible: directly into the presence of the Void Lord Kenon.
“Little Kronospast, I believe you calculated perfectly. For your kin, of course. As for yourself… well…”
This hall was massive. Large enough for at least 300 hulking Rethavok, let alone the tiny, one-half meter tall Kronospasts. And at the top of it was Kenon, sitting on a golden throne, surrounded by heavily armoured Rethan guards.
Somehow, Kohra found the strength to pick himself up. He didn’t want to seem weak, not in front of a being that could kill all of them with a snap of its horrible, clawed fingers. But there wasn’t much Kohra could do but speak clearly to the Void Lord, in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, this deity had some sympathy left for Kohra and his fallen race.
“Void Lord Kenon, I come to you today to ask for help and shelter. The lands we once ruled over have been demolished, destroyed and irradiated, with no hope to rebuild. Not for centuries, at least. We request a temporary stay within your territories, until we can gather the strength to rebuild, repopulate and leave peacefully.”
The Void Lord smiled, climbing from his golden throne, stomping down the marble stairs until he was on the same level as Kohra. Kenon towered over the Kronospasts, his antlers casting desolate shadows over the pitiful group of survivors.
“I shall grant that to the Kronospasts. But I want something in return. The Kronospasts need to offer something back.”
“Like what?” Kohra asked. “What price do you ask of us?”
“Your knowledge, your artistic skill, your ability to archive…” the Void Lord explained. “I will happily provide the Kronospasts not simply shelter, but whatever your kind needs to thrive. Food, homes and a livelihood. But in exchange for that, I wish to hire the remaining Kronospasts to run our libraries, maintain our archives and educate others.”
“Then that is what we shall do…”
“Well…” The smile on Kenon’s twisted, Rethan face grew larger. “Not all of you. Tell me, Kohra, what happened to your father?”
Kohra hesitated, the question completely catching him off guard. Part of him, the trickster side of him, considered lying. But it was highly plausible that the Void Lord would instantly know. After all, why would he ask? No. Kohra had to be honest. For once in his life.
“Avra threatened the lives of me and my fellow Kronospasts, but also your lives as well. He wanted a war of revenge against all others. I could not let that happen. So I killed him.”
“Indeed…” Kenon was still smiling as he leaned down, putting himself directly in Kohra’s face. “You killed him, rather than restraining him. You murdered your own father rather than try and deal with him in a… natural manner. I am tolerant of many things, but patricide is not one of them. For that reason, my offer extends to every Kronospast except for you, Kohra. The Kronospasts will live on peacefully among other races. In exchange for their safety, you will be exiled, forbidden to enter Union lands.”
Kohra was shocked, but tried to hide it. He closed his eyes, carefully deciding his next words.
“You have a problem with patricide. Yet you have no problem at all with filicide, the murder or attempted murder of your own children…” Kohra finally sighed. “You are a hypocrite of the highest order.”
Kenon’s smile immediately disappeared. “Keep in mind your current position, little murderer.”
“Oh, I accept my punishment, Void Demon. I accept my exile. The betterment of the Kronospasts far outweighs my own life. But that does not refute your hypocrisy in any way.”
The Void Lord grunted, getting up and spinning around, returning to his throne.
“Vaxavius, take this little slime ball, strip him of all his worth then get him on the first ship off this planet. If he tries to do anything, slit his throat, the same way he did to his own father.”
A heavily armoured Rethan in a red sash reluctantly stepped forward, followed by a handful of soldiers. They immediately took Kohra by the arm and marched him out of the hall, away from the rest of his kind.
The marching seemed endless as Kohra was led out of the grand, golden palace, down towards what was clearly a prison. Not a single word was uttered by anyone. Nothing was said while the Rethavok took away Kohra’s belongings, stripped him bare then locked him away in a barren, steel-walled cell.
Time dragged on as Kohra sat on the only item in his cell, a plastic stool that was too large for him. He wanted to weep, or scream, or do something. But a voice in his head told him to remain silent. After all, he had done his job. The Kronospasts, what was left of them, were safe. He had done the right thing, hadn’t he? Now, sitting in that cold cell, Kohra was no longer sure. All he knew now was that he needed to try and keep himself calm. He didn’t want to die, but that was certainly an option.
The silence was eventually followed up by a brief knock on the cell door, and a tray of warm food being slid through a small gap. With the food, there was a small note.
“Do not panic, I will make your exile as painless as possible. Just stay quiet and hold on…”