Broken and Down

Psiksi tried to remain calm as he tidied up around the large, Rethan home, picking up everything from torn cushions to shredded clothing to pieces of wood. Most of the house was open-plan except for the upper bedroom level that overlooked the main living area. The homeowner was currently somewhat quiet, but that probably wouldn’t last long.

Something knocked on the door. Psiksi glanced upstairs, then went to open it.

“Hi, Psiksi… oh… what… what happened here?” Kass asked as he lugged a large barrel of mead into the house. “I was gone for like, an hour…”

Psiksi glanced back upstairs, making sure there was no extra movement. Once he was certain that everything was clear, he helped Kass bring the barrel into the kitchen, trying to work out how to explain what was going on.

“So, uh, basically, Gath is really, really angry. Like, really angry.”



Kass had a confused look on his face. “He already knew about Retvik though. Did something else happen or is this like the day before yesterday when he realised how long a month was?”

Psiksi wasn’t too sure himself. “I think he’s still getting over not being able to see Retvik. I mean… you know how you get when you don’t see me after a week or so, I’m sure Gath feels the same way right now.”

“Yeah but…” Kass paused, then lowered his voice. “Yeah but they’ve been married for as long as you’ve been alive. Maybe as long as I’VE been alive. Surely… surely Gath is somewhat used to this by now?”

“I don’t know. I feel like… like this time is different…”

Something creaked upstairs. The creaking quickly turned into grunts and groans, then a loud bang. After some silence, the colossal Rethan smashed through the door of his bedroom, then turned around and awkwardly placed the remains of the door back on its tattered hinges.

“What are you two talking about?” Gath’s gruff and obviously very pissed off voice echoed around the house. “Are you whispering about me? Saying how horrible I am?”

“No!” Psiksi did his best to sound polite. “We are simply deeply concerned about you! We… did not expect you to act so… uh, violently… towards, well, everything.”

Gath stomped down the stairs, stormed his way towards the kitchen table where Kass and Psiksi had left the barrel of mead, then ripped off the top of the barrel and started drinking from it. Psiksi and Kass both waited for Gath to take a breath, getting worried when he didn’t seem to stop for breath.

“Uh, Gath?” Kass asked as he gently put a hand on Gath’s side. “Are you alright?”

The massive barrel slammed into the table.

“No. I am not alright. I am very, very angry. And when I am angry, I tend to do rather angry things.”

“Yeah, but we’ll help you clear up and all that!” Psiksi smiled. “And I’m sure you’ll see Retvik again in no time!”

Gath’s mood did not change, despite Psiksi’s optimism. “Little one, I admire your attempts to cheer me up, but trust me, you do not understand how… dire Retvik’s situation is. It is a miracle that he even survived what happened in the Great Blackout… But where Retvik has gone… he might as well be dead already.”

Kass threw an odd look at Psiksi, then turned back to Gath. “What do you mean? We were told he was going to be joining a rehabilitation legion or something? Isn’t that what the 11th legion does?”

Gath grunted, then started drinking more mead. After a good twenty seconds, he put the barrel back down. “No one ever leaves the 11th Legion. Not alive, at least.”

“Yeah but…” Psiksi tried to think quickly. “Retvik’s not “no one”, he’s one of the most heroic Rethavok in all of history! Surely he’ll get out and be fine and all that!”

The hulking Rethan hissed, leaning over his barrel of mead and staring down at Psiksi. “Clearly you do not understand the words “NO” and “ONE”. No one has ever left the 11th Legion. It does not happen. It will not happen.”


“But nothing… It is highly likely I will not see Retvik for months, if not years… And I do not think I can take much more of that…”

“But…” Psiksi had run out of things to say. “But what about… your future… and stuff…”

“I appreciate your concern. Please, just let me mourn my losses for a bit, let me break a few more things. Maybe once I have gotten over all of this, we can work something out. You two are free to leave. In fact, I want you both to leave.”

Psiksi and Kass glanced at each other. “But…”

“No buts. Please, leave me alone.”

The two Skyavok relented and did as they were told. They collected their handful of belongings before heading outside, closing the door behind them.

Once the sound of the Skyan’s vehicle faded away, Gath sighed a little, then went back to drowning himself in his drink.