General Litvir drifted around his five captains, examining each one of them in turn. Litvir was rather pleased with himself, having trained these otherwise broken and damaged Rethavok, taught them how to use their unnatural, almost magical powers while also making most of them submissive to him. Only one more captain remained, and he was due to enter in just a moment.
“You called for me, General?” Captain Retvik asked as he stepped into the room. Immediately Litvir could tell that something was not right. After all, Litvir had not just normal Rethan telepathic links, but also empathic powers that allowed him to… leech off the emotions of others. Really, Litvir couldn’t explain it with words, but he’d had no one to teach him how to use his unnatural abilities.
“I did!” Litvir smiled, welcoming Retvik in with a warm tone. “Come here and stand with your fellow captains, I wish to speak to you all.”
Retvik sighed, then did as he was told, standing on the end furthest away from Litvir, alongside Captains Kuta and Eoman, who had been working with Retvik earlier that day. Litvir was not impressed with Retvik’s disdain, but he was aware that his newest captain was a former General himself and was not yet accustomed to being led.
Once everyone was sorted, Litvir clapped his hands. “We are all here, so let us begin! I am here to tell you all what your next duties are! It is time to start training a set of vice-captains for each of you!”
“Why?” To Litvir’s surprise, it was Kuta who asked the question, not Retvik. But Litvir knew that Retvik was thinking the same thing. “Are you, like, planning to replace us or something?”
“No, I just wish to have more captains!” Litvir continued to smile. “I successfully trained you six. Now you train others to do your jobs, and eventually we can start processing more and more of your fellow broken Rethavok!”
“I am barely trained,” Retvik interjected, sighing annoyingly. “I recently gained control of my abilities, I am in no position to train others to do the same. And I believe you have some sort of ulterior motive here.”
“Not at all-”
“Litvir, please, you can be honest with us.”
Retvik’s insubordination was beginning to annoy Litvir. Ever since the other captains had allowed him to have a familial conversation a few hours ago, the former general had not been acting correctly. Some corrections were required, corrections that Litvir would have to deliver himself.
No longer smiling but remaining chirpy and confident, Litvir wandered over to his newest captain and put an almost ghostly hand on Retvik’s shoulder.
“I sense that you are not happy. Do you wish for me to remove that unhappiness?”
“Please remove your hand from my shoulder, General.”
Litvir grunted, keeping his hand where it was. He felt out into the captain’s mind, trying to figure out what was wrong, but Retvik was shielding his true emotions, making it hard for Litvir to work his way inside. “Do you have a problem with me, Retvik?”
“General, please remove your hand from my shoulder, I do not wish for either my hand or my mind to be touched.”
Ignoring Retvik’s request, Litvir attempted a second probe, only to be abruptly shut out of Retvik’s mind completely. For a moment, he had forgotten just who he was dealing with. “You are strong-willed, but you still need an attitude adjustment. You will follow your General’s orders, willingly or other-”
Suddenly, Retvik’s heavy claw wrapped around Litvir’s arm. With a growl and an admittedly impressive spin, Retvik grabbed Litvir and twisted him round, pushing Litvir to the floor. Another heavy claw twisted around Litvir’s throat, tightening his airways.
“Retvik…” Litvir struggled, then quickly stopped, noticing that the room was suddenly getting warmer. “Retvik, what are you doing?”
“I want you to stop trying to force your will on me!” Retvik snarled, overpowering Litvir’s every attempt to break free. While Litvir may have been a manipulator of the mind, he found himself struggling against Retvik’s grasp. There was no way he could break away from a Rethan whose strength was considered legendary even among other generals.
Instead, Litvir turned his attention to the other captains, who were almost too shocked to move. Isaar was the first to move, reacting by essentially throwing a self-produced snowball at Retvik. The ball though didn’t even make contact as the fiery Rethan heated the air around both himself and Litvir, causing the snowball to melt mid-flight. Nisir tried a similar tactic, this time with a miniature flash flood of water, but Retvik retaliated by heating the air further, evaporating the water and forcing Litvir to face the wall of steam heading their way.
“Are you not going to help?” Litvir shouted, still trying to wrestle free from Retvik’s grasp. “You do this, Retvik, you hurt me, you never see your partner again!”
“I WILL NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN ANYWAY!” Retvik roared, throwing Litvir into Nisir and Isaar, both of whom were summoning more water and ice. All three Rethans collapsed on the ground, splashing in a large puddle. “It is too late for that! And you will never allow it anyway! You do not wish to rehabilitate anyone, you just wish to use us as tools and servants!”
Litvir was definitely beginning to worry now. Nisir had passed out on top of him and Isaar was struggling to his feet, being helped up by a very confused Eoman. Worse, it seemed that Kuta was somewhat believing the angry words spewing from Retvik’s mouth, as he had backed out of the fight completely. Retvik took a deep breath then raised his arms, a torrent of flames and plasma forming around him.
Thankfully though, the Flamebearer never managed to use that power. A bolt of electricity arced across the room, stunning Retvik, causing him to fall to one knee. A second, more desperate bolt coursed through Trismit’s fingers towards the enraged Rethan but didn’t seem to knock him out. It took a kick to the side of the head, courtesy of the hulking form of Eoman, to completely take the fight out of Retvik.
Litvir frowned as he picked himself up off the ground, pushing the unconscious Nisir to one side. He stepped over to where Retvik was now lying, tutting.
“I thought we were making good progress, Retvik.”
“So was I, until today…” Retvik grunted, utterly disorientated. Eoman and Trismit both stepped back, while Litvir moved towards the fallen Rethan and placed his hand across Retvik’s head.
“Aside from the divorce?” Retvik spat. “I discovered what your real plan was…”
Litvir shrugged, not really caring as he wormed his way into the Flamebearer’s mind. “Shame you won’t ever be able to tell the others about it.”
“You will get u-”
Retvik’s words abruptly stopped as consciousness fled his body. As Retvik passed out, the temperature in the room returned to normal. After a moment, Litvir stood up, both worried and pleased at the same time.
“What was that about, General?” Eoman asked, looking confused.
“Just some stress…” Litvir tutted, waving his hand. As he did so, the other five captains immediately got up and straightened themselves out. “Take Retvik and place him in solitary. Then get back to work honing your elemental powers. We have a lot of work ahead of us…”