Rethais sat quietly as he watched the sun set behind a vast forest of trees, some of them leafless and dead, others covered in fresh, green needles. In the distance, a body of water could be seen, but there was no life around it, no boats, no lights, no houses, a river emptying out into the sea’s eastern side. The last few hours had been extraordinarily quiet, and Rethais was unsure what to do.
The Banikans who had taken him and Retvik in couldn’t have been kinder. They had not just patched them up but almost completely healed their otherwise rather dire injuries, then continued to give them food and shelter, offering them sanctuary in their village. Sure, the Banikans were still somewhat distrusting of these two strange beings that had suddenly appeared in their place of worship, but they had done everything they could to make Rethais and Retvik feel… safe.
“You should rest.”
The Banikan standing behind Rethais was Med’Dir, the smallest Banikan of this tribe, but still standing at 3.5m tall. Really, the only reason Med’Dir was considered small was because he had lost half the length of his horns a few decades back. Med’Dir was also the tribe’s main healer, apparently capable of making potions that did almost anything.
“I appreciate your concern, but I do not want to rest. I need to contemplate my thoughts. Work out my next course of action.”
Med’Dir snorted, remaining where he was, watching the strange Rethavok. Like the other Banikans in the tribe, Med’Dir had met other Rethavok before, they had seen traveling emissaries who had worked alongside local Vrekans in order to broker peace, but something was off about the two Rethavok who had magically appeared in their camp. It wasn’t the magical appearance that bothered them, it was who these two Rethavok were.
“Rest is important.”
“I do not wish to rest. I could not rest properly anyway, not with what is troubling me.”
“Tell us then. Speak your troubles.”
“You would not understand.”
Both Rethavok had been like this, awkwardly silent, awkwardly secret when it came to who they are, where they came from and what they needed. While this Rethavok here had been appreciative when it came to healing both a large stab wound and a secondary gunshot wound (both common injuries for Banikans), they had been insistent on leaving the scratches and cuts across their body. The other Rethavok had been even more anxious, not allowing Med’Dir to apply any bone-repairing ointment on the Rethavok’s obviously missing arm plating.
“You are among us now. We wish to help.”
Rethais grunted, sitting up and properly facing Med’Dir. “You have helped all you can. What is more important now is that Retvik and I leave and return to society, and begin figuring out how we can save the rest of our kind.”
“Again, we wish to help,” Med’Dir lowered himself down, kneeling next to the Rethavok. He could sense a lot of anger, but there was a hint of… something else. “You have not told us the problem. You remain silent.”
“We cannot completely trust you.”
“Can you trust anyone?”
Rethais grunted some more. “I… I do not know. When one is… cheated by existence, losing everything and everyone…” The Rethavok trailed off, sighing. “I do not know why I cannot bring myself to trust you. Retvik seems to think you are all trustworthy but I told him to remain silent because… well… I do not know who is listening. The Voidlord took everything from me aside from my brother and my life. What remains is still up for grabs.”
Med’Dir shifted his weight awkwardly, not really sure what this Rethavok was talking about.
“What are you… talking about? Why hide your truths?”
Rethais sighed, closing his eyes. “Because… I do not know. But I am not ready to talk, not quite yet.”
“You lost someone.”
“Our entire race is under the mind control of Kenon, the Voidlord. We have lost everything and… I do not believe we can… fight back…”
Med’Dir snarled, grabbing Rethais under the arm and lifting him to his feet. “You are weak. You cannot think straight. You need rest. Not to think of bad things. Fight back when you are stronger!”
“I do not thi-”
“Stop thinking. Listen. Go and rest! You need to heal!” Med’Dir snarled, dragging Rethais away. “You act now, you make things worse. You cannot change what happened. So you must heal and THEN plan for future. Understand?”
Rethais hesitated, then nodded, finally allowing the Banikan to help him, leading him back towards the village. “I understand…”