Friendship and Loyalty

“The Lord of the Dead, the God of Misery and Suffering, the Bringer of Death, and you live on an island world covered in pinkish grass and purple rivers?”

King Ver had a lot of questions he wanted to ask his new favourite guest. The Lord of the Vrekans had always enjoyed making guests and visitors feel welcome within his lands, and the Thantophor was no exception. Ver had even cracked open a bottle of vintage mead, bottled over fifty years ago, to make an impression on this amazing guest. That bottle of alcohol would have cost about three thousand Evra, and as soon as Ver announced that to the Thantophor, the Lord of Death immediately repayed him with another three thousand, which popped out of thin air.

“I do. What’s wrong with rivers?”

“It just seems odd for someone with a reputation like yours…” Ver waved to an attendant, who brought over a plate of cheeses and sausages. “It’s a badass title, you’d think the badass god would live in a badass castle or something…” Using a small, woodem skewer, Ver picked up a piece of cheese and ate it, then offered some to the Thantophor. “Aged cheese. Three years. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but cheese never lasts long. There is a fine line between cheese and and mould, yes?”

The Thantophor shrugged, then took a small piece of cheese and sniffed it. Ver expected him to either think it was nice or recoil in horror, but the Lord of Death did neither. He nibbled the edge, then ate the whole lot, sucking on it as if it was candy. Ver was thankful that it was just him and the Lord of Death alone in the room, since most Ver might have considered the Thantophor’s actions to be disturbing and slightly rude.

“You like?” Ver asked.

“Tastes like me…” The Thantophor swallowed, then reached for a piece of sausage. “Not my cup of tea, but I can see why someone would like them. The sausages are nice though.”

Ver beamed. “Really? They are spiced with safroza and paprika. With a hint of chilli pepper powder. From my own family farm!”

“Well you should be proud!” the Thantophor smiled. “They are fit for a king. Or a god.” The Lord of Death suddenly turned around, leaning back in his seat. “Hello, High General, are you done masturbating?”

Elkay stood still. “Pardon?”

“I shouldn’t have said that out loud, my bad…” the Thantophor tutted as he helped himself to more sausage. “Sometimes I do that. I see existence differently to the rest of you. Still, I apologise for calling you out like that. It was mean and unintentional.”

The High General sighed. “It is fine, if not utterly embarrassing…”

“To be fair,” Ver tried to make everything less awkward. “Everyone needs to vent a little! It is wholly natural!”

“That does not make me feel better…” Elkay tutted as he sat down. “I see you cracked open the expensive cheeses and meats for our guest…”

Ver nodded. “Only the best for the Lord of the Dead!”

“Yes, only five hundred Evra cheeses and hundred Evra sausages for the fancy god… Surprised you did not pull out the nice chocolates, at fifty Evra a piece…”

The Thantophor glanced at Elkay, a smile growing on his face. On the plate in front of Ver, two thousand Evra suddenly appeared, the paper money neatly bundled up and tied with a ribbon.

“You don’t need to go out of your way for me. You really don’t!”

“Lord Arkadin though…” Ver blinked. “You are a god… We should treat you like one!”

“I’d rather you didn’t, to be honest!” Arkadin smiled. “I already have worshippers, I don’t need more.”

“Then what do you need?” Elkay asked, looking confused.

Arkadin gently put his hand on Elkay’s knee. “Oh, nothing much. Just friendship and loyalty. That’ll do…”