The gleeful cry for attention echoed across the main chamber and into a place crudely called Hell’s Kitchen, where Retvik was busy making dinner for the personification of Death. He paused for a moment, confused by both Death’s cry and how long that previous sentence was, before answering.
“What you dooooooing?”
Retvik sighed. “Cooking you dinner. Do you need something?”
There was a moment of quiet. Retvik strained his Vethic ears, trying to hear who Death was talking to. Unexpected visitors, clearly.
“Could you get us some tea please? Nice big lot of tea. And three mugs. Big mugs. The god ones.”
Another sigh. Retvik did love his job – he was essentially programmed to, but Death could be incredibly trying at times. Always coming up with random demands. And locking him in the utilities closet that she didn’t even need. After quickly boiling the kettle, filling up a tea pot with his finest silvergrass tea and grabbing the mugs Death requested, he headed out into Death’s main living area.
Squeezed round a tiny little table were Death, Stasis and Kairos. Retvik shuddered slightly as he served the tea to everyone, but as he was about to leave, Death grabbed him by the wrist.
“Stay and listen!”
“If you insist…”
Stasis eyed the Veth with caution, but Kairos blankly ignored him. The last time Kairos had visited Kinigi was when Stasis nearly destroyed the whole universe by doing some thing that Retvik never understood. When that was, Retvik had no idea.
Kairos started speaking first. Out of all the things Retvik had seen Kairos appear as, he hadn’t seem him appear as a gigantic white wyvern before. His voice was monotonous, cold but also somehow caring. His speech was stilted, only ever speaking in the present tense.
“Kathisykaz, you know why I ask you to meet here. I say to you in the past that you encroach on existence. I do not permit this.”
“I have always ‘encroached’ on your territories because you are biased. You want the universe to continue moving always and that’s impossible. It must be still at some point.”
“In the end the universe is still but there is life still and Kinisis is doing her duty. Your existence is nothing, silence and timeless. You have your time. Not now. Yet you force your hand.”
Stasis sneered, his large antlers obscuring his features, his claws tensing with anger. “I am tired of waiting.”
“That’s why you have your own little space!” Death, or rather, Kinisis, smiled. “I made sure you had your own place to experiment and all that. An infinite space of your own making!”
“I don’t care about that, Death! I want to influence the universe the same way you do!”
“B-but I don’t influence the universe, all I do is take away dead stuff and pump out living stuff. You influence all the living stuff to try and continue for as long as possible. And you have your Deitics who constantly try and interfere with Kinigi and that’s really super annoying!”
Kairos’s expression changed to one of anger, but his voice remained the same. “I ask you again and again, to leave this domain be. You make me sound like Kinisis. Always repeat. You understand how this is. I go forward, you go back, Kinisis goes round.”
“My problem isn’t with the Cycle, Kairos. It’s with you. You stop me from doing my duty. But the only way I can interfere with you is by interfering with Death. Death and I can co-exist. You and I cannot!”
“You have your time in the end. Now is my time. I do not need to explain again.”
“Even though I know you’re wrong, I can never win!” Stasis leaped up from his chair. Death stood up calmly and put a shoulder around Stasis.
“Come on, dear. We tried the whole letting-you-rule thing and literally nothing happened for a billion years. In the grand scheme of things, you’re going to have an infinitely longer time than Kairos and I will have.”
Stasis calmed down slightly. “When Kairos fades, you won’t have to, my dear Death. You can stay with me. Away from this rotten fool who never looks back, only forward.”
“The past is not needed when the universe is running. Stars do not look backward. The Cycle does not look backward.”
“Well, I do a little…” Death muttered. “That’s kinda how evolution works.”
“You understand what I mean.”
Death shrugged. Retvik though, watching from a safe distance, was beginning to realise what was going on. Kairos and Stasis both wanted Kinisis for themselves. He needed to warn Death.
“Death, can I have a moment please?” Retvik cautiously interrupted.
“No. What is it?”
“A personal thing. A Kingi thing.”
Death sighed and got up, following Retvik into the kitchen.
“This had better be good, otherwise I’m locking you in the closet perpetually!”
Retvik shivered, panicking slightly. “T-they fancy you, Death. Kairos and Stasis both fancy you. They want to keep you away from the other. Like some sort of… love triangle…”
Death’s eyes lit up. “You… think?”
“It’s pretty obvious from a former mortal being’s point of view.”
Death tapped one of her long, spindly claws on her chin. “So how do we fix it?”
Suddenly, the wall of the kitchen caved in, as Kairos and Stasis started fighting each other.