There was something in the High General’s bedroom.
General Elkay had not noticed it at first. He had just gotten out of the shower and was dripping water on the floor. His official work armour was across the room, as were his weapons. His guards were outside, having been given strict orders to not disturb one of the two most powerful beings of the Reth-Vrekan Union.
“You have five seconds to leave, before I come over there and tear you in half…”
Normally, Elkay would not go straight into threats. In fact, he could have called in his guards and they would have dealt with the threat. But was it a threat? The High General wasn’t sure. He was perfectly capable of carrying out his threat though. An elite warrior matched by few others. Even if he had gotten a little… lumpy from spending more time in an office and not out training.
“Death threats don’t work against me…” the creature revealed itself from the shadows, then quickly fled back to them. “Oh dear, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise you were without armour! I’m… totally interrupting something, aren’t I?”
The High General sighed. He reached for a nearby piece of fabric and wrapped it around his only noticeably bare spot, his stomach. “I have not had a quiet night in the last seven months. I was planning a quiet evening all by my self, to have some ‘me time’ but now you are here. Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“What do you mean by ‘me time’? You’re always…” The being looked around the room. “Oooooh… Wait I thought you had a partner? You and High General Ver…”
Elkay reached for the first object he could find and threw it at the being. “HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE ME OF-”
“A perfectly legal thing, if my knowledge of Rethavok and Vrekan laws are correct, yes?” The being stepped out of the shadows properly this time. They looked exactly like a cross between a Rethavok and a Skyavok. Heavily armoured, but smaller than the High General. “I’m getting sidetracked. Most call me the Thantophor, the Lord of Death, but you can call me Arkadin. And I’m here to help you.”
“I’m here to help you. Because Kairos and Epani and Yisini are taking an empire each and they plan on expanding their territories. It would be wrong for me to just leave you to your fate in their cruel hands.”
Elkay shook his head. “No… You’re the god of death? You look just like… Just like Arkay of the Dessaron…”
Arkadin shrugged. “Yeah. Poor thing. Dead now. So sad. Anyway, that’s not important. What’s important is that I need you guys to all speed up what you’re doing, politely and peacefully speaking to other races and convincing them to join your union. Ideally a rate of one new race a month would be amazing, but one or two a year would be fine.”
The High General blinked. “I… I do not follow.”
“Alright…” Arkadin rubbed his head, then calmly explained. “The big three empires? They are getting help from the other gods. They are going to expand. Possibly violently. Naturally, they will come towards your empire because there are unclaimed territories between here and their empires. I don’t want that to happen, but at the same time I can’t interfere directly, all I can do is gently guide you.” Arkadin paused. “Really, if I was allowed to, I could just kill everyone, but that’s not really my thing. My point is, what you’re doing is perfect and I want to look after you while you continue to do that.”
The High General thought to himself as he wandered to his bed. “Your request is fair, Arkadin. But to reach out to new races requires new resources. Yes, Ver and I can reach out, but we need to have something to offer newcomers, and we are… strapped for cash, currently.”
“Oh, that’s fine!” Arkadin beamed. The being’s antics confused Elkay greatly. Was this really Death Itself? And why did it look almost exactly like a more heavily armoured of a great Union hero?
“Uh, it is not fine.”
“Oh, it is!” Arkadin was still smiling. “I don’t have much influence outside killing everything, but I can cause some pretty weird dreams. I can also cause dreams that will point a large number of your high command in the direction of a fuckton of resources!”
The General wasn’t sure what to say. “Is there… a cost to any of this? My soul, perhaps?”
Arkadin’s smile faded. “No. You don’t have souls. There’s no such thing as a soul. There’s no cost to any of this. I’m helping you because I’m biased to Thareth Panvok races like yourself, and I don’t want you all to get crushed under the claws of the other empires that my sibling gods are so blatantly helping. Because trust me, at the end of the day, the only winner is going to be me, cleaning up all the dead. And that’s what happens every day anyway, so I might as well lighten my work load.”
“I still don’t understand…” Elkay grunted. “Why…”
“You know what? Just do as I say. After you’ve dried yourself off and had a good night’s sleep, of course.”
“I don’t know!” Arkadin tutted as he faded away. “Please, just take my advice. I really don’t want to come back here and find that you’re dead…”
The High General stared at where the Thantophor once stood. He was unsure whether any of that had just happened.
Rather than question things, Elkay decided to do as he was told, to dry himself off and go to sleep. Maybe it would all become clearer in the morning…